Monday, January 31, 2005

Things that go pop

Bubble-gum goes pop.
Weasels, at least anecdotally, go pop.
Tires go pop.

Will the US bond market go pop?

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Rhetoric and reality

The Rhetoric

During his inaugural speech, President Bush spoke thusly:

"The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we still believe as Abraham Lincoln did: "Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it.""

The Reality

Former Army Sgt. Erik R. Saar has written a book about interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay. Every man woman and child star-struck by the glory and the piety of George W. Bush should ponder one of the stories he tells. It fills me with a sickness of spirit that will not genuflect before the throne of our dear leader. If this kingdom be the kingdom of God, send me to hell with glee:

Imagine a prisoner far from the softness of hope under interrogation. Imagine the interrogator a woman. Imagine the prisoner being told that he can either "cooperate" or "have no hope whatsoever of ever leaving Guantanamo or talking to a lawyer"

Imagine that the man closes his eyes and begins to pray.

Imagine now that the interrogator removes her uniform top and taunts the detainee, touching her breasts, rubbing them against the prisoner's back and commenting on the contents of his trousers (to put it as politely as I can).

Imagine that the interrogator leaves the room to ask a Muslim linguist how she can "break the prisoner's reliance on God".

I will not tell you the linguists advice, nor the events that followed. If you care to know what the President that speaks with God has wrought, you may find out by reading this. I must warn you, though, that it is an abomination to kindness and betrays the Sermon on the Mount:

Inquisition II

How long can we maintain our freedom under the rule of a just God?

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Dick Cheney fashion faux pas

Here Dick Cheney's clothes remind one of a snowmobile outfit, which isn't very appropriate to commemorate the holocaust.

Real dignified

BRIC wall?

This news story discusses a BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) alliance ready for military confrontation with George W. Bush should neo-con dementia attack Iran and/or Syria.

Violence begets violence

I would like to assume that even the paranoia of Dick Cheney's mind is insufficient to provoke this kind of catastrophe, but the essensce of dementia is blindness to reason, and I am fairly certain he resides in dementia's grip.

Friday, January 28, 2005

George Washington's Farewell Speech

I have an inner calling that I do not understand.

"You must!", it says, nothing more.
When I wonder what it is that "I must!" I am simply met with urgency.
And time races, generating more urgency.
It feels like a trap.

What must I do/be/find?
What is so important, so vital, so attention-grabbing that "I must!"

Since I have tried to trust my heart, or that part of me which guides via instinct, this impossible task fills me with confusion and I am beginning to feel like the object of a joke.

Perhaps this is what we call mid life crisis, but it doesn't feel like a traditional crisis. It feels more like an effort to understand something...something I must understand because it is vital. I know this because my heart tells me so.

So I only know that I am searching, but not what I seek, and I don't know how to succeed nor even recognize my destination if I get there. Perhaps I will walk on by in ignorance.

One of the books I am currently reading, perhaps in Self defense, is "Time and the Soul" by Jacob Needleman. It suggests that I am struggling to remember my One True Self, which only adds more confusion at the moment, yet rings true somehow. If he is right, then I suppose my One True Self will instead have to remember me, since doing the opposite seems impossible. How can I find that within me which is unknowable?

By now you might wonder what this all has to do with George Washington's farewell speech (assuming that you have bothered to read this far). In a moment of comedy I realized that if I am searching for something I should try Google (which by the way is derived from googol, or the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros). Not knowing what to type, though, I typed in Jacob Needleman which led to this piece he did for NPR talking about George Washington's views on religion. This piece might surprise you as it did me, and now you can know the path that brought me here and us together:

George Washington's Farewell Speech

Now, if you'll excuse me I think I'll go check under my carpets to see if I have misplaced myself. I hope this is not as difficult as searching for car keys.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Kerry proposes health coverage for all children

I think it is a moral disgrace that the United States of America doesn't have Universal Health Care, that our elderly have to drive to Canada to find drugs they can afford, and that our children's health is allowed to suffer because we are collectively too cheap or too selfish to care.

Finally, though, John Kerry has been inspired to at least try and cover the children. He said that spending two years in America's living rooms made him realize that policy is about people, not politics, and that right now people are hurting.

