Easter Lemming Liberal News

Friday, January 31, 2003


Bush and Blair preparing for war within weeks.

New York Times

The Wall Street Journal found someone willing to support a legal interpretation that the United States can unilaterally enforce Resolution 1441 .

This is totally wrong - bogus. It argues from preambles and ignores statements in the Charter of the United Nations and in Resolution 1441 itself that reserves to the Security Council the full and only right to enforce this matter.

Of course, this is meaningless.

If Bush wants to disregard the UN Security Council and then blame the Security Council, he will.

Pax Americana

The Project for a New American Century gets its 2000 wish list and more.

The new budget places the US military spending at over $500 billion by the end of the decade.

"We're not only not cutting defense anymore, but we've come to the point where we're spending more money than we spent during the Cold War. Whether this is sustainable over the next six years is questionable."




Win Without War is launching new anti-war advertisements featuring the
Bishop in Bush's Church.


Here is how the builtup is proceeding since anti-war sentiment will be ignored.

US Forces now facing Iraq, note this is getting less useful as it has significant gaps.

The forces enroute shows the builtup that they will not be ready probably until late February.




10 Conservative Critics of the War

BuzzFlashCommentary -- Maureen Farrell

1) Norman Schwarzkopf
2) Nobel Laureates in Science and Economics all government advisors
3) Other Military Experts - Scowcroft and Zinni
4) The World War II Generation
5) Veterans
6) The CIA
7) Richard Butler
8) Bob Novak
9) Paul Craig Roberts
10): Republican Businessmen

I could add others but this is a sample.



Thursday, January 30, 2003


Misleading math

Scott Rosenberg pointed out that Bush was using misleading math in his SO the U speech. The "average tax break of $1100. He repeated Krugman's example of why averages are misleading:

A liberal and a conservative were sitting in a bar. Then Bill Gates walked in. 'Hey, we're rich!' shouted the conservative. 'The average person in this bar is now worth more than a billion!'"

In the same way an average tax break is meaningless when it is tilted to the rich and to families. His call for accelerating the 2004 and 2006 tax cuts is another rich giveaway, the primary tax function that occurs in those years is to lower the top brackets - no effect for lower brackets. He concluded: "I wouldn't buy a used car from anyone who I knew played so fast and loose with simple arithmetic -- let alone trust him on matters of life and death, war and peace."

Warbloggers - wrong

I did a long e-mail reply to a war blog on why we should go to war. I am thinking of posting it here. He was passionate and patriotic and idealistic and prejudiced and scared and wrong.

I'll wait awhile and see if I want to make changes.




Censored 2003: The Top 25 Censored Stories (Censored, 2002-2003)

What stories didn't you read last year?

"United States' Policies in Columbia Support Mass Murder,"
"U.S. Intentionally Destroyed Iraq's Water System"
and "Bush Appoints Former Criminals to Key Government Roles," are examples. Efforts to protect oil interests botched investigations of Osama bin Laden before the terrorist attacks, more on Election 2000 and the U.S. national housing crisis are three others.



Review that Review!

Eschaton has one of a couple of damning reviews of a New York Times book review. Salon's Joe Conason has another as does Media Whores Online.

Atrios places this as a cover-up that attempts to continue the misguided crusade the New York Times embarked on against the Clintons and Whitewater.

The subject of this is Susan McDougal's new memoir, The Woman Who Wouldn't Talk $17.50 and free shipping with another purchase at Amazon.




In These Times | Kurt Vonnegut vs. the !&#*!@

Vonnegut:

I myself feel that our country, for whose Constitution I fought in a just war, might as well have been invaded by Martians and body snatchers. Sometimes I wish it had been. What has happened, though, is that it has been taken over by means of the sleaziest, low-comedy, Keystone Cops-style coup d’etat imaginable. And those now in charge of the federal government are upper-crust C-students who know no history or geography, plus not-so-closeted white supremacists, aka “Christians,” and plus, most frighteningly, psychopathic personalities, or “PPs.”

What has allowed so many PPs to rise so high in corporations, and now in government, is that they are so decisive. Unlike normal people, they are never filled with doubts, for the simple reason that they cannot care what happens next. Simply can’t. Do this! Do that! Mobilize the reserves! Privatize the public schools! Attack Iraq! Cut health care! Tap everybody’s telephone! Cut taxes on the rich! Build a trillion-dollar missile shield! Fuck habeas corpus and the Sierra Club and In These Times, and kiss my ass!


I have read most of Vonnegut and consider Slaughterhouse-Five and God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater two of the best novels of the last century. Like his Mother Night these are examininations of modern morality which should be required reading in high school or college. Mother Night also has a lesson that applies now: Be careful who you pretend to be because we all are who we're pretending to be.

This is much better than the cynical and anti-liberal message in Slaughterhouse Five (link is to very good movie) where the Tralfamadorians teach Billy Pilgrim that "it is pointless to be concerned with the bad things that always happen, it is better to only focus one's attention on the good moments, for no moments are capable of being changed."

Not a philosophy I want to consider when one of the most respected nuclear weapons analysts says he has been shown documents which confirm the US military is considering using nuclear weapons in a war with Iraq and outrage in England is reaching the point of Pilger calling Blair and Bush cowards and war criminals.



ABCNEWS: International Support Scarce for Iraq War

Obvious for months, its takes an 11-4 vote in the Security Council and NATO blocking air support in Turkey for US mass media to notice.



More State of the Union bits

Here is
the transcript of the speech.

Did any of the major media mention the anti-war protests outside the Capitol during the speech? I didn't see any until I cam across the photo on CNN with the transcript of the speech.

Michael Kinsley also thinks that the state of the union speech was Morally Unserious. He is also not the first to point out that Bush's moral case for war was greater 15 years ago.

The Guardian also says that Bush's "liberation of Iraq" phrase does not go over well among the Iraq people: "The recolonisation of Iraq cannot be sold as liberation."

"What Bush said of Saddam's disarmament record could equally be said of Bush's domestic record. He has given no evidence of progress. He must have much to hide." - Saletan

Bush's post 9/11 honeymoon is over, it is now common to see criticisms in the media - but only in the last few weeks. Was this a New Year's resolution that went around the media I missed? I shall no longer fawn over this administration.

Meanwhile, the White House postpones their poetry symposium because of concerns it would be an anti-war festival.

Feb 15 looks to be the international day of protest against the war.



The New Pearl Harbor

John Pilger points out a phrase I had overlooked in the prescient Project for a New American Century plan:
"The New Pearl Harbor". The aims of that project, many of whose principle authors are now the administration hawks, was to set up an Imperial Pax Americana that would unilaterally impose peace upon the world.

What was needed for America to dominate much of humanity and the world's resources, it said, was "some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor". The attacks of 11 September 2001 provided the "new Pearl Harbor", described as "the opportunity of ages". The day after 9/11 in a White House cabinet meeting, Rumsfeld urged Iraq be attacked because of the opportunity 9/11 provided.

Al Vick calls The Project For A New American Century — "Our emerging evil empire" and their 2000 American Defense plan as the Mein Kampf of this generation.

Speaking of big lies that featured so prominently in some other parties rise to power, we now have this:

UK Guardian points out all the evidence so far of links between Al-Qaida and Iraq is very weak indeed.



UK Guardian -- Latest Key Developments Concerning Iraq

In a crucial, closed U.N. Security Council session, 11 of the 15 members supported giving more time to weapons inspectors to pursue Iraq's peaceful disarmament.

[Seperately] four U.S. allies - France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg - voted to block plans for NATO to send planes and missiles to defend alliance member Turkey if there is war with Iraq.


