Pennsylvania Democrat

The results of applying rational thinking to political problems



Cost of the War in Iraq
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War on Drugs: Wasted Resources




Monday, September 27, 2004

Democracy in Iraq, part III

Sometimes, I wonder where the Bush supporters find the notion that the war in Iraq is a success.

  • An ally is calling one of Bush's cruical decisions a mistake.
  • W. himself overstated figures regarding Iraqi security forces.

From "Peace Train" to Hamas

Yusuf al-Islam's (formerly Cat Stevens) flight into the U.S. was diverted, and he was denied admission.

First, how did he end up on a terror watch list? A charity to which he donated gave funds to Hamas, according to U.S. officials.

Contradictory to this report, he did nothing himself, it seems. CNN lists the charities from his website, and nowhere is Hamas ever mentioned. In order to implicate Islam in a crime, we need to prove that he had previous knowledge of a charity's involvement with terrorism, but one cannot prove a person's thought patterns with hard evidence.

Some have brought his support of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie to light as proof that he had rejected his peaceful ways. However, what they ignore is that the fatwa is a part of Islamic religious doctrine, not up for debate.

We have yet to see evidence of Islam plotting crimes or carrying weapons. In fact, he was not even given a list of charges upon his arrest.

Besides, I think the real question is how Yusuf al-Islam was admitted onto the plane in the first place, despite appearing on a terror watch list, or how he managed to successfully enter the U.S. to promote a DVD in May. Isn't that how 9/11 happened? What a remarkable improvement to our security under the Bush administration.

Continuing, an update since the original story broke claims that the problem was caused by a spelling error.

I don't think the problem was a spelling error, given that Arabic-English translations are rather loose, but the name itself comes from a small pool of Islamic names. This watch list, based on names only, is like "banning all the John Smiths from flying." (see comments in above link) Another unbelievable method for stopping terrorists from boarding our planes.

Tort DE-form

W. sent us backward, with tort reforms that actually raise insurance rates. He's done nothing to win my vote over the trial lawyer ticket.

Democracy in Iraq, part II

Read this article, and be sure to take a good look at the map. This is Bush's idea of controlling the chaos. Once again, he fails to see the magnitude of the violence in Iraq. BushLogic dictates that the elections must occur in January because:

1. The Iraqis want to be free.
2. The U.S. military is involved. Defeat is impossible.
3. The remaining provinces will vote for his puppet Allawi.

Unfortunately, BushLogic isn't the kind of logic we need right now. It's time for a regime change at home so we can clean things up a bit.

Republican scaremongering alive and well

No, we liberals do NOT intend to ban Bibles.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Democracy in Iraq

Saddam Hussein's lawyer advised him that he could run for president of Iraq and rightfully reclaim his palace. With no trial expected soon, his candidacy is a real possibility. As for those of you who doubt that he could win, a recent survey shows that 42% of Iraqis would like to see Saddam back in power, as opposed to 40% who wish to see him executed.

This puts Bush in a precarious situation. He has three options:

1. Prevent Saddam Hussein from attaining candidacy.

2. Let Saddam reclaim power, undoing the efforts of all military action.

Should W. choose option #1, he is interfering with freedom in Iraq, thus altering our troops' status officially from liberators to occupiers. If he goes with option #2, the 1,000+ troops and innocent civilians have died needlessly for a war that ran us in a circle and accomplished nothing.

Checkmate?

Monday, September 20, 2004

So where have I been today?

John Edwards came to Johnstown, and I was there to greet him!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Can you be any clearer than this?

Strictly by the numbers, George W. Bush has been terrible with job creation.

Subversives for a good cause

Le Resistance restores the French underground. Unlike the Democratic Underground, we're talking about real underground caverns.

They give me hope for the future because right now, people are morons. Opinion writers are SUPPOSED to be biased.

Unions only work with compromise

News from the hometown:

Isn't the point of negotiations to...negotiate? Instead of doing so, the school board president of the Richland school district, whose teachers are on strike, said the following:
" 'I defy anyone to tell me that our proposal [for a cap on premiums] is not a fair and equitable proposal,' said Rex McQuaide, school board president. "We cannot in good faith ask a taxpayer to pony up additional money to subsidize a health-care plan that the taxpayer himself doesn't have.'

