Wednesday, January 31, 2007

"Leader" Email with Glenn Greenwald

It makes much more sense that you call him "Leader" because of his extremist supporters. You are correct about that. But you didn't make that clear in your article.
----- Original Message -----
From: Glenn Greenwald
To: Simmons
Sent: Monday, January 29, 2007 5:47 PM
Subject: Re:
Capitalizing "Leader" has nothing to do with the President. It has to do with how his supporters speak of him and the theories they defend regarding his powers. I'm sorry you worked yourself into such a frenzy over nothing.

----- Original Message -----
From: Simmons
To: Glenn Greenwald
Sent: Monday, January 29, 2007 8:31 PM
No, this comment is not made by a conservative\republican or even someone who supports President Bush:By capitalizing "Leader", not only do you make the U.S. sound like a dictatorship, you show your BLIND hatred for President Bush. You probably don't even have a good reason why Bush is a bad "Leader". Of course he has made many mistakes, too many mistakes, but the way you present your opinions it appears you don't even know what they are or why they are mistakes. Many of your insights are brilliant, but when the topic changes to Bush, you sound like a 3rd grader repeating their parent's political beliefs.
-- Simmons


Cartoon Network admits ad campaign set off suspicious-package alerts that shut down Boston

Monday, January 29, 2007


Hamas, Fatah agree ceasefire: minister

GAZA (Reuters) - Rival Palestinian factions agreed a ceasefire in Gaza effective from 3 a.m. (0100 GMT) on Tuesday, Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar said. Zahar, speaking after talks between Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of
Hamas and a senior aide to President Mahmoud Abbas, of Fatah, said the two sides
had agreed to take all gunmen off the streets of Gaza and remove checkpoints.

Peace at last. Peace is the only way forward. Fighting will get everyone nowhere.

The Surge Begins

100 militants captured near Najaf according to the U.S., Iraqi forces also report 200-300 dead

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - In its first full statement on what Iraqi officials called a major battle with a messianic cult south of Baghdad, the U.S. military said on Monday that 100 militants were captured in the operation.
It made no mention of Iraqi officials' accounts of 200-300 cult followers killed in nearly 24 hours of fighting near the Shi'ite holy city of Najaf.

And the surge begins.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Iraq War Philosophy
If the text is copied into blogger, it won't show "1." or "2." or "A." or etc.

It's lecture notes from a course.

It states philosophy for going/not going to war with Iraq. The ideas, questions, and conclusions are a must-read

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Life in Iraq

This picture is so saddening. Think about it; too often do we just pass it by, accept it as life. The media has changed how people think of things. Imagine the pain he's experiencing. Imagine the pain his family will or already is experiencing. His life will never be the same. It is so horrible.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Unknown Unknowns

There are known knowns; there things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns--the ones we don't know we don't know.

-Donald Rumsfeld, philosopher

Bush's Reform

Recently, more and more often Bush has been admitting mistakes and being more conciliatory. In his surge speech, President Bush admitted mistakes in Iraq. Earlier this week, he agreed to let a special court monitor his wiretapping program. In the State of the Union, he backed down on global warming, and is beginning to address it. The Reform started when Bush fired Rumsfeld. Not only did this get rid of a hard-liner, it itself was a reform. Anyone else notice Cheney has been pretty quiet recently? Cheney and Rumsfeld were a major part of the problem. Now that Rumsfeld is gone and Cheney is being less of an extremist, the Reform has begun and there’s a much higher probability this presidency can be salvaged.

Bush: “I'm the decision-maker.” Sound familiar? When calls for Rumsfeld to be fired where echoing around the country, the President said basically this exact same thing. Then he gave in. While talking about his surge plan, he said this. And he’ll probably at least partially give in on this topic too. Eventually. President Bush has a need to show that he is in control. He will often try to show that he is in control, but will ultimately concede and fail miserably. He hasn’t listened to the Iraq Study Group, (temporarily) refused to fire Rumsfeld, and has extended presidential power many times. His attempts to show that he is in control are endless. He has to learn to accept that he can’t always have what he wants. With Democrats in control of Congress conciliation is required now more then ever.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


“The President listened too much to the Vice President…Of course, the President bears the ultimate responsibility, but he was very badly served by both the Vice President and, most of all, the Secretary of Defense.”

Sen. John McCain to


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Romney vs. Romney

Moderate Mitt, the man who ran for governor, debates Mitt2008
The different views of Mitt Romney.