There was a recent deemphesis in administration speeches about "our allies" in this military action. Do you see why?



This and that and the state of the Empire

I caught the Bush state of the union on reruns. I went out to a Mexican restaurant and talked about Iraq when I couldn't stomach seeing it live.

In talking about Iraq - they are going to find technical violations - Iraq agreed to not build long range missiles and there are some over the range agreed to. I was surprised that Pat has become a dove on this war. She asked about how Iraq could afford a nuclear weapons program when they had one and was surprised about the US sending the Iraqi scientists to Los Alamos and Sandia to learn how to handle nuclear weapons shortly before the Gulf War. She was dismissive of the Iraqi's helping Afghan war refugees set up in Kurdish controlled territory. The question becomes when is the United States justified in going to war. Technically, Iraq is a UN Security Council problem as that was the structure of Gulf War I but that may not fit the reality of the situation. Particularly with imperialists in power who want a diminished UN, pointing out that the United Nations went to war with Iraq and signed the truce and not the US is beginning to seem pointless.

On to the speech, the first part of the Bush speech was all about the domestic agenda.

The first thing to remember about Bush is that speeches are not policy. He co-ops Democratic rhetoric and adds a few bold but distant programs that he will not fully fund. Then he adds more then a dash of the Republican brand of populism - no taxes. Things like Medicare and jobs are added to the speech to make him seem "compassionate."

The hydrogen car thing was cute, this is a program that will not work for 20 years when there are things you could do now. The new AIDS program came out of left field but may be tied to the West Africa initiative the administration is working on to develop their oil fields. There has already been some attention paid to it not being funded to the billions of dollars he used in the speech. Like most Bush programs it would
start slowly and then build in funding. As Ted Kennedy found out after working with Bush on the education bill, several months after passage Bush will cut the funding.

The prescription drug program for seniors is tied to them joining HMO's. This is a program both the companies that provide it and the recipients are abandoning.

On Iraq he made clear he is weeks away from war. The tone was somber and steady. He really has improved on his public speaking ability.

He repeated several lies about the non-existent Iraq nuclear program. I tell you three times there is no evidence that Iraq has tried to obtain uranium and those aluminum tubes were not for nuclear weapons development.

One thing left unstated was that all of the suspected chemical and biological weapons that Saddam has he had before the last Gulf War. We should known, we provided them to him.

The basic argument of the speech was to magnify the threat that Saddam poses and add a moral imperative to free the Iraqi people.

No one has ever claimed it wouldn't be better if Saddam was gone. Although these claims he has the ability to create a reverse domino effect in the middle east for democracy seems unlikely

The most ominous line in the speech is that Saddam Hussein has missed his "final chance."

There is no change in my prognosis that we are in the period of world history that will be known as the height of the American Empire.

The Green Party has a response to his speech.

The pentagon, perhaps inadvertently, confirmed that US troops are already in northern Iraq. (NYTimes).

Monday, January 27, 2003


Venezuela

I had to add this, a longer report of Chavez at the World Social Forum in the SF Chronicle:
Venezuelan president gets enthusiastic welcome at Brazil social forum.

The World Social Forum is not an organization but "…an open meeting place for reflective thinking, democratic debate of ideas, formulation of proposals, free exchange of experiences and inter-linking for effective action, by groups and movements of civil society that are opposed to neo- liberalism and to domination of the world by capital and any form of imperialism, and are committed to building a building society centred on the human person". You know, those crazy communists, lefties, anarchists, socialists, possibly libertarians, etc...




Even nutty Peggy Noonan in today's Wall Street Journal is saying tonight Bush must move beyond passion and provide some strong facts that speak of why Saddam must go.

He has not not provided any strong facts that justifies a war and she, perhaps mistakenly, feels that he has some he doesn't want to reveal.

This should be my last post until after the speech.



This war is misguided. Garofalo resents her role as the token, easily-dismissed, anti-war spokesperson on the media (washingtonpost.com).

She has accurate statements about media marginalizing the anti-war movement.

One of my favorites of the worlds intelligent actresses and comedians.



Sunday, January 26, 2003



It's Leave-No-Millionaire-Behind Time

The Nation, among other good articles has Bush's Terrible Twos by David Corn. Many good turns-of-phrase here. He's getting to be a regular Molly Ivins.

During the presidential campaign, Bush vowed (incessantly), "I'm a uniter, not a divider." Now the motto is, "In your face." He sure has grown in office. From Boy George to King George. -- David Corn

He also had the headline quote while Molly scores with these:

Did you hear the Bush administration finally found a connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda? They both have the letter Q. The evil, evil Q. (Not original with me, making the rounds.)

Some days, I'd just as soon whack myself in the head with the newspaper as read it.

If Harvey Pitt were any closer to the accounting industry, he'd be in violation of the Texas sodomy statute. -- Molly Ivins


In It's your money... for now, Molly notes how Bush has done little to stop corporate abuse



Here is an anti-Rush Limbaugh pdf that can be used as a handout at anti-war rallies. He has recently called anti-war protestors fascists, communists, anti-capitalists, anti-Americans. Two of his sponsers, Radio Shack and Bose have reportedly dropped him because of letters to the companies. More information, including addresses of sponsers, is at Take Back the Media.




Kucinich was speaking on MLK day about
Peace as a Civil Right as reported in The Nation.

"We must reject war with Iraq. We must not let it happen. We must insist that the UN inspection process continue. As long as the UN inspection presence is at work in Iraq there is the possibility that Iraq can be disarmed, rebuilt and reintegrated into the community of nations."

I was surprised that at least on reading it, it is not one of his better speeches.






Salon points out that Europe is making a historic break with the US on foreign policy in Europe's declaration of independence. Europe is distancing itself from Bush's war mongering and arrogance.

They also have Gary Hart blasting the poor homeland security of this administration.

And among other good stuff there is the protest-crowd numbers game. This article repeats something I had heard earlier and thought silly, Congress has banned the DC park police from providing crowd estimates. A very good article that ends on an optimistic note:

"In the Vietnam era, it was when middle-aged folks and middle-class folks, doctors and lawyers began coming out and participating that public opinion began to turn," he says. "I don't know if this will be a harbinger of a similar kind of change or not, but I was really struck on Saturday by the visible presence of a larger proportion of older people. I think it was impressive."




Peter sent me this link on how to start a political party -
Kang's Classroom. Funny with a conservative slant.

Rule #1 - Learn to Compromise
One of your hu-man philosophers once said, "Politics is the art of the possible." That means you cannot have everything you want, at least until you abandon your foolish democracy and embrace slavery. Let me give you an example from my successful presidential campaign:


Candidate Kang: Abortions for all!
Audience: BOO!
Kang: Okay... Abortions for none!
Audience: BOO!
Kang: Hmmnn... Abortions for some, tiny American flags for others!
Audience: YAAY!!!




The New York Times Magazine has a long article on Bush as being most like Reagan among presidents - teflon coated, very conservative, and all-surface but with great pr.




Venezuela

The Supreme Court ruled against the opposition holding a referendum now and the opposition stages a massive sleep-in (
CNN). Interesting tactic, maybe anti-war groups here should organize one.

Forbes pays attention to Chavez when he says the "wealth gap" between rich and poor nations could explode. Green Left Weekly has an Australian left take on the situation. Chavez also spoke at the left World Social Forum where he was warmly recieved by protestors of American-style capitalism. At the same forum, new Brazilian leftist leader Lula was greeted by a strawberry cake to his face from "Bakers Without Borders." This was seen as a typical anarchist baker protest.