McQuaide said the board warned the union that if it went on strike, any negotiated pay raises would not be retroactive.

'The union is going to test our resolve, and they will find out we will not yield.' "


So, despite every local taxpayer being charged with funding the school district, it is unreasonable to provide free healthcare to the teachers, who are constantly exposed to unsanitary schoolchildren? Besides, refusing to budge is negotiating in bad faith, also.

Never mind the bad English. The word is "dare," not "defy."

Some people just need to grow up and get a clue.

Political Compass

Thanks to Southern Watch, we have an analysis that explains my political leanings. My results are -2.88 Economic, -4.26 Social. This puts me in good company, with respected leaders such as the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela. I'm also diametrically opposed (by graph and ideology) to George W. Bush. Go figure.

If you are a blogger, and you wish to have your results published, go here.

What do you call it when Republicans ignore ethics and the Supreme Court?

Ralph Nader, the Reform Party liberal who is expected to split the Kerry vote, has been placed on Florida ballots against court orders.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

9/11

I can't come up with the words for a tribute, but I can express my emotions. The one question that remains unanswered, one that I may struggle with for a lifetime, is: where was the unity and patriotism before the terrorist attacks?

Can you say "Bushitler?"

I quit reading the DU a long time ago, so I can only imagine what they're doing to this story. Mind you that while it wasn't Bush's fault, this is clearly a violation of the First Amendment.

Bush's true colors shine through

Kerry makes a good call.

He has, on numerous occasions, stood accused of being a liberal flip-flopper who sways with his political opportunities. However, the facts are against these accusations:

1. Kerry is a conservative Democrat. The Republicans are being beaten by their own philosophy, and they need to learn how to deal with it.

2. Kerry should not be expected to carry the exact same message for 30 years. If he did that, he'd be labeled an outdated dinosaur.

3. If anyone is chasing opportunism, it's Bush.

Bill Maher gets the idea. (Ed: His opinions resemble mine. The dream of a political career continues.)

Further proof of Bush's opportunism: he let the assault weapons ban expire in spite of massive public support.

What do I think about the ban? It is perfectly fine, and needs to be renewed, albeit with minor changes, such as allowing the police to use them in defense of the criminals who obtain guns on the black market. That, however is a subject for a later entry.

Bush claims that he's simply supporting our Second Amendment rights, but a whopping 75% of Americans support the ban. So what is driving Bush's lack of action? Could it be a pending endorsement from the NRA liars? Besides, who needs one of these to kill a deer?

Which one is it?

Seriously, if the administration can't get its story straight, do you really want them to be in charge of your safety?

I sure as Hell don't. Frankly, I'm not surprised the FBI and the CIA were having communication troubles. They were victims of a confused presidential cabinet more than anything else.

Kerry/Edwards in 2004. They actually know how to report facts.

If this isn't alarming, I don't know what is

From Revoke Bush's free pass on 9/11:
"Although the Clinton and Bush administrations acted rather similarly to the threats posed by al Qaeda, the two administrations acted under radically different circumstances. Only the Bush administration faced the increasing terrorist "chatter" [P. 259] of the summer of 2001 with coincident warnings that, in the specific words of the famous Presidential Daily Brief of August 6, 2001 [Pp. 261-2], "Bin Ladin [is] Determined To Strike in U. S.," "Al-Qu'ida members . . . have resided in . . . the U. S. for years," and "Bin Ladin wanted to hijack a U. S. aircraft." President Bush reacted to the briefing by remaining on vacation in Texas for most of the rest of August, asking no follow-up actions of any of his appointees [260] who might have done something to prevent a hijack."

You read this correctly: Bush responded to a terror memo by going on vacation. Maybe Michael Moore wasn't so far off the mark after all. There is no War on Terror. It is a ploy to keep Bush in office in the midst of disaster.