Summary of State of the Union 2007

Here’s a little outline of the State of the Union speech last night.

But first, some analysis.

If you actually listened last night (some people “boycotted”), most of it sounded like a shopping list.

Most of the time, Bush states his goal, but not how he’s going to do it. He knows his destination, but it looks like Mapquest is down.

Most of this is proposals, but some of it is ideas that have been put into effect that the media hasn’t reported much of.
I. Economy
A. Federal Deficit
- Plan for it to be gone in 5 years
B. Earmarks
- Cut in half this session
C. Renew Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security
II. Education
A. Students should be able to switch schools/Superintendents should be able to fix schools
B. More money for struggling students
C. Reauthorize No Child Left Behind
III. Healthcare
A. Standard Tax Deduction
- Families with health insurance will pay no income taxes or payroll taxes on $15,000 of their income
- Single households with health insurance will pay no income or payroll taxes for $7,500 of their income
B. States that provide everyone with basic health insurance should get extra federal money
C. Expand Health Savings account
D. Association of Health Planning
E. Price transparency
F. Medical liability reform
IV. Immigration
A. Temporary worker program
B. “Without Amnesty”
V. Energy
A. Alternative Energy
- Ethanol, clean coal
B. Reduce gas usage by 20% in 10 years
C. Mandatory Fuel Standard
D. Double the capacity of the strategic petroleum reserves
VI. Judges
A. “Give those nominees a fair hearing, and a prompt up-or-down vote on the Senate floor”
VII. Terrorism\Iraq
A. What’s happened with terrorism since 9/11
B. Surge
C. Bipartisan special advisory council on the war on terror
D. Volunteer civilian reserve Corps.
A. Funding for people with AIDS
B. Millennium Challenge Account

The full text of his speech can be found here.


Last year Bush's approval rating wasn't 28%. Fox probably won't, but CNN and some other less conservative stations probably will show the SOTU. Well, "We the People", are just going to have to hope 2008 comes soon.
----- Original Message -----
From: *****************
Sent: Tuesday, January 23, 2007 5:55 PM
Not one network was brave enough to show the protestors outside of the White House during Bush's last speech; Do you think anyone will be brave enough tonight? "We the People" should have a say in war that is costing millions an hour,
and bankrupting the USA don't you think? I'm protesting by tuning OUT tonight at 9pm.



GDAEman notes something interesting:

This is funny and revealing.

The price says it all:

Team Bush : Leadership Lessons from the Bush White House


by Donald F. Kettl61 used & new available from $0.01

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Militarization--in Space and in China

There hasn’t been a lot of blog activity on China’s anti-satellite (ASAT) test. There isn’t a lot to say about it, but it’s not as simple as it seems at first glance.

First of all, the destroyed satellite is now hundreds of pieces of space junk. This poses a problem not only to other satellites, but also manned and unmanned spacecraft. This is the immediate concern. However, there are much more serious implications.

The U.S. hasn’t tested anti-satellite weapons in over 20 years. And the main reason isn’t space rubble. If there’s another arms race, who knows what would happen. Maybe this time, democracy and freedom wouldn’t triumph. Although Bush asserts the rights to “freedom of action in space,” the U.S. doesn’t want a militarized space. 25% of satellites in space are American, commercial or military. Attacks on satellites would blind the military and bleed the economy. But wait, there’s more.

The warnings to China not to militarize space have an extra message that the media hasn’t been reporting. Basically: We don’t want a war, stop arming yourself.

The media hasn’t been reporting this, and it should be reported more. China may be the most powerful country soon. Don’t forget, China is ruled by a single-party Communist government. Chinese militarization and space militarization are both dangerous. Together, there could be problems…

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Administration to let court monitor domestic spying

This was an extremely smart political and legal move. This backs up the Administration legally, because they have to get a warrant for wiretapping. Politically, challengers can't do anything, because he has legal rights to do it. And, they can still wiretap on most people they want to. It's a special court that will be monitoring the domestic spying. Don't think they will be ultra-restrictive; They will give out most of the warrants requested.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Military Looking at Financial Records

Instead of a long post, here's a link to a long post on Poliblogger about the Pentagon viewing the banking and credit records of hundreds of people. It says everything needed to be said.

Take an especially careful look at #2. "The Military Can’t (and Shouldn’t) Do Everything". The military doesn't need to do everything. It's already stretched too thin. There are other agencies to do that. The military is needed in Iraq, not in banks.

