Thursday, September 30, 2004

Nipah's Return --The lethal "flying fox" virus may spread between people

Ice Shelf Loss Sped Up Glacier Movement

Science & Technology at Scientific Ice Shelf Loss Sped Up Glacier Movement

So more of the ice from the Antarctic is sliding into the sea. Alaska is threatened, says Time, by advancing and rising seas, and Oceania and Bangladesh are at risk. People are beginning to be displaced by the rising waters. And we sit here fat and sassy and don't even wonder where they'll want to settle.

AlterNet: DrugReporter: Drug (Money) Traffic

AlterNet: DrugReporter: Drug (Money) Traffic

Guess who's providing this drug money.

AlterNet: War on Iraq: The Bush Definition of Democracy

AlterNet: War on Iraq: The Bush Definition of Democracy

Well, here's an interesting take on the elections in Afghanistan and Iraq and the U.S. influence in them.

AlterNet: Election 2004: Courage Under Fire

AlterNet: Election 2004: Courage Under Fire

Well, this is probably one of the reasons that John Kerry is considered a liberal by the right wing worshippers of the Teflon President.

Friday, September 24, 2004

We're just scared

The Gazette Poll came out today showing bush, as is to be expected, with a big lead in the state, particularly in the down and out counties of eastern Montana. The small towns seem to think that the Republicans will come out like the cavalry to save them. Dream on. The Democrats probably wouldn't either, at least not from Washington although a Democrat in Helena would probably be a big plus. Washington is too busy spending money it hasn't got to do much for us.

When I see the figures that indicate that our economy has gained enough in the last year or so, so that we're closer than ever to whoever is 49th in earnings, and then see these poll figures, I have to assume that Montanans are so afraid of losing what little they have that they will vote for the Devil they know out of habit rather out of thinking.

We're also so close to the border that maybe they think that they are in danger from someone coming over with a nuclear bomb, although 20 could probably go off in eastern Montana and just finish off the job that big business and Bush's economic policies are keeping well underway. Not that I want it to happen; I have a daughter out there. But it's more likely to happen now than before Bush went into Iraq.

It's a little bit like the man who keeps whacking his head into a wall because the blood running down his face keeps his chin warm.

It'd be silly if it wasn't about our rights

I see where Denny Rehberg and Barbara Cubin voted once again with the far right to curb our rights to appeal injustice to the U.S. Supreme Court. Both of them want the U.S. court system taken out of any discussions on removing the phrase "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance. Another way to curtail the rights of those of us who don't think the U.S. should be proclaiming itself with that kind of arrogance. Isn't pride of that kind a sin? I remember when the phrase was inserted 50 years ago and I was against it then and thought it was arrogance and pride. And that was when I was still going to church and voting Republican. Today it is not just stupid and silly, but arrogance that sets us up for making major mistakes in a world that's diverse and one we will have to live in and our grandchildren will have to live in. And what will Congress next ask the courts to stay out of? The First Amendment? It's time to bring Denny back to where he can live in a house and not his office.

Looking for plan E

The Washington Monthly

An interesting take on what the speeches by Bush has to say about the current state in Iraq. What will plan E be?

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Indeed, I take care of myself

A very interesting comment on another site that I happened to visit. Says it all in a nutshell, particularly for those who think government regulations suck and that they have made their own way:

DAY IN THE LIFE OF JOE REPUBLICAN------ Joe wakes up and fills his coffeepot with water. The water is good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With the clean water, he takes his daily medication. His medications are (somewhat) safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety.---- All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought for paid medical insurance - now Joe gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.--- Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees, and time, because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation.----- Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with good pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.--- Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC or FDIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.------ Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.---- Joe is home from work. He plans to drive to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. His car is relatively safe because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans. The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal worked his ass off for rural electrification.--- His father, who is retired, lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself. Joe is so glad his father doesn't need any financial help from him.---- Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day.---- Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."---

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: A Chance of Success Slips Away

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: A Chance of Success Slips Away

Once again we've blown it. We didn't finish the job properly in Afghanistan and now we're losing there as well. Is that a surprise to anyone?

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Rush, Newspeak and Fascism: An exegesis: Projecting Fascism

Rush, Newspeak and Fascism: An exegesis: I: Projecting Fascism

Most people don't understand propaganda. Even good propaganda depends upon repetition of its point. We used to say in the news business that it took at least seven repetitions before people really began to remember the topic or the product or the name. Hitler was a master of propaganda and his efforts to cast groups of people, jews, gays, the handicapped, gypsies, as bad by constant repetition of slogan-type charges helped set the stage for the holocaust.

Limbaugh and his ilk are definite propagandists in all the meanings of the word. He doesn't talk facts, he talks slogans. He changes the meanings of words and then repeats them and repeats them until they become meaningless. After just a few doses of this bilge, I determined years ago that it was a waste of my time to listen to him since I'm well enough educated in the methods of propaganda that I can see right through most of what he says and it's sickening. Unfortunately, most people won't look at it.

This is a good discussion of what he does.

The Village Voice: Nation: Liberty Beat: Bob Barr vs. the FBI by Nat Hentoff

The Village Voice: Nation: Liberty Beat: Bob Barr vs. the FBI by Nat Hentoff

An interesting followup to my August piece on dangers to civil liberties. In this case, Hentoff, a liberal spokesman, is talking about the stance of a libertarian against what is going on in Washington. I think it is time the Bush defenders get rid of their "you hate Bush" denial and start to look at the real issues that we face in this country.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The Last Deception

The Bush-McCain Face-Off

AlterNet: Election 2004: The Bush-McCain Face-Off

Here are some interesting comments from a fellow who has been there and knows what he's talking about. Makes you wonder....

Monday, September 20, 2004

Requiem for the 20th Century

3. Sequence: Day of Wrath

I hear the shofar, the Ram's horn,
reverberate through the generations
and the bagpipes calling the sworn
to raise the banners of their persuasions.