Saturday, January 25, 2003



Reuters -- Western "human shields" leaving for Iraq in the other build-up to war. Group trying for 100,000. Flower power for the new century..




I disagree with Friedman's oft repeated argument in the
New York Times. This administration is incapable of bringing democracy to Iraq and has no interest in doing so.




“This is the worst president ever,”

The Daily Breeze has another reporter talking to Helen Thomas.

Thomas believes we have chosen to promote democracy with bombs instead of largess while Congress “defaults,” Democrats cower and a president controls all three branches of government in the name of corporations and the religious right.

As she signed my program, I joked, “You sound worried.”

“This is the worst president ever,” she said. “He is the worst president in all of American history.”

The woman who has known eight of them wasn’t joking.



Late

120 Hours from my last posting. I took an unexpected hiatus and didn't connect to the internet for 5 days. Almost all the news has been the same or based on previous trends.

I think I am not going to be providing the huge number of digests daily anymore.

John Bonitz sent me a site to pick up Sheila Jackson Lee's announcement that she is seeking the repeal of the Iraq resolution.

"Taking the time to deliberate more intelligently in no way diminishes the valor of our troops," stated Congresswoman Jackson Lee. "To the contrary, because we love and support our young men and women who are willing to give their lives to defend their nation, they deserve our fullest efforts to keep them out of harm's way."

Time: Leaving home for Bush
My sister has heard from her son in the rangers. They are moving out and he is a lead scout. He says they were told Powell has already approved the game plan and they will roll within weeks. Being sent off in the next week or two he has asked his girlfriend's parents for permission to get married when he gets back. For more on other soldiers leaving home for this action see Time, which also provides the picture... My nephew was not able to go home this Christmas to see his family and is going into harm's way.

Meanwhile France, Germany, Russia, and China have announced they will not support military action at this time. His Solicitor General has warned Britain's Blair against committing troops without UN Security Council approval. I am still thinking a no-confidence vote for Blair is looking likely. His poll numbers are much lower than the rapidly sinking Bush's (NYTimes) and the great majority of his people oppose this military action.

Powell is saying we have support from only 12 countries, to be named later. Sounds like a draft. Israel and some other countries that depend on our support are some early favorites with Spain also in the running.

The British people have also been told that Bush says "It's war within weeks." Bush seems to have forgotten about telling the American people.

Here is Condi Rice in the New York Times on why she thinks Iraq is failing to disarm and is lying. Comparing countries that voluntary decided to disarm to a country that is under threat to disarm doesn't convince me of anything except that she is grasping at straws. Meanwhile, those aluminum tubes were not to make enriched uranium, the Washington Post reports, as evidence steadily decreases that Iraq has major prohibited weapon's programs.

Other media are now reporting about the massive missile barrage the US is planning the first few days of the military exercise.

BuzzFlash thinks that Rumsfeld is an insult to the military, partially based on this article on him criticizing the top staff.

On Venezuela, Powell, Lula, and the "Group of Friends" nations have supported Jimmy Carter's proposals to end the lockout by management that has cost the country billions. The proposals are all constitutional, which the opposition did not want, they just wanted him gone now before he took their money, and Carter's proposed elections or referendums would not be very soon but later this year.

The watch had a "what if this was happening in the US" perspective on what has happened in Venezuela the last year.

The World Economic Forum was blasting at Bush policies to Ashcroft (NYTimes). When a Republican administration is losing support from representatives of the rich and powerful they must really be screwing up. The wealth disparity is widening so they are still succeeding at one of their agendas.

In another victory for sanity and liberty, the US Senate blocked the pentagon from spending money on the Total Information Awareness Project. This is the military database designed to contain all data on everyone in the United States. It is likely some version might get passed, if it didn't they will probably move it to the "black budget" or to some other department.

The site I linked to just prior also has a controversial rant against Arianna Huffington's controversial ad's linking SUV's to supporting terrorism, which are themselves takeoff's on this administration's controversial anti-drug ads linking drugs to terrorists.

My ex-wife was wondering, "What drugs are linked with what terrorists?" Of course heroin is the middle east, except that the Taliban had greatly decreased opium production and under our guys it's full production again. Cocaine is South America, except those are rich drug lords more than terrorists. Both pro-American and anti-American revolutionaries have used drug money from cocaine. In fact, the CIA provided plane transportation for Contra drug smuggling. Still cocaine is more supporting the people who supply you with the dope. That leaves marijuana and pills, both mainly home grown. Well, there is some weed from Mexico and elsewhere, but who has ever heard of a mellow terrorist?



Monday, January 20, 2003


Chief U.N. Inspector Says Scientist's Documents Point to Failed Nuclear Fuel Efforts (washingtonpost.com)

This was the report that had neocons hoping up and down with glee, "We found their secret atom bomb plans! We get to go to war!"

Nope, the papers are of a project from the seventies and eighties that didn't work.




The New York Times calls Bush on speeches "implying one thing while doing quite another." They still have a problem using the L word - the man lies. They tip-toe all around it saying he is "brazen" with his "technique."



Iraq

26,000 more British troops are being sent as the pressure is mounting. Rumsfeld and others in the Bush administration are promoting exile for Saddam Hussein as a solution.

Hundreds of thousands worldwide this weekend were protesting the Iraq military exercise. Coretta Scott King spoke out against the war and more peace rallies are planned.

More peace rally stories are here about DC and here about SF.




Venezuela

Reuters AlertNet - 'Friends of Venezuela' group to start work Friday

The meeting would bring together the foreign ministers of a "group of friends" comprising Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Spain, Portugal and the United States.

Yellow Times - Who's to Blame in Venezuela provides no new information but warns of authoritarian rule if the class split continues.

Meanwhile SFGate AP -- One dead, at least 21 wounded in Venezuelan street clashes. . Meanwhile, it is also reported the oil company president has given up on the strike and tells the "workers," mostly management, to go back to work.


Sunday, January 19, 2003


Antiwar Sentiment Galvanizes Thousands (washingtonpost.com)

Making the front pages.

Note at the bottom that Sheila Jackson Lee, Democrat Houston, is pushing for a repeal of the October Iraq Authorization.




Friday, January 17, 2003


Are there better things to do than go to war in Iraq?
Ask her.

A make-up link for those disappointed with No Lesbian Spank Inferno pictures.



More sex as the
Sex.Com Trial Goes to High Court. Domain names are really property like stock certificates.

I am now and then accused of putting in things like Sex, and naked, and nudes and pregnant lesbians with guns just to drive up my hit rate from search engines. Well, it is true I did get a lot of hits from that older playboy playmate earlier. But it's not like I include a Lesbian Spank Inferno link from a fake porn movie every post.




I'll start with
More nude Peace activism in California before moving on to more frat-boy stuff -

More Krugman - As a drunk is to alcohol, the Bush administration is to budget deficits.

[With Republicans,] we'll probably be on a deficit bender until the baby boomers retire — and then it will get much worse.

Did I mention that they are trying to kill poor people off now, by denyiny them access to ER care?.

PETA also had their latest pr nude event, a skating no-fur protest. No question here I support skin over fur anyday.

And this segues into...

The question you have to ask anyone who supports Bush's tort reform limits, do you think your spouse or child's life is only worth $250,000 no matter how badly someone screws up and kills them?

In Texas our new Republican attorney general is all in favor of this reform, he already got his $10 million from an accident that left him with paralysis. Maybe if you tell Republicans they can't get their $10 million they will think more about this. Or are only the ones getting sued for bad actions heard from by the Republicans...

It's like the American public not hearing about the anti-war movement.
Since, of course, most of the war protest news is missing in action.

