Comments Posted By JML
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GOP GAMING THE DEMOCRATS

"He would be a much easier general election target for McCain who will be seen as a paragon of virtue next to Obama."

Unfortunately, there really isn't much of a story to the Rezko/Obama thing. Rezko might be crooked, but Obama isn't automatically guilty by association. And if you really do want to go there, then I have two words for you: Keating Five.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keating_Five

Comment Posted By JML On 13.03.2008 @ 00:00

ENOUGH WITH ALL OF THIS "OBAMA IS A MOOSLIM" CRAP

I usually have profound disagreements with Mr. Moran, but he hit this topic squarely on its head.

Unfortunately for the Right, as evidenced by many Right-wingers posting here, the knee-jerk assumption that Obama is even a Muslim indicates a willful suspension of reality that has become not only too common on the Right, but a virtual litmus test to determine one's true adherence to conservative values, whatever those are this week. It is the same mentality that weighs patriotism not by one's deeds, but by the symbols one chooses to display. For a few bucks, anybody can be "obviously" patriotic. While there are legitimate issues to be debated, the Right has taken to chasing after the substantive equivalent of shadows.

Jeff Bergman's comment exemplifies my points; "Barack Hussein Obama has no respect or admiration for the country that has given him the opportunity to become the most powerful man on earth." - Funny thing, Jeff, that's exactly what I think of George W. Bush.

Comment Posted By JML On 25.02.2008 @ 23:13

THE IRAQ CONUNDRUM

Rick asked, "If Iraq was that important, shouldn’t we be doing at least some of these (strategic no-brainers) things?"

Sometimes I have to wonder if Iraq isn't turning out exactly as planned. When in doubt, follow the money.

The Republicans have been telling us for years that we need to privatize virtually every last facet of government because private industry can accomplish things faster and cheaper and that would be a plus for the taxpayer. Be that as it may, it also shifts the focus of the now-privatized services from providing a public service to making a profit. In some instances, profit motive and public service can be polar opposites. If airport security is provided by a private firm, then profits come first. This means that labor costs need to be kept at a minimum. This is done by paying security personnel as little as possible, with the byproduct of ensuring that talented candidates accept jobs elsewhere. Costs are also kept down by providing an absolute minimum of training and providing the cheapest equipment. Security personnel must also take care not to be excessively disruptive of airport operations because passenger inconvenience is bad for business. (If we had real airport security on 9/11, perhaps we would be talking about a crazy plot that was foiled back in 2001 versus the bitter memories that we have today, but I suppose that could be a whole separate discussion...)

Now, Rick, to answer your question, we might apply the same principles to the Iraq war. Contractors are involved in such tasks as operating mess halls, laundry facilities, security, and logistics. These are things that used to be handled by military personnel. Supposedly, contractors are more efficient and less costly. However, it is in the contractors' best interests that the war not end because that would be the end of their gravy trains. Remember, their primary purpose, as with any private industry, is to make money. When I consider the cozy ties between Bush and Cheney and contractors like Halliburton, I have to ask whether they indeed did plan for an insurgency; if the idea all along was to maintain a sort of low boil going in Iraq while literally banking on Americans' patriotic sentiments. The money would flow virtually non-stop from taxpayers into contractors' coffers.

I have recently read the suggestion that, at this point, the military is really acting as a sort of cheap security force for the contractors (who are, ostensibly, supporting the military).

I hate to say it, but at least this scenario makes sense in a very cynical, twisted way. The point is money. Halliburton's profits are up something like 800% since 2001. This war has been very kind to a select few. Also, bear in mind that Bush has said repeatedly that Iraq will be up to the next (poor bastard) president to resolve.

Any other scenario can only lead me to believe that this administration is unquestionably and criminally incompetent and stupid.

(Any ideas as to what Cheney's Energy Task Force was talking about behind closed doors in the days before 9/11?)

Comment Posted By JML On 20.07.2007 @ 23:30

MISSING SOMETHING?

Rick,

"I haven’t written anything about Iraq recently and there’s a reason for it; I’m waiting until we hear from the only guy who counts – the Commander in Chief."