In a quiet grove where cottonwoods mourn
the memory of oaks that Druids praised,
I hear the echoing silence of a rams horn
below a sky a wispy cloud has crazed.

I hear the martial echo of boots
on asphalt streets while millions die
breathless like an octet of flutes
keening, then fading as does a heavy sigh.

Music wails over women raped
beneath a morning's discordant sun,
and over men in sleep unshaped
on grates where steam supplies oblivion!

Notes skip, as do the heavy winds,
to blight the leaves along the acres of the rich,
to rustle through broken panes the blinds
that reprise the empty airs in empty pitch.

A river burns in flames staccato,
like small arms fire in shadow lands ahead,
and the women who come and go
talk of living and avoid the dead.

The flames and the water fall round
to the sea and die as the chords fade
while seawater condemns the ground,
puling on empty beaches of bones unmade.

The women surge and wail to mourn
where tomorrow's sun fades in crimson
through reflections of wind-born
leavings that kill us before we are begun.

The waves end with whimpers against the land
under a cliff where granite protrudes
and the sunset stretches a purple band
where nothing that is beautiful intrudes.

Let the sand be a tombstone
and the oily water the final damn
as in the lingering notes of a trombone;
let was be finale of am.

Let the meek return to their own;
and the world end not in fire or ice
but in ashes slowly, slowly cooling down
in a late frost falling on the burial site.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Why should we hate Bush?

What has been bothering me lately is the constant accusation that I and others who think as I do hate George W. Bush. But we don’t. We look at his record, what he was doing before Sept. 11, 2001 and what he has done since, and we don’t think he has handled the job well. Toward the man himself, we have no emotional confusion, he doesn't matter to love or hate. That's a meme spread by the political right.

We don’t see that he has done anything that accomplished anything. Just the opposite. His tax cut was a temporary fix that gave the middle class a few hundred dollars to spend and gave the wealthy a lot more to park away. It is obvious by now that trickle down doesn’t work. Ronald Reagan, the great advocate of trickle down economics, only helped the economy when he poured money into government, not into tax cuts. Bush went into office with the promise to cut government and its spending. He has spent more and created the biggest budget deficit in history.

He went into Afghanistan with the goal of rooting out the dangers that Al Qaeda has posed at least four times to this country. He failed because he pulled out troops to go to war with a nation that had no WMDs and had not attacked us since 1991. Saddam Hussein said he had no WMDs, the U.N. teams couldn’t find any, yet we kept saying that he had them and invaded and haven’t found them. As his father knew back in his Iraq war, destabilizing Iraq has resulted in destabilizing the Middle East.

Domestically, George W. Bush pushed the no-child-left-behind act so that a state such as Montana where its school children have always scored high in standardized tests has schools failing because they cannot afford to hire teachers for every high school classroom that had degrees in all the subjects that they taught. Bush policies have cut down on money for environmentalism, the national parks that make Montana a good tourist attraction, the trees in his forests act. He has enabled power plants across the country to expand without adding environmental controls.

He has curtailed the money to protect our borders and has not done anything to prevent a cargo ship from carrying a nuclear bomb into the harbors of New York, Boston, Baltimore, New Orleans, Seattle, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, or Portland. In other words, his report card is no more than a D average, if the teachers give him the benefit of the doubt.

I don’t hate George W. Bush. But he is not a person that I would choose to go out and have a beer or a cup of coffee with because he is even more determined and rigid in his ways than I am and he can’t blame hardening of the arteries. I don’t think he has thought through most of what he does but reacts viscerally to events and to situations, some of which have been created within his mind, and then refuses to admit he was wrong.

The idea that people who disagree with his statements and, most of all, his actions hate him is plain silly. I might suggest, however, that it is generated by a right that so thoroughly hated Bill Clinton that they think we can’t dislike his policies, so we must hate him. Be advised: a few may but most of us don’t.

The Presidents I've seen

Because of some of the accusations that have been made as comments to this post, I’d like to briefly characterize the various presidents who’ve been in power since I was alive as I remember them.

Franklin D. Roosevelt: to someone who was 6 1/2 when Pearl Harbor was bombed, FDR and Joe Louis, the heavyweight champion, were eternal. It seems that one would go on being President forever and the other would be the world heavyweight champion forever, back when the title meant something. Because my parents, my dad for sure, probably voted for Landon, Wilkie and Dewey, FDR was just accepted and his programs put down. I probably cheered for Dewey in grade school although I don’t remember. Historically, I think FDR did well.

Harry S. Truman: probably the most underrated President in U.S. history. He kept the sign “The Buck Stops Here” on his desk and he meant it. He made the choice, for good or ill, to drop the atomic bomb on Japan. I had two uncles who may have survived WWII because he did. He and George Marshall, his secretary of state, created the Marshall plan that rebuilt Europe. He had the courage of his convictions to step on union bosses even though unions were part of his political base. He had the courage to fire a popular general who would have plunged us into another world war.

Dwight Eisenhower: a man for the times and the first President I voted for. Placid in many ways, it seemed as if the presidency was his reward for his Crusade in Europe. He kept the lid on a nation that was boiling underneath and would erupt in the terms of his immediate successors. He was actually the first “Teflon” President even though Teflon hadn’t been invented yet. He survived the 10%ers and the scandals that involved Nixon and his dog, Checkers. A competent man with a quiet solidity that helped keep the U.S. together after school desegregation.

John F. Kennedy: charisma without end. He seemed the king of Camelot and I have to admit I didn’t vote for him. He led us through the crisis of the Bay of Pigs, which he inherited, he kept our profile low in Vietnam and he got us through the Cuban Missile Crisis. He had great hopes for domestic improvements but had gotten little movement through Congress before he was killed. But he stirred this country back into life after the somnolence of the 50s and led us into space which has led, by a chain of events, to the Internet.

