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Saturday, January 22, 2005

Someone else notes the US is going to lose the war in Iraq... 

Maybe we said it a bit early here on the Bite...but the Detroit Free Press is still getting 4 from 2 and 2...

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Unless something dramatic changes, the United States is heading toward losing the war in Iraq. A Knight Ridder Newspapers analysis of U.S. government statistics shows the U.S. military steadily losing ground to the predominately Sunni Muslim insurgency in Iraq. The analysis suggests that, short of a newfound will by Iraqis to reject the insurgency or a large escalation of U.S. troop strength, the United States won't win the war.

Military thinkers say insurgencies are especially hard to defeat because the insurgents' goal isn't to win in a conventional sense but to survive until the will of the occupying power is sapped. Recent polls suggest an erosion of support among Americans for the war.

The unfavorable trends are clear:

Combat deaths: U.S. military fatalities from hostile acts have risen from an average of about 17 per month just after President George W. Bush declared an end to major combat operations on May 1, 2003, to an average of 82 per month.

WOUNDED: The average number of U.S. soldiers wounded by hostile acts per month has spiraled from 142 to 808 during the same period. Iraqi civilians have suffered even more deaths and injuries, although reliable statistics aren't available.

INSURGENT ATTACKS: Attacks on the U.S.-led coalition since November 2003, when statistics were first available, rose from 735 a month to 2,400 in October. Air Force Brig. Gen. Erv Lessel, deputy operations director of the multinational forces, said Friday that attacks were currently running at 75 a day, about 2,300 a month, well below a spike in November during the assault on Fallujah but nearly as high as October's total.

BOMBINGS: The average number of mass-casualty bombings has grown from zero in the first few months of the U.S.-led occupation to an average of 13 per month.

ELECTRICITY: Electricity production has been below prewar levels since October, largely because of sabotage by insurgents, with just 6.7 hours of power daily in Baghdad in early January, according to the State Department.


OIL: Iraq is pumping about 500,000 barrels of oil a day fewer than its prewar peak of 2.5 million barrels per day as a result of attacks, according to the State Department.

"All the trend lines we can identify are all in the wrong direction," said Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution, a Washington policy research organization. "We are not winning, and the security trend lines could almost lead you to believe that we are losing."

I believe it, all right. And, incredibly, preparations for Iran are in place. Like I said before, if you voted for Bush, then sign up. Otherwise, shut up and watch the US lose the war with the rest of us. Oh, I forgot, at least 5% of you voted for Bush but were too ashamed to admit it...unless of course the election was actually fixed. Like your hero said, you can run but you can't hide.

-Vulf

The US doesn't need anyone... 

This seems to be the belief of Americans who, like Bush, think the US has a monopoly on morality, a monopoly on credibility, and a monopoly on world power.

Guess what? Far from it. In fact, the policies in the Middle East actually give power to both sides...of the Middle East social divide, that is. The "insurgents" (meaning evangelical Muslims) and the Koran-beaters in power are both quite pleased with the Evangelical US. The Al Qaeda and like groups don't need to advertize these days--recruitment for their forces certainly outpace those for the US armed forces. And Osama is "hiding", for much longer than the dreadful 444 days we watched Iran hold US hostages, until Reagan came into office with his arms-for-hostages deal. Oil is $50 a barrel, making the profits for the repressive regimes in the Middle East astronomical. Seems like the "power" in the current struggle goes game, set, match to the Middle East.

The rest of the world hates the US. Even the UK is starting to fidget over the Iran rumors:

REPORTS of an increasingly hard-line US policy towards Iran are starting to worry British generals and diplomats, who fear the 9,650-strong UK garrison in southern Iraq would be targeted by Tehran in retaliation to any strike by the Bush administration. The allegations of US covert operations inside Iran have added to the worries in Whitehall that the stand-off with Tehran over its nuclear ambitions could be moving into a more dangerous phase...Foreign Office sources are particularly worried that the departure of Colin Powell from the Bush administration has left the neo-conservatives in control of US foreign policy in Washington. British intelligence sources are becoming worried that the Iranians will employ a strategy to strike back at US interests and its allies across the Middle East.

