Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Global Second Amendment?

US firearms enthusiasts are blasting away again at UN attempt to limit trade in illegal small arms. (“UN conference takes aim at illicit small-arms trade”, Washington Times 6-27-06) Both are wasting their time and putting all their guns into one basket.

First, guns don’t kill people. Diseases do. Only 100 million people were killed in all the wars revolutions and murders over the last 100 years (many undoubtedly by small arms. Few were illegal). During the same time period Governments with legal small arms killed over 160 million of their own (mainly unarmed) citizens. During only 70 of those 100 years, smallpox alone killed over 300 million (more than wars and genocidal governments combined).

Weaponized smallpox, a product of the former Soviet Union, would probably kill over a billion people in less than a single year. Imagine the killing capacity of new biotechnological equipment that can create viruses capable of targeting genetic profiles.
This will bring a whole new killing capacity to genocidal governments or angry ethnic groups. (think Palestinians designing an Jew bug…or Jewish extremists designing a camel pox). If you think this is far fetched read the Bi-partisan Presidential Commission on National Security in the 21st Century (also known as the Hart-Ruddman Commission) This is the same Commission that 6 months prior to 9-11 warned that Americans should prepare to die in large numbers on American soil from terrorism.

And biological weapons and their production facilities are very hard (Iraq WMD) and sometimes impossible (US post 9-11 anthrax) to find.

But life is fragile and there are many other creative ways to murder. Hitler was no slouch at mass murder but even his gas chambers were inefficient compared to Hutu clubs and machetes in Rwanda in 1994. Nearly a million people were hacked or beaten to death in less than 6 months.
Don’t forget what a few clever Saudi’s did with razor blades and air line tickets.

Outlaw small arms? OK. If you got nothing better to do.

Thomas Jefferson once said “Democracy is two wolves and lamb deciding what to have for lunch. Freedom is a well armed lamb protesting the vote.”
Our democracy is showing many signs of too many corporate and congressional free lunches. Perhaps its time liberals found more value and respect for the second Amendment. (Note to any CIA cyber surveillance teams…I own no firearms and don’t plan to buy any. I do however have access to biosecurity lab -- our bathroom hasn’t been cleaned for a week…I’m hoping you will send a team to investigate what’s growing around the toilet.)

Here’s an idea. Try creating laws and a world where people don’t get angry enough to commit mass murder. And those who talk about it…in the form of genocide (Iranian President), nuclear attack (North Korean President) or preemptive war (American President) are hauled before a global tribunal…and spanked.

The really bad news for disarmament folks is the fact that disarmament is impossible…given the dual use nature of all technology. Fuel oil and fertilizer could make a nuclear sized bomb. Botulism, the most deadliest substance known to man (5 times more lethal than VX gas…or most lethal creation) is hard NOT to make.

Do the freakin math….Weapons don’t kill people. Murder’s and Presidents do. Hold your fire…and, then hold them accountable.

Bush's legacy: Hawaiian Islands or war?

Jane Lubchenco and David Festa suggest that Bush’s ‘new Northwestern Island Marine National Monument will safeguard a remote, biologically rich string of islands, submerged lands and their surrounding waters totaling …38 times the size of Yellowstone Park” and that this “shocked and awed his environmental critics.” (Bush the Environmentalist? Wtimes 6-28-06)

The real shock and awe will be when oceans rise from global warming and destroy this “marine conservation area” and hundreds others globally more than 38 times the size of Texas.

If Bush really wants to shock and awe environmentalist with is concerns for the oceans he might try urging the Senate to ratify the “Law of the Sea” Treaty and signing it as the Department of Defense has recommended for national security reasons.

Teddy Roosevelt’s “18 national monuments” would pail in comparison to Bush’s ‘world’s ocean monument’. This would be a far better legacy than an endless war against a tactic.

Pombo's DOER Act DOA

Congressman Richard Pombo (CA-R) plans for “Ending energy dependence” by “offshore drilling” is like screwing your way to virginity. He says “It just doesn’t make any sense” not to tap our off shore oil sites.
Mr. Pombo. Try this logic. Why not consider our ‘off shore oil’ as a reserve to tap at the very last resort, when global oil supplies are almost gone and the price per barrel is off the chart? That way we could never be held hostage to Middle East oil embargos or terrorist attacks on Middle East oil sources. This is an idea that some of my High School buddies came up with during the oil shortages in the early 1970s. (And, Pombo is “Chairman of the House Resources Committee. Lord help us!)

