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Archive for April, 2004

You have the freedom to do what we want you to do

April 30, 2004 1 comment

From Maxspeak:

“Because a large military presence will still be required under U.S. command, some would say ‘Well you are not giving full sovereignty’. But we are giving sovereignty so that sovereignty can be used to say, ‘We invite you to remain’. That is a sovereign decision,” Powell said.

Iraqis will make a sovereign decision to give up their sovereignty. But they’ll still be sovereign, because they made a sovereign decision, even though that sovereign decision was to give up their sovereignty.

Why is Powell respected again?

Categories: Iraq

Grrrr

April 29, 2004 Leave a comment

This really annoys me. I don’t really pay attention to Mickey Kaus, but that caught my attention and is really really pathetic. The gist is that Kaus attacked Kerry over Kaus’s misreading of an article, then attacks Kerry again for denying his allegation. Then Kaus attacks him again after he’s shown that he misread the article. Sheesh. And he’s supposed to be a Democrat! Do we even need Republicans to smear our candidates? We’re doing a damn fine job ourselves (though, Kaus has a history of this and it’s really hard to count him on the side of the Democrats).

Categories: The media

This blog is one year old

April 29, 2004 1 comment

So, yeah, last year on April 29th I started Speedkill on Blogspot. All the entries are imported, so you can look at my poorly written conspiracy theorist rantings from then if you want. It does seem like my writing has gotten a bit better (that last post on Kerry notwithstanding). I’ve become more informed and moved rightward somewhat (there will be no taking that as meaning the more informed you are the more right you go) as well. In any case, I’ve met some interesting people and found many more interesting blogs, so it’s been an entertaining year.

Categories: Blogging

Horrible

April 28, 2004 2 comments

Yesterday, it was 77 degrees here. Last night and this morning, it snowed. It’s April 28th. There’s obviously no god.

Categories: Personal

Savaging the AP

April 27, 2004 Leave a comment

Yes, that’s a horrible pun. Sue me.

I don’t listen to Michael Savage that much. Well, that’s an overstatement, I had listened to him for about 10 minutes before tonight. Some time during the 7 pm MST hour he went off on some AP pictures of Iraqis mourning some dead insurgents (I think; that’s what he said, I can’t find the pictures). Saying the reporter was a traitor, calling for censorship of the press (repeatedly, it got old). Saying it was going to “kill us all.” Par for the course I suppose.

Then afterwards there’s this other guy, I didn’t catch his name, attacking the demonstrators in Washington on Sunday. The guy really did sound like a maniac. I think it was his laugh. And of course, he defends Karen Hughes’s remarks from the other day.

I swear, some people’s children.

Categories: The media

Exactly

April 26, 2004 1 comment

Kevin Drum touches on something I’ve been thinking about lately.

Berger’s quote is from an article by Farah Stockman in the Boston Globe today that highlights a key Kerry problem: as Kerry moves rightward after the primaries, and as Bush becomes more receptive to ideas that Kerry has long championed � giving the United Nations a far greater role in Iraq, emphasizing the importance of welcoming NATO to Iraq, and beefing up the number of US troops in Iraq � Kerry loses any chance of distinguishing himself from Bush over foreign policy.

This strikes me as a serious problem. National security is almost certain to be the defining issue of the campaign, and there’s just no way for Kerry to get any traction there if his positions aren’t clearly distinguishable from Bush’s. And despite the pro-war partisans’ continuing fantasy that George Bush is dedicated to the same kind of vast war of civilizations they are, the fact is that Bush has adopted an awful lot of Democratic positions in the past year. Aside from rhetorical tone, it’s getting harder and harder for Kerry to find points of disagreement that are more than just nitpicking.

This is something I’ve been seeing more of and something I’ve been wondering about. The TV news that I’ve seen frames it was “Kerry doesn’t have a postion on post-war Iraq, he just criticizes Iraq.” I don’t think that’s true; the problem is that it’s just not that different from Bush’s. I tend to think Kerry is more likely to get the UN involved than Bush, even with his rhetoric lately. And also, we saw the other day that Kerry thinks a stable government is more important that democracy first, while Bush says democracy is the only option (though I think Bush would say there’s no difference). I actually don’t think Bush cares about democracy and his position is more like Kerry’s. As long as the government is friendly, he’ll be happy.

So, how does Kerry distinguish himself? Pointing out the mistakes Bush’s made won’t really help. Who’s going to take him seriously if his position is “The same vision without the mistakes”? I think attacking the war as a mistake in the war on terrorism would do ok, as long as you outline a postion on the current situation, different from Bush or not. In the end, it’s going to depend more on what happens as the year goes on, if Bush does actual adopt the positions that separate him from Kerry.

