Friday, September 24, 2004
Colby, the young soldier from the Bay Area who was writing very stunning reports from the field in Iraq, has been silenced by the Army OPSEC masters. He is no longer permitted to write much of anything about what he does, sees, or experiences.
Consequently he has been filling his blog, MY WAR, with news reports and email he receives.
His latest is from the legendary Jello Biafra of The Dead Kennedys. Check it out.
How retired folks spend their time
From Ralph via NewMexiKen:
I got this from a buddy in Springfield, IL:
Several of my former co-workers have asked what retired people, like me, do to make their days interesting.
I went to the store the other day. I was only in there for about 5 minutes. When I came out there was a cop writing out a parking ticket.
I went up to him and said, "Come on, buddy, how about giving a senior a break?"
He ignored me and continued writing the ticket. I called him a Nazi.
He glared at me and started writing another ticket for having worn tires.
So I called him a piece of shit. He finished the second ticket and put it on the windshield with the first. Then he started writing a third ticket.
This went on for about 20 minutes.. the more I abused him, the more tickets he wrote.
I didn't give a damn. My car was parked around the corner.
I try to have a little fun each day now that I'm retired. It's important at my age.
I Feel Like Atrios
I'm in blogger heaven. An old friend and occasional Rain Storm reader called today and said that, if I can get to Phoenix on the 29th, he's got a ticket for me for the Vote for Change concert with Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Jack Johnson, CS&N, and maybe even Keb' Mo'.
Is this a great country, or what? Let's make it better.
Fear of Flying?
From BOP via Suburban Guerrilla, the suggestion that for some reason, Lt. Bush stopped flying because, well, he couldn't do it very well.
Contrary to some news reports that suggest Killian admired Bush, Linke says the officer didn't have much use for the young Lieutenant. He mentioned that Bush appeared to have a drinking problem, she recalls, but he was most offended by another incapacity: his fear of flying. According to Linke, Killian said Bush was grounded in his fourth year of flying after he became incapable of flying or properly landing a plane.Yep, it's damn hard to land a plane when your hands are shaking. Of course, there are a lot of reasons that your hands might shake, aren't there?
There's a Hole Developing
in the Back Door Draft
Phil Carter has a good post at Intel Dump about the National Guard not reaching its recruiting goals (be sure to see the Kos suggestion below).
What many people outside the military don't realize is that a major source of recruits for the reserve component forces are troops who leave active duty, but still want to maintain their affiliation with the military.
During an assignment when I was an advisor to a reserve component unit, the bulk of the unit's leadership, both officers and NCOs, were soldiers who left active duty and went into the Guard or Reserves. Many were attracted to the additional paycheck. Some did it while in college. In fact there were several NCOs who came off active duty, went into the Guard or Reserves while in college, enrolled in ROTC, got their commission, then went back on active duty for one or more tours as an officer. And generally, they performed well as officers because their experience as enlisted soldiers who had served both on active duty and in the Guard or Reserves.
As Phil Carter points out, this source of recruiting for the reserve components is drying up:
For as long as the Iraq mission goes on, this is going to be a real problem. If you're an active-duty soldier and you decide to get out of the Army, the last thing you want to do is be called out of civilian life with some reserve unit to go back to Iraq -- the reason you probably left in the first place. Better to stay in and go as an active-duty soldier, because it's much smoother and easier that way and you're more likely to have better equipment, training and resources for the deployment. Over time, if this trend continues, the National Guard will slowly shrink, because it cannot make its recruiting targets (given current spending on enlistment incentives) without a steady flow of recruits from the active-duty force. Moreover, the Guard's quality will suffer, because it depends on an influx of mid-level officers and enlisted personnel with active-duty experience to maintain professionalism within the ranks.When the numbers go down a bit in those units, they reach a level of readiness (or the lack there of) which marks the unit as non-deployable. The recruiting planners in the Pentagon will try to sweeten the pot, and that may work somewhat with raw recruits right off the street. But for battle-hardened Army veterans who have had enough fun for one war, recruitment incentives aren't going to make much of a dent.
As a larger portion of reserve component units become non-deployable because they don't have enough soldiers, the weight of the President's war will fall heavier on the active component units. And as we know, they are already stretched about as far as they can go.
Chalk up another smart move for those civilian deep thinkers in the Pentagon.
Time for Bush Twins & Wingnuts
to actually serve their country
Since the National Guard is having some serious trouble making their recruiting goals (I'll write more about this soon), Kos has a suggestion:
It's time the twins answered the call of their country, for a war their father started, for a cause that supposedly is worth the death of over a thousand of our sons, daughters, mothers and fathers.
This applies to all the wingnut war supporters out there. They could easily have their actions match their words by marching right up to the recruiters' office. There's 5,000 of them out there.
I did it. I wore combat boots. I'm sure the wingnuts are as courageous as I was, right? They can't all be cowardly fools.
You don't really want to find out what's going on
You don't want really want to know just how far it's gone...
