Silence is Consent

If you don't speak up you accept what is happening. This site was born out of the mainstream media's inability to cover the news. I am just an American cititzen trying to spread the word in the era of FCC consolidation, post 9/11 Patriot Act hysteria, hackable voting machines and war without end. I rant and post news items I perceive to be relevant to our current situation.

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
- Thomas Jefferson

Social Security is not broken and therefore does not need to be fixed

So Called Social Security Crisis (SCSSC)

Comments, questions, corrections, rebuttals are always welcome.

Monday, January 31, 2005
 
The Big Election and Beyond
My thoughts on the election yesterday are that they will probably solve some problems and create more. What those new problems will be no one knows. Which puts me on the Robert Fisk unintended consequences bandwagon. Also there are some other things to take into consideration. The election was the easy part governing will be the hard part. This administration kept setting low expectations in two areas. The first was that even if three people from Basra showed up to vote it would be a success. The second was that the violence was going to be horrible. This has made it seem that a country that hasn't had a free election in half a century to get a high 50% voter turnout -- of registered voters -- is great. Only 44 Iraqis dead on election day is good news too. Of course, when their was actually security in place, the Iraqi resistance wasn't going to attack. That's not how they fight. They attack you at your weak points not at your strong points.

OOPS!
Audit: $9 Billion Unaccounted for in Iraq
The U.S. occupation authority in Iraq was unable to keep track of nearly $9 billion it transferred to government ministries, which lacked financial controls, security, communications and adequate staff, an inspector general has found.
What a radical ruling
Guantanamo Bay Military Reviews Ruled Illegal -- Trials Violate Principles of Due Process, Federal Judge Rules
Green said the detainees are entitled to constitutional rights, including the advice of a lawyer and a fair chance to confront the evidence against them. The judge found the reviews have largely denied those rights.
More on Chertoff
Chertoff and Torture
Chertoff (now an appeals court judge in New Jersey) demanded--reportedly at Defense Department insistence, according to what defense attorneys were told--that Lindh sign a statement swearing he had "not been intentionally mistreated" by his US captors and waiving any future right to claim mistreatment or torture. Further, Chertoff attached a "special administrative measure," essentially a gag order, barring Lindh from talking about his experience for the duration of his sentence.
Check this out, GOP Social Security playbook

5 comments
 
I Don't Have To Like Bush To Love America!
"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism."
- President Thomas Jefferson

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
- Matthew 5:9

Of all the enemies of true liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.
- James Madison, from "Political Observations," April 20, 1795 in Letters and Other Writings of James Madison, Volume IV, page 491.
The title of this post is from a bumper sticker I see on a black VW Beetle in the parking garage where I work. I thought it was a fitting title on the subject of anti-war/anti-bush = unpatriotic/anti-American.

In my response to a comment on one of my posts a week or so ago I made reference to the fact that our country was founded on dissent and to realize that all one needs to do is go and read the Declaration of Independence to be reminded of that fact. This is not an issue of whether one sides argument is or isn't patriotic. What this country is about is the opportunity to express your ideas and opinions no matter if the king likes them or not. In my opinion calling someone that speaks out against the government unpatriotic is wrong. If whether your policy, ideas or whatever you are trying to put forward is a good idea and you are a competent person you should be able to take the scrutiny and explain/sell your side of the argument. So to me calling someone unpatriotic for expressing their opinion is cowardly.

As far as being anti-war that too is a choice that anyone can make and whether or not someone supports a war is contingent on many factors. I don't want to get into lies and justifications for this or any other war because there is probably a case to be made both ways for every war. Each war has it's own set of circumstances and the case for or against each may be flimsier on either side depending on the war. But if the justification was weak and the continuation is even weaker how can it be unpatriotic to fight for the return of our soldiers that were put in harms way for the wrong reasons!?

Finally the bible passage above is one of the eight beatitudes set out in the fifth chapter in the Gospel of Matthew. The priest in my church preached on them yesterday. A peacemaker is a good thing to aspire to be.

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Friday, January 28, 2005
 
Joan Chittister
What the rest of the world watched on Inauguration Day
The picture on the front page of The Irish Times was a large four-color picture of a small Iraqi girl. Her little body was a coil of steel. She sat knees up, cowering, screaming madly into the dark night. Her white clothes and spread hands and small tight face were blood-spattered. The blood was the blood of her father and mother, shot through the car window in Tal Afar by American soldiers while she sat beside her parents in the car, her four brothers and sisters in the back seat.


Chris Floyd
Ashes to Ashes
Yes, democracy remains the best system yet devised for the ordering of human society. But even the strongest democracy can be subverted by leaders bent on deception and aggression. Even the strongest democracy can give rise to a ruthless, corporate-driven war machine, to secret prisons, secret armies, torture regimens and mass slaughter. Democracy, for all its virtues, is not proof against systematic moral corruption -- or monstrous atrocity. The ashes of Auschwitz are still falling on the innocents being murdered today.

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SCSSC Update
It appears to be catching, Third Columnist Implicated with Payola Charges. Third time is a charm, three strikes and your out? Choose one but now there are three that have been on the payroll. You will hear many people say that these people were already for these positions and therefore paying them did not change their positions or did not cause them to do something against their will. That is not the point! The point is that these people were/are writing columns and going on TV, advocating these policies and not telling the consumer that they are being paid by the government to work on this subject. Is this wrong? Of course it is!

Next we have this, Social Security to promote Bush proposal Agency's employees say SSA should stay out of a political battle:
Social Security officials say the agency is carrying out its mission to educate the public, including more than 47 million beneficiaries, and to support the agenda of President Bush. But agency employees have complained to Social Security officials that they are being conscripted into a political battle over the future of the program. They question the accuracy of recent statements by the agency, and they say that money from the Social Security trust fund should not be used for such advocacy.

"Trust fund dollars should not be used to promote a political agenda," said Dana Duggins, a vice president of the Social Security Council of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents more than 50,000 of the agency's 64,000 workers and has opposed private accounts.
Is this wrong? Of course it is!

Bush has also appointed a wingnut from a right wing think tank to the Social Security Administration (SSA) to help him sell this policy, Critics See Social Security Warnings as Scare Tactics:

They cite as evidence an event held last week by the White House at which Bush engaged in a talk-show-style conversation with people who supported his call for private accounts. Joining the president on stage was Andrew G. Biggs, who advocated private accounts as an analyst at the conservative Cato Institute before Bush appointed him to the position of SSA associate commissioner for retirement policy.
It this wrong? Of course it is! Remember as you will see in the excerpt from the article below, Social Security was not meant to be an investment account, it's an insurance policy.

I was stunned this morning when I read this in my copy of US News & World Report A 'cure' worse than the cold:
Privatization thus gets things upside down. Social Security was not meant to re-create the free market; it was intended to insure against the vagaries and cruelties of the market and to permit Americans to count on the promise that the next generation will take care of them in their old age.
Now the only reason this magazine comes to my house is because it was free when I renewed my subscription to Salon. I would never pay for this magazine's usual pro-Republican and pro-Bush blather. To me it is a comical magazine, as far as it's opinion pieces are concerned, and to see an opinion piece that just trashes the President's proposed plan with the truth was, I must say, amazing and I applaud Mr. Zuckerman.