Let's cover the kids

Republicans like to brag about supporting "family values" and "moral principles" and this provides them with a two-for-one, however I will have to see a doctor myself if that pack of wolves does anything other than howl at the impudence to suggest what morality and family values insist.

Few things bedevil my conscience like knowing some American children can't see a doctor when they need to. Mr. Kerry this is the best news I've seen in a long time. There is more to the golden rule than "do unto others" and it is time to call these moral imposters on their empty rhetoric.

Cartoon terrorism

With Osama on the loose and the war in Iraq going badly a Bush-backing coalition of Christian do-gooders is working diligently to save us from an axis of evil gay-tolerant cartoons.

It seems that the gaydar of the Religious Righteous is telling us that when Sponge Bob Square Pants holds hands with a starfish pal it projects a message of tolerance for gay couples:

Evil gay Bob

In another affront to the high moral standards of bigots, PBS's Buster the Bunny visited Vermont and encountered a lesbian couple that made maple syrup.

Sugar time

Do people really think a gay cartel is inserting homosexual propaganda into our cartoons? Has anybody else tried to imagine what sex between a sponge and a starfish would be like? Is the gaydar of a child advanced enough to know whether or not a pair of women from Vermont making maple syrup are lesbian?

What cartoons would Jesus watch?

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Jan 26 becomes new "deadliest day" for U.S. in Iraq war

A hellicopter crashed in Iraq today and killed it's crew of 31 US marines.

5 soldiers were killed in other incidents.


When does the soul of a nation awaken?

Shall we now take down 36 more yellow ribbons and hand the Bush administration $80 billion for more of the same?

Guns and butter

Here come the guns:

$80 Billion more for war

There goes the butter:

Bush Plans Sharp Cuts in HUD Community Efforts

Any questions?

A cat named Chomsky

Noam Chomsky has been exposing America's untidy places for years, and I like to think of him as the psychoanalyst of the nation. He is formally a Professor of Linguistics at MIT, but enjoys rock-star parking at the world's greatest universities.

In this lengthy article entitled Imperial Presidency, he discusses America's foreign policy hypocrisy and the education that comes from the business end of a club.

If you enjoy the article you can enjoy interviews, books, letters, and more articles here:

Chomsky Info

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Large-scale falsehoods

Something to reflect upon:

" the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying. These people know only too well how to use falsehood for the basest purposes."

- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf Chapter 10 -

A companion piece to reflect upon:

Disarm Saddam Hussein (from White House)

The gravest danger we face in the war on terror is outlaw regimes that seek and possess nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

* Twelve years ago, Saddam Hussein agreed to disarm all weapons of mass destruction. For 12 years, he systematically violated that agreement.

* Three months ago, the United Nations Security Council gave Saddam his final chance to disarm. He has shown his utter contempt for the U.N.

* The U.N. and U.S. intelligence sources have known for some time that Saddam Hussein has materials to produce chemical and biological weapons, but he has not accounted for them:

. 26,000 liters of anthrax—, enough to kill several million people
. 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin
. 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agents

* Almost 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents

* From three Iraqi defectors, we know that Iraq in the late 1990s had several mobile biological weapons labs. But he has not disclosed them.

* The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in the 1990s that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, a design for a nuclear weapon, and was working on methods of enriching uranium for a nuclear bomb. He recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa [lie], according to the British Government. He has attempted to purchase high strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons [lie], according to our intelligence sources. Yet he has not credibly explained these activities.

* Thousands of Iraqi security personnel are at work hiding documents and materials from the UN inspectors.

* Iraqi officials accompany all inspectors in order to intimidate witnesses.

* Iraq is blocking U-2 surveillance flights requested by the U.N.

* Saddam Hussein has ordered that scientists who cooperate with the UN be killed, along with their families.

* Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including al-Qaida members. He could provide hidden weapons to terrorists, or help them develop their own. It would take just one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known.

The United States will ask the UN Security Council to convene next week to consider the facts of Iraq’s ongoing defiance of the world. We will consult. But if Saddam Hussein does not disarm, we will act for the safety of our people, and for the peace of the world.

