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War, politics, religion... & other stuff you shouldn't talk about over dinner...

Dedicated to the proposition that GW Bush and Saddam Hussein are figments of our unconscious minds

Cost of the War in Iraq
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According to Amnesty International, Iraq executes "scores" of political prisoners every year, at least 31 confirmed last year. How long would it have taken Saddam to execute the 6000+ Iraqi civilians we've killed this year? Figure it out.

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LEAGUE OF LIBERALS

 


SADDAM CAUGHT..... WAR OVER..... LET'S GO HOME!

Note: Comments (sigh) working again...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


 
Evildoers... Visit the new site at:

http://cosmiciguana.com



Wednesday, November 24, 2004


 
CINCINNATI ENQUIRER:
Warren County has drawn national attention for ... locking down the administration building during the vote count because of terrorism concerns. The Ohio Secretary of State's Office wasn't aware of another Ohio county taking that measure. Federal and local homeland security officials say they didn't know of an increased threat in Warren County...

...County Commissioner Pat South has said the decision to lock the doors election night was made during an Oct. 28 closed-door meeting (the Thursday before Election Day). But in e-mailed memos dated Oct. 25 and Oct. 26 - released Monday after an Enquirer public records request - other county officials were already detailing the security measures, down to the wording of signs that would be posted on the locked doors.

"I don't think there's a discrepancy," Emergency Services Director Frank Young said Monday of the e-mail conversation with Building Services Director Jake Jones. "Part of that is the planning process."... [*]


Let's get it straight, the Repug county officials first claimed that the FBI told them there was a terror warning, then backed down when the FBI wouldn't back them up. Now it turns our it was planned at least a week ahead. But that was just part of the "planning process".

Planning for what? I think maybe the correct word is not "discrepancy" but "conspiracy." As an old hand at the CIA once told me, "Some people call it conspiracy, we call it planning..."



Friday, January 09, 2004


 
HOW QUICKLY THEY FORGET: COLIN POWELL TODAY AND 11 MONTHS AGO

THIS WEEK:

"I have not seen smoking-gun, concrete evidence about the connection," Mr Powell told a news conference. "But I think the possibility of such connections did exist, and it was prudent to consider them at the time that we did." [*]

LAST FEBRUARY:

According to reports circulating in Washington yesterday, one of the more sensational claims that will be advanced by Mr Powell is that al-Qa'eda officials have approached Iraq about cooperating on chemical and biological weapons. He will also outline Baghdad's contacts with Osama bin Laden directly and with Ansar al-Islam, an affiliated group which controls an area of northern Iraq... [*]


AND:

...Mr Powell told the Senate Budget Committee on Tuesday that he had read a transcript "of what Bin Laden, or who we believe to be Bin Laden, will be saying on al-Jazeera during the course of the day".

"Once again he speaks to the people of Iraq and talks about their struggle and how he is in partnership with Iraq," Mr Powell said.

At the Security Council, Mr Powell laid out what he said was proof that Baghdad was linked to al-Qaeda, whom the US blames for the 11 September attacks on New York and Washington... [*]


AND:

OHA, February 12 (IslamOnline & News Agencies) – ...U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell alleged the reported Osama bin Laden’s tape broadcast Tuesday, February11 , was a clear evidence of his link with Iraq.... [*]


- Gee mom, isn't proof different than a possibility?



 
W. NILE-SPREADING MOSQUITOS BECOMING PESTICIDE RESISTANT

Virus-Spreading Mosquito Shows Resistance

By MIELIKKI ORG, Associated Press Writer, January 9, 2004, 8:34 AM EST

SAN FRANCISCO -- One of the most common mosquitos found in North America, the same type that is capable of spreading the West Nile Virus, has showed signs of resistance to common pesticides, researchers say.

University of California, Davis researchers found mosquitos under a Marin County apartment that had developed a tolerance to pyrethroids, a common agricultural pesticide. Mosquitos have shown resistance to the chemical in Africa and Asia, but this is the first instance in North America, experts said.

The mosquitos, called culex pipiens, are one of the most common house mosquitos in North America and are the same species as those that spread West Nile across the country last year.... [*]


 
MOONBASE A MULTIBILLION DOLLAR BOONDOGGLE OR JUST ANOTHER "FREEDOM CORPS"?

... "The cost of a manned enclave on the moon, I think, is going to make the space station look cheap. That's the only good thing about it," said Stanford University's Douglas Osheroff.

In any event, "I think we're still 30 years from going to Mars and if there's any reason to do that, I don't know," Osheroff said.

Bush does not intend to propose sending Americans to Mars anytime soon, but instead envisions preparing for a Mars expedition more than a decade from now, one administration official said... [*]


- On the other hand, it could be just another fraud, like the Freedom Corps announced in the 2002 State of the Union [*], or the Worldwide AIDS campaign announced in 2003 [*]. Doesn't anyone keep track of this stuff?


 
MORE POSSIBLE EVIDENCE OF TORTURE ON IRAQI PRISONERS

Is the US military torturing Iraqis with electricity?

Dahr Jamail, Electronic Iraq, 8 January 2004

7 January 2003 -- Sadiq Zoman Abrahim, 55 years old, was detained this past August in Kirkuk by US Soldiers during a home raid which produced no weapons. He was taken to the police office in Kirkuk, questioned by the Americans there, then transferred to Kirkuk Airport Detention Center... It was from this place that the Americans transferred him, comatose, to the hospital in Tikrit....

...The doctors at the hospital in Tikrit, after performing diagnostic tests, informed the family that Mr. Abrahim had suffered massive head trauma, electrocution, and other bruises on his arms. An EKG proved that his heart was functioning perfectly. The family was told that he was in an unrecoverable state and would be in a coma for the rest of his life from the obvious trauma suffered...


See entire article with photos [*]


 
TOUCHSCREEN VOTING STILL ALLOWS UNDERCOUNTS

The Miami Herald is reporting that 134 people weren't counted in a recent local special election, because they didn't press "Save". What was worse, is that the machines were those that didn't leave a paper trail, so they left the booth believing that they had voted, the equivalent of 2000's "hanging chads".

...Seven candidates were on the ballot in the special election for the District 91 state House Seat left vacant by Connie Mack. Ellyn Bogdanoff won the race by 12 votes, making the 134 votes even more meaningful....

...the winning candidate, Ellyn Bogdanoff, said she attributes at least some of the undervote to Democrats who reached the polls and realized all the candidates were Republicans....But it does seem strange that so many people would go to the polls for a small, special election and then not vote, said Chas Brady, a spokesman for [losing candidate] Parker. Especially in an election where only one race was on the ballot, Brady said. ''It's not as though they're on page 5 and are tired of voting,'' he said. [*]


- The important point is not who has the right explanation, but that the last thing we need is another voting controversy. Yet another reason why a receipt is absolutely needed.


 
US BUNGLES PRISONER RELEASE

The BBC's Caroline Hawley: "What could have been a public relations coup ended in confusion and bitterness"
Iraqi prisoners freed from jail

BBC, Thursday, 8 January, 2004, 16:17 GMT

Iraqi prisoners on board two trucks have been driven out of a Baghdad prison and released. The move came a day after the US-led coalition said it would begin releasing the first 100 out of 506 inmates under an amnesty programme. But a coalition spokesman declined to confirm whether those freed on Thursday belonged to this group...

