Saturday, February 21, 2004

Chasing Osama

The Pakistanis and US troops are scouring the mountains frantically to find Osama before the American elections. They've got his whereabouts pinned down, apparently, and are closing in.

I've tried to find a way to say this so that Ashcroft and his ilk aren't alerted to the extremity of my views, and here it is: I sure hope we catch bin Laden, I really, really do--the day after Kerrey's inauguration.

Who's running this ship?

The Economic Policy Institute, in an article describing Bush's backpedaling on his recent economic report (and if there be any doubt, it was called "The President's Report" and was signed by him, and was created by the President's Council of Economic Advisers) predicting a huge increase in jobs during 2004, points out that even the pundits are wrong about the import of that report. It doesn't say that there will be an increase in jobs of 2.6 million this year; it predicts an even greater increase. As the Institute points out,

"On page 98 of the Economic Report of the President for 2004 that was released on February 9, the CEA predicts that non-farm payroll employment will average 132.7 million in 2004, reflecting a 2.6 million increase in jobs over its estimated average of 130.1 million in 2003.

"There has been substantial confusion concerning this issue, with many analysts and stories incorrectly suggesting that the CEA projects a total of 2.6 million jobs to be created this year. In effect, these reports are stating that the CEA has predicted there will be 132.7 million jobs at the end of 2004 when, in fact, the CEA has predicted that the average number of jobs for all of 2004 will be 132.7 million. To reach this average figure, there will have to be many more jobs than 132.7 million in December 2004, as there are 2.5 million fewer jobs than that right now."

According to EPI's calculations, to meet that goal Bush will have to create 5 million new jobs in 2004, or an average of 460,000 per month. No wonder he backpedaled. That's in impossible goal, especially since during the first month the job growth was a disappointing 112,000.

Makes you wonder if those folks in the White House have any idea how to run this entity called the United States.

Friday, February 20, 2004

The Bremer Backpedal

Well I guess we all knew you can't package up democracy like Meals Ready to Eat and ship it over in a C-130. This is bullshit. Iraq doesn't want American style democracy and it is never, never going to work. Bremer is Sancho to Bush's Quixote, and the whole bunch of them are fools. Our troops are dying in abject futility. God save them.

Yahoo! News - Bremer Says Iraq Elections Not Possible for a Year

Trust me, says Greenspan

What the hell does Alan Greenspan know about jobs? He's a money-lender, nothing more. He has the temerity to say, in obtuse phrases, as usual, precisely what Bush's Chairman of Economic Advisers recently said more bluntly (and caught intense flak for), namely that loss of jobs due to foreign outsourcing is the necessary price for eventual greater economic prosperity.
From what source, exactly? When, exactly? How, exactly? No answers, only a vague pointing toward the past, when the US economy created jobs to replace those that were lost.
But nowadays we have an administration that seeks no new solutions. No exploration of new energy sources, no spurring of environmental efforts, no credits for industries that seek new solutions. Instead, a cold-grip reliance on the ever-concentrating industries and their wealthy bosses.
Why should we trust this system to create meaningful employment for the millions who've lost even meaningless jobs? Why should we trust Greenspan, for God's sake. He's the architect of the program that's cost us our economy.

Status of Forces

This article is the first that details the situation facing the Pentagon as Iraq becomes politically independent of the US. It's amazing how little is known, how much is beyond the control of Rumsfeld/Bush/Cheney and is to be decided by Iraqis (if, of course, we simply don't force them to adhere to our will). This has got to drive the NeoCons crazy!