You're almost right. You see, W is the Commander in Belief. You just have to Believe that we will prevail in Iraq and all is well. It would really help if everyone in America could join hands and pray; then we would be invincible. At the very least, we should all show "resolve" (what ever the f**k that means) and then Victory will be At Hand.

We constantly hear Iraqi this or Iraqi that... Question: Do the citizens of Iraq think of themselves as Iraqi first, Sunni/Shiite/Kurd second, or is it vice-versa, that is, Sunni/Shiite/Kurd first, Iraqi second? Would it have been worth considering this before invading Iraq and assuming that modern Jeffersonian Democracy could be not only imposed, but successful, virtually overnight? Would it have been to America's advantage to elect a Resident who understands, however remotely, the world beyond Texas and the Confederacy?

Rick, you on the Right wanted W, now you have him and his glorious legacy. Are you telling me that you were for W before you were agianst W? I've got some flip-flops with your name on 'em...

Comment Posted By JML On 9.01.2007 @ 01:24

THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY

Rick Moron,

You said: “Whether true or not, the idea that one politician calls out another for lying is loony.”

– What? Should politicians just roll over and play dead when confronted with falsehoods? I would hope that liars are called out, no matter their political persuasions.

Please tell us all what the Republicans (Gregg, R-NH, Bennett, R-UT) are doing on this trip. Are they dissing the glorious legacy that is the Ford Presidency? How are they different from the Democrats on the trip? Please tell us all why only the Democrats are traitors in your opinion. While you’re at it, please remind us all of the percentage of the popular vote that Ford won. Oh, I forgot, if you’re a Republican, you don’t really need to win an election to become Resident, do you?

Speaking of junkets, Rick, perhaps the Republican delegates will take a side trip to inspect the land (about 100,000 acres) that the Bush family recently purchased in Paraguay. The land sits atop one of the world’s largest fresh water aquifers and, conveniently, it is adjacent to a larger plot owned by the goodly Reverend Moon. It’s also really close to a large air base. Here’s a link, for fun:
http://poljunk.gloriousnoise.com/2006/10/water_world_the_sequel_paranoid_in_parag.php

This raises the question: Will the Glorious Republicans give Jimmy Carter any respect when he passes or will they find more important things to do with their time, such appear on Fox News and slam the Carter Presidency? I should add that it might not be Carter who would necessarily be the next to go; I understand that Bush 41 is somewhat disappointed (and quite stressed about) some (all?) of W’s foreign policy choices.

Having said all of this, I don’t mean any disrespect to President Ford (I too grew up in Michigan), but it just seems to me that any President who had the genuine best interests of America at heart would understand that sometimes the business of statesmanship trumps America’s sentimental affairs, and, therefore, would rather that such a delegation continue with its work, rather than focus its efforts on a dead man. (By the way, my understanding is that Ford is dead, and, as a dead man, he probably has little or no opinion on this matter.)

This might shock you, but the rest of the world does not revolve around America’s schedule. By the way, how many unelected Republican Residents have we had now?

Comment Posted By JML On 29.12.2006 @ 04:01

NOT EVEN CLOSE

Steve,

"I’m sorry, but I don’t trust the NY Times to make sound judgments of any sort, let alone the weighty decisions under discussion. The newspaper is failing its mission, and frankly it is well past the time for law enforcement (read: Department of Justice) to help shape the debate as to what the NYT can and cannot do."

- I don't trust the Bush Administration to make sound judgements of any sort. So there!

I try my best to get my news from as many different sources as possible, as different sources will have different angles and specific information, and, of course, no single news source gets it right every time.

- If the DOJ intervenes and starts sending reporters and editors off to jail every time a story runs that raises the government's ire, then that would effectively be the end of free speech/press in America. A precedent would be established that would make reporting on government activity prohibitively risky for news organizations. The news media would be reduced to running government-approved fluff pieces. There might be specific instances where taking legal action against the news media might serve specific tactical purposes, either with regard to military operations or, more ominously, with regard to political goals at home, but there's a reason why our government hasn't taken this route (yet). Just wait for the next terrorist strike here at home; then I'm sure you will see the end of any meaningful investigative reporting into government activity. It will be just like the days right after 9/11 when virtually nobody in the news media dared to question anything the Bush Administration did.