...Relatives waited for hours outside Abu Ghraib prison... Translators using loudspeakers told the crowd to go to a nearby town where the prisoners were to be taken by bus upon release. Only some of the relatives believed them, says the BBC's Chris Hogg in Baghdad, while others preferred to remain within sight of the gates....[According to t]he BBC's Caroline Hawley: "What could have been a public relations coup ended in confusion and bitterness" (see Video). [*]








 
US SEEKS "INFORMATION DOMINANCE" IN IRAQ NOT TRUST

Two Headlines: US Seeks 'Information Dominance' [*], Iraqis Don't Trust US TV Station [*]

In the first, the Guardian details how the US military has established 15 "Information Dominace" centers in Iraq, Kuwait, and.... THE US! The purpose is to protect operations, confuse the enemy, and maintain morale. The US hired SAIC a defense contractor to do the Iraqi news, not a media organization.

... to Captain Gerald Mauer, the road map notes that information operations would be directed against an "adversary".

But when the paper got to the office of the undersecretary of defence for policy, it was changed to say that information operations would attempt to "disrupt, corrupt or usurp" adversarial decision-making. "In other words," notes retired US army colonel Sam Gardiner, "we will even go after friends if they are against what we are doing or want to do."...[*]


Which explains that that the many media/military confrontations that have been reported are not due to stress, or pressures of the moment, but due to deliberate policy.

Is it working? The second article provides the answer.

...Nine months after U.S. forces closed Iraq's state-run television stations and subsequently launched the new channel with promises of a democratic dawn for the country's news media, the Pentagon-sponsored station has not won the trust of many Iraqis. By seeking to cast the U.S. occupation in the most favorable light, al-Iraqiya may actually be losing the war for viewers' hearts and minds....[*]


So why do it then? Because the military knows that the REAL war in Iraq like Vietnam, will be fought at home. We can occupy Iraq for the next 50 years IF we are willing to pay the price. The military's propaganda is directed at US!


 
McWAR ON TERROR (tm) FRIDAY

Bomb Kills Six at Iraqi Mosque; Rockets Hit Hotel [*]

10 GIs Dead After Bloody Day in Iraq [*]

60 More Almost Killed: USAF Plane Hit by Missile, Lands Safely in Baghdad [*]

Soldier Killed by Own Rifle on Iraq Firing Range [*]

McWAR ON TERROR refers to the fact that THIS war on terror is to a REAL war on terror, as the new McDonald's "Low Carb" meals are to REAL healthy meals.


 
TERROR ALERT LOWERED TO "ELEVATED"

According to CNN, Tom Ridge will announce in a half hour, that the terror alert will be lowered to "elevated." Or was it elevated to "lowered?" Hmm. Actually they said on CNN, I kid you not, "elevated and a half".

Osama Bin Laden to henchmen: "OK boys, that's our signal. It's SHOWTIME!"



Thursday, January 08, 2004


 
IS IT REALLY SADDAM? DATE TREES, SADDAM DOUBLES, AND THE BUSH WHO CRIED WMDs

Date Trees and Flies in the Ointment: The U.S. ''Capture'' of Saddam Hussein

By Les Blough, Editor, AL BAWABA, 25-12-2003

Just after the release of the news of the alleged capture of Saddam Hussein by U.S. Troops, I spoke by telephone, with a very good friend of mine in Tehran, who served in the Iran-Iraq war. I asked him what he thought of the "capture". He replied, laughing himself, saying,

"Iranians are laughing about it. In the orchard around Saddam's hideout, the dates are on the trees!. Everyone in Iran knows that dates are harvested in the hottest part of August. The dates on the trees and the color of the trees tell us the photos of Saddam's hideout were taken in summer. This is late autumn"....



...Austria's Joerge Haider called the capture "slapstick" and a "real scam". He said that the US troops might have arrested a Saddam body-double, saying that DNA testing did not prove conclusively that they had captured the former Iraqi dictator. Haider told national television: "This may be one of his many doubles." The former leader of Austria's Freedom Party added, "The saliva tests they did - mean nothing if they did not have earlier specimens to which they could compare it."...

...The entire story of the U.S. capture of Saddam Hussein smells like sour milk. But the Neocon/Bush regime has gotten away with many lies about the war in Iraq, with the help of the corporate/state media in the U.S. Their story about Saddam's "capture", no matter how fantastic, will be massaged into a believable myth for many Americans by major newspapers, television and Hollywood, just as the myth of heroic Jessica Lynch have been played - and just as the stories of Iraq's weapons of Iraq's have been used to lie us into killing tens of thousands of Iraqi people...[*]


 
ARAB ASTROLOGERS PREDICT OCTOBER SURPRISE

What the stars have in store for the Middle East

AL BAWABA, January 04, 2004

...Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the September 11 attacks will be located later on in the year, in the vicinity of the Afghani-Pakistani border. Similar to what happened with Saddam, a secret tip-off by a member of Osama's most inner circles will be the key to the West's long anticipated seizure of one of the world's most wanted men. However, unlike Saddam, Al Qaeda leader and his armed bodyguards will resist capture. The full details of the incident will be disclosed a few weeks after its occurrence....[*]


- I don't know that it takes an astrological genius to predict we will capture Osama just before the election. Didn't Madeline Albright say the same thing? [*] I just hope he leaves something incriminating in the hands of a neutral party.


 
DISINFORMATION? GERMANS SAY HAMBURG TERROR ALERT WAS A FAKE

CIA misinformed about Ansar

TV 2 - NETTAVISEN, Av Geir Selvik , Carin Pettersson og Ole Dag Kvamme 06.01.04

Sources at the German intelligence bureau claim that CIA misinformed them about the alleged planned terror action in Hamburg December 30. Ansar al-Islam was accused of being behind the attempt.

According to information provided TV 2 Nettavisen by German intelligence, they are convinced that the CIA information is wrong, and they allegedly fear that American authorities planted the information.

German police have started an investigation after the terror alarm at the hospital in Hamburg December 30. So far, no evidence has been located that indicates that the terror alarm was genuine.

Also German police who were tipped off by the CIA, doubt that the terror alarm was real....[*]


 
SADDAM'S SECRETARY ALLEGEDLY DIES IN US CUSTODY AFTER TORTURE

Unofficial sources to Al Bawaba: Saddam's presidential secretary ''dies'' in US custody

(Albawaba.com: 07-01-2004) Unofficial Iraqi sources told Al Bawaba Wednesday that Abed Hamoud al-Tikriti, presidential secretary of former leader Saddam Hussein died two days ago while in US custody.

Iraqi security officials contacted by Al Bawaba declined to comment on the report, but have not denied it either.