On Jan. 11, tens of thousands participated in an anti-war protest in Los Angeles, and a similar turnout is expected in San Francisco on Saturday. Anti- war rallies are also to be held in Orange County, near the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, and in Washington.

The demographics of these events are telling. Showing up these days: Not just the usual kooky cadres of semi-professional protest junkies, anti- globalization crusaders and whacked-out conspiracy theorists but protesters from the solid middle class as well. It's time for Washington to start worrying.

Not to worry, the connected press corps didn't notice that mistakes were made in Globalization, why should they notice this administrations pattern of mistakes and the real people this time?



Wired News: This Is Your Deep Link on P2P

Wired underplays the important part of this story. Newspapers are attempting to make blogging illegal in Europe. Even beyond the issues of how much of an article is able to be used under the "fair use" doctrine, newspapers want deep links outlawed. How would you blog if you could only link to the front page of any site?




Tom Paine has Martin Luther King's
Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence speech and other stuff about Tom Delay's first day of gutting democracy and articles urging a debate about class warfare and other good stuff - be a good American and read Tom Paine.




NEWS AU: Middle America marches for peace

IF GEORGE W. Bush looks out of the Oval Office window this weekend he will probably see the biggest peace demonstration in Washington since the Vietnam War.

But he will not see hippies or long-haired peaceniks. He will be looking instead at a huge cross-section of Middle America: doctors, corporate lawyers, chief executives, truck drivers, nurses, military families, grandmothers, even families of September 11 victims. And they won't be burning the American flag. They will be carrying it with pride.

Meanwhile the Washinton Post reports: Democrats Find New Purpose

Democrats, after fumbling about for most of last year, seemed to have been reinvigorated by their Election Day drubbing, finding new purpose and resolve in challenging the president on tax cuts, affirmative action, judicial appointments, the handling of Korea and Iraq and even committee assignments in the House and Senate.

My favorite constitutionalist is also after Bush: Byrd: Bush Gives U.S. 'Bully' Image.

Byrd said Bush appeared eager to apply his doctrine of preemptive military action against less powerful countries such as Iraq, but not against countries that may pose a nuclear threat, such as North Korea.

That is bad policy from a bumbling administration.

Scoop, in New Zealand notes that Bush Is Racking Up "Frequent Liar Miles"


Every newspaper, one of them the LA Times, is looking at affirmitive action in public universities since Bush has weighed in denouncing "quotas" that aren't quotas. This puts 'Race-Neutral' University Admissions in Spotlight.

The public universities of California, Texas and Florida, whose "race-neutral" admissions policies were applauded by President Bush this week, are notable for their efforts to achieve the goals of affirmative action — racial diversity — without actually using affirmative action.

The problem which they don't touch - the alternative solutions only work because of highly segregated high schools. Is that what we want to promote, let's segregative the high schools and then allow the top students from these black high schools admission?

I am noticing Crossfire seems to slowly be getting a more democratic audience. More hopeful signs.




Not only are
Gallup Polls Republican biased, usually runing 3 -6% over other polls in Bush favorables, they also slant the story, "look his numbers aren't as low as the other polls, but the quarterly number is what is important, no wait, it's the yearly number that is the most important, yeah, that's the ticket, the headline on this monthly poll should be Bush Second-Year Approval Rating One of the Best Ever, Whew."


Thursday, January 16, 2003


Molly Ivins -- Demand Peace: Vote in the Streets This Martin Luther King Weekend

Conservatives are fond of pointing out that there are problems in this world that can't be solved by throwing money at them. There are even more that can't be solved by dropping bombs on them.






TIME -- The Saudi Push for an Iraq Coup

Convinced that President Bush is serious about invading Iraq, Arab leaders hope to avoid war by orchestrating a coup in Baghdad. Well-placed sources have told TIME that Saudi Arabia is vigorously pursuing a concrete plan to encourage Iraqi generals to overthrow Saddam and his clique. Western and Arab diplomats say the Saudi proposal requires a UN Security Council resolution declaring amnesty for the vast majority of Iraqi officials if they orchestrate a transition of power in Baghdad.

Meanwhile is this the excuse the Bush is looking for:

NYTimes -- Inspectors Find Empty Warheads Able to Carry Chemical Agents

United Nations weapons inspectors in Iraq reported today that they had found empty warheads designed to carry chemical agents, but the Iraqi government asserted that the weapons were not banned and were disclosed in its report to the United Nations last month.

You can find dusty old chemical dispersal artillery shells in US Army Reserve bases.




Some new Arianna,
Cold feet For Tossing Wall Street in Jail and some Joe Conason on how Bush used affirmative action to get into Yale, both in Salon. A quote from Joe:

Now there is no movement among conservatives to require that legacy applicants (or athletes) display the same level of merit as anyone else admitted to an elite school. To the right, diversity isn't an important value -- but traditions of family privilege must be preserved.

When will they get rid of stoned out Andrew Sullivan?



From the
Commonweal Organization Newsletter: EYE ON THE RIGHT

In the Dec. 27, 2002, edition of the Los Angeles Times, historians Eric Foner and Glenda Gilmore contributed an op-ed piece about the conservative effort to tar academics as "unpatriotic" when they oppose the Bush administration's policies. In the course of their argument, Foner and Gilmore refer to a variety of conservative individuals or organizations, including Campus Watch, William J. Bennett, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, and Lynne Cheney.

What makes this particular list so interesting is not just that they express similar ideas, but that they all take money from the same few right-wing sources. Follow along:

Campus Watch is part of the Middle East Forum, which is funded by The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. William Bennett is a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, funded by The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Richard Mellon Scaife, the Olin Foundation, and the Coors' Castle Rock Foundation, among others. Bennett's organization Empower America is funded by The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Richard Mellon Scaife, and the Olin Foundation. The American Council of Trustees and Alumni is funded by, yes, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Richard Mellon Scaife, the Olin Foundation, and Coors' Castle Rock Foundation, among others. Lynne Cheney, wife of Vice President Dick Cheney, is a Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, funded by The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Olin Foundation, Coors' Castle Rock Foundation, and the Smith Richardson Foundation.

What this illustrates is the remarkable effectiveness of the right-wing movement in disseminating a narrow ideological perspective through a wide variety of channels. While readers might get the impression that there is a range of viewpoints being expressed, quite the opposite is true. A handful of right-wing foundations and philanthropists are systematically "seeding" political debate in an effort to create the impression of consensus and to shape conventional wisdom. They operate largely behind the scenes, while their paid minions present the public face of conservative ideology.

Commonwealth has a good collection of articles on the right-wing movement.



UPI: Israel's Mossad to Kill in US and Other Allied nations

With the appointment of Meir Dagan, the new director of Israel's Mossad secret intelligence service, Sharon is preparing "a huge budget" increase for the spy agency as part of "a tougher stance in fighting global jihad (or holy war)," one Israeli official said.

Israeli hit teams, which consist of units or squadrons of the Kidon, a sub-unit for Mossad's highly secret Metsada department, would stage the operations, former Israeli intelligence sources said. Kidon is a Hebrew word meaning "bayonet," one former Israeli intelligence source said.

This Israeli government source explained that in the past Israel has not staged targeted killings in friendly countries because "no one wanted such operations on their territory."

This has become irrelevant, he said.




Reuters
White House Sees Deficits for 'Foreseeable Future'


"Their policies have wiped out the entire surplus, driven us into debt, and what is their solution? More tax cuts,"




VHeadline.com - Plot in New York to Assassinate Chavez Stopped By Secret Service

"18 Secret Service agents have raided the Queens home of Venezuelan opposition activist Miguel Hernandez following the discovery of a plot to assassinate President Hugo Chavez Frias when he visits UN General Secretary Kofi Annan."

