Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Census Report: 2000 was much better than 2006 for the poor

Before the spin starts, if I'm not too late already, the census report is out for 2006. The year 2006 isn't remarkable for economic gains.

Five million more people live in poverty now than in 2000, before the last recession. That recession was the mildest and shortest on record since 1950. That record isn't important to the daily lives of five million people pushed into 6 years of poverty. Poverty pushes records out of the field of vision for those in the dark abyss.

One group did benefit financially compared to 2000. Those making adjusted gross incomes of over $128,000 per year got a really nice bump in take home pay. That take home pay increase isn't given by the Census Bureau. However, from IRS data, the bump was over $11,000 in the last three years ending in 2004.

The Census information makes it clear why 47 million people do not have basic health care.

They need the money to eat. Really, just to buy food.

The Census data can be downloaded in raw information at http://www.census.gov/

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A million dollars couldn't buy Perdue's Personally Picked Candidate a Senate Seat

Sorry about the very long title. If I were a good writer or a smarter marketeer, the title would always be short. I'd shorten my articles, too.

An article out of Washington shows how little power the GOP now has even in the South.

In the backwoods of the Deep South, the Georgia GOP hand picked their candidate for replacing the deceased Charlie Norwood in a special election.

That hand picked man, the Best of the Best of the Best, super duper intelligent, worldly, powerful, known not as 007 but merely as Jim Whitehead lost.

Jim Whitehead spent about a million dollars raised mostly through the GOP machine of special interests, big donors, and political action committees.

I'd even bet some big name Republicans gave him money from personal campaign funds, an unethical act in my opinion.

Jim Whitehead was whipped at the polls by a man who didn't take the big money, a man who didn't have the endorsement of Perude and the Georgia GOP, and didn't have the blessings of being called to duty by the Norwood family.

It's about time the deep south walked away from the turn coat, former racist Democrats now running the corrupt Republican machine.

The Associated Press story can be accessed from the Gainesville Times at this link.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Bush let Osama bin Laden go ...

From a news story in Australia, not something I would fabricate.

Bin Laden was trapped in Tora Bora and General Franks refused to go into the mountains with the assets he had in Afghanistan.

Why?

“The US military’s most elite commando unit, Delta Force, was transferred from Afghanistan to prepare for Iraq.”

“When General Franks refused to send troops into Tora Bora, he was already in the early stages of planning for the next war in Iraq.”

“The report yesterday said that by early 2002, new aerial drones that might have helped in the search were being diverted for possible use in Iraq.”

Going entirely by this news report from the owners of Fox News, Bush couldn’t have bin Laden and Saddam. Bush chose getting Saddam over getting bin Laden.

And, how does this fit into the premise that Iraq is the cornerstone of our fake war on terror?

US security officials believe al-Qa’ida is planning dramatic strikes on the West comparable to 9/11. “We have very strong indicators that al-Qa’ida is planning to attack the West and is likely to attack, and we are pretty sure about that,” says retired vice admiral John Redd, chief of the National Counter-terrorism Center, which co-ordinates US intelligence in the war on terror.”

Hank Crumpton, who ran the CIA’s early hunt for bin Laden in 2001-02 as deputy chief of the agency’s counter-terrorism base and recently retired as the State Department’s co-ordinator of counter-terrorism, agreed: “It’s bad; it’s going to come.

Link

The King and his court

Having so many 'outside contractors' performing the roles properly assigned to government has killed all hope of peace in Iraq.

What has it done to our country?

A democracy should have private citizens employed by the government not 'outside contractors' in responsible roles. The role of firefighter for example.

If we pay a firefighting company for the number of fires, isn't that an incentive to either set fires or do nothing to prevent fires?

If we pay mercenaries by a body count, isn't that a way of making sure no prisoners are taken and that 'collateral damage' increases?

But the greatest danger is shifting loyalty from service to a fellow citizen to merely obeying supervisors, contractual terms, and stockholder demands.

We can not expect 'outside actors' to be loyal to a democratic government system.

For the editorial by James Carroll, click here.

The National Intelligence Estimate

There is this thing called the National Intelligence Estimate or NIE. The NIE has been getting a lot of press since 9/11. Without the horrid events of 9/11, most of us would not have ever cared about or known about any NIE.

The NIE should be a compilation of information from all the executive branch intelligence gathering organizations. Intelligence gathering needs that extra bit of emphasis. For each bit of information gathered, we can assume other bits escape our gathering methods. Our methods can be compared to dipping a small net in the ocean while keeping our feet dry. Even if we board a huge ship, our toes and feet remain dry while dipping the nets. Our nets are designed with technology as the main seine, not with human input from diplomats, agents, and professional analysts given priority.

With that technological priority, we might get a good statistical sampling but we have missed huge upheavals like the fall of the Soviet Empire, the invasion of Kuwait, and Osama's plan to use planes as human guided missiles.

So this intelligence estimate is very imperfect. It should be viewed only as a tool to test the performance of our intelligence gathering ability and how well we analyze raw data.

As we are bombarded with the various types of spin being placed on the NIE's information, we should take great care and caution ourselves that information from human beings is fallible.

Humans make huge mistakes. Governments make huge mistakes. Blaming those mistakes on a few just compounds the mistake. Mistakes like using estimates as facts compound past mistakes and perpetuate poor reasoning.

From the NIE:

"Where population displacements have led to significant sectarian separation," the NIE states, "conflict levels have diminished to some extent because warring communities find it more difficult to penetrate communal enclaves." [Does that mean the statistics support the troops escalations or that mixed society has failed since the invasion?]

The broad compromises needed for reconciliation [in Irag] "are unlikely to emerge unless there is a fundamental shift in the factors driving Iraqi political and security developments." Analysts offered no cause to believe that fundamental shift will occur. [Does that sound very much like we need more time for diplomacy to work? Or, send more troops now?]

For one opinion on how we are fighting for a military solution dependent upon a political solution, click this link for the Jay Bookman column in the AJC.

Ding done the witch is dead

Alberto Gonzales is no longer the male version of the Wicked Witch of the West.

He 'resigned' today.

We should expect that Bush finally found another idiot willing to take the job. That would be the underlying reason for the timing of this event.

Who but an idiot would want to work for Bush at this point?

Barney, his dog, would run away if not for the Secret Service and the five fences around the White House.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

All bantering aside, we should have spirited debate with the flashing of details and facts. Details and facts just aren’t what they used to be. Often the wrong facts are protected fairy tales. “The world is flat.” “The United States is a democracy.” “All men are created equal.” “The end is near.”

Is the devil in the details? One detail never gives the whole spectrum anymore than a dozen details. It’s a "can’t see the forest for the trees" dilemma.

Perhaps the best example comes from the D-Day invasion. Few troops hugging the ground to stay alive could see fifty yards to the right, the left, or the rear. The assault for some was fatal before reaching the beach. It was deadly for paratroops before putting a boot on the ground. Others walked across a sand packed beach upright and smiling.

But, I’m writing about experts on the economy. Experts like Fed Chairman, Bernanke, “We’ve never had a decline in housing prices on a nationwide basis.”

Alan Greenspan, the former Fed chairman, said the housing market was not susceptible to bubbles, in part because every local market is different.

These experts for real estate agents, home builders, bankers, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac who published a report in 2004 saying, “there is little possibility of a widespread national decline since there is no national housing market.”

In my humble opinion corporate socialism or corporate welfare has bolstered these fools long enough. We have at least a trillion dollars in bad mortgage loans driving the price of homes up and soon to drive the price of the median home down.

The Fed has propped up and bailed out enough markets and corrupt corporations at the expense of the average Joe and Jane.

