Mar 29, 2007

Why "Defeat" doesn't matter

In the past fifty years, the U.S. has failed to meet its strategic objectives in every major conflict. And yet, we have still grown to become the most powerful nation in the world.

George Friedman from Stratfor considers this aspect. I have linked to Friedman before, but this may be the best analysis yet about the larger picture of U.S. domination over global affairs.

(NOTE: All blue text is mine, black text is Friedman's. Stratfor is a great source of information. Be sure to check out the site).

Geopolitics and the Spoiling Attack

In considering the situation, our attention is drawn to a strange paradox that has been manifest in American foreign policy since World War II. On the one hand, the United States has consistently encountered strategic stalemate or defeat in particular politico-military operations. At those times, the outcomes have appeared to be disappointing if not catastrophic. Yet, over the same period of time, U.S. global power, on the whole, has surged. In spite of stalemate and defeat during the Cold War, the United States was more in 2000 than it had been in 1950.

Consider these examples from history:

Korea: Having defeated the North Korean army, U.S. forces were attacked by China. The result was a bloody stalemate, followed by a partition that essentially restored the status quo ante -- thus imposing an extended stalemate.

Cuba: After a pro-Soviet government was created well within the security cordon of the United States, Washington used overt and covert means to destroy the Castro regime. All attempts failed, and the Castro government remains in place nearly half a century later.

Vietnam: the United States fought an extended war in Vietnam, designed to contain the expansion of Communism in Indochina. The United States failed to achieve its objectives -- despite massive infusions of force -- and North Vietnam established hegemony over the region.

Iran: The U.S. containment policy required it to have a cordon of allies around the Soviet Union. Iran was a key link, blocking Soviet access to the Persian Gulf. The U.S. expulsion from Iran following the Islamic Revolution represented a major strategic reversal.

Iraq: In this context, Iraq appears to represent another strategic reversal -- with U.S. ambitions at least blocked, and possibly defeated, after a major investment of effort and prestige.

Look at it this way. On a pretty arbitrary scale -- between Korea (1950-53), Cuba (1960-63), Vietnam (1963-75), Iran (1979-1981) and Iraq (2003-present) -- the United States has spent about 27 of the last 55 years engaged in politico-military maneuvers that, at the very least, did not bring obvious success, and frequently brought disaster. Yet, in spite of these disasters, the long-term tendency of American power relative to the rest of the world has been favorable to the United States.

Friedman goes on to list three possible explanations for this paradox :

1.That U.S. power is derived not from winning wars, but from other factors, like economic power.
"The U.S. preoccupation with politico-military conflict has been an exercise in the irrelevant that has slowed, but has not derailed, expansion of American power."

2. The United States has just been lucky.
"despite its inability to use politico-military power effectively and its being drawn consistently into stalemate or defeat, exogenous forces have saved the United States from its own weakness."

3. The conflicts were all too minor to have any major effect, even if the Goverment sold them to the people as wars that "must" be fought if we were to survive as a nation.

and then Friedman puts Iraq into this frame of reference:

If we apply these analyses to Iraq, three schools of thought emerge. The first says that the Iraq war is unnecessary and even harmful in the context of the U.S.-jihadist confrontation -- and that, regardless of outcome, it should not be fought. The second says that the war is essential -- and that, while defeat or stalemate in this conflict perhaps would not be catastrophic to the United States, there is a possibility that it would be catastrophic. And at any rate, this argument continues, the United States' ongoing inability to impose its will in conflicts of this class ultimately will destroy it. Finally, there is the view that Iraq is simply a small piece of a bigger war and that the outcome of this particular conflict will not be decisive, although the war might be necessary. The heated rhetoric surrounding the Iraq conflict stems from the traditional American inability to hold things in perspective.

But what uselessness does that represent? Surely all those lives haven't been wasted for nothing?! Not for nothing, but for overblown concepts of fear and retaliation. Still, America rises from the ashes of these "defeats" to shine again in the end, not as a direct result of going into battle, but seemingly despite it!

After noting that American involvement in all of these conflicts was limited as opposed to a "real" war he notes:

In other words, the United States consistently has entered into conflicts in which its level of commitment was extremely limited, in which either victory was not the strategic goal or the mission eventually was redefined to accept stalemate, and in which even defeat was deemed preferable to a level of effort that might avert it. Public discussion on all sides was apoplectic both during these conflicts and afterward, yet American global power was not materially affected in the long run.

What is behind that peculiar rosy ending? - after we have been told, time and again that defeat in those arenas would result in despair? Friedman analyzes the cases of our previous conflicts and our current conflict in Iraq and allows us to expand our field of vision...

This appears to make no sense until we introduce a military concept into the analysis: the spoiling attack. The spoiling attack is an offensive operation; however, its goal is not to defeat the enemy but to disrupt enemy offensives -- to, in effect, prevent a defeat by the enemy. The success of the spoiling attack is not measured in term of enemy capitulation, but the degree to which it has forestalled successful enemy operations.

The concept of a spoiling attack is intimately bound up with the principle of economy of force.
If we consider the examples cited above and apply the twin concepts of the spoiling attack and economy of force, then the conversion of American defeats into increased U.S. global power no longer appears quite as paradoxical.

He then cites examples in all the aforementioned conflicts that spoiling attacks have assisted, at least somewhat, in forwarding American interests. The only benefit he can find in Iraq is that we have turned Shia vs. Sunni. Which may have been useful if either Shia or Sunni Iraqis had been serious hotbeds of anti-american sentiment, but they weren't. In this case, we have, in all likelihood, made the situation 1000 times worse, but I digress.

He goes on to write that Bush and past presidents, unaware of this aspect, weren't actively taking this strategy as they promoted these conflicts.

The fog of political rhetoric and the bureaucratized nature of the U.S. foreign policy apparatus make it difficult to speak of U.S. "strategy" as such. Every deputy assistant secretary of something-or-other confuses his little piece of things with the whole, and the American culture demonizes and deifies without clarifying.

The liberal and conservative arguments explain things only partially. But the idea that the United States rarely fights to win can be explained. It is not because of a lack of moral fiber, as conservatives would argue; nor a random and needless belligerence, as liberals would argue. Rather, it is the application of the principle of spoiling operations -- using limited resources not in order to defeat the enemy but to disrupt and confuse enemy operations.

As with the invisible hand in economics, businessmen pursue immediate ends without necessarily being aware of how they contribute to the wealth of nations. So too, politicians pursue immediate ends without necessarily being aware of how they contribute to national power. Some are clearer in their thinking than others, perhaps, or possibly all presidents are crystal-clear on what they are doing in these matters. We do not dine with the great.

I wouldn't hold my breath on the level of crystal-clearness of our President's bubble. I think we all comprehend that Bush or any other President did not plan for their own "defeats". The greatest point that I take away from Friedman's writing is this: Withdrawing from Iraq at this moment is not a defeat of any magnitude. It is par the course for every other conflict that U.S. Presidents, democrat OR republican, have managed in the past fifty years. And there were limited adverse effects in acknowledging those failures to achieve complete military victory.

So take heart, Neo-cons! It's not defeat, we have broken the back of Iraq's military and economy. They certainly aren't a threat as a nation any longer (if they ever were). We can leave now, you see.