Lyndon B. Johnson: the consummate politician. The man who created the idea of guns and butter and who put the U.S. fully into the Vietnam War. Yet he also managed to pass the Civil Rights Act and a number of other human-based programs to help the disadvantaged in our society. His thumbprint is all over many program we still discuss.

Richard Nixon: the haunted man. He called for peace with honor which extended the Vietnam war until he found a way to get it. A man who chose as his vice president a man who had acted improperly and was forced to resign—Spiro Agnew of the “effete eastern liberals.” A man who wanted power. The first president to resign and who should have been impeached for his efforts to undermine the Constitution to retain power. Yet, he was also probably the only president who, with his House UnAmerican Activities Committee background, could have opened up China.

Gerald Ford, a president who was never elected to the high offices he held. He was named vice president after Agnew resigned and became President when Nixon resigned. The joke with Ford, after he stumbled coming down the steps of Air Force 1, was that he couldn’t chew gum and walk at the same time. Yet he did a good job in an impossible situation.

Jimmy Carter: One of the two smartest Presidents we’ve had, a nuclear engineer, but with two strong an image of coming in from the outside to make over Washington, D.C., and wasn’t up to the task. He also got caught in the upheavals of the middle east, including an oil crisis with gasoline shortages in this country. A moral man and probably the best ex-president we’ve ever had.

Ronald Reagan: The first time I saw him on television, I asked, “Who did his makeup? The head makeup man at Forest Lawn (the stars cemetery in Hollywood)? He had mental problems right from the start since he could never seem to tell that the “true” stories he told were from old movie scripts. As a former movie actor but never a star, he had the power to capture an audience and convince them that right was wrong and vice versa. He also had funny ideas on economics and religion and there were times when some of us wondered if would take us to Armageddon because of his beliefs. His wife also looked to astrologers for advice. But Reagan’s biggest fault was that he shifted the direction of the United States until it became the selfishness of the “me” generation which, in my humble opinion, led directly to the Enron crisis and similar events.

George Bush I: pretty much a nonentity except for defending Kuwait against the Iraqis, but he did a fair job in handling the mess he inherited from his predecessor but not well enough that he was reelected with two opponents, including one who was pressing the populist button loudly, Ross Perot, and almost created a third major party. George I was smart enough not to invade Baghdad and upset the Middle East despite the efforts of Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz who were already thinking about the New American Century.

Bill Clinton, probably the warmest, most personable presidents I’ve seen and one of the few I saw in person, probably the reason he was so hated by the right. One of the two most intelligent men to hold the office but handicapped by taking advantage of the sexual offers made to any man in his position. He was too much of a centrist to make a strong, lasting mark on the nation, except for becoming the man the Republicans love to hate.

George Bush II, a weak man who compensates by taking a position and standing by it without change. Easily swayed by people he trusts and convinced by some of his handlers to invade Iraq. His instincts were good up to a point in Afghanistan but backfired when he was persuaded to invade Iraq without finishing the job on Al Qaeda. His achilles heel is a his strong religious conviction that makes him determine that there is only one way to handle a problem. When he does realize his mistakes, he changes his mind and goes to the U.N. or to Europe and asks for help, or he spends into major deficit or he cuts back on promises he made to fund education.

Yes to raise?

Today's roll call report out of Washington carried in our local paper reported some interesting votes this past week. Denny Rehberg of Montana and Barbara Cubin of Wyoming both voted to advance a pay raise for Congress, which they both would get if re-elected. Guess Denny needs the money for an apartment. It didn't pass, however, so he's probably going to have to keep living in his office. Both of them also voted for giving federal contracts to U.S. companies that move out of the country to save on taxes. It would have started in the Fiscal 2005 Budget that begins Oct. 1. To be fair they also supported a bill to cut off "frivolous" law suits. I'm not sure whether this is good or bad, although I think it is only fair to those of us who aren't big companies to let us sue them.

On the senate side, Wyoming's two senators and Montana cowboy Conrad Burns voted against putting more money from the Homeland Security Budget into safety efforts at chemical plants. A problem at 123 sites would put millions of people at risk. Max Baucus voted for the safety measures. And the same combination of votes helped defeat an effort to deny the Department of Homeland Security the ability to arbitrarily end health benefits for those who guard federal buildings, apparently like the two in Billings.

Veddy interesting!

What if it's burned out?

I don't take any credit for this, although I think it's funny. I found it posted as an anony mouse comment on another web site I visited:

How Many Members of the Bush Administration are Needed To Replace a Dim Light Bulb? Answer: SEVEN: 1) One to deny that a light bulb needs to be replaced 2) One to attack and question the patriotism of anyone who has questions about the light bulb 3) One to blame the previous administration for the need of a new light bulb 4) One to arrange invasion of a country rumored to have a secret light bulb stockpile 5) One to meet with Vice President Cheney and figure a way to pay Halliburton Industries $100,000 per lightbulb 6) One to arrange a photo-op session showing Bush changing the light bulb while dressed in a flight suit wrapped in an American flag 7) And finally, one to explain to Bush the difference between screwing a light bulb and screwing the country

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Journalism Under Fire

Journalism Under Fire

Those of you out there who distrust the main stream media need to read this piece, a talk by Bill Moyers, one of the most respected newsmen working today, concerning what he has seen in his lifetime. Moyers had done everything from interview Joseph Campbell on Mythology, to work for Lyndon Johnson, to research corporate malfeasance. The blame goes square, in what he says, to the corporate and personal greed that infects our society today. It's long, but worthwhile.

Friday, September 17, 2004

What's in a slogan?

A new slogan has surfaced on the web for those who believe that baby bush will save them from terror. It's baby bush:
strong but wrong; solid as a brick, and as dumb.