Al-Tikriti was taken into custody on 18 June,2003 . Abed Hamoud was considered one of Saddam's closest aides, and controlled access to the president. He was said to have directed matters of state and handed down many of the ousted regime's orders. Upon his capture, the US authorities claimed Abed Hamoud possessed vital information about Iraq's alleged WMD. Since his detention, reports in the Arabic press have claimed he was tortured by US investigators to pressure him to provide information on weapons development programs. [*]


NOTE: According to reports BBC, CBS and The Guardian, sleep deprivation [*] in particular has been alleged as a common interrogation by Amnesty Intl [*], as well as other techniques [*]



 
CARNEGIE REPORT BASHES BUSH PREWAR WMD INTEL

Report Criticizes U.S. on Iraq

U.N. Should Be Part of Weapons Program Probe, Group Says

By Walter Pincus, Washington Post Staff Writer, Thursday, January 8, 2004; Page A17

...The report, to be released today... criticizes the Bush administration's public assessments of the danger posed by Hussein's Iraq in the months leading to the war. It describes as "questionable" and "unexamined" the threat cited by administration officials that Iraq or another rogue state would turn over chemical, biological or nuclear weapons to terrorists....

...For example, the report said that in mid-2002, "official statements of the threat shifted dramatically toward greater alarm regarding certainty of the threat and greater certainty as to the evidence." The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) produced by the administration for Congress in October 2002, it said, "went far beyond the consensus intelligence assessments of the preceding five years." It adds, "The declassified NIE contained 40 distinct caveats or conditions usually dropped by officials" in their public statements.... [*]


 
JESUS REALLY WAS A LIBERAL

Ezra at Pandagon posts about Howard Dean:

"Let's get into a little religion here," he said at one meeting with voters, "Don't you think Jerry Falwell [a fundamentalist Baptist minister] reminds you a lot more of the Pharisees than he does of the teachings of Jesus? And don't you think this campaign ought to be about evicting the money changers from the temple?". He was referring to a group of high priests and sacrilegious money markets in Jewish temples during the time of Christ..

I've been waiting a long time for liberals to take back religion....it is about time that we started telling people that the message of Christ was care and compassion for the poor and downtrodden of society.... [*]


- I have noticed the Fundamentalist/ Pharisee parallel for a long time. Most Churchians don't really deserve to be called Christians in that they follow the Protestant Ethic more than they follow Christ . I highly recommend Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer's book Jesus Against Christianity.

Here's an excerpt from one of the reviewers:

Nelson-Pallmeyer, while clearly committed to the Christian faith, looks at some of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures and says the God portrayed in some of them is a pathological killer. But he is not willing to stop there. He sees in Jesus' life and teaching a relationship with a God we can embrace. The author looks at who Jesus was and how he related to God and then sets that as his standard for evaluating whether an image of God resonates with the God Jesus knew and experienced. He helps the reader understand the apocalyptic views of some of the Biblical authors and his evidence on why he thinks Jesus broke with that view that was shared by one of his mentors, John the Baptist. Jesus embraces a God who is non-violent and one who suffers along with us rather than the omnipotent, all-knowing deity people believed in until our world was confronted with the horrors of the Holocaust, Pol Pot, Rwanda, and other tragedies. The message of this book is crucial in a world obsessed with violence and environmental devastation. If our image of God is distorted, so will our values....[*]


 
SCHWARTZY WANTS TO RAISE COLLEGE FEES BIG TIME

Schwarzenegger Pushing to Raise College Fees 10% to 44%

By Jeffrey L. Rabin, Rebecca Trounson and Stuart Silverstein, LA Times Staff Writers, January 8, 2004

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger plans to propose a 10% fee increase for Californians attending college at the University of California and California State University and a fee hike of up to 40% for graduate students at the universities, sources familiar with the governor's budget said Wednesday.

At the same time, the budget is expected to contain reductions in college financial aid for students from moderate-income families.

Diana Fuentes-Michel, executive director of the California Student Aid Commission, said she expects the governor's proposal to tighten qualifications for Cal Grants, the state's main financial aid program.... [*]


- This is an old Republican tactic. Why should the state contribute to send people to college? We don't plan to have any jobs for them anyway. The old liberal ideal of self-betterment and social mobility through education is dead. Another part of what Krugman, in the Nation's "The Death of Horatio Alger" has called the New Caste System [*].

The increase of 40% on graduate students is particularly egregious. Graduate students are the backbone of the University system, and they work part-time for under $20k a year while trying to go to school fulltime. I know - I was one. It usually takes a decade to work off ones student loans as it is. Now look for more dropouts and more bankruptcies. (Oops, I forgot you can't even declare bankruptcy on student loans.)


 
NEW BUSH RULE TO ALLOW STREAM AND RIVER DESTRUCTION

Environmentalists cry foul on Bush mining proposal

Thursday, January 08, 2004, By Nancy Zuckerbrod, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration has proposed revising a policy that limits mining activity near streams, changes environmentalists say will encourage a particularly destructive way of obtaining coal.

The method, dubbed "mountaintop mining," involves shearing off the tops of ridges to expose a coal seam. Dirt and rock are pushed into nearby stream beds, a practice known as valley fill.

The Interior Department's proposal, released on Wednesday, would eliminate an existing policy that says land within 100 feet of a stream cannot be disturbed by mining activity unless a company can prove that the work won't affect the stream's water quality and quantity.

In the proposed rule, the department said that the standard is impossible to comply with and coal operators must instead prevent damage to streams "to the extent possible, using the best technology currently available."

Environmentalists said valley fills are a violation of the existing buffer zone rule and that the Bush administration is caving into the industry, which wants to protect its ability to use the increasingly popular mining technique.

"Instead of changing industry practice to conform to the law, the Bush administration is changing the law to conform to industry practices," said Jim Hecker, a Washington-based environmental lawyer. He is involved in a West Virginia court case challenging the practice of mountaintop mining....[*]


- " Impossible to comply with" means we just can't keep our greedy hands off it. "To the extent possible" of course, is a loophole as wide as the Grand Canyon.


 
ALERT COSTS MOUNTING, LOCALS WORRY ABOUT BEING SCREWED BY BU$H

Costs Mounting From Terrorism Alert

ROBERT TANNER, Associated Press

The sacrifice can be measured in dollars and cents - and surely it will run into the tens of millions. Sharpshooters deployed on Las Vegas Boulevard, extra patrols checking a North Dakota dam, helicopters circling Times Square. When the fifth orange-level terrorism alert took effect days before Christmas, local and state authorities put plans in action.

Now, 2 1/2 weeks later, costs are mounting steadily. Some local officials, particularly in big cities, worry they will wind up shortchanged by federal officials promising reimbursement. But others say the alert doesn't mean higher spending - just smarter deployment - and that they've learned a great deal about effective homeland security since Sept. 11, 2001.

"Frankly, it's maturity," said George Foresman, Virginia's special deputy for preparedness. "All of us - public sector, private sector - we're getting smarter and better about how we need to respond."...

...Los Angeles has spent $9.3 million so far; New Jersey $2.7 million and counting. New York state officials said they did not yet have a full accounting; the last alert cost New York City between $5 million and $7 million a week.

New Year's Eve in New York City meant military helicopters overhead, mailboxes and trash cans removed, and a combination of heavily armed guards and plainclothes officers in the crowd. Counter-terror teams with equipment to detect chemical, biological or radiological contamination prowled the streets.

The overtime bill for New Orleans police the week of the Sugar Bowl - where federal officials had specific worries - could reach $300,000. Protection for Las Vegas celebrations rang up more than $400,000 in bills.

