Friday, April 30, 2004
Although they did do a bit more research.
Thursday, April 29, 2004
He's quite smug, isn't he?
"[the 9/11 commission] had a lot of good questions, and I'm glad I did it; I'm glad I took the time,"
"It was a very cordial conversation. I was impressed with the questions"
What was it, a bumch of 4th graders asking him what he has for breakfast and how he decides which tie to wear?
And what do you expect he meant by this: "if we had something to hide, we wouldn't have met with them in the first place"?
Didn't he refuse to meet with the Commission at first and even now, isn't he refusing to let the public know what they talked about? The Post says, "Bush did not answer a reporter's question about why he did not permit a transcript to be made of the session."
Thursday, April 22, 2004
Happy Earth Day, people. In true liberal, hippy, tree hugging fashion, my plan today is to say "Happy Earth Day" and then walk in a trail of exhaust behind a bus.
Check out this quote from a Heritage Foundation article entitled "Down to Earth Day", which argues that economic growth and progress have made the environment better, not worse.
And let’s not forget what autos replaced: horses. Back in the days when horse-drawn carriages were the main means of transportation, our streets were filled with manure. This waste was itself a dangerous form of pollution.
First of all, a Ph.D. wrote that. Those pictures from the Prince William Sound in Alaska of the birds and fishies covered with MANURE were really heart wrenching. Jackass...
Next, he actually ALMOST gets the point. He says that subsistence farming and clear cutting were less efficient that coal. But coal is dirty, so we moved to natural gas. His argument is then that we should let the free-market make the improvements necessary to protect the environment. That may be true; consumer demand may ultimately drive fuel efficiency standards higher. But why wait? Why not increase fuel efficiency standards to a real, meaningful level? Why not encourage people to drive less? The article is silent on this point.
This post brought to you by ChevronTexaco Corp
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Also, is it really such a good idea to have both of them together like that, and then advertise when it will be for like a week ahead of time? I'm sure the Secret Service is just thrilled about this.
In the past I have noted with sadness the loss of promising and accomplished lives to the war in Iraq. But I don't miss this asshole one bit: "Gray Branfield, 55, admitted to being part of a death squad which gunned down Joe Gqabi, the ANC's chief representative and Umkhonto weSizwe operational head in Zimbabwe on July 31 1981. Gqabi was shot 19 times when three assassins ambushed him as he reversed down the driveway of his Harare home." I mean, I'm sure his family and friends are grieving and all, but why exactly are racist assassins working fur us? What exactly was he "contracted" to do? We should be more selective about who we do business with.
Monday, April 19, 2004
Sunday, April 18, 2004
It's for times like these that we need a comments section.
Yet another Ex-Pentagon careerist on the Office of Special Plans: "Certainly, the neo-conservatives never bothered to sell the country on the real reasons for occupation of Iraq — more bases from which to flex U.S. muscle with Syria and Iran, and better positioning for the inevitable fall of the regional ruling sheikdoms. Maintaining OPEC on a dollar track rather than a euro standard and fulfilling a half-baked imperial vision also played a role."
Actually, I think this is the same person I posted before, but I don't want anyone forgetting who got is into this mess - Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Elliott Abrams. America's "Gang of Four."
The whole point of having a blog is to vent your opinion, so it's hard to know what to say when you are unsure of something. Last year, of course, I was opposed to the invasion of Iraq and even demonstrated against it a couple times, although I was well aware of how little good that would do. But as the bloodbath continues, it's hard to know what position to take. Hard core hippies, of course, demand an immediate withdrawal. But I have not been a pacifist since Srebrenicza and Rwanda - anyone who thinks we did the right thing by not invading Rwanda is a contemptible fool and probably an idiot as well. With 800,000 dead, probably any course of action was better than nothing. If we had any troops left after sending virtually the entire active duty Army to Iraq, I would say we should intervene in Sudan today. So while I opposed the invasion, I fear genocidal religious war (not to mention the construction of new Quaeda training camps etc) if we pull out now. So part of me sides with Colin Powell in the "You break it, you bought it" camp. But this stuff haunts me as well; while everyone in the US seems to be debating whether or not Iraq is "Vietnam," we are ignoring the real history of Iraq, which seems to be repeating itself. The Brits lost 3000 people before they cut and ran. Mr. Ferguson, in the NY Times, argues that it is necessary to defeat the insurgents to stave off civil war and theocracy; but after an illegal invasion, I don't think we have the right to use the kind of lethal force which would be necessary to quell the revolt. And anyway, by my count we have killed maybe 8,000-10,000 civilians, roughly 7,000 Iraqi troops in the invasion, 800 coalition troops dead, over a thousand civilians and Iraqi police killed in the suicide bombing campaign (can't find links for numbers anymore - some people work hard to keep the body count under wraps!). How many people does Ferguson think we should kill? If 200,000 makes Saddam Hussein a monster, should we stay until 50,000? 100,000? Is half a monster better than a whole one? Not if the monster is us, is how I see it. If civil war is inevitable, or at least inevitable without mass murder on the part of American troops, then I guess we should pull out an let them fight it out on their own . . . although I'm afraid we'd just have to invade again, if al Quaeda were to attack the US from a new base in Falluja . . . Christ, I just don't know!