And for those of us who are just bleeding heart enough to look deeper into the spoiled resulting wastelands of these conflicts- we may have to just content ourselves with convincing the most rabid of our brethren to withdraw under the flag of "We did it!"

Moonbats vs. Reality, Installment 3,252,622,154

Arguing with the moonbats over at Will's place (Attytood)...

Bush and the bloggers

From Someone who doesn't want Bush to read bad news...
"From a Democrat... Why would Bush want to read blogs that are bad? Honestly...what good does it serve. It serves no good what so ever Will. Leave it to you and the fringe Dems to make a point of this. Honestly, what purpose are you serving for the democratic party. If the dems were smart they would be figuring out a way to create unity, rather than a divide."
Lewis ... (a democrat, honest! Wink!wink!)

My Response:
Look - Take off those rose colored glasses.


There is a way for us to create unity - and the first step to that is for us to ALL pay attention to the REALITY- Not Bush and McCain's LIES about what is going on in Iraq. Every time some ill-informed citizen that still believes in Bush hears this crap come out of his mouth- they are kept handcuffed by illusions.

Embrace Reality. Some of us "Fringe" (That is 70% of the US population, NOW) aren't going to pretend to believe in outright lies just to get along with the corrupt people who saddled us with this Iraq monstrosity!

It's time to face the music folks. The pro-war, right wing crowd WAS WRONG. After five years, it's time to deal with REALITY and move on. Time for you Iraq-War Stalkers to give up hiding in the bushes outside Iraq's window hoping to get a peek at some juicy Freedom. It's NOT THERE.

And please, don't fall for the Persian Gulf of Tonkin crap either! It's time for the warhawks to trade in their Emperorer's clothes/bondage war outfits for the suit of a diplomat.

Ireland recently made a historic achievement. And they did it with DIPLOMACY, DISCUSSION, RESTRAINT. After hundreds of years of violence.

It takes a bigger man to avoid a fight. So let's stop with the asinine shove-match and talk this bullshit out. Knocking a beehive off the tree isn't working out so well. It's hard to harvest the honey while you are being stung by a hundred pissed off bees. And it damn sure doesn't accomplish much to tell the bees that we've saved them the upstairs flight.

QUESTION: What's your opinion on the music jukebox thingamajig I added? Yea or Nay? I could always just add it as a blogpost instead accessible by a sidelink so that it doesn't automatically play. And if you have any good music suggestions- let me know!

Mar 28, 2007

Points to Ponder


"I'm rapidly reaching the conclusion that chupacabras deserve more serious consideration than modern America's transparent national tripartisan sociopathic episode."

Busker (Engulfed Cathedral)

The Realistic Patriot

Five Years of Broken (Joe Galloway)

The link above from is a great rundown of our current situation and the legacy of Bush jr. There are no grand revelations in the article, but to me the greatest significance is who wrote the article. I have posted Galloway before, in a series of emails back and forth between Joe and a Rumsfeld aide years ago concerning the absolute lack of military planning in the Iraq theater on Rumsfeld's part.

Galloway is a military man's journalist. He is acknowledged by many military officers as being one of the best, if not, the best. He is the only civilian to ever be awarded the Bronze Star for his action in the Battle of The Ia Drang. He also co-wrote We Were Soldiers with Col. Hal Moore.

I can promise the president from Texas that this ill-begotten, poorly planned and mismanaged war will be his lasting legacy when, in 22 months, he packs his bags and heads home to the ranch in Crawford.

Iraq will hang around his neck - and those of Cheney and Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle and Douglas Feith - like a rotting albatross for all the days of their lives.
No doubt the contractors who are bloated like ticks on the billions they've sucked out of the public trough will write the checks to build George W. Bush a really fine presidential library on the campus of Southern Methodist University.

All of it will be a lie, just like the lies his administration told to beat the war drums five years ago.

How will the curators portray the broken military, the broken Constitution, the broken laws, the forever broken troops who came home missing limbs or eyes or pieces of their brains, the broken promises to cherish and care for the families of those who were killed and those very wounded veterans?

How will they portray the corruption, both real and spiritual, that this man and his accomplices have visited upon a nation and a people who once could be proud of their place in this world?

How and why did so many Americans, including so many in Congress and in the media, sit idly by while so much that was precious to us was bent and twisted and broken by men who had the power and the money to do the right things but chose to do the wrong things?

and a Desert Storm vet makes this comment on :

I just think that it is important for TeeBone and PMCaudle to understand that there are military supporters like me amongst Democrats and Progressives. And we are not whining. If you reduce political discourse in this country to "us"versus "them" and start slinging names around you have just done the terrorists job for them.

I've been sitting on the fence along time with this war. I, too, feel that leaders are elected to make tough decisions. I understand that as a member of the military, you are required to carry out orders. As a civilian, you protect (as I did once) my right to express my opinion. Frankly, my opinion on Iraq (not Afghanistan) has been the same as Joe Galloway's since the beginning. I just don't blog or go to peace rallies.

As a veteran of the Desert Storm I have felt extremely lucky that I worked for the first President Bush. As a combat veteran himself, he knew how to listen to generals, establish goals and recognize a quagmire. I also feel extremely lucky that my fellow soldiers didn't have the kind of duties that present soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan have. You guys are amazing.

That being said, it's too bad some of you didn't read the side-bio of Joe Galloway. This isn't some Democrat or Liberal trying to score some political points. He has a long established career of military journalism with commendation s by numerous military officials. There are also plenty of Republican leaders and ex-military speaking out against this war. Statistically speaking, more generals than any war since the Civil War.

So you can continue to whine about the Democrats whining or play the victim of politics. In the meantime, we "progressive/liberal/Democratic" vets will be vocal about making sure that you come home safe or get the support you need.

Why do I? Because it could have been me.

More about Galloway:
Galloway in Nam

Mar 27, 2007

Mar 26, 2007

Traitors don't get to Question my patriotism

Maher breaks it down like only he can:
Video )

And finally, new rule...traitors don't get to question my patriotism!

What could be less patriotic than *constantly* screwing things up for America? You know, it's literally hard to keep up with the sheer volume of scandals in the Bush administration, which is why I like to download the latest scandals right onto my iPod. That way I can catch up on this week's giant fuck up on my drive into work.

In fact, Bush has so many scandals, he could open a chain of scandal-and-fuck-up themed restaurants. "Ooh, should I get the Harriet Miers meatloaf of the Katrina crabcakes?"

You know, not to generalize, but the 29% of people who still support President Bush are the ones who love to pronounce themselves more patriotic than the rest of us. But just *saying* you're patriotic, is like saying you have a big cock--if you have to say it, chances are it's not true!

And indeed the party that flatters itself that they protect America better, is the party that has exhausted the military, left the ports wide open, and purposefully outed a CIA agent, Valerie Plame. That's not treason any more--outing a spy? Did I mention it was one of our spies?

And how despicable that Bush's lackies attempted to diminish this crime by belittling her service, like she was just some chick who "hung around the CIA". Heh, heh. An intern, really! Groupie, if you want to be mean about it...