"We've always heard freedom isn't free. No kidding," said Jerry Bussell, Nevada's homeland security adviser.

Some smaller cities, too, said stepped-up security would hit their bottom lines. Portland, Maine, spends $5,000 a week for each alert, said Police Chief Michael Chitwood.

"Short term, it's fine. It's the long term issues we have to deal with," he said....[*]


 
WOUNDED JOIN DEAD AS PUBLICITY RISK, BUSHCO CONCLUDES

Forget about " transfer tubes". Forget about the media blackout about the dead landing at Fort Dover. There is no outrage so egregious that it cannot be committed in the pursuit of impression management by this Administration:

Vets say visits restricted to U.S. wounded

From Dick Uliano, CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) --One of the nation's leading veterans' service organizations accuses the Pentagon of "severely restricting" its counselors from visiting wounded and injured service members at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

As of January 7, the Pentagon said 2,431 military personnel have been wounded in action and an additional 383 wounded in non-hostile incidents in Iraq.

Most service members severely wounded in Iraq and returned to the United States are treated at Walter Reed.

In a letter sent this week to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Dave Gorman, executive director of Disabled American Veterans, complained that the DAV is being blocked from carrying out its congressionally chartered mission.

Gorman questioned measures that require hospital pre-screening and approval of all visits, and full-time escorts during those visits, according to the letter a copy of which CNN obtained. Gorman said because of those escorts there is a lack of privacy over matters the counselors discuss with patients and their families at Walter Reed.

He said the monitoring of these conversations "is particularly unnerving and inappropriate as all conversations between a representative and client are confidential in nature."...[*]


-----------------------------
NOTE: WRH READERS - Link to "ALERT COSTS" got bloggerized. Scroll up one or click here [*]



 
RUMSFELD GETTING COCKY AGAIN: WANTS TO ATTACK SOMALIA AND LEBANON

PENTAGON PRESSES FOR U.S. OPERATION IN LEBANON

WASHINGTON [MENL] -- The U.S. Defense Department is said to be mulling a proposal to expand special operations forces and send them to destroy insurgency strongholds along the Lebanese-Syrian border.

U.S. defense sources said the proposal is being examined by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. They said the plan calls for a multi-pronged attack on insurgency strongholds in such countries as Lebanon and Somalia.

"The global war on terror is continuing, and it will for the foreseeable future," Rumsfeld, who did not cite future U.S. counter-insurgency targets, said on Tuesday. "As we prosecute the war, we'll need to continue to strengthen, improve and transform our forces; modernize and restructure programs and commands."

The London-based A-Sharq Al Awsat reported on Wednesday that the proposal submitted to Rumsfeld was the result of the secretary's decision to expand the U.S. war against Al Qaida and its allies. The Saudi-owned newspaper quoted U.S. sources as saying the first step being mulled by Rumsfeld is for a U.S. military attack on Al Qaida strongholds in Somalia as early as this month. [*]


 
BAD DAY IN THE DESERT: McWAR ON TERROR (tm) UPDATE

U.S. Helicopter Comes Down in Iraq; Eight Dead [*]

Iraqi Mortar Attack Wounds 35 US Soldiers [*]

British Soldier Dies in Training Incident in Iraq [*]

Top Iraqi Shi'ite Cleric Slams US Handover Plans [*]




Wednesday, January 07, 2004


 
NOT BUYING IT: G.I.s SAY $10K NOT WORTH IT TO STAY IN IRAQ

GIs in Iraq Scoff at Re-Enlistment Bonus
Most GIs Serving in Iraq Scoff at Offer of $10,000 Re-Enlistment Bonus

The Associated Press

BAQOUBA, Iraq Jan. 7 — At a checkpoint on the barren plain east of Baqouba, word of a new U.S. Army plan to pay soldiers up to $10,000 to re-enlist evoked laughter from a few bored-looking troopers.

"Man, they can't pay me enough to stay here," said a 23-year-old specialist from the Army's 4th Infantry Division as he manned the checkpoint with Iraqi police outside this city 35 miles northeast of Baghdad.

His comments reflect a sentiment not uncommon among the nearly two dozen soldiers in Iraq who have spoken with The Associated Press since the Army announced the increased re-enlistment bonuses for soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait on Monday. Other soldiers at home were divided about the offer.

The soldiers in Iraq who spoke about the bonuses were serving in a range of assignments, from training the new Iraqi army at a base east of Baqouba to patrolling some of the most dangerous roads in the country, like those leading north from Baghdad.

Some cited the monotonous routine of a lonely life spent thousands of miles from loved ones. Others offered simpler reasons such as the fear of an early death....[*]


- Maybe with a little more $, we could get our Congressmen who voted for the war to do a tour!


 
TERRORIST ALERTS BACKFIRING ON BUSH?

Terrorism alerts 'no-win' for Bush

By James G. Lakely, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

A country on "orange alert" is a no-win political situation for President Bush, who can't take credit for the absence of terrorist attacks and must watch Democrats running for president argue that all his efforts to thwart domestic carnage are doomed to fail.
Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor and front-runner for the Democratic nomination, mused last week that the heightened alert during the holidays is proof that the United States is still vulnerable to attack.
"If we are safer, how come we lost 10 more troops and raised the safety alert?" Mr. Dean asked a crowd of supporters, adding that the Bush administration is "not only a failure, but the most dangerous administration in my lifetime."... [*]


- Well, it is the Washington Times, after all. Maybe the point of the article is for us all to feel sorry for the poor Bush baby.


 
POLLS APART: DISCREPANCIES IN CNN POLLING

CNN/ USATODAY/ GALLUP just released a poll today showing Bush leading Dean by 22% [*], which contradicts the CNN/ TIME/ HARRIS poll of 4 days ago which had Dean narrowing the gap to 5%.

How can that be? The answer is that Gallup, once the most trusted name in polling, has become a Media Whore. They use a likely voter model that magnifies volatility, in order to gain readership. (The theory is that if every poll has about the same result people lose interest in the horse race.) In the 2000 elections, there were often swings of nearly 10% in a couple days. "Analysts" used these swings as more evidence that Bush "won" the debates etc, but a statistical analysis I saw at the time showed that 90% of the volatility was really noise. In other words, a swing of 10% was really a swing of 1%, and since that is within the margin of error, no swing at all.

The truth is that "likely voter" models are the dirty little secrets of polling. No one knows for sure how to predict turn out, so they use what used to be called "fudge factors." What Gallup uses is "voter intensity", measuring how strongly a voter feels about a candidate and weighting his/her response. The problem is what that does is essentially allowing some voters to vote twice.

Zogby tends to do much better because it stratifies the samples into Democrats and Republics and Independants making sure each group is appropriately represented. They also use questions like "Did you vote in the last election" and "Do you know where your polling place is?" to construct the "likely voter" categories.

I don't know what to do about this problem except for recommend that people write Gallup, and the papers it appears in to complain.


 
"PIGS OF THE DESERT": WINNING HEARTS AND MINDS, PART XXXVIII

Iraqis revive ancient word `ulooj' to insult, greet U.S. troops

By Hannah Allam, Knight Ridder Newspapers.