Might add that his father, as late as 1998, was saying to veterans of the Gulf War that they could have done the job in Oil War I if he hadn't known that the Middle East would implode into chaos if he had chopped off Saddam's head. Smarter than his son.

Casualties in Iraq - 2004

Casualties in Iraq - 2004

This is an extremely interesting web site that is updated frequently.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Make 'em think we're not easy!

The other day I suggested that we should secede to get the country to pay attention to us and to throw some money into our third world economy in this state. An article in this morning's Gazoo gave me another idea. Conservatives, we'd need help with this. Right now we are considered so solidly a Republican state that all the national politicians can bypass us and ignore our needs. Our three electoral votes don't mean much, unless the race is really tight as it was in 2000. My thought is that anyone contacted by a pollster should say he or she plans to vote for the Democrat. Now, I'm not suggesting to those conservatives who pass through this site, that they actually vote that way, but let the pollsters think otherwise. Then, maybe, the political winds (or is that windbags?) will blow through our state and actually get a look at conditions and problems here. Maybe that way we'll get our share of attention without seceding.

Firm asks officials to donate to 3 in GOP -

Firm asks officials to donate to 3 in GOP -

If this was the government that company boss would be out on his ear in jigger-quick time, a New York minute. Isn't this illegal? If it isn't, it should be. There's a real conflict of interest here and I would suggest that any candidate for the PSC who took money from this bunch would also be facing conflict of interest charges if he was to be elected.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

US debates military strikes on 'nuclear Iran' / World - US debates military strikes on 'nuclear Iran'

I found this on Sludge so I don't know how factual it is, but it is interesting and something we've been hearing hints on elsewhere. Notice how involved The Project for the New American Century is. They are the ones who denied that the 9/11 Report dismissed Iraqi links to Al Qaida.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Montana's low tax burden

We are constantly hearing that Montana has a high tax burden and we do have a neighbor that ranks third in the amount of taxes paid per thousand, as reported several days ago. Here's where Montana stands in the report of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation report based on 2002 (the same as the one that ranks Wyoming third): Our income taxes rank us 27th dollar amount per $1000; our "sales and excise" taxes rank us 46th and the total is 28th per dollars per thousand. A lot of states seem to have a higher tax rate than we do. And another report shows that Billings ranks way down among the largest cities of any state in amount of property taxes, in the lower third. Cheyenne is the lowest of the largest cities in all states.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Executive Position Wanted

I found this in my e.mail this morning. Thought I'd pass it on.

This individual seeks an executive position. He will be available next January, and is willing to relocate.

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20520


Law Enforcement:
I was arrested in Kennebunkport, Maine, in 1976 for driving under the influence of alcohol. I pled guilty, paid a fine, and had my driver's license suspended for 30 days. My Texas driving record has been "lost" and is not available.

I joined the Texas Air National Guard and went AWOL I refused to take a drug test or answer any questions about my drug use. By joining the Texas Air National Guard, I was able to avoid combat duty in Vietnam.

I graduated from Yale University with a low C average. I was a cheerleader.

Past Work Experience:
I ran for U.S. Congress and lost. I began my career in the oil business in Midland, Texas, in 1975. I bought an oil company, but couldn't find any oil in Texas. The company went bankrupt shortly after I sold all my stock. I bought the Texas Rangers baseball team in a sweetheart deal that took land using taxpayer money. With the help of my father and our friends in the oil industry (including Enron CEO Ken Lay), I was elected governor of Texas.

- I changed Texas pollution laws to favor power and oil companies, making Texas the most polluted state in the Union. During my tenure, Houston replaced Los Angeles as the most smog-ridden city in America.
- I cut taxes and bankrupted the Texas treasury to the tune of billions in borrowed money.
- I set the record for the most executions by any governor in American history.
- With the help of my brother, the governor of Florida, and my father's appointments to the Supreme Court, I became President after losing by over 500,000 votes.

- I am the first President in U.S. history to enter office with a criminal record.
- I invaded and occupied two countries at a continuing cost of over one billion dollars per week.
- I spent the U.S. surplus and effectively bankrupted the U.S. Treasury.
- I shattered the record for the largest annual deficit in U.S. history.
- I set an economic record for most private bankruptcies filed in any 12-month period.
- I set the all-time record for most foreclosures in a 12-month period.
- I set the all-time record for the biggest drop in the history of the U.S. stock market. In my first year in office, over 2 million Americans lost their jobs and that trend continues every month.
- I'm proud that the members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in U.S. history. My "poorest millionaire," Condoleezza Rice, has a Chevron oil tanker named after her.
- I set the record for most campaign fund-raising trips by a U.S. President.
- I am the all-time U.S. and world record-holder for receiving the most corporate campaign donations.
- My largest lifetime campaign contributor, and one of my best friends, Kenneth Lay, presided over the largest corporate bankruptcy fraud in U.S. history, Enron.
- My political party used Enron private jets and corporate attorneys to assure my success with the U.S Supreme Court during my election decision.
- I have protected my friends at Enron and Halliburton against investigation or prosecution. More time and money was spent investigating the Monica Lewinsky affair than has been spent investigating one of the biggest corporate rip-offs in history.
— I presided over the biggest energy crisis in U.S. history and refused to intervene when corruption involving the oil industry was revealed.
- I presided over the highest gasoline prices in U.S. history.
- I changed the U.S. policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.
- I appointed more convicted criminals to administration than any President in U.S. history.
- I created the Ministry of Homeland Security, the largest bureaucracy in the history of the United States government.
- I've broken more international treaties than any President in U.S. history.
- I am the first President in U.S. history to have the United Nations remove the U.S. from the Human Rights Commission.
- I withdrew the U.S. from the World Court of Law.
- I refused to allow inspector's access to U.S. "prisoners of war" detainees and thereby have refused to abide by the Geneva Convention.
- I am the first President in history to refuse United Nations election inspectors (during the 2002 U.S. election).
- I set the record for fewest numbers of press conferences of any President since the advent of television.
- I set the all-time record for most days on vacation in any one-year period. After taking off the entire month of August, I presided over the worst security failure in U.S. history.
- I garnered the most sympathy ever for the U.S. after the World Trade Center attacks and less than a year later made the U.S. the most hated country in the world, the largest failure of diplomacy in world history.
- I have set the all-time record for most people worldwide to simultaneously protest me in public venues (15 million people), shattering the record for protests against any person in the history of mankind.
- I am the first President in U.S. history to order an unprovoked, pre-emptive attack and the military occupation of a sovereign nation. I did so against the will of the United Nations, the majority of U.S citizens, and the world community.
- I have cut health care benefits for war veterans and support a cut in duty benefits for active duty troops and their families in wartime.
- In my State of the Union Address, I lied about our reasons for attacking Iraq and then blamed the lies on our British friends.
- I am the first President in history to have a majority of Europeans (71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and security.
- I am supporting development of a nuclear "Tactical Bunker Buster," a WMD.
- I have so far failed to fulfill my pledge to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice.