You asked a number of legitimate questions about the NYT's conduct. I have no way of knowing what they are thinking. Perhaps they are responding to pressure from advertisers or other coporate interests who feel that they have a stake in what gets reported and what doesn't. (?)

Given that the NYT is based in NYC, which is easily the most popular terror target in North America, I can't imagine them simply being careless about running a story about a counter-terrorism program. They may be liberal, but they're not morons. Having read the article, I didn't see anything that stood out in terms of jeopardizing the program. If you see something that I don't, please share. Is anybody really surprised that the government has such a program? I've often quipped that taking the NYT to task for this article would be like being upset with a newpaper for reporting that the Air Force has airplanes. Any terrorist worth his bomb belt has to figure that governments and financial institutions are on the lookout for shady activity.

Just for fun, here's the artilce:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/23/washington/23intel.html?pagewanted=1&ei=5090&en=4b46b4fd8685c26b&ex=1308715200&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

Having said all of this, I'm not really out to defend the NYT. They can do that themselves.

Thank you for your thoughts and comments. Have a good week-end.

Comment Posted By JML On 7.07.2006 @ 21:21

Rick,

1) "Where? Where do you see any conservative saying anything REMOTELY like the government should operate in TOTAL secrecy and the citizens should have ABSOLUTELY NO RIGHT to know about intel programs?"

- This quote almost sounds like it is in defense of the press. I'm confused. I am an idiot, after all. It seems that you would either advocate a position that the press should be free to report as it sees fit, or you would advocate a position that the press should be beholden to government. Which is it? If we declare entire topics relating to government conduct to be off-limits for public consumption via the media, isn't that tantamount to government operating in secrecy? Your thoughts, please...

2) Am I a liar, an idiot, or a boob? Please make up your mind.

3) You're right to call me on the straw man thing. I did that deliberately, as creating straw men is a favorite tool of the Right. I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard/read some right-winger declare that liberals hate America or that the NYT serves Al-Qaeda.

4) I say " democracy such as it is " because, unfortunately, the bulk of our "representation" in our government represents not common citizens, but wealthy corporations and special-interest groups.

5) "Your wild, immature exaggerations belong on talk boards like Democractic Underground or Kos, not places where adults gather to discuss the issues of the day."

- Actually, I have little use for DU or Kos. I have the same problems with them that I have with right-wing nuts. Opposite sides of the same coin... Who are these adults who I should blindly trust? Are these the "adults" who run America today, as in "the adults are in charge?" Should I assume that our adult government knows better than I do what is good for me? I'm in the darkness here, please bring me into the light.

6) I'm interested in your thoughts on my points #1 and #2 above, which you conveniently omitted in your response above.

Steve,

I agree with you that freedom involves trade-offs. I guess the question is where do we draw the line in terms of what we are willing to trade off and what are we not willing to part with?

What bothers me about all of this is that there seems to be an "It Can't Happen Here" attitude with regard to the possibility of the government exploiting the public's fears of terrorism and, subsequently, the public's tendency to acquiesce to authority figures in the face of perceived terrorist threats to serve ends that might be well beyond the scope of the public interest. It is in the Bush Administration's best interests to simultaneously propagate a fear of terrorism and the idea that only the Bush Administration can save America from terrorists, if we all just do as we're told. - You in the news media, shut up and wave the flag!!!

Comment Posted By JML On 7.07.2006 @ 00:45

As I read through the comments above, I am finding sometheing very odd. The conservatives, who usually champion freedom, seem to be promoting the idea that our big centralized government should operate in total secrecy and that the citizens of this democracy (such as it is) should have absolutely no right to know about programs (whether we're talking about monitoring financial transactions, phone tapping, whether warrants should be required for various forms of snooping or whatever) that might very well affect each of us as individuals.