Bail out Jane and Joe this time. Let the economic socialism and corporate welfare for the government dependent housing industry end.

Maybe someday there will once again be meaning to “All men are created equal” and “America is a democracy.”

Related story

The Failures of Iraq. Will it improve the military?

The answer should be Yes, but the failures of Viet Nam have provided few tangible improvements in military thinking. Oh, we think those ads about an Army of One signify something. Mostly that the military has learned about the virtues of hiring slick Madison Avenue types.

What types of changes are needed in the military?

A change in the way Generals are selected, trained, and interact with the public, the politicians, and the troops.

For some details on what the next generation of Generals, battle hardened and battle weary from the endless progress in Iraq, this lengthy story brings first hand accounts. These accounts are nothing like Ernie Pyle brought us. This is not the fox hole reporting of a man putting a human face on men living and dying as G.I. Joe.

These are classroom and seminar lessons from the real leaders of troops in Iraq.

Five captains stood up, recited their names and their units. . . One asked why the top generals failed to give political leaders full and frank advice on how many troops would be needed in Iraq. One asked whether any generals “should be held accountable” for the war’s failures. One asked if the Army should change the way it selected generals. Another said that general officers were so far removed from the fighting, they wound up “sheltered from the truth” and “don’t know what’s going on.”
“As matters stand now, a private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war.”

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Bill Hembree, GOP Representive from Winston CHEATS

Bill Hembree, GOP State Legislator, has a time machine that can take Georgia citizens back in time exactly twenty years on their auto insurance. But, your auto insurance goes won't be priced in 1986 dollars.

No, Dear Bill, a member of the State Legislature, will make you pay far more than you did in the past. What he wants to change is for himself and other insurance salesmen. Insurance salesmen, like the very part-time public servant Bill Hembree, want to raise your insurance rates. Often. As often as possible. Whenever they want.

Why? If insurance salesmen and ladies want to make more money, let them work harder! More hours. More sales.

Bill Hembree wants to vote himself a raise. Let him work for a living.

Voters do.

Details on his plan to let insurance companies rape drivers.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Perdue has plans to be a lobbyst using his campaign funds

Sheer speculation or is it?

Perdue created a shell organisation for his left over campaign funds. If that wasn't illegal, it is unethical.

So why did he do that?

The New York Times covers the angle that ex-politicians are using their campaign funds to enrich themselves.

It would make a good reality show. "When politicians become private citizens."

For details on the underlying story, click here.

Massie Ritsch of the Center for Responsive Politics, said [he] could have considered giving the money back to donors or to charity. “Contributors should reasonably expect that their money will go for campaigning and not that it will sit in an account for years and be doled out to build someone’s personal business,” he said.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bush will go fly a Kite, says Iraq

If George Bush does not like the lawfully elected government of Iraq, he can take his toys and go home.

That’s the word out of Baghdad tonight. Well, tomorrow morning there. Details.

Prime Minister Maliki is the government of Iraq, properly elected under a democratic constitution. Installed in power and recognized by world leaders, including Herr Bush.

But, history has a way of repeating itself. Hitler never liked Mussolini, just used him.

Maliki has told Bush where to show that cowboy hat and it ain’t where it covers the head. This comes after Bush through spokesmen ( aka Yes Men ) said Maliki needed to go.

“These statements do not concern us a lot,” Maliki said to reporters while he was visiting Syria . “We will find many around the world who will support us in our endeavor.”

“The Iraqi government was elected by the Iraqi people,” he added and said Iraq would find other friends if the United States was disenchanted.

Ah, to be the Leader of the Free World, the most powerful man in the world, the War President … and the butt of jokes, insolence, and disdain by leaders facing death in the streets of their country while fighting for Democracy.

Another great American hero, George Bush

Bush sees the Lesson of Viet Nam


Not only did George Bush and Dick Cheney miss the thrill of real combat in Viet Nam, they missed the lesson of Viet Nam.

Most savvy military leaders learned not to send U.S. troops to fight in nationalistic internal struggles in hostile environments at the end of a 12,000 mile long supply chain for uncertain goals.

What did Bush think he learned from being a part-time part-time pilot?

We should have never gotten out of Viet Nam!

Easy for his chicken shit ass to say.

What do the Viets say today about our disaster in the jungle?

We never should have sent troops. We should have let Viets self determine their future. We would have saved countless Viet lives with a non-interference policy.

Read the details and the quotes from our former, reluctant Ally.

"The price we, the Vietnamese people on both sides, paid during the war was due to the fact that the Americans went into Vietnam in the first place," Ninh said.

With regard to the American war in Vietnam, everyone knows that we fought to defend our country and that this was a righteous war of the Vietnamese people," Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Dung said. "And we all know that the war caused tremendous suffering and losses to the Vietnamese people."

We didn't cut off our nose to spite our face in Viet Nam. We cut the throats of Viet Nam to spite souls.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Governor Perdue can't take the heat

"If you can't stand the heat in the kitchen ... make your wife cook?"

Our glorious leader, a classic flip-floping former Democrat, can't take the heat of global warming.

At the National Conference of State Legislatures, which delegation denied science? The GOP delegation from Georgia.

What state has the largest single source of polution (carbon) from a utility plant? Georgia!

Most modern countries get about 30 percent of their electrical power from coal. Georgia gets 67 percent of electricity through the burning of coal. That's why we can't eat all natural fish from Georgia's lakes and streams. Coal always contains mercury. Burning that coal releases mercury into the air. Then, rain washes the mercury out of the air and into streams, lakes, and impoundments. And, on into fish.

As if the threat to the unborn isn't enough, Georgia's best and brightest minds in the GOP say "There's alternative information out there" which somehow is a counter to science.

That alternative information means no man made polution harms the planet or the people on the planet.

Read this story from the AJC on how the GOP wants Georgia Power to poison our planet.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Job Losses Continue

The housing market by some estimates is only 3 percent of our robust economy. However, that 3 percent can be very volatile with swings up and down. With our economy's average growth rate near 3 percent, a flat line in housing could define a recession.

In 2006, the 'housing industry' lost over 50,000 jobs. This year nearly 90,000 jobs have been lost in 8 months or less. Most of this may be from the over-selling of bad credit risks.

Bad credit risks need to be defined very carefully. This isn't about people not having jobs and can't get credit. It's about giving debt burdened couples and individuals a zero down mortgage loan.

Nothing is wrong with giving people a loan for a home. Nor, is there anything wrong with people wanting to enjoy home ownership. The problem is with the 'who' that makes the loan and the 'who' that owns the note. Those Who's are not the same in the 'mortgage industry.'

When I first applied for a home loan, a down payment of 20 percent was demanded. Without that, banks would very politely say, No and Good Bye. Back in those years, some banks still made, serviced, and held mortgage notes. During the 'housing boom,' banks or mortgage lenders would make 'zero down payment' loans and loans on bad credit histories. These mortgage notes are the so-called, subprime loans.

A mortgage note is that piece of paper that says, "I promise to repay." Now, that mortgage note, more or less a piece of paper, has some legal characteristics similar to a check. And, a legal claim to my house!

Banks could negotiate the paper and get some cash NOW in exchange for my promise to repay later or give up my house. I think that's called selling or reselling the mortgage.

Don't confuse that with servicing a mortgage. I send my payment to a post office box. Who knows what company owns the P.O. Box, takes my check, and posts my payment for the bank.

But, back to selling the mortgage. Once the mortgage is sold, the first bank has money again to make a loan. Someone else has a promise from me to repay them. Maybe a third person has to handle servicing the loan payment every month.

So banks make as many loans as possible. Sell them to the next fool. When I can't pay, the fool loses their money.