BAGHDAD, Iraq - College students whisper the word when they spot U.S. troops in Baghdad streets. Vandals scrawl the word across military vehicles. Sneering taxi drivers mutter it when convoys block their cabs.

"Ulooj," they say, and while some use it with disdain and others more lightheartedly, it's unmistakably not a nice reference - though what precisely the ancient term from Arabic literature means depends on whom you ask. Among the translations offered: pigs of the desert, foreign infidels, little donkeys, medieval crusaders, bloodsuckers and horned creatures.

While no one can quite pin down the original definition, Iraqis agree on the modern definition: "It's the American military," said Maria Hassan, a 23-year-old history major at a university in Baghdad. "We use this word from the past for our occupiers of the present.....[*]


- Sad, it's not like our troops ever insult those Hajji ragheads...


 
HUMOR ME...

Many pathetic amateur comix o'mine reside at Strip Creator. Click image to link.:





 
IMMIGRATION PANDERING: IF IT WAS GOOD ENOUGH FOR GRAY DAVIS, IT'S GOOD ENOUGH FOR BUSH


From Michelle Malkin (cough, cough):

My eight-week-old son’s Social Security card recently arrived in the mail. On the back, there’s a stern warning:

“Improper use of this card or number by anyone is punishable by fine, imprisonment or both.”

Welcome to the world of government theft and selective enforcement, my boy.

While innocent babes who have yet to earn a penny are threatened with jail time for misusing Social Security cards, the Bush administration appears set this week to turn the ailing government pension program into an international relief fund for illegal alien workers who used counterfeit Social Security cards and stolen numbers to secure illegal jobs.
[*]

- Actually I am for immigration reform, but the one (semi)-valid criticism raised against the Davis/Bustamante CDLs for illegals, was that it would undermine the McWAR ON TERROR (tm). How they can rationalize this at a time when they're taking away one civil liberty after another, I don't know. Wait, I forgot - they can rationalize ANYTHING!!


 
ADVANCED WMD RESEARCH

Pandagon has the actual pathetic sketches of WMD plans [*] from the WPOST, which was hyped as evidence of the "grave and gathering danger" of Iraq. Atrios also derides it as crude [*].

But they miss the real point! If this exists, there may be others! And they may be written on napkins! With coffee stains! And then what will the skeptics say?


 
McWAR ON TERROR (tm) WEDNESDAY

Brought to you by Today In Iraq (great site):

Bring 'em on: Iraqi policeman killed in ambush near Kirkuk.

Bring 'em on: Iraqi policeman assassinated near Baquba.

Bring ‘em on: Three insurgents captured after firefight in Khalidiyah.

Bring ‘em on: US troops attacked in Fallujah.

Bring 'em on: Kurdish political party office attacked with RPG fire in Kirkuk.



Also more on wounded, Bechtel contracts, Iraqi Army riots etc... [*]

In Afganistan: 10 Dead After Bomb Rocks Kandahar [*]
A bicycle bomb exploded Tuesday on a street in this southern Afghan city, killing at least 10 people and shattering cars and windows in the area, witnesses and police said.


- As you know I call it the McWAR ON TERROR because it has as much resemblance to a REAL war on terror as spam has to real email.



Tuesday, January 06, 2004


 
MEETUP = MATCH UP?

They had a segment on CBS Evening News tonight (sorry no transcript) about how singles were matching up at Howard Dean Meet-ups. Look for attendance to skyrocket. THAT ought make the guy pretty much unstoppable!


 
HOW TO MAKE YOUR IGUANA A BETTER LOVER

BEFORE:


First give him a certain illegal white powder.


AFTER:



Satisfaction! (photographs courtesy of Philip Greenspun [*])



 
OCEANS OF TRASH

I don't know whether to barf or cry:

Sailing The Seas Of Trash
REDONDO BEACH, Calif., Jan. 6, 2004, CBS NEWS

Sailing across the Pacific, the research vessel Algalita was more than 1,000 miles from land, but as CBS News Correspondent John Blackstone reports, it never escaped unsettling signs of civilization.

"Day after day after day, when I came on deck I saw objects floating by: toothbrushes, bottlecaps and soap bottles," says Captain Charles Moore.



The trash he found floating, like a Japanese traffic cone, was from much of the world.

Beneath the surface, a jellyfish was so entangled in a scrap of synthetic net that its tentacles had grown around the plastic strands.

The trash was found in a patch of ocean called the North Pacific Gyre where the currents can trap floating debris for years.

"I have no doubt that some of these things that we're discovering out there have been there since the dawn of the plastic era in the 1950's," says Moore.

As plastic ages it crumbles, leaving so many tiny fragments that Moore found seawater in the Gyre contained more plastic than plankton, the tiny sea life that many ocean creatures feed on.

To jellyfish, the plastic particles seem like food.

"It's like putting them on a plastic diet," says Moore. "It becomes part of their tissue." ... [*]


 
TOP E.P.A. OFFICIALS RESIGN IN FRUSTRATION

3 Top Enforcement Officials Say They Will Leave E.P.A.
By JENNIFER 8. LEE, NY TIMES

WASHINGTON, Jan. 5 — Three top enforcement officials at the Environmental Protection Agency have resigned or retired in the last two weeks, including two lawyers who were architects of the agency's litigation strategy against coal-burning power plants.

The timing of the departures and comments by at least one of the officials who is leaving suggest that some have left out of frustration with the Bush administration's policy toward enforcement of the Clean Air Act.

"The rug was pulled out from under us," said Rich Biondi, who is retiring as associate director of the air enforcement division of the agency. "You look around and say, `What contribution can I continue to make here?' and it was limited."... [*]


-But thats OK , because toxic waste is a nutrient [*]


 
BUSH PLANS TO REDUCE OVERTIME WITHOUT A VOTE IN MARCH

Labor Dept. Plans To End Overtime Controversy in March
Changes Will Affect Who Gets Time-and-a-Half Pay

By Kirstin Downey, Washington Post Staff Writer, Friday, January 2, 2004; Page D10

The Labor Department plans to issue a controversial final rule changing the Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime provisions by the end of March, according to a regulatory plan published by the agency last week in the Federal Register. The rule, which would redefine who must receive overtime pay, has drawn opposition in the House and Senate by many Democrats and some Republicans....

....In the fall, both the House and Senate voted to quash the department's proposal, which critics say could result in 8 million American workers losing their right to time-and-a-half pay when they work more than 40 hours in a single week. Among the new rules is a provision that would allow employers to redefine workers who hold "a position of responsibility" as exempt from overtime. Workers earning more than $65,000 a year could lose overtime pay under the rules.... [*]


- Just like the Republicans, if you can't do it the right way with a vote, do it the wrong way. Remind anyone of the 2000 elections?


 
TERROR ALERT POLKA DOT: CBS WONDERS - "CRYING WOLF ON TERRORISM?"

Crying Wolf On Terrorism?

Jan 4, 2004 11:20 am US/Mountain (CBS)

A slew of airline cancellations - including a twice-grounded flight between London and Washington, D.C. - has some wondering if the U.S. is overreacting to security concerns, Joie Chen reports....

