Thursday, December 09, 2004
Turns out that slavery
wasn't so bad after all
Just ask those nice white southern Christian folks.
* "Slavery as it existed in the South was not an adversarial relationship with pervasive racial animosity. Because of its dominantly patriarchal character, it was a relationship based upon mutual affection and confidence." (page 24)Yeah, slavery was so nice that there wasn't hardly anybody risking their lives trying to get to the north, now was there.
* "Slave life was to them a life of plenty, of simple pleasures, of food, clothes, and good medical care." (page 25)
* "But many Southern blacks supported the South because of long established bonds of affection and trust that had been forged over generations with their white masters and friends." (page 27)
* "Nearly every slave in the South enjoyed a higher standard of living than the poor whites of the South -- and had a much easier existence." (page 30)
You Don't Miss Your Water
till your well runs dry
Looks like the Army's having a little trouble reaching its recruiting goals this year -- or even getting close.
Kos noted this piece from David Hackworth that shows just how badly recruiting is going in the wake of the ongoing disaster in Iraq:
These are totals for the 41 USAREC (Recruiting Command) Battalions, so these stats represent the USAREC mission accomplishment:I've mentioned it before, but it's worth repeating: a significant portion of the Guard and Reserve unit personnel are soldiers that came off active duty and opted for the service in the reserve components. They do this for a variety of reasons, some monetary and some patriotic. But it was generally understood for decades that the reserve component units would not be called up in large numbers except in case of national emergency.Regular Army Volume (all RA contracts):The Army National Guard is faring no better. A Guard retention NCO says: "The word is out on the streets of Washington, D.C. -- Do not join the Guard. -- I see these words echoing right across the U.S.A."Mission: 25,322Army Reserve Volume:
Achieved: 12,703 (50.17 percent)Mission: 7,373
Achieved: 3,206 (43.48 percent).
By the end of this recruiting year, the Regular Army, Reserves and Guard could fall short more than 50 percent of its projected requirement, or about 60,000 new soldiers. And according to many recruiters, quality recruits are giving way to mental midgets who have a hard time telling their left foot from their right.
Shades of our last years in Vietnam.
"The bottom line is that Recruiting Command is in trouble," says another recruiter with almost 30 years of service. "The Army has re-instituted stop loss, which is basically a backdoor draft. They're stopping people from retiring or completing their enlistment and leaving the Army. They do this fairly often, mostly in August and September, depending upon how far behind they believe they'll be at the end of September.
"I believe the Army will have to drastically change what they offer to enlistees to overcome whats happening in Iraq. The war is ugly, and not many kids want to enlist to be blown up."
The classic scenario (and the one for which many trained for 4 decades) was a push by the Soviet Army through the Fulda Gap in Germany, signaling the onset of World War III. Most did not envision they would be called up for a war of choice at the behest of a spoiled little preppy who somehow conned his way into the White House.
Now the word is out on the street all over the U.S. that enlistment, either active or reserve, is like buying a lottery ticket for a body bag or a painful and difficult rest-of-your-life from a severe brain injury or the loss of one or more limbs. So the Army will not get anywhere near its recruiting goals, no matter how sweet it tries to make the incentives.
And the reality of this bungled war is beginning to sink in to the heartland of America when a paper like the Grand Forks Herald carries an editorial column like this one (thanks again to Kos):
"I told my family and friends nothing about what I do," he wrote. "I don't want to worry them because to me that is the worst part - having loved ones worried about us."The well is just about to run dry, but the river flows with the blood of America's sons and daughters.
When he was eligible to take leave, he declined. "We knew everyone wasn't going to get leave so I figured I was young with no girlfriend or real need to go home," he explained. "So I volunteered not to go so someone else would have the opportunity."
With Guardsmen facing a prolonged threat to life and limb and a denial of certain benefits, it is little wonder that his July letter reflected a sense of betrayal and abandonment. There was no question that he felt the Guard was being exploited during these months of constant danger, inadequate equipment, extended tours of duty and logistical miscalculations.