This section of the report also brings to mind a pre-9/11 documentary on MSNBC claiming that we had over 300 known al-Qaeda cells in the U.S. alone. How do you think the hijackers got their information? Why didn't Bush work to stop this problem before we were attacked? It's about time he gave us some answers.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

The miserable failure continues

In light of recent news from Iraq claiming that the war is nowhere near over, I wonder exactly how gullibile both George W. Bush and the media think we are.

Let's start with Bush's declaration of victory back in May of last year:
"Operation Iraqi Freedom was carried out with a combination of precision and speed and boldness the enemy did not expect and the world had not seen before."
I think we have seen something swifter and bolder before. Think Kosovo.

Our seemingly inept commander-in-chief continues by comparing the conflict in Iraq to WWII:
"In defeating Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, Allied forces destroyed entire cities, while enemy leaders who started the conflict were safe until the final days. Military power was used to end a regime by breaking a nation.

Today we have the greater power to free a nation by breaking a dangerous and aggressive regime."
This is perhaps one of the most brazen attempts to mislead the public I've seen from Bush. The situation in Iraq is nowhere near a world war. WWII was going on long before the U.S. intervened. Most people thought that it wasn't our war to be fought. The only reason America joined the Allied forces was because Hitler had conquered the better part of Europe. What did Saddam do this time? He didn't invade any countries or directly threaten U.S. citizens. Better yet, what did the Iraqis do to deserve this? If Bush were truly fighting to free Iraqi citizens, this kind of casualty would be unacceptable. Iraq is not truly free. Citizens still live in fear, a more dangerous kind of fear -- a fear of other Iraqis. Unless the interim government can protect its citizens' most basic right, the right to live, it is not a sovreign government and should not be treated as such. Which begs the question, wouldn't the U.S. be opposed to a country that acted against our will to "free" us from Bush by bombing the U.S., killing Americans, and turning anarchy loose in the United States? Hurrican Ivan provides us with a preview.

How about the miscalculation? The problem with the 1,000 deaths is not by any means the magnitude, as we have seen worse. The problem is that they've died for a mistake. Operation Iraqi Freedom, if not a miserable failure, is at best incomplete.

In other misleading news, VP Dick Cheney asserts that a vote for Kerry is a vote for terrorism:
"If we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again -- that we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States...

And then we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mindset, if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts and that we're not really at war. I think that would be a terrible mistake for us."


Another open use of scare tactics finds its way to the news. The 9/11 attacks were criminal acts. We can't be at war. The enemy -- "terrorism" and random unamed "terrorists" -- is conceptual. Homeland security is about just that: security. Security is about DEFENSE, not attack. CONFIDENCE, not fear.

I can't fathom how Zell Miller can entrust the safety of his grandchildren with four more years of George W. Bush. To quote Miller:
"Listing all the weapon systems that Senator Kerry tried his best to shut down sounds like an auctioneer selling off our national security but Americans need to know the facts.

The B-1 bomber, that Senator Kerry opposed, dropped 40% of the bombs in the first six months of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The B-2 bomber, that Senator Kerry opposed, delivered air strikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Hussein's command post in Iraq.

The F-14A Tomcats, that Senator Kerry opposed, shot down Khadifi's Libyan MIGs over the Gulf of Sidra. The modernized F-14D, that Senator Kerry opposed, delivered missile strikes against Tora Bora.

The Apache helicopter, that Senator Kerry opposed, took out those Republican Guard tanks in Kuwait in the Gulf War. The F-15 Eagles, that Senator Kerry opposed, flew cover over our Nation's Capital and this very city after 9/11.

I could go on and on and on: Against the Patriot Missile that shot down Saddam Hussein's scud missiles over Israel, Against the Aegis air-defense cruiser, Against the Strategic Defense Initiative, Against the Trident missile, against, against, against.

This is the man who wants to be the Commander in Chief of our U.S. Armed Forces?

U.S. forces armed with what? Spitballs?"
What about OUR borders? Here's some poetic justice: The U.S.-Mexico border is defended with pepper balls. We might as well put Osama bin Laden on the phone and invite him to attack Texas. Maybe that will get W.'s attention. Bush and co. have been so consumed by Iraq that they've ignored their very own constituents. What a great homeland security policy.

Who votes for a politician who ignores the people who elected him? I sure don't.