Finally, there is no guarantee that the “$300 billion a year” his Domestic Ocean Energy Resources (DOER) Act would safely tap from our Outer Continental Shelf would benefit Americans if it keeps oil prices low. We only consider investments in creating oil alternatives (the only real path to ‘ending energy dependence’) when oil prices are high.

Monday, June 26, 2006

One percent doctrine! Catafreakin’strophic!

In Ron Suskind’s new book “The One Percent Doctrine” he attempts to put some logical reasoning behind Bush/Cheney’s ‘Preemptive doctrine’ by saying that they believed "if there was even a 1 percent chance of terrorists getting a weapon of mass destruction — and there has been a small probability of such an occurrence for some time — the United States must now act as if it were a certainty."
This essentially makes suspicion and not evidence the new threshold for Bush Administration action.
Haven’t they done the freakin’ math on WMD?
There is a 100% chance that terrorists will gain access to WMD -- if they don’t already have them. And, their access to WMD accelerates with each passing day as ‘free trade’ and the unregulated global flow of capital and other valuable resources (diamonds, drugs, or counterfeit/stolen goods) floods every corner of every nation. This doesn’t even include the nations with old stockpiles of WMD that continue to go inadequately guarded or their WMD scientists who each day go unpaid, underpaid or unemployed.
With each new “collateral damage’ figure coming out of Iraq we can reasonably calculate the creation of at least a few other ‘nuke-America-first’ volunteers. Just add the number of collateral damage’s surviving relatives, friends, lovers and fellow worshipers and divide by one hundred (figuring at least one percent will be willing to seek revenge).
Recent estimates suggest that the post US invasion Iraqi death toll is about 50,000 people. Assuming each had at least 10 others fitting the relationship categories listed above…we now have approximately 500,000 people even MORE pissed off at the US than before the invasion. If just one percent of these are willing to commit mass murder of Americans in revenge…we have a problem -- a simple math problem (5,000) -- a grave security problem (50 likely successes with only a 1% success record).
If invading Iraq was really just Bush’s means of ‘setting an example’ for what other foreigners seeking WMD might expect…it’s already backfired. North Korea has learned that by having nukes…it can avoid similar invasions. Iran’s learning that it needs to acquire them more quickly. And other murderous groups are now more motivated by US arrogance and our well known inability to effectively fund or mobilize our homeland security. What percentage of illegal immigrants get across our southern border? Don’t ask about our northern border.
It was said shortly after 9-11 (maybe even before then) that US counterterrorism measures have to be successful 100% of the time. Terrorists only have to succeed 1% to be effective. Invading and occupying Iraq probably increased terrorist numbers by at least 50%. We are in big trouble.
Do the freakin’ math.