One final reflection:

"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence"

- Donald Rumsfeld -

Monday, January 24, 2005

Calling Bush's bluff

Freedom seems to be a word empty of meaning when it crosses the lips of George W. Bush. Juan Cole must feel so too, because he posted a pictoral rebuttal of the first line in President Bush's Inaugural speech here:

Broken articles

Juan correctly points out that if President Bush is such a lover of freedom he ought to let the sun set on the Patriot Act in 2005. He also challenges Congress to uphold the Constitution and that's a challenge I'd like to see accepted (at least by Democrats).

We could be rid of the cowardly Patriot Act this year with a timely burst of patriotism, and restoring our Rights would add conviction to the President's position.

Sunday, January 23, 2005


The north-eastern United States is being blanketed with snow and high winds on the heels of below-zero daytime temperatures. Understandably, many churches cancelled services today since roads are very difficult to clear when snow meets with high winds. As I was watching cancellation of this service and that service scroll across the bottom of my television, the morning program turned it's attention to tonight's Patriots Steelers match.

Apparently worshipers of God will take a devotional break from the churches, but nothing will stop a football game from taking place in the US of A. So, 68,000 people will be piling out onto Pittsburgh's roads, and if they make it to the stadium, they will sit in freezing temperatures and high winds to watch the Steelers and Patriots clash.

I have to wonder if God doesn't feel offended.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Click photo to satisfy blood-lust Posted by Hello

Deliver us from evil

The glaring, tragic problem with the way we have organized our economy is that we have arranged it such that the pursuit of profit is more highly rewarded than the pursuit of happiness.

Since ugly, gargantuan schools are cheaper than local, manageably-sized schools, we send our kids to boxy test-factories and celebrate our efficiency.

Since baseball must make ever-more profit, watching a game on television becomes a blur of sales promotions and the game itself becomes a vehicle for the selling.

The music industry is so debased with risk aversion that products like Hillary Duff can be designed in a boardroom and puked out on the industrial airwaves to consumers that have become zombie-like celebrity addicts.

Why are we doing this to ourselves and how do we create a happiness economy or a love economy? How do we take our economy's good attributes, like it's ability to move goods efficiently and reward hard work, and get rid of it's bad attributes like it's ability to ruin baseball and create poverty?

A child should no more starve for lack of money than a bird should fail to sing for want of notes. Both are intellectual constructs and both scenarios are equally silly, yet we allow the child-starvation scenario to play out every single day.

If a doctor's passion is to heal the sick and there are sick to be healed, why should money be allowed to stand between happiness and fulfillment, need and service?

Are the rich (or possessive) any happier than anybody else? Are they any more free?

Are the poor (or dispossessed) less entitled to economic support by circumstance, birth, or genetics?

Why should our servitude to money be more persistent than to a child's hunger?

Think of the disease, the starvation, the wars, the wretched poverty blanketing the earth and imagine your celestial self rolling the karma dice. What do you think the odds are that your karma will take you to a decent standard of living if you are to reincarnate?

Before anybody thinks I favor Karl Marx's solutions, I would like to state that I feel Communism, Capitalism, Socialism, Islam and Democracy are all corrupted by the influence of money (along with any other form of government you can name). What I propose, therefore, is to get rid of money and come up with a better system of government by default.

Do you ever wonder what such a world would look like?

I do, and I think I will hash some of this out. There are lots of Utopian novels out there and maybe reading some of them will point the way to a better society, one more nurturing and happiness rewarding.

If God is to ever deliver us from evil I'll bet he starts with money.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

What mandate?

With sharp-shooters, closed city blocks, military parades, anti-aircraft guns, overhead jets, machine-gun nests, and an army of agents, Washington will resemble a May-day parade in Moscow as President Bush takes the oath of office today. You would think that a mandate-holding man of the people would not need such protection, but he seems to have more to fear than fear itself.

Speaking of mandate, or the authority to command inferiors, the folks over at Not in My Name intend to gently remind President Bush that this is America and we have done away with the tyranny of kings. On Friday, the first full day of President Bush's second term, this message will be published in the New York Times:

Welcome back George

It also seems a fitting moment to remind readers that this President has less public support (at 49% according to NYT and CBS news) than any returning American President in 50 years. In other words, mandate my arse!

Howard Zinn on Optimism

If you're happy and you know it
clap your hands.
If you're happy and you know it
clap your hands.
If you're happy and you know it
and you really want to show it
If you're happy and you know it
clap your hands.


