Sunday, September 17, 2006

I have a new blog

To those few who read my blog, I've moved my blog to wordpress, and also changed the name of my blog. Please continue reading it at the following link:

The Good Democrat

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Making a Deal With the Devil

There are two things recently, out of many, which seems to indicate America is willing to make a deal with the devil. In other words, sacrifice its dear principles for "protection." We used to be willing to sacrifice our lives for these very principles, now we want to sacrifice these principles for our lives. What has happened, America?

The first thing is the torture debate. Bush and his cronies are actually advocating openly the use of "alternative set of procedures," known in the no-spin world as torture, methods Bush is still to worried to actually name openly. His fear is that naming them will lead to terrorists finding ways to withstand the new techniques, so they won't provide us with more information on supposed "ticking-time-bomb" scenarios, just like we see in the show "24." But the real reason Bush is worried about naming them openly (they have been, after all, leaked to the press, so terrorists can see exactly what we are talking about----furthermore, you think America has worse torture techniques than, say, Jordan or Egypt, who have refined the methods over the centuries?), is because he will then be advocating openly for something specific. It is the irony of the whole situation. Bush and his cronies decry Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions for being vague, but when asked what techniques need to be used, Bush and his cronies stay vague themselves. What Bush and his cronies want is protection from inevitable prosecution of CIA operatives and employees of the Bush Administration in the future for violations they have committed against the Geneva Conventions (which are the Law of the Land), and the War Crimes Act of 1996. In other words, Bush has already directed CIA operatives to violate the law and he is now seeking protection for himself and his workers. If he dares actually say what they did, instead of remaining vague, prosecutors will have recorded evidence of the Commander in Chief saying what he ordered CIA operatives to do in breaking the law. He has to remain vague for this reason. Any talk about not revealing our techniques to terrorists is a diversion, a red herring. Terrorists are not fearful of being captured by Americans; they fear us renditioning them to Jordan or Egypt, or Pakistan, or even Syria, because Jordan and Egypt and Pakistan and Syria have already sold their souls to the Devil and practice torture to their heart's content.

America used to criticize regimes that tortured prisoners, now we transfer our prisoners to them to torture. I think though, Bush would rather stop rendition and just torture our prisoners here. That's the debate right now. What does America want? What is more important? Living our lives under a contract with the devil supposedly "protected" from death and violence, or risking some casualties in a fight for our principles?

Remember, Bush is pushing Congress strongly right now because he has already broken the law. He just wants to cover his ass at judgment day, when the taxman cometh.

The second way we are making a deal with the devil is something that does not get much airplay, due to the distractions of everything else. But apparently the United States is following other countries in placing a chip inside our passports, which can then be tracked, so the government knows exactly where your passport is anywhere in the world. This is the slow creep towards a deal with the devil, and needs to be revealed openly before this ensnares us. Why do we need chips inside our passports? "Protection." From what? Stuff happening basically. So what if a person steals your passport; get a new one. That's not good enough for some. They would rather sacrifice their ability to remain private for the "protection" that such a chip would supposedly bring. It won't. It is a deal with the devil.

America needs to make a decision here. On the one hand we're given an option to trade some of our principles that we've fought long and hard and dear on for "protection." That's the deal that Bush is giving us.

"The professionals will not step up unless there's clarity in the law," Bush said. "So Congress has got a decision to make: Do you want the program to go forward or not? I strongly recommend that this program go forward in order for us to be able to protect America."

According to this side, the "professionals" supposedly cannot, or maybe will not, protect America without this deal. That's the offer. Trade your principles for your protection. Will America do this?

On the other side is the greater risk of another attack, supposedly, according to Bush. If we don't sacrifice our principles, we're supposedly at risk for another attack. And this is true. If we don't employ all the weapons we have, including nuclear weapons, we are at greater risk of another attack. No one should believe otherwise.

But here is the question. Are we willing to trade our principles for a reduced risk of another attack? What Bush and his cronies will not tell you, which is usual when you make a deal with the devil, is that taking his way won't necessarily reduce the risk of another attack to zero, in other words, we're still going to be at risk of another attack. So what are we getting in return for sacrificing our principles? What exactly are we getting in return if we are still at risk of another attack? Where's the supposed "protection?"

America must not sacrifice its principles. Americans have sacrificed their lives before for the very principles we no longer seem to hold dear. I am willing to sacrifice my life that my fellow Americans live in freedom and from fear. Do no make a deal with the devil; he will one day come to collect his end of the bargain.

Stay free, America!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Call It Like It Is: Bush Is Blackmailing the Senate

Dude, Mr. Toobin, stop dancing around the words and call it like it is:

But the president didn't just say... the senators' proposal was unacceptable. ... He went even further. He was really playing chicken with the senators. He was saying, "Look, go ahead and pass your law. You pass that law. If it somehow becomes law, I'm shutting this program down. And that's on your head."

That is called blackmail. Bush is actually threatening to release the terrorists and blame it on the Senators. Blackmail is blackmail is blackmail, no matter the situation. Call it like it is, dude.

Call It As It Is: Bush Wants to Torture People

well said!

It's so annoying to read mainstream press articles where they dance around what the real issue is on "terror suspect interrogations." They use every euphemism in the book. Bush seeks "clarity" on interrogations. Bush wants "wider leeway" in interrogations. Bush wants "tougher interrogations."

Tougher interrogations, my ass. Bush wants to torture people.

Every single person writing those stories knows what this is really about. They are so queasy about writing the word down on paper, but they're perfectly willing to have a legitimate debate on whether we should actually do it. That makes no sense. I wish the late Sam Kinison was around now to shout at the reporters, "Say it!!! Just say it!!!!" It's torture.

Is this really what America stands for? If it isn't, don't vote Republican in November. End the madness!

Cheney's Madness

---By Stuart Carlson

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Albert Einstein

Thursday, September 14, 2006

To All Bush Supporters

Bush says catching or getting Bin Laden is no longer a priority for him.

to all Bush supporters out there, let me give you an analogy.

a man comes to your house and kills your wife and your son and your daughter. do you go after him, or do you go on a crusade to stop murders in people's homes?