Paul Krugman shows us once again the way you can tell Bush is lying is because his mouth it open
Little Black Lies
Social Security privatization really is like tax cuts, or the Iraq war: the administration keeps on coming up with new rationales, but the plan remains the same. President Bush's claim that we must privatize Social Security to avert an imminent crisis has evidently fallen flat. So now he's playing the race card.

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Thursday, January 27, 2005
 
The quality or state of being actual or true
What is reality, as they say on Jeopardy. It's a brutal place. It's a place your President doesn't visit too often and doesn't like to hear about either, Powell gives bleak assessment of Iraq security problems
According to Chas Freeman, former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia and head of the independent Middle East Policy Council, Mr Bush recently asked Mr Powell for his view on the progress of the war. "We're losing," Mr Powell was quoted as saying. Mr Freeman said Mr Bush then asked the secretary of state to leave.
Unless it is a softball question from a right wing shill:
Q Thank you. Senate Democratic leaders have painted a very bleak picture of the U.S. economy. Harry Reid was talking about soup lines, and Hillary Clinton was talking about the economy being on the verge of collapse. Yet, in the same breath, they say that Social Security is rock-solid and there's no crisis there. How are you going to work -- you said you're going to reach out to these people -- how are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?
This is pathetic. I don't know if you watched the press conference yesterday but for me it was just another sad, sad act in the Bush administration. I know, I know we went there because Saddam was a bad guy, yadda, yadda, yadda:
In 1992, a year after the first Gulf War, I heard Dick Cheney, then secretary of defense, say that the US had been wise not to invade Baghdad and get ?bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq?. I heard him say: ?The question in my mind is how many additional American casualties is Saddam worth? And the answer is: not that damned many.?

[and]

I heard the vice president say that the war would be over in ?weeks rather than months?.
Now where are we? Well it depends if you like reality or not. One of the main problems is that not only does this administration have a problem with reality, so does the mainstream media(MSM). If you don't believe me just watch Hardball tonight. If you tune into the MSM, I don't, you will only hear that the only thing that matters is that a vote is going to take place in Iraq. It doesn't matter that huge swaths of the country are unsecured and people are being threatened and polling places, the locations of which have not been released to the public yet, are being blown up and that the infrastructure of Iraq is in total disarray. Scott Ritter has had enough, Criminals the lot of us:
But, through the invasion of Iraq, a crime of gigantic proportions has been perpetrated. If history has taught us anything, it is that it will condemn both the individuals and respective societies who not only perpetrated the crime, but also remained blind and mute while it was being committed.
Do you care that your President is trashing the name of your country? Does it bother you that the people of the world no longer see your country as a symbol of what they aspire to be? Does this bother you, WHY U.S. MEDIA DISMISSED THE LANCET STUDY OF 100,000 IRAQI CIVILIAN DEAD. If you get your news from the TV you are misinformed and uninformed but you're reading this so you're probably better informed than most. Here is another funny part of yesterday's press conference:
Q (20-year White House veteran Bill Plante): Mr. President, in the debate over Dr. Rice's confirmation, Democrats came right out and accused you and the administration of lying in the run-up to the war in Iraq. Republicans, in some cases, conceded that mistakes have been made. Now that the election is over, are you willing to concede that any mistakes were made? And how do you feel about --

THE PRESIDENT: Let me talk about Dr. Rice -- you asked about her confirmation. Dr. Rice is an honorable, fine public servant who needs to be confirmed. She will be a great Secretary of State. And Dr. Rice and I look forward to moving forward. We look forward to working to make sure the Iraqis have got a democracy. We look forward to continuing to make sure Afghanistan is as secure as possible from potential Taliban resurgence. We look forward to spreading freedom around the world. And she is going to make a wonderful Secretary of State.

Q No reaction to the lying? No reaction? (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Is that your question? The answer is, no. Next.
So ya see? When reality is that your a liar, you sent soldiers into a war that didn't need to happen, that your losing and have slaughtered thousands of innocent civilians as well as your own countries soldiers why would you want to see that as reality?

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Wednesday, January 26, 2005
 
The pre-election state of the Iraqi resistance
Iraqi Insurgency Proves Tough to Crack
"I think during election day they're going to start to attack early, create as big of a media event as they can, to try and intimidate people," a senior U.S. commander said Tuesday.

Other assessments are even more bleak.
They're ALL starting to line up against us
How the U.S. Became the World's Dispensable Nation
The US is being sidelined even in the area that Mr Bush identified in last week's address as America's mission: the promotion of democracy and human rights. The EU has devoted far more resources to consolidating democracy in post-communist Europe than has the US. By contrast, under Mr Bush, the US hypocritically uses the promotion of democracy as the rationale for campaigns against states it opposes for strategic reasons. Washington denounces tyranny in Iran but tolerates it in Pakistan. In Iraq, the goal of democratisation was invoked only after the invasion, which was justified earlier by claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and was collaborating with al-Qaeda.
That's not true, they hate us because we're free.

A good wrap-up of Spongebob and Crazy Jim
Cartoon Madness
It was the perfect gesture at the perfect time.

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Here is the vote
The Anti-condi 13
On the Nomination (Confirmation Condoleeza Rice, of California, to be Secretary of State
Akaka (D-HI)
Bayh (D-IN)
Boxer (D-CA)
Byrd (D-WV)
Dayton (D-MN)
Durbin (D-IL)
Harkin (D-IA)
Jeffords (I-VT)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Levin (D-MI)
Reed (D-RI)

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News
Democrats lay down again
Senate Confirms Rice As Secretary of State
"So I wonder why we are starting this new Congress with a protracted debate about a foregone conclusion," McCain said. Since Rice is qualified for the job, he said, "I can only conclude that we are doing this for no other reason than because of lingering bitterness over the outcome of the election."
McCain just continues to disappoint.

They've stood up in Committee on Albertoture
Senate to Likely Get Gonzales Nomination
A Senate Judiciary Committee divided along partisan lines advanced Alberto Gonzales' nomination as attorney general to the full Senate Wednesday despite Democratic complaints that he is too close to President Bush to be effective as the nation's top law enforcement official.
More on Albertoture
Torture treaty doesn't bar `cruel, inhuman' tactics, Gonzales says
In more than 200 pages of written responses to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who plan to vote Wednesday on his nomination, Gonzales told senators that laws and treaties prohibit torture by any U.S. agent without exception.

But he said the Convention Against Torture treaty, as ratified by the Senate, doesn't prohibit the use of "cruel, inhuman or degrading" tactics on non-U.S. citizens who are captured abroad, in Iraq or elsewhere.
This was used as justification for the lock down for the inauguration
FBI Says Boston 'Threat' a False Alarm
The FBI said on Tuesday there was "no credibility" to a reported threat against Boston last week that spurred a manhunt for 14 people and had police using radiation sensors in the city's subway system.
More of the SCLM on the Bush payroll
Writer Backing Bush Plan Had Gotten Federal Contract
In 2002, syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher repeatedly defended President Bush's push for a $300 million initiative encouraging marriage as a way of strengthening families.

"The Bush marriage initiative would emphasize the importance of marriage to poor couples" and "educate teens on the value of delaying childbearing until marriage," she wrote in National Review Online, for example, adding that this could "carry big payoffs down the road for taxpayers and children."