-All records of my tenure as governor of Texas are now in my father's library, sealed and unavailable for public view.
- All records of SEC investigations into my insider trading and my bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
- All records or minutes from meetings that I, or my Vice-President, attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public review.



I might add to this resume that:
—I cut taxes for the rich even as I increased the deficit.
—I constantly have changed my mind about what we are doing in the world and in this country.
—I managed to get a number of bills passed with fancy names that mean exactly the opposite of what the bill's title indicates.

A cheer for Denny

I see by this morning's paper that our true-blue Republican (let the party do the thinking) congressman, Denny Rehberg, backed by his Wyoming sidekick Barbara Cubin, has glibly followed the party line again by voting against a move in the house to overturn the new overtime rules. How a big hand for the man who lives in his office from all of you out there in Montana who have been living on overtime. And he also voted again requiring companies to notify workers when pension plans become underfunded. So did Cubin. Guess there just aren't that many workers in Montana who have pension plans, or in Wyoming. So all those people who work in Montana and Wyoming, let's hear that rousing cheer in November for these two. Oh, yes, these two also voted in favor of no punishment for an Administration that lied to Congress about the projected cost of the medicare drug plan for pharmaceutical companies. Guess they don't want to know the truth.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

GOP renews push to lift IRS 'muzzle'=The

GOP renews push to lift IRS 'muzzle'=The

According to the website posted in connection with this, Montana's Denny Rehberg has signed on to this bill which would enable the preachers of Montana and the rest of the country to tell their congregations that God wants them to vote for one candidate or another, quite possibly Denny. And we thought it was only George W. Bush who thought God spoke through him. It would seem to me that Rehberg, who the last I knew sleeps in his office at taxpayer expense rather than rent a place in D.C. where he can put his feet up at his own expense rather than the taxpayers', should disqualify himself from voting on this as being a conflict of interest.

No matter what anyone says about free speech, this would violate the constitutional separation between church and state. How can they render to God what is God's when they're busy rendering to Caesar? We've already seen the Catholic bishops trying to influence the election. And we know that even without preaching, pastors are sure to be talking politics.

I think that preachers should be able to talk politics if they wish. However, if they do it from the pulpit, the church is then engaging in the secular life and should, as a result, pay taxes for that privilege. I have to. Other organizations I belong to have to. Why not churches? Are we not subsidizing churches with this kind of free pass? At the least, they should put the time down as campaign contributions and pay taxes on their worth. Of course, that might be zero.

According to the website below, Wyoming's Barbara Cubin has also signed on to this piece of unconstitutional action.

You can find the link here at:

Apocalypse Bush! / Why care for the planet when the End Times are almost here? Vote Bush and hop on the salvation train!

Friday, September 10, 2004

AlterNet: Top Ten Censored Stories of 2003-2004

AlterNet: Top Ten Censored Stories of 2003-2004

This is a long, but interesting, post about what's not being said that should be talked about. I'm not sure that all of them have been as badly overlooked as this post suggests, but it's worth reading anyway.

Imperial America, Pax Americanus

Statement of Principles

This is the statement of principles from the Project for the New American Century. In some ways it seems a pretty innocuous document until you really look at the principles. In addition, a staff member says that the 9/11 Commission report proves a tie between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda connected to 9/11 which the Commssion Report specifically denies.

It also seems to assert that we are to become the world's policeman. But that then presents some real problems Now that we've knocked down the sadistic tyrant of Iraq maybe we will take on the sadists of the Sudan, who are raping and killing in their form of ethnic cleansing. Now that Colin Powell has called it genocide, which the Sudan government denies, will we act as a policeman there or, faint with fear over Somalia, just shake our finger at them?

Shouldn't Sudan be part of our role as world's policeman? Or is just where oil and arabs are concerned? Or maybe the project is just a form of campaign finger points? Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz, the Iraqi hawks, all signed this declaration of principles. And if it's carried out, who's going to pay for it? From the fiscal policies of the current administration, it appears to be our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

More thoughts on activist judges

Each time the activist judges idea is mentioned, I get some new thoughts on the issue. It seems to me that those who cite "activist judges" no matter what they "act" on are just saying that they are opposed to the way a particular case is decided. For instance, a federal judge who rules for the NRA on gun controls citing the second amendment is an activist. He is making a determination about the meaning of that amendment. A judge who says vouchers can be used to pay the cost of sending students to religious schools is making a determination of the meaning of the first amendment. Anytime that a judge rules on any element of the Constitution, he or she is making an activist statement for one side or the other. If a case is in court, there are two sides to the issue. The losing side can always call the judge activist while the winning side can say the ruling was right on the law. Who's right? The judge, unless he's overruled by a higher court.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

East is East

My brother passed along two quotes from Rudyard Kipling that he thinks might be apropos, so I thought I'd post them here. He came across the first one right after one of Baby Bush's rare press conferences last spring. Here they are:

       "For undemocratic reasons and for motives not of state,
        They arrive at their conclusions---largely inarticulate.
        Being void of self-expression they confide their views to none;
        But sometimes in a smoking room, one learns why things
        were done.