Expected, only surprise is that the US secret service stopped it instead of assisting. Must have been some sort of miscommunication.



Forbes has Venezuela doubling its oill output his past week. and the Washington Post had a long favorable view of opinion from the barrios as opposed to the villas.

To anyone who has been in Venezuela lately, opposition charges that Chavez is "turning the country into a Castro-communist dictatorship" -- repeated so often that millions of Americans apparently now believe them -- are absurd on their face.

If any leaders have a penchant for dictatorship in Venezuela, it is the opposition's. On April 12 they carried out a military coup against the elected government. They installed the head of the business federation as president and dissolved the legislature and the supreme court, until mass protests and military officers reversed the coup two days later.

Military officers stand in Altamira Plaza and openly call for another coup. It is hard to think of another country where this could happen. The government's efforts to prosecute leaders of the coup were canceled when the court dismissed the charges in August. Despite the anger of his supporters, some of whom lost friends and relatives last year during the two days of the coup government, Chavez respected the decision of the court.

Reuters' has Chavez borrowing a page from Bush and now calling the opposition "terrorists" and vowing not to negotiate.

However, Chavez has also taken to comparing himself to Jesus Christ with other world leaders

The watch had some of this.




"NEO-CONSERVATIVES" - WHAT AND WHO THEY ARE

Here is a short summary naming names, listing where you can find them, some of the history.

Note that my letter to the editor was published in a neo-con journal so dissent is not shut out entirely.



NYTimes -- U.S. Resisting Calls for a 2nd U.N. Vote on a War With Iraq

The Bush administration resisted calls by other nations today that it secure the explicit blessing of the United Nations Security Council before going to war with Iraq. The White House further suggested that it could decide in favor of military action even if weapons inspectors do not turn up concrete new evidence against Saddam Hussein.

Some big but patriotic peace marches would be good now.



American Civil Liberties Union : “Big Brother” is No Longer a Fiction, ACLU Warns in New Report

Given the capabilities of today’s technology, the only thing protecting us from a full-fledged surveillance society are the legal and political institutions we have inherited as Americans,” he added. “Unfortunately, the September 11 attacks have led some to embrace the fallacy that weakening the Constitution will strengthen America.”

However, after the posting of more pages and information on the Department of Homeland Security Cultural Bureau Homepage it is obvious that it is a hoax, for now. I seem to have stumbled across it even before all the first pages were up. In some ways it served a purpose, I became much more interested in finding out what was going on with Ashcroft, Ridge, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bennett, Perle, and the gang of neo-conservatives. I did learn about them and learned that like all good hoaxes the Homeland Security Cultural Bureau is only a thin line away from the truth.


Wednesday, January 15, 2003


IPS -- COLOMBIA: Poverty Deepens, Peace Still a Distant Goal

Colombia has entered the new year with poverty on the rise and an increasing appeals for peace, but the impacts of the civil war continue to be felt in neighbouring countries as clashes between irregular armed groups and government forces intensify.

In terms of overall poverty, 60 percent of the Colombian people were poor in 1995, and in 1999 the portion reached 64 percent, and 67 percent in 2001. Between 1999 and 2002, urban poverty grew from 55 to 59 percent, while in rural areas it rose one point in that period to 80 percent.

Seven years ago, average per capita income in Colombia was the equivalent of 91.2 dollars a month, but by last year had slipped to 86 dollars.

As part of "reforms" there is a new labor law. Under the new legislation, the normal workday is to last from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm, a notable increase from the current workday of 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. The new law does away with overtime pay, which is usually 35 percent above normal wages.
It also reduces extra pay for working on holidays and the compensation that employers must pay workers
for unjustified layoffs.

Uribe's critics believe the government's aim to achieve tangible results through military might undermine the possibility of a negotiated end to the civil war.

In the last two years, an estimated 37,000 Colombian civilians have fled to Ecuador, Venezuela and Panama because they feared for their lives

The forgotten war in Columbia. There is still talk of a bigger US military intervention.


Narco News has a fuller report over the New York Times reporter who quit over conflicts of interest in Venezuela.

Of course, they have someone saying:

I believe we should legalize and depenalize drug consumption and the drug trade. That is how we reduce the violence and corruption of those huge black market profits; that is how we reduce the robbing and killing by addicts who need to buy their drugs. But legalization must be accompanied by a strong campaign of education and prevention and rehabilitation for addicts. But even when we educate people about the dangers of drug consumption, we violate their rights if we forbid them from using drugs. Just as an alcoholic can drink without fear of persecution, so it should be for drug users.

But shouldn't everyone say this? Prohibition creates violence, cannot stop a problem, and creates immense profits for evil men.



From
BuzzFlash -- MSNBC -- Boos for Bush silenced at AMA?

WHEN THE BAND Alabama received the Award of Merit, the elder Bush’s face appeared on screen. “I’m very proud to be part of tonight’s tribute honoring one of the most highly successful bands country music has ever known,” said the former president, but his image was met with a loud chorus of boos.

The boos from the crowd, however, were not audible in the broadcast, leading some to believe that they were deleted by censors.



Ok, I like all the articles in
The Nation this week and all the weblogs. There is just too much to digest, check them out.




TAP: Where Are the Hawks on North Korea?

Faced with a real crisis, Bush does nothing.


Republican hawks smeared the Clinton policy and discover that now they are in charge they have no alternative. The end of the article is also recommending the same Clinton plan, secretly threaten North Korea with an attack on the nuclear plants while giving them public subsidies to close them down.

WHITE HOUSE DODGES ANTHRAX QUESTIONS

Bush Administration Stonewalls On Production of
Documents Concerning Decision to Put Staff on Cipro
Beginning September 11, 2001

The anthrax conspiracy theory won't go away.

Mother Jones has a real nice timeline of Bush's military "career."


Mother Jones -- America's Age of Empire: The Bush Doctrine

On September 20, the Bush administration published a national security manifesto overturning the established order. Not because it commits the United States to global intervention: We've been there before. Not because it targets terrorism and rogue states: Nothing new there either. No, what's new in this document is that it makes a long-building imperial tendency explicit and permanent. The policy paper, titled "The National Security Strategy of the United States of America" -- call it the Bush doctrine -- is a romantic justification for easy recourse to war whenever and wherever an American president chooses.

Only a longer extract than mine is online.



Tips for Preventing a Dem Wimp-Out

The 108th Congress sworn in this week is the most conservative since the 1929 Congress that helped Herbert Hoover guide the United States into the Great Depression.

Fight back against GOP class warfare

Offer an alternative foreign policy

Don't let Bill Frist privatize Medicare

Challenge more than just judicial appointments

As the 108th Congress convenes, Democrats must either mount an effective challenge to him, or they will find themselves in an even worse position when the 109th convenes.

Empires Always Serve the Rulers, Not the Ruled

Britain left a world perhaps better educated and possibly more prosperous in parts. But it was also a world in which tribal or religious divisions were suppressed but not removed and in which institutions were imposed from without.

You could say the same for the Cold War. It froze conflicts but it did not remove them. When it ended, the underlying world re-emerged with all its old complexity and tensions. It needs help. It needs understanding. What it does not need is a new Empire.

Empires are only good for the rulers of the Empire. The associated client states get a particularly bad deal.



New Hampshire Criticism Mounts of No Child Left Behind Act

When President George W. Bush signed the $26.5 billion No Child Left Behind Act into law on Jan. 8, 2002, U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige said the education reform bill would "launch a new era of American education." One year later, many educators in the New Hampshire fear he was right.

