Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Democrats are awesome

There appears to be some sort of problem with the comment function and Randy G emailed me a comment on my post last week on some republicans who don't know the difference between Sunni's and Shiites.
Now that was a legitimate piece of Democratic banter. You identified a problem, a few Republican higher ups who are clueless on differences in the religion in this region. Astonishingly though you failed to expand on this by saying why it is important, even though it could be argued that is obvious. Quite obviously though nothing is too obvious these days. BTW, I'm sure there are more than a few DEMs who have no clue on the same subject, but just know that, "war is bad and people die." I'd love for you to detail the loss of live in this war in respect to our's and the world's population as compared to previous wars. Interesting stuff there.

The reason it's important is that it's important to know who the factions are when trying to evaluate how to deal with the civil war. And, it's not sectarian conflict -- it's civil war. There's at least 5 groups at war. Sunni militia, Shiite militia, Al Quada terrorists, Iraqi government troops, and US military.

You have to have some minimum understanding of who's who to understand who's fighting who.

There are probably more democrats who don't have a clue than republicans. But republicans are supposed to know -- they're the ones running the damn show. Hopefully only for a couple more weeks though.

I'm kind of surprised how few people we've lost in this war. But I touched oin that in a post the other day. To me, it's not about how few we've lost, but how few we've lost compared to how many Iraqi's get killed. We might lose a handful every day, 4 or 8, but there's 80-100 Iraqi's killed every night, there bodies found when the sun comes up.

So, who owns the night in Bagdad? Certianly not us. We claim to control Bagdad but that's clearly a lie. It's obvious that our troops are hiding away at night keeping their heads down. We sure as hell aren't going to win a war that way.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Sectarian violence

What does sectarian violence mean? It sure seems like it means civil war to me, but Bush and company insists it means something else. I don't think they've actually figured out what it means though.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Monday, October 23, 2006

Rebuilding New Orleans

Why does the government need to rebuild New Orleans?

This isn't the first time a major american city has been destroyed. The Chicago fire, the San Francisco earthquake, the Galveston hurricane, all destroyed large portions of the cities, and all those cities were rebuilt by the resident populations and businesses of those cities. Granted they were all a few years ago, but the commentators that keep claiming that nothing like this has ever happened before are just wrong. The Katrina damage is bigger than those long ago tragadies, but it has happened before.

I used to work for Bank of America, and part of the corporate lore of that bank is how it grew from the destruction of the SF earthquake. It was then known as the Bank of Italy, and it was a small neighborhood bank in North Beach, an Italian enclave in San Francisco. After the earthquake, much of San Franciso was on fire. The Bank of Italy was a small, new bank, and they kept much of their cash assets in the vault of another bank. Clerks from the Bank of Italy went and removed all the cash and gold on deposit elsewhere immediatly after the earthquake, and they opened for business using a board sitting across two barrels on the sidewalk as a teller's cage.

That's the way America used to rebuild from disaster. Now it seems we just sit around and wait for the government to dole out money.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Iraq and Vietnam

One similarity between the way we're fighting in Iraq and the way we fought in Vietnam is that a tour of duty is limited, and if you want out when your enlistment is up you can get out.

So, for the individual soldier the way to survive is just to survive. In WWII soldiers were in for the duration. Keeping your head down did not ensure personal survival. Only winning the war ensured personal survival.

In WWII, if we won the war you went home. That's it. No ambiguity.

Iraq isn't being run exactly like Vietnam. Back in the old days many were draftees with a 2 year active duty commitment. That meant a single one year tour in Vietnam and you were done. Keep your head down for 1 year and you lived forever. Today the length of a tour in Iraq might get extended, and there are no 2 year enlistments so you'll probably do at least two tours and even then you have a total 8 year enlistment, serve a 3 year active duty tour and you go in the reserves. And, unlike Vietnam the reserves get sent to Iraq.

But today's troops aren't in for the duration.

Looking at the casuality numbers strongly suggests that the military is very much following a strategy of "keeping your head down". The casualty numbers for US soldiers are very low when compared to casualty numbers of Iraqi civilians.

Keeping your head down is the correct response for a soldier. But I'm not sure that giving them the incentive to follow that tactic is good for the country.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

A Bush speech

A couple of weeks ago I was driving back home from Tulsa and listening to Tulsa's Fox Radio. They were broadcasting a speech Bush was giving to some meeting of retired military officers.

Sunni extremists was the new phrase Bush introduced in that speech.

Bin Laden is a Sunni Muslim.

So, the unstated linkage is that we have to fight the Iraqi Sunni extremists to protect ourselves from Bin Laden.

His argument for the importance of paying attention to Bin Laden is that Bin Laden has made his goals clear just like Hitler and Lenin had.

Lot's of nutcases have written plans for world domination. Probably thousands of them. Because two out of thousands have followed through and killed a lot of people in the attempt to conquer the world does not mean it's important to pay attention to the thousands of others.

But I guess he checked it out with God, just like Bin Laden does.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Why we need more Republicans in Congress

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Tucker on MSNBC

He was interviewing some "republican stratagist" (I have never understood what that means) and, talking about the Foley thing, she said "(somebody) said any member who ... will be asked to resigned just like Foley was".

Tucker just let that pass, like he always does when some republican just makes shit up.

Nobody ever asked Foley to resign. He resigned on his own after ABC told him about the explicit IM's and before they made them public.