One thing I'm pretty sure I do know, and I may be the first American to put this obvious heresy in print -
You bet your sweet ass we were better off with Saddam Hussein running Iraq!!!
There, I said it and I feel much better for it.
Saturday, April 17, 2004
Hold on to your hats, people.
This morning, Jen and I and April and Clay walked over to one of the "Bake Back the White House" bake sales, organized nationally by the MoveOn PAC. It was only about a mile walk from April and Clay's place, and the weather was beautiful. I bought two chocolate cupcakes and a water, Jen bought a piece of chocolate cheesecake, while April and Clay bought a cookie and a plate of brownies. Total contributed to the MoveOn PAC: $20 Good times. Just wanted to offer some feedback that we went.
After we purchased our goodies and were continuing our walk through the evidently highly liberal neighborhoods of North Arlington, there was an exchange like this, "Is there a bake sale?" "Yes, at the corner. To beneift moveon.org!" "Cool!"
Crazy ass liberals with their bake sales.
Thursday, April 15, 2004
A couple books that have been on my mind lately. I'm not sure most of what Bush does can be described as lying - because he believes it. Groupthink, which I haven't read since college, is a psychology text about how people in groups can act irrationally. It looks at some foreign policy disasters including the Bay of Pigs, to discover how smart people can get everything wrong. Basically, in tightly knit groups social norms take over, and the consensus interpretation of reality that takes hold can be very difficult for mere facts to shake. These guys in the White House are the most ideological bunch to hang out there in a long time. They were united in one neoconservative interpretation of the world, and this interpretation continues to guide their thinking even though past predictions based on this belief system - WMDs in Iraq, a welcoming population longing for Western style democracy, a Saddam-al Quaeda connection, the pacification of Iraq by simply removing a few "dead-enders", have proven false time and time again. It is easier to explain away the facts on the ground than to question core beliefs of the group. That's why these goons keep insisting "weapons may be found" and "it's not an uprising," etc. Admitting to a mistake would cause great psychic pain by calling core beliefs into question.
Something similar is happening among a lot of everyday Republicans. They know the Bush Administration is lost and incompetant, but they fervently believe in lower taxes and smaller government - by which they mean, they want to minimize the redistributon of income from the rich the poor through government programs and entitlements. So they keep supporting Bush no matter what he does because they got the tax cuts they wanted. What they don't understand is that in the modern industrialized world, the welfare state is part of the social contract. You pay off the people who otherwise suffer from the system to buy stability. It's like a rough approximation of Kaldor-Hicks compensation, to beat one of my favorite dead horses. In layman's terms, you pay your protection money so your throat doesn't get slit in your sleep. You really think that gated community can protect you from an angry mob? Starving people have every right to consume rich people as food. Private Charity is never going to pick up the tab. The people who offer this as a solution never seem to give much themselves. Illinois richest (and most Republican) county gives the least to charity. I keep hearing the argument that "private citizens can best decide what to do with their money," but that's crap. They will spend it all on private consumption, neglecting the common good, infrastructure, parks, etc. in hopes that someone else will pick up the tab. They call it "the tragedy of the commons." It's just the economic application of the war of all against all, and will quickly lead to the more literal kind of war. The solution is simple: Big Government now, Big Government forever. If you don't want Falls Church to look like Fallujah, shut up and fork over the cash.
One thing I wouldn't let him get away with, though, is to catagorize W as just another arrogant politician. This administration everyday redefines the height of dishonesty, arrogance and disrespect for us.
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
actually he was asked what his biggest mistake was, and he responded
something to the effect that he's sure he made mistakes, but couldn't
(wouldn't) say what the biggest was.
i read most of the article. Yes, the gub'ment wasn't sufficiently prepared
for the restoration of Iraq. We also didn't know what disarray the entire
infrastructure was in.
I have a hard time believing that your contempt for this administration
would suddenly turn around if you heard W say " i was wrong about.....". I
don't agree with everything the administration has done. And like all
politicians he's arrogant. And i don't think any of them got to Washington
without a few lies, deceptions and a lot of spin. That's unfortunate.
compounded by incidents like Clinton arguing the definition of sex, after
being caught in one of his lies.
However, I'm not so arrogant as to believe I know better than professionals
at National Security, intelligence, foreign policy, etc. I can only agree
or disagree with my interpretation of what's going on.