While superintendents and school board members across the Seacoast applaud the intent of No Child Left Behind — accountability, quality teachers, statewide assessment tests — the fear of setting unreasonable standards and the findings from two prominent education associations in the state that the act will be another unfunded or underfunded mandate have many in the education field perplexed and worried.

This needs to be noticed in other states.




NYTimes -- Friedman -- The New Math

So for Israel 10 minus 2 is 8, and for the Palestinians 10 minus 2 is 12.

And that explains why Ariel Sharon's all-stick-no-carrot crackdown over the past two years has failed to improve security for Israelis.

By 2010 there will be more Palestinians than Jews living in Israel and the occupied territories. Then Israel will have three options: The Israelis will control this whole area by apartheid, or they will control it by expelling Palestinians, or they will grant Palestinians the right to vote and it will no longer be a Jewish state.

With his support for settlements, Sharon is setting up an even more deadly future.




US Rep. Dennis Kucinich May Run for President

His name doesn't show up on the growing "short list" of Democratic hopefuls, but political allies of Rep. Dennis Kucinich think he is seriously considering a bid for his party's 2004 presidential nomination.

He has traveled to dozens of American cities, preaching - one speech was titled a "Prayer for America" - against war in Iraq and criticizing Republican economic policies.

Ohio State University political scientist Paul Beck said long shots often enter campaigns under the guise of using a national platform to draw attention to their issues. For Kucinich, that would include a fight against tax cuts and free-trade deals.

A better choice than Al Sharpton for the left.



CNET - Breaking News - Supreme Court OKs copyright extension

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld on Wednesday a 1998 law extending copyright protection by 20 years, delaying when creative works such as Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse cartoons, F. Scott Fitzgerald's novels and George Gershwin's songs become public property.

Very bad, a victory for big corporations against the original intent of the constitution and the free flow of knowledge.

Stevens Seeks Fund Cuts In Education, Security (washingtonpost.com)

Republicans are bracing for Democratic charges that they are underfunding homeland security and education to shrink budget deficits that Democrats blame in part on the president's 2001 tax cut.

Washington Times - Bush To Side With Foes Of Affirmative Action

President Bush is planning to side with white students against the University of Michigan in a landmark affirmative-action case before the Supreme Court this week, said a source close to White House deliberations.

Washington Post -- Racial Politics Emerging as Major Issue for Bush

President's Actions Don't Match Words When It Comes to Inclusion Efforts

Recent racial problems cutting into inroads for all minorities, northern moderates and suburban white women.

NYTimes -- Krugman -- The Tax Complication Act of 2003

...Even some of the lobbyists you would have expected to cheer the plan now believe that it is so complex as to be unworkable.

Is this just another clever step on the way to a system in which only the little people pay taxes?

Washington Post -- Bush Presses Lawmakers to Back Welfare Changes

Bush reprised his call for 40-hour work weeks for people on welfare, programs that try to foster marriage and new freedom for states to spend anti-poverty subsidies in ways that bypass standard federal rules.

NYTimes -- Running Fast Into the Past By MAUREEN DOWD

Mr. Bush and Karl Rove may be disproving Santayana: They have dedicated themselves to learning from the history of the first President Bush, and yet they seem doomed to repeat it anyway.

Craig Patterson, a 45-year-old ironworker in St. Louis worried about dwindling construction jobs, summed it up for USA Today: "I trust Bush with my daughter, but I trust Clinton with my job."

NYTimes -- Protest Groups Using Updated Tactics to Spread Antiwar Message

But in contrast to the tactics of the 1960's, many organizers are trying to sound a note of patriotism and distance themselves from the stereotypical images of angry flag burners or scruffy anarchists.

Last Saturday, at a meeting in Chicago, representatives from labor unions that supported both the Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars adopted a resolution opposing a war with Iraq and raised $30,000 for the movement.

Be patriotic, protest the war and carry a flag. We represent the United States, not the administration trying to set up their Imperial dynesty.

ABCNEWS - Tivo alert: Thursday night, the Liebermans do the Daily Show.

Washington Post - Well-Known Parks Put On 'Endangered' List


Some of the best known national parks -- Yellowstone, the Great Smoky Mountains and Denali, among others -- were included on the National Parks Conservation Association's fifth annual list of the 10 "most endangered national parks."



UK Times -- Spy Author John le Carré - The US has gone mad

America has entered one of its periods of historical madness, but this is the worst I can remember: worse than McCarthyism, worse than the Bay of Pigs and in the long term potentially more disastrous than the Vietnam War.

The reaction to 9/11 is beyond anything Osama bin Laden could have hoped for in his nastiest dreams. As in McCarthy times, the freedoms that have made America the envy of the world are being systematically eroded. The combination of compliant US media and vested corporate interests is once more ensuring that a debate that should be ringing out in every town square is confined to the loftier columns of the East Coast press.

The imminent war was planned years before bin Laden struck, but it was he who made it possible. Without bin Laden, the Bush junta would still be trying to explain such tricky matters as how it came to be elected in the first place; Enron; its shameless favouring of the already-too-rich; its reckless disregard for the world’s poor, the ecology and a raft of unilaterally abrogated international treaties. They might also have to be telling us why they support Israel in its continuing disregard for UN resolutions.

I like John le Carré.



LATimes -- Cash-Strapped States Plan to Cut Medicaid

Every state except Alabama has cut or plans to cut Medicaid health-care benefits for the poor this fiscal year as part of efforts to balance state budgets as revenue plummets.

From limiting services at nursing homes to rejecting children who would have been accepted last year, the states are choosing a variety of ways to squeeze money out of the fast-growing program, the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured said in a report issued Monday.

The public health care crisis gets worse.


Tuesday, January 14, 2003



Iraq and the Economy
U.S. Representative Dennis J. Kucinich
Swearing-In Ceremony


We need to ask the questions: Why does America have hundreds of billions to ruin the health and take the lives of innocent people in Iraq but no money to provide health care for all Americans?

Why would America spend hundreds of billions to retire Saddam Hussein, but no money to protect the retirement security of its own people?

Why does America have money to blow up bridges over the Euphrates River in Iraq, but no money to build up bridges over the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland?

My friends. This is still your government. You have a right to have a say in how its destiny is being charted. That right derives from our very Declaration of Independence, which claimed self-governance as a basic right. Government does not just happen in Washington, DC. It is the result of a process which takes place in thousands of cities, villages and townships. It is also a process which also takes place in our hearts, which is brought to life by our love of country, and our love of each other. It is your love which enables me to carry those hopes and dreams forward.

The liberal from Cleveland, I should blog more about love and less about the hate-sellers in Washington. Here's hoping Kucinich can spread some love.



The changing face of love | csmonitor.com
Interracial Marriages Increase In Census

Thirty-six years after the Supreme Court struck down laws against mixed-race marriages and "Star Trek" shocked the nation by airing the first interracial kiss on national TV, Americans have come a long way in accepting love across race lines. The number of white-black marriages, always the smallest subset, has grown from about 50,000 in 1960 to almost 400,000 today.

The experiences of three couples show that times are changing.



Christian Science Monitor World News -

Saudi Arabia's quiet voices of reform start to speak up

Since Sept. 11, Saudi dissidents have increased calls for elections and a new constitution.

US Troops pour in, scenarios narrow

As US approaches full deployment in Gulf, pressure on Bush is to go to war or pull forces out.

The flurry of news on deployments may also contain elements intended to deceive the enemy.

