Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Better use for the money in my book!

The Institute for Policy Studies and Foreign Policy In Focus have a report on the price of the war in Iraq (PDF). The report details the human, security, economic and social costs of the war for all the stakeholders . Here is one item to note.

The $151.1 billion spent by the U.S. government on the war could have cut world hunger in half and covered HIV/AIDS medicine, childhood immunization and clean water and sanitation needs of the developing world for more than two years.

Ask yourself how much money we have spent destroying Iraq and how much more we are going to spend putting it back together again. Then cry.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Finally, the CIA Gets It Right (

The whole article needs reading but suffice to say if the American populace actually realized how badly screwed we are....Finally, the CIA Gets It Right ( "For those Americans who had begun to doubt whether the Central Intelligence Agency could produce good analysis, Imperial Hubris clearly demonstrates otherwise. It is a powerful, persuasive analysis of the terrorist threat and the Bush administration's failed efforts to fight it. The CIA carefully vetted the book to ensure that no 'sources and methods' were exposed, but the anonymous author -- a current CIA official -- draws effectively on the years he's spent carefully studying detailed intelligence reports from several U.S. and many foreign spy agencies. His criticism is damning."

Matt Taibbi in the New York Press jumps down Christopher's throat the whole article is worth a read

New York's Premier Alternative Newspaper. Arts, Music, Food, Movies and Opinion: "I'm off on this tangent because I'm enraged by the numerous attempts at verbose, pseudoliterary, 'nuanced' criticism of Moore this week by the learned priests of our business. (And no, I'm not overlooking this newspaper.) Michael Moore may be an ass, and impossible to like as a public figure, and a little loose with the facts, and greedy, and a shameless panderer. But he wouldn't be necessary if even one percent of the rest of us had any balls at all. "

Informed Comment : 06/01/2004 - 06/30/2004

Informed Comment : 06/01/2004 - 06/30/2004: This is a must read. Juan as usual cuts to the chase. It will be interesting to see if the U.S. Media fall for the misdirection. You can hear Scott McClellan answering every question about the car bombings and disaster in Iraq with a phrase similar to the following. "You'll have to ask the Iraqi's about that we turned soveriegnty over to then on June 28th. "
To qupte Juan:
"This entire exercise is a publicity stunt and has almost no substance to it. Gwen Ifill said on US television on Sunday that she had talked to Condaleeza Rice, and that her hope was that when something went wrong in Iraq, the journalists would now grill Allawi about it rather than the Bush administration. (Or words to that effect). Ifill seems to me to have given away the whole Bush show. That's what this whole thing is about. It is Public Relations and manipulation of journalists. Let's see if they fall for it."

Traveling.....Portland, OR

Little trip out the Northwest....light action for a few days.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Must read : William Rivers Pitt | Thank You, Michael Moore

Those of you who don't read William Rivers Pitt regularly at TruthOut are missing one of the best writers on the web today. Below is a graph from his comments on "Fahrenheit 9/11". Also the entire site should be on everyone's daily check.

t r u t h o u t - Extra: William Rivers Pitt | Thank You, Michael Moore: "'Fahrenheit 9/11' is not a victory for anyone. We the People should have known better, We the People should have been given the facts before sending 851 of our children to die. We the People have been betrayed, by our leaders and by a media that profited, and profits still, from the daily sale of lies. This film drove that horrid fact home with a mallet, and it hurt."

Water boarding or feigned drowning which is better?

CIA Puts Harsh Tactics On Hold (
I guess it is a style thing. I am not sure which I would prefer. I guess waterboarding sounds more like recreation so that is my choice. Seriously, how many ways can the Whitewash House dance around this issue and keep a straight face?
(update: corrected spelling)

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Dwell a moment upon how the Irish greeted the "Big Dog" and Bush - Protesters 'drive' Bush from Ireland - Jun 26, 2004
Going back to JFK, Regan and yes the "Big Dog" the Irish have always treated out Presidents with respect and honor. What have we lost and can we regain it?

Uncle Sam says you can gamble away your life

Let me see if I get this straight. We have 200 billion to spend killing Iraqi women and children and pay Halliburton to ship fuel to Iraq and subsidize the Afghan poppy business. We don’t have any money to help our most desperate citizens, you know the ones with cancer, MS, etc., pay for treatment. We do have this really great idea though. We are going to hold a lottery to see which of the lucky souls get to have a chance at life. If you don’t win the lottery then you will have to wait until 2006 for any help, if you live that long. What an utterly insane idea.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

What about the Energy policy is so secret?

The Supremo's upheld Cheney today letting him keep all of his secret dealings with the energy lobby secret. I just don't understand why it needs to be secret other than the fact that if it was public knowledge Cheney and Bush would be in prison and we might actually have a sane energy policy.