        OF THE ENGLISH by Rudyard Kipling

I also found the other quote I was talking about  "hustling the east' .  Both of these exerpts came out of a quotation dictionary.

       "Now it is not good for the Christian's health to hustle
              the Aryan brown,
        For the Christian riles, and the Aryan smiles, and it
              wearth the Christian down;
        And the end of the fight is a tombstone white with the
               name of the late deceased,
        And the epitaph drear: `A Fool lies here who tried to
              hustle the East.`

Rudyard Kipling  "THE NAULAHKA "(1892) heading of ch. 5      

These "Brown Aryans" he refers to may be some of the folks that the administration is trying to save from themselves.

My addition: Kipling, of course, was writing about the relationships of the British Raj to the aryans of northern India and to the Afghans. He had no real love, apparently for his fellow English, although I believe he supported their efforts. And we might be reminded that the English were eventually forced out of Asia.

Monday, September 06, 2004


The following was posted as a comment on Arianna Huffington's blog yesterday by a poster named Hunter. He is probably the most moderate of all the people who comment there and can be found on both right or left depending on the issue. I don't always agree with him, but I thought this was a rather good explication of the different finances between the presidential candidates:

Conservatism as we have known it is now over. People who became conservatives because of the appeal of smaller government and more domestic freedom are now marginalized in a big-tent government party, bent on using the power of the state to direct people's lives, give them meaning and protect them from all dangers. Recall all that Bush promised the other night in his speech: an astonishingly expensive bid to spend much more money to help people in ways that conservatives once abjured. He pledged to provide record levels of education funding, colleges and healthcare centers in poor towns, more Pell grants, seven million more affordable homes, expensive new HSAs, and a phenomenally expensive bid to reform the social security system. I look forward to someone adding it all up, but it's easily in the trillions. And Bush's astonishing achievement is to make the case for all this new spending, at a time of chronic debt (created in large part by his profligate party), while pegging his opponent as the "tax-and-spend" candidate. The chutzpah is amazing. I'm reminded of the old jewish joke where a man kills his parents and then demands leniency basing his victumization on the fact that he's an orphan. At this point, however, it isn't just chutzpah. It's deception. To propose all this knowing full well that we cannot even begin to afford it is irresponsible to the maximum degree. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the only difference between Republicans and Democrats these days is that the Bush Republicans believe in "Big Insolvent Government" and the Kerry Democrats believe in "Big Solvent Government". By any measure, that makes Kerry - especially since he has endorsed the critical pay-as-you-go rule on domestic spending - easily the choice for fiscal conservatives. It was also jaw-dropping to hear this president speak about tax reform. Bush? He has done more to lard up the tax code with special breaks and new loopholes than any recent president in the past 40 years. On this issue - one of the few we all could indorse him on - I have to say I simply don't believe him. Tax reform goes against the grain of everything this president has done so far. Why would he change now? ... Smoke and mirrors anyone...

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Additional thoughts

One of the most mysterious things I can remember about Sept. 11, 2001, is Where is George Bush? We kept hearing that he been in a Florida school room and had taken off in Air Force 1 for some undisclosed location. In the meantime, Dick Cheney was running the war room in the White House and gave the actual order, according to the 9/11 Commission report, for U.S. Air Force jet fighters to fire on commercial airplanes that invaded D.C. air space without obeying turn back orders. It was already too late, but no one in command knew that and the order was issued. If Bush is such a great leader and in charge of the government, where was he on Sept. 11, 2001? Why did he seem to be out of touch with his own command centers? Why did Cheney seem to be in command, when Bush is the President? Interesting questions.

Another rumor has surfaced in comments on another Blog. Apparently several weeks ago, two or four depending on the source, the Pakistanis captured some significant, high-ranking Al Qaeda leaders. The rumor coming out of a Russian newspaper report and other sources claims that one of those leaders could be Osama Bin Laden. The Pakistanis have been known to keep the lid on the capture of a major terrorist for several weeks, such as the one they finally announced holding during the Democrat convention. It didn't have much of an impact because few people knew his name. But if they announced Bin Laden's capture three days before the election, would that have a different influence? Would they do that? Would the Bush administration ask the Pakistanis to do that? Nah!

Some interesting reading on Bush's service


Still some questions remain unanswered.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Why we invaded Iraq

I’ve been asking for some time why the neo cons and President Bush wanted so badly to invade Iraq when it didn’t seem to make sense. Iraq was not connected with Al Quaeda nor did it have the weapons of mass destruction our President was saying it had. The arguments for invasion evolved to the public idea that Saddam Hussein had ignored U.N. resolutions which appeared to me as something the U.N. should be required to handle if anyone did. It was not ours to do unilaterally.

So, my brother and I are talking about this at coffee the other day, and my brother, I think, finally answered the question. I find others out in the web who seem to agree with him. The answer starts by considering the reaction to our bases in Saudi Arabia. They were intended to be temporary. The Saudis did not envision permanent installations that would continue to make many Muslims unhappy. One reason is that the Saudi government controls the two holiest sites in Muslim history, Mecca and Medina, and many Muslims apparently think the presence of nonbelievers in the country, even if not within sight of the holy shrines, is a form of blasphemy.