No--big lie! Valerie Plame was the CIA's operational officer in charge of counter-proliferation. Which means, she tracked loose nukes. So when Bush said, as he once did, that his absolute number one priority was preventing terrorists from getting loose nukes? Okay, that's what she worked on. That's what she devoted her life to, staying under cover for 20 years. Maintaining two identities every goddamn day. This is extraordinary service to your country! Valerie Plame was the kind of real-life secret agent George Bush dreams of being, when he's not too busy pretending to be a cowboy or a fighter pilot!

CIA agents are troops. This was a military assassination, of one of our own, done through the press, ordered by Karl Rove. He said of Valerie Plame, "She's fair game." And then Cheney shot her.

George Bush likes to claim that he doesn't question his critics' patriotism, just their judgment. Well, let me be the first of your critics, Mr. President, to question your judgment and your patriotism because let's not forget why they did it to her. Because Valerie Plame was married to this guy Joe Wilson, who the Bush people hated, because he busted them on one of their bullshit reasons for invading Iraq. He was sent to the African country of Niger to see if Niger was selling nuclear fuel to Iraq. They weren't, it was bullshit, and he said so.

In fact, his report was called, "Niger please!" Valerie Plame's husband told the truth about their lies, so they were willing to jeopardize an entire network of spies to ruin her life! Wow--even the mob doesn't go after your family.

Mark Twain said "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. And I say, Valerie Plame is a patriot, because she spent her life serving her country. Scooter Libby is not, because he spent his life serving Dick Cheney. Valerie Plame kept her secrets--the Bush administration leaked like the plumbing at Walter Reed.

Mar 23, 2007

Of Votes and Vetoes

Get our troops out of Iraq- 218 to 212.

Democrats voting no:
Barrow (GA) Boren (OK) Lincoln Davis (TN) Kucinich (OH) Lee (CA) Lewis (GA) Marshall (GA)Matheson (UT) McNulty (NY) Michaud (ME) Taylor (MS) Waters (CA) Watson (CA) Woolsey (CA)

Republicans voting yes:Gilchrest (MD) Jones (NC)


Email Gilchrest and Jones to say Thank you for supporting our troops.

The date that the troops are supposed to be gone from Iraq is Aug.31, 2008, the anniversary of Katrina.
We Did It - Bringing accountability to the White House

Mar 22, 2007

True Journalism

NBC Correspondent Richard Engel, who I think has led the pack in the reporting from Iraq for the past few years, has a video primer about Iraq. It reveals the bigger geopolitical picture that is behind the conflict, even moreso than religion.

Engel has been reporting from Iraq since BEFORE we even invaded. His experience and the insight he provides cannot be discarded as just another reporter who flies into Iraq for two weeks and then buzzes out again. There is also quite a few other good links to Engels's fine reporting from that page.

A personal look into Engel's life and how being in Iraq has affected it :

I almost never put my comments on MSNBC's webpages, it's filled with quite a few loud, abusive morons that make my own resident troll look like a Rhodes scholar.

But I put my thanks in to this man, who has spent the last four years of his life in danger, and has reported ALL sides of this complex story in Iraq. It's a thankless job, an adrenaline rush to be sure, but there's many many things that Engel isn't allowed to report on, for fear that it might affect Americans "delicate" sensibilities. You won't find the real pictures of the bloodshed, the mayhew, the ripped apart bodies and the corpses of children killed by both sides on your television or even on a mainstream media's website. Those images have been carefully screened lest we portray "war" in a bad light.

And the wacked out pro-war morons still dare cry "liberal media". But, these are also the same idiots that are commenting about civil war casualties or how staying the course in Viet Nam would have "Won" the day.

You can't explain to these fools that we didn't lose a damn thing by leaving Vietnam. And you can't make a man see the light when he has blindfolded himself with an American flag. True patriotism means believing in your country so much that you CAN HANDLE THE TRUTH and can make informed decisions based on the truth- not the lies that the President's men think are better for you.

True Patriotism is standing up for your country's ideals and it's constitution- NOT for a certain political party or dreams of empire.

To Christians, I ask : Is the kingdom of America greater than the kingdom of Heaven?
To Americans, I ask: Is greed and power greater than freedom and the rule of law?

Which ideals should you be supporting for the greater good of your soul and the soul of our nation? Which ideals should you be sacricing on the altar of your fear and insecurity?

Mar 20, 2007

With a little help from my friends...

and one fuckin trollbaby.

Because you know my shit ain't worth reading unless I am pissed off and steel toe booting Chickenhawk morons...

Bonus: Caveman Assist!

from Ze comments:

and nothing will happen..dreammm dreamm the impossible dream..Hey found this on a web site

"Raiding American Forums is Among the Most Important Means of Obtaining Victory in the Fierce Media War… and of Influencing the Views of the Weak-Minded American"

And boy do you left take the bait.
Off to work Haliburton rules..pipes are now flowing with oil from Afgan mountains to the awaiting boats among the seas..Oil for my SUV and your tricycles.
(Caveman, from deep inside Cavemanistan,waxing almost poetic)

Pay attention to your Cro-magnon betters, old unwise one.

That quote sounds like it came straight off Gonzales desk, for their freeperville agents. Spare me the neocon talking points. (Blog Terrorists!? There's probably piss running down your leg as we speak.)

Interesting organization (that Memri site you sent me to). It purports to analyze Middle Eastern Media. Except it misses ONE WHOLE COUNTRY in the middle east- Israel. It claims to be "nonpartisan". It's based out of DC and has a branch office is Jerusalem. One of its main subjects is an Anti-Semitism documentation project. Gosh you mean them arabs don't LOVE jews? Crazy, man.

Basically it's a compilation of every negative media article that comes out of Arab countries. That would be fair enough, IF it stated that was its purpose. But it pretends to analyze All media reports bad AND good. It's just another Israeli think-tank hitpiece, funded by morons like you, Caveman- (tax deductible of course) to help promote hate against Arabs. Using terms like "Islamist" instead of Islamic. The term of course, was coined by neo-cons.

I did find THIS though on their site- that refutes what you are saying about "blog-terrorists". It is meant to show that Egypt is anti-free speech, but what it shows is that a lot of arabic bloggers are just like us:

"Thanks to their immensely wide distribution, blogs have become more than just a platform for [posting] news and analyses - the [bloggers] also follow the news, interpret them and respond to them… It is no longer possible for a restricted group of individuals to dictate public opinion, shape it and recruit it [for their purposes] - the blogs have [shattered] the monopoly on information that was [once] held by a few traditional players. Blogs constitute a new means for pressuring the government [regarding] its public policy and the transparency of its decisions… They have become a platform of political participation, and are used by people on the Internet to protest and to demonstrate against the government's policy…
"Blogs, just like the traditional press, must be subject [to the principles of] freedom of opinion and expression, since they [reflect] the extent of reform and democracy [in the country]… The arrest of bloggers, and their persecution by the security [apparatuses] reflect uncertainty on the part of the government regarding the concept of freedom.
"How can [the government decree that people] may not be imprisoned for publishing [an opinion] in the press, but at the same time persecute bloggers for publishing their opinions? Freedom is not a principle that can be applied [discriminately]. It cannot be upheld in one case and disregarded in another, [under the pretext of] protecting [national] security, and at the expense of [civil] liberties.
"Blogs constitute an alternative media platform, and are no different from the written press. Consequently, there should be an organization, a legal association or a syndicate to defend the bloggers' interests and publication rights."