For the Guard, service in Iraq has not improved since his July letter. The danger appears to be greater as insurgents continue roadside bombing and sniping. Tours of duty have been extended time and again; pressure tactics have been used to force re-enlistments; troops have not been allowed to leave when their enlistments were up.
All the while, North Dakota's political and military leaders have been silent about these abuses. Maybe they think that it would be unpatriotic to call abuse for what it is. Maybe they don't want to add to the president's embarrassment by publicly protesting. Maybe they don't regard the situation as abuse. Maybe they believe national defense is not their business. Regardless of their reasons for silence, strong public protest by the governor and the adjutant general would lift the morale of those Guard men and women who feel that they are being unfairly treated.
As for my July correspondent, he will not be taking advantage of that college education he was promised. Spc. Cody Wentz of Williston, N.D., was killed in Iraq a few weeks ago. This column is being written to honor his request that we not forget the Guard and to help people understand the reality of the situation.
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Tracking the Vote Fraud Stories
the truth becomes elusive
The Sideshow pointed to the story of a programer who claims he was approached by Represenative Tom Feeney (R-Florida) about writing software that could rig elections.
It's an interesting read, and not hard to believe.
However, Bev Harris at Black Box Voting has her doubts (see her December 7 post). She says it sounds like disinformation, or at best, real weak reporting. Bev has a pretty good reputation, so I tend to respect her analysis in this case.
But hey, read them both. We blog -- you decide.
UPDATE: If you're interested in this, Brad Friedman is posting continuous updates on the story at BradBlogToo. Thanks to BuzzFlash and TCF for the links.
A Slogan for the Republicans
There's a great thread going on over at Kos. Check it out if you haven't already.
Kos asked his readers to suggest slogans to help launch Bush's second term. Many of them are outstanding. It's some of the funniest stuff I've read in the blogosphere in weeks. Here are just a few:
Chimpeach!There are dozens of others, and some great pictures, too. Check it out.
Making terrorists faster than we can kill em!
Results Don't Matter
We brake it, you buy it
Being a dictator is hard work!
No Civil Liberty left behind
Making America Safe from Terrorists Who Will Probably Kill You and Your Family Very, Very Soon.
Putting the F U in SNAFU
Like the Nazis, only dumber
This is a test of search engine hits on certain key words. Serious readers should just move on.
Supreme Court okays Medical Marijuana
Naked pictures of Britney
Bush admits drunk driving and cocaine use
National Guard unit mobilized
Iraq War casualties
Republican Christian Sex Scandal
Do a Good Deed
The Suburban Guerrilla is having a little cash flow problem. Send Susie some love and whatever cash you can spare this holiday season. I know you've got some -- you haven't had to make a political contribution for over a month.
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
The War Has Not Made You Safer,
and the Pentagon explains why
Kos picked up on this report (PDF) from an obscure little think tank inside the Pentagon:
Negative attitudes and the conditions that create them are the underlying sources of threats to America's national security and reduced ability to leverage diplomatic opportunities. Terrorism, thin coalitions, harmful effects on business, restrictions on travel, declines in cross border tourism and education flows, and damaging consequences for other elements of U.S. soft power are tactical manifestations of a pervasive atmosphere of hostility.The way the purges are being carried out within the intelligence community, you just know that, once this report hits the light of day, who ever wrote it will be looking for a job in the private sector real soon. Truth has such a nasty way of getting in the way of the Big Iraq Success Story. Can't have anyone writing reports who doesn't support the Preznit's agenda, now can we?
Although many observers correlate anti-Americanism with deficiencies in U.S. public diplomacy (its content, tone, and competence), the effectiveness of the means used to influence public opinion is only one metric. Policies, conflicts of interest, cultural differences, memories, time, dependence on mediated information, and other factors shape perceptions and limit the effectiveness of strategic communication
There is consensus in these reports that U.S. public diplomacy is in crisis. Missing are strong leadership, strategic direction, adequate coordination, sufficient resources, and a culture of measurement and evaluation. America's image problem, many suggest, is linked to perceptions of the United States as arrogant, hypocritical, and self-indulgent. There is agreement too that public diplomacy could be a powerful asset with stronger Presidential leadership, Congressional support, inter-agency coordination, partnership with the private sector, and resources (people, tools, structures, programs, funding). Solutions lie not in short term, manipulative public relations. Results will depend on fundamental transformation of strategic communication instruments and a sustained long term, approach at the level of ideas, cultures, and values.