1. anti terror activity :
2. We haven't been in a recession since '01. The jobless rate has been a
concern, and that has only recently turned around.
From: Anthony Sartori [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, April 13, 2004 10:04 PM
To: Taylor, Drew
Just got home to hear that the prez was dumbfounded when asked if he thought
he had made any mistakes... my point exactly. Not one admission. Until
these folks have some serious soul searching, we are in trouble. Did you
ever read that Atlantic Monthly article? Mistakes were made...
Sunday, April 11, 2004
Friday, April 09, 2004
I think the Democrats are petrified, because they think they are going to win, and they don't know how to get out of this mess any more than anybody else does. But at least they know it's a mess.
My favorite exchange from the 9/11 commission:
"Q: What I asked was, what was the NAME of the PDB?
"A: I believe it was called, 'Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States'"
"We had no warning," my ass. You just don't get it.
KERREY: You've used the phrase a number of times, and I'm hoping with my question to disabuse you of using it in the future.
You said the president was tired of swatting flies.
KERREY: Can you tell me one example where the president swatted a fly when it came to Al Qaida prior to 9/11?
RICE: I think what the president was speaking to was...
KERREY: No, no. What fly had he swatted?
RICE: Well, the disruptions abroad was what he was really focusing on...
KERREY: No, no...
RICE: ... when the CIA would go after Abu Zubaydah...
KERREY: He hadn't swatted...
RICE: ... or go after this guy...
KERREY: Dr. Rice, we didn't...
RICE: That was what was meant.
KERREY: We only swatted a fly once on the 20th of August 1998. We didn't swat any flies afterwards. How the hell could he be tired?
RICE: We swatted at _ I think he felt that what the agency was doing was going after individual terrorists here and there, and that's what he meant by swatting flies. It was simply a figure of speech.
Yeah, it is a figure of speech, no shit. Although, I suppose it is becoming clear that Bush is quite disengaged, so maybe he had actually changed the topic and was literally swatting flies when he said that.
Wednesday, April 07, 2004
I've been preoccupied by the horrific events in Iraq the past few days but I just don't have much to say about them. We should never have gone in there, and damned if I know how to get out. It's clear that the Bush team seriously underestimated the depth of Sadr's support, and it still hasn't sunk in. Raed in the Middle is a blog by an Iraqi leftist, his April 7 entry presents a starkly different assessment of the situation than we get from Rumsfeld and McClellan. Speaking of Rummy, his transformation plans will cripple the Army in order to funnel vast sums of money to defense contracters. Want to know why Boeing moved from Seattle to Chicago? They couldn't bear to be so far away form Dennis Hastert's district . . .
Props to my brother Steve (West Side is the Best Side!) for finding these links, I've been too busy gasping in shock for rational thought. Speaking of which, I love Randi Rhodes! Didn't she used to play guitar for Ozzy?
Monday, April 05, 2004
Saturday, April 03, 2004
In the harsh light of day, I feel like I should explain myself - the "cannibalism" comment (below) is sort of an in-joke with my fiancee. We were getting an obnoxious new kitten from the pound the other day, and discovered that our lease technically only allows one cat. E plans to feign ingnorance and just invite the landlord down to meet the new cat (Carlos lives right upstairs - his daughter loves our cat). I told her, "Civilization requires playing by the rules. One day, an extra cat, the next day, cannibalism!" Okay, so you had to be there.
We got the cat, of course, but I stand by my point. I believe Transparency Boy should be with me on this one. Political systems and economic markets are games people play. Games need rules, and referees.
Imagine March Madness without the refs. The tournament gives the nations best athletes the chance to show what they can do, but they couldn't do it without structure, otherwise, the dirtiest thugs, not the best teams, would win. They keep saying they've liberated Iraq, but lawlessness is not freedom. I'm not sure the neocons, who think the only way to win is to be the dirtiest thugs on the planet, can even tell the difference.
Friday, April 02, 2004
On the front page of my paper today, the most disturbing news yet out of Iraq. The headline read, "General vows to hunt killers, retake Fallujah." Retake? The word implies that, for the time being, the territory in question has been lost. In the bloody murder and mutilation of civilian security personnel on Wednesday, no US forces were to be seen. The commanding officer in the region said he wasn't willing to risk his people to recover the bodies of people who were already dead by entering the city. Clearly, the situation in Iraq is far worse than our government would have us believe. Casualties tapered off in January and February, but it appears this is primarily the result of the withdrawal of US forces from populated areas to well-defended bases, rather than a sign that Bremer has established effective control of the country. To avoid politically damaging casualties, it appears US forces have abandoned large areas of the country to lawlessness.