Ah, it makes me feel warm and fuzzy, knowing that freedom is growing due to more and more bloggers from the middle east. It's called progress, bud.


News: Television and Newspapers cannot compete

Mike's blog round up included this great article about the failure of Mainstream media in the months prior to the Iraq war from FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Media). It highlights the fact that many people were not convinced about Iraq's WMD. Quite a few journalists were trying to report information that ran counter to the administrations' claims, but mainstream media just wasn't interested in publishing that point of view. Therefore we, as the public, did receive "Biased" news as a result. Compounding that problem were the limits of traditional media.

Reading through today's newspapers, as well as watching a major television news channel- I find them utterly lacking in the details that I crave so much. Am I just a news junkie? Well, yes- but it doesn't excuse the fact that traditional news sources are just incapable of providing the whole story with their limited scope.

The internet is not only the future of news reporting- It is the PRESENT. Television and papers are just the past. There is no way that they can compete in providing the information. You don't have a script running on the bottom of CNN that cites sources for what they decide to tell you at any given minute. You can only receive information as fast as an anchor cas speak. You can't get more info about a story of interest immediately. A major newspaper's main section can be read in about 10 minutes. If a certain story interests me, I generally research enough information on the web on it that would have filled the entire section by itself.

As far as the cons of Internet news,I would say that you have to be careful of finding false or misleading stories on the internet, but with the careful scrutinizing that goes into every major post of an internet news website by its readers, in the comments and with the wide array of watchdog organizations that you can find at the click of a few keys- fact finding is a matter of effort on your part, not lack of information. And when you consider the declining quality of traditional media it makes this a moot point anyway. Give me the internet over the shoddy and incomplete reporting that is provided by tv and the papers anyday.

So, the problem with the today's news sources is not only one of bias, but also that most Americans have their news restricted by the very means of viewing it. As more and more Americans get access to the internet, this will not be a problem any longer.

Traditional news is on its death bed. With less accountability instead of more, newspapers and television news channels are slowly killing themselves. As people realize that they cannot trust these sources for unbiased reporting, they will want to seek out their own news on the internet.

Here are my News sources: My home page is MSNBC. I find, time and time again, that they usually have a quick scoop on most issues that stays pretty much, on course. Their polls are terribly worded, though, and usually show a little inherent bias that slants toward the right. And on three occasions I have seen them "scrub" previous posts- completely erase them or update them substantially with no way to view the post and no notes of what was "corrected"/removed.
But all in all, it's easy to use and accurate. As for where you go from your main page- that's up to you. Don't get all your news in one place. And if something seems a little off- it's in my experience that it probably is. Research, research, research. The truth is out there. Go get it!

Mar 19, 2007

Subprime and the Fed

Do you remember what the market (Dow Industrials….DJIA) did last summer? Maybe you don’t because the media did not hype the market decline like it has jumped on this latest down-turn. Why? Probably because two weeks ago on February 27th , the DJIA lost 416.03 points in one day. To make things even more dramatic, the DJIA, on that day, was at one point down over 500 points. Last summer the DJIA corrected 8.46%. To date the DJIA has corrected 6.02%. Two weeks ago all we heard was the “melt-down” in China and the Yen Carry Trade. This week all we hear is “subprime”. It is quite possible “subprime” is a relatively new term to you. Here is what it is all about: (source: Wikipedia)

Subprime lending (also: B-Paper, B-tier, non-prime, near-prime, special finance, second chance lending) describes a specific lending market sector. Typically, subprime customers are those who do not qualify for prime market rates because of blemished or limited credit. Consequently, subprime customers are charged a higher interest rate to compensate for the increased risk. The general lending philosophy can be described as "priced to risk" where the interest rate the borrower pays increases as their risk level to the lender increases (but this is limited by the maximum annual interest rate as defined by law in each respective country). In the United States, subprime borrowers are generally defined as individuals with limited income or having FICO credit scores below 620 on a scale that ranges from 300 to 850.
The term "subprime" is not derived from the
prime interest rate; in fact the borrower of a subprime loan incurs interests rates much higher than the prime rate.

Origins and Motivations
Subprime lending evolved the same way as other businesses, with a realization of the demand in the marketplace and then providing a supply to meet it. With
divorce being common in society, bankruptcies and consumer proposals being widely accessible, a constantly fluctuating economic environment, and consumer debt load on the rise, traditional lenders are more cautious and have been turning away a record amount of potential customers Statistically, approximately 25% of the population falls into this category (credit score <>

Motivation for the Lender
To access this increasing market, lenders must take on the risks associated with lending to people with poor credit ratings. Subprime lenders are usually stand-alone companies and are not affiliated with prime lenders (who take little risk with their funds). For a prime lender, the safest entry into the subprime market is to acquire an existing subprime company with established brand recognition and business stability. Subprime loans are especially risky for the lender since there is a high probability that an applicant who has a
credit history that shows a long history of write-offs and slow payments will default or fail to pay on time. However, lenders may be willing to take the risk of offering subprime loans to an applicant who has a poor credit score due to short-term difficultly in maintaining their credit rating.
To offset the risk that the lender faces, subprime lenders often look for added security in the form of
collateral. Examples of this are mortgages, vehicle loans, furniture loans, credit cards secured by an initial deposit that matches their credit limit, etc. Once the company registers a lien against the assets, the company can repossess the assets and reclaim a portion or all of their loss should the customer default on the loan.
Motivation for the Borrower
People with non-ideal credit have particular difficulty in obtaining loans, and subprime lending offers them the chance to get money that they may need. The trade-off for them involves the need for collateral, very high interest rates, and often high monthly payments. In essence, if other lenders turn away a potential borrower due to their credit rating, they will go to any other lender to get the money that they need, even if it involves added expense and risk for them.
Subprime Lending and Re-establishing Personal Credit
Some subprime finance companies offer customers with poor credit a chance to re-establish their credit and eventually become a prime customer. Consumers with poor credit can borrow at higher-interest rates from subprime lenders. Once the borrower has shown responsibility in paying off debts and re-established a positive payment history, credit rating can increase. While an overwhelming majority of mortgage loans, subprime or otherwise, are reported to credit bureaus, not all are. Customers wishing to re-establishing their credit should check that their payment history is reported.

In the past, I have written on several occasions about the “wave of liquidity” that has, over the past several years, swept over the world’s asset markets. Subprime lending has always been with us but not to the extent we have seen in the past two or three years. It’s increase and the apparent abuses associated with it, have created the current “crisis”. This can be directly traced to the “wave of liquidity”.
The next logical question might be….Why the “wave of liquidity”?