Why do folks in the US think the rest of the world will continue to let them spend $200 per citizen more than they earn EACH MONTH (US trade imbalance is now consistently $50 billion+ each month)? Then they think we don't need the rest of the world?

Ostriches, time to get the sand out of your eyes. These are the last days for the US as you know it.

-Vulf

Separation of church and state...not 

We're in the last days....

Thirty-two years ago the right to have an abortion was affirmed by the Supreme Court. Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi is marking the anniversary of Roe v. Wade with an official proclamation declaring the seven days leading up to the anniversary "a week of prayer regarding the sanctity of human life." Barbour also authorized the placement of tiny white crosses on the lawn of the state Capitol "in memory of the unborn children who die each day in America," according to the decree. The crosses have been planted for the past three years, though this year Barbour will be at President Bush's inauguration during the official anniversary event, and the display was moved to a nearby churchyard. Barbour is a Republican, but it should be noted that the tradition of transforming the Capitol lawn into a symbolic mini-graveyard was begun by the previous governor of Mississippi, who was a Democrat.

The article focuses on Roe vs. Wade. But for me it ends right here, in this opening paragraph. There is no separation of Church and State. And Haley Barbour (and the governor before him) planting white crosses in the lawn given the ignominous use of white crosses in lawns in the recent history of "his" state? No wonder Mississippi is a net GDP-sink for the US (the US would have a higher GDP if Mississippi seceded).

You couldn't dream this stuff up.

-Vulf

Torpor, Indolence and Guilt... 

Buzzflash said it eloquently...you are in the last days:

Bush's Bold Vision is Rhetoric: Bush's Utter Failure is Stunning Incompetence

We were not surprised to unfurl the Chicago Sun-Times Friday morning (1/21) to see a full page photo of a grinning, designer-dressed "First Family" leaving the White House for the inauguration with the headline: "Bush's Bold Vision: 'The Survival of Liberty in our Land Increasingly Depends on the Success of Liberty in Other Lands.'"
We were lucky we hadn't eaten breakfast yet.

You see, Karl Rove had met with the White House propaganda staff shortly after the November "vote," and they decided to focus on the theme of freedom and liberty to drape around Bush for the inauguration. It was to become a Teflon-coated mantle for the "Pet Goat" leader. They wouldn't mention Iraq, because, well, it's an utter failure, with thousands upon thousands dead and wounded in a war that knows no ends. And it's a little hard to discuss Iraq when Bush and Cheney both now admit that there were no WMDs -- and that they've called off the search. To put it quaintly, they have been proven liars on multiple accounts in terms of leading a nation to war.

So, the Bush Administration is always ready with a new script. It's like watching a television series. You tune in each week to find out what the writers have in store for you. Never mind if the house next to you blows up, the fiction on the tube is more "real" than the reality next door.
The basic premise of the inauguration was this: wrap liberty and freedom around Bush -- and then anyone who opposes Bush's policies opposes liberty and freedom. Got it?

Reality doesn't matter much anymore to the mainstream media. They have a White House script to follow, and the real news is an unpleasant intrusion that they can't allow to distract from the "show in progress."

We have a man in the White House who cavalierly responds to a question about what happened to bin Laden with the answer, "He's hiding." We have a White House that failed to take actions to prevent hijackings prior to 9/11 even though they were directly and explicitly warned of Al-Qaeda plans for hijacking planes in America. We have an administration that lied almost hourly about WMDs and dismissing doubters as traitors who aided terrorists. Now, when no WMDs are found, the administration just shrugs its shoulders, as if to say, "What's the big deal?"

We also have an administration that sanctioned torture and put our troops in jeopardy because the same torture can be used against them. The torture scandal continues to unfold daily, in all its horror, and the White House and Defense Department act as if it's just a few bad apples, while the architect of Torture Inc. gets promoted to Attorney General. And the National Security Advisor who failed again and again in her duties is given a "second chance" as Secretary of State by the likes of naive Joe Biden, always eager to lend a helping hand to incompetence.