Diebold E-Voting Machines Can Be Hacked Into

Professors at Princeton University have done a study showing that the Diebold Accuvote machines have serious security flaws, can be hacked into and have the information changed. Here is the abstract of the study:

This paper presents a fully independent security study of a Diebold AccuVote-TS voting machine, including its hardware and software. We obtained the machine from a private party. Analysis of the machine, in light of real election procedures, shows that it is vulnerable to extremely serious attacks. For example, an attacker who gets physical access to a machine or its removable memory card for as little as one minute could install malicious code; malicious code on a machine could steal votes undetectably, modifying all records, logs, and counters to be consistent with the fraudulent vote count it creates. An attacker could also create malicious code that spreads automatically and silently from machine to machine during normal election activities — a voting-machine virus. We have constructed working demonstrations of these attacks in our lab. Mitigating these threats will require changes to the voting machine's hardware and software and the adoption of more rigorous election procedures.

This is pretty disturbing news. I honestly cannot trust this machine to get my vote right. How can I? Unless it provides me with a printed record of my cast vote, I will not use this machine and will recommend that it not be used in elections.

Bush Thinks Getting Bin Laden Not Top Priority

wow, i mean, wow. Bin Laden attacks the United States in the worst terrorist attack in world history, and the Republican president who wishes to be viewed as a go-getter, the war president, thinks catching the mastermind behind the operation that killed nearly 3000 Americans is not a priority!

Is this for real? Is this the party that America wants to elect in November? A party who's president thinks it is not important to get the man who killed the most Americans in a single blow?

Meanwhile, Rick Santorum says that terrorists are a greater threat to America than any enemy in the 20th century! That includes the most powerful nation on the planet in 1939: Nazi Germany and the second most powerful nation on the planet with 11,000 nukes: The Soviet Union. Santorum believes that terrorists, which includes Bin Laden, last I checked, are a greater threat to America.

So which is it? If terrorists are a greater threat to America than Hitler ever was, why does Bush not see going after Bin Laden as a greater priority, the greatest priority, I mean, he attacked us in the worst kind of way.

Wake Up America!

Pre-Iraq All Over Again

Hey it worked the first time, so why not do it again the same way?

Congressman Hoekstra released a report about a month ago, not well researched, based mostly on newspaper sources and lacking research by actual experts in the field, that chided America's intelligence community for not knowing enough about Iran. This report then goes on to claim several things about Iran's nuclear capabilities that are just simply false. This is known to many who are familiar to this, but not known to regular Americans. That is the point of Hoekstra's report. He doesn't actually care about the truth; he wants a war with Iran and will try and scare enough Americans to continue supporting the Republican party so they win in November and they can have their little war next year with Iran.

Not so fast. UN Inspectors have, this time, come out and publicly disputed this report by Hoekstra. They publicly contend that the report is "outrageous and dishonest."

Among the committee's assertions is that Iran is producing weapons-grade uranium at its facility in the town of Natanz. The IAEA called that "incorrect," noting that weapons-grade uranium is enriched to a level of 90 percent or more. Iran has enriched uranium to 3.5 percent under IAEA monitoring.

The scary thing about Mr. Hoekstra is that his staff are working on another report about North Korea, most likely to chide the CIA for not knowning what he knows, for he knows all. How dare they not see the world through his eyes!

Hoekstra's committee is working on a separate report about North Korea that is also being written principally by Fleitz. A draft of the report, provided to The Post, includes several assertions about North Korea's weapons program that the intelligence officials said they cannot substantiate, including one that Pyongyang is already enriching uranium.

It is time for America to put people in power who do not base their foreign policy on ideology, but on fact. This, I thought, was the standard. Why Bush won still befuddles me.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

What Will Happen in the Next 9/11?

Bruce Ackerman, a professor of law and political science at Yale University brings up a disturbing thought in a piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer. He discusses about the issue of whether this is war, and brings up the example of Jose Padilla, an American citizen stripped of his Constitutional rights when he was accused of being an "enemy combatant." Mr. Ackerman says:

Consider the case of Jose Padilla. A few months after Sept. 11, the president declared him an "enemy combatant," and locked him up in a military brig for three and half years. During all this time, Padilla was denied the right to challenge his detention before a military or civilian tribunal.

Yet he was an American citizen, and when he was detained at O'Hare airport, he looked like millions of others - wearing civilian clothes and without any dangerous weapons. Nevertheless, a federal court of appeals upheld the president's seizure as within his powers as commander-in-chief, and the Supreme Court refused to review this remarkable decision.

This gives the presidency a terrible precedent for the next Sept. 11. We all hope that this attack won't come for a long time. But the day after the next tragedy, the Padilla case will be invoked to support the president if he sweeps hundreds or thousands into military detention. After a year or two the Supreme Court may intervene on the side of freedom. But perhaps the vote will go 5-4 the wrong way.

It can't happen to me, we tell ourselves. Very few Americans have done anything to support the Islamo-fascists, whatever President Bush may mean by this dark term. But the next attack may be by home-grown terrorists. All of us are potential Jose Padillas, not a select few.

What will happen to Americans who question Bush's policies in the case of another 9/11 hitting us? Will the Michelle Malkins of America win the day and set up laws that allow for the forcible detention of Americans with Constitutional rights stripped away from them? The Michelle Malkins of the world would not mind this one bit, methinks.

I think Americans need to think rationally, reasonably, and with patience, making sure they know what they are getting themselves into here, regarding the laws we set up for today's terrorists. If we lower our standards, the right of habeas corpus, for example, what will it mean when we are hit again?

Air Force: Test Weapons On American Citizens Before Using Them On Enemies

Can this world get any weirder? The United States Air Force wants to test their non-lethal weapons on U.S. citizens first, though with the caveat that they be unrully citizens in a large crowd.

Nonlethal weapons such as high-power microwave devices should be used on American citizens in crowd-control situations before being used on the battlefield, the Air Force secretary said Tuesday.