Check out this spin

The Miami Herald headline of an AP story reads, "Weekly jobless claims fall sharply," and the lead of the story recites figures from the Labor Department showing that new unemployment claims "plunged" by 24,000 claims, from 368,000 to 344,000. The article's next two paragraphs tout this decline as greater (by 7,000) than predicted by some economists and so forth.
Buried in the middle of the story, however, are these figures from the same report: The number of unemployed rose by 106,000, to 3.2 million people. Unemployed, it should be noted, is defined as persons actively seeking employment. So, while the new unemployment claims "plunged" by 24,000, the number of actual unemployed "rose" by four times that much.
Are there insane persons in the basements of AP and this newspaper, who simply choose what verbs to use from a random list, and how to cant a story, or is this recasting of data by design?
You decide.

Another class war

Until today, I thought the "where was Bush in '73?" issue wasn't a Viet Nam issue, so much as a question of Bush's credibility, of his obfuscation in explaining his National Guard service and thereby sounding like a "typical politician."
But now the Republicans have countered, beginning to wage their campaign against Kerrey with questions about his loyalty because of his anti-war stance in the seventies. So, now the battle between the two candidates (Bush and Kerrey) may indeed become a war/-antiwar question, of both the decades-old war and the present one. To which I say, "Bring it on."

Thursday, February 19, 2004


This is a quote of our Army commander in Iraq, declining to speculate on a projected departure date of US forces:

"Actually, the things we've sat around and talked about before have been wrong on every count," he said with a chuckle. "So that's probably another reason why I don't want to" discuss it. Although he did not mention it, U.S. officials had assumed when Baghdad fell to U.S. forces last April that tens of thousands of troops could be withdrawn within a few months.

President Bush declared on May 1 that major combat operations in Iraq had ended, but within weeks the number of American troops killed began rising, from 29 killed in June to 46 in July; the highest monthly total since May was 82 in November. The number of wounded also has been rising.

Right on, Jesse

This editorial by Jesse Jackson about the contribution of Howard Dean to Democratic politics, and to the direction of this campaign, states my views exactly. We owe Howard Dean the victory over Bush that now feels inevitable.

And you wonder why the Republicans are thought of as the party of business

Take a look at these amazing numbers, showing the profits of corporations during 2003. Historical highs in almost all sectors, while our soldiers, as well as Iraqis, Afghanis and Africans die in droves, and the US middle class drifts further into debt.
November cannot come soon enough.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

a prayer ...

our young patriots ... go forth

Why Is My Co-blogger Getting Pissed Off?

Relax and do your calisthenics, Citizen Erik. All is well:

The Division of Victorious Statistics of the Department of Perpetual War announced again today that our forces continue to inflict unspecified, commendable damage on the presumably gathering threat of our inscrutable enemies, thus bringing unending credit to Big Brother.

Wouldn't it be delicious

If Tenet (head of CIA) and Jacoby (head of DIA) get pissed off enough to tell the Iraq-Intelligence Commission (and for that matter, the American public before the election) precisely how the Bush administration manipulated their intelligence for political purposes? Remarks like this one by Richard Perle may just do it.

Scientists, Nobel laureates line up

Against Bush. We've got to get rid of this monster.

I'm getting so pissed off

I can't stand it! Aren't we, as US citizens whose funds and votes are supposedly supporting Bush's adventures, entitled to know how much they cost in financial and human toll--both ours and the enemies' and the innocents? Apparently not, and so neither we nor our allies, nor our potential victims, will know the true cost of our actions. This is an intolerable state of the nation, of the world.

Which one is Tweedle Dee?

The New York Times has compared the announced positions of Edwards and Kerrey on major issues. I gotta say, except for a few glitches of expediency, I'll take either one. Actually, both. Don't they look like a winning ticket?

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

The Texas souffle

That's the nickname Bush picked up during his service in the National Guard because he looked good on the outside but was full of hot air. The more recent version, posted by my co-blogger some months ago: All Hat and No Cattle.