It all started in 2001. The new administration and the Federal Reserve, led by Chairman Alan Greenspan, were very concerned about the potential economic effects of the debacle and the ensuing economic slow-down. As a defensive measure, the Fed went on an interest rate reduction spree. Rates plummeted down to a Fed Funds rate of 1%. The Fed kept rates low for about two years. Additionally, they orchestrated an “easy money” policy that enabled subprime lending. There could be other ramifications from the Fed’s easy money policy as we move forward. Some argue that the Federal Reserve needs to be reined in.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul, who has recently announced that he is a Republican presidential candidate, is one that has been very critical of the Fed’s actions. Here is what he said about it before the House of Representatives.

by Hon. Ron Paul of Texas
Before the U.S. House of Representatives
Statement for Hearing before the House Financial Services Committee, “Monetary Policy and the State of the Economy”

Transparency in monetary policy is a goal we should all support. I’ve often wondered why Congress so willingly has given up its prerogative over monetary policy. Astonishingly, Congress in essence has ceded total control over the value of our money to a secretive central bank.
Congress created the Federal Reserve, yet it had no constitutional authority to do so. We forget that those powers not explicitly granted to Congress by the Constitution are inherently denied to Congress - and thus the authority to establish a central bank never was given. Of course Jefferson and Hamilton had that debate early on, a debate seemingly settled in 1913.

But transparency and oversight are something else, and they’re worth considering. Congress, although not by law, essentially has given up all its oversight responsibility over the Federal Reserve. There are no true audits, and Congress knows nothing of the conversations, plans, and actions taken in concert with other central banks. We get less and less information regarding the money supply each year, especially now that M3 is no longer reported.

The role the Fed plays in the President’s secretive Working Group on Financial Markets goes unnoticed by members of Congress. The Federal Reserve shows no willingness to inform Congress voluntarily about how often the Working Group meets, what actions it takes that affect the financial markets, or why it takes those actions.

But these actions, directed by the Federal Reserve, alter the purchasing power of our money. And that purchasing power is always reduced. The dollar today is worth only four cents compared to the dollar in 1913, when the Federal Reserve started. This has profound consequences for our economy and our political stability. All paper currencies are vulnerable to collapse, and history is replete with examples of great suffering caused by such collapses, especially to a nation’s poor and middle class. This leads to political turmoil.

Even before a currency collapse occurs, the damage done by a fiat system is significant. Our monetary system insidiously transfers wealth from the poor and middle class to the privileged rich. Wages never keep up with the profits of Wall Street and the banks, thus sowing the seeds of class discontent. When economic trouble hits, free markets and free trade often are blamed, while the harmful effects of a fiat monetary system are ignored. We deceive ourselves that all is well with the economy, and ignore the fundamental flaws that are a source of growing discontent among those who have not shared in the abundance of recent years.

Few understand that our consumption and apparent wealth is dependent on a current account deficit of $800 billion per year. This deficit shows that much of our prosperity is based on borrowing rather than a true increase in production. Statistics show year after year that our productive manufacturing jobs continue to go overseas. This phenomenon is not seen as a consequence of the international fiat monetary system, where the United States government benefits as the issuer of the world’s reserve currency.

Government officials consistently claim that inflation is in check at barely 2%, but middle class Americans know that their purchasing power--especially when it comes to housing, energy, medical care, and school tuition - is shrinking much faster than 2% each year.

Even if prices were held in check, in spite of our monetary inflation, concentrating on CPI distracts from the real issue. We must address the important consequences of Fed manipulation of interest rates. When interests rates are artificially low, below market rates, insidious mal-investment and excessive indebtedness inevitably bring about the economic downturn that everyone dreads.

We look at GDP numbers to reassure ourselves that all is well, yet a growing number of Americans still do not enjoy the higher standard of living that monetary inflation brings to the privileged few. Those few have access to the newly created money first, before its value is diluted.

For example: Before the breakdown of the Bretton Woods system, CEO income was about 30 times the average worker’s pay. Today, it’s closer to 500 times. It’s hard to explain this simply by market forces and increases in productivity. One Wall Street firm last year gave out bonuses totaling $16.5 billion. There’s little evidence that this represents free market capitalism.

In 2006 dollars, the minimum wage was $9.50 before the 1971 breakdown of Bretton Woods. Today that dollar is worth $5.15. Congress congratulates itself for raising the minimum wage by mandate, but in reality it has lowered the minimum wage by allowing the Fed to devalue the dollar. We must consider how the growing inequalities created by our monetary system will lead to social discord.

GDP purportedly is now growing at 3.5%, and everyone seems pleased. What we fail to understand is how much government entitlement spending contributes to the increase in the GDP. Rebuilding infrastructure destroyed by hurricanes, which simply gets us back to even, is considered part of GDP growth. Wall Street profits and salaries, pumped up by the Fed’s increase in money, also contribute to GDP statistical growth. Just buying military weapons that contribute nothing to the well being of our citizens, sending money down a rat hole, contributes to GDP growth! Simple price increases caused by Fed monetary inflation contribute to nominal GDP growth. None of these factors represent any kind of real increases in economic output. So we should not carelessly cite misleading GDP figures which don’t truly reflect what is happening in the economy. Bogus GDP figures explain in part why so many people are feeling squeezed despite our supposedly booming economy.

But since our fiat dollar system is not going away anytime soon, it would benefit Congress and the American people to bring more transparency to how and why Fed monetary policy functions.

For starters, the Federal Reserve should:

Begin publishing the M3 statistics again. Let us see the numbers that most accurately reveal how much new money the Fed is pumping into the world economy.

Tell us exactly what the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets does and why. Explain how interest rates are set. Conservatives profess to support free markets, without wage and price controls. Yet the most important price of all, the price of money as determined by interest rates, is set arbitrarily in secret by the Fed rather than by markets! Why is this policy written in stone? Why is there no congressional input at least?
Change legal tender laws to allow constitutional legal tender (commodity money) to compete domestically with the dollar.

How can a policy of steadily debasing our currency be defended morally, knowing what harm it causes to those who still believe in saving money and assuming responsibility for themselves in their retirement years? Is it any wonder we are a nation of debtors rather than savers?

We need more transparency in how the Federal Reserve carries out monetary policy, and we need it soon.

Regards, Hon. Ron Paul.

Not bad for a Republican, eh? Paul has been one of the saner members of the Republican Congress with less emphasis on partisanship and more emphasis on solutions to our nation's problems and supporting a strict adherence to the constitution.

Paul addresses the folly of interventionism in Iraq here:

Other Republicans should take note: This is what a real conservative looks like. And when Bush is gone and vilified in the same sense as Nixon, those who are supporting Bush now will be rushing to do damage control for their support of his criminal activities. It's time for change and it has to come from ALL sides from responsible parties.

Mar 16, 2007

To "Saint" Patrick: Imeacht gan teacht ort

As we enter into Saint Patty's day, the Irish side of me leaves you with this thought:

A real man of Eire rues the day that Patrick brought jewish Mythology to the Emerald Isle.

"If Christianity is St. Patrick's "gift" to Ireland, the noted saint should be burned in effigy by every self-respecting Hibernian. What he brought to Ireland was the hang-over of an abominable superstition, hatched in ancient Israel by an insufferable tribe of Bedouin barbarians, whose culture for the most part, as measured even by the standards of the time, was abysmally low."