The object is basically public relations. Domestic use would make it easier to avoid questions from others about possible safety considerations, said Secretary Michael Wynne.

"If we're not willing to use it here against our fellow citizens, then we should not be willing to use it in a wartime situation," said Wynne. "(Because) if I hit somebody with a nonlethal weapon and they claim that it injured them in a way that was not intended, I think that I would be vilified in the world press."

Now, I applaud the AF going in the direction of non-lethal weapons, but.....why would you not want to use it on the enemy first? I think what the Air Force is afraid of is that the weapons won't be effective enough against the enemies, and they want to see it on an easier target first, "unrully Americans." So watch out you football fans! Watch out baseball players who rush pitchers and cause an "unrully situation" on the field! The Air Force just might getcha!

Bush Uses Reductio ad Civil Warum

Realizing that reductio ad Hitlerum is not enough, Bush now compares the current conflict with the Civil War. When will this ridiculousness end?

Quote of the Day

Asked about the interrogation controversy, he said legislation should outline “clearly what is acceptable and provide liability protection so interrogators will feel protected going forward.” He was emphatic that people should understand that “as long as the War Crimes Act hangs over their heads, they [interrogators] will not take the steps necessary to protect” Americans.

George W. Bush
1. Yes, I am borrowing from Andrew Sullivan who does a "quote of the day" section. And yes, he got to this quote first.

2. Bush actually thinks the ony way to protect Americans is for interrogators to not fear the War Crimes Act......um....if they followed the rules in the War Crimes Act, why should they fear it? Silly rule of law. Who said we had to follow the law?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Quote of the Day

"I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves."

---Henry Kissinger

How To React Righteously to Terrorists

Scriptural example of how to react to horrific events and terrorist acts. These are my thoughts

Nathan,

#374:

boy the ticking time bomb scenario rears its ugly head yet again:

Imagine a situation where you have a ticking bomb that will kill a school full of innocent children. You have a man with the code to turn the bomb off. You just saw him torture an innocent child for the sheer joy of doing so. You know with absolute certainty that if you pull out his finger nails with pliers, he will give you the correct information and the children will be saved. If you don’t pull out his fingernails with pliers then the bomb will explode and the children will be killed. What do you do?

Clearly, this is an unrealistic hypothetical on a lot of levels, but it is useful because it forces us to confront the basic question of whether or not we are willing to stick by an absolute prohibition on torture regardless of the consequences, or if we are willing to consider the consquences when making our decisions. Are we true Kantians or consquentialists.

you are right, there are far too many unrealistic things in this hypothetical to make it a good enough analogy for real life practice.

Let me provide you with an analogy from scripture and let me see what you think.

Imagine that you are in a city where the rulers have such a hatred for your teaching that they not only take you captive but they burn your books, take those you taught and start throwing them in a pit of fire to burn to death. What do you do? Do you try and stop the murdering of innocents? You could, after all you have the power from God to do so. Let’s look at the example in the Book of Mormon. Turn with me to Alma 14. Amulek says the following:

10 And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames.

What was Alma’s response? Was it to go grab their fingernails and get them to stop burning the people to death? Let’s read on.

11 But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the dinnocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day.

12 Now Amulek said unto Alma: Behold, perhaps they will burn us also.

13 And Alma said: Be it according to the will of the Lord. But, behold, our work is not finished; therefore they burn us not.

14 Now it came to pass that when the bodies of those who had been cast into the fire were consumed, and also the records which were cast in with them, the chief judge of the land came and stood before Alma and Amulek, as they were bound; and he smote them with his hand upon their cheeks, and said unto them: After what ye have seen, will ye preach again unto this people, that they shall be cast into a blake of fire and brimstone?

Can you find a more painful and tragic scenario in the scriptures for innocent people? Yet what was the response from the Prophet of the Lord? Did he lower his standards to protect the innocent? Why did Alma sacrifice the innocent in this case?

Let’s look at another example in the Book of Mormon where innocent people are killed and those that could do something about it didn’t, or let me say differently, they didn’t lower their standard. Please turn to Alma 24. Here the Lamanites come upon the Anti-Nephi-Lehis to murder them. Let’s see what happens here. The Lamanites come upon them, slay about 1000 of them while they were prostrated on the ground praising God.

24 Now when the Lamanites saw this they did aforbear from slaying them; and there were many whose hearts had bswollen in them for those of their brethren who had fallen under the sword, for they repented of the things which they had done.

25 And it came to pass that they threw down their weapons of war, and they would not take them again, for they were stung for the murders which they had committed; and they came down even as their brethren, relying upon the mercies of those whose arms were lifted to slay them.

26 And it came to pass that the people of God were joined that day by more than the number who had been slain; and those who had been slain were righteous people, therefore we have no reason to doubt but what they were asaved.

Instead of continuing the slaughter, these Lamanites were converted, more than had been slain. What did Ammon do during this time? He had previously faced off against a great number of sheep thieves, killing the leader. He could easily have done a William Wallace speech and rallied the ANLs to fight for their freedom against oppressors. But what did he do? Nothing. He let the slaughter happen. Why? As we see, more were converted than were killed. Let’s continue the story, and see just how the two situations are tied together.

The Lamanites were angry that some of their own had just converted. Their anger led them to go over to the Nephites and quickly murder everybody who lived in the city of Ammonihah, the very town that had just murdered innocent people, throwing them into the flames, in Alma 25. This still did not quelch the anger the Lamanites felt towards the ANLs so they tried to go after them again to murder them. What did Ammon do this time? Did he face them off? No, as we read in Alma 27, this time, Ammon took them to the Nephites. I like what the Lord told Ammon in verses 11 and 12:

11 And it came to pass that Ammon went and inquired of the Lord, and the Lord said unto him:

12 Get this people aout of this land, that they perish not; for Satan has great hold on the hearts of the Amalekites, who do stir up the Lamanites to anger against their brethren to slay them; therefore get thee out of this land; and blessed are this people in this generation, for I will preserve them.