....Terrorism expert Paul Beaver tell[s] Chen, "We've got to the stage in Western Europe where nobody actually takes any notice of American alerts anymore because there's so many of them."

One French police official said that bad U.S. intelligence information resulted in six cancellations from Paris' Charles De Gaulle airport.... [*]


 
HALLIBURTON IS BACK ON WITH IRAQI OIL DEAL - AT LEAST TILL APRIL


U.S. gives Halliburton waiver for oil deal

By Sue Pleming

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Army says it has granted Halliburton a special waiver to bring fuel into Iraq under a no-bid deal with a Kuwaiti supplier despite a draft Pentagon audit that found evidence of overcharging for fuel.

Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Ross Adkins said on Tuesday the waiver was granted to Vice President Dick Cheney's former firm to ensure much-needed fuel reached the Iraqis and the decision was not tied to the Pentagon's audit.

Corps chief Lieutenant General Robert Flowers signed the waiver on December 19 that Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root did not have to give certified "cost and pricing data" related to a sole-source contract with Kuwait's Altanmia Commercial Marketing Company for fuel....

.... Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg called the waiver "outrageous" and said the defence department was ignoring its own audit that showed evidence of overcharging....

.... The military said last week its own fuel agency, the Defence Energy Support Centre, would take over bringing in fuel as soon as it has put new contracts in place, probably by April. Until then, KBR will continue the job.

Flower's unusual waiver was requested by KBR and came after lower-level Army Corps officials concluded KBR had obtained adequate price competition in May and bought the fuel and delivered it to Iraq at a "fair and reasonable price."...
[*]


- I'm not sure where to start with this one, but let's just say there is a small discrepancy between "fair and reasonable" and "overcharging."


 
BLACK HELICOPTERS ? OR NOT: 9-11 RICO SUIT SERVED AGAINST BUSH

According to Tom Flocco.com , Phillip J. Berg attorney for 9-11 widow Ellen Mariani served President Bush and other top US officials with RICO complaints and personal summons on January 6, 2004 [*]. This may seem like a quixotic quest, but remember Larry Klayman's Judical Watch started out in the same manner, and more recently so did Bev Harris's Diebold voting machine expose. Stay tuned.


 
McWAR ON TERROR (tm) UPDATE - TUESDAY

From Today in Iraq [*]
Bring 'em on: Iraqi policeman wounded in rocket attack in Kirkuk.

Bring 'em on: One US contractor and five Iraqi civilians killed in convoy ambush near Mahmudiyah.

Bring 'em on: Three US soldiers and Iraqi interpreter wounded in two bomb ambushes in Tikrit. US base in Tikrit also attacked by small arms fire.

Bring 'em on: Two French contractors killed in drive-by shooting in Fallujah.

Bring 'em on: One Iraqi killed, three wounded by roadside bomb in Kirkuk.

Iraqi police open fire on demonstrators in Basra.

US troops open fire on demonstrators in Baghdad.

....


- I call it a "McWAR ON TERROR" because it is to a REAL war on terror what our preznit is to a REAL President.



Monday, January 05, 2004


 
BUSINESS WEEK CRITCIZES U.S. MAD COW POLICY

BW Commentary: A Bum Steer On Mad Cow Disease
Despite USDA reassurances, America's beef supply -- and its citizens -- are at risk


...Despite the USDA's reassurances, many food-safety experts fear that the ban on feeding bovine by-products to other cows won't actually protect America from mad cow disease. That's because it has some gaping loopholes. First, the ban doesn't outlaw the feeding of cow's blood to other cows. Beef farmers often feed dried cattle blood to calves as a supplement to promote faster weight gain. Some experts worry that could spread BSE.

If that's not enough to turn you into a vegetarian, consider a second loophole: The regulations don't ban feeding cattle by-products to poultry and poultry droppings to cattle. Poultry is not susceptible to mad cow disease, but it's possible that the illness could be passed through them to cattle because commercial cow feed often contains a mix of poultry droppings and grain. "We know this is a disease that's transmitted through feeding, yet we still feed billions of pounds of cow by-products back to livestock," says John Stauber, co-author of the 1997 book Mad Cow USA: Could the Nightmare Happen Here? "The reality is, this ban is fatally flawed."


Our food supply may never be completely safe until all beef is tested.... [*]


 
WHAT MAKES PEOPLE HAPPY? COULD IT BE...... SOCIALISM?

What makes people happy? A article publicizing a recent study by the World Database for Happiness (NO KIDDING) found the US barely in the top ten among industrialized countries. Ahead of the US were Iceland (No.1!), the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Ireland, Belgium and Great Britain -- as well as Australia. [*]

So what actually makes people happy? The article trotted out the usual bromides about being born into a happy family; developing a positive attitude; being married; socializing; volunteering and living a religious faith, but these are belied by the countries mentioned. The United States has a much higher level of religious faith than any of these countries, yet scores below them. Great Britain and Sweden have lower rates of divorce than the US but higher than Italy and France who don’t even make the top ten. Volunteerism doesn’t seem to be the answer since US rates are quite high, nearly 30% of all adults, and since Denmark is attempting to copy the US in that regard [*]. "Socializing" is a hard variable to operationalize - at least on the national level. Social Integration is a concept more widely used, but the Northern European countries which score so well, traditionally lag behind their Southern European neighbors in that regard. Examining the actual results at the World Database [*]wasn't very illuminating either. Many of the studies weren't summarized and many other had contradictory results. One factor that WAS clearly correlated was health.

Then it hit me... all of the nations listed had excellent socialized medical systems. In fact, most of the highest rated countries have some of the best social safety nets of any countries in the world. Maybe that is the answer - democratic socialism makes people happy.


 
BRITNEY ANNULS MARRIAGE, GETS KINKY WITH IGUANA

Rolling Stone has confirmed that Britney annulled her marriage this morning [*]. She was photo'd later with this iguana.


Cool photograph courtesy of Philip Greenspun [*]


 
HU'S ON FIRST?

Atrios has some interesting links on conservative columnist Rachel Marsden's history as an alleged stalker [*], but what's really funny is a post next to one of the them, which in my opinion rivals the Abbot and Costello original for humor. Check it out: [*]


 
McWAR ON TERROR (tm) MONDAY

Todays McWAR ON TERROR UPDATE is brought to you by Today in Iraq (good site)[*]:

Bring 'em on: US soldier wounded during patrol ambush in Tikrit.

Bring 'em on: Three US troops wounded in convoy bombing near Baghdad.

Bring 'em on: US soldier wounded in ambush near Beiji. Coalition headquarters in Nasiriyah mortared. Both incidents buried deep in this article.

Two British soldiers killed in Baghdad vehicle accident.

CPA brings improvement to Iraqi slum. "Nobody from the Iraqi provisional government or the American military has been to Taji since the war, Abu Wisam said. A humanitarian group came once, with enough blankets for about half the village. Then they went away. But there has been one welcome postwar arrival -- a higher class of trash."

Dutch soldier arrested for shooting Iraqi civilian....



