Saturday, October 25, 2003
DEMOCRAT CONGRESSWOMAN'S IRAQ BLOG
Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy is on a trip to Iraq and is blogging while over there.
Ever since we landed in Baghdad yesterday, I've been amazed at the morale of our troops. I talked to one soldier who said even though we haven't found the weapons of mass destruction, he's convinced that we are in Iraq for the right reasons. He felt that the conditions that the people of Iraq were facing under Hussein were so bad, that even being here just to help them free their country was reason enough. I've got a lot of reservations about the run up to the war in Iraq. Poor intelligence, lack of a coherent message from the Administration and a faulty plan for winning the peace are all problems, but seeing our work with my own eyes has been helpful. We're doing a lot of good over here.
RealPolitik has some good cartoons up
Friday, October 24, 2003
FROM BUSH'S SPEECH TO THE AUSTRALIAN PARLIAMENT
The terrorists hope to gain chemical, biological or nuclear weapons -- the means to match their hatred. So we're confronting outlaw regimes that aid terrorists, that pursue weapons of mass destruction, and that defy the demands of the world. America, Australia, and other nations acted in Iraq to remove a grave and gathering danger, instead of wishing and waiting while tragedy drew closer. (Hear, hear.)
Since the liberation of Iraq, we have discovered Saddam's clandestine network of biological laboratories, the design work on prohibited long-range missiles, his elaborate campaign to hide illegal weapons programs. Saddam Hussein spent years frustrating U.N. inspections, for a simple reason -- because he was violating U.N. demands. And in the end, rather than surrender his programs and abandon his lies, he chose defiance, and his own undoing.
Who can possibly think that the world would be better off with Saddam Hussein still in power? Surely not the dissidents who would be in his prisons, or end up in his mass graves. Surely not the men and women who would fill Saddam's torture chambers and rape rooms. Surely not the families of the victims he murdered with poison gas. Surely not anyone who cares about human rights and democracy and stability in the Middle East. Today, Saddam's regime is gone, and no one... should mourn its passing.
In the months leading up to our action in Iraq, Australia and America went to the United Nations. We are committed to multilateral institutions because global threats require a global response. We're committed to collective security, and collective security requires more than solemn discussions and sternly worded pronouncements -- it requires collective will. If the resolutions of the world are to be more than ink on paper, they must be enforced. If the institutions of the world are to be more than debating societies, they must eventually act. (Hear, hear.) If the world promises serious consequences for the defiance of the lawless, then serious consequences must follow. (Hear, hear.)
Because we enforced Resolution 1441, and used force in Iraq as a last resort, there is one more free nation in the world -- and all free nations are more secure.
A BAD WEEK FOR THE DEMS
John Podhoretz has a column
in the NY Post on how prescription drugs, the partial-birth abortion ban and the economy have made this a bad week for the Dems and their chances in '04.
FOR AN ECONOMIST HE SURE TALKS ABOUT THE PRESIDENT A LOT
Paul Krugman's got a new piece today
which basically sets up his columns a year from now that will say, no matter how the economy is doing, that Bush's economic policies are failures.
THE PATRIOT ACT
Realpolitik has a good post
in which Democrat Senators Biden and Feinstein defend the Patriot act.
SENATE APPROVES "DO-NOT-SPAM" LIST
This really isn't going to work. The do-not-call list works because telemarketing is done by reputable companies within the United States. Spam is a lot more likely to come from outside the country and/or to be from one or two people operating out of their home. But even with that you could stop it if it weren't for the problems with the e-mail system itself.
Spammers don't need to put their real e-mail address on the spam. It's a lot harder to go after spammers when you don't know their address. Even if you can get their ip address from the header it's still not a simple task. The best way to solve this issue I think is to fix the e-mail system itself. E-mail servers really need to be fixed so as to force the from-address to be the sender's real address. This would be an inconvenience for some who want an e-mail from one of their accounts to look like it came from another, but the benefits of having an actual address for the spam you receive would far outweigh it.
Thursday, October 23, 2003
LILEKS ON THE RUMSFELD MEMOCheck it out.
IT'S NOT JUST THE US THAT FRANCE AND GERMANY ARE TICKING OFF
The Iraqi governing council isn't pleased about it either.
A top Iraqi official attending an international conference on raising funds to rebuild Iraq warned Thursday that France and Germany's limited donations would not be forgotten.
Ayad Allawi, the current head of Iraq's U.S.-appointed governing council, said he hoped German and French officials would reconsider their decision not to boost their contributions beyond funds already pledged through the European Union.
"As far as Germany and France are concerned, really, this was a regrettable position they had," Allawi said. "I don't think the Iraqis are going to forget easily that in the hour of need, those countries wanted to neglect Iraq."
You can complain all you want about the US being a rogue nation, or we didn't need to go to war when we did, or Iraq needs to pay us back, or whatever, but that doesn't change the fact the Iraq does need help rebuilding right now.
About 250 "undocumented workers" rounded up
at Wal-Marts nationwide. There's a redneck comment to be made here that's taking all my strength to hold in...
WHAT WE'RE DEALING WITH CONCERNING NORTH KOREA
It's a country that has more than 150,000 political prisoners in slave labor camps according to FOX News
and the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea. The prisoners are subjected to "starvation diets, inhuman conditions, and torture". According to the television version of the report pregnant prisoners are forced to have abortions unless they're far along in the pregnancy in which case the child is born and then immediately killed. One man, Kim Yong, the only known escapee from the camps, was sent there at the age of 44 he was sent to the camps simply because it was discovered that his father and uncle were spys.
The starvation was so severe that one prisoner was apparently killed simply for collecting chestnuts that fell on the ground.