I don't really care for the fool and his money. But, too often, I'm really the fool!

My employers retirement fund is one of the fools buying my promise to repay someday. All of which works well, as long as I have a job, the company makes money, and people keep buying houses.

If I lose my job, can't pay for my house, and the economy slows, then retirement funds for just about everyone can take a huge financial hit.

Plus, the people making the mortgage loans don't have jobs. The people buying and reselling the loans have no work. And, those invisible loan servicing company employees get the pink slip.

That may not be the best explanation of the potential problems with the 'housing industry.'

But, with 140,000 financial 'experts' suddenly under employed or not employed, financial opinions are free.

For a better story on the economy and housing, click here. I have no idea if the story was written by a former financial expert or a current financial expert.

Governor George Ryan and the Culture of Corruption

Another man will enter prison in the next few days. But, it won't be Michael Vick.

Mr. Vick has some time left before his legal judgement day.

However, a governor, a former Republican Governor will very shortly start his new life behind bars.

In Illinois, where the Daley Democratic machine created legends, the biggest scandal perhaps in history involved former Gov. George Ryan. The 73 year old Ryan has exhausted his appeal for a new trial on his convictions on fraud, racketeering conspiracy, and other offenses.

The Moral Majority, the GOP family values, and the smoke screen on how Jesus demands Christians vote Republican failed to save the soul of Ryan.

He took your tax dollars to run his political election campaigns.

He sold contracts for state business from 1991 to 1999.

The wide ranging investigation of Gov. Ryan led to dozens of convictions. Ryan claims he did nothing wrong.

Few of us in Georgia may have heard of this scandal. Let us hope we are spared the same crimes by our Gold Dome Culture of Corruption.

CIA Watchdog Barks

In what I see as emotionally draining news, the CIA is after all human.

Prior to the events of 9/11, the CIA failed several times to box in, control, or destroy al-Qaeda. In retrospect, everyone knows about the depths of that failure. I find it difficult to stomach blaming the best organization or the worse organization in the U.S. family of intelligence agencies for the failure.

The attacks were bold, audacious, and innovative. That is not to say no one ever before though of using planes as human guided missiles. That lie forever belongs to the Bush Family Tree that includes Cheney, Rice, and Rumsfeld.

From the article by the AP:

"I thought the release of this report would distract officers serving their country on the front lines of a global conflict," Hayden said. "It will, at a minimum, consume time and attention revisiting ground that is already well plowed."

The report does cover terrain heavily examined by a congressional inquiry and the Sept. 11 Commission. However, the CIA watchdog's report goes further than previous reviews to examine the personal failings of individuals within the agency who led the pre-9/11 efforts against al-Qaida.

Helgerson's team found that no CIA employees violated the law or were part of any misconduct. But it still called on then-CIA Director Porter Goss to form accountability boards to look at the performance of specific individuals to determine whether reprimands were called for.

The inquiry boards were recommended for officials including former CIA Director George Tenet, his deputy director for operations Jim Pavitt, Counterterrorism Center Chief Cofer Black, and agency Executive Director A.B. "Buzzy" Krongard.

We don't need scapegoats 6 years later. The Monday morning quarterbacking ended as soon as the next game started, the invasion of Afghanistan.

The service there by CIA operatives has been golden in the face of unholy casualties. As many as one out of every three operatives died in the run up to the invasion and victory by the Northern Alliance. Many of those deaths have not been acknowledged in public.

If there are failures in government, and there always will be, a part of that failure lies with our expectations that government must be perfect. Government, as we know, isn't perfect nor can we or should we ever expect that.

The only illusion more harmful than the expectations of government perfection is the ongoing worship of the business model as best and better than any other paradigm.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Perdue says, Go Fish but Don't eat the fish

Goobernator Sonny Perdue has sent millions of dollars on his "Go Fish" personal initiative to revive the economy.

However, Sonny not only has refused to fund urgent needs of citizens, like State Police, to fund his pet project. Sonny has ... forgotten to tell out of state fisherman, Don't eat Georgia fish!

For a complete list of which lakes and which fish are hazardous to your health, visit this link. Some in the North Georgia mountains will be shocked by which beautiful lakes and rivers are unsafe. For pregnant women, use this link in North Georgia.

We might want to notice that in the best traditions of the GOP, that pages and pages are spent on good news about eating fish. Then, the bad news has to be downloaded.

Also notice that the DNR online web pages (also emphasize the good over the bad.

Here's a link to the federal government warnings, Link.

Sonny needs to go fish for a heart, a brain, and the courage to use them.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The War as We saw it

Very long post from the NYT

Buddhika Jayamaha is an Army specialist. Wesley D. Smith is a sergeant. Jeremy Roebuck is a sergeant. Omar Mora is a sergeant. Edward Sandmeier is a sergeant. Yance T. Gray is a staff sergeant. Jeremy A. Murphy is a staff sergeant.

VIEWED from Iraq at the tail end of a 15-month deployment, the political debate in Washington is indeed surreal. Counterinsurgency is, by definition, a competition between insurgents and counterinsurgents for the control and support of a population. To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched. As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day. (Obviously, these are our personal views and should not be seen as official within our chain of command.)

The claim that we are increasingly in control of the battlefields in Iraq is an assessment arrived at through a flawed, American-centered framework. Yes, we are militarily superior, but our successes are offset by failures elsewhere. What soldiers call the “battle space” remains the same, with changes only at the margins. It is crowded with actors who do not fit neatly into boxes: Sunni extremists, Al Qaeda terrorists, Shiite militiamen, criminals and armed tribes. This situation is made more complex by the questionable loyalties and Janus-faced role of the Iraqi police and Iraqi Army, which have been trained and armed at United States taxpayers’ expense.

A few nights ago, for example, we witnessed the death of one American soldier and the critical wounding of two others when a lethal armor-piercing explosive was detonated between an Iraqi Army checkpoint and a police one. Local Iraqis readily testified to American investigators that Iraqi police and Army officers escorted the triggermen and helped plant the bomb. These civilians highlighted their own predicament: had they informed the Americans of the bomb before the incident, the Iraqi Army, the police or the local Shiite militia would have killed their families.

As many grunts will tell you, this is a near-routine event. Reports that a majority of Iraqi Army commanders are now reliable partners can be considered only misleading rhetoric. The truth is that battalion commanders, even if well meaning, have little to no influence over the thousands of obstinate men under them, in an incoherent chain of command, who are really loyal only to their militias.

Similarly, Sunnis, who have been underrepresented in the new Iraqi armed forces, now find themselves forming militias, sometimes with our tacit support. Sunnis recognize that the best guarantee they may have against Shiite militias and the Shiite-dominated government is to form their own armed bands. We arm them to aid in our fight against Al Qaeda.

However, while creating proxies is essential in winning a counterinsurgency, it requires that the proxies are loyal to the center that we claim to support. Armed Sunni tribes have indeed become effective surrogates, but the enduring question is where their loyalties would lie in our absence. The Iraqi government finds itself working at cross purposes with us on this issue because it is justifiably fearful that Sunni militias will turn on it should the Americans leave.

In short, we operate in a bewildering context of determined enemies and questionable allies, one where the balance of forces on the ground remains entirely unclear. (In the course of writing this article, this fact became all too clear: one of us, Staff Sergeant Murphy, an Army Ranger and reconnaissance team leader, was shot in the head during a “time-sensitive target acquisition mission” on Aug. 12; he is expected to survive and is being flown to a military hospital in the United States.) While we have the will and the resources to fight in this context, we are effectively hamstrung because realities on the ground require measures we will always refuse — namely, the widespread use of lethal and brutal force.