 
ARMY BUYS $30 MILLION WORTH OF ANTHRAX SHOTS DESPITE BAN

U.S. Army buys $30 million in anthrax shots

By Jim Wolf, 1-2-04

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Defense Department announced Friday a $29.7 million order for anthrax vaccine based on the assumption that a federal judge's ban on mandatory inoculations will be reversed....

...Mark Zaid, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said the Army's order for the new vaccine doses could amount to a case of fraud, waste and abuse.

"If the judge's decision stands, the Pentagon may have just wasted millions of dollars," he said....[*]


- Do they already know how the judge will rule? Or do they not care? Is it a coincidence that the Bin Ladens, Bushes (via the Carlyle Group) and Adm. Crowe are all big stockholders, according to a 2001 article [*] - thnx to WRH [*]


 
POEMGATE ... and other mysteries

from David Corn, the Nation:

MRS. BUSH: Well, of course, he didn't really write the poem. But a lot of people really believed that he did. That evening at the dinner, what some woman from across the table said: "You just don't know how great it is to have a husband who would write a poem for you."

Gee, I wonder if some people really believed that George Bush wrote that silly poem because Laura Bush said: Hey, my husband wrote me this silly poem, and normally I wouldn't share it because it's so personal, but I can't resist.

This hardly qualifies as "an outrage." It's more just weird. Think about it. If George Bush didn't write that poem -- who did?

Did they do some focus group of how a significant percentage of women around America would find a bit of POTUS doggerel wistful and sweet? Did the White House's crack political team than assign some poor junior staffer the miserable job of ghosting it? Did he start by interviewing Mrs. Bush about pet names and pillow talk (she confirmed for Russert that her husband has indeed called her his "lump in the bed")? Is there a file somewhere labeled SENTIMENTAL SWING-VOTER CHICKS of the early drafts?

Now that you know Bush didn't write it, look at the poem again. Can't you just hear some crapulous Republican operative in a rumpled suit croaking instructions? "Make sure you get their damned mutt Barney into it, those soccer dames love the dogs. But if there's gonna be a dog, you gotta mention the cat! Everybody knows that, kid! Put in some vague bedroom imagery -- somethin' about the bed. Nothing too explicit! And, uh, get in a slap at the French -- that French-bashing stuff is really going over well. Something about how they're so prissy, kissin' hands and all ..."

So who wrote George Bush's love poem to Laura Bush?

I suspect we'll just have to add it to all of the other mysteries -- like who lied in George Bush's State of the Union speech, and who had manual-labor-like relations with that doggoned "Mission Accomplished" banner, and which jerk at the White House unmasked a CIA agent to punish her husband, and why lie to Ground Zero rescue and cleanup workers, and how the President's brother got all that free sex and money when visiting Asia ...

[*]




 
AMATEUR COMIX STRIKE AGAIN

"REALLY fair and Balanced" @stripcreator. Here: [*]


 
STUPID REASONING AGAINST WOMEN IN COMBAT

''If we are opposed to violence against women at the Air Force and other service academies, why all of a sudden if violence happens at the hands of the enemy, we say it doesn't matter?'' said Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, which claims over 20,000 signatures on the petition. ``That's a step backward for civilization.''... [*]


- Isn't that like saying if we're opposed to cadets murdering each other in the service academies, why is it OK for the enemy to do it to us? I mean killing one another is certainly a step backward for civilization, isn't it?


 
CAPITALISTS REJOICE: TOXIC WASTE IS GOOD FOR YOU

Maybe we don't have to worry about the long-term state of the nation. If the right-wing loonies swallow the stuff they are selling they will die off toute suite. Check out this lunacy from WorldNetDaily:

Hormesis, the scientific theory that humans actually need small amounts of poison in their diets, could be the most important environmental event of the 21st century if proved valid. Billions of dollars could be saved in environmental cleanup costs, say researchers, while at the same time improving the health of all organisms, including humans.... [*]


- Don't clean up the environment.... We NEED that poison. It reminds me of the ad at NEWSMAX, saying that studies that say coffee, alcohol, meat, eggs, fatty foods, sunlight can be harmful are just junk science. [*] . Hell, maybe this is the proof that Evolution is still working. The Wingnuts will kill themselves off and we won't have to worry about 'em.


 
WHAT CAUSES MAD COW DISEASE PRIONS TO FORM?

An English farmer believes a mineral imbalance compounded by toxic pesticides (via WRH [*]:

....The theory started when Purdey noticed that his cows, unlike those of his neighbours, were not getting BSE. Cows often suffer from a parasitic infection known as warble fly. Since Purdey is an organic farmer, he treated his herd with derris root powder, a natural remedy. Other farmers were using phosmet, which was later made compulsory throughout the UK. When Purdey bought an infected cow from another herd, he was able to reduce the symptoms of BSE by injecting oxime, which is an antidote to pesticide poisoning. However, officials from MAFF (the Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food) turned up to kill the cow before the experiment could be completed.

As well as the link to phosmet use, Purdey discovered that brain diseases such as BSE and nvCJD appear in clusters in many places around the world. The link seems to be a lack of copper and an excess of manganese.

For example, in some areas of Colorado and Wyoming, 4-6% of deer and elk suffer from CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease), which is related to nvCJD. These animals live in areas where the soils are very high in manganese. In Slovakia, where the incidence of nvCJD is a thousand times higher than normal, most of the victims live near a glass making plant (where manganese is used) or else down-wind of one of two large ferro-manganese factories.

In the UK, two factors have increased the amount of manganese which cows consume. Until 1988, cows were fed chicken manure. The chicken had been fed manganese to strengthen their eggs, but 98% of it ended up in the manure. In addition, a fungicide rich in manganese was used on crops at that time.

According to Purdey, a lack of copper and an excess of manganese causes proteins in the nervous system of foetal cattle to change into the abnormal prion forms found in BSE and nvCJD. Phosmet facilitates this process by binding to copper, and therefore reducing the amount available to brain tissues.

Recently, Dr David Brown, a chemist at Cambridge University, showed that manganese can replace copper in brain proteins, thereby transforming them into prions. Dr Brown lost his funding, and was not able to continue the research.

The BSE crisis started in the UK, and that country still has the highest rate of the disease. Purdey believes that this was because the British government was the only one to enforce systemic phosmet at such a high dose. Phosmet is used elsewhere, but either on a voluntary basis, or at a much lower dose, or non-systemically. .... [*]


 
LA TIMES HAS ARTICLE ON INTERNET POLITICS AND BLOGGING

Here: [*]



Sunday, January 04, 2004


 
TROUBLE BREWING GLOBALLY BECAUSE OF U.S. DEFICITS

I predicted 12/31 that the rise of interest rates could cause the stock market to crash within a year or so [*]. Conditions are starting to be noticeable that mark the beginning of that trend. The Sidney Morning Herald, in
"Rest of world gets sick of propping up Bush's deficit" makes the case:

... economists and market players expect they may soon be dancing to an unloved retro tune: seventies-style accelerating inflation.... [*]


Here's how it would work:

1. Greenspan's low interest rates and Bush's giant deficits have created a huge market for the world's deflated currencies, which are printing money like mad to invest in the US.
2. Gradually US interest rates can be expected to rise, and even more so when the dollars decline, or local interest rate increases make the $2 billion/day deficit a less attractive investment.
3. Then US interest rates will sky rocket and the dollar plummet.
4. The US will have to finance its own debt.
5. Interest rates will climb further and investment will fall.