More important, perhaps, is the second problem. That is the strict fundamentalism that exists in the minds of a large number of Saudi citizens. It is part of the Sunni faction of Islam proposed in the 1800s called Wahabism that has to do with an ascetic, strict construction of the Koran to include Jihad against nonbelievers. Bin Laden is a Wahabi believer. He not only dislikes the influence of U.S. culture on the world, extended to western culture, he also believes that the Saudi government is not strict enough. As a result, he is acting against that government as well as the U.S., and the bases are a constant irritant in the minds of those who follow Wahabi.

But the U.S. needs bases in the area if we are to safeguard our oil supply. (Again, it comes down to oil.) If we are not to have someone take over, for instance, Kuwait, then we have to be there to react to it. We have to have somewhere to keep our troops, bases, in other words. The emirates on the coast do not want us there either in the long term and we are vulnerable in those states, witness the attack on the Cole. But Iraq, which is right in the middle of the whole shooting match and also provides us with a large amount of oil, is in the right place. If we need to we can invade Iran, Syria, or any other Middle Eastern entity from secure bases in Iraq. I have suggested that Saddam Hussein could have been an ally in that situation. But we had alienated him.

My brother’s suggestion, which I adopt, is that eliminating Hussein and establishing a government favorable to us, put us in an advantageous position for advanced bases to deal with other problems in the area. But this works only if we have permanent bases in Iraq. There have been denials out of D.C. that we want permanent bases in Iraq.

But Doug Giebel of Big Sandy, Mont., wrote in Counterpunch in January, 2004, that bases being considered include
“Al-Habbaniyah Airbase [already an RAF airbase for much of the last century] near the city of al-Fallujah, 65km west of Baghdad;
“Ash-Sha'biyah Airbase in Basra, 600km south of Baghdad;
“Ali ibn Abi Taleb Airbase on the outskirts of the city of an-Nasiriyah, 400km south of Baghdad;
“al-Walid Airbase about 330km north west of Baghdad;
“al-Ghazlani Camp in the city of Mosul, 400km north of Baghdad;
“A permanent deployment of forces in the east of Iraq in what is known as the Hamrin mountain range that extends from Diyala Province, 60km east of Baghdad, and borders on Iran and extends to the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, 260km north of Baghdad.”

And the great conservative newspaper, the Chicago Tribune, carried a story (March 23, 2004) that the U.S. was establishing bases in Iraq.
Christine Spolar, Tribune foreign correspondent wrote:
“To that end, the U.S. plans to operate from former Iraqi bases in Baghdad, Mosul, Taji, Balad, Kirkuk and in areas near Nasiriyah, near Tikrit, near Fallujah and between Irbil and Kirkuk.
“There also are plans to renovate and enhance airfields in Baghdad and Mosul, and rebuild 70 miles of road on the main route for U.S. troops headed north.
“Dollar figures have not been released. The Defense Department plans to build the bases under its own contracts separate from the State Department and its Embassy in Baghdad.”

There is also a base established in Kyrgistan, one of the former Soviet states, from which U.S. forces could reach into both Afghanistan and Iran.

How many of these bases are permanent, and what is the range of time that is to be considered permanent is not totally defined. But we have to remember that we still have troops in German and Japan 60 years after WWII ended.

So, the question becomes: Who’s next? Seems to me Tom Lehrer asked that about nuclear proliferation in the 1960s. And as an afterthought, we are beginning to hear the drums roll for Iran’s nuclear weapons potential to be the next target. Would it be as easy a target as Iraq? And where would Pakistan stand in that fustercluck? And where will we get the troops now that we've got our forces holding down Afghanistan and Iraq?

Who am I

This is part of the answer I posted on MT politics today in answer to some questions in a comment thread from Gman. Let me say that first of all, many years ago when I first started college I was both a journalism and a political science major. So I started out with a background in sociology, economics, political science, history, English, the humanities and biology, as well as geopolitics. After the military, I had a job and took full-time and part-time classes and eventually graduated with a major in English and a minor in history. Those years included more classes in sociology, psychology, economic history, U.S. and world history, Russian history, Latin American history.

I can't name the books I've read. I have been an inveterate reader all my life, including reading Shakespeare (all of his works) and the Bible the summer after I was a junior in high school. Within the last month, I have finished reading the 9/11 commission report and the Guns of August, which I missed the first time around, and I have read Tuchman's other books The Distant Mirror and the March of Folly. For light reading, I take Time, considered a conservative magazine by many people (although not by me) which I have read long enough to know how to weed the facts from the opinion; The Week, Archeology, Scientific American, Science Weekly, Discover, Skeptical Inquirer, Smithsonian, Free Inquiry, and others I can't always put my finger on right away, plus picking up some at the newsstands. I also read various blogs, including this one, as well as dropping into Hayek's postings, Daniel Drezner's, PressThink, Corner Solution, and a variety of others from time to time. I also go on-line and read the originals of various items, including Lincoln’s 1847 comments about President Polk’s Mexican-American War which could be read as an atttack on the Iraq war.

I have been a newspaper man, a teacher, a public relations person, a writer and editor, a tax preparer, and several other things. And, no, I do not trust the individual particularly. Besides the fact that half the people in the U.S. are below average (of the American people), I also see people making bad choices by cashing in IRAs and 401Ks for things such as medical bills, houses, businesses, and because they need the money. How do I know they are making bad choices and how do I know that they can also make bad choices on investments? Because I did. If you don't know what you are doing and trust a money manager, you may wind up in it up to your neck. Many famous people have; look at the rich athletes and entertainment stars who have been taking for trusting an individual. Most people, inclulding me, are not knowledgeable about investing or are bored by it. You have to have a certain kind of brain, which I don't have, to find investing fun.

I also am aware, as many money managers don’t seem to be, that there are a lot of people out there who are not benefiting from this economy. Montanans are making more money, for instance, but the average income is still below national standards. Many people are living hand to mouth with families and having to pay medical bills that they can’t afford. Have you ever looked at routine bankruptcy records? Most people who file bankruptcy have at least one large, for them, medical bill in the stack.