But Gallagher failed to mention that she had a $21,500 contract with the Department of Health and Human Services to help promote the president's proposal. Her work under the contract, which ran from January through October 2002, included drafting a magazine article for the HHS official overseeing the initiative, writing brochures for the program and conducting a briefing for department officials

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It got really ugly today
Deadliest day for U.S. in Iraq war
Wednesday's incidents brought the U.S. death toll in the war to 1,417.
Don't forget there were no Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, They were not involved in 9/11 and had no connection with Al Qaeda -- before we attacked, that is.

There is more to come because they mean it!
Wake Up! Bush Is Serious
The Bush administration is not establishing any democracies. It is starting a war that will last a generation. That is the neocon plan. They have put their intentions in writing just as Hitler did. It is no protection that their plan is detached from reality. Robespierre was detached from reality, and that did not stop him. So were Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot. People with power in their hands who are detached from reality are the most dangerous people of all. The delusional quality of their rantings disarms people from taking them seriously: "Oh, they couldn't mean that." But they do.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2005
 
Just a reminder, THE CHILDREN OF IRAQ. If you have children this will hurt worse than if you don't. It gets worse as you scroll down. It may take a while to load.

Look how Bush is taking care of your troops, Nickle-and-Diming the Troops. Here are a few of the things you $80 billion will go for:
Until now, the White House had not been expected to reveal details of the war package until after the budget's release.

The decision to release details of the $80 billion war budget requestion comes comes after congressional officials argued to the administration that withholding the war costs from Bush's budget would open the budget to criticism that it was an unrealistic document. Last year, the spending plan omitted war expenditures and received just that critique.

Adding additional pressure, the Congressional Budget Office planned to release a semi-annual report on the budget Tuesday that was expected to include a projection of war costs. Last September, the nonpartisan budget office projected the 10-year costs of the wars at $1.4 trillion at current levels of operations, and $1 trillion if the wars were gradually phased down.

Aides said about three-fourths of the $80 billion was expected to be for the Army, which is bearing the brunt of the fighting in Iraq. It also was expected to include money for building a U.S. embassy in Baghdad, which has been estimated to cost $1.5 billion.

One aide said the request will also include funds to help the new Afghan government combat drug-trafficking. It might also have money to help two new leaders the U.S. hopes will be allies, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko.
I just wanted to post this excerpt from the WP article I posted yesterday:
The Strategic Support Branch was created to provide Rumsfeld with independent tools for the "full spectrum of humint operations," according to an internal account of its origin and mission. Human intelligence operations, a term used in counterpoint to technical means such as satellite photography, range from interrogation of prisoners and scouting of targets in wartime to the peacetime recruitment of foreign spies. A recent Pentagon memo states that recruited agents may include "notorious figures" whose links to the U.S. government would be embarrassing if disclosed.
Notorius figures? Hmm? Saddam, Osama, Zarqawi?


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Two More I Found
Is this better or worse than what "welfare cheats" do?
Overstating of Assets Is Seen to Cost U.S. Billions in Taxes
Investors, entrepreneurs and landlords annually avoid paying at least $29 billion in taxes by overstating the price of stocks, businesses and real estate, two professors say in an article being published today in Tax Notes, an influential tax policy journal.
This is amazing. I'm sure Bill O'Reilly and Chris Matthews will be all over this story. The new nominee for DHS was the lawyer for a financier of Bin Laden. Those damn trial lawyers.
Security Risk?
Federal Appeals Court Judge Michael Chertoff?s ties to the financiers of the Sept. 11 attacks may prevent his confirmation as Homeland Security Chief.

According to a June 20, 2000 article in the The Record of Bergen County, New Jersey, Chertoff defended accused terrorist financier Dr. Magdy Elamir.

Elamir?s HMO was sued by the State of New Jersey to recoup $16.7 million in losses. At least $5.7 million went ?to unknown parties... by means of wire transfers to bank accounts where the beneficial owner of the account is unknown,? according to the article.

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A Random Sampling Of What's Going On
The Senate Democrats lay our their agenda, for what it's worth.
The American Promise A Future of Security, Opportunity and Responsibility
By embracing and affirming our core values of security, opportunity and responsibility, Democrats are united to help America fulfill this promise.
Why do these families hate America?
The Dangerous Gold Star Families
Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld continues to astound us Gold Star Families with his heartlessness, callousness and disrespect in the faces of our children who are being killed in the mindless invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Why is there not money for schools, health care, social security, the poor, jobs, etc..? I think it's because your President is spending your money on a war that did not need to be fought!
$80-Billion Request for Wars Expected
The request would push the total provided so far for those wars and for U.S. efforts against terrorism elsewhere to more than $280 billion since the first funds were provided shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks.
A very good explanation with graphics
Social Security For Dummies

Two more casualties from the war in Iraq. My wife pointed this out to me this weekend from the Austin paper
Police: Suspect followed other women before attacking clerk
Police said Williams, a former Marine who served in Iraq and was discharged last year after four years in the service, was arrested last month in Tyler on a cocaine possession charge. He was released on $2,000 bail.

Williams' parents in Tyler declined to comment Saturday.

Aunt Linda Williams told the Tyler Morning Telegraph that her nephew seemed angrier and not as talkative since he returned from Iraq.

"All you can do is sit here and wonder, you know, what happened," she told the newspaper. "I guess he just snapped. I don't know. He's been asking for help ever since he came home from the military."
These random acts of violence will become more and more prevalent as more soldiers come home. It is a sad repercussion of war. There will be many more.

It appears there were more than a few bad apples
More Prisoner Abuse in Iraq Alleged
The latest series of allegations add to a growing pattern that human rights activists said suggested systematic abuse at U.S. military detention facilities across the globe.
Meet the newest member of the SCLM
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams thinks Limbaugh should get more credit
Brian Williams, who replaced Tom Brokaw as anchor and managing editor of NBC's Nightly News on December 2, 2004, said in an interview with C-SPAN founder, president, and CEO Brian Lamb: "it's my duty to listen to [nationally syndicated radio host] Rush" Limbaugh and that "Rush has actually yet to get the credit he is due."
Really?

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Monday, January 24, 2005
 
My take on the Inauguration
Well it took me a while but I finally got around to watching and reading the Bush Inaugural Speech. I've seen a few comments about it over the weekend and it didn't seem to be very well received, from either side. To me it seemed to be very vague and non-committal about how he is going to bring freedom and liberty to the world. Of course he didn't mention torture, death squads and the Pentagon's new secret intelligence unit. He never mentioned Iraq or any other country by name. Not much mention of domestic issues either. Another interesting thing was toward the end, if you watch it, there was some yelling and such. It seemed as if a few protesters got in and started exercising their freedom and liberty.

One thing to keep in mind about Bush's foreign policy is that it is driven by the neo-conservatives. The neocon foreign policy is actually the exact opposite of the conservative foreign policy. The conservative foreign policy is isolationist and the neocon foreign policy is interventionist. Jim Lobe lays out the neocon philosophy pretty good in this article, What Is a Neo-Conservative Anyway?
As neo-con godfather Irving Kristol once remarked, a neo-conservative is a ''liberal who was mugged by reality''. True to that description, neo-cons generally originated on the left side of the political spectrum and some times from the far left. Many, such as Kristol himself, have Trotskyite roots that are still reflected in their polemical and organizational skills and ideological zeal.
Now that he has had his accountability moment and the neocon agenda has been ratified the neocons are back in vogue. Now that he has been reelected and doesn't have to worry about reelection he can do whatever he wants.