Who will preserve them? The Nephites? Nope. The Lord. In all of this, all this murder of innocents, did the righteous Nephites EVER lower their standard? Never. Not once. Not when innocents were being thrown into a burning pit. Why should we?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Meanwhile, Seven Prominent Republicans Say Repubs Should Lose in 2006

Not pleased with foreign entanglements, runaway spending, etc., seven prominent Republicans give their case why Republicans deserve to lose in 2006.

Should Republicans lose in 2006?

Vote For Republicans Or You Will Die

This is how low it has gotten. In a new ad debuting today in several targeted states, the Center For Security Policy, a conservative think tank, that uses an Orwellian "peace through strength" motto, claims this.

The ad shows images of the burning Twin Towers and Americans held hostage and concludes by flashing on the screen: "Vote as if your life depends on it. Because it does."

Wow.

Things Are Not Going Well For America

These five articles show that things are not going well for America under Bush right now. The first article deals with the situation in Anbar province in Iraq, the largest province, which the military now says they've lost politically. No one there wants to deal with America, apparently. I wonder why.

Situation Called Dire in Anbar Province

Devlin offers a series of reasons for the situation, including a lack of U.S. and Iraqi troops, a problem that has dogged commanders since the fall of Baghdad more than three years ago, said people who have read it. These people said he reported that not only are military operations facing a stalemate, unable to extend and sustain security beyond the perimeters of their bases, but also local governments in the province have collapsed and the weak central government has almost no presence.

Who has been asking for more troops? Oh yeah, those so-called appeasers who dare question the wisdom of Mr. Rumsfeld.

Losing the War on Terror

This op-ed basically says that America is not adapting fast enough to face their enemy that is adapting far quicker to America's strategies. He is a Pakistani journalist.

Top Soldier Quits Over Grotesque Afghan War

THE former aide-de-camp to the commander of the British taskforce in southern Afghanistan has described the campaign in Helmand province as “a textbook case of how to screw up a counter-insurgency”.

“Having a big old fight is pointless and just making things worse,” said Captain Leo Docherty, of the Scots Guards, who became so disillusioned that he quit the army last month.

“All those people whose homes have been destroyed and sons killed are going to turn against the British,” he said. “It’s a pretty clear equation — if people are losing homes and poppy fields, they will go and fight. I certainly would.

“We’ve been grotesquely clumsy — we’ve said we’ll be different to the Americans who were bombing and strafing villages, then behaved exactly like them.”

I couldn't have said it better.

Mao and Stalin, Osama and Saddam

Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have compared the current conflict to the cold war, a decades-long struggle that was ideological and political in nature, though always with a military aspect. But if we're going to use history and learn from it, it is worrying that America is beginning to repeat one of the central strategic errors of the cold war: treating a fractious group of adversaries as a unified monolith.

At the outset of the cold war in 1949, a senior State Department official, Ware Adams, prepared a critique of America's evolving policy of containment. While accepting that international communism was a monolith and that diverse communist parties around the world shared aims and goals, Adams argued that Washington was playing into the Kremlin's hands by speaking of communism as a unified entity: "[Our policy] has endorsed Stalin's own thesis that all communists everywhere should be part of his monolith. By placing the United States against all communists everywhere it has tended to force them to become or remain part of the monolith." For example, the memo explained, "in China, the communists are somewhat pressed toward being friends of the Kremlin by the fact that they can never be friends of ours."
Al-Qaeda Finds Its Center of Gravity

Finally, this last article shows just how free Al-Qaeda is to roam around the mountainous regions of Pakistan, our bestest buddy in the "war on terror"---no wait, the war on evildoers, no wait, the war on Islamofascists.

Can the irony be any clearer? Al-Qaeda finds sanctuary in a country ruled by a dictator who has nuclear weapons and who has fought wars against his neighbors in the past. Not only that but this country was at the heart of the global black market for nuclear technology. No, this country was not Iraq, nor even Iran. It is Pakistan.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

What I Would Have Done Post-9/11: Afghanistan

The first thing I would do is never lower my standards, irregardless of how low standards my enemy has. Who cares if my enemy chooses to use terrorism to hit me. Why should I lower myself, not necessarily to his standard, but anything below mine. None of us would lower our religious standards, say to take a sip of alcohol, for anyone. Why lower our moral standards?

The best thing America could have done after 9/11 was to put all the money and effort that was diverted into Iraq, put that all in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is America’s greatest failure of the new century, far worse than Iraq, because in Afghanistan, we had the support of the entire world. We could have done anything there. If we asked the world for full assistance, we would have had it.

Put all 150,000 Americans we sent into Iraq, into Afghanistan instead. Completely purge Afghanistan of the evil that has infected that poor country since 1981. Most Afghans alive today have never seen a world of peace. They have seen war for the last 25 years of their lives. Take out Bin Laden. The fact that he is still alive and taunting the United States FIVE YEARS after he attacked us is reprehensible to our leaders. He’s a CAVE DWELLER! How can he escape the mightiest military in the history of the world!

Pour all our money into Afghanistan and turn that country around. Not only will this show the world that we mean business, and that if someone were to attack us, we would completely wipe them out, but it would be the example of what we want the Middle East to look like.

Forget about Saddam. Those who wanted to go into Iraq missed the bigger picture. The irony is amazing. By taking Saddam out, America took out the only thing that kept Iran at bay. Now, by removing Saddam and failing in replacing Saddam’s Baath regime with a stable government, America has handed Iraq to Iran on a silver platter. Leave Saddam be. Let him rot in his palaces.

Focus on Afghanistan. Remember the bigger picture. Iran is our main threat in the Middle East. By keeping the rock in Iraq, and creating a hammer in Afghanistan, you corner Iran far better than by taking both Iraq and Afghanistan out and failing to create stable governments in both countries. Now, Iran, a stable government, has strong influence in both countries, rather than the other way around.