NYT: June 20, 2006
Books of The Times | 'The One Percent Doctrine'
Personality, Ideology and Bush's Terror Wars
The title of Ron Suskind's riveting new book, "The One Percent Doctrine," refers to an operating principle that he says Vice President Dick Cheney articulated shortly after 9/11: in Mr. Suskind's words, "if there was even a 1 percent chance of terrorists getting a weapon of mass destruction — and there has been a small probability of such an occurrence for some time — the United States must now act as if it were a certainty." He quotes Mr. Cheney saying that it's not about "our analysis," it's about "our response," and argues that this conviction effectively sidelines the traditional policymaking process of analysis and debate, making suspicion, not evidence, the new threshold for action.
Mr. Suskind's book — which appears to have been written with wide access to the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, George Tenet, as well as to other C.I.A. officials and a host of sources at the F.B.I., and in the State, Defense and Treasury Departments — is sure to be as talked about as his "Price of Loyalty" (2004) and the former counterterrorism czar Richard A. Clarke's "Against All Enemies" (2004).
The book, which focuses on the 2001 to 2004 period, not only sheds new light on the Bush White House's strategic thinking and its doctrine of pre-emptive action, but also underscores the roles that personality and ideology played in shaping the administration's decision to go to war in Iraq. It describes how poorly prepared homeland security was (and is) for another terrorist attack, and looks at a series of episodes in the war on terror that often found the "invisibles," who run intelligence and enforcement operations on the ground, at odds with the "notables," who head the government.
In fleshing out key relationships among administration members — most notably, between Mr. Cheney and Mr. Bush, Mr. Bush and Mr. Tenet, and Mr. Tenet and Condoleezza Rice, then the national security adviser — it adds some big, revealing chunks to the evolving jigsaw-puzzle portrait of this White House and its modus operandi, while also giving the reader some up close and personal looks at the government's day-to-day operations in the war on terror.
In "The One Percent Doctrine," Mr. Suskind discloses that First Data Corporation — one of the world's largest processors of credit card transactions and the parent company of Western Union — began cooperating with the F.B.I. in the wake of 9/11, providing information on financial transactions and wire transfers from around the world. The huge data-gathering operation in some respects complemented the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program (secretly authorized by Mr. Bush months after the Sept. 11 attacks), which monitored specific conversations as well as combed through large volumes of phone and Internet traffic in search of patterns that might lead to terrorism suspects.
Despite initial misgivings on the part of Western Union executives, Mr. Suskind reports, the company also worked with the C.I.A. and provided real-time information on financial transactions as they occurred.
Mr. Suskind's book also reveals that Qaeda operatives had designed a delivery system (which they called a "mubtakkar") for a lethal gas, and that the United States government had a Qaeda source who said that plans for a hydrogen cyanide attack on New York City's subway system were well under way in early 2003, but the attack was called off — for reasons that remain unclear — by Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri. The book also reports that Al Qaeda had produced "extremely virulent" anthrax in Afghanistan before 9/11, which "could be easily reproduced to create a quantity that could be readily weaponized."
Just as disturbing as Al Qaeda's plans and capabilities are the descriptions of the Bush administration's handling of the war on terror and its willful determination to go to war against Iraq. That war, according to the author's sources who attended National Security Council briefings in 2002, was primarily waged "to make an example" of Saddam Hussein, to "create a demonstration model to guide the behavior of anyone with the temerity to acquire destructive weapons or, in any way, flout the authority of the United States."
"The One Percent Doctrine" amplifies an emerging portrait of the administration (depicted in a flurry of recent books by authors as disparate as the Reagan administration economist Bruce Bartlett and the former Coalition Provisional Authority adviser Larry Diamond) as one eager to circumvent traditional processes of policy development and policy review, and determined to use experts (whether in the C.I.A., the Treasury Department or the military) not to help formulate policy, but simply to sell predetermined initiatives to the American public.
Mr. Suskind writes that the war on terror gave the president and vice president "vast, creative prerogatives": "to do what they want, when they want to, for whatever reason they decide" and to "create whatever reality was convenient." The potent wartime authority granted the White House in the wake of 9/11, he says, dovetailed with the administration's pre-9/11 desire to amp up executive power (diminished, Mr. Cheney and others believed, by Watergate) and to impose "message discipline" on government staffers.
"The public, and Congress, acquiesced," Mr. Suskind notes, "with little real resistance, to a 'need to know' status — told only what they needed to know, with that determination made exclusively, and narrowly, by the White House."
Within the government, he goes on, there was frequent frustration with the White House's hermetic decision-making style. "Voicing desire for a more traditional, transparent policy process," he writes, "prompted accusations of disloyalty," and "issues argued, often vociferously, at the level of deputies and principals rarely seemed to go upstream in their fullest form to the president's desk, and if they did, it was often after Bush seemed to have already made up his mind based on what was so often cited as his 'instinct' or 'gut.' "
This book augments the portrait of Mr. Bush as an incurious and curiously uninformed executive that Mr. Suskind earlier set out in "The Price of Loyalty" and in a series of magazine articles on the president and key aides. In "The One Percent Doctrine," he writes that Mr. Cheney's nickname inside the C.I.A. was Edgar (as in Edgar Bergen), casting Mr. Bush in the puppet role of Charlie McCarthy, and cites one instance after another in which the president was not fully briefed (or had failed to read the basic paperwork) about a crucial situation.
During a November 2001 session with the president, Mr. Suskind recounts, a C.I.A. briefer realized that the Pentagon had not told Mr. Bush of the C.I.A.'s urgent concern that Osama bin Laden might escape from the Tora Bora area of Afghanistan (as he indeed later did) if United States reinforcements were not promptly sent in. And several months later, he says, attendees at a meeting between Mr. Bush and the Saudis discovered after the fact that an important packet laying out the Saudis' views about the Israeli-Palestinian situation had been diverted to the vice president's office and never reached the president.
Keeping information away from the president, Mr. Suskind argues, was a calculated White House strategy that gave Mr. Bush "plausible deniability" from Mr. Cheney's point of view, and that perfectly meshed with the commander in chief's own impatience with policy details. Suggesting that Mr. Bush deliberately did not read the full National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, which was delivered to the White House in the fall of 2002, Mr. Suskind writes: "Keeping certain knowledge from Bush — much of it shrouded, as well, by classification — meant that the president, whose each word circles the globe, could advance various strategies by saying whatever was needed. He could essentially be 'deniable' about his own statements."
"Whether Cheney's innovations were tailored to match Bush's inclinations, or vice versa, is almost immaterial," Mr. Suskind continues. "It was a firm fit. Under this strategic model, reading the entire N.I.E. would be problematic for Bush: it could hem in the president's rhetoric, a key weapon in the march to war. He would know too much."
As for Mr. Tenet, this book provides a nuanced portrait of a man with "colliding loyalties — to the president, who could have fired him after 9/11 but didn't; and to his analysts, whom he was institutionally and emotionally committed to defend." It would become an increasingly untenable position, as the White House grew more and more impatient with the C.I.A.'s reluctance to supply readily the sort of intelligence it wanted. (A Pentagon unit headed by Douglas Feith was set up as an alternative to the C.I.A., to provide, in Mr. Suskind's words, "intelligence on demand" to both Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and the office of the vice president.)
While many C.I.A. analysts were deeply skeptical of the imminent danger posed by Mr. Hussein and simultaneously worried about the fallout of a possible invasion, the C.I.A., paradoxically enough, would become a favorite scapegoat for the administration's decision to go to war against Iraq, thanks in no small measure to Mr. Tenet's remark (quoted in Bob Woodward's 2004 book "Plan of Attack") that the existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was a "slam dunk." In this volume Mr. Suskind reports that Mr. Tenet says he does not remember uttering those famous words: "Doesn't dispute it. Just doesn't remember it."
Mr. Suskind credits Mr. Tenet with deftly using his personal bonds with "key conditional partners" in the war on terror, from President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. He depicts the former C.I.A. director as frequently being made by the White House "to take the fall" for his superiors, on matters including the administration's handling of prewar intelligence to the 16 disputed words in the president's State of the Union address, regarding Iraq's supposed efforts to obtain uranium from Africa. Because it was Mr. Tenet "who brought analysis up the chain from the C.I.A.," Mr. Suskind writes, he "was best positioned to assume blame. And Rice was adept at laying it on Tenet."
At the same time, Mr. Suskind suggests that Mr. Tenet acted as a kind of White House enabler: he writes that in the wake of 9/11, Mr. Tenet felt a "mix of insecurity and gratitude" vis-à-vis George W. Bush, and that eager to please his boss, he repeatedly pushed C.I.A. staff members to come up with evidence that might support the president's public statements.
In the days after 9/11 Mr. Bush defended the embattled C.I.A. chief to angry congressmen, and at that point, Mr. Suskind writes: "George Tenet would do anything his President asked. Anything. And George W. Bush knew it."