I'm sure by now you know the freedom vs. liberty score in the speech. For me it was nothing new and this President can say whatever he likes but what actually matters is what he does. Usually what he does has nothing to do with liberty and freedom.

A couple of interesting commentaries on the speech. One from David Corn who kept a running commentary and another on The Hidden Passages in Bush's Inaugural Address.

The Bush Administration hides another policy change by releasing it on a Friday
White House Scraps 'Coalition of the Willing' List
The White House has scrapped its list of Iraq allies known as the 45-member "coalition of the willing," which Washington used to back its argument that the 2003 invasion was a multilateral action, an official said on Friday.

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Thursday, January 20, 2005
 
$40 million on the inauguration? Huh!

Here's how it works, The Eve of Destruction.

Reality TV, what's that?

Now get to work Building a New Majority
A lot of these efforts are underway: t r u t h o u t, Common Dreams, AlterNet, Pacifica, and Air America to name a few are working to build an independent media. MoveOn, Democracy for America, The Progressive Majority and many other groups are working to build grassroots movements. Progress has been made in the last 4 years, and while it may take decades, the new silent majority must be given a voice.

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The Coming Wars
I wrote a little about the most recent Seymour Hersh article linked above. The Department of Defense(DoD) quickly released a statement on the article. The DoD never denies in the statement that they've been conducting reconnaissance missions in Iran. They pick at a few technicalities of the article and personally attack Mr. Hersh, that's about it. The non-denial denial adds credence to the story.

Then last night I'm watching The Charlie Rose Show and who do they have on? Well I missed the intro so I have to watch to find out. First it's Biden blathering on about how bad Condi is but he hopes she will do a good job and that he is going to vote for her as well. When he is done with Biden Charlie says next will by Seymour Hersh and Richard Perle. Unfortunately they weren't on together. Hersh comes on and basically explains why the DoD is so pissed at him. It's because the story he tells points out that these missions are not being run by the CIA but by the DoD and therefore Congress does not have to be notified that they are taking place. The other reason is the Israeli involvement which he points out. So to refute Mr. Hersh we get a member of the Defense Policy Board (DPB), Richard Perle. The mission of the DPB is, "The Defense Policy Board will serve the public interest by providing the Secretary of Defense, Deputy Secretary and Under Secretary for Policy with independent, informed advice and opinion concerning major matters of defense policy." Make no mistake Mr. Perle is for more wars in the Middle East and hates Mr. Hersh, actually called him a terrorist. I didn't get to see the beginning of Mr. Perle's time on the show but when I did hear him you would have thought that Iraq is, except for a few little skirmishes here and there, pretty much a peaceful place. At one point and he was going on and on about how good things are there he actually said, I'm paraphrasing transcripts cost for this show, "I don't want to paint too rosy a picture". This guy isn't drinking the Kool-Aid he's making the stuff! Anyway he seems to think that if we bomb and/or invade Iran, and the other countries, it will be the same cakewalk that Iraq has been. Once we bomb or invade the people of Iran will see how bad their government is and overthrow them and democracy will take over and... Well you've heard it all before haven't you?

But Perle sticking his head above water is a troubling sign. It means that the neocons are still in charge. It also means that this administration feels that since it was "reelected" it is safe to bring out the less agreeable of the bunch and start making the case for more war. But the main thing that the DoD response and the resurfacing of Mr. Perle mean is that Mr. Hersh hit a nerve.

More on the not so rosy picture in Iraq,
In pictures: Shooting in Tal Afar
. The BBC has pictures of the aftermath of US troops shooting up a car filled with a family of seven.

Gee I wonder why Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein gave such a glowing introduction? Maybe this had something to do with it.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2005
 
We've got a problem. It appears that quite a few of our soldiers don't want to go to war anymore. Despite this, Media Training Now Required for Iraq-Bound Soldiers:
A list of "wallet-card" talking points given to a group of Marines heading to Iraq, obtained by that newspaper, included:

? The Marine Corps is trained, resourced, and ready to accomplish its missions. We are committed to the cause and will remain in Iraq as long as we are needed.
? The fight in Iraq is tough, but we will remain steadfast and not lose heart.
? We are moving forward together with the Iraqi government as partners in building a future for the sons and daughters of Iraq.
? Coalition forces will help our Iraqi partners as they build their new and independent country and take their rightful place in the world community.
? Our troopers and their families are our greatest and most treasured resource.
? The Corps is a national institution -- it has never failed to do the will of the American people.
So remember the reality doesn't matter. What matters is that if you happen to talk to a reporter you make sure to paint a rosy picture. That could be hard since the U.S. Military Personnel Growing Critical of the War in Iraq:
US military officials are becoming increasingly vocal in their criticism of the war in Iraq, telling Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that more troops are needed to prevail over the insurgents. Moreover, recruitment is down and more reservists and members of the National Guard are being sent to Baghdad.

The war is over, at least as far as Darrell Anderson is concerned. Anderson, a 22-year-old GI from Lexington, Kentucky, deserted a week ago, heading across the US' loosely controlled border with Canada. When his fellow soldiers in the First US Tank Division, stationed in Hessen, Germany, ship out to Iraq for their second tour of duty, he'll be in Canada.
Let's see. The ranks are shrinking and no one wants to join anymore so logically speaking that seems to point to a draft. But there are ways around it. Here's one, RAND to seek ways to avoid draft:
The solution? Outsource desk and logistics jobs to private companies while pushing those "chairborne" warriors out of their offices into fighting units.
Here's another, Mini-nukes on US agenda:
The Bush administration appears determined to build a new generation of small nuclear weapons, especially "earth penetrators", designed to attack nuclear, chemical or biological materials buried deep underground.
So we "out-source" the desk jobs and push the paper-pushers onto the battle field and use "mini nukes" so we don't need that many troops. It looks like this administration is going to try and have it's cake and eat it too. Meaning they are going to try and have their wars without a draft.

More here on Ranks revolt, draft possible, war a mess |+| War is moral choice.


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It Only Matters The Day You Sell It
As this Social Security fight heats up it is good to keep in mind that there will be swings in the debate but the only thing that matters is what the vote is on the day it happens. Like my Father has always told me about the stock market, "There's only two days that the price of your stock matters, the day you buy your stock and the day you sell it". In other words all the prices of the stock in between didn't matter. Now, back to Social Security. So some days it may seem like no way Bush will get his plan passed and other days it will look like smooth sailing for his plan. The only time it will matter is on that day when they finally vote on whatever plan is on the table at that time.

Also remember that many different things may have happened by then. Remember, as Ms. Rice said, "I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon; that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile". In other words who ever would have thought 9/11 would have happened and all the opportunities for this administration to put things over on the sheeple in this country. Even though she later said, "I believe the title was, "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States." Showing that they knew the attack was coming. You're going to see things like this, Top GOoPer says Bush's plan is dead and then a reply from the White House, White House brushes aside Social Security criticism. This is an attempt to take your eye of this subject. To make you believe that since the Republican chairman of the Ways and Means Committee says it's dead then you no longer have to worry about it. Don't believe that for a second. The plan is to kill Social Security and has been since it was first passed. In this administration and it's followers minds the fight will not be over until Social Security is dead.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005
 
I listened to three speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. today since I didn't have time today. I recommend it. I listened to "I Have Dream", "Beyond Vietnam" and "I've Been To The Mountain Top". Inspiring stuff.