Moreover, a stable and flourishing Afghanistan would be good news for Pakistan and the troubles Pakistanis (especially those tribes that hate Musharraf) have against the West. They’ll finally see that America is not quite as bad as Bin Laden purports them to be. Right now they trust Bin Laden and give him sanctuary in Pakistan. Furthermore, they also agree with the Taliban and give them and Omar sanctuary too, over in Pakistan, our bestest buddy in the war on terror. Oh the ironies! A repressive dictatorship with nuclear weapons that has no control over a region that protects and shelters both the Taliban and Bin Laden, and they are our best ally on the war on terror. If it wasn’t tragically bad, I’d laugh at the irony.

But that’s what I would have advised the president to do.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Saddam Had No Ties to Zarqawi

Ah, I'm glad to see this report has finally come out. It sure took them a long time, and released on a Friday to minimize the public effect, as usual. Here's a word of wisdom for everybody: keep an eye out on Fridays. That's when damning information usually comes out of the Bush Administration. Such as this report which proves that Saddam had no connection to Zarqawi, the key reason Bush went into Iraq for in the first place. Well, what do you know. It seems those of us who challenged this from the start were right.

Now when are we going to hold our leaders accountable for their lies?

The "Path to 9/11" Debacle

ABC is releasing a mini-series fictional depiction of what happened from 1993 to 2001 that allowed 9/11 to occur. I'm not going to sit here and say Clinton did his job well at fighting terror (neither did Bush Jr. before 9/11, nor his father, nor Reagan who cut and ran when Hezbollah killed 241 Marines in their sleep!), but if you are making a fictional story, then say so. Don't portray the film as a docu-drama, or anything close to the truth.

What ABC should have done is create an actual documentary. But for some reason, ABC doesn't think Americans will sit and watch an actual documentary. Or maybe ABC didn't have the talent needed to create a real vision of what happened, like so many talented documentary creators have. ABC is about entertainment these days. They've given up any notion of being a station where one could learn something of value. So they now fib the facts to "dramatize" and tug at our hearts, create the anger in us at our "enemy."

The New York Times has reviewed the miniseries, and gets into the whole notion of documentary vs. dramatization. But something caught my eye as I read the review. The New York Times also does not hold back in criticizing the Clinton administration for not stepping up against Bin Laden. In discussing the issue of the sex scandal, the reviewer states the following:

The Sept. 11 commission concluded that the sex scandal distracted the Clinton administration from the terrorist threat. But in hindsight, surely the right-wing groups who drove for impeachment must look back at their partisan obsession with shame, like widows sickened by the memory of spats about dirty dishes and gambling debts.

The imagery is beautiful, but I seriously doubt right wingers who pushed the distraction realize just what they accomplished. In forcing Clinton's attention on the scandal, were not right-wingers taking the nation's security at risk? Moreover, I doubt they would even care that their deep passionate hatred of Clinton and their drive to impeach him gave Bin Laden all the breathing room he needed to plan and execute the most successful terrorist attack in history.

The irony is sadly tragic.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

UPDATED: Bush Releases Bin Laden Video Four Days Before 9/11 Anniversary

Anyone surprised? The Bush administration has released a new video of the plotters of the 9/11 attacks. Hmmm....four days before the fifth anniversary of the attacks. So yesterday, Bush blackmailed America, threatening to release the terrorists back into the world if Americans don't follow his plan, and today he played up the fear of 9/11 with this new video released.

Will Americans be smarter than fall for this play on our fears yet again? I can only hope, but America's track record is not very good.

UPDATED: an astute annonymous reader commented on my mistake in not reading the article I linked to carefully. This video was released by Al-Qaida's production company and not Bush. You still have to wonder why both sides are playing up the fear as the anniversary approaches. I'm leaving up my mistake and not changing a thing. Unlike some of our leaders, I can admit to making a mistake and not try to revise history to erase it.

Bush's Blackmailing of America

Josh Marshall gets it.

Andrew Marshall gets it and here.

Greg Djerejian gets it and here.

Washington Post op-ed gets it.

What do they get?

They see the lie and evil in Bush's latest speech, yet another attempt to corner Democrats, rather than fight terrorism. Bush revealed, first off, that it was true, CIA had secret prisons in various parts of the world. That admission is interesting. Will the conservatives who denounced the Washington Post for revealing the secret prisons now denounce President Bush for admitting their existence? Or will they now claim, "hey he's da prez!---All Hail Da Emperor!---he can do what he likes because he's above the law!"

That's not the worst part. As has been analysed on many blogs, what Bush is cynically doing is saying, "either you accept my way, or you let the terrorists go free." In other words, Bush is blackmailing America. He is transferring the worst of the worst guys including KSM (the dude who orchestrated 9/11 at Bin Laden's command) to Guantanamo and saying to America, "Now do you want me to close Guantanamo?" This is pure blackmail. He is telling Congress, "either you give me the military tribunals I want (which will go on with no real protection for the defense), or because I cannot reveal national secrets in a military trial, let the terrorists off on lack of evidence. What do you want Congress?"

Republicans are cheering this blackmail, as they've given up all support for fair trials, don't mind America using Soviet style secret prisons, and the disappearing of individuals off the face of this planet with no consequence to the actions thereof. Republicans don't mind the blackmail because they care more about winning elections than protecting America. They would risk the release of the worst of the worst men on the planet just so they can create their favorite 30-second TV ad against their political opponent.

And we thought terrorists were evil. How about the men who would risk their release in order to score political points?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Political Pandering By Bush

apparently today, Bush announces that all detainees held in secret prisons (note that this confirms that the United States government did in fact have secret prisons), in all places of the world, will now hold prisoner of war status. So why do I not say, "this is good news!" or "finally a step in the right direction!" Because the key to politics is timing. Why did it take Bush this long to finally do this? Why in September two months before an election in which his party will likely lose control of Congress? This is simply more evidence that Bush uses national security for political purposes. He did not order all prisoners to have these rights when the Supreme Court ruled against him back in June and July. In fact, back then, the Bush Administration's strategy was to get Congress to change the law to make it possible to continue having secret prisons, etc. Why suddenly the change? Simple: November. Make it look like Republicans are not against the Constitution of the United States. This is how vile the Bush Administration has gotten, where they play with people's lives just so their party can remain in power. Such lust for power is not in the best interest of America. Vote them out!