-- from Don Henley's Dirty LaundryKevin Drum captures the key question about the Bush presidency. As Rain Storm has wondered before, is Bush merely a mushroom (kept in the dark and fed only shit by his handlers), or is he rapidly approaching out right, full-blown, bull goose loony delusional.
Thursday's press conference was just scary. It's no longer clear if George Bush is merely a cynical, calculating politician -- which would be bad enough -- or if he actually believes all the happy talk about Iraq that his speechwriters produce for him. Increasingly, though, it seems like the latter: he genuinely doesn't have a clue about what's going on. What's more, his staff is keeping him in a sort of Nixonian bubble, afraid to tell him the truth and afraid to take any positive action for fear that it might affect the election.Step right up ladies and gentlemen and place your bets.
Any way you look at it you lose.
Thursday, September 23, 2004
What if we were them,
and there was here
We have no idea.
Juan Cole writes If America were Iraq, What would it be Like?
What would America look like if it were in Iraq's current situation? The population of the US is over 11 times that of Iraq, so a lot of statistics would have to be multiplied by that number.Read it all.
Thus, violence killed 300 Iraqis last week, the equivalent proportionately of 3,300 Americans. What if 3,300 Americans had died in car bombings, grenade and rocket attacks, machine gun spray, and aerial bombardment in the last week? That is a number greater than the deaths on September 11, and if America were Iraq, it would be an ongoing, weekly or monthly toll.
[. . .]
There are estimated to be some 25,000 guerrillas in Iraq engaged in concerted acts of violence. What if there were private armies totalling 275,000 men, armed with machine guns, assault rifles (legal again!), rocket-propelled grenades, and mortar launchers, hiding out in dangerous urban areas of cities all over the country? What if they completely controlled Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Denver and Omaha, such that local police and Federal troops could not go into those cities?
What if, during the past year, the Secretary of State (Aqilah Hashemi), the President (Izzedine Salim), and the Attorney General (Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim) had all been assassinated?
[. . .]
What if the Air Force routinely (I mean daily or weekly) bombed Billings, Montana, Flint, Michigan, Watts in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Anacostia in Washington, DC, and other urban areas, attempting to target "safe houses" of "criminal gangs", but inevitably killing a lot of children and little old ladies?
Kerry, Then and Now
Publius at Legal Fiction writes pretty good commentary about legal and political issues. But I think when fame finds him, it will be because of his creative talent.
Be sure to read his conversation between young John Kerry and the man who would be the next president.
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Edwards Chews Up Bush Economics
and spits it back in his face
Our economy, our people, and our nation have been undermined by the crony capitalists who believe that success is all about working the angles, working the phones, and rigging the game, instead of hard work, innovation and frugality. And these manipulators find comfort in an Administration which, through its own example, seems to embrace that ethic. We will never turn this country around until we put our economy and our government back in line with our values."I can hardly wait to see what he's going to do to Cheney.
It’s time for a new approach that trusts people to make the most of their own lives and gives them the chance to do so. It’s time to stop emboldening entrenched interests and start empowering regular people. Above all, it’s time to end the failed conservative experiment and return to the idea that made this country great: Instead of helping wealthy people protect their wealth, we should help working people build their wealth."
"Love when you can
Cry when you have to
Be who you must
That's a part of the plan"
Something else I missed during that long weekend on the coast. From Natalie at All Facts and Opinions:
Prayers, please.Read more here.
If you wouldn't mind, please offer up some prayers and/or positive vibrations for Dan Fogelberg. The 53-year-old singer, songwriter, and guitarist -- whose music has enthralled this writer for more than three decades -- recently confirmed that he is fighting advanced prostate cancer. The diagnosis, delivered two months ago, was cited as the reason behind the cancellation of Fogelberg's fall 2004 solo acoustic tour of the US East Coast.
It's Close. Work harder. Win!
From Patrick at Jusiper:
The pollsters at the American Research Group, which appropriately includes Nader in some states but not others, and which Ruy Teixeira and Alan Abramowitz praise for their methodology, have this to say:I couldn't agree more. And I'll add a few more comments.George W. Bush is at 47% and John Kerry is at 46% in the weighted national popular vote.Everybody, stop freaking out. We knew a year ago that it was going to be tight, and now it is. Instead of shouting at the news, sign up to make phone calls or to canvass for the Kerry campaign.
Bush leads outside the margin of error in 17 states with 133 electoral votes.
Kerry leads outside the margin of error in 10 states with 132 electoral votes.
Bush has any lead in 29 states with 253 electoral votes.
Kerry has any lead in 20 states with 270 electoral votes.
Bush and Kerry are tied in Wisconsin and West Virginia.
Bush needs to defend small leads in 5 states - Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Ohio.
Kerry needs to defend small leads in 5 states - Maine, Florida, Minnesota, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.
History says that most undecided voters will break for the challenger. In the following states, (excluding those mentioned above) Bush's lead is equal to or less than than the undecided vote:
ArizonaThese are winnable states. All it takes is educating and motivating those undecided voters.