For everything else, see the Poliblogger post.

Obama, Presidential Race

Reuters: Obama wades into 2008 White House race

So, Obama has finally entered the race. He has a lot of support right now, along with McCain on the Republican side. It doesn’t matter yet.

First of all, candidate’s opinions haven’t been totally expressed yet. Most of the candidates are at least partially running on personality (Obama). And even their true personalities don’t come out except under situations where they think no one is watching (“Macaca” moment).

Secondly, candidates haven’t had the chance to mess up yet. The prime example, of course, is Howard Dean.

But most importantly, situations will change. Especially Iraq. McCain has been a prime proponent of the surge in Iraq. If this fails, it will probably send him to the bottom of the polls. If it works wonderfully, his popularity will skyrocket. That’s just an example. Something big could happen, another terrorist attack on U.S. soil, another Israeli war, perhaps this time with Syria or Iran rather than Hezbollah. Would the election be the same? Of course not.

Surplus? Since When?

Iran, China exploit U.S. military surplus supermarket
Since when has there been surplus? Wasn't the Army and Marines requesting more money to repair equipment?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Surge in Diplomacy

Finally! An article about the surge. (Sorry how long it took.)

Courtesy Boston Globe

Take a look at this comparison of Bush’s plan and the Iraq Study Group’s report. Analyze it. Don’t over analyze it. What do you notice? Most of Bush’s plan does NOT do what the Study Group recommends. Bush plans an increase in troops in Iraq. The report says “We do not have the troops or equipment to make a substantial, sustained increase in our troop presence.” Bush didn’t propose direct talks with Iran or Syria. The report says a “new diplomatic offensive … should include every country that has an interest in avoiding a chaotic Iraq, including all of Iraq’s neighbors—Iran and Syria among them.”

This doesn’t mean a surge is the wrong thing to do. The Iraq Study Group is not God, and the Iraq Study Group Report the Bible/Quran/Torah/etc. The report says don’t withdraw right away, or stay the course, or increase the number of troops, or divide the country into different regions. It doesn’t say what to do with the troops right now. It says staying the course is unacceptable, but what is supposed to be done militarily? It doesn’t say.

The level of troops should remain the same. The diplomacy and what the troops are doing is what should be done differently. Valiant coalition forces should play a supporting role to the Iraqi army and police, and should help rebuild communities in Iraq, unlike what former Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld believed. President Bush should begin talks with Iran, Syria, and other Middle Eastern countries. Diplomacy is where the Iraq Study Group’s report should be referenced.

For now, with the surge already beginning, we’ll just have to be optimistic and hopeful. But diplomatic action can still be taken. It needs to be taken.

Not Again...

Botched hanging in Iraq arouses Arab suspicions

Déjà vu anybody?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Iran War?

The American people, and I assume the Congress, expect the president to do what is necessary to protect our forces.

-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in response to if she believes the president has constitutional authority to pursue across the border into Iran or Syria

Glenn Greenwald recently published an article about the expansion of the Iraq war, and how it’s leading to a war with Iran. The Iranians detained recently, how Iran is supplying terrorists in Iraq, how the U.S. is going to stop the supplying (“We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria”), etc. are some of the reasons he gives to support that Bush is preparing for a war. All of that is true, but does not mean that there will be a war. Maybe Bush is just getting more confrontational. Also, his article states that the Iranians who were “kidnapped” were “kidnapped” out of the Iranian embassy. They weren’t. They were detained from a consulate, which is a lesser form of an embassy, but isn’t an embassy. All of this true, there will be no war. The key reason there won’t be a war yet is that the army is stretched too thin. Even with the proposed enlargement, it will be at least a couple of years before the expansion is complete. Unless Iran outright attacks the U.S. and claims responsibility, instead of just supplying weapons, there will be no war.

Friday, January 12, 2007


Upgraded blog :)

American Embassy in Greece Attack

Via CNN: Leftist Group Claims Responsibility for Attacks on the American Embassy in Greece

At least there were no casualties. A group called the Revolutionary Struggle has claimed responsibility. They say they are the heir to November 17, a Marxist terrorist group. N17, as they were sometimes called, disliked the U.S. backed military government in Greece. But unlike in N17's time, Greece is ruled by a democratic government. Their problem is with America, and "American Globalization." Ironically, the only thing the U.S. is exporting nowadays is democracy, not any products. They have a problem with saying how their ruled?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Who Voted Against Minimum Wage Increase?