Reductio ad Civil Warum

Condi Rice now compares the current conflict to the struggles to free slaves in the Civil War. She says:

"I'm sure there are people who thought it was a mistake to fight the Civil War to its end and to insist that the emancipation of slaves would hold," Rice said in the new issue of Essence magazine.

"I know there were people who said, 'Why don't we get out of this now, take a peace with the South, but leave the South with slaves?'" Rice said.

Hmmmm, conservatives who hold strongly to the South's position, like DKL over on BCC, that they fought not over slavery, but state rights, should be offended at Dr. Rice's lack of historical knowledge. Is it not Rumsfeld who recently said: "But some seem not to have learned history's lessons." Or is Dr. Rice using a reductio ad Civil Warum to relate two totally absurd and different situations?

In the eyes of Dr. Rice, relating the current war on terror to Hitler and fascism and even Lenin's communism is not enough. She is obviously speaking to a black audience, and of course what African American would say the fight to free slaves was not worth the cost! Blacks could care less about Hitler's fascism or Lenin's communism, in Dr. Rice's eyes. No, the best target for the African American crowd is the use of this reductio ad Civil Warum.

The Latest Al-Qaida No. 2 Arrested in June

huh, how about that. Last week we heard about the arrest of yet another Al-Qaida number 2 (notice how we never seem to capture al-qaida number 1, or number 3, but always seem to catch the number 2 guy----number 2 seems jinxed [why oh why can't number 2 be jinxed here in America too!]). Apparently though, this arrest actually took place in June!!! and not last week as was so strongly plastered on all the TV screens.

The arrest of al-Qaida in Iraq's second in command took place in June, and not a few days ago as the Iraqi government had initially announced, a U.S. military spokesman said Wednesday.

Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell said Hamed Jumaa Farid al-Saeedi, also known as Abu Humam or Abu Rana, was captured on June 19. Other suspects were in custody, he said, but their names have not yet been made public.

National Security Adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie announced al-Saeedi's arrest Sunday, saying it had occurred a few days earlier.

Hmmmm, now why would the Bush administration wait until Labor Day week to release this kind of information? Hmmmm.

Andrew Sullivan delves deeper into the UK terror plot, and discovers some interesting tidbits. He quotes John Judis who says:

While those arrested were British Muslims, they were thought to be acting on behalf of or in coordination with Al Qaeda. A "senior US intelligence official" told The Boston Globe, "There are suspicions that there is a real Al Qaeda connection - not just Al Qaeda wannabees or inspire-ees." Pakistani and American officials claimed that the "operational planner" of the conspiracy was Rashid Rauf, a British citizen, whom the Pakistanis said had admitted under interrogation of having met with an Al Qaeda leader in Pakistan ...

Was the plot an Al Qaeda operation? Rauf himself had been busted by the Pakistanis the day before the London arrests, and, according to the Pakistanis, had admitted - allegedly under torture - to having made contact with Matiur Rehman, whom the Pakistanis claim is an Al Qaeda operative. But that's hardly proof of Al Qaeda direction. Moreover, Rauf's role remains unclear. A British counterterrorism official told the Los Angeles Times that Rauf was not the plot's "mastermind." And Rauf's actual connection to Al Qaeda is also suspect. Rauf has been linked to Jaish-e-Mohammed, which operates in Kashmir. There could still be an Al Qaeda link. But, like all the initial details of this case, it remains in doubt.

As the details have become murky, what has also been cast in doubt is the explanation of why the arrests were made in the first place. According to British officials, the Brits did not want to arrest the plotters; they preferred to see who else, over the next months, the plotters recruited and made contact with. But their hand was forced when the Pakistanis arrested Rauf on August 9. Why the Pakistanis did so remains unclear, but there is a speculation that they did so at U.S. urging. "There have been reports that U.S. officials pushed for the arrest," the Los Angeles Times reported on August 20.

How much more evidence does one need to see that the Bush administration is playing politics with America's security? Does the Bush administration care more about electoral gains or protecting America? To this point, the evidence points pretty clearly to the former rather than the latter.

Army Will Use Geneva Rules on Detainees, Finally

Getting back to, according to Rove and Rumsfeld, "pre 9/11 mindset", the Army has updated their field manual to include the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of detainees. Finally a step in the right direction. Would we all hope it is not the last step in the right direction.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Use of Reductio ad Hitlerum

So today Bush compared Bin Laden to Hitler and Lenin, i.e. used the logical fallacy known as reductio ad Hitlerum.

Upon reading the definition though, the examples given are absurd, hence Strauss's correlation between his newly defined reductio ad Hitlerum and reductio ad absurdum, which is a logical fallacy that tries to correlate two absurd items. As shown in the absurdum definition, usually the use of this logical fallacy is related to the use of the straw man logical fallacy.

So here we have a conundrum. Republicans use reductio ad Hitlerum frequently and often. Their use of this fallacy is tied to their use of a straw man. Yet no one seems to call them on it. Moreover, Republicans don't care if they use logical fallacies to paint their political opponents in a bad way. This is their straw man, and the backbone of their political strategy. "Don't vote for them because it will be worse with them in power."

So this is what Bush had to say:

"Bin laden and his terrorists' allies have made their intentions as clear as Lenin and Hitler before them," the president said before the Military Officers Association of America and diplomatic representatives of other countries that have suffered terrorist attacks. "The question is `Will we listen? Will we pay attention to what these evil men say?"'

So the reductio ad Hitlerum and reductio ad Leninum that Bush uses says that Bin Laden and their allies are bad because Hitler and Lenin were bad. Okay. So what? What's your point, Mr. President? Why do you get to throw those names around and the rest of us cannot?