If, on the other hand, you're feeling a bit low on this day that the idol of idiot worshipers is getting inaugurated again, then perhaps a tale of hope will help:

Howard's optimism

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

RIP MLK Posted by Hello

Poetic Inauguration

President Bush continues to use our armed forces as props in his pageant and they continue to play along like Ken dolls. Here the stage is being set once-again for lock-step and glory.

Expensive Party in Wartime

The production is billed as a "salute to those who serve", but will really be a genuflection to those that didn't. Our troops were sent to war with inadequate armor and would probably love to have the day off to attend 9 parties, but instead have to live in the filth conjured up by the minds of the Bush administration.

A more fitting homage to this President would be a rousing 3-stooges-like march/shuffle and nyuk-nyuk chorus, led by a baton-twirling minister of silly walks. People in the audience could show their backsides to the passing motorcade and midget-clowns could circle it on go-carts. Pomp and circumstance would have to be played backwards on Kazoos by a deaf symphony, and the President could emerge in a tutu and cowboy boots and stride confidently to the microphone, which would be adjusted much too low for him.

The crowd would hush as President Bush opened his mouth to speak, except for 1369 mothers that would wail in unison, which would be the signal for a company of amputees to slowly walk, hop, or wheel in front of the podium, and each would be blindfolded with an American flag and led by a proud parent.

Then as President Bush tried again to speak everyone walks away except for a small girl in a red dress. She gives him the finger and then follows the crowd, singing "You've got the whole world in your hands" as she skips away.

The President doesn't follow.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Man date

President George Bush sure does use the word mandate a lot. You ever look it up in the dictionary?

Mandate: an authoritative command; especially : a formal order from a superior court or official to an inferior one.

Here is something which Eleanor Roosevelt said, in answer to George's power-lust: "Nobody can make me feel inferior without my permission."

Monday, January 17, 2005

On Martin Luther King

What does a white man say today without sounding contrived, arrogant, dismissive, racist, or pandering? I'm not sure I know, but here are my sentiments on the observation of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday:

Cornel West is a Professor of Religion at Princeton University, recipient of the American Book Award and more than 20 honorary degrees. He has held positions at Yale University, Harvard University, and the University of Paris. He is one of America's preeminent social critics and he is also a black man. Has he fulfilled Martin Luther's dream of being judged by the content of his character and not by the color of his skin?

Has Colin Powell, a black man, who rose to become Secretary of State fulfilled Martin Luther's dream of equal opportunity?

Has Condi Rice, a black woman that has been promoted to Secretary of State (in spite of gross incompetence in her former post) managed to make a small withdrawal in the book of injustice from whitey?

I'm the last person on earth to be able to say, but it does seem that a few steps have been taken towards Martin Luther King's dreams.

But Martin Luther King wanted justice for everybody, not just for himself, and the privileged princes of industry are building thrones for themselves where you and I aren't allowed to sit, and K-street is a lunch counter where they're not serving poor people.

I wish I had answers to the corrupting influence of wealth and power on society, but I don't. I only know that spending ambition on power is every bit as character-destroying as being victimized by that power, for with power comes responsibility and consequently loss of personal freedom, so both the master and the slave lose.

I have read that Native Americans tried to dream white people out of existence but failed. I have never really understood what that meant until now. It seems we need a new dream and a new dreamer that can see a way out from under the yoke of our own self-domination through money before we are all made poor by our lust for wealth.

Money is the root of all evil and the route of all evil too, and it takes money to make slavery possible, to make women property, and to decline life-saving drugs to the poor. These things also require our willingness to either ride in the back of the bus, or not to care when someone else is forced to; and it takes a dream, and a dreamer, to make us risk the comfort of the tried for the potential of the true.

What a dreamer and a dream can do is make us love each other the way we were taught that we should.

The world needs a new dreamer.

The world needs a new dream.

And we'd be blessed if he were to fill Martin's shoes.

Seymour Hersh is at it again

Seymour Hersh has broken some of the largest stories of our times and he doesn't appear to be resting on his laurels. According to a new article in the New Yorker, he says the US might strike Iran this year.

Reconnaissance of Iran

The Bush administration is going to need a Heimlich maneuver to dislodge itself of Iraq and it seems to me that putting more on your plate in such a circumstance is gastronomic suicide. Will the American people open wide and swallow this new offering? With what army would we engage such a fight?