Via CNN: The Democratic-controlled House votes 315-116 to increase the federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour.

Who voted against it and why? That's a really good way for politicians to get votes...Except from big company execs

E-mail to the Cafferty File

This is actually yesterday's 5:00 Cafferty File question. Posting was temporarily down yesterday.

The Cafferty File, part of The Situation Room on CNN, poses a question every hour The Situation Room is on. This is today's 5:00 question, and a response.
Should the United States launch attacks on al Qaeda members in Somalia?

If given permission by Somalia and the U.S. has sufficient intel on where the terrorists are, attacks should be carried out. Not only does it show U.S. power in region, it shows that America can still exert its influence when it needs to. Still, it must be carrid out with exact precision; The United States does NOT need another war on its hands.

Monday, January 08, 2007

U.S. Bombs Al-Qaeda Militants in Somalia

U.S. Bombs Al-Qaeda Militants in Somalia
Good, or bad?


  • Al Qaeda militants possibly dead
  • Shows U.S. influence and capability in the region and world
  • The U.S. does NOT need another war on its hands
  • There will most likely be some civilian casualties, leading to calls for Jihad

E-mail to the Cafferty File

The Cafferty File, part of The Situation Room on CNN, poses a question every hour The Situation Room is on. This is today's 4:00 question, and a response.
A top U.S. commander in Iraq says it might take another "two or three years" to gain the upper hand in the war. Are you willing to wait that long?

To put it simply: yes. If anything can be salvaged from this disastrously handled war, three years doesn't seem that long. Lebanon is being over run by Hezbollah; without it, democracy will deteriorate even more quickly than it is now (no thanks to the Iraq war). And, as the general said, if the American people have hope, they will be more supportive of the war.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Troop Surge?

This week, President Bush is expected to announce a new policy of a surge of troops in Iraq. Not agreeing with or disagreeing with, if this is his plan, there are some things Bush has to realize. If he does do this, and only if he does do this, he can't just send in a couple thousand troops. He has to send in a lot. 25,000 to 30,000 would be best. And it has to be sustainable. If this goes on for only six months, and then the number of troops is reduced to the current number, the only success will be weakening Iraq’s forces. That’s different then if after six months U.S. forces begin to withdraw all troops. That would be a complete change of course. Sustainable and many. If the Bush Administration chooses a troop surge, they are key.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The First 100 Hours

House Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi and her top aides have outlined a full agenda for Democrats' first 100 legislative hours in power, starting after members of the 110th Congress are sworn in today. Pelosi has vowed to complete work on those items before President Bush delivers his State of the Union address on Jan. 23.

Today and tomorrow

Ethics and lobbying reform, including ban on gifts and travel paid for by lobbying organizations, and a requirement that all privately funded travel be pre-approved by the House Ethics Committee.

Earmark reform, including a requirement that House members publicly acknowledge special projects they are seeking.

"Pay-as-you-go" budgeting, requiring any increase in spending to be offset with a revenue enhancement or budget cut.

Week of Jan. 8

Enact 9/11 Commission recommendations, including enhanced cargo screening and ensuring better communication among first responders to emergencies.

Increase the federal minimum wage, from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 an hour.

Expand federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, overriding the president's restrictions on such funding.

Permit Medicare to negotiate with drug companies, to bring potentially lower prices to program participants.

Week of Jan. 15

Cut student loan interest rates in half.

Repeal tax cuts for big oil companies, to create a pool to fund renewable energy initiatives.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Hussein's Execution

There wasn't enough time to publish the article on Saddam's execution before the execution, especially because it was still during the holidays. So instead of typing up a long version of the opinion, here's a short version. Of course, the ex-dictator has already been executed, so the article is almost pointless to read, but...

If the death of Saddam Hussein was the birth of a new Iraq, then Iraq was born premature. Let's make this clear: Iraqi courts ruled Hussein should be executed for his crimes in Dujail, so when the time is right, Saddam should be executed. The time wasn't right. Hussein wasn't convicted for and didn't even start the trial for some of his worst crimes, such as the murders of over 100,000 Kurds. Everyone effected in some way by his cruelness is probably still happy about his death, but wouldn't you be a bit happier if you knew that the Iraqi courts recognized the slaughter of your family and friends?