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I didn't have time to post this yesterday but you can go to this site, www.drmartinlutherkingjr.com and listen to or read his great speeches. I listened to the I Have a Dream, Beyond Vietnam and his last speech, I've Been to the Mountain Top. Inspiring stuff.

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Monday, January 17, 2005
 
Crisis, crisis, crisis
Here is how the Bush administration sells it's products. First they scare the life out of you and lie to you. Then they cram something down you throat that will do the exact opposite of what they say. Or you can read Paul Krugman's article today, That Magic Moment. He also has an interview in Rolling Stone, which is a good recap of the fake social security crisis. A little known fact about Social Security, About 16 percent of the 47 million people receiving Social Security benefits are disabled workers and their dependents. Also from the Sunday NYT a good overview of the SCSSC, A Question of Numbers.

Have you ever heard of the Peter Principle? The Peter Principle states: In a Hierarchy Every Employee Tends to Rise to His Level of Incompetence. It would appear to someone familiar with this principle that we have entered a new phase, under this administration, where people are allowed to rise ABOVE their level of incompetence. Take the first two cabinet appointees to take the stand so far, Albertorture Gonzales and Condiliar Rice. One gave the President advice that the Geneva Convention's rules against torture did not apply to those taken prisoner in the WoT. Even though: Article Six establishes the Constitution, and the laws and treaties of the United States made in accordance with it, to be the supreme law of the land. Which makes torturing a violation of the Constitution. The other was the head of security when the greatest attack on American soil happened. Let me ask you a question. You work for a company and you're head of security. An event occurs that shows you to not have done a very good job of protecting your company's security. Let's say someone breaks in a steals all your equipment. Do you think you will be keeping your job, much less be promoted?

That is why I came to the realization long ago that as far as this administration is concerned these two and the others like them have not done anything wrong, they have actually excelled. So in that case we can throw out the Peter Principle out. It can be confusing because when you take what they say and look at the results of their actions they look like total failures. Like this article shows, New intelligence reports raise questions about U.S. mission in Iraq:
"The sad thing is we have created what the administration claimed we were intervening to prevent: an Iraq/al-Qaida linkage," one of the senior intelligence officials said
That line is a little misleading because that was only one of the reasons we "intervened", remember those pesky WMD's? But if the result is actually what was intended and they have just been pulling the wool over our eyes then they aren't incompetent they are just liars and crooks.

If they wanted to create chaos all along then they are succeeding. If all Tenent had to do was make sure that, no matter what the evidence showed, we could use WMD as an excuse to invade Iraq then he did his job. If all Bremer had to do was to make sure that all that reconstruction money got funneled to the right corporations and that the country descended in to total chaos, then he did his job. And if all Tommy Franks had to do was to make sure that only the Oil ministry was protected and to make sure our troops, for the most part, just stayed out of the way as chaos ensued then he did his job. It also then makes sense why these three received medals for their service.

In case you forgot Seymour Hersh reminds us that Iraq is not the end but the beginning, THE COMING WARS. It also looks like he hit a nerve, Pentagon lashes out at Iran claim You do remember that we are building 14 `enduring bases' in Iraq? We're not building those for the Iraqi military. What I ask is for everyone to remember not to concentrate on what they say but concentrate on what they do and the outcome of their actions.

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Friday, January 14, 2005
 
This is a Patriot
RITTER RIGHT ABOUT IRAQ
President Bush has been handing out Presidential Medals of Freedom lately like they were Little League good sportsmanship ribbons.

The medal apparently is an award for good effort, even if the results aren't so winning.

He awarded one to former Iraq viceroy Paul Bremer, who most notably disbanded the Iraqi army, leading to our present security implosion.

And he gave one to George Tenet, the former CIA chief, who most notably presided over two of the most devastating intelligence failures in the nation's history: first Sept. 11, then Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

It was Tenet who told the president that finding weapons stockpiles in Iraq was a "slam dunk."

Right. Give that man a medal.

I'd like to nominate someone who really deserves the Presidential Medal of Freedom: Scott Ritter.
This one has a great opening line
Hold the elections, then get out
The biggest surprise of the White House announcement calling off the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is that there was anyone still out there looking for them.
I'm not quite sure what to make of these two
16 Dems urge Bush to start pullout from Iraq and Baker advises administration to consider a phased withdrawal of troops.

Didn't Clinton get impeached for this? See accountability below
Nomination May Revisit Case of Citizen Seized in Afghanistan
Newly disclosed documents in the John Walker Lindh case appear to conflict with assertions made to Congress by Michael Chertoff, nominated this week as homeland security secretary, about the Justice Department's handling of ethics concerns in the high-profile prosecution.
Nobody has been fired
Hollow Accountability
It took no less a sage than President Bush to put the firing of four high-level CBS News employees in perspective: "CBS said they would act. They did. And I hope their actions are such that this doesn't happen again." This from the man who fired not a single person in his entire administration for getting nearly everything wrong about Iraq and taking the nation to war for reasons that did not exist or were downright specious. Lucky for Bush he's only the president of the United States and not the head of CBS.
What is this Senator saying?
Violating the Constitution
"I believe we have a problem with Social Security that will emerge in 2018," he said. "At that point in time, Social Security pay out will be more than what is in the fund put in by working people or employers."

Allard said there are no reserves in Social Security because what is there is automatically transferred into the general fund, leaving a debt of $28 trillion. But he doesn't believe the money will ever be repaid to the fund.

"The money is spent," he said. "I don't believe in my own opinion we'll be able to raise the funds to pay it back."
I see coffins
Pentagon ban on filming coffins defied
A US National Guard unit has defied a Pentagon request that sought to stop television news crews filming six flag-draped soldiers' coffins arriving in Louisiana.
The US press won't even cover someone defying the Pentagon.

More of the baggage the soldiers are bringing home
Marine vs. Marine in Interstate 64 shooting
A Marine engaged in his own private little war with two other Marines on Interstate 64 early yesterday, allegedly shooting an assault rifle at them in a high-speed case of road rage, authorities said.

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My Response
If anyone is interested my response to the comment on my earlier post is up.


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I've been formulating my response to a comment to my previous post. I'm trying to make it a reasoned one and believe me it's hard dealing with someone quite this misinformed. It is taking time.

It's Friday:

Chris Floyd
Green Acres
Month after month, year after year, we've watched with fascinated horror as George W. Bush revives the ancient tools of tyranny. Aggressive war, torture, secret prisons, arbitrary detention, death squads, mass surveillance, contempt for law, elitist corruption, deification of the leader, co-option of religion to serve state power, rule by executive fiat: It's like watching a ghastly pantomime of imperial Rome or some feudal state, rigged up in modern dress.
Paul Krugman
The British Evasion
Pardon my Britishism, but Britain's 20-year experience with privatization is a cautionary tale Americans should know about.


Fascism, you say?
Extra-Tight Security at Bush's Inaugural
Other instructions given performers include a warning not to look directly at Bush while passing the presidential reviewing stand, not to look to either side and not to make any sudden movements.

"They want you to just look straight ahead," said Danielle Adam, co-director of the Mid American Pompon All Star Team from Michigan, which also performed in the 2001 inaugural parade.
You can't make up shit like this.