I think I'll go stock up on Alka Seltzer.

James Baker says it's time to get out of Iraq

Bush Sr. was smart enough not to attack Iraq.

Now James Baker, his Secretary of State, says we should start a phased withdrawal of some of our troops.

Will anybody listen to his words?

The measure of success is how long we can stay

Bush Jr. must have fallen a little too far from the tree to accept wise council.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Rhetoric vs reality

The rhetoric:

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction"

- Vice President Dick Cheney -

"We know where they are, they're in Tikrit and Baghdad and East, West, South, and North somewhat"

- Donald Rumsfeld -

"All the world has now seen the footage of an Iraqi Mirage aircraft with a fuel tank modified to spray biological agents over wide areas. Iraq has developed spray devices that could be used on unmanned aerial vehicals with ranges far beyond what is permitted by the Security Council. A UAV launched from a vessel off the American coast could reach hundreds of miles inland."

- President Bush "World Can Rise to This Moment", White House (2/6/2003) -

The reality:

U.S. concedes WMD search is over with no weapons found

CBS continues to be more accountable about mistakes than the Bush administration. Here is a site which makes this abundantly clear:

From the horse's mouths

Friday, January 14, 2005

God and shovels

When winter comes I find I am drawn to questions about the meaning of life. Perhaps this is because the gardens die and the leaves drop and the birds leave. Whatever the reason, though, today's post is going to be spiritual in nature.

When you think about it, belief in God is the ultimate form of hero worship and generally goes something like this:

One day God will come swooping down bearing a flaming sword-of-justice and smite evil-doers and right all wrongs. There will be no more wars and no more famine and no more death and no more disease, the calves will all be fat and the fruit of the trees will all be low-hung. Then we, the survivors, will all hold hands and sing praises. Luckily, not a thing is required of us except to wait patiently and believe the miracle is just around the corner.

Since waiting is much easier than acting, and since it absolves us of responsibility (someone else will fix everything), and since waiting mires us festering in hell, the God-as-hero model strikes me as a counter-productive, revenge-seeker's fantasy. It seems better to admit that the world is full of problems because people are full of problems and that our world will become better when we become better people.

My opinion is that Heaven and Hell are one, and are defined by their populations, not by their locations. I believe that to go from one to the other requires a general improvement or worsening in the behaviors of men, expressed by our free-will choices. I believe that "enlightened" people go about making Heaven where they can and helping others do the same. The sound-bite becomes, "If you want to be surrounded by happy, nice people try being happy, nice people."

Periodically there are great teachers like Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Jesus, and Buddha who try to show us the way to a world of love, but they usually wind up crucified or shot, stabbed or jailed, because we refuse to believe that this ugly place, with it's unspeakable crimes and monuments of hatred, is our fault and our responsibility and our punishment/reward. We refuse to accept that we are the ones we have been waiting for, that our love (and our flaming blogs of justice?) and our time and our effort control our destinies.

In conjunction with refusing responsibility for our failures, we also fail to acknowledge the work of our hands which is good (like jug bands, or baseball, or Seinfeld, or fads, or ice cream, or Broadway, or pipe organs) and so we diminish ourselves yet again.

Perhaps a good expression of a way out of our hero dependence comes from the "What Would Jesus Do?" movement. This movement asks you, essentially, to be a hero to yourself, or as Shakespeare said, To thine own self be true

Shovelling snow is hard work and it seems whenever you turn around there is more snow falling. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming and futile, mad even, to struggle against the drifts which silently mock my efforts at order. If I wanted to I could close myself off to the world and wait for the springtime which is surely just around the corner, but I am fond of pizza and of my friends, so I bend and scrape and throw again and again until my path is clear.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Is Syria next?

Has President Bush ordered US Iraq commander Gen. Casey to prepare a February attack on Syria?

DEBKAfile’s Military and US sources reveal: Bush has ordered US Iraq commander Gen. Casey to prepare February attack on Syria. Assad sends Syria’s chief of staff Gen. Habib to establish command post on Iraqi border. Israel braces for Hizballah backlash.

Happy Valentine's Day Assad

Apparently the chain of events will look something like this:

Iraq's President Allawi makes a request to the US to shut down Syria's border traffic. This will lead to small joint "security operations" into Syria. These operations will escalate until we are at war with Syria, but we won't call it a war.