Given the situation, it is important not to assess security from an American-centered perspective. The ability of, say, American observers to safely walk down the streets of formerly violent towns is not a resounding indicator of security. What matters is the experience of the local citizenry and the future of our counterinsurgency. When we take this view, we see that a vast majority of Iraqis feel increasingly insecure and view us as an occupation force that has failed to produce normalcy after four years and is increasingly unlikely to do so as we continue to arm each warring side.

Coupling our military strategy to an insistence that the Iraqis meet political benchmarks for reconciliation is also unhelpful. The morass in the government has fueled impatience and confusion while providing no semblance of security to average Iraqis. Leaders are far from arriving at a lasting political settlement. This should not be surprising, since a lasting political solution will not be possible while the military situation remains in constant flux.

The Iraqi government is run by the main coalition partners of the Shiite-dominated United Iraqi Alliance, with Kurds as minority members. The Shiite clerical establishment formed the alliance to make sure its people did not succumb to the same mistake as in 1920: rebelling against the occupying Western force (then the British) and losing what they believed was their inherent right to rule Iraq as the majority. The qualified and reluctant welcome we received from the Shiites since the invasion has to be seen in that historical context. They saw in us something useful for the moment.

Now that moment is passing, as the Shiites have achieved what they believe is rightfully theirs. Their next task is to figure out how best to consolidate the gains, because reconciliation without consolidation risks losing it all. Washington’s insistence that the Iraqis correct the three gravest mistakes we made — de-Baathification, the dismantling of the Iraqi Army and the creation of a loose federalist system of government — places us at cross purposes with the government we have committed to support.

Political reconciliation in Iraq will occur, but not at our insistence or in ways that meet our benchmarks. It will happen on Iraqi terms when the reality on the battlefield is congruent with that in the political sphere. There will be no magnanimous solutions that please every party the way we expect, and there will be winners and losers. The choice we have left is to decide which side we will take. Trying to please every party in the conflict — as we do now — will only ensure we are hated by all in the long run.

At the same time, the most important front in the counterinsurgency, improving basic social and economic conditions, is the one on which we have failed most miserably. Two million Iraqis are in refugee camps in bordering countries. Close to two million more are internally displaced and now fill many urban slums. Cities lack regular electricity, telephone services and sanitation. “Lucky” Iraqis live in gated communities barricaded with concrete blast walls that provide them with a sense of communal claustrophobia rather than any sense of security we would consider normal.

In a lawless environment where men with guns rule the streets, engaging in the banalities of life has become a death-defying act. Four years into our occupation, we have failed on every promise, while we have substituted Baath Party tyranny with a tyranny of Islamist, militia and criminal violence. When the primary preoccupation of average Iraqis is when and how they are likely to be killed, we can hardly feel smug as we hand out care packages. As an Iraqi man told us a few days ago with deep resignation, “We need security, not free food.”

In the end, we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but that it has also robbed them of their self-respect. They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are — an army of occupation — and force our withdrawal.

Until that happens, it would be prudent for us to increasingly let Iraqis take center stage in all matters, to come up with a nuanced policy in which we assist them from the margins but let them resolve their differences as they see fit. This suggestion is not meant to be defeatist, but rather to highlight our pursuit of incompatible policies to absurd ends without recognizing the incongruities.

We need not talk about our morale. As committed soldiers, we will see this mission through.

NYTimes - Sunday Edition - August 17, 2007

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Product recalls from the U.S. markets.
Street cops dying at the average age of less than 40.
Thirty percent of the population living below world poverty levels.
The most dangerous work conditions in the world.
Real slavery being discovered in the sweat shops of aspiring millionaires.
Dams and levees that collapse.
Coal fired economy that releases more mercury into the air in a single year than used in every light bulb in history.
Baby products tainted with poisonous lead.

Capitalism at its finest, small mom and pop businesses. And, what does the GOP and the conservatives want the U.S. to do? Become the next China! Bust unions, cut workers benefits, abolish taxes for corporations and millionaires, abolish Congress, continue to erode what ever is left of our human rights.

Latest real world story on the price of capitalism in China.

China has been probing thousands of cases of unlicensed mining and closing down the notoriously dangerous smaller mines in an attempt to reduce the number of deaths.

The problem is that even as small mines are being closed down, new ones are being opened at a rapid pace.

Small mines, defined as those with annual production below 300,000 tonnes, make up 82.9 percent of all mines under construction, officials have said.

China had set itself a target of slashing the number of smaller coal mines from the existing 24,000 to 10,000 by 2010.

But officials have acknowledged this goal is very unlikely to be met as new small mines are established, driven by strong demand and large profit margins, according to previous reports.

Coal currently accounts for some 70 percent of the nation’s primary energy consumption, more than 40 percentage points higher than the world average.

Friday, August 17, 2007

U.N. Oil for Food Scandal

Back in the news again, the U.N. Scandal known as the Oil for Food program in Saddam era Iraq.

To maintain sanctions against Saddam cost the citizens of Iraq in many ways. To counter some of the hardships, members of the United Nations approved a humanitarian food program. Saddam could sell some oil for food, and only food.

However, over 3,000 companies within this humanitarian aid program, gave Saddam currency based kick backs worth millions of dollars.

Who got blamed by the GOP? The evil United Nations and Saddam!

Who should be blamed! The 3,000 corrupt and morally bankrupt companies, CEOs, and Board members.

At least one Texas oil man is getting his due. Well, maybe not all of it. Whatever was left over after making a few donations to the Bush Campaign, I'm sure.

Details on the story HERE and details on GOP Republican campaign contributions by David B. Chalmers at the FEC website.

Also details on Chalmers at this link. "Chalmers was a leading contributor to Republican political coffers prior to his indictment, according to FEC disclosure documents."

Republican family values, my butt

Governor Sonny Perdue of Georgia

Sonny wants to play ball. Just not on the budget.

No, Sonny Perdue wants to go back in time and play Little League Baseball.

Our rotund Governor is a frustrated Barry Bonds. Bonds would not be the home run king today if Sonny Perdue had made the major leagues?

Actually, I'm sure Speaker Richardson is cursing history with this newest revelation from the Georgia Goobernator, Perdue. Richardson is working just as hard to be the next Goobernator as Perdue is working to be the next White House resident. Well, maybe Sonny is 'shooting' to be Dick Cheney lite.

Read about the little boy inside Sonny with his dreams of Glory Days in the AJC. But, only if you have a strong tummy.

What does our Go It Alone Goobernator remember about Little League other than 8 home runs? Sacrifice Bunting!

"That's a great metaphor for sacrificing for the team, whether it's Little League, or it's government, or whether it's a family," Perdue said. "The square-to-bunt metaphor has carried me all days of my life."

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Wikipedia, why it's a bunch of lies...

The internet may be a boon or a bust. It's too early to tell. But, technology works to catch liars.

Wikipedia is an online information center very much like an encyclopedia. But, the Wikipedia has a living feature to it. People can edit the entries as often as knowledge or information changes.

However, some entries are being deleted and altered in a way that hides the truth ... or at least hides information.

Here's a long story on how we know who is trying to limit truth and information on the Internet.

See Who's Editing Wikipedia - Diebold, the CIA, a Campaign

Business is GOOD during WAR!

How about $455,009.00 in shipping charges for 3 screws worth $1.31 each?

$293,451 to ship an 89 cent split washer?

How about $998,798 for shipping 19 cent washers?

How about a grand total of over $20 million dollars for shipping $68,000 worth of common hardware?

What was the fine? $750,000 dollars.

Net profit? Over $19,000,000.00 for one company.