"They are inundating us with discussion of deployments, make it difficult to track what is going on," says Patrick Garrett at GlobalSecurity.org, a defense think tank. "There is a ton of call-ups for Reserve and National Guard units, and my guess is most are not going."

Preludes to war and its aftermath

From Washington to London to Tel Aviv - and in many other places - anticipating the effects of what will likely be America's most significant military engagement since the Vietnam war has become a subject of intense endeavor.

At the UN and private relief agencies, aid workers are girding for the aftermath.

There's a brief bit on Pax Americana:

Andrew Bacevich, a Boston University professor of international relations, argues that "the time has come for us as Americans ... to acknowledge the reality that we do preside over an empire of a sort. "The aim of this empire, he says, is to preserve and expand American freedom and prosperity, in part by promoting secular democracy and free markets abroad.

In that context, he told participants at a conference last week at Bar-Ilan University outside Tel Aviv that the US campaign can be seen as "war to establish a bridgehead of American power to transform Iraq into ... the first Arab democracy" and thus further the interests of the American empire.



The Village Voice: Mondo Washington by James Ridgeway

Bush's New Year Devolution


We're two weeks into January and already George W. Bush is hitting the wall. The president's military commanders have been widely quoted as being against the war he'd so love to wage in Iraq. UN arms inspectors say it could take a year to finish their work, and then only if Saddam Hussein cooperates. The UN Security Council won't give in until the results are in. Even Bush's one staunch ally, British prime minister Tony Blair, is dragging his feet, asking that the inspectors be given more time.

Now come reports of a revolt within the Senate Republican establishment. Led by John Warner of Virginia, senators at last week's GOP retreat lashed out over Bush's "arrogance." It's payback time for an administration that has at best ignored lawmakers and at worst deliberately kept them in the dark.

Bush's troubles within his own party are playing out as the economy remains in the doldrums, with no sign of relief in sight save Bush's nutty dividend taxation plan—another sticking point for GOP senators—and a wacko new policy aimed at replacing unemployment insurance.



CNN.com - Rights group: U.S. arguments resemble terrorists'

Human Rights Watch said the administration is using the same argument as terrorists -- that the ends justify the means -- to achieve its goals, and faulted the United States' treatment of combat prisoners and its handling of criminal suspects. The group also pointed to civilian deaths in U.S. combat operations overseas.

Wrongfully refused to apply the Geneva Convention on the Treatment of Prisoners of War to Afghanistan detainees

Among many other actions, this administration has

Misused the legal concept of enemy combatants to detain criminal suspects in the United States

Used "stress and duress" interrogation techniques on prisoners overseas

Misused immigration laws to deny rights to criminal suspects in the United States




Rumsfeld - Most Army in Vietnam and Most Veterans "Sucked"

I have been wanting to go with this story but have been letting it sink in. First I'll place Rumsfeld's full reponses to cut off the claims that I am taking Rumsfeld out of context.

DoD News Briefing - Secretary Rumsfeld and Gen. Myers

Rumsfeld: We're not going to reimplement a draft. There is no need for it at all. The disadvantages of using compulsion to bring into the armed forces the men and women needed are notable.

The disadvantages to the individuals so brought in are notable. If you think back to when we had the draft, people were brought in; they were paid some fraction of what they could make in the civilian manpower market because they were without choices. Big categories were exempted -- people that were in college, people that were teaching, people that were married. It varied from time to time, but there were all kinds of exemptions. And what was left was sucked into the intake, trained for a period of months, and then went out, adding no value, no advantage, really, to the United States armed services over any sustained period of time, because the churning that took place, it took enormous amount of effort in terms of training, and then they were gone.

Now, are we able today to maintain a force that is at the appropriate size with the appropriate skills by paying people roughly what they'd be making in the civilian manpower market? Yes. Are we doing it today? Yes. Are we meeting the recruiting goals? Yes. Have we been able to attract and retain people in the Guard and the Reserves who can augment that force when necessary, such as today? Yes, we have.

Now, the reason, the desire for doing that, the way I read some columns or articles

Q: But before General Myers answers, what is your thought of what -- the issue that Rangel has raised that when it comes to casualties, it ends up being that blacks and other minorities, because there are so many in the force, end up having a disproportionate share of the casualties?

Rumsfeld: First of all, I do not know that that's historically correct, and I do not know that even if it were historically correct, that it's correct today. I have seen a lot of data on that dating back into the Vietnam era, and there are some ambiguities about it; there have been some debates and discussions about it. The force mix today is, if I'm not mistaken, and I'd have to go back and look at it, different from what it was back in the 1960s, and I am not in a position to say definitively what the data shows today.

On the first line I highlighted, it clearly shows that he thought the majority of veterans who served, including those who gave their lives, sucked, were useless. He did use suck in another context - sucked in - but the rest of his statement shows he also meant it as saying that they were crap.

The second highlighted line shows he is lying or an idiot or both. Armies, volunteer or not, always have the poor and minorities with a disproportionate share of members and casualties. Any fool knows that.

I have somewhat mixed feelings about this in that I feel countries should have either universal, a no deferment service, or all volunteer, a well-trained, well-payed, elite service. The draft for Vietnam was as bad as the Civil War with the elite not serving so it meets neither goal.. So the all-volunteer better trained military we have today is better than the military before. But that is different than saying that most of the military before was useless.

Despite the horrendous way he said it, in effect saying that most of the men who gave their lives for our country in Vietnam did so while fulfiling no purpose, he is right but not because they sucked at being soldiers, .

The way he says it is dishonoring the memory of those who died and those who trained them.

It is shocking to hear, particularly from a conservative imperialistic warhawk leading us to another show of force that will end in many deaths, that the Vietnam and earlier dead were useless because they weren't good enough.

If anyone in a democratic administration had said that the majority of veterans and those who died were useless cannon folder they would be hounded out of office.

I, and most of the American people, think that Vietnam was a tragic useless mistake and those who died did so serving no legitimate purpose. I don't blame the draft and the training, however. I blame our misguided leaders who got us in a war that was unwinable because of the legitimate constraints we faced and the fact that the great majority of the Vietnamese people did not want us there.

Should Rumsfeld be hounded because of the way he said it, that most of the people who served sucked at being soldiers instead of saying that a well-trained all-volunteer military is better than a drafted army with many exemptions and not enough training? I think so because it typifies the way he and others think. They would rather dishonor the people in the army instead of blaming the system.




Boston.com -- Venezuelan troops seize Caracas police weapons

The police have been firing on government supporters, it also lessens the chance of a police supported coup. Most of the military are on the Chavez side.

With hopes of helping resolve the dispute, former President Jimmy Carter plans to visit Caracas on Jan. 20 to observe the crisis, the Atlanta-based Carter Center announced.

Carter, who just won the Nobel Peace Prize, will consult with Cesar Gaviria, secretary general of the Organization of American States, who has been mediating talks between the two sides, the center said.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he plans to meet Chavez Thursday when he comes to the United Nations to hand over the chairmanship of the Group of 77, an organization of mainly developing nations.

The opposition has lost but is furious.




Novak - GOP senators on the warpath

Republican senators gathering last Wednesday for their session-opening ''retreat'' should have been happy, blessed with a regained majority and a popular president. They were not. Instead, they complained bitterly of arrogance by the Bush administration, especially the Pentagon, in treatment of Congress along the road to war.

After several senior Republican leaders blasted the administation...

Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri next got up to tell Card that the administration had better put out more information justifying military action against Iraq as part of the war against terrorism. ''What is the connection between Iraq and al-Qaida?''

Even the Republican leadership is beginning to get it.