But the liberty in America which is threatened daily by various Bush administration efforts to savage our Bill of Rights through administrative fiat, the passage of various iterations of Anti-Patriot Acts, and the actions taken in secret courts, is suddenly dependent upon wars in distant shores that the Bush Administration turns into catastrophes. So we are told. It's in the White House script, you see.

Never has a non-totalitarian news media so failed to demand that words be measured by actions and failures, not by the mere recitation of the latest script.

The headline of a recent commentary by Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page captures the cavalier essence of this hideous farce, "Bush's promises? Oh, never mind."

And Congressional Democrats, with rare exception, also appear unable to hold Republicans accountable for their actual failed and incompetent behavior that threatens our national security. Republicans, on the other hand, are experts at blowing up the most minor of Democratic indiscretions into impeachable offenses. And the media has no relative value scale to judge what is a threat to our national security and what isn't, what is a serious ethical lapse and what isn't.
If they did, most of this administration would be serving time by now.

The mainstream press just goes with the Republican script, because it's all entertainment now anyway. We are all just watching a story unfold on television and in the newspapers and on the radio. And there's no room for the real political news. It would be too upsetting to Stepford voters -- and it hurts advertising revenue.

Apparently, the President of CBS, who has no news experience and is a part-time actor, is thinking of luring Katie Couric over to replace Dan Rather. He -- it is rumored -- wants to change the format of the CBS evening news into more of a "Today Show" style news/entertainment/marketing program.

And who could argue with him? In a nation that has a draconian legal policy toward drug use and indulgent notion toward hedonistic use of alcohol, who could object that it has found its perfect narcotic in a political/entertainment/news convergence that knows how to stick with the script.
It's all about entertainment, profits and powers.

What do democracy, actual deeds and enlightened public policy debate have to do with the news?
Nothing, it appears.

A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Hypocrites 

A watershed day, today. The high tide of the Republican insurgency. Their Gettysburg. The tsunami has crested, though, and will its downfall begin. Point out to your Republican brethren their hypocrisies:

1. Swift Boat veterans lied, and now have disappeared. So much for their "search for the truth" and claims they weren't a "created for the election" farce.
2. Who do you think gave Dan Rather the false documents? It sure seems fishy. After all, the record already shows Bush spent Vietnam hiding in Texas. We know where Kerry was. See (1.). Why is no one asking where the false documents really came from? Why was every right-wing blog site on the font issue the moment the documents came out? Prescience is often planted information. Someone needs to monitor Bill Burkett's bank account for the next few years...
3. Bush's daughters are fighting age. Are they in Iraq?
4. Ask any Republican who has children of fighting age why their kids aren't in Iraq. Because they're hypocrites! Bush has said the election was a test on his war policies. Very well, then why aren't Republicans signing up?

Got news for you misguided Bush supporters. You think Bush is "cool" because he sticks his tongue out at "the man". Well, he IS the man. Your love of the renegade/maverick is ignominously misplaced. Bush has the power and he isn't "dissing" anyone. There's no one to diss...all his events are staged, only lifelong Republicans get within 100 meters of him, and his radical agenda is about to pull the ground out from under him. The US President has more power than anyone else on the planet. He/she therefore is by definition a phony when taking a "maverick" role. It's a deadly serious responsibility, and history will show Bush to be a criminal, war and otherwise. He is "THE MAN", and in the worst possible sense of it, where he blames his underlings for his failings. No wonder he never succeeded in business--being President is just his latest way to milk money from the government, all the while claiming he is "anti-big government". He has succeeded in politics where he failed in business--he has now succeeded in making 50% of Americans complicit in worldwide fraud and terrorism.

By the way, 19% of Americans think the last election was fraudulent. 1/5 of Americans think Bush is a despot. That's a higher percentage than the percentage of Iraqis who think he's a liberator. Just wait until after Jan. 30. The violence in unstable countries usually augments considerably after elections...like it's not bad enough already. 30 dead every day due to bombings.