Full details here

Could this be why we are warning Russia not to sell missiles to Syria?

Quit it Putin

Martin Luther King said, in his day, that we have guided missiles and misguided men. Somehow that seems approriate in our day too.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

It's the consultants stupid(s)

Have Democrats lost three election cycles in a row because of their dependence on losing consultants? This article by Amy Sullivan called "Fire the Consultants" posits just that.

Fire the Consultants

It is surprising to me that this is the first article of it's kind that I have seen. Perhaps the consultants are better at protecting their losing records than reversing the momentum of their performance?

Anyway, 8 Presidential election losses vs 0 victories ought to at least bring a few head scratches to bear the next time Bob Shrum approaches.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Fahrenheit 9/11 wins

Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 continues to break records and win awards. 21 million people voted in the People's Choice awards and they chose Fahrenheit 9/11 as their best movie of the year.

This time Michael wore nice clothes and said nice things and you can watch the ceremony here:

Michael's acceptance

The other big winner was Mel Gibson for his snuff film "The Passion of Christ". That's a movie I don't understand much, since I think suffering and dying was the most unimpressive thing that Jesus did (and his most human act). Look around and you can see suffering planet-wide, injustice planet-wide, capital-punishment planet-wide. What's the big deal about one more unjust death?

Doesn't His immortality comes from the Sermon on the Mount and from teaching that peace matters, even unto the valley of death?

Let the turn-around begin

This seems like a good time to remind religious folks about the blessedness of peacemakers.

Here is an article appearing in the Turkish press about Secretary of State Colin Powell's visit to Banda Aceh in Indonesia. The US's new-found Tsunami generosity seems to be generating a little good press for us.

Powell shocked at devestation

Monday, January 10, 2005

Moderate Arabs snub Bush

Moderate Arab leaders in Tunis last week issued a statement which greatly frustrated US diplomatic efforts in the Middle East. Whereas President Bush expected that motions would be passed condemning Iraqi terrorism and expressing support for the elections in Palestine and Iraq, a resolution said:

"Arab interior ministers condemned all terrorist acts in Iraq targeting Iraqi security agents and the Iraqi police, as well as businesses and public, economic, humanitarian and religious institutions."

There is a glaring absense of condemnation of terrorist acts directed at US troops or US interests and this has infuriated the Bush administration.

Full story here

As our coalition dwindles and violence in Iraq escalates, this lack of support from our Arab allies greatly disturbs me, for it illustrates how badly the Bush administration is performing. At a time when our troops are losing control of battlefield security the Bush administration is losing the political support of Iraq's neighbors.

How is that good?

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Income redistribution leads to stagnant society

Lots of Democrats feel that if they are going to build political power they have to defend small businessmen against today's robber-barons, that is mom and pop against Walmart. This article in a recent Economist seems to imply that we are in the midst of another gilded age where upward mobility is being stifled from above and would seem to provide all the fodder necessary for such a strategy.

Boots of the barons

On an unrelated note I had the thought that the Democrats ought to run Tom Brokaw in 2008. He's camera-ready but is he ready to enter such a fray?

Friday, January 07, 2005

Private Pensions in Chile, a Quarter Century On

Since everyone wants to champion Chile's social security system as ideal I looked around for some information on it. Here is an article that looks at the good and the bad details of their system:

Read on

Not surprisingly the people that invest wisely do better and those that don't are worse off. To speak in metaphor, this is a safety net with a lot of holes in it for people to fall through.

I favor increasing the age limit on Social Security and raising the pay-in ceiling upwards a little bit. Taken together the system becomes solvent for the foreseeable future without any voodoo-economic borrowing schemes.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

The man formerly known as anonymous

Michael Scheuer is the man that authored Imperial Hubris. He was interviewed by Buzzflash recently and he had many poignant things to say, including:

War hasn’t changed since Hannibal. And the truth of the matter is we’re facing an enemy that is indistinguishable from the civilian population, and they don’t wear uniforms. And because we’ve whittled our own choice down to military or intelligence actions, the reality is that many innocents or civilians are going to be killed if we are to defend America properly.


I wrote in my book that if Osama was a Christian, the invasion of Iraq would have been the Christmas present he long desired but never thought his parents would give him.