The number and depth of these reports indicate widespread concern among influential observers that something must be done about public diplomacy. But so far these concerns have produced no real change. The White House has paid little attention. (emphasis added)
Bumper Sticker I Want to See:
Big Brother is a Republican
Orwell was only off by a couple of decades.
Monday, December 06, 2004
More From the Mail Bag:
By their works ye shall know them
A man was being tailgated by a stressed-out woman on a busy boulevard. Suddenly, the light turned yellow, just in front of him. He did the right thing and stopped at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.
The tailgating woman hit the horn, screaming in frustration as she missed her chance to get through the intersection with him.
As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up. He took her to the police station where she was searched, fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a cell. After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door.
She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects.He said, "I'm very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping the guy off in front of you, and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the Choose Life license plate holder, the What Would Jesus Do? bumper sticker, the Follow Me to Sunday School bumper sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk........Naturally, I assumed you had stolen the car."
Thanks to Judith.
UPDATE - Tuesday evening: Atrios has another verse to the same hymn. You can't make this stuff up.
Money Changes Everything
Vote with your wallet
I'm back. The most interesting e-mail in my in-box was this (bless you, Harriet). It is a list of major corporate donars during the 2004 election, listed by amount and who got the money.
And by the way, if Working Assets isn't your long distance provider, it should be.
- Costco donated $225K, of which 99% went to Democrats
- Rite Aid, $517K, 60% to Democrats
- Stanley tools/Mr. Clean, $22K, 100% to Democrats
- Warnaco (undergarments), $55K, 73% to Democrats
- Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, $153K, 99% to Democrats
- Estee Lauder, $448K, 95% to Democrats
- Guess Inc., $145K, 98% to Democrats
- Calvin Klein, $78K, 100% to Democrats
- Liz Claiborne, Inc., $34K, 97% to Democrats
- Levi Straus, $26K, 97% to Democrats
- Olan Mills, $175K, 99% to Democrats
- Gallo Winery, $337K, 95% to Democrats
- Southern Wine & Spirits, $213K, 73% to Democrats
- Joseph E. Seagrams & Sons, $2M+, 67% Democrats
- Sonic Corporation, $83K, 98% Democrats
- Arby's, T.J. Cinnamon's, $112K, 96% Democrats
- Hyatt Corporation, $187K, 80% to Democrats
- WalMart, $467K, 97% to Republicans
- K-Mart, $524K, 86% to Republicans
- Home Depot, $298K, 89% to Republicans
- Target, $226K, 70% to Republicans
- Circuit City Stores, $261K, 95% to Republicans
- 3M Co., $281K, 87% to Republicans
- Hallmark Cards, $319K, 92% to Republicans
- Amway, $391K, 100% Republican
- Kohler Co, $283K, 100% Republicans
- B.F. Goodrich, $215K, 97% to Republicans;
- Proctor & Gamble, $243K, 79% to Republicans
- Coors, $174K, 92% to Republicans
- Southern Comfort, Jack Daniels, Bushmills, Korbe, $644K, 80% to Republicans
- Pilgrim's Pride Corp, $366K, 100% Republican
- Outback Steakhouse, $641K, 95% Republican
- KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, $133K, 87% Republican
- Chili's, Macaroni Grill, $242K, 83% Republican
- Waffle House, $279K, 100% Republican
- McDonald's Corp., $197K, 86% Republican
- Red Lobster, Olive Garden, $121K, 89% Republican
- Mariott International, $323K, 81% to Republicans
- Holiday Inns, $38K, 71% to Republicans
Did you really need another reason to not shop at Wal-Mart?
UPDATE - Monday night: Now that I'm getting caught up on my reading, I see (and am not surprised) that I wasn't the first to post this. I learned from Upper Left that Digby picked it up from Donkey Rising. So, I'm a few days behind, but at least I'm in good company.