Just remember, if you see a Republican who hasn't joined the military, give her/him a friendly reminder...hypocrisy stinks worse than Rush Limbaugh's office furniture. Sign up now and you might get to see Iran.

-Vulf

Monday, January 17, 2005

Allard the Allosaurus 

I wrote to Senator Wayne Allard, senatorial sponsor of the constitutional amendment against gay marriage. This time I wrote about the proposed drilling in the Arctic Plain. Excerpts from Wayne's response follow in bold:

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that there could be as much as 16 billion barrels of oil in this part of Alaska. That amount could replace all of our imports from Saudi Arabia for over 30 years. As you can see, allowing drilling in this tiny portion of the Refuge will reduce our dependence on foreign oil, create jobs, help to safeguard our national security and move us one step closer to energy independence. Further, relying on more foreign oil places greater risks on the environment.

Turns out this 16 billion barrel bonanza comes word for word from the Heritage Foundation:

Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimate that drilling in ANWR could yield up to 16 billion barrels of oil--an amount roughly equal to 30 years of oil imports from Saudi Arabia. Such a resource would increase the nation's energy security as well.

You have to love how this is framed...30 years worth of oil! Except, of course, we import less than 10% of our oil from Saudi Arabia. (We import 61% of our oil, and 14.5% of that 61% is from Saudi Arabia...so, 30 years worth of this is less than 3 years worth of oil to the US--we import more than twice as much oil from Canada+Mexico as we do from Saudi Arabia!!!!).

But why shouldn't we trust the Heritage Foundation? The mission of the Heritage Foundation?

The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institute - a think tank - whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.

What is a "traditional" American value? Here, on MLK Day, we realize there was a tradition of slavery and/or segregation for the first 188 years of US history in a section of the US that is entirely comprised of red states. Hmm, 188 years versus 40 since. Which is more "traditional"? OK, let's see what a fabrication Allard's (and Heritage's) claims are:

The Sierra Club notes:

Proponents of drilling in the Arctic Refuge claim that massive amounts of oil are to be found underneath the Refuge's fragile coastal plain. They often quote an inflated figure of "technically recoverable oil" that might lie beneath the coastal plain. This is the amount of oil that could be recovered without any regard to cost. This figure does not take into account the actual cost of bringing the oil to domestic markets. When economic factors are considered, the mean amount of economically recoverable oil drops to just 3.2 billion barrels. The cost of drilling in the Arctic Refuge is so high, in fact, that the U.S. Geological Service (USGS) says if the price of oil fell to $16 a barrel, there would actually be NO economically recoverable oil in the coastal plain. What do 3.2 billion barrels of oil mean to Americans who are concerned about our dependence on foreign oil, particularly from the Middle East? Consider this: Each day, the United States consumes about 19.5 million barrels of oil, an annual total of about 7 billion barrels each year. Given this rate of consumption, if Arctic oil was our nation's only source, it would fuel America's demand for less than 6 months.

We saw the same kind of inflation used when the Alaskan Pipeline was built. I hardly think we're energy-independent because of that! In fact, this is a mere drop in the bucket, but the end of a fragile ecosystem--it also assumes our oil needs won't increase. But who do you think stands to make money from this boondoggle? It isn't the blue states!

What about biodiesel? Seems we might get morth than a six month's supply out of that in our lifetimes.

Thus, my response to Senator Allard:

Dear Senator Allard
Your response is misleading. Please try citing something other than the Heritage Foundation for your figures. 3.2 billion barrels of economically recoverable oil is more in line with estimates. This is less than 6 months of US oil needs. Also, we currently import more from Canada than Saudi Arabia, and less than 10% of our oil is from Saudi Arabia, so don't try to blow smoke over my eyes with this ingenuous and flippant statistic. You must not care what happens to the generations to come. Eastern Colorado is a perfect spot for a Biodiesel initiative.

-Vulf

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