Make George W. Bush wake up on November 3rd with a killer hangover and a pinkslip from the American people.
Get to work. There are only 40 days left until the most important election of our lives.
Your Tax Dollars Hard at Work:
Yusuf Islam (the former Cat Stevens)
National Security Risk!
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A London-to-Washington flight was diverted to Maine when it was discovered that passenger Yusuf Islam - formerly known as singer Cat Stevens - was on a government watch list and barred from entering the country.I feel so much safer now.
[. . .]
Homeland Security Department spokesman Dennis Murphy identified the passenger as Islam. "He was interviewed and denied admission to the United States on national security grounds," Murphy said.
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
It's Doubtful that Anyone Can Fix Iraq,
but at least hold the guy who broke it accoutable
Kevin Drum quotes Noam Scheiber who takes much of the media to task for completley missing the point on Kerry's plan vs. Bush's plan:
But the point isn't that Kerry's proposals only have a slightly better chance of success. It's that Bush's poor judgment and total incompetence have arranged it so that no proposal has a very good chance of success. Assessing the two candidate's positions outside that context is a totally useless exercise.The Bush administration has continuously refused to accept an iota of responsibility for the multilple messes it has created. And the damage done in Iraq is beyond repair. There is simply no way to put Humpty Dumpty together again.
If you have some time, read a few of the posts below (Rain Storm's Greatest Hits, Volume I), and remember how we got here. Then, on November 2, hold the slimeballs accountable.
HELP SEND SOME GOOD GUYS TO CONGRESS!
We CAN do better.
Looks like I'll be overwhelmed by day job and family responsibilities for the next couple of days. Since many of you are relatively new visitors to Rain Storm, I thought I'd throw up a few golden oldies from our first few months. Call it:
Rain Storm's Greatest Hits, Volume I
Check 'em out!
The Big Push for Biblical Marriage
Spiraling out of Control:
Will Iraq crash head-long into Civil War?
Report from an Old Soldier: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Epilogue
Post-war Planning for Iraq:
a Victory of Arrogance
a Failure of Imagination
Good Money After Bad or
Charlie Mike (Complete the Mission)?
Condi Rice and National Security:
Where's the Leadership?
and just for fun Hold the Salsa, Pass the Mayo:
Mormons and Masturbation
Monday, September 20, 2004
Fending off the Evil Ones
with a Barrage of Show Tunes
Somehow I missed it when Avedon posted it. Thanks to Susan for catching it.
I realize this is a bit off-topic for me, but there are times when you've had enough Bush and Iraq and Gallup Polls to last the rest of the month. Take a break and read this.
Children as the Perfect Metaphor
for this presidential campaign
Atrios, first quoting David Corn:
Yet Republicans and echo-chamber reporters keep asking Kerry to state precisely how he would undo Bush's mess.Then Bill Kristol:
"I have two young daughters at home," I said to this Kerry aide. "If one takes a glass jar and throws it on the ground of their bedroom and smashes it into thousands of pieces, I don't point my finger at the other one and say, 'Okay, what's your plan for cleaning this up.'"
Bush has driven us into a ditch. Subsequently, he closed his eyes put his hands over his ears and started yelling "mommymommymommy ICANTHEARYOU" over and over again.There it is: a spoiled child behind the wheel of the biggest car on the road. Anybody really want four more years of this?
Sunday, September 19, 2004
Keeping Terrorism in Perspective
NewMexiKen reminds us that Friday was the anniversary of that deadly American Civil War engagement, The Battle of Antietam:
Of all the days on all the fields where American soldiers have fought, the most terrible by almost any measure was September 17, 1862. The battle waged on that date, close by Antietam Creek at Sharpsburg in western Maryland, took a human toll never exceeded on any other single day in the nation's history. So intense and sustained was the violence, a man recalled, that for a moment in his mind's eye the very landscape around him turned red.But we are also reminded of the words of none other that arch-conservative Pat Buchanan, in his critique of Neocons Richard Pearle and David Frum's book An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror, a neocon manifesto on how and why to fight to war against terror. Buchanan writes:
In the worst of terror attacks, we lost 3,000 people. Horrific. But at Antietam Creek, we lost 7,000 in a day's battle in a nation that was one-ninth as populous. Three thousand men and boys perished every week for 200 weeks of that Civil War. We Americans did not curl up and die. We did not come all this way because we are made of sugar candy.As we pointed out back in February:
This is an election year, and George W. Bush doesn't have diddly squat to run on except fear. So he will keep invoking 9-11 and the war on terror, hoping to generate more fear than reason. Perle is doing his part by screaming "The terrorists are coming! The terrorists are coming!"Remember that when the neocons start telling us that we need to invade Iran now.
Buchanan gets it right when he says, "Perseverance and patience are called for, not this panic."
Boot Bush with Salsa
I was going to share my recipe for green chile enchiladas. But this is so much better.
Thanks to Prometheus 6 for the link.
Get 'em here.