Is this a widespread Haliburton type problem or a Mike Brown Katrina success story?

The administration says “fraudulent billing is `not a widespread problem.’” Seems the next biggest fraud is just $2 million dollars.

Stand them up against the wall and shoot them to death with a BB gun. Allow the firing squad only one BB each. Just take the time and effort to get the job done, whatever it takes. After all, I believe in recycling, not in wasteful spending.

Details from Bloomberg’s

Iraq in a thousand words, more or less.

I wrote this response to a friend on another blog. I've changed his name. No reason to make it personal. But, my friend served in Iraq. He's a good man. But, he and I disagree on politics. He thinks the support for getting the troops out as soon as possible is a recent development for me and others like me. I had to open my mouth.


My good friend,

The Iraq invasion failed the moment the first troop crossed the border.

Now the problem is saving as many of the troops as possible during withdrawal.

As I posted on this blog, the War College is working on the problem of how to get out and look like we weren’t beaten out.

So I’ve been saying the invasion was a failure since the day I stood in front of the White House protesting alone, or almost alone.

That was the Saturday after the invasion began.

And, since you weren’t there you might want to know a few things about that day.

Police were not allowing people to take pictures. No press was allowed in the usual spots around the White House. Not a single one of the many little shelters, on the roof tops or the west side of the White House had people in them. The police presence was massive, including horse patrol. They looked amazingly like some sort of storm trooper in their high riding boots and gleaming helmets.

I was stopped for taking pictures. That's how I found out it was forbidden.

Even Lafayette Park across the street from the White House was off limits, marked with yellow tape.

Bush was NOT there, despite the video shown of his return on the Sunday morning shows.

The protests alleged to be forming at the White House at 1PM were shunted away to the Capital building.

When I saw the Sunday morning news that Bush had returned to the White House on Saturday while I was there, I was shocked.

The video showed none of the many barriers that WERE absolutely there! NONE.

There was a crowd of people allegedly watching the President arrive. They stood idle watching to their left as the President entered from their right and WAS interviewed in front of the group. No one in the group was watching the President!

The lighting, sun light, was coming from the EAST in the video. The sun is only in the east during the morning. It was pre-recorded and staged or it was compiled from earlier video segments.

What should that mean to you?

What it means to me is that you’ve been brainwashed by the best manipulation of people and media since Reagan illegally operated a propaganda office from inside the White House.

It means the regime expected huge controversy and opposition to the invasion. An counter operation was put into place even before the invasion.

It means there’s several groups of people keeping silent about the abuses of power and the violations of the Constitution out of misguided patriotism.

It means that good and decent people are now keeping quiet while fixing the huge mess from the inside.

NOTHING on earth and NOTHING in Iraq was worth one deception.

NOTHING in Iraq was worth the death of one volunteer soldier.

NOTHING that will be changed in the world since day one of that invasion will counter the failures of George Bush and his regime.

NOTHING that was given up in exchange for the perception of safety was worth it.

You’ll live to see that, young man. You will.

For now, count me as a crazy. Count me as an enemy of your sacred country. Count me as a traitor if you must.

The next two election cycles will produce nothing in the way of sudden change. GOOD Leaders will be timid about making a sea of change. The public pressure for huge change can not be allowed to cause more wild gyrations. The Democrats will be elected to office. They MUST work slowly and carefully. Their goal isn't world domination. It won't be squashing perceived threats in the world's wildest mountains or the hottest desserts. The immediate goals must be a slow return to sanity. A slow return to justice counter balanced by the certaincy that humans are imperfect. A slow return to hard work as the only road to travel for honest people. A slow return to the quiet courage that was once expressed by actions as simple as punching a time clock, day after day until retirement.

There will be frustrations with such a deliberate pace.

A generation will pass while quietly Cheney is erased with his secret deals for energy. A generation will pass before Rumsfeld ruinous military abuses can be fixed with replacement of sycophant generals and staff. A generation will pass and the American Hitler Movement (GOP and conservatives) will still be worshipped as misunderstood patriotism acting to defend our borders. Patriotism should not be an excuse for doing evil. Ask the Jews.

“I am a good German. Why are you putting me in the oven?”

Was that answer patriotism? Following orders? Nationalism? Leadership? Deception? Manipulation? Propaganda? Some human need? A sense of belonging to a powerful future?

You don’t feel the chains of slavery that bind you to a single course of action. That action being blind support of duty, honor, and country as defined by the times, not by history. But chained you are. Bound you are. And, blinded by the times in which you live.

Perhaps you’ve seen a dog trained and conditioned with a heavy chain. If you remove the chain, the dog continues to act as if the chain is still attached.

THAT is you. Your chain was fear. You may no longer feel the immediate fear from 9/11, but it dominates your unconscious. In the days after 9/11, Bush basked in the glory of leadership. To keep and maintain his personal status and emotional high, he invaded hapless Iraq.

No WMD.
No ability to stop the invasion.
No connection to bin Laden.
No connection to al-Qaeda.
No connection to the 9/11 planning.

Only those chained by the echo of personal fear continue to support these bizarre claims in the face of truth.

Remember me when you face the mirror of your life.

Who determines justice in the military? It would seem the lowest Commanding General does.

Details from the AP

LOS ANGELES - In recent months, the senior Marine commander on the West Coast has dismissed charges against three troops implicated in the deaths of 24 Iraqis and reduced the sentences of three others in the kidnapping and murder of an Iraqi man.

Lt. Gen. James Mattis’ actions in two of the war’s highest-profile criminal cases underscore one of the wildcards in the military justice system: the sweeping powers of a commanding general to decide the fate of those accused of war crimes.

Mattis, who commands the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton in Southern California, decided who was charged, who got immunity, who will stand trial and, in the case of convictions, whether clemency should be granted.

So I’m asking, where is the far right on mandatory sentences?

Where is the outrage for Clinton style pardons?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

My Darling Clementine, Lost and Gone forever.

This looks like another case of Bush letting the fox guard the henhouse. No evidence yet of incompetence or wrongdoing by this congressionally-rejected recess-appointee—but canaries are starting to die.

HuffingtonPost: The man who will oversee the federal government’s investigation into the disaster that has trapped six workers in a Utah coal mine for over a week was twice rejected for his current job by senators concerned about his own safety record when he managed mines in the private sector.

President George W. Bush resorted to a recess appointment in October 2006 to anoint Richard Stickler as the nation’s mine safety czar after it became clear he could not receive enough support even in a GOP-controlled Senate.

Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Spector, a Republican, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he “didn’t think Mr. Stickler was the right man for the job.” Another Pennsylvania Republican, Rick Santorum, also told the paper he was “disappointed” the White House had not let senators debate and vote on the nomination.

[Stolen post from a friend]

The Bush Doctrine pushes up Poppies

How about the record poppy crop in … Afghanistan!

Afghanistan, under our protection from religious fundamentalists, has almost cornered a monopoly on the world supply of opium poppies!

Democracy and capitalism when properly protected by an all volunteer army can … create a narco-state! Yeah, Rah, Bush!

Details on the rapid transformation of our purely heroic goals in Afghanistan into active support for the poppy growers.

With over $400 million in U.S. dollars targeting ‘drugs’ in Afghanistan last year, this year “Afghanistan is providing close to 95 percent of the world’s heroin,” the State Department’s top counternarcotics official, Tom Schweich, said at a recent conference. “That makes it almost a sole-source supplier” and presents a situation “unique in world history.”

“Afghanistan last year accounted for 92 percent of global opium production, compared with 70 percent in 2000 and 52 percent a decade earlier. The higher yields in Afghanistan brought world production to a record high of 7,286 tons in 2006, 43 percent more than in 2005.”