Sleep with dogs and get fleas

Consolidating thoughts from sevral other blogs including The Whiskey Bar and others. Sorry I can't give an exact attribution.

I made the mistake the other day of mentioning the Geneva Conventions in front a co-worker the other day and how I was so disgusted with our cavalier refusal to treat the Iraqi and other "war" prisoners with strict adherence to these rules. I was immediately accosted with a litany of Osama bin Laden,9/11, Saddam atrocities and that these justified whatever it took to defeat terrorism and make us safe. I was accused of promoting "moral relativism." I pointed out that linking our behavior to that of Saddam was in fact the "moral relativism". My co-worker's comment was, to paraphrase "We're the good guys and have Jesus on our side and the terrorists aren't Christian and are the bad guys. The ends justify the means."

My concern is that this reaction seems to be typical of the "non-left" and reflects something about their thought processes that is disturbing, to say the least.

In the same sentence or thought they both condemn and promote "moral relativism". The concept that "good" just means being better than the other "bad" guy. I think what is really happening here is a resistance to the concept of "moral equivalence" which is kind of echoed in the "you're either with us or against us." There has been a long argument since the Cold War on whether any given country was with the U.S. (West) or with the Russians. If you were with us then, regardless of your actual morals or actions, you were on the side of good and therefore some of your behavior could be overlooked. This attitude led the U.S. to crawl into bed with some pretty unsavory characters over the years; Saddam Hussein, Osama, Marcos, Pinochet, Seko just to name a few. These alliances with evil had the moral equivalence of making us no better than the worst among them. Just because some advantage is gained over your supreme enemy does not excuse the behavior of your allies.

I believe every person and country has an obligation to respect and protect basic human rights for on all people regardless of whether they are "with us or against us". This includes the obligation to follow the spirit and the letter of the Geneva Conventions. Any failure to do this is wrong and should be condemned. athis is not to say that all such failures are equivalent and therefore equally bad. The current apologists that attempt to excuse our bad behavior just because others are much worse just don't grasp the fundamental concept that moral responsibility is not relative. You cannot justify evil such as torture, murder and lawlessness in the defense of the good.

The torture scandal has brought America to a crossroads. The current administration is trying it's damndest to rationalize evil as a justification for opposing a greater evil whether it is real or imagined. The constant threat of a new strike, the color codes and all this is designed to compromise the American image. There are trying to change the definition of "good guys" and this is very dangerous.

I really think the job we have is to remind Americans of what the country has stood for since the beginning. Being good is more than just being a little better than the bad people. This involves rejecting the notion that seems to be evolving that the Geneva Conventions are "quaint" but outdated and that they do not apply in the "war on terror". We need to remind Americans that we signed the conventions because they embody the fundamental democratic principles that were and should be soul of America.

Appease North Korea - Never!

The Poor Man has the scoop. It is absolutely amazing how little respect this mis-admininistration has for our memories.

Not better off

Ntodd has a poll up on whether you are better off now than four years ago. They are also hashing this around over at Brad DeLong's and the Washington Monthly. I think NTodd has it right. No matter what the media or government says it is really how people assess their own situations that affects their mood. It probably will not be a good idea for Bush to ask the question during the campaign. The fact that coporate profits are taking and increasingly greater share of the pie is sinking in by force of it's own weight. Additionally, the fact that even though there may be a slightly improving job market people are seeing first hand that these are not good jobs that offer a living wage. The average Joe is not an economist but knows from first hand experience that the more people there are applying for a given job the lower the wage will probably be. He understands supply and demand in the gut.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Hawks versus Kevin

Kevin Drum takes on Hugh Hewitt over at the Washington Monthly and makes some good points. It seems ol' Hugh doesn't want a pinko liberal like Kevin in charge of the defense of the country. Kevin deftly points out that the track record for hawks isn't too hot when it comes to insuring the common good.

The dance of the Fallenmonk

Now I understood for the first time that all these problems are caused by a race asleep and thrashing about in its panicked nightmares. There will be wars and holocausts and genocides as long as God is portrayed and thought of as a tight-minded legislator, a feudal lord, an offended King, a hypersensitive Artisan – even if church managers condescendingly tack onto that ridiculous list the not-very-convincing footnote that He is also loving. As long as people dream that they are insecure and needy in some sort of eternal jeopardy, there will be atrocities. But as the human race grows up spiritually, and as individuals gain a personal experience of the God they have been worshipping in fear, they will recognize that much of their theology and philosophy is built on nightmares. That will be the day of peace. I suddenly found myself unwilling to sit it out in the mountains of Utah. I wanted to play an active role in the process of the world’s awakening. – George Fowler, "Dance of a Fallen Monk"

Moving over from Livejournal

This initial post is just a mention to those who care that fallenmonk on the livejournal is not going to be updated very often.