Monday, January 29, 2007
New York Times to report a new Bush executive order that gives the president much greater control over rules to regulate public health, safety, environment, civil rights, privacy, other issues...
I'll bring you more info on this as it becomes available.
STILL glad ya voted for dubya?
Friday, January 26, 2007
my body is here in this room,
but my heart is not in this place
the rest of my being is seeking,
an angel with a southern face.
it's most likely a waste,
this searching or waiting
for that which, likely, will never be found
but if you can wait, i'll re-enter this space
and we'll order up one more round.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Part One Of...Well...More Than One Part...
Day after day, person after person, usually someone in the Bush administration or who otherwise supports the occupation of Iraq, is asked a question phrased similar to this:
“When will our troops be able to return home?”
The answer, invariably, comes back:
“When the ‘job’ is done.”
“When we achieve ‘victory’.”
To me, those answers raise the question of the definitions of ‘victory’ and ‘job’. I have no idea what those words mean in this context. I have scoured the Internet for a couple of years now, in search of an answer. I have come across a few, but they are less than appropriate I think:
When Saddam is gone.
When Iraq has an open election.
When Iraq has a government that is a constitutional democracy.
Each of those above conditions have been met. However, after each of these events occur, the ‘job’ is still not done. We have not achieved victory.
There is one other response that I’ve come across, and it presents its own problems:
Yes, Saddam is gone and Iraq has elected a constitutional democracy, but we can’t leave until the country is stable.
Stable? Iraq? Those who offer the above condition for victory seem to lack access to a World History text book. Iraq has not been stable since its existence, not without having a totalitarian regime anyway.
Next time we'll take a little look at the history of Iraq and how it became Iraq with the borders as we now know it.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
American society is quickly becoming a mirror of classist societies in old Europe. Further, in government, money now will get one much farther than merit. Are we now, or simply soon to be, an aristocracy?
Saturday, January 13, 2007
This editorial in the Washington Post,
http://www.nypost.com/seven/01122007/postopinion/editorials/boxers_low_blow_editorials_.htm?page=0 , pretty much parrots everything said recently by the right wing media types regarding the relevant incident. The general consensus of those folk is that Senator Barbara Boxer made a verbal personal attack against Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The specific arguments against the Senator range from saying that she was putting down Secretary Rice because she has no children to claiming that Senator Boxer said that Secretary Rice was unqualified to make military decisions because she has no children. Limbaugh went so far as to say:
Here you have a rich white chick with a huge, big mouth, trying to lynch this -- an African American woman -- right before Martin Luther King Day, hitting below the ovaries here.
Let’s first look at what actually happened; let us look at the actual words that were used. First, here is some context. Secretary Rice was in the Senate defending the President’s ‘new’ plan of escalation. Senator Boxer is against the plan. One of the points she was trying to make, and indeed the entire Democratic Party has been making for some time, is that the people making the war policy are risking nothing, sacrificing nothing, and paying no price for their decisions.
Now, given that context, here is exactly what Secretary Rice said and the response that Senator Boxer made that she has now been so criticized for:
Rice: “I could never, and I can never, do anything to replace any of those lost men and women in uniform, or the diplomats, some of --"
Boxer: Madame Secretary, please, I know you feel terrible about it, that's not the point. I was making the case as to who pays the price for your decisions. Now the issue is: Who pays the price? Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price; my kids are too old, and my grandchild is too young. You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family. So who pays the price? The American military and their families.
As you probably know, I’m no particular fan of either of these women, so I believe that I can form a fairly objective opinion here. To me, I can see no insult. Senator Boxer does not even directly mention the fact that Secretary Rice has no children, let alone does she suggest that the Secretary’s lack of kids is a bad thing, or even relevant.
I honestly don’t understand how this was an attack. I just really, really don’t. If any of you do, please enlighten me.
Here are a couple more articles on the subject:
http://mediamatters.org/items/200701120014 < Limbaugh and his ‘lynching’ comment
Friday, January 12, 2007
The problems in Iraq now are many, and I don’t feel it necessary to go over them here, as it would be highly redundant. But I believe we all can agree that the problems in Iraq do not simply stem from one source but are the product of many events and circumstances. My idea should affect some positive changes to at least a couple of those circumstances. Here it is, in a nutshell.
As of today, the most recent American Military Census for Iraq shows that we have roughly 152000 troops in Iraq. More interestingly, perhaps, is that the same census counts over 100000 American contractors in Iraq, and that doesn’t include subcontractors. Other, non-official, counts of contractors put the number as high 300 or 400 thousand.
Regardless of the exact count of US government contractors, I believe it is safe to say that there are at least as many contractors and sub-contractors in Iraq as there are members of the US Armed Forces, many of which have a bit of a checkered past.
But what are they actually doing, and are they necessary?
As to the first part of the question, the answer is basically everything. The contractors now handle logistics for the US Military (which, up until the early to mid nineties was all handle by the USAS), they build roads and telecom systems, they work private security details, and just about everything else that needs doing that our military is not trained or equipped to do.
As to the second part of the question, are they necessary, I would say that some are. But I believe that the vast majority are not.
So here’s my idea. The commanders on the ground take an inventory of all of the government contractors and what exactly their contracts involve. If there are contractors doing jobs that are strategic, tactical, or general military requirements and these jobs, due to security reasons, must be done by people under US control, then those contractors stay. Every other contractor, however, must be sent out of Iraq.
All the jobs that were being done by the contractors must then be done by either our military or by Iraqi citizens and businesses. By doing this we accomplish a number of things:
1. We decrease the number of American casualties by getting these people out of the way.
2. We decrease the number of crimes committed against the Iraqis by non-Iraqis. Most of these crimes are being committed by contractors as there is no governing legal authority that covers them. They are basically free to do as they please.
3. We massively decrease the amount of money we are spending in Iraq.
4. We massively increase the Iraqi economy.
5. Hundreds of thousands of would-be militiamen, kidnappers-for-hire, etc, would have jobs. If there were no other reason for removing the contractors, I believe that this would be enough, as it has many positive secondary and tertiary effects.
That’s the short version of it anyway. Thoughts?