The street value? About $38 billion. More than the $8.8 billion GDP of Afghanistan as estimated by the CIA for 2006.

How much foreign aid has Afghanistan received? Commitments total $24 billion since 2002.

Dennis Hastert GOing, GOing, GONE!

Rove is gone. Rumsfeld is gone. Every Texan advisor to Bush is gone.

Now, we can add another former Speaker of the House to the list of corrupt liars gone from power. Story details from the NYT.

Representative J. Dennis Hastert, the Illinois Republican who became House speaker at a moment of crisis for his party, has decided not to seek re-election in 2008, opening a second Republican-held House seat in his home state.

Mr. Hastert, who was the longest-serving Republican speaker ever when Democrats toppled him by winning the majority last November, said he found it difficult to play such a reduced role in the House after serving as its powerful chief officer for eight years.

I didn't make up the comment about POWER. Hastert stated it. POWER motivated the man instead of service to voters, duty as a citizen, and honor to country.

As it has so often been said, POWER corrupts but POWER also attracts the corrupt.

We want and need public servants not servants onto POWER.

Good bye and Good Ridance, you power drunken fool!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Mentally Insane!

No, I'm not picking on the people who want to run blogs or run the world.

The trial of Jose Padilla is nearing an end.

Padilla was 'seized' as an al-Qaeda terrorist attempting to set off a nuclear 'dirty bomb.'

Seized is the correct word as Padilla was not 'arrested.' U. S. citizens, when arrested still have all the human rights as described in the Constitution and other legal documents.

Mr. Padilla, innocent or guilty, was abused and tortured for years. The torture has left him permanently handicapped.

Read the details from the trial and hope that each of us never has to face that kind of ... justice.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Why did Perdue have such a young Campaign Manager?

Very interesting article to reflect upon.

The former Republican Congressman from Ohio, Bob Ney, sold the voters out for lavish gifts and campaign contributions. Will Heaton, the youngest chief of staff ever on Capital Hil, was hired by Ney. Why?

"Heaton worked for Ney from September 2001 to July 2006, becoming in 2002 the youngest chief of staff on Capitol Hill. Heaton's lawyers said in court documents that Ney preferred to hire inexperienced staffers because they had not received extensive ethics training and lacked the maturity to question him."

WOW! Now how do I link that to Perdue? Nick Ayers!

Remember Nick Ayers being arrested for DUI during the re-election cycle of 2006? Not that anyone blames Nick for drinking while working under Sonny Perdue. I don't. Just for drinking, driving, and trying to avoid being stopped.

At the age of 24, AFTER the election, Perdue appointed Nickie to head the Republican Governors Association. The youngest executive director ever for the RGA.

The RGA raised $27 million in 2006.

Perdue might like the young Nick. He might also like pushing him around. And, with little or no experience, the other Republican governors might see Nickie as a potential Will Heaton.

I can only hope Nickie has the guts someday to say no to land deals like Oakey Woods ... tax deals that cut the Governor a back tax refund of over $100,000 ... illegal and unethical use of the $700,000 in left over campaign funds.

I doubt it.

I don't expect Nick Ayers to ever wear a 'wire,' cooperate with criminal investigations of his benefactors, or confess his own sins.

Meanwhile, I offer Will Heaton heartfelt concern for his personal future. A young man who has grown in courage enough to say No to corruption and pay such a huge price as Will has, is not done. He's really just begining to do good things.

Good luck, Will.

Governor Perdue steps in it or Elephants head butting

From Savannah Morning News

It's about cutting off money to the State Patrol

Barton: Leaders butt heads, little guys get trampled

Created 2007-08-11 23:30

There's an old African proverb: When two elephants fight, it is the grass that gets trampled.
Meet David Starnes Sr. and his son, David Jr.
They are the grass.
Meet Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue and the Georgia Legislature.
They are the two elephants.
And since Perdue is Republican, just like House Speaker Glenn Richardson and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who presides over the Senate, the elephant imagery is appropriate.
So is the head-butting. When the curtain came down with a clunk in April on this year's session of the Georgia Legislature, Perdue and Richardson weren't on speaking terms. The reasons, as always, were power and money.
This battle is continuing. Money that the legislature approved for individual state departments, which are under the governor's thumb, isn't being spent as lawmakers directed. Boss's orders. And Perdue shows no sign of backing down.
For Georgians who care little about state politics, the Perdue-Georgia Legislature fight is like a laxative commercial on TV.
You tune it out because you think it will never concern you.
Bad idea. Here are two reasons why: Starnes Sr., and Starnes Jr.
There but for the grace of God could be any of us.
On May 13, David Starnes Jr., a professor who taught writing and linguistics at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, left Savannah in his white Ford Taurus and headed west on I-16 toward the campus. It was a Sunday. The 64-year-old educator, who had scores of friends in Savannah, had made this trip hundreds of times.
Not today.
Near Bloomingdale in west Chatham County, a BMW that was headed the wrong way in the westbound lane of traffic hit Starnes head on. Georgia State Patrol investigators said later that the BMW's driver, Rhonda Jan Bonetto, 48, a Florida woman, made a U-turn into the wrong lane. She drove for several miles before the fatal collision.
Starnes was killed. Bonetto was critically injured but survived.
Given the facts as presented by troopers, this accident isn't overly complicated. A woman was driving the wrong way. She killed someone. Luckily, she lived.
Even Barney Fife could figure much of it out. Fortunately, the State Patrol doesn't have One-Bullet Barney on its crack unit that investigates fatal crashes, called the Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team.
Unfortunately, the SCRT is horribly understaffed. So is the entire State Patrol. It can't even patrol the highways after midnight.
Because of this hole in the patrol, a crash investigation that might ordinarily take several months to complete, such as the wreck that took the life of Starnes, probably will take more than a year.
That's unacceptable.
This isn't the Kennedy assassination. It's a wrong-way driver on I-16.
The state Board of Public Safety, which oversees the State Patrol learned in April that the patrol was 195 troopers short of its authorized total of 953. That's up from 180 vacancies a year ago.
Like the woman driving the BMW, the Georgia State Patrol is heading the wrong way, too.
Lawmakers appropriated $8 million this year to help the State Patrol plug vacancies and reduce attrition. But as the elephants fought, that money was redirected into Perdue's black hole.
David Starnes Sr. will be 84 on Aug. 20. He was born in the west Savannah neighborhood of Hudson Hill, but grew up in Atlanta. He served in the Navy during World War II and the Korean War, and he worked for the U.S. Post Office, Customs Service and Border Patrol.
Starnes and his wife, Jacqueline, live in Annandale, Va., near Washington, D.C. Both are anguished by their son's death. Both are in poor health as well, although they hope to travel to Statesboro on Sept. 14 to attend a memorial service for the son at Georgia Southern.
"David was more than just a son," Starnes told me last week. "He was my best friend and hero. We had a mutual admiration society between us - he proclaimed I was his hero."
The ex-Navy man hopes to live along enough to see the case of his son's death adjudicated. But because the State Patrol is short-handed, that may not happen. And because two big elephants are fighting in Atlanta, the wheels of justice will continue to grind slowly in future cases as well.
The Sunday that Starnes was killed was Mother's Day. David's mother had been waiting in Virginia for a phone call from her son in Georgia, offering her his best wishes.
Instead, she got a knock on her front door by a Fairfax County police officer.
Yes, elephants are big. And yes, it's the little guys who live in the grasses - guys like David Starnes Senior and Junior - who get stomped when elephants fight.
But real elephants today are in danger of extinction because of a lot of little guys. Perdue and top lawmakers should remember that as their head-butting continues.

Tom Barton is the editorial page editor of the Savannah Morning News. His e-mail address is tom.barton@savannahnow.com [1].

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Alex, I'd like to buy a gun ...

The phrase, "I'd like to buy a vowel" has many, many twisted uses in comtemporary culture.

I hope "I'd like to buy a gun" doesn't really catch on with the 'official' Iraqi government. Although it seems the phrase, I found my AK47 in the back seat of my pick up is already truth. The United States bought 100,000 AK47's for the Iraqis to use against the ghosts of al-Qaeda and then lost those 100,000 guns.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi government was buying weapons on the black markets of the world. Quietly, without telling the 'Americans.' Story details on Iraq's secret arms deals from the Associated Press.

So I have to ask a few questions.

Where did the Iraqi government get money to buy the illegal weapons? Did it come from money that should have been used to build hospitals and schools? Money from the U.S. to supply clean water, sewer, and power?

Bush wants to blame IRAN for Iraq's problems. Well, Iran, North Korea, al-Qaeda, Liberals, Clinton, Jefferson, Washington, Roosevelt.

The problem seems to be very clear. Iraqis are killing Americans with guns purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars.

It doesn't matter if the Iraqis bought the guns at Wal-Mart. Iraqis are killing Americans using illegal guns purchased with taxpayer dollars.

There are evil countries in the world, ...

There are evil countries in the world and we must face that fact. Another fact we have been avoiding? Evil people live in evil countries.

Has our country become filled with evil people?

This link connects to 9 pages of information and story. Stories, the parents among us used to tell stories to our children. Our children learned from those stories.

I wish this story had been a fiction, a cautionary tale of what might be. A warning from the past to protect our future. It is fact and not fiction.

How meekly the dreams died in my home country. How quickly the evil reproduced while good people watched.

Even the title of the story will fool good people. Be warned! Titles do not define the story. This story condemns the reader with content. But only if the reader can still think.

The Black Sites


"Many officials inside the C.I.A. had misgivings. “A lot of us knew this would be a can of worms,” the former officer said. “We warned them, It’s going to become an atrocious mess.” The problem from the start, he said, was that no one had thought through what he called “the disposal plan.”

... the disposal plan. What will the US do with humans trapped in CIA black holes for years? In Viet Nam, were they thrown out of helicopters? The entire interrogation process being used by the United States is modeled on Viet Nam. In Viet Nam, 97 percent of people captured, held, and interrogated were of no or little value.

"But the C.I.A.’s new team used its expertise to help interrogators inflict abuse. “They were very arrogant, and pro-torture,” a European official knowledgeable about the program said."

Our allies call it torture. Our enemies call it torture. The survivors call it torture. Who listens to the dead?

The program had a begining in the Korean War. Our country feared our prisoners were brainwashed and we wanted to know how to resist brainwashing. So we reproduced the conditions reported by our returned P.O.W.s. We became ....

North Korea before we then became Russia ...

"The C.I.A.’s interrogation program is remarkable for its mechanistic aura. “It’s one of the most sophisticated, refined programs of torture ever,” an outside expert familiar with the protocol said. “At every stage, there was a rigid attention to detail. Procedure was adhered to almost to the letter. There was top-down quality control, and such a set routine that you get to the point where you know what each detainee is going to say, because you’ve heard it before. It was almost automated. People were utterly dehumanized. People fell apart. It was the intentional and systematic infliction of great suffering masquerading as a legal process. It is just chilling.”

... before we became the most evil country in the world in our own right.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Capitalism In China means early death for Cops

Various people on blogs and in the far right media claim the capitalism revival in China has lifted the quality of life for more people than any other event in human history. Human history has far more remarkable things than Chinese capitalism.

There are some remarkable things going on in China but not all of them positive.

Read the full story from Rueters.

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese city traffic police have an average life expectancy of just 43 years because of the dire working conditions and pollution, state media said on Tuesday.

Xinhua news agency said a survey of eight cities found that police officers who had worked the streets for more than 20 years were the most at risk.

Pollution was the chief culprit, but stress, traffic noise and standing long periods in the sun were also to blame.

Without the Democratic Party, Liberals, and other Activists in our country's history, our police would be dying on street corners from pollution, stress, and systemic neglect. As the debate in our country has been shaped in recent years, the far right accuses the rest of the country of fostering a Nanny society. Given China's self destruction under capitalistic reform, perhaps, mothers are the best model for government.

Capitalism is all about creation of a privileged class and debasing common labor. That conflicts with all the documents created when thirteen colonies first began to debate the meanings of freedom and started defining the role of government. Those colonies, after much debate and struggle, defined a government as not having a bloodline leading to any sort of monarchy.

Why are some people trying to undo that historic debate?

Monday, August 6, 2007

The Coming Republican Offensive

My Republican friend, John Konop wants to know if offensive Republicans are more attractive than defensive Republicans.

So in keeping with my core value of always trying to help John get the information he needs, I am providing a couple links to 'secret information' on Republican offensives.

Some people will get the Aunt Pitty Pat vapors and perhaps need masculine assistance. Others will find no offense in the events, only defense. After all, we shouldn’t let all Americans vote, should we?

Voter Caging


Republican handbook for the poll watchers.

Offensive emails from the National party.

The interview with the fired Prosecutor.

The teaser blurb:

“While Attorney General Alberto Gonzales refused to answer many questions about the controversy as he testified before the Senate this week, Iglesias told NOW he believes the White House is keeping documents from Congress to protect the Bush Administration. “That’s why there has been such a circling of the wagons around Karl Rove and Harriet Miers and Sarah Taylor. I believe there to be incriminating, possibly criminally incriminating evidence contained in those e-mails and other memoranda,” he said.”

Yes, the best Republican is an offensive Republican. My thanks to Jackie and Bev.

The Usual Suspects

Near the end of the movie, Casablanca, a murder occurs and the usual suspects are rounded up. The murderer was no less than Humphrey Bogart and the only witness was Claude Rains, aka Captain Renault. Captain Renault orders the round up while letting the murderer go.

I wanted to write a real article today about the 'usual suspects' and couldn't decide who should be in the group. Now I don't know if the 'who' is as important as the 'whats.'

The who's are pretty easy to identify. Liberals. Democrats. Godless Communists. Socialists. ACLU. Bleeding Heart types. Clintons. Gores. Kennedys. Roosevelt. "The Media" aka the Mainstream Media.

The 'what' need some clarification. Taxes. Tax and Spend. Big Government. Unbalanced Budgets. The Nanny Society. Taxes. Taxes. Taxes.

So I'm going to waste my idea about the usual suspects and talk about taxes.

GOP Speaker of the Georgia House, Glenn Richardson, says only the federal income tax is hated more than property taxes. Speaker Richardson always paints with a broad brush and then can't understand how he got painted into a corner.

How does my favorite Defender of Truth, Justice, and the American Way want to solve this very emotional problem?

He wants to rename the property tax.

People will like paying taxes a lot better, in the Speakers not so humble opinion, if they are paying a 'sales tax' instead of a 'property tax.'

I would ask a few questions of the Speaker but I long ago learned not to fish in cesspools.

A tax by any other name is still a tax. And, to abuse Shakespeare a bit more, would still smell like a tax.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Cartoons from ... the AJC



In a way, all three cartoons ARE about structure.

Iraq's political structure has been exposed as broken.

Some physical U.S. structures are being breaking.


And, some physical structures are just one broken button away from too much exposure.


Hilliary's super structure can be fixed with a well placed scarf.

Our broken infrastructure can be fixed by a Hilliary, a Bill, or an Obama.