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WOULD SOMEBODY PLEASE BUY THE WEST WING SOME LIGHT BULBS?!
If somebody isn't shrouded in shadows just wait half a second and they will be.
On the plus side I'm really pleased with how Angel is going this season.
Wednesday, October 22, 2003
THE MOST OVER-COVERED STORY OF THE DAY
The "Rumsfeld Memo"
. It's not like he said we were losing or criticized the State Department or anything.
CONGRESS PASSES LATE-TERM ABORTION BAN
Or at least that's what the bill's opponents would like you to believe. In reality what Congress passed was a bill outlawing one specific kind of late-term abortion. There's nothing in the bill
about when the procedure happens. It simply outlaws the partial delivery and subsequent killing of a fetus/baby. And also despite what some would have you believe the bill also includes an exception when the life of the mother is in danger.
This subsection does not apply to a partial-birth abortion that is necessary to save the life of a mother whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.
Of course the opponents want you to think of it as a sweeping bill that will deny millions their right to an abortion and kill many many women.
Tuesday, October 21, 2003
THE NATIONAL GUARD AND NATIONALIZED HEALTH CARE
Returned National Guardsmen at Fort Stewart in Georgia have had to wait weeks to see a doctor
Neal Boortz points out how this relates to the national health care debate:
Today it's National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers at Ft. Stewart. Tomorrow it's you. This is government health care. This is what happens when you turn the health care of these people over to government ... and this is the future of health care in the United States.
This is the future of health care in America because you believe that your health care isn't your business. No ... it's up to your employer or the government to take care of your health needs, certainly not you. Life insurance, auto insurance, homeowners insurance .. that's fine. You'll go out there and competitively shop for those products. But health insurance? No way! That's not your responsibility, is it? Noooooo. That's your employer's responsibility.
Unless there is a huge and very quick change of attitude on the part of the American people, socialized medicine is inevitable in the United States. Right now these soldiers at Ft. Stewart have to wait weeks or months to see a doctor. Wait until the politicians get their way way with some sort of national health care plan. What makes you think they can do any better administering health care on a national basis than they can on one Army post?
THE SOUTHWEST PSEUDO-TERRORIST
I assume by now that you know all about the guy that left the box cutters, bleach, and clay on the airplanes
. Now people are calling him a hero, and saying he certainly shouldn't be prosecuted, he's doing a necessary service, blah, blah, blah... This guy isn't a hero, he's a world class idiot. We do need to know whether the security at airports actually works, but this is an idiotic and dangerous way to go about it. Besides I think most people knew beforehand that it was still possible to sneak things through. If you want to prove that you can get things through security you get it through security and then somehow document that you got it through security. You don't then take it on the airplane and hide it in the bathroom. We can't have every screwball trying to prove something leaving mystery packages on airplanes. This guy should be, and has been, charged, and that's good. There are good and noble ways to question how our government is protecting us and this was in no way one of them.
Monday, October 20, 2003
GOLDBERG ON WHY WE WENT TO WAR
I never understood why there has to be only one reason to go to war. I preferred the "checklist"... approach. There were lots of good reasons to topple Saddam. And while it makes sense to emphasize some over others, they all added up to a list of benefits to making the right decision.
I doubt Saddam had anything to do with planning 9/11 and frankly I don't give a damn. The lesson of the 3,000 dead was that we're going to take our responsibilities seriously again. And that means cleaning up unfinished business and telling the rest of the world we are serious. Nobody — nobody — has made a remotely persuasive case for why it would have been good to keep Saddam in power. Nobody dares make the case that Saddam and his regime didn't deserve everything they got — because that would be like arguing you shouldn't fix the shot brakes on your car because your last accident was the result of bald tires.
Regardless, the gripes we hear today are the predictable complaints of people who grew pretty comfortable in the shadow of a sleeping giant. The giant was rudely awoken. And if the resultant harsh light of day is unpleasant or inconvenient to you, too frick'n bad. The United States is taking care of business and we've got nothing to apologize for.
BROOKS ON THE DEMS AND IRAQ
When it comes to the future of Iraq, there's not just one Democratic Party; there are three.
Saddam Hussein would be jubilant in Pelosi's Iraq. He has long argued that America is a decadent country that will buckle at the first sign of trouble. If the Pelosi Democrats had won yesterday's vote, the Saddam Doctrine would be enshrined in every terrorist cave and dictator's palace around the world: kill some Americans and watch the empire buckle.
The Bayh Democrats are centrist but not visionary, and they seem to worry more about adding an extra $10 billion to the deficit than about the future of the Middle East. They may have read memos from the Democratic pollsters on the unpopularity of the $87 billion plan, but they don't seem to have read about the Versailles Treaty and what happens when strong nations impose punitive burdens on proud ones.
The Cantwell Democrats are dismayed with how the Bush administration has handled the postwar period. They'd like to see the rich pay a bigger share of the reconstruction cost. But they knew yesterday's vote wasn't about George Bush. It was about doing what's right for the Iraqi people and what's right, over the long term, for the American people. These Democrats supported the aid package, and were willing to pay a price to give the Iraqis their best shot at a decent future.
THE NEW $20 BILL
The Treasury is spending something like $30 million to advertise the new $20 bill. This doesn't upset me really. What upsets me is that in this big what do we hear about? The new features?
The peach color? Not mentioned.
The blue eagle thing? Not mentioned.
The portrait change? Not mentioned.
The small yellow 20s? Not mentioned.
The only things they mention are color shifting ink, watermark and security thread. We've had these features for 5+ years now. If you're going to spend our money at least tell us what's new about THIS bill.