How about what I think should be done? I don’t know. If you’ve noticed anything about my blog, it’s pretty devoid of post war Iraq policy criticism. I don’t find the withdrawal argument the least bit convincing. I think the UN is a good step, but they can’t do it without a significant amount of money and troops from us. Them in charge would help, though. Basically, anyone that isn’t us in charge would be good.

Categories: 2004 election cycle

Pretty low

April 23, 2004 10 comments

From today’s Bozeman Chronicle:

I’m surprised there hasn’t been a midnight vigil for Shane Savage. I thought this was a town full of tolerant liberals. Usually you are quite reliable in defending the oppressed minority, Islamic terrorists and the blue-eared western-slope bumblebee. Surely you can find someone else to blame for the illegal acts Mr. Savage has committed. As his friends and family have so compassionately affirmed, his actions weren’t his fault.

A call to liberals who blame the United States for 9/11: Where are you to defend poor Shane?

Shane Savage was convicted in 2003 of threatening to kill a man and a girl and pistol whipping his wife and he escaped from prison last summer for five months.

Why the Chronicle would print this is beyond me. There’s no point, it’s simply a hateful stereotype. We get this every Friday (except this one, strangely) from Tamara Hall. It’s really really pathetic.

Another letter printed today makes an interesting argument:

Now consider the words of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in response to President Bush’s State of the Union address: “He has presided over the loss of more jobs than any president since Herbert Hoover.” Sen. Corzine, D-N.J., weighed in with the comment that this was the largest job loss in 75 years. Clear calumnies. President Franklin Roosevelt in May 1937 had an unemployment rate of 12.3 percent, but in May 1938, during the recession within a depression, the unemployment rate was 20.1 percent. It was estimated that unemployed workers rose from 5.1 million in August and September 1937 to 10.8 million in May 1938. (Gene Smiley, “Rethinking the Great Depression”) That’s 5.7 million jobs, almost twice the supposed 3 million jobs “lost under Bush.”

I can’t find Corzine’s statement, but Pelosi’s statement was a comparision of net job loss over a president’s time in office. From Jan 1939 to Jan 1945 11.98 million jobs were created, offsetting the 5.7 million loss in the period he looks at. So, he’s an ass.

Categories: Economy, Montana

My name's Mace, bitch!

April 22, 2004 3 comments

Ahem. Profanity in the title. I’ve broken new ground. Anyway, a “Dr.” Mace Baker came to speak here last Thursday and Friday. Kyle and I thought about going and asking some pointed questions, but we did not, and it appears we weren’t missed:

What I witnessed on Thursday was a complete anomaly of other seminar talks given in the university setting. Traditionally, the speaker is introduced, welcomed and allowed to speak before conducting a question-and-answer session. On that evening, however, the audience demonstrated the distasteful art of rudeness. Members of the audience became extremely focused on interrupting Mr. Baker’s talk, thus distracting other critical listeners as well as sidetracking the presentation.

When the question-and-answer time arrived, I expected questions of intelligence regarding directions we might take in restructuring our textbooks or how inaccurate information is on public record for an inordinate amount of time. While a few members did engage in this inquisitive and respectful dialogue and even offered additional resources of information, many openly laughed or mocked the responses that Mr. Baker gave rather than politely disagreeing. Some even became argumentative rather than offering a constructive debate.

I kinda wonder about her portrayl. She seems sympathetic to Baker’s aims, which is enough to make me suspicious.

Baker appears to be a bit lacking in the credential department. Biola University, where he got his B.A., is a small Bible college in California, and is only accredited in Music, Nursing, Psychology, and Theology. His Ph.D is from Pacific International University, which appears to be an unaccredited (with the best explanation of that I’ve seen), online Christian university. One that only offers Doctorates in Doctor Ministry, Biblical Studies, Theology, and Philosophy in Theological Studies. Who knows where he got his M.A. from. I’m under the impression that all accredited universities have to make Ph.D’s available to the general public to some degree, so Kyle called them. They don’t appear to have much of a staff, because no one was there to answer the phone on a Thursday afternoon. No answer at Baker’s number either. It’d really be funny if his Ph.D was on the level of Ken Hovind (who just had his house raided by the IRS).

So the Christian Challenge (what challenge? Do they have an obstacle course?) brought a completely unqualifed speaker to speak at a university. It’s like them bringing me to speak on agricultural economics. Only I can tell a cow from my ass.