And, of course, the Speaker of the House is essentially saying that he'll fire a staff member if it's shown that the Speaker screwed up.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Monday, October 09, 2006

Some interesting reading on what's going on in America

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Some DWI comments

This is an interesting blog post. It's about DWI laws but it's really about the question of what kind of country we want to live in.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

The problem with republicans

The big problem with the House Republican leadership that this Foley thing has brought to light is the tendency for them to think of everything in terms of the politics of it. They approached the Foley behavior as a political problem to be controlled, not as a safety issue or an ethical issue. That's the way they thought of it from the git go and it's the way they still think of it.

That kind of thinking leads to all kinds of bad decision making. An example of the bizarre conclusions that people like Hastert can arrive at is in a recent Columbia Journalims Review article.

The article describes a Fox News interview a couple of years ago where Hastert mentioned that George Soros was in favor of legalizing drugs and then concluded that he must be financially connected with drug dealing.

Hastert just can't imagine somebody supporting a law just because it's the right thing to do.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Gitmo Food

Fox news has a news segment coming up on how well fed the prisoners at Gitmo are.

Torture won't bother them and they don't need access to lawyers or courts if we feed them well.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs


Foley's lawyer said that all the IM's were sent when he was drunk.

At least one of them was sent during a vote on funding for the Iraq war. Maybe he forgot about that one.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

More on Fighting Terror the Bush Way

In a recent post I quoted the following parapragh from a newspaper article.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons is supposed to translate and screen all mail to and from the highest-risk inmates — including terrorists, gang members and spies — for evidence of criminal activity. But that target was not being met consistently at 10 federal prisons and detention centers surveyed by the Justice Department's inspector general.

A comment on my post was.

Randy G said...
Yeah, Bush should just go and read all of the mail himself and that would fix the problem. It was hot here this weekend.........that damn Bush! This is the cause and effect used by liberals. Doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Also, identifying problems is one thing. Suggesting solutions to these problems might advance your cause as far as discrediting the President's and his Administration's policies. That's not how the nay sayers work though is it. You just blame everything that goes wrong and blame it all on bush, while ignoring things that are going well (oil/gas prices are coming back down to Earth and the stock market is at an all time high) and attributing that to luck or just American greatness. Enlighten me on this way of thinking. Maybe you liberal pansies are right after all;)

The reason I hold Bush responsible is that it is his responsibility.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons is part of the Department of Justice. A presidential seal and Bush's name is even on the front page of their website.

The reason given in the article for the non-compliance is a manpower shortage. But the administration is able to find the manpower to run faith-based programs in the prisons. And to fight terror they are able to find the manpower to confiscate toothpaste at airports.

When you're hiring people to confiscate toothpaste at airports rather than hiring people to read the mail of known terroists then there seems to me to be a severe problem in priorities.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Law doesn't have to make sense

Watching the talking heads about Foley I find it striking how many idiots keep trying to make logical arguements about law. Pat Buchannan is one of the leading idiots trying to do this.

Laws are not required to be consistent with each other or to make sense.

The empty arguement is that since the age of consent in DC is 16, there is no law broken by Foley hitting on 16 year olds.

The problem with the arguement is that there's a specific federal law that says it's illegal to solicit sex from a minor (under 18) using the internet.

So it's not illegal to hit on a 16 year old on the street, and it's not illegal to have sex with a 16 year old (in DC). But it is illegal to use the internet to hit on a 16 year old using explicit language. For the Dateline fans among you I guess you realize that it doesn't even have to be a 16 year old, it's enough for you to just beleive that they're under 18.

This just in --- Kirk Fordham, the cheif of staff for Tom Reynolds who was advising Mark Foley when the story broke and tried to get ABC to kill the story has just resigned.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Protecting Cheney

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Fighting Terror the Bush way

We can't even get the simple things right.
The U.S. Bureau of Prisons is supposed to translate and screen all mail to and from the highest-risk inmates — including terrorists, gang members and spies — for evidence of criminal activity. But that target was not being met consistently at 10 federal prisons and detention centers surveyed by the Justice Department's inspector general.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Monday, October 02, 2006


For another view on Foley and teenage boys see this.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Sunday, October 01, 2006

New product

This doesn't appear to be available to purchase. But, it should be.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Are we going to choose freedom?

The other day I posted about the bill that authorized secret prisons and torture. It's a serious attack on our freedoms and about as un-American as you can get.

It's not a bill that applies to terrorists. It's a bill that applies to anyone that or Bush says is suspected of aiding terrorists. They have no obligation to present any evidence at all that it's true, not even to a secret court. They can legally just make the accusation and whisk you away into the night.

Our congress recently passed another one, a bill that might seem more innocuous, but is just as much an attack on your freedoms.

Here's the lead paragraph from a Washington Post story on the bill.

With little public attention or even notice, the House of Representatives has passed a bill that undermines enforcement of the First Amendment's separation of church and state. The Public Expression of Religion Act - H.R. 2679 - provides that attorneys who successfully challenge government actions as violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment shall not be entitled to recover attorneys fees. The bill has only one purpose: to prevent suits challenging unconstitutional government actions advancing religion.

I found the link to the Washington Post story at The Immoral Minority

The War on Drugs stripped away most of our 4th amendment rights over a period of many years. Our rights are slipping away much quicker these days.

The kinds of lawsuits this Public Expression of Religion Act is blocking isn't just prayer in schools or christmas decorations. It's also lawsuits to block religious indoctrination under the guise of science -- things like Intelligent Design.

It looks like a race to the Dark Ages between Christians and Muslims, and the Christians intend to win.

You're going to have to decide whether you want to vote for freedom or for facism. It's not about liberals and conservatives anymore.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs