Tuesday, October 31, 2006
The irony comes into effect when you take this recent flip-flop along with the report that was released about the same time last week by the pentagon. The report explained how the insurgents have been slowing increasing their effect by simply doing exactly the same thing that they’ve done for the last couple of years.
So as our Commander-In-Chief has abandoned this “Stay the Course” idea because of its complete failure in Iraq, our enemy has ironically always “Stayed the Course” and used it successfully.
Sometimes irony is funny, but this time it’s just sad.
Monday, October 30, 2006
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Instead, what I need now is serious news. I long for real hard-hitting journalism from a company who isn’t interviewing Natalee Holloway’s pediatric orthodontist and isn’t anchored by a bubbly blonde woman who couldn’t locate herself on a mall map.
So as much as I still enjoy Jon and Stephen, I need something substantial. And as soon as I track down that source, I’ll let you know.
Friday, October 27, 2006
"One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. The bamboozle has captured us. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back." - Carl Sagan
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Monday, October 23, 2006
A conservative with an ideology is either on the way to being a liberal or a neoconservative, depending on whether that ideology favors isolationism or greater inclusion.
The neoconservative who is successful in pushing their ideology will eventually become an authoritarian. They will then immediately feel the recoil from a public who is, by nature, ideological.
That time of recoil has come - enjoy the snap.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
So my question is: since there were no WMD, we aren't in the dictator removal business, and Iraq isn't actually going to get a Democracy, did we officially loose?
It's kinda hard for me to say that we did, because we never really had any goals or plans in the first place.
What are your thoughts? At what point do we realize that this failed and that constitutes a loss?
Anyway, enjoy The Colbert Report's "WØRD": on the subect:
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Atheists have no belief in God or gods. Religious people reject the validity of the gods of other religions. So Atheists just believe in one less god than they do.
As hard as it is to stop using heroin is as hard as it is to start flossing.
What's the difference between Bush and Nixon? Nixon at least had a coherent foreign policy.
All that TV does it remind us of what we should already know; computers are there to remind us how little we have learned.
Below is Keith Olbermann's latest report. Please watch it and vote during the next election.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
These elements of an occupation-ending policy—know your enemy, divide and conquer, welcome help. Create economic unity, and share burdens and rewards—are complementary and self-reinforcing. By dividing national insurgents from jihadists, we have much greater hope of ending the insurgency and crushing the jihadists. By negotiating mutual disarmament between national insurgents and the U.S. military, we have much greater hope of sharply reducing violence and bringing the Sunnis into the political mainstream. By declaring that the United States plans no permanent military presence, we clarify American intentions to the Iraqi people, to the American people, and to the world. By making NATO the bridge between the U.S. occupiers and permanent Iraqi security capabilities, we defuse anger and violence against the United States. By engaging broad-based Western financing and construction capabilities, we sharply reduce the financial burdens on the U.S. Treasury and share both burdens and rewards of reconstruction. And by establishing an Iraqi national oil production and revenue sharing entity, we eliminate the accusation that the United States invaded Iraq for its oil, and we guarantee that all Iraqis will share in its benefits.
Obviously, many other pieces and nuances can be added to this policy outline. It is offered here not as a definitive solution but to demonstrate that alternatives exist to the destructive "stay the course" rhetoric. It is meant further to be proof to a strangely silent Democratic leadership that constructing an opposition party plan for Iraq is not, in the currency of the day, "rocket science."
As distracting as Iraq has become—unnecessarily, to my mind—it cannot be permitted to prevent our current administration from addressing a host of even greater challenges swiftly and often silently around us. Future generations of Americans must learn from both the Vietnam and Iraq experiences that the American superpower must not permit itself to become so obsessed with one crusade that it neglects its global responsibilities. While we slog through the problems of Iraq, large-scale events are transpiring across the planet that desperately call for our attention.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Our predictable scenario for the neoconservatives is to arrange for the new government of Baghdad to invite American forces to stay in Iraq as a semipermanent, Korea-like stabilizing force and thus legitimize construction of several garrisons for the stay-behind forces. These may amount to troop levels of as many as fifty thousand on a rotating basis and would provide legitimacy for a permanent U.S. military presence in the Middle East. Once again, the French and other colonial powers will testify to the vulnerability of static garrisons to a continuing anti-occupation insurgency.
A serious disengagement plan, however, must be based on a central reality: We cannon insist on a pro-American, client-state Iraqi government of the sort long envisioned by the neoconservatives. This may have been their dream, but Iraq’s long, complex history and complicated mixture of cultures should have shown it years ago to have been a pipe dream.
In any case, we will never end our self-defeating occupation and assure the Iraqis and others in the volatile region of the Middle East that we have no imperial intentions, as they now widely suppose, until this issue is settled. It is one thing to continue intensive diplomatic and even commercial attention to the area; it is quite another to leave behind several brigades (or perhaps a full division or more), helicopter wings, and weapons depots. This issue will be the clearest indicator of our policy and intentions. Either we came to bring democracy to the Iraqis, or we came to use Iraq as the base from which we would wield our influence through military force in the future.
Few would dispute now that the restoration of order, security, and stability in Iraq is going to take far longer than we were led to believe when the preemptive war was undertaken in 2003. “We can’t simply walk away now” is the way this is usually put. Therefore, any serious disengagement plan must provide for replacement capabilities in training and equipping Iraqi security forces.
This is a role that NATO can fill, but our allies must be asked, because NATO nations are already providing more than sixteen thousand troops for stabilization and nation building in Afghanistan. NATO peacekeepers units can oversee the training of Iraqi police and military forces and move those units into the principal security roles, especially border control missions to seal Iraq off from foreign jihadists. Those jihadists in any case will have much less interest in Iraq once the United States has departed, and will be much less welcome by Iraqi citizens.
Persuading NATO nations to assume this role will require diplomacy, especially since many of its member nations were peremptorily and arrogantly dismissed as “old Europe” (in the words of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld) when they refused to suppose the Bush administration’s preemptive invasion. Nevertheless, skilled diplomats have overcome greater hurdles when they have a will to do so and when they can offer incentives. Further, NATO troops are filling important security and combat support roles in Afghanistan and are perfectly capable of training Iraqi security units.
The incentive for NATO and other democratic nations to participate in Iraq should be provided by internationalizing the country’s reconstruction program. Construction and engineering companies from Europe and some Asian nations should be both permitted and encouraged to participate in competitive bidding for major infrastructure project contracts. Energy and electrical systems, water and waste treatment plants, transportation facilities, and communication projects should not be handed out to a few politically favored American companies.
Further, the burden of financing Iraq’s reconstruction should not be borne solely by United States taxpayers. We should quickly establish a Bank of Iraqi Reconstruction financed by Western democratic governments. Given the ability of their own construction and engineering companies to participate in major reconstruction projects and thus to recycle the investment their national governments will make in this bank, this will provide the quid pro quo required by European and Asian countries to contribute. Faced with mounting reconstruction and occupation costs, President Bush appealed in the spring of 2004 both to NATO and to the Group of Eight nations to provide troops and financing for Iraq’s reconstruction. He failed. He failed simply because he neglected to include the key component: He did not also invite those nations to bring their own major contractors into the economic distribution. His message was, “We want your money and your troops, but Halliburton will do all the work and reap all the profits”.
Monday, October 16, 2006
The fatal flaw in the Bush occupation is its insistence that all those attacking our troops and facilities are "terrorists". Any number of military and civilian analysts have consistently stated that we face two distinctive opponents: national insurgents on one hand, foreign jihadists on the other. Some estimates put the percentage of national insurgents at about 90 percent of all those resisting our occupation, which means that foreign jihadists represent 10 percent or fewer. Numerically, insurgents are estimated at somewhere between twenty and forty thousand, and jihadists are estimated at anywhere from five hundred to four thousand.
To understand the difference, one must ask this question: How many people are going to follow us home when we eventually depart? The purpose of the national insurgents, largely Sunni Iraqi Arabs, is to get us to leave their country. The purpose of foreign jihadists, including many Saudi Arabians, is to kill Americans wherever they can find us. By insisting that they are all "terrorists", president Bush guarantees that we will occupy Iraq at least as long as the British (or their surrogates) did - about thirty-five years. This is the "course" that he wishes us to "stay".
The first step in a new policy towards Iraq, then, is to drive a wedge between the national insurgents and the foreign jihadists be negotiating with the former to help eradicate the latter. We should more seriously negotiate with moderate Sunni Arabs, and there clearly are a large number, to establish an agreement for a mutual and speedy draw-down of forces. The United States would agree to a two-phased withdrawal whereby combat forces will be withdrawn from occupational roles to bases outside the cities in exchange for verifiable insurgent disarmament. Once insurgent disarmament is complete, Sunnis would be guaranteed full political participation with protected civil and political rights.
As this mutual disengagement is taking place, the United States should obtain Sunni commitments to help in the isolation, suppression, and eradication of the foreign jihadist elements in Iraq. The Sunnis have tolerated their presence and made common cause with them in the shared hope of getting the Americans to leave. Once that is clearly happening, the Sunnis not only have no further use for the foreigners, they have a positive motive for removing them from Iraq soil. Because they have been cooperating int he insurgency, the Sunnis will know the identity, location, and methods of jihadists and will be crucial players in their eradication in ways that we can never hope to achieve on our own.
Iraqi nationalists, whether Sunni, Shiite, or Kurdish, will also want assurances that the United States intends no permanent military presence in Iraq. Thus, the United States should declare that it is not constructing and will not construct permanent military bases in Iraq. Some might wish to quibble over what is "permanent" and what is not. But clearly, pouring concrete foundations for barracks and welding steel for armories is permanent, whereas tents and trench latrines are not. We either intend to maintain a long-term presence in Iraq - and there is little doubt that that was (and perhaps even today still is) the intent of the neoconservative policy makers in the Bush government, thought it was never revealed as such to the American people - or we do not.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
LONDON (AFP) - Acclaimed British physicist Stephen Hawking will reportedly trade in scientific journals for the big screen by starring in a movie.
The film, "Beyond the Horizon," aims to explain some of the complicated theories backed by Hawking and his fellow physicists, including the idea that space has up to 11 dimensions and the cause of the big bang.
The 64-year-old Hawking, famous for his 1988 international best-seller "A Brief History of Time," will also narrate a soundtrack which explains cosmological concepts.
"Beyond the Horizon" centres around a fictional religious affairs correspondent for The Times newspaper who approaches Hawking, interviewing the physicist for a major feature.
Leonard Mlodinow, a former scriptwriter on the television series "Star Trek," is working with Hawking on the project, which does not yet have a release date, The Sunday Times said.
The academic, who is the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge -- a post once held by Isaac Newton -- was diagnosed with the muscle-wasting condition motor neurone disease at the age of 22. He is in a wheelchair and speaks with the aid of a computer and voice synthesiser.
His research has centred on theoretical cosmology and quantum gravity, looking at the nature of such subjects as space-time, the "Big Bang" theory and black holes.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Along with the road closures they talked about the upcoming elections and gas prices heading back. They showed a number of clips of people from both parties talking about oil to emphasis the fact that both oil prices heading up, and the upcoming elections, were both real stories. What struck me odd is that both candidates talked about our dependence on foreign oil and said that they did not know what our current reserves were or how long they would last. This somehow hit me at an odd angle and I thought I would check it out and post it here on my blog for those candidates far too busy to do the research themselves, but still found time to read my blog.
As of Sept 29, 2006, the US has an Oil Reserve of 687.7 million barrels of oil (1). We currently consume about 9,125,000 barrels a day (2). Soooo, about 75 day’s worth of oil just on the reserves, if we were completely cut off. We do also produce a percentage of our own oil - but that would only get us to about 100 days. And during that time, prices would skyrocket and demand would outweigh supply so much that most individuals would not be able to afford to fill up their cars.
I don't think that the people who hate us would ever cut us off. No dealer ever cuts off their addicts because they know that they are their best customers. What they can do is slowly drive the price up by reducing how much they produce (which OPEC did last week, 3) and sending some of that cash that they made for us to people who want to do us harm or to prop up governments who really, really dislike us inorder to grow their own government as powerful or more powerful then our own (at our expense). Luckily enough for us, our largest importer of oil is Canada - who are wonderful, nice, friendly, sexy, well-hung people who would never raise their prices because they are too good looking and beautiful to do so.