This is a very bad sign. For one thing, it reveals that two and a half years after 9/11, the Bush Administration still doesn't get it. Administration officials have commented that the worst case scenarios for Iraq are the emergence of another Saddam style dictatorship, or the birth of an Iran-style Shia theocracy. Apparently these guys have very limited imaginations. To me, the worst case scenario is a failed state, like Somalia, Afghanistan, or Sudan. This scenario could end in a genocidal civil war, lawless territories in which terror groups are free to operate in the open, or both.
The reason the Bushies can't see this danger is basically ideological. As doctrinaire American Conservatives, they believe that the government is a burden, an inherently oppressive force that should be as small as possible. They truly belive that the best economic policy is low taxes and small government, that the world functions best if money is left in the hands of the (rich) people. Thus, with the invasion of Iraq, they thought that once the cancerous government was removed, a free society would emerge spontaneously and form a democracy. This is naive drivel. What you get when you remove the government from society is a thing called "the war of all against all." People just aren't that nice, George. And by allowing large areas of a previously highly-ordered country to go virtually ungoverned, we have created the very thing we got rid of in Afghanistan: a haven for terrorists.
This is why the "Conservative Revolution" will fail - some of their core beliefs are demonstrably false. Big Government is a necessity for an advanced society, meaning everyone on earth today. The economy and social life needs to be regulated and managed. They know this on some level, it's just that the impulse is diverted into trying to regulate people's sexual and reproductive behavior. If everyone will just adopt the same beliefs, the argument goes, we won't need government. But that's just not possible anymore. The solution is not religious and "moral" conformity - it's a free society, with limits. Your freedom to throw a punch ends at my face. You can burn your own flag, but you better not touch mine.
I suppose I'd describe my position as Law and Order Liberal. I do not believe society is served best if everyone pursues their own self-interest. I believe that kind of thinking leads to exploitation, gang warfare, and eventually cannibalism. I believe society is best served by patriotism, service, duty, self-sacrifice, and concern for the well-being of one's fellow citizens. I believe the whole is more important than its parts. As a nation, we are unstoppable. But if we choose not to be a nation, but instead to be a bunch of "radical individualists," then the terrorists needn't bother attacking us. We'll be eating each other soon enough.
Thursday, April 01, 2004
I believe the Strategic Petroleum Reserve was created to ensure fuel supply in the case of war, but Clinton released some when oil prices got too high in an election year. Personally, I think our energy dependence is a result of the inefficiency of our basic infrastructure - the result of suburban sprawl. Sprawl happened because of a number of bad policies, cheap oil being only one of them. Basically much of our basic infrastructure, like roads, serve too few people to be cost-effective because people are living at a density too low to be efficient. It isn't just about energy, this is why America is falling behind when it comes to broadband. "The complex problem starts with the wide-open spaces which dominate the American landscape. Expanding broadband capabilities is largely a physical task, with telephone or cable companies required to add new hardware neighborhood by neighborhood. In dense urban areas, there can be an economic return. But expansion into rural, or even some suburban areas, just isn't economically viable. . .only neighborhoods with about 1,000 homes near a so-called phone company "central office," are worth the bother." A large barrier to economic progress in America is our inefficient use of land, water, energy etc. Why do Americans insist on living so far apart? We could be more secure internationally and stronger economically if we could live with each other. Unfortunately, the geography of our country has been dramatically altered over the last 50 years to reflect white people's desire to avoid sending their children to school with black children . . . Late period suburbia with its strip malls and gated communities was enabled by the automobile, but everyone has cars and no one else lives like this. This pattern of development emerged as a direct response to Brown v Board of Education. If white people couldn't keep their schools, segregated, then they were just going to have to go start their own districts. And while sprawls inefficiency may make us poorer and less secure, it does keep us segregated - more so today than before Brown, by most measures. America's economic, political, social and cultural problems are all leaves on the same tree. The root is racism.
If liberal is such a bad word, why don't liberals start labeling conservatives as reactionaries. According to dictionary.com, reactionary is defined as "characterized by reaction, especially opposition to progress or liberalism; extremely conservative." "George W. Bush is just a Texas reactionary," could be Kerry's retort to Bush's "Massachusetts liberal" smear campaign.
I love it.
Most recently, in "Wacky", the ad narrator says that Kerry wants to "tax gas more so that people drive less". Even if you were afraid that you couldn't afford a gas tax and might lose your job and your house because of it, couldn't you at least see, in an ideal sense, that people driving less would be good on so many levels? And there's the ad, explaining Kerry's rational (10 years ago) to you.
And you might remember one of the earliest ads, "100 Days" which explained that Kerry "wanted to delay defending America until the UN approved". Again with the explanations. Sure the "waiting to defend America" part is different than Kerry might have explained it, but if someone got in Kerry's face and said, "You wanted to delay defending America, you rat-bastard!" He would probably come back with, "Yes, because I thought that the UN needed to be involved as well."
Thank you, RNC.