Categories: Religion, Science

This Woodward stuff

April 21, 2004 Leave a comment

The alleged $700 million transfer of funds to Iraq planning has everyone outraged, or so it seems. It’s a big deal, but I’m not sure it’s as clear cut as some think. It’s clear they diverted funds from one of the post-9/11 appropriations bills. They admit as much:

Military funding approved by Congress after 9/11 put no restrictions on how it could be spent, and Congress was aware of changes, one of the administration officials said. Woodward says that in July 2002, Bush allowed Army Gen. Tommy Franks to use $700 million that had been authorized for military use in Afghanistan for Iraq-related expenses instead. “Congress was totally in the dark on this,” Woodward told CBS.

From CAP‘s David Sirota:

BUSH REQUIRED TO TELL CONGRESS, EVEN IF HE USED THE 9/11 SUPPLEMENTAL: While the President was given discretion to direct $10 billion of the post-9/11 Emergency Supplemental bill, the legislation specifically obligated the President to “consult with the chairmen and ranking minority members of the Committees on Appropriations prior to the transfer” of any funds. In other words, the President was obligated to tell key congressional leaders of both parties anytime he moved money.

Sirota also talks about another bill the money could be taken from, but discounts it at the end because it’s signed into law after Woodward’s claimed date. So, they did have discretion to move money where ever, but only if they notified the Committees on Appropriations. Did they do that?

SENATE APPROPRIATIONS CHAIRMAN SAYS WHITE HOUSE NEVER NOTIFIED HIS COMMITTEE: Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV), then-Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee which should have received notification, issued a statement on 4/20/04 saying “the Bush White House provided no consultations as required by law about its use of funds for preparation for a war in Iraq in advance of those funds being spent.”

Now, there’s some wiggle room in there. From another point made by Sirota:

BUSH DELIBERATELY USED VAGUE LANGUAGE IN DOCUMENTS TO HIDE SECRET MOVE: The White House issued two legally mandated updates to Congress about where supplemental funds were being spent. Both covered portions of the time Bush made his $700 million order. But in these documents, instead of telling Congress money was going to Iraq, the White House deliberately used vague and evasive language. For instance, in both of its updates to the Appropriations Committee, the Administration only said it had used monies for “increased situational awareness” and “increased worldwide posture” � and did not mention Iraq at all.

So, it appears they kinda did ask for it. Invasion planning for Iraq fits into both of those descriptions. However, it was obviously intended to mislead Congress.

For emergency expenses to respond to the terrorist attacks on the United States that occurred on September 11, 2001, to provide assistance to the victims of the attacks, and to deal with other consequences of the attacks

Now, Iraq, by the admission of the administration, had nothing to do with 9/11. Planning for an invasion of that country can’t be a response to the attacks. It seems to me that defenders will seize on this statment later in the bill:

…and to deal with other consequences of the attacks, $40,000,000,000, to remain available until expended, including for the costs of:…(2) providing support to counter, investigate, or prosecute domestic or international terrorism;…

They’ll say that Iraq has links to terrorism (probably claiming that it doesn’t have to be anti-American terrorism, just terrorism in general (like, say, Hamas)), so it’s fine. I don’t think that works, though. The options listed were put forth in the context of responding to 9/11. It depends on how narrow of view you want to take of it. Is it terrorism specifically linked to the 9/11 attacks? As in, Iraq isn’t linked to 9/11, so it doesn’t count? Or links the group that attacked us on 9/11: al Qaeda? That is something argued by the administration, but is dismissed by the intelligence community. Obviously, the White House has to have some backing for it, and they don’t appear to have it. At the very least, on something so controversial they should take it up separately with Congress. And of course, they knew it to be controversial and suspect, because they cloaked it with the generalities listed above.

So, we’ve established they clearly were misleading Congress. Did they lie? They came awfully close to it, but I think they can squirm away from it by pointing to those generalities and making a tenous argument that Iraq is connected to a terrorist group that perpetrated the attacks on 9/11. I don’t think any honest person would want to have to make those arguments.

EDIT: Reading some more on the bill, it appears they had to specify exactly where every thing was going; that’s how I read it, at least. Before I was thinking that they were given the money and given guidelines and that was it. So, the question of Iraq’s relation to terrorism bears less on this than I thought, but is still relevent if you’re deciding whether it’s appropriate to even ask for funding to plan the invasion.

EDIT 2: Salon has an article up, going over mostly the same stuff I did.

Categories: Iraq

Silly Google searches

April 20, 2004 2 comments

Despite there not being a link to my page from it, I got a hit from someone searching for “Michael Moore hates Jesus.”

Categories: Blogging
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