Woman loses insurance coverage for her politics
elen Johnston is an 80-year-old retired pediatrician who hardly considers herself much of a risk for being sued.

That's not how her insurance company sees it, however.

Johnston is losing extra coverage she bought years ago while she still practiced medicine - not because she's a retired doctor, but because she is active in Francestown politics.
It wasn't before we got there
Iraq New Terror Breeding Ground
Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the training ground for the next generation of "professionalized" terrorists, according to a report released yesterday by the National Intelligence Council, the CIA director's think tank.

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Thursday, January 13, 2005
 
WMD? Did we say Saddam had WMD?
When we speak of Iraq, WMD and 9/11 there is one key thing to keep in mind. While many misinformed people in this country believe that to be true the people of Iraq know that is a lie. Say what you will but when a people know the reason for their occupation to be a lie, a concoction, a bunch of crap shall we say it does not shine a good light on the occupier. It also shines a pretty ugly light on the people of the occupying nation. Don't you think?

So why did we invade Iraq, kill thousands of civilians, occupy the country, ruin its cities, and turn its people against us? Well it wasn't WMD. WMD was just what the sheep in this country would buy. If they were able to scare the sheep in this country enough anything is possible. Do you remember this from Paul Wolfowitz?:
"The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason,"
Wolfie I always good for a quote. So why did we create chaos in Iraq. If there's chaos, then we can't leave. So why do we want to stay there? I have no idea.

This soldier has had enough
War Veteran Refuses 2nd Iraq Deployment
A mechanic with nine years in the Army, including a role in the assault on Baghdad, has refused to return to Iraq, claiming "you just don't know how bad it is."

[and]

"I told them that I refused deployment because I just couldn't go back over there," Benderman said Wednesday. "If I'm going to sit up there and tell everyone that I do not believe in war, why would I go back to a war zone?"

[and]

"You can sit around your house and discuss this thing in abstract terms, but until you see and experience it for yourself, you just don't know how bad it is," he said. "How is it an honorable thing to teach a kid how to look through the sights of a rifle and kill another human being? War is the ultimate in violence and it is indiscriminate."
The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations
U.S. Lowers Expectations On Iraq Vote
With just over two weeks until the Iraqi elections, the United States is lowering its expectations for both the turnout and the results of the vote, increasingly emphasizing other steps over the next year as more important to Iraq's political transformation, according to U.S. officials.
This is a classic ploy for this administration. Make the expectations so low that if one person shows up to vote it will be an incredible victory.

Congress is pro-torture as well. Isn't one party rule great?
White House Fought New Curbs on Interrogations, Officials Say
At the urging of the White House, Congressional leaders scrapped a legislative measure last month that would have imposed new restrictions on the use of extreme interrogation measures by American intelligence officers, Congressional officials say.
Monty Python provides the comic relief
A man-made tsunami
I am bewildered by the world reaction to the tsunami tragedy. Why are newspapers, television and politicians making such a fuss? Why has the British public forked out more than £100m to help the survivors, and why is Tony Blair now promising "hundreds of millions of pounds"? Why has Australia pledged £435m and Germany £360m? And why has Mr Bush pledged £187m?

Of course it's wonderful to see the human race rallying to the aid of disaster victims, but it's the inconsistency that has me foxed. Nobody is making this sort of fuss about all the people killed in Iraq, and yet it's a human catastrophe of comparable dimensions.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2005
 
I've been having some trouble lately getting my thoughts together. The main reason is because I've been busy at work the past two weeks with the preparing for the start of the 79th Legislature here in Texas. So with little time available and the stories coming fast a furious I've been having trouble getting my thoughts together. Another contributing factor was the shameful display put on by the Congressional Democrats last week. I believe are country is on the slow burn to Fascism and most people in this country either just don't care or, I hope, are not paying attention to what is happening. Which one is more disheartening I'm not sure.

Then there is the fact that all you see on the television now, as far as news is concerned, is complete and total garbage. I'm not talking about CBS and Dan Rather. I'm talking about things like this, Lawmakers Call on President to Stop Covert Propaganda. Goebbels would be proud. As far as CBS and Dan Rather are concerned it seems that they were used pretty good. As I thought this through last night it became clear to me that the documents that CBS received were a Rove plant. Why do I know that? Check this out. Apparently what CBS did wrong was not that they had an agenda out for Bush but they wanted to be the first network to get the story. Remember the facts of the story were never discussed once the forged documents were "found out". The facts show that Bush was AWOL. Now back to Rove. He knows the story is true and he also knows the story is about to break. "What to do, what to do", he says to himself. Plant false documents, allow the story to break -- on the so-callled "most liberal" network, then sick the dogs on the fake documents. All the media will focus on is the "fake" documents scandal and forget that what the documents say are true. It also does the job of keeping all other media off the story because it's too messy now. They also threw in that CBS contacted Joe Lockhart of the Kerry campaign, that was a nice little touch. But since the media is so liberal they decided to forget about it. Sure they did!

So maybe it's the hypocrisy. No I really think what I've been having trouble with the most is how I'm going to come to terms with the Democratic Party. The way Kerry has acted since the election makes me think the election was all just two fraternity brothers playing a prank on (the)US. Hillary, If she runs I'll vote for Perot. You can run down the list and the Democrats in the Senate are just corruption lite, excepty for Barbara Boxer, of course. Did you see how Joe Biden kissed Albertorture Gonzales' ass?
This is not a witch hunt. This is about your judgment. That's all we're trying to do. And so when I get to ask my questions, I hope you'll be candid about it, because -- not that it's relevant -- I like you. I like you. You are real -- you're the real deal.
Sure, you're a torturer but that has nothing to do with your judgement, I mean we all torture sometimes. What the F**K is Biden talking about. We all get to the top by toturing right? Now we have the new freak that's been nominated to head the SS, er, I mean the DHS. I'm sure Biden's all right with him too. Not to mention President of Fabricated Crises. One more thing on the hypocrisy, did you see these two: Bush Honors Tenet, Franks, Bremer and US Search for WMD in Iraq is Over: Report.


Then there is the horror story of Iraq, Devastated Iraq, the upcoming election, The Projected Winner in Iraq: Failure and what is our President gonna do about this, Iraq rebels in video taunt?
Departing from fiery Islamic slogans, Iraqi guerrillas have launched a propaganda campaign with an English-language video urging U.S. troops to lay down their weapons and seek refuge in mosques and homes.

The video, narrated in fluent English by what sounded like an Iraqi educated in the United States or Britain, also mocked the U.S. president's challenge to rebels in the early days of the insurgency to 'bring it on'.

"George W. Bush; you have asked us to 'bring it on'. And so help me, (we will) like you never expected. Do you have another challenge?," asked the narrator before the video showed explosions around a U.S. military Humvee vehicle.

Threats intended to demoralise and frighten in the tense build up to elections at the end of the month were tempered with invitations to desert and escape retribution.

A masked guerrilla from an unknown group called the Islamic Jihad Army, eschewing past impassioned Arabic-language threats of holy war, told U.S. soldiers: "This is not your war, nor are you fighting for a true cause in Iraq."