The American way of life has changed, and bin Laden’s activities and our fear of him is directly responsible for that. Look at the spiral in the budget deficit. All of that is attributable either to Osama bin Laden or the gift we gave him by invading Iraq.

Read the whole interview here:

Words with Michael

Of guns and butter

Here come the guns:

White House may want $100 billion more for war

There goes the butter:

Pell grants cut to 80,000

Any questions?

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

What happened this time?

After banging up his face by twice falling off his bike, and one time by falling off a couch (while choking on a pretzel), the President appears to be sporting more damage to his looks.

Jan 3rd AP photo

I don't recall hearing an explanation for this (and Clinton isn't smiling in the photo so he probably didn't sneak in a sucker-punch).

Haiku news

Five more soldiers dead.
Baghdad's governor was shot.
Ten thousand wounded.

Fallujah broken.
Security worsening.
Osama at-large.

On the road to Eden?

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Toto's revelation?

The New York Times addressed the buildup to the impending Social Security war by ferreting out the facts:

Stealing grandma's rent money

It seems that rumors of Social Security's death have been greatly exaggerated.

The power of redemption

After embarrassing America abroad with his slow response and lack of initiative in dealing with the Tsunami crisis, President Bush now seems to realize the depth of the need as well as the political capital at stake. He reached out in a bipartisan gesture to former President Bill Clinton, enlisted his father, and has asked America to be that beacon again for storm-tossed souls.

Cash donations are most useful

I believe in the power of redemption and hope this is the moment the President realizes we have to learn to love one another.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Saddam Hussein Speaks

Saddam Hussein says that he prepared the current guerrilla war ahead of the US invasion. He also said, according to DEBKAfile:

"...that during the six months leading up to the war, several offers came from Israeli and Western sources of a deal whereby sanctions against Iraq would be called off and diplomatic relations with Washington resumed if he extended recognition to Israel. But he claims to have refused, maintaining it was impossible and forbidden to relinquish holy land."

and Saddam says Syria is next

If American GIs are going to continue dying perhaps it is time there was an honest discussion as to why we invaded Iraq. Did we invade Iraq for naked imperialism and oil dependence or to shield an ally?

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Gott mit Uns

The National Government...regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life....

Adolf Hitler
[MY NEW ORDER], by Adolf Hitler, Edited by Raoul de Roussy de Sales, 1941, Page 144

Hence today, my German volk, I call upon you: stand behind me with your faith! Be the source of my power and my faith. Do not forget: he who does not abandon his principles in this world will not be abandoned by the Almighty either! The Almighty will always help those who help themselves; He will always show them the way to their rights, their freedom and thus to their future. And this is the reason why you, German Volk, are going to the polls on March 29.

Adolf Hitler, Hamburg, 3/20/1936
[Speeches and Proclamations], by Max Domarus, Vol. 2, page 794

We must therefore take the view that any sexual involvement between persons of the same sex is unnatural, it runs counter to the meaning of pairing and of the divine command: Be fruitful and multiply. That is why any such activity, no matter of what sort, is to be forbidden and punishable as soon as a boy has reached puberty.

Adolf Hitler,
[HITLER--MEMOIRS OF A CONFIDANT], by Otto Wegener, 1985, page 104

Intellect! What is it, anyway! If you take a close look, it is the atrophy of natural instinct.
Intellect has nothing whatever to do with human intelligence and knowledge, much less with ability. Most people confuse them.

Adolf Hitler,
[HITLER--MEMOIRS OF A CONFIDANT], by Otto Wegener, 1985, page 142

I forget where I heard that kind of talk recently.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy New Year!

Democrat Christine Gregoire was declared Washington's governor-elect on Thursday after receiving 129 votes more than her Republican challenger in a hand recount.

Wash. Certifies Democrat Governor

While both Al Gore and John Kerry conceded defeat in close elections for the good of the nation, I don't expect the same thing to happen when a Republican gets the short straw. In fact, Dino Rossi is already calling on the Legislature to authorize a new election.

It seems Republicans are sore losers and sore winners. In fact, they just might be sore all the time.

When given a choice I'll take sore losers. Good going Christine and Happy New Year to all you Democrats out there.

Foot Quotes

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge"

Charles Darwin