This country was founded by individuals if you want to consider the individual western founder. But if you look at the origins of the Constitution, you realize that it was the cooperation it involved that actually created this nation. Most people forget that we went from the Revolution to the Articles of Confederation which upheld the rights of the states and individuals in those states to go their own way. It didn't work so we got the Constitution, which barely passed, incidentally, and took a lot of arguing by Madison, Hamilton and others to get through. Now it's a sacred document for the same people who probably would have voted against it then.

In the west, the individualists pushed forward and discovered the hills and valleys and farmlands that were later developed. But it took the help of the army and the discovery of gold before the west got settled. And the western states are creatures of the federal government, not the other way around. If you look around, you find that very few of the original “individualists” who came to Montana or other western states are represented by people who have much impact on those states today. Most of the people who live in and control Montana today came in during the homesteader days (promoted by the federal government—which may have been one of your mistakes) and a lot of the attitudes range back primarily to the oil boom days.

I started out about as conservative as you are and people who knew me in my younger days still think I may be. But if you work in the news business long enough, despite some of the examples we see locally, you begin to realize just how false the idea of the individual and the free enterprise system is without any regulation. People can be fed, and believe, a lot of pap. They will believe it even when they are faced with the truth, and they will then deny that they are receiving the truth, the big argument for calling the mainstream news media liberal in this country. Do you believe a hurricane is coming into Florida today or tomorrow or maybe just a tropical storm? How did you find out? Strictly on the web? I also know, from a comment you made on my post about evolution, that you come from a strong right wing background that depends on revealed truth rather than thinking or researching the facts. Your reading list, such as Hayek, is always right wing. Don't you read anything centrist? And I don’t waste time on right wing reading just as I haven’t read Michael Moore. Why waste my reading time?

Your idea that government help just creates a bigger problem is that you have looked at the facts from the angle of one who believes he iis not being helped and look down on those who need the help. You are an elitist and I suspect you don't care if we have people dying in the streets while you live in your house up under the rims and eat tenderloin.

Friday, September 03, 2004

El Cachorrito Ladrando: Bush's speech: Is he right or centrist?

El Cachorrito Ladrando: Bush's speech: Is he right or centrist?

This is a very good post from someone who listened to the Bush acceptance speech last night. He asks some of the same questions I would be asking, but in a more moderate tone, I suggest. I would add to his questions about why Bush hasn't done some of these things already, a question about the funding. He did get the no-child-left-behind act but then devastated the states, particularly those of us in the west, by not providing funding. Can we expect more federally imposed mandates on the states if these get accomplished? And how many of these will have good names, but uninspiring goals?

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

More about the swift boats.

Columbus swift boat vet angry about letter -
: "Kerry's"

As Mark Twain said, the reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.

Should we think secession?

At coffee today, an interesting idea surfaced. Wally McLain again expressed his thoughts that the states of Montana, Wyoming, and the Dakotas, should secede from the union and take up arms against it. Of course, it would result in rapid defeat of the plains states, who then could apply, as beaten third-world countries do, to the U.S. for rehabilitation. If nothing else, we could be occupied by U.S. soldiers who would bring in money and need supplies and victualing. Sort of like a “The Mouse that Roared” scenario.

The thought essentially was that without people and votes the plains states have become the forgotten people. When it comes to locating federal job opportunities or new businesses or investment we are the orphan children of the U.S. of A. Maybe succession would bring us assistance from D.C.

Another thought, which we wouldn’t take but is enticing to think about, is to adopt something that D.C. is against, sort of like Oregon with its Die with Dignity law. Then the government would realize that we could, at least, ruffle feathers.

What we were saying, also, is that we are such a given in the national political picture, a red state, guaranteed for the Republicans, that we can safely be ignored. No one needs us. Even with the empty man, Mark Rocicot, as a spokesman in D.C., we are ignored by the Republicans. Sens. Murray and Metcalf took care of Montana when they were in there. But no one feels we have anything to offer anymore. And maybe they are right. We seem, long before the rest of the nation, to have adopted the type of fear that makes us quiver, crouched down in our separate holes and burrow away so that we will not upset the status quo by trying anything new.

Despite the cries of members of both parties, the idea of depending on agriculture and raw materials such as coal, oil, and precious metals to bring our economy out of the doldrums is gone. Except for coal, the others can be shipped into the country cheaper than we can produce it. And, in most cases, it seems to be cheaper to send our coal out of the state without doing anything more with it. Even if we do produce coal fired plants, unless they have rigid regulation, they will mess up the most valuable thing we in Montana have, our environment. We now have a company paying big money to put cyanide leach mining back into effect, but even if it works it will just be another boom and bust for the least-known state with the big gains going outside our borders. And we’ll be left with the cleanup.

We can also talk about the people moving in from out-of-state to take advantage of our climate and other amenities such as wildlife. We like their money, but with them they also carry the baggage of wanting low taxes and the type of services provided mostly for people without children. That really doesn’t help our communities who have children and need money for schools. They vote against school levies, against public service projects, and say that money spent for public projects does not circulate in the community as much as money spent in the private side. What a bunch of malarkey.

So maybe we should secede? We can’t do any worse as a third world country. Or maybe we should do away with states and demand that the federal government deal with us directly (like they do with the District of Columbia?).

I don’t have answers. But I think that Montanans need to talk about some new ideas that will work to bring our state out of the doldrums. Before we can do anything, we need to brainstorm a gullybuster of ideas.


2. Beginning

Weep now.
Weep for mothers, for fathers, for daughters, for sons.
Weep now.
Weep for all who have lost and all have,
for those who cry out at this we face.
Weep now.
Weep for this finality, this that looses our moorings,
for this that lets us free to drift dark waters through rainbows,
to drift among lily pads and listen to the callings of bullfrogs.

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