Now of course this doesn't take into account that some of our oil is sweet and some is sour (meaning it can only be turned into certain types) and that there is some argument as to whether or not the reserves actually exist. Also, the oil that we have in reserves is crude oil and would not be ready for consumption for a number of weeks. What's that mean? It means that we are a country addicted to oil, sold to us by our enemies, and encouraged by our government. We have become too dependant, too quickly, without a decent backup plan.
What bothers me more then anything else is that I've yet to hear a candidate talking about how we can reduce our consumption. Instead, it's all about how to get our next fix. If we could only make our own oil. You know, then we could have all that we wanted and never have to pay anyone else. Maybe we could then go into business for ourselves and sell enough to pay for our habit. Man that would be cool, all the oil we could ever want and cash on the side. That would be sweet. Mmmm sweet, sweet oil.. ... .I gotta go. .. ..I gotta go pump a couple of gallons before breakfast - you know, just to get me going. Later.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Monday, October 09, 2006
The dead swans lay in the stagnant pool.
They lay. They rotted. They turned
Bits of flesh dropped off them from
Time to time.
And sank into the pool's mire.
They also smelt a great deal.
Called for something of pure enjoyment,
It’s an emptiness not understood by the younger.
So with ample time from unemployment,
A feast was enlisted to create the day.
Called upon were a Dagwood and an ale,
With ham, provolone, turkey, bread and greens.
Soon I will pounce, as if it were pray.
I must eat it all, I cannot (will not) fail,
This sandwich I will rise above and prevail,
For soon enough I will feel tightness of my jeans.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Friday, October 06, 2006
The small exception to this is the medical community – which is our reason for being here. As with any area that has seen its share of economic hardship, it is the daily increases in the local hospital population that are always the most telling. This is how it is in Saginaw, and is an excellent opportunity for medical students to see the full gambit of hardships.
Unfortunately, this area has left me with little to no local employment prospects other then a level of underemployment that borders on humor to our friends and family. This situation is wholly depressing in the worst way. Nothing is more shameful and destructive to a man then the feeling of public inadequacy – and here, among this drab outlook and impending ennui, I will slowly rot.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
The larger problem at hand is that Dennis Hastert, the current Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, who knew about the situation months, if not years in advanced. Moreover, he allowed Senator Foley to not only remain in Congress, but also to stay Co-Chair of House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children (I hope the irony isn’t lost on anyone).
Speaker Hastert, through his inaction, has shown that he believes that political power is more important then basic human decency and safety of children that had been entrusted to someone he knew to be a child predator.
So I ask all those out there in internet land, to email Senator Hastert and ask for his resignation. No one who values political power of the welfare of children should be allowed to represent anyone besides that scum that calls itself NAMBLA.
Click here to email Dennis Hastert
He accepts email from any address, not just his own district.
It is a shame that a political career can be tarnished so quickly in our system - although there are times when the actions or inactions of an individual in power can warrant that conflict. You allowed a man who you knew to be a danger to children to not only keep his job, but have access to the very group in which you knew that he was a danger. This, unfortunately, was both a flagrantly ill-advised and presently unforgivable. There is a well known line of Dante’s that reads, “There is a special place in Hell for those who, in times of moral crisis, preserve their neutrality”. You choose no action, neutrality in the face of impending devious conduct towards a minor, and you must now accept the consequences for your inaction. This regrettable situation has prompted me to ask for you to step down from your post and surrender your job. I know that there is an election soon, but we cannot sacrifice our values and morals for an individuals pride and to preserve a system that would overlook such behavior to maintain a majority voting block.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
This worries me. For years the Democrats have been in search of a leader on a white horse, an exciting new candidate who will lead the Democratic Party out of the wilderness. This argument has become a substitute for thought, for purpose, for conviction. Twenty-first century Democrats cling to the hope of a messiah in the vacant centrist venue where messiahs never appear. Instead, the Democratic Party must decide what its core principles are and the, and only then, decide which national leader or leaders best embody those principles. No politician can save a political party that does not know what it stands for.