"How different might have been the history of Ireland if St. Patrick's "gift" had come from the pagan world, with its rich treasures of literature and learning. The classical culture of the Greek and Roman civilizations, with its love of knowledge and inquiry, its appreciation of art and drama, its unsurpassable glorification of wisdom and intellectual liberty would have raised the Emerald Isle to something less pathetic than a broken reed among the nations of the world. Intellectually pauperized, Ireland has suffered more from her venal priesthood and groveling superstition than from her plagues and famines." Celebrate All Snakes Day! Heathens History

Military life in Iraq

I came across this military blog about life in Iraq while over at Main and Central.
I started reading this blog and just couldn't quit.

This entry was the most haunting, for me...

Did we do everything we could?

Mar 15, 2007

Crimelords in office

(RE: The Gonzales Wiretapping Investigation from over a year ago)

I remember when the news came out that the investigators didn't have "Security Clearance" and I was like WTF? Who the hell is accountable in this Administration...

Then, there goes Alberto Lewinsky testifying without being under oath, kinda like those oil barons when they were all conspiring with Dick Cheney to craft their own version of Energy Policy. Hell, what next? Let Sex offenders write up Abuse laws under Foley?

The Attorney thing isn't even close to the level of illegality to what Gonzales did in the Wiretapping scandal. There's only ONE Difference. Democrats control Congress now.

Do you get it now, Republicans and Right Wingers? No matter HOW you try to defend these guys, they are out and out career criminals with less concern for the laws of the U.S. than they are with the life of a minority dying in the streets of Baghdad.

They used YOU because they needed your money.
Well, they got it.
Are you proud of what they have done to the Republican party?

Not to mention Der Shrubenfuhrer himself.

Bush isn't some Clueless noble at the top- He's as guilty as the rest. Just because he's stupid doesn't mean he hasn't been in on every dirty scheme this admin has put over on the American people!

CALL your damn Reps and tell them the time to completely disband this criminal empire has come!

Iran and the U.S.

George Friedman, the President of Stratfor, a leading information and analytics agency on geopolitical affairs provides him always impeccable insight in the article below... This is not some pundit with an axe to grind who gets paid to entertain, this is an information specialist whose occupation relies on the accuracy of his work.

You can find out more about Stratfor here:

Two Busted Flushes: The U.S. and Iranian Negotiations:
By George Friedman

U.S., Iranian and Syrian diplomats met in Baghdad on March 10 to discuss the future of Iraq. Shortly afterward, everyone went out of their way to emphasize that the meetings either did not mean anything or that they were not formally one-on-one, which meant that other parties were present. Such protestations are inevitable: All of the governments involved have substantial domestic constituencies that do not want to see these talks take place, and they must be placated by emphasizing the triviality. Plus, all bargainers want to make it appear that such talks mean little to them. No one buys a used car by emphasizing how important the purchase is. He who needs it least wins.

These protestations are, however, total nonsense. That U.S., Iranian and Syrian diplomats would meet at this time and in that place is of enormous importance. It is certainly not routine: It means the shadowy conversations that have been going on between the United States and Iran in particular are now moving into the public sphere. It means not only that negotiations concerning Iraq are under way, but also that all parties find it important to make these negotiations official. That means progress is being made. The question now goes not to whether negotiations are happening, but to what is being discussed, what an agreement might look like and how likely it is to occur.

Let's begin by considering the framework in which each side is operating.

The United States: Geopolitical Compulsion

Washington needs a settlement in Iraq. Geopolitically, Iraq has soaked up a huge proportion of U.S. fighting power. Though casualties remain low (when compared to those in the Vietnam War), the war-fighting bandwidth committed to Iraq is enormous relative to forces. Should another crisis occur in the world, the U.S. Army would not be in a position to respond. As a result, events elsewhere could suddenly spin out of control.

For example, we have seen substantial changes in Russian behavior of late. Actions that would have been deemed too risky for the Russians two years ago appear to be risk-free now. Moscow is pressuring Europe, using energy supplies for leverage and issuing threatening statements concerning U.S. ballistic missile defense plans in Central Europe -- in apparent hopes that the governments in this region and the former Soviet Union, where governments have been inclined to be friendly to the United States, will reappraise their positions.

But the greatest challenge from the Russians comes in the Middle East. The traditional role of Russia (in its Soviet guise) was to create alliances in the region -- using arms transfers as a mechanism for securing the power of Arab regimes internally and for resisting U.S. power in the region. The Soviets armed Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya and so on, creating powerful networks of client states during much of the Cold War.

The Russians are doing this again. There is a clear pattern of intensifying arms sales to Syria and Iran -- a pattern designed to increase the difficulty of U.S. and Israeli air strikes against either state and to increase the internal security of both regimes. The United States has few levers with which to deter Russian behavior, and Washington's ongoing threats against Iran and Syria increase the desire of these states to have Russian supplies and patronage.

The fact is that the United States has few viable military options here. Except for the use of air strikes -- which, when applied without other military measures, historically have failed either to bring about regime change or to deter powers from pursuing their national interests -- the United States has few military options in the region. Air power might work when an army is standing by to take advantage of the weaknesses created by those strikes, but absent a credible ground threat, air strikes are merely painful, not decisive.

And, to be frank, the United States simply lacks capability in the Army. In many ways, the U.S. Army is in revolt against the Bush administration. Army officers at all levels (less so the Marines) are using the term "broken" to refer to the condition of the force and are in revolt against the administration -- not because of its goals, but because of its failure to provide needed resources nearly six years after 9/11. This revolt is breaking very much into the public domain, and that will further cripple the credibility of the Bush administration.

The "surge" strategy announced late last year was Bush's last gamble. It demonstrated that the administration has the power and will to defy public opinion -- or international perceptions of it -- and increase, rather than decrease, forces in Iraq. The Democrats have also provided Bush with a window of opportunity: Their inability to formulate a coherent policy on Iraq has dissipated the sense that they will force imminent changes in U.S. strategy. Bush's gamble has created a psychological window of opportunity, but if this window is not used, it will close -- and, as administration officials have publicly conceded, there is no Plan B. The situation on the ground is as good as it is going to get.

Leaving the question of his own legacy completely aside, Bush knows three things. First, he is not going to impose a military solution on Iraq that suppresses both the Sunni insurgents and the Shiite militias. Second, he has successfully created a fleeting sense of unpredictability, as far as U.S. behavior is concerned. And third, if he does not use this psychological window of opportunity to achieve a political settlement within the context of limited military progress, the moment not only will be lost, but Russia might also emerge as a major factor in the Middle East -- eroding a generation of progress toward making the United States the sole major power in that region. Thus, the United States is under geopolitical compulsion to reach a settlement.

Iran: Psychological and Regional Compulsions

The Iranians are also under pressure. They have miscalculated on what Bush would do: They expected military drawdown, and instead they got the surge. This has conjured up memories of the miscalculation on what the 1979 hostage crisis would bring: The revolutionaries had bet on a U.S. capitulation, but in the long run they got an Iraqi invasion and Ronald Reagan.

Expediency Council Chairman Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani already has warned the Iranians not to underestimate the United States, saying it is a "wounded tiger" and therefore much more dangerous than otherwise. In addition, the Iranians know some important things.