What makes a comment logically false? If I say Rumsfeld appeased terrorists by meeting with and condoning Saddam's actions in the 1980s, is that somehow logically false? What is not true about those comments? Is it that Republicans did not consider Saddam a terrorist in the 1980s, because he was their man? Only now when he is being tried for war crimes he committed in the 1980s is Saddam a terrorist? What about those who condoned his actions? Does not the supposed paradigm shift that 9/11 caused also reflect the same on those who supported Saddam in the 1980s?

yeah, I smell hypocrisy here.

Monday, September 04, 2006

My Comments to DKL on BCC about Rumsfeld

I want to save them in case they were too harsh and someone on BCC takes them down:

DKL,

President Kimball was talking about ALL the people of the earth, not just Americans. Many General Authorities, as well as BYU professors, have served in all branches of the U.S. Military and honor others who do.

I know this. I have no problem with people who serve to protect my country. My sister is actually in Iraq as I type this. There is a difference between serving in a military to protect one's country, and, as Kimball said, relying on the gods of steel for protection from enemies. Moreover, I think we've gone even worse; we're not looking from protection from our gods of steel, but we're looking for our gods of steel to crush our enemies. This seems rather un-Christian to me.

I’m not going to defend President Bush’s war in Iraq. I’m glad I didn’t have to make that decision. However, I think you need some education in Middle East history. The Bath Party of Sadaam Hussein was modeled on the Nazi Party of Adolph Hitler. There were very close ties between Nazi Germany and Iraq. France and Germany would not do much, if anything at all, to support the invasion of Iraq, not because it was morally or ethically wrong, but because they are anti-semitic and seriously dependent on Middle East oil. Would you really want the U.S. in the same condition Europe is today–with serious problems with the Muslims and dependent on them for oil?

Interesting that you say this. First off, I am quite familiar with my Middle East history. I know much about the Baath culture and politics. I find it interesting though, that if you do really believe in your statement, that the Baath party is quite similar to that of the Nazi party, then why was Reagan and Rumsfeld doing business with Saddam in the 1980s? The real irony of Rumsfeld's speech last week was that it is he who fits the role of Chamberlain best out of anyone here today. It was he who worked with Saddam in the 1980s, who supported Saddam's gassing of the Kurds in 1983, and the use of chemical weapons on the Iranians in the war that Saddam started. More ironic is that just like Hitler, it was Saddam who started the conflict against Iran, trying to, just like Hitler, spread his strength past his borders. So, if Saddam was truly like Hitler, what was Rumsfeld doing shaking Saddam's hand? Furthermore, if you truly believe in fighting against all those who have at one point appeased "evildoers", why do you support Rumsfeld? Or is it okay on occasion to lend support to Nazi-type regimes? Is that the message Rumsfeld is giving?

Rumsfeld is an evil man, and by default, since he thinks Rumsfeld is right for the job, so is Bush, his boss. If Bush thinks Rumsfeld, who appeased Saddam, is the right man to fight terror, then this shows just how bad Bush is as a "fighter against terror." Doesn't it? Who does he trust as the front man against terror? A man who appeased terrorists. Let us also not forget that it was Reagan who cut and ran when Hezbollah killed 241 marines in their sleep. Talk about appeasing terrorists! What better message to send them then this: if you kill 241 of our best trained men, we're going to go away. This is the worst thing ever. Worse than anything Clinton ever did.

Do you really believe Islam is a peaceful religion? Many Muslims are, but their leaders are not; and the people are bullied by threats to harm them and their families if they don’t cooperate.

Yes, I believe Islam is a peaceful religion, just like all religions. You say many generalities in this that if turned on Christianity would be pretty accurate, yet that would offend you. Why do you say offensive things when you don't want to be offended yourself? Yes, Islam is a peaceful religion when practiced as it should, just like Christianity is. But in practice, Christianity has been just as, if not more so, violent. How many wars have Christians fought in the name of religion? Frankly, from what I keep hearing out of Christian conservatives, this war fought now is a religious war. I mean just look at how you framed this "war on terror." You don't talk about the tool---terrorism----but rather the religion, as if the religion is driving the tool. In other words, in your eyes, this is a war of religions, not anything else.

The religion does not change the fact that both have leaders who seem to advocate some kind of violence upon others. Christians show quotes out of context of Mohammed saying, "kill all infidels," while Muslims counter with quotes out of context of the LORD calling for the extermination of all living things in Caanan.

This is the folly of trying to frame this "war" into the paradigm of religion.

The Taliban is as evil as the Nazis, if not more so, and potentially much more dangerous, even to their own people. How would you like to live under the Taliban? I suggest you go try it, and take your sister, wife, mother, and any other female that thinks like you, with you and see how much they thank you for it. Taliban rule in Afghanistan is exactly what they plan should they conquer Europe, which they are doing, and America, which people like you would allow due to your cowardness and gullibility.

Potentially more dangerous than the Nazis? Dude, check your facts. When Hitler started his fighting, just how powerful was his military? It was the most powerful military on the planet. According to the facts, America's army size at the time was about the same as Finland's. Germany was the most powerful nation on the planet in 1938. The Taliban couldn't even run their own backward, war-torn, hellhole. And you say they are potentially worse and more dangerous than the Nazis? You're undermining your intellect, DKL. You're smarter than this. Stop with the false talking points, and look at the facts.

Furthermore, you say the Taliban are conquering Europe? What? And they are doing this because of my "cowardness and gullibility?" What? I supported the war in Afghanistan, so oops, there goes your insult. I supported the destruction of the Taliban the moment they destroyed the Buddhist statues back in 1999. I hoped Clinton would have used that as a good enough excuse to remove those fools out of power in Afghanistan. And now you tell me my "cowardness" is somehow making the Taliban "win" in Europe and America? I guess you really are not as smart as I thought you were. Your partisanship has clouded your intellect, DKL. Look at the world outside of your defense of Republicans. You'll see a much clearer picture, and you'll see the folly of the Republican strategy.