CNN.com - GOP and Corporate Payback

Campaign finance reform champion Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Connecticut, now knows the political price for bucking his party's leaders last year and forcing a landmark bill to the floor over their objections: He will not get the long-coveted chairmanship of a powerful House committee.



Good sources for news about Venezuela:

Google News - Searching Venezuela Chavez by date

Trinicenter - Venezuela

VHeadlines

the watch - Venezuela Archive

Caracas News - latest news stories.


You can also check a smart blog by an opposition supporter - the recent New York Times Venezuela business reporter - Caracas Chronicles.

I also do my normal informationholic browsing and post things here at Easter Lemming Liberal News Digest.




Anti-war activists gather in Baghdad

With tens of thousands of U.S. troops mobilizing for a possible invasion, waves of anti-war activists have descended on Baghdad in recent days to plead for a peaceful solution to the showdown between the Bush administration and President Saddam Hussein’s government.

Finally getting attention from prominent US media.

Monday, January 13, 2003


Bush Breaks With 140 Years of History in Plan for Wartime Tax Cut

Old question: What did you do in the war, Daddy?

New answer: I pocketed a large tax cut, honey.

Pause.

And then I passed the bill for the war onto you.


Great article.




LATimes --An Old Fashioned Fight - Final War Plan Is Lots of Tanks and Troops

The Pentagon has been given three priority missions in presidential directives:

* thwart any use of weapons of mass destruction by Iraq;

* depose Hussein;

* create conditions for a new democratic government in Iraq after the invasion.

According to senior Defense officials, the White House also levied two additional requirements that influenced military planning.

First, Iraq was to be preserved "as a unitary state, with its territorial integrity intact," according to a presidential directive signed in December.

Second, Iraq's oil infrastructure was to be protected as much as possible.

Both would require boots on the ground -- a lot of them.

Though the air component of Central Command has managed to extract only a week of bombing before ground troops advance, the plan still calls for opening with a blistering air bombardment of Iraqi air defenses, command and control, missiles, and suspected weapons of mass destruction capabilities.

Simultaneous special operations attacks would seek to capture facilities suspected of housing chemical and biological weapons. Airfields inside Iraq would be attacked to give U.S. forces greater operational flexibility, as well as to divert Iraqi energies.

Three Republican Guard divisions are now dug in astride the approaches to Baghdad. If they tried to hold their ground...

This is a big if, playing Iraq I feel my one option would be to move all troops to populated areas and let the US assault civilians. Just a comment from an old wargamer.



Taegan Goddard's Political Wire

Graham Building Campaign Team


Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) said "that he has begun building a political team to put him in the White House," the Miami Herald reports. "Making his most pointed comments to date about a potential presidential campaign, Graham said he is interviewing potential campaign managers this week and that he has met with pollsters and media consultants -- the key building blocks of any big-time campaign."



NYPOST: THE NEW SWING VOTER By DICK MORRIS

THE economic calculus behind President Bush's repeal of the tax on stock dividends may or may not be sound, but there is no faulting its political math. Investors, more male than female and older rather than younger, are the swing vote of the '00s, just as soccer Moms were the keys to the politics of the '90s.
Thirty-six million Americans families earning $50,000 to $100,000 own stock - two thirds of them directly through stock purchases, mutual funds or 401(k)s. It is their withdrawal from the stock market that has caused its collapse.

Indirectly he is suggesting that the tax plan not be attacked on class grounds but as the wrong remedy as it doesn't help small investors enough for the huge tax breaks it gives large investors.




The Village Voice: Mondo Washington by James Ridgeway

Burton's Blunt

At a December 12 hearing of the House Government Reform Committee, Representative Dan Burton, Republican conservative from Indiana, raised the prospect of legalizing dope.

..."But I have one question that nobody ever asks, and that's this question: What would happen if there was no profit in drugs? If they couldn't make any money out of selling drugs, what would happen?"

Further up he noted:

Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women, says he's no better choice than the outgoing leader. "Few senators have a worse voting record on civil rights than Trent Lott, but Bill Frist is one of them," she says. "Frist has voted against sex education, international family planning, emergency contraception [the morning-after pill], affirmative action, hate crimes legislation, and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. This is the man who is supposed to save face for the GOP in the Senate? Think again."



NYTimes -- Eat Your Vegetables? Only at a Few Schools

Where hundreds of students were eating lunch, only five children took a green vegetable with the main course. Faced with bad-tasting canned green beans provided free by the federal government, children in New York City and Montgomery County opted out.

In his report on obesity in 2001, Dr. David Satcher, who was then the surgeon general, pinpointed school meals as one of the eight major areas where Americans should begin to battle fat. The report also discussed the disappearance of daily exercise from school programs — another culprit in the battle.

School principals have been cutting physical education classes and recesses to make time for academic courses. As a result, high school students taking daily physical education classes dropped to 29 percent in 1999 from 46 percent in 1991.

Eric Bost, the under secretary of agriculture for food and nutrition, defended the federal school lunch program in an interview and said that exercise was often the forgotten part of a health program.

"For me," Mr. Bost said, "the solution is threefold: increase the overall consumption of fruits and vegetables, increase physical activity and reduce consumption of other foods."

While Mr. Bost said too many soft drinks and cookies spoiled a balanced diet, he said he doubted that he would ask for a ban on soda vending machines in schools. Instead, he said, he may ask Congress to require that the machines include milk and flavored water.
The federal government could actually improve children's eating habits because the 4.7 billion school lunches served every year are prepared under federal nutritional guidelines.

Advocacy groups for children and the poor have asked Congress to add $1 billion to the school meals budget, a figure that could help wean schools from vending machines and invest in simple equipment to prepare fresh produce. But the Bush administration will ask for little or no increase in financing, said Mr. Bost, who added that he hoped to find additional money by weeding out students who officials say are ineligible for free or subsidized school meals. He said he did not know the number of those students but intended to look into the concerns.

This was going to go into my journal as a backup to complaining about the bad school lunches when I read further.



Guardian UK -- Bushwhacked Where is the Liberal US Media?

The worldwide turmoil caused by President Bush's policies goes not exactly unreported, but entirely de-emphasised.

In the American press, day after day, the White House controls the agenda. The supposedly liberal American press has become a dog that never bites, hardly barks but really loves rolling over and having its tummy tickled.

Indeed, there is hardly any such thing as the liberal press.

Most Washington reports consist of stories emanating from inside the government: these may (rarely) be genuine leaks; they may come from officials anxious to brief against rival officials, but that too is rare in this disciplined and corporately-run administration. Most of these stories, which look like impressive scoops at first glimpse, actually come from officials using the press to perform on-message spin.

In the face of this, only one White House reporter, Dana Milbank of the Post, regularly employs scepticism and irreverence in his coverage of the Bush administration- he is said to dodge the threats because he is regarded as an especially engaging character. It is more mysterious that only the tiniest handful of liberal commentators ever manage to irritate anyone in the government: there is Paul Krugman in the New York Times, Molly Ivins down in Texas and, after that, you have to scratch your head.

To some extent, journalists have felt obliged to tone down criticisms because of the sense of shared national purpose after September 11. Even that cannot explain how the papers cravenly ignored the Trent Lott story. Lott, the veteran senator from Mississippi, made his pro- segregation statement on a Thursday, in full earshot of the Washington press corps. The Times and Post both failed to mention it. Indeed, it was almost totally ignored until the following Tuesday, kept alive until then only by a handful of bloggers. If there is a Watergate scandal lurking in this administration, it is unlikely to be Woodward or his colleagues who will tell us about it. If it emerges, it will probably come out on the web. That is a devastating indictment of the state of American newspapers.

This is a digest of a story that the watch pointed out.




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