A common reply to this is, "If you're not involved in any wrongdoing, then you have nothing to worry about." This will be followed with tired lines about being at war and in wartime the government should have special powers, blah, blah, blah... Trust us and we will protect you!

1) If the American public as a whole subscribes to these concepts, then those in power have every incentive to ensure that we are constantly in a state of war, thereby necessitating a continuum and/or expansion of special or secret powers. Perhaps it is no accident that three years on, after turning corner after corner, and capturing or killing so many of AQ's #2 leaders (how many #2's can you have, anyway?), Iraq is still such a mess.

2) If these powers are not held in check to some degree or are not subject to some degree of general transparency, then there is nothing to stop this administration or a future one from expanding these programs beyond their original (and for the sake of this discussion, I will assume legitimate) intents regarding the GWOT and perhaps using these programs against Amercan citizens; perhaps those who don't belong to the correct political party, attend the correct churches, or support other correct party-approved agenda items.

Conservatives seem to be promoting a position on these issues that might be more in line with the thinking of old Soviet-style party hardliners than freedom-loving Americans; sacrifice the free flow of information and, subsequently, its critical role in allowing an electorate to make inforomed decisions at the polls, on the altar of party power. Predictable conservative knee-jerk reaction to this post would be a case-in-point.

Either you're for freedom or you're against it.

Comment Posted By JML On 6.07.2006 @ 00:05

ABC NEWS CALL MONITORING: WHAT'S GOING ON?

DaveG,

"Yeah, boy, some day there will be another Clinton-esque Administration, and all we’ll have to worry about is mis-use of FBI records and the selling of nuclear secrets to China. Whhoo-eee, just like the good ole days."

- I will not defend the missteps of individuals associated with the Clinton Administration. Do you support the missteps of the Bush Administration; do you allow extra leeway for the Bush Administration (presumably) just because you like them?

"But still we hear the hysterical shriekings about this “dangerous abuse of power.” "

- Will you be a good little subservient citizen when power changes hands? ...and it will, eventually. Remember, precedents established under Bush will not simply evaporate after Bush is out of office. Are these powers ones that you are willing to afford the likes of Hillary or Howard Dean or (insert your favorite commie/pinko/liberal)? Be very careful what you wish for...

Comment Posted By JML On 18.05.2006 @ 01:41

I'm very curious as to why the Right in this country supports such a dangerous legal precedent.

If the NSA, or any other agency, wants to investigate a leak and use phone records in the process, that's fine, all by itself. Get a bloody warrant. Regarding the GWOT and all of the other WOX (War On X=Whatevers), investigations are fine, but please get a warrant. Warrants are what allow some modicum of oversight. Does the Right in this country really want to throw oversight overboard?

I know that right now it is inconcieveable to the Right, but at some point there will be an administration in this country that does not belong to the Bush family. There might be a Democratic administration, or a Purple Party administration, or whatever, in the relatively near future. The precedent that the Bush administration is establishing will afford future adiministrations the same luxury to spy on anybody, anytime, anywhere, with or without a reason, or, at the very least, any oversight and subsequent accountability.

I'm all for promoting the security of America, but the assumption that expanded powers will not be abused, if allowed to go unchecked, by this or future governments is just stupid. That's right, stupid. All that (most) on the left and in the center (and a few on the Right) are demanding is a shred of oversight and accountability. Why does the right hate accountability?

What do you think Hannity, Limbaugh, O'Reilly, et al would think of a Hillary Clinton administration (not that I care much for HRC, but it is a very real possibility that she might be our next president) tapping their every conversation?

I'm hoping that some good right-wingers reply to this posting. Honestly, I want to understand why the right thinks that demolishing government transparency in a democracy, demolishing oversight of individuals and agencies in our government, and demolishing general accountability should be discarded. If they honestly believe these things, then the terrorist have gotten far more than they ever bargained for.

I fear for America. Prove me wrong.

Comment Posted By JML On 17.05.2006 @ 00:30


 


 


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