The first is that, while the Americans conceivably might forget about Iraq, Iran never can. Uncontrolled chaos next door could spill over into Iran in numerous ways -- separatist sentiments among the Kurds, the potential return of a Sunni government if the Shia are too fractured to govern, and so forth. A certain level of security in Iraq is fundamental to Iran's national interests.

Related to this, there are concerns that Iraq's Shia are so fractious that they might not be serviceable as a coherent vehicle for Iranian power. A civil war among the Shia of Iraq is not inconceivable, and if that were to happen, Iran's ability to project power in Iraq would crumble.

Finally, Iran's ability to threaten terror strikes against U.S. interests depends to a great extent on Hezbollah in Lebanon. And it knows that Hezbollah is far more interested in the power and wealth to be found in Lebanon than in some global -- and potentially catastrophic -- war against the United States. The Iranian leadership has seen al Qaeda's leaders being hunted and hiding in Pakistan, and they have little stomach for that. In short, Iranian leaders might not have all the options they would like to pretend they have, and their own weakness could become quite public very quickly.

Still, like the Americans, the Iranians have done well in generating perceptions of their own resolute strength. First, they have used their influence in Iraq to block U.S. ambitions there. Second, they have supported Hezbollah in its war against Israel, creating the impression that Hezbollah is both powerful and pliant to Tehran. In other words, they have signaled a powerful covert capability. Third, they have used their nuclear program to imply capabilities substantially beyond what has actually been achieved, which gives them a powerful bargaining chip. Finally, they have entered into relations with the Russians -- implying a strategic evolution that would be disastrous for the United States.

The truth, however, is somewhat different. Iran has sufficient power to block a settlement on Iraq, but it lacks the ability to impose one of its own making. Second, Hezbollah is far from willing to play the role of global suicide bomber to support Iranian ambitions. Third, an Iranian nuclear bomb is far from being a reality. Finally, Iran has, in the long run, much to fear from the Russians: Moscow is far more likely than Washington to reduce Iran to a vassal state, should Tehran grow too incautious in the flirtation. Iran is holding a very good hand. But in the end, its flush is as busted as the Americans'.

Moreover, the Iranians still remember the mistake of 1979. Rather than negotiating a settlement to the hostage crisis with a weak and indecisive President Jimmy Carter, who had been backed into a corner, they opted to sink his chances for re-election and release the hostages after the next president, Reagan, took office. They expected gratitude. But in a breathtaking display of ingratitude, Reagan followed a policy designed to devastate Iran in its war with Iraq. In retrospect, the Iranians should have negotiated with the weak president rather than destroy him and wait for the strong one.

Rafsanjani essentially has reminded the Iranian leadership of this painful fact. Based on that, it is clear that he wants negotiations with Bush, whose strength is crippled, rather than with his successor. Not only has Bush already signaled a willingness to talk, but U.S. intelligence also has publicly downgraded the threat of Iranian nuclear weapons -- saying that, in fact, Iran's program has not progressed as far as it might have. The Iranians have demanded a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, but they have been careful not to specify what that timetable should look like. Each side is signaling a re-evaluation of the other and a degree of flexibility in outcomes.

As for Syria, which also shares a border with Iraq and was represented at Saturday's meetings in Baghdad, it is important but not decisive. The Syrians have little interest in Iraq but great interest in Lebanon. The regime in Damascus wants to be freed from the threat of investigation in the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, and it wants to have its interests in Lebanon guaranteed. The Israelis, for their part, have no interest in bringing down the al Assad regime: They are far more fearful of what the follow-on Sunni regime might bring than they are of a minority Alawite regime that is more interested in money than in Allah. The latter they can deal with; the former is the threat.

In other words, Syria does not affect fundamental U.S. interests, and the Israelis do not want to see the current regime replaced. The Syrians, therefore, are not the decisive factor when it comes to Iraq. This is about the United States and Iran.

Essential Points

If the current crisis continues, each side might show itself much weaker than it wants to appear. The United States could find itself in a geopolitical spasm, coupled with a domestic political crisis. Iran could find itself something of a toothless tiger -- making threats that are known to have little substance behind them. The issue is what sort of settlement there could be.

We see the following points as essential to the two main players:
1. The creation of an Iraqi government that is dominated by Shia, neutral to Iran, hostile to jihadists but accommodating to some Sunni groups.
2. Guarantees for Iran's commercial interests in southern Iraqi oil fields, with some transfers to the Sunnis (who have no oil in their own territory) from fields in both the northern (Kurdish) and southern (Shiite) regions.
3. Guarantees for U.S. commercial interests in the Kurdish regions.
4. An Iraqi military without offensive capabilities, but substantial domestic power. This means limited armor and air power, but substantial light infantry.
5. An Iraqi army operated on a "confessional" basis -- each militia and insurgent group retained as units and controlling its own regions.
6. Guarantee of a multiyear U.S. presence, without security responsibility for Iraq, at about 40,000 troops.
7. A U.S.-Iranian "commission" to manage political conflict in Iraq.
8. U.S. commercial relations with Iran.
9. The definition of the Russian role, without its exclusion.
10. A meaningless but symbolic commitment to a new Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Such an agreement would not be expected to last very long. It might last, but the primary purpose would be to allow each side to quietly fold its busted flushes in the game for Iraq.

How to Catch An Al Quaeda Mastermind

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's confession is being released to the public. There's not a whole lot of details, and some things are being blocked from the public, but he has taken credit for a whole slew of terror activities against the U.S. and says that although he has been tortured, he wasn't coerced to confess.

We got him, that's the main point. We caught one of the criminal terrorist masterminds. That's good for every American, Leftie or Rightie. But some of the right wingers are already crowing about the benefits of torture. Some are happy that we are torturing him because we know he's guilty. Okay, I can understand that mindset, but let's not pretend that torture yielded anything BUT punishment in this case.

KSM was captured four years ago, and we are just NOW hearing about this confession? Better rewrite some of those "24" Scripts. Torture takes this long? Who knew? Sarcasm aside, the only thing we have learned from KSM is about the past. Reading over the reports made the day after his arrest up until today- we knew almost his entire history PRIOR to capturing him. We were told the month of his capture that KSM began talking much sooner than anticipated. He immediately volunteered quite a bit of information from the get-go. All of this has been reported, years ago. Why is this confession somehow "new"?

While they were getting all this 'useful' information, did he tell us where Osama is? If anyone knows- this guy would, right? Has all that knowledge prevented Al Quaeda from exponentially increasing its membership? Has all that information resulted in breaking Al Quaeda?

The arrest "is bringing us significantly closer to Osama", one official said. "We appear to be just hours behind him ... Khalid Sheikh said he met with him in December. We were months behind, then weeks, and now hours behind him."

Well, not really. Does this mean torture, the right wingers all-purpose fantastic answer machine- Doesn't actually work? (gasp! WWJBD?)

Presumably there is not much he can tell us now- he has been in CIA prisons for most of the time that Al Quaeda has been expanding ala Iraq. He can't tell us jack shit now. So, why is the U.S. government keeping this guy alive? Why after four years, has the Bush administration failed to try him, convict him, and execute him? If we have it all right there, let's get it done. Why reward him with extra days of existence on the planet?