The pundits are idiots

I'm listening to the TV commentators discussing the close race in Wisconsin between Kerrey and Edwards, most of them telling us that this result leaves the Democrats in trouble because their candidates will have to continue to spend money and will be broke in the face of Bush's millions.
I disagree. The Wisconsin vote is the best result the Democrats could hope for. It generates interest in the campaign, occupying headlines and drawing interest of potential voters of the next two weeks (until Super Tuesday) at least. And there's this, the two candidates are a "traditonal" liberal and a southern populist. One is going to win--and one might be vice president. This is the optimal result, in my mind.

Gaps In Bush's Guard Records

I'm not sure that Gaps In Bush's Guard Records are relevant 30 years later. We've seen his character in the last 3 years. He's a "war president" in a sense applicable to none of his predecessors. We are a nation at war like at no time in our history. Is anyone happy with the way things are going?

Don't jeer Aljazeera

Ocasionally, in my posts, I cite Aljazeera, the Administration-maligned Middle East news agency that carries stories not commonly reported in the US. According to the Pacific Views blog, the NYT has presented a balanced article about Aljazeera dispatches, which emboldens me to point to this story about the Shia clerics' reaction to Bremer's threat to veto the general law if it contains a clause that enshrines Islam in the constitution. Suffice to say, they're not pleased.

A "must read" that you must read

Quotes from "The Princess Bride" and "Casablanca" (two of my favorite movies) highlight this telling, incisive commentary on Bush's true motivation to attack Iraq. From some left-leaning site? No, from BusinessWeek Online.

What's more delicious than delicious?

A lawsuit by a federal prosecutor against Ashcroft for screwing up a terrorist prosecution? It doesn't get any better than this.
I can imagine (I really can) the relish with which the prosecutor's lawyer drafted the complaint. Almost makes me want to get back into the business.

Monday, February 16, 2004

The American Empire

Let me get this straight. Having thrown off the yoke of British imperial rule a few centuries ago because it sought to impose its will on the institutions of our various colonies, Tribune Bremer now claims the power of veto over provisions of Iraq's national constitution.
The adoption of an Islamic-oriented basic law, he contends, may cause subjugation of women. Certainly I understand his concerns. But the evolution of American-style of democracy has been just that, an evolution, not an imposition.

Imagine if, two centuries ago, a foreign nation had imposed on us its demand that we give women the right to vote (which, it should be recalled, we didn't extend for the first one hundred years of our "democracy")? How would we react? With adoring deference, or with rebellion?

And the lies just keep on coming...

The projections and predictions of the Council of Economic Advisers for 2004 are so unrealistic, so wholly out of whack with actuality, that they can only be called lies. There's a legal concept that includes in the definition of fraud a statement made "with reckless disregard of its truth." Check out this analysis of Bush's latest "economic message" for an example.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Class warfare

With Bush wooing Nascar dads and the Religious Right, and appealing to those who would amend the Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriages, it is he, not his opponents, who has declared war, leading those who have no class against those who possess it.

Cheney's a liar

What could be clearer?

From the Miami Herald.

"Cheney, opening the administration's drive for public support for Hussein's ouster, said in an Aug. 26, 2002, speech that 'firsthand testimony' from defectors had disclosed that Hussein had resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons.

"Those defectors, Cheney said, included Gen. Hussein Kamal, Hussein's son-in-law, who fled to Jordan in 1995 and was murdered when he returned to Baghdad in 1996.

"Cheney's assertion, however, conflicts with Kamal's comments in an interview conducted by Rolf Ekeus, the then-head of a U.N. weapons inspection program.

'''All weapons -- biological, chemical, missile, nuclear -- were destroyed,' Kamal said, according to an official U.N. transcript of the Aug. 22, 1995, session.

"Cheney's office did not explain the apparent discrepancy."

Another -gate?

That small-print story a year ago about the US intelligence service spying on our allies' UN delegations during the Security Council's deliberations on the invasion of Iraq may blow up again. The head of the Mexican delegation, whose office was bugged by us, is writing a book in which he contends that our spying scuttled the attempt by our allies to find a compromise to invasion.

Oh boy oh boy.