"To the American soldiers we say you can also choose to fight tyranny with us. Lay down your weapons and seek refuge in our mosques, churches and homes. We will protect you," he said.
I've been on too long now. I will try to get back to my regular posting as soon as I can. Later, Larry

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Tuesday, January 11, 2005
 
Interesting News
Shooter identified as US Marine
Police said Monday that the 19-year-old Modesto man, reported absent without leave from Camp Pendleton Saturday night, had served in Iraq and did not want to return.
Miss. Libraries Put 'America' Back on Shelves
"I've been a librarian for 40 years and this is the only book I've objected to so strongly that I wouldn't allow it to circulate," Robert Willits, director of the Jackson-George Regional Library System, said after the ban. "We're not an adult bookstore. Our entire collection is open to the entire public," he said.
Halliburton unit prepares for Iran work
Despite a Houston grand jury probe into Halliburton's business dealings in the rogue state, the company's Cayman Islands-registered Halliburton Products & Services Ltd. is in line to begin oil-field service work in the South Pars field, believed to be the world's largest natural gas field. Halliburton Products & Services is a subcontractor working for Oriental Kish Co.


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Who Is Michael Chertoff?
Bush's new nominee to run the Department of Homeland Security
Michael Chertoff: Ashcroft's Top Gremlin
...Chertoff, former chief of the Justice Department's criminal division, and a scary looking guy if ever there was one, has been elevated to the level of Court of Appeals judge--the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, whose jurisdiction includes Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. What's so scary about Michael? Well, besides having no judicial experience and being a right-ring radical who does not believe in the Constitution and wants to rewrite federal law and rules of procedure on an ad hoc, case by case basis, as it suits him, nothing I guess.


[and]

Keep your eye on Michael Chertoff. As bad for the law and Constitution as many of Bush's judicial appointees are, Chertoff has been the architect of prosecutions in the "war on terror." And he may have big changes in mind for you, me, the courts, and the Constitution.


More here, 'Let's Not Let Them Get Johnnie Cochran on the Phone'
In the hours and days immediately following [the September 11] attacks, Attorney General John Ashcroft . . . directed that FBI and INS agents question anyone they could find with a Muslim-sounding name . . . in some areas . . . they simply looked for names in the phone book. . . . . Anyone who could be held, even on a minor violation of law or immigration rules, was held under a three-pronged strategy, fashioned by Ashcroft and a close circle of Justice Department deputies including criminal division chief Michael Chertoff, that was intended to exert maximum pressure on these detainees . . . ?From a summary of Ashcroft strategy sessions contained, in further detail, in Steven Brill's After: How America Confronted the September 12 Era (Simon & Schuster)
An Ashcroft flunky, that makes me feel better, and we thought Kerik was a bad choice. Every time in this administration has a person step down or aside I always think, "I thought that person was bad but I'm waiting to see who they choose to replace them with before I decide to celebrate". See what I mean?

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Friday, January 07, 2005
 
IOKIYAR
It's O.K. if you're a Republican
Paul Krugman: Worse Than Fiction
I've been thinking of writing a political novel. It will be a bad novel because there won't be any nuance: the villains won't just espouse an ideology I disagree with - they'll be hypocrites, cranks and scoundrels

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Iraq News
Let's start with the bad news
Nine U.S. Troops Are Killed in Iraq
Seven U.S. soldiers were killed when a massive roadside bomb exploded under an armored vehicle in Baghdad and two Marines were killed in Anbar province on Thursday, the military said. It was the deadliest day for U.S. forces in Iraq since a suicide bomber struck a mess hall Dec. 21.
DESPERATE YET?
A few quotations:
The recent acts of terrorism, such as the bombing of the U.N. headquarters and the mosque in Najaf, show a couple of things. First, that Iraq is still a dangerous place. They also show, I think, the desperation -- the desperation of the adversaries that we face. We're actively engaged in rooting out this threat with more and more Iraqis coming forward with information and a willingness to help us.

-- Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, September 9, 003.
VERY LITTLE, WAY TOO LATE!
Rumsfeld Seeks Broad Review of Iraq Policy
he Pentagon is sending a retired four-star Army general to Iraq next week to conduct an unusual "open-ended" review of the military's entire Iraq policy, including troop levels, training programs for Iraqi security forces and the strategy for fighting the insurgency, senior Defense Department officials said Thursday.
The civil war won't start until we leave
Scowcroft Skeptical on Iraq Vote
The election scheduled this month in Iraq could further inflame the country's conflict and increase the risk of civil war, Brent Scowcroft, national security advisor to President Bush's father, said at a forum Thursday.

Rather than leading to stability, Scowcroft said, he feared that the election would further alienate Iraq's Sunni Muslim population and that it had "a great potential for deepening the conflict."

"Indeed, we may be seeing an incipient civil war [in Iraq] at the present time."
No Shit!?
Temporary Troop Increase for Army May Become Permanent
The Army is likely to make a temporary 30,000 increase in troop numbers permanent as it struggles to ease the burden on forces strained by the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, a senior Army general said Thursday.

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Wednesday, January 05, 2005
 
SCSSC Update
Paul Krugman
Stopping the Bum's Rush
There are only two things that could endanger Social Security's ability to pay benefits before the trust fund runs out. One would be a fiscal crisis that led the U.S. to default on all its debts. The other would be legislation specifically repudiating the general fund's debts to retirees.

That is, we can't have a Social Security crisis without a general fiscal crisis - unless Congress declares that debts to foreign bondholders must be honored, but that promises to older Americans, who have spent most of their working lives paying extra payroll taxes to build up the trust fund, don't count.
Atrio calls..
..Bullshit

This AP article was one of the better ones on SS until you got to the last line:

In each case, income from the worker's private account, funded with a portion of their Social Security tax, would be expected to at least make up the difference.

Not according to the chief Social Security actuary. Not according to the CBO study of "model 2" which appears to be the closest thing to the not-plan the president hasn't proposed.

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Tuesday, January 04, 2005
 
It Doesn't make sense!
Let me see if I have the "story" straight. On September 11th we were attacked by 19 highjackers, 15 of which were from Saudi Arabia. Because of that we attack Afghanistan and not Saudi Arabia. Makes sense. Once we have, ahem, liberated Afghanistan it only makes logical sense that we would then go after Saudi Arabia, right? Nope, we then have to invade, conquer and occupy Iraq because -- well pick your favorite excuse this administration made up and insert it here -- they were going to, maybe someday, possibly have, a weapon of some kind, that they could use to attack us, probably. Of course Iraq never did attacked the US and none of the 9/11 highjackers were from Iraq. Now we find out that Iraq Bomber Reportedly Saudi Med Student. Do you think this President will invade Bandar Bush's country now? Did you see this? Another one of our "allies" in the region seems to be jumping on the bandwagon, Kuwait Detains Soldiers for Plot Against U.S. Forces. Didn't we also "liberate" Kuwait for it's monarchy a few years ago? And that is how the Kuwaitis thank us for putting their benevolent King back on his throne? Well next time we send our CIA backed tyrant from Iraq into their country maybe we won't liberate them. So we do not attack the country that is supposedly responsible for 9/11 and continue to allow them to attack our soldiers? That is how your President is fighting the WoT.

Don't forget how well this war is going, 5 U.S. Troops Are Killed, and Baghdad Governor Is Slain. Remember how the violence leading up to each stage is going to get worse but then after that event occurs it will get better? We were told that after Uday and Qusay were captured it would get better. We were told that after Saddam was captured it would get better. We were told that after they had a constitution in place it would get better. We were told once we handed over "sovereignty" it would get better. It never did, it only gets worse. Now we are being told that once the "(s)election" is over it will get better. Do you honestly believe that? It will only get better when we leave.