They aren't saying it, but it sounds to me like a recipe for disaster.


 
U.S. TO ASK N. KOREA TO GIVE UP ALL NUCLEAR PLANTS INCLUDING POWER PLANTS

N.Korea to Be Asked to Be Nuclear Free - Report
Sat January 3, 2004 12:28 AM ET

TOKYO (Reuters) - The United States, Japan and South Korea are to demand North Korea scrap its nuclear programs, including those used for power generation, at the next round of six-way nuclear talks, a Japanese newspaper said Saturday. .... [*]


WRH comments:
How to start a war.

1. Say you want peace.
2. Set an impossible condition on the target.
3. When they can't meet the impossible condition, accuse the target of being uncooperative and a threat to peace.
4. Invade.
[*]

- Hey, it worked in Iraq!


 
DEAN ONLY 5% BEHIND, BUT IT'S NOT A SUDDEN SURGE

As many people know, the CNN/TIME/Harris poll has just come out showing Howard Dean behind Bush by 51-46, halving the margin of previous polls [*]. Unfortunately (not really) it's largely because of the switch Harris has done from REGISTERED VOTERS, to LIKELY VOTERS. Zogby has been using likely voters all along, and has consistently shown narrower contests than the other pollsters who have been using registered voters.

Polling tradition has usually been (for no particular reason) to poll ALL VOTERS until the election year, switching to REGISTERED VOTERS on January 1, and LIKELY VOTERS October 1st. Zogby has shaken that up by using LIKELY VOTERS all the time (and why not?). The shift is what accounts for things like Bob Dole's late "surge" and Bush's "winning the debates", which are actually just polling artifacts.

The most fascinating angle of all this is that the Bush Presidency has reversed 60 years of polling common sense, in that normally Democrats who are poorer and less educated on average, do best among ALL, then REGISTERED, and worst among LIKELY. These days, Bush does better among ALL voters than REGISTERED, and worst among LIKELY. That appears to be related to the media brainwashing that was noticed in views about the Iraq war. Bush does best among the least informed voters, and those most likely to stay at home.

That is why this next election will not be a landslide unless it is a landslide against Bush.


 
MARS ROVER LANDS, SEEKS OUT OSAMA BIN LADEN

WASHINGTON, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- The first of two NASA robotic rovers launched last June on a three-month mission to search for evidence of water on Mars landed safely Saturday night after surviving a dangerous plunge through the planet's atmosphere. [*]


Washington insiders explained however, that the water issue was a cover story designed to hide the real misson which is to find Osama Bin Laden who is believed to be hiding in one of the canals.



------------------------------
PS. I almost forgot. Check out my latest comic at strip creator. "The terrorists are getting desperate". Here: [*]


 
RELIGION SUNDAY

A Bible thumper told me a few months ago, "The Bible addresses love in at least 283 verses (love, loved, loves, loving), While there are only 9 verses using the words "murder/er/ers" and 3 kill/kills. Being inspired by the last story, I used BibleGateway.com [*] to do my own research. What I found was (of course) was that this was a bit of disinformation. In the New Testament alone there were were 263 loves etc, 81 kills, 51 destroys and so on.

But using the entire Bible (as she implied) it stacked up as follows:

love = 546
destroy = 433
kill = 215
slay = 168
slain = 145
put to death = 89
murder = 37
lay/laid waste = 22




 
ALLAH SAVES 97- YEAR OLD IRANIAN QUAKE VICTIM

97-year-old woman likely survived nine days in Iran earthquake in bed

January 4, 2004, EST.

...the woman told Odberg that while under the rubble, she spent her time "reciting verses from the Quran, praying to God and thanking Allah for being alive." [*]


Christian commentators in the US were reportedly astounded by the miracle. "We all know that only Jesus grants miracles, and that Allah is a lunar god, with no powers whatsoever," said Pat Robertson, who last week revealed that Jesus had told him President Bush would win the 2004 election by a landslide.

"Jesus gave me no indication he would save some old Iranian lady who is going to die soon anyway and then spend eternity in hell, to boot," he said.

"What would be the point of that?" he asked.


 
TERRORISM COULD HAVE BEEN CAUSE OF EGYPTIAN CRASH

Like Flight 587, which crashed into Queens a month after 9-11 [*], details of the crash contradict the headlines and the conclusion that terrorism could be ruled out:

The Egyptian pilot did not send a distress call. French aviation experts said that this might mean the aircraft was disabled by a small explosion on board but it could equally mean the pilot was struggling with the controls and had no time to send a signal. [*]


UPDATE: Terrorism expert John Loftus just was on FOXNEWS confirming that the Egyptian crash was likely a terrorist attack. One reason, there was a full seventeen seconds for the distress call to be made.


 
SADDAM'S CAPTURE HAD NO EFFECT ON ATTACKS

Pace of attacks on U.S. troops hasn't slowed since Saddam's capture

By Tom Lasseter, Knight Ridder Newspapers

BAGHDAD - Saddam Hussein's capture three weeks ago hasn't slowed the anti-American insurgency in Iraq, which now seems more entrenched than ever, according to a review of recent attacks and interviews with U.S. and Iraqi officials.

U.S. and Iraqi officials say they now doubt that Saddam had a significant role in directing guerrilla attacks....

... The pace of attacks on U.S troops weeks after Saddam's capture has shaken U.S. officials' confidence that they know whom the insurgents are and has made targeting the insurgents difficult at best. Some people working with U.S. forces say many detained in the crackdown against anti-U.S. forces know little about the organization or seem to be uninvolved in the insurgency.

Even something as basic as the number of anti-U.S. fighters in Iraq is a mystery. "We've seen varied assessments that range from 500 to 5,000 or even higher," Kimmitt said. "I don't think we really have a good fix on that number."

As for how the various cells might relate to one another, officials admit they are working on hunches as much as anything. ...

... In the 14 days prior to Saddam's capture, 11 American soldiers were killed. In the 14 days that followed, that figure was 14, not including four Bulgarian and two Thai soldiers who also died.... [*]


 
BRITNEY MARRIES, TERRORISTS STILL AT LARGE

Britney Spears Reportedly Weds in Vegas

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, Filed at 9:41 a.m. ET

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Pop star Britney Spears marched down the aisle in Las Vegas on Saturday, marrying a childhood friend from Louisiana, according to news reports.

The 22-year-old diva married Jason Allen Alexander early Saturday at the Little White Wedding Chapel on the Strip, according to People.com, the online arm of the Time Warner publication. He is from Kentwood, La., it said. [*]...

The shocking development, first reported on the Review-Journal Web site at 7:17 p.m. Saturday, unfolded a day after reports that Spears was seen being carried out of Rain, the Palms' nightclub, on New Year's Eve. [*]


UPDATE:

Britney to Annul 'Joke' Marriage

By Mark Sage, PA News, in New York

Britney Spears’ whirlwind marriage looked destined to end as suddenly as it began, with claims tonight that her “joke” wedding vows were being annulled....[*]


- I am crushed, crushed.


--------

PS new blog to check out: Barney the dog




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