But, all the Kings horses and all the King''s men, can never put Georgie the Dummy together again.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Democratic Legacy

This might be making a mountain out of a molehill, but any organization that lasts 50 years should be celebrated.

Details from the AP and the Gainesville Times

ATLANTA (AP) -- When the curtain raises on the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's annual convention in Atlanta on Friday, the organization will be championing economic empowerment and civil rights - some of the same causes that sparked its creation 50 years ago.

Voting rights will also be a focus of the five-day event. Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama is scheduled to address the group on Saturday, and former President Bill Clinton is expected to participate on Monday.

As a nonpartisan group, the SCLC invited all the presidential candidates from the Democratic and Republican parties to attend the convention, and also invited President Bush, who did not reply to the invitation. The Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton - both outspoken advocates for voter education and empowerment - are also scheduled to attend.

SCLC President Charles Steele said on Thursday that issues like the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding school desegregation and the government's response to Hurricane Katrina illustrate a need for the group now more than ever before.

Bush shoved the event to the side to take a vacation. Nice guy.

Revenuers Bust North Georgia Still

Nope! It wasn't my moonshine.

Details
from the Gainesville Times.

ATLANTA (AP) -- Two men have been indicted on charges of running a moonshine still in the Chattahoochee National Forest in the North Georgia mountains.

Two other people have been indicted on charges of possessing the distilled spirits from the still, which was hidden in the forest in Rabun County and operated between January 2005 and February 2006, according to the criminal indictment in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia, released Friday.

The health risk comes from lead poisoning, because the crude equipment used - such as a car radiator used in this distillation apparatus - often leaks dangerous amounts of lead into the liquor.

Samples taken by federal agents at the site showed that the distilled spirits had lead levels of 1,508 parts per billion - more than a hundred times what federal environmental officials consider the safe level for drinking water.

"There are several reasons that people get involved with this," Jackson said. "They range from the thrill of consumption of something that is forbidden fruit, something illegal, something that may be steeped in tradition here in Georgia, as well as a a defiance of authority."

I notice one of penalties included taking the cars used in the moonshine business.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

My Response as published today

Presidents must have the Right Kind of Power

In recent days, a letter claimed the Democrats were destroying the "strong presidency" created in the Constitution. With the loss of a constitutionally strong presidency, the writer argued, the country would be lost.

There are only two kinds of "strong presidents." One draws strength from leadership and the other draws strength from statutes. The Constitution and the Democrats would always prevent a strong president with power only in statutes.

Use of power from leadership does not have to negate statutes and law. But the use of power from only statutes and laws will always destroy freedom.

Mike Parker

Dueling with the GOP in the Gainesville Times

Here's a trashy letter from a GOP syncopate:

Politicians' cowardice in wartime is treasonous

We are witnessing one of the most disgraceful episodes in the history of this nation. Politicians, Democrats mostly but "rinos" also, are using their power to do everything possible to destroy the presidency and weaken our nation. The methods used in their attacks are at the expense and safety of our troops and to the absolute delight of our enemies. I get the distinct impression that they could care less about how much they embolden our enemies or what damage they wreak upon our country. Their thirst for power is only going to be quenched by the blood of our troops and our future freedom it seems.

They say they support our troops. What a patronizing lie and a demoralizing avalanche to our troops. Wonder how many of our people would be alive now or not in Walter Reed Hospital if they had really supported them? It is easy for them to say this when they are sitting on their big backsides in a comfy, AC office in D.C.

To use our tax money to buy votes to ensure our defeat and cause death and injury to our military people is the ultimate act of cowardice. When will politicians refrain from trying to dictate military strategy? If the Democrats would devote the time, energy and tax money they are consuming in trying to destroy Bush toward insuring victory, our troops would be coming home soon.

The message they are sending to our enemy is: All you need to do is hang in there because we are going to cut and run. If we pull out, bloody chaos will prevail and we can look forward to house-to-house combat on Peachtree Street.

I keep hearing this is an unpopular war. I don't ever remember us getting into a war because we thought it was going to be popular. If you think war is popular, ask those guys with boots on the ground or the families who have lost love ones or the GIs lying in an amputee ward.

Another thing that riles me are the polls. Since when do we take a poll before performing some military operation? Or do we stop in the middle of a maneuver and take a poll to see if the majority agrees? I don't remember Eisenhower taking a poll before our people hit the beaches of Normandy. War, by its very nature, is not a fun experience and war strategy should not be determined by a popularity contest or politicians.

Another thing we hear from the Demos is: Don't question our patriotism. I not only question it I see no signs of it. Some of these pompous jackasses, who unfortunately are U.S. senators, ought to be tried for treason. Treason is defined in Article III of the Constitution as " giving aid and comfort to our enemies." I believe the shoe fits.

Gary Gambrell

Murrayville

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Georgia to be the new Iowa says Perdue

I lied. Perdue never said Georgia was going to become the new Iowa. I would never insult Iowa like that. The old Iowa is fine and Perdue doesn't have a clue about the future or geography.

But, our geographic Goobernator has been traveling again. This time to Tifton for some corn alcohol. Personally, I like my moonshine fresh from the mountains, no offense Tifton.

The Tifton moonshiners have no fear of the Goobernator or the Revenuers, pronounced, Rev-en- newers. These modern moonshiners get tax dollars instead of paying revenue.

Details on the story from the Albany Herald.

If you're still reading me, Perdue did say, "However the sun-drenched state is one of agriculture, innovation, a strong conservation ethic, “and by golly,” Perdue said, “it has 24 million acres of trees that are second only to Oregon’s.”

Goober, does that include Oaky Woods?

By Golly, Goober, it doesn't anymore, does it?

From the Herald article, "The roots of U.S. ethanol are in Georgia, when the nation’s first energy bill was introduced during the administration of former president Jimmy Carter."

Jimmy Carter, who never said, "By golly," has several legacy policies including an energy policy devoted to reducing our dependence on oil.

Perdue is giving away your tax dollars to fund the annual creation of enough biofuel to run the state ten days. 10 days.

WOW! Ten days. Did the Goobernator tell us how much of our tax dollars are being given to these future bio-Oil Barrons to cook all that mash?

Nope.

Did the Goobernator mention the biofuels industry uses 3 gallons of WATER for every gallon of biofuel produced?

Nope.

Did my favorite hypocrite mention the drought and the federal disaster relief needed in 159 Georgia counties? (story in the AJC)

Nope.

Does the head Goober understand that when the bio dries up, so will the hype, By Golly?

No water means no life not just no jobs and no biofuels.

He should have spent the money on Oaky Woods.

Will the Iraq Government fall?

Sunni Arab bloc quits Iraq Government

Not really big news since the grade school version of a government is on a summer recess. But, news is news.

Details from the AP

BAGHDAD - Iraq’s largest Sunni Arab political bloc announced its withdrawal from the government Wednesday, undermining efforts to seek reconciliation among the country’s rival factions, …

…Rafaa al-Issawi, a leading member of the Front, said at a news conference that the bloc’s six Cabinet ministers would submit their resignations later in the day.

Al-Issawi said the decision to pull out from the government followed what he called Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s failure to respond to the Accordance Front. It gave him seven days to meet its demands, and the ultimatum expired Wednesday.

Among the demands: a pardon for security detainees not charged with specific crimes, the disbanding of militias and the participation of all groups represented in the government in dealing with security issues.

Big OUCH! Sounds like these Sunni Arabs want democracy and human rights. Now the question I have to ask is will this mean the government falls forcing new elections?

When I say will the government fall, I mean, does the Prime Minister still have enough votes to retain his position and operate a parliament type of legislature?

It has to everything to do with procedure and nothing to do with the country collapsing.