Do you really think the LDS Church and the Democrats, which are being taken over by the loony left and Hollywierdos, have much in common? The left wing, whom you seem to admire, stands for homosexuality, free sex, abortion, socialism, and anti-religion, etc. Where does that fit in with LDS doctrine. Is this your idea of “godliness”.

Yes, they do have much in common. They also have other things that are not in common, as is similar with Republicans. I don't admire the "loony left," but thanks for attempting to set up a straw man, a typical Republican strategy. That is not who I am.

Are you really so ignorant as to not understand that Hussein was paying big money to families to use their children as suicide bombers?

I knew this. I also know that the United States and Great Britain support a dictatorship in Uzbekistan. Craig Murray, the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, has written an op-ed in the Washington Post, detailing just how we support torture and murder in Uzbekistan, even giving them money to do so. Bad people do bad things and get support from bad people. It is how this world works.

Do you not understand that the full intent of Iran and Syria now, and also Iraq in the past, is to nuke Israel?

I always knew this. In fact, I wonder why Bush supporters didn't realize that by removing Saddam from power only strengthened Iran's position. A report by the Chatam House of England shows that our actions in Iraq gave Iran control of Iraq, and further clout and strength in the Middle East. I quote a portion:

"There is little doubt that Iran has been the chief beneficiary of the War on Terror in the Middle East," says the report from Chatham House's Middle East Programme.

"The United States, with coalition support, has eliminated two of Iran’s regional rival governments - the Taleban in Afghanistan in November 2001 and Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq in April 2003 - but has failed to replace either with coherent and stable political structures."

In other words, our actions in Iraq brought about the very thing we were supposedly trying to avoid: a stronger Iran. Can you see why I've been against the war in Iraq from the get go? I knew right from the start what would happen, but no one listened, because they were too driven by fear.

Is your education so sparse that you do not understand that the Muslims were the first to invade Europe over 300 years before the first Crusade?

I knew this. What is your point? I can show that in fact, Christians invaded many countries even before Mohammed was even conceived!

Do you not realize that Istanbul, Turkey was once Constantinople, and on the European continent, and that Muslims attacked it over a period of centuries. They have no business there; they invaded and took over, and that’s what they want to do in Europe and America today.

Um.....by your logic, what did Christians have to do in Russia? Why did they invade and forcibly convert pagan Russians to Christianity?

Yes, there are things that do go wrong in war, but if there were no war you would not have the right to be so anti-American, which you most definitely are.

I challenge you here and now to show me where I have said anything that is anti-American! I'm tired of this libel. It is such a weak assault that conservatives have against those who rightfully and strongly question the policies of our leaders. Call them names. Is that the best you have? prove me wrong, show me facts, but the moment you call me names, you've lost your case, and show nothing but your immaturity.

Would you rather fight the terrorists on our soil? They are pouring over the border, along with drugs, weapons, and diesease. Is that what you want? Should we stop the war on terror and try to negotiate with them?

Woah, several things here. Yes, I would rather fight terrorists on my soil. First off, I know my territory better; it is to my advantage. Taking the fight to them has proven the folly of offensive war. The Taliban are still around five years after we started going after them. Iraq is in shambles and a horrific mess. Moreover, their anger is only fueled and enflamed by our presence in their lands. I say, fine, you stay where you are, and I'll stay here. You come here and I will end your life. I have no problem with that. Furthermore, it gives me the chance to trust in the Lord for my protection, not the gods of steel. I know the Lord will protect me if I look to him, of this I have no question.

Secondly, it seems you are equating Mexicans coming over the border with Islamic terrorists. Get off the Michelle Malkin buzz, dude. She is a fool. She does not know what she is talking about. Leave her vitriol to what it is, a pig pen.

No, don't negotiate with them. But let them be in their own lands. Let them destroy themselves. It is what they want. What better way to give them the freedom you want to give them than to let them kill themselves, as they seem to want to do.

This is the libertarian streak in me.

You curse President Bush, but if Bill Clinton hadn’t been such a coward and a glory-hound we may not have had 911. The government knew throughout Klinton’s administration that there were terrorists living in America, and in the U.S. Military. Ali Mohammed was one; that person was responsible for the first bombing in New York. Bill Clinton ignored that bombing and didn’t even personally investigate it, or go to see what happened, as Pres. Bush did. Then Mr. Clinton sends the U.S. military, which, like you he abhors, to Bosnia and Somalia and lets those Rangers die in Somalia because he wouldn’t support what he started. Men who volunteer to do your dirty work for you while you cower behind your philosophies died because of a President that just wanted to be popular, and some of you people just “swallow the party line”, and want nothing to do with responsibility.

I think my comments above about Rumsfeld and Reagan best answer this diatribe.

Don’t use President Kimball as a spokesman for your left-wing propaganda; you are twisting what he said, and probably with full intent to deceive.

My intent is to discover the truth. If you don't like the fact that Kimball's words sear your soul, that's not my problem. Take that up with him.

Rumsfeld's Appeasement of Saddam

Last week Rumsfeld claimed that opponents of the war in Iraq were like Chamberlain and other Nazi appeasers in 1938. Hmmmmm......yet, who met with Saddam in 1983, shook his hand, and was silent, in fact, was approving of what Saddam was doing to Iranians and Kurds in the 1980s? Why none other than Donald Rumsfeld! Yep, that's him. Same eye glasses shaking hands with the man who used sarin on Kurds and other chemical weapons on the Iranians in the 1980s. Yep, the same attacks for which Saddam is now being tried as a war criminal in Iraq.

Was Donald Rumsfeld fighting terror here, or was he appeasing terrorists? After all, in 1938, Hitler hadn't really begun his fighting yet, his war against the world, so Rumsfeld really does fit the Chamberlain role really well, one would think. Mother Jones has opened the world to NY Times's Select Op-ed by Frank Rich called Donald Rumsfeld's Dance with Nazis in which he shows who the true appeaser is. Like Olbermann's rebuttal last week, this shows just how horrible Rumsfeld is as a secretary of defense. When will enough Americans realize this and order him out!