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Monday, January 03, 2005
 
My Buzzflash style headline for this article:
Ex-Office of Special Plans liar and Iranian Spy, Ahmed Chalabi, stands next to Shiite leaders to help make their case that they are no longer influenced by Iran. "They also said that if their coalition gains power it would not demand the immediate withdrawal of American troops.." Bush says, "Mission Accomplished!"
Political coalition says it won't create an Islamic theocracy
"We have rejected the idea of a sectarian regime and we believe that Iraq is for all Iraqis." Appearing with Hakim at the briefing was Ahmed Chalabi, a secular Shiite and former exile who ranks high in the alliance slate of candidates. Chalabi said he had just returned from Tehran, where he told Iranian leaders that they must not interfere with Iraq's elections.
That is some funny stuff there!

Christian Hypocrisy or Would Jesus Do This or Theocracy Anyone?
Evangelical Leader Threatens to Use His Political Muscle Against Some Democrats
James C. Dobson, the nation's most influential evangelical leader, is threatening to put six potentially vulnerable Democratic senators "in the 'bull's-eye' " if they block conservative appointments to the Supreme Court.
One From The Reality Based Community
Iraq battling more than 200,000 insurgents: intelligence chief
"I think the resistance is bigger than the US military in Iraq. I think the resistance is more than 200,000 people," Iraqi intelligence service director General Mohamed Abdullah Shahwani said in an interview ahead of the January 30 elections.
Do You Know About Your Future AG?
Alberto Gonzales Revisited
I saw that the Washington Post has a soft profile piece today on the man soon to be the Attorney General, or head law enforcement officer of the United States, Alberto Gonzales. I figured it was time for another look at this guy.
News on the Iraqi Election:
Candidate name recognition doesn't appear very important, however
For security reasons, the actual names of most candidates on the 78 party or multiparty lists have so far not been released. This odd situation, in which the candidates are not known a month before the election, attests to how dire the political and security situation in Iraq really is.
This one goes under the heading: I Thought They Were Having An Election?
US ponders election pledge to Iraqi Sunnis
The Bush administration is considering reserving a few high-level posts in the next Iraqi government for Sunni Muslims, regardless of how well they fare in next month's elections, for fear that their exclusion could prolong the country's military and political turmoil.
Wouldn't it be better to wait until they could be legitimately elected? Let me make sure I have this right. Iraq is going to have elections on January 30th. They will not be able to know beforehand who is running and if the elections don't turn out the way the Bush administration likes they will change the results. Welcome to George Bush does nation building. More here, New Year and Elections...

News on our election:

Thom Hartmann
Dialing In For Democracy - Now Is Critical
Jeff Taylor is one of Vermont's three electors - representatives elected by the citizens of Vermont to vote for President of the United States. He and his two peers have joined the electors of several other states in signing resolutions asking their state's congressional delegation to protest the Ohio slate of electors.

"If they can have fair elections in Kiev," Taylor told me, "why not in Cleveland?"
The Free Press

Ten preliminary reasons why the Bush vote does not compute, and why Congress must investigate rather than certify the Electoral College (Part One of Two)

The presidential vote for George W. Bush does not compute.

By examining a very wide range of sworn testimonies from voters, polling officials and others close to the administration of the Nov. 2 election; by statistical analysis of the certified vote by mathematicians, election experts and independent research teams who have conducted detailed studies of the results in Ohio, New Mexico, Florida and elsewhere; from experts who studied the voting machines, tabulators and other electronic equipment on which a fair vote count has depended; and from a team of attorneys and others who have challenged the Ohio results; the freepress.org investigative team has compiled a portrait of an election whose true outcome must be investigated further by the Congress, the media and all Americans -- because it was almost certainly not an honest victory for George W. Bush.
And last but not least the latest debunking of the SCSSC:

Paul Krugman
Confusions about Social Security
Since the Bush administration has put Social Security privatization at the top of the agenda, I'll be writing a lot about the subject in my New York Times column over the next few months. But it's hard to do the subject justice in a series of 700-word snippets. So I thought it might be helpful to lay out the situation as I see it in an integrated piece.

There are three main points of confusion in the Social Security debate (confusion that is deliberately created, for the most part, but never mind that for now). These are:

* The meaning of the trust fund: in order to create a sense of crisis, proponents of privatization consider the trust fund either real or fictional, depending on what is convenient

* The rate of return that can be expected on private accounts: privatizers claim that there is a huge free lunch from the creation of these accounts, a free lunch that is based on very dubious claims about future stock returns

* How to think about implicit liabilities in the far future: privatizers brush aside the huge negative fiscal consequences of their plans in the short run, claiming that reductions in promised payments many decades in the future are an adequate offset
NY Times Editorial
The Social Security Fear Factor
In effect, the administration's plan would get rid of the financial burden of Social Security by getting rid of Social Security. The plan shifts the financial risk of growing old onto each individual and off of the government - where it is dispersed among a very large population, as with any sensible insurance policy. In a privatized system, you may do fine, but your fellow retirees may not, or vice versa.


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What's Coming This Year
I have come to several conclusions toward the end to 2004 that will probably fuel my ideas, rants and news on this blog in coming year. There is no doubt in my mind that George Bush was once again not elected President, at least by a majority of the people who showed up and voted, in 2004. That the So Called Social Security Crisis (SCSSC), my new term, is the biggest fight facing this country and the Democratic Party. Like I've said a few times before if the Democrats cannot successfully fight off the challenge to phase out Social Security, this being the first phase, then it might as well cease to exist. Privatization in any way cannot be allowed. The continuing death and destruction in Iraq must be ended and our troops and contractors need to be removed, sooner rather than later. That our country once again pay attention to the Geneva Conventions, not to see them as quaint, and to stop torturing people. To continue trying to bring a different approach to the news/information that is not publicized in the SCLM. To continue documenting and hopefully stop our slow slide into Fascism. I will be posting more Texas political items this year since the circus will soon be back in town, it's what I say to describe the Texas Legislature being in session. But most of all maybe, just maybe, to make one person think a little differently about a subject than they did before showing up at Silence Is Consent.

I am also trying to finish a profile/bio of myself to post on this site. I would also love to hear any comments or questions from anyone that has any, no matter which side of the debate you are on.

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Today's Debunking of the So Called Social Security Crisis(SCSSC)
Josh Marshall
It's Really a National Debt Problem
As pretty much all the sensible articles on Social Security have made clear, to the extent that we have a problem, it is not a Social Security problem, but an accumulated national debt problem. And this isn't just a looking at one side or the other

[and]

So why does the president figure he can get away without making good on the debt to the folks who pay Social Security taxes, who are overwhelmingly low and middle-income wage earners (since no one pays Social Security tax on investment income or wage and salary income over about $85,000 a year)?

Isn't it obvious? Because he thinks they're an easy mark.

[and]

Across the board, it's just one big scam.

The guy who's the biggest threat to Social Security says he wants to 'save' it by abolishing the program and replacing it with private accounts.
It's a very good post and I recommend reading the whole thing. The only thing I would add is that this has been the Republicans plan ever since Reagan, if no before. Huge deficits to force the cutting of social programs, which to them are the root of all evil.

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