So, torture didn't help us with KSM, but it helped us capture him, right? Right?

Uh, actually...,12469,911860,00.html

We used a different method to catch KSM. We paid a member of Al Quaeda $27 million dollars to rat him out. I guess it isn't as macho as waterboarding, but unlike waterboarding - it works.

You have to remember- these guys aren't devout muslims- any more than Bush is a devout Christian. They all use the bits of their religion they like and discard the rest. Al Quaeda and men like KSM take angry kids, brainwash them and sets them to do the dirty work. While KSM wines and dines like a Halliburton exec.

You can't beat an interrogation out of these kids- It only makes them believe everything that they've been told: That America is an evil empire. But you can show them how they have been used by scumbags like KSM and reward them for narcing him out. THAT'S how you do it, buddy. THAT'S how we got KSM. Results speak for themselves. How is that network of torture facilities working out to catch Osama?

About as well as FEMA, Wiretapping Quakers, the Iraq Rebuilding effort, Privatized health care for our wounded troops, and every other idiocy promoted by this incompetent administration.

KSM was caught using traditional methods. He gave up all his information early in his incarceration. He is of no more use, and we supposedly have plenty of evidence to tie him to 9-11. What did torture give us? A confession, after four years. Weird timing, that.

Torture in unamerican, unchristian, and unreliable. We aren't the Soviet Union, we aren't Nazis. It's time to move the United States away from corruption, immorality, and fascism and back to the nation admired by the world for its freedoms.

It's time to get rid of the rats in the White House AND Walter Reed. Just consider it a failed experiment. We had one party rule for a while. They took away our rights and started a couple of wars. They blew the money in the treasury with their wild schemes in the middle east and failed to take care of a disaster here at home. They took a page from the Soviet Union while SOMEHOW FAILING TO REALIZE that Russia's heavy handed tactics lost them Both Afghanistan, Chechnya, and splintered their empire. So, come on guys- The Experiment's Over.
Give us back the country. You've fucked it up enough.

UPDATE: Digby lets us know why it's hard to believe a confession released 4 years after we caught KSM in the middle of the biggest White House Scandal yet...
Boys Crying Wolf

Mar 14, 2007

Fighting the rage that grips us all

I was over at Orcinus today- reading an encyclopedia's worth of rightwinger quotes about killing Americans like me because they don't agree with my opinion as a fiscal conservative and social liberal. Eliminationism in America

I get just as bloody-minded at those people at times- A lot of us on the liberal side aren't pacifists, even if we don't think violence solves everything, we know that it solves a few things-

I bookmarked that Orcinus post and everytime I lose my temper and go into a rage, I am going to go there and reflect a bit. I am guilty of sometimes demonizing the other side they way they demonize us and when I do, I think that eliminating them is some kind of grand answer. But reading their brutal and simplistic comments reminds me of Sunnis and Shiites killing each other in the streets of Baghdad. Seeing story after story of people who once got along and lived together in relative peace- now reduced to killing each other mindlessly - shocks me back to reality.

Right wingers killing liberals or vice versa isn't ANY kind of answer, and it only takes a minute of calm, collected thought to understand that. We have to be better than that- because it would shatter America completely if we allow ourselves to get baited into hating each other.

We have to be strong and intelligent- and those of us who are actively working to bring our country back to its roots are doing that and winning against this administration's corruption.
I have to keep reminding myself that the closer we get to success, the more people will be able to get past the Corporate media and comprehend the truth about our President's team of liars and oppurtunists. But with every step we take forward it forces the tiny minority who is left on the far right a step back. And their anger worsens. But that's all that they have: impotent rage and wet dreams about Militias overthrowing the government and killing anyone who ever said Dubya was an idiot.

So, I'll let them spout their vitriolic nonsense as Caveman did in an earlier post. I'll let them expose just how shallow and low-minded that they are.

Like lasting peace in the middle east, our goal of defeating terror in our country will ONLY be achieved in a non-violent, diplomatic way. When a majority of the parties involved realize that this violence is ignorant and self-defeating, we will finally be able to institute some real peace. Maybe it will take yet another lifetime of people dying on all sides before the warhawks can understand that there IS another way.

Violent closeminded idealogues don't understand that. Al Quaeda and the Taliban are morally equivalent to the right wingers who support torture and murder. Those of us who support peace are on the front line in this battle for the hearts and souls of not only our enemies, but also our very own neighbors. We stand against the fears of ignorance, racism, xenophobia, and most of all against the Greedy leaders who use those fears for their own ends.

We stand FOR what is right, because if we don't stand together for what IS right, then we have failed, the country has failed and we will fall as a nation.

Mar 13, 2007

Bits and Pieces

Israel says: "America must stay in Iraq longer. And while you are fighting our battles for us, turn up the heat on Iran."

AIPAC marches on

"Iran hasn't threatened to attack Israel militarily, and in fact has denounced the killing of innocent civilians. The Iranian regime doesn't like what it calls the Zionist occupation regime, and hopes it will dissolve the way the Soviet Union did. But Tehran hasn't threatened an attack. Olmert's insinuations to the contrary are typical of rightwing Zionist propaganda, in which aggressive and expansionist intentions are always dressed up as defensive in nature. Olmert--that great military genius--isn't someone Americans should be listening to on the subject of war. And, he should be careful in seeming to try to influence the US government to stay in Iraq, since such a stance is extremely unpopular and getting moreso over here. Sooner or later the American public is going to rebel against the hold that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee has over the US Congress, especially if they think it is getting their children blown up halfway around the world."
(from Juan Cole's Informed Comment)

UPDATE: What the hell is with these Israeli politicians?

So in between building illegal nuclear weapons, bombing civilians, sniping children, imprisoning Palestinians, Lebanese, and any body else they feel like without a trial, cutting off water supplies to civilian areas of Gaza, and bulldozing the houses of family members of criminals - they find time to relax and sexually assault their women, or in the case of the Ambassador to El Salvador, sexually assault themselves.

Maybe all that murder and sponsoring apartheid just kind of makes a man horny. It's like their leaders are a combination of the worst parts of Warhawk Cheney and Perv Clinton. Maybe all that aggression is just going to their heads.

I think we should help Israel help themselves out. It's time we stop making excuses for their actions. Their naked aggression towards their neighbors IS The number one cause of terrorism. They have broken more UN resolutions that Iran COMBINED with Iraq. They meddle in the politics of America, and run their own Mossad psy-ops in our country, unquestioned and unfettered by America's current crop of political cronies.

It's time for some tough love. Zero money for Israel. Zero aid. Zero fighting THEIR wars. Zero putting up with their spies in our government offices.

No more helping hand. It's time for Israel to go it alone. It will be good for them- maybe they will learn diplomacy without Big Bad Bubba USA watching their backs.
If they can't, well they will have to deal with the consequences of their rapine and murder. It's far past the time that U.S. soldiers die because Israel can't keep it's dick in its pants.
Unrelated other stuff:
The Brick Testament: Tales from the Bible Acts: Accept Communism or Die
The Right Wing Conspiracy... Part One:Busted Again!