The Cut and Run party.

The neocon's have made the GOP the "Cut and Run party". They ‘cut’ from reality to ‘run’ their 2006 and 2008 campaign spin machines.

The invasion and occupation of Iraq has only emboldened those willing to mass murder Americans and our pro-war allies. The recent capture of homegrown 'evil doers' in both Canada and Florida prove that fighting them there doesn't prevent us from having to deal with them here. Fighting them here we have to succeed 100% of the time. They only have to succeed 1% of the time.

Fighting them ‘over there’ only provokes others here. Running from this reality might win upcoming elections but in the long run it will get far more Americans killed.

Time is not on our side. Every day a host of powerful dual use technologies become increasingly affordable, ubiquitous and easier to hide. The fragility of life stays the same but our technologically dependent lives grow increasingly vulnerable to disruption and destruction. Biotechnology, cyber technology, robotics and eventually nano technology will increasingly be turned against us.

Our oil supply, food supply, banking system, and water and transportation infrastructures are irreversibly vulnerable because of their global linkages.

The GOP leadership needs to ‘cut’ the crap and start running on reality based ideals. A perpetual war is not one of them. The “rule of law” (democracy, justice and the protection of inalienable human rights) is.

Only by expanding this grand ideal to the global level will we have any chance of ending the un-winnable war on terrorism. Failing this, the GOP will actually help Bin Laden achieve his two primary goals; 1) breaking the US economically (as he did the Soviet Union) and 2) dividing us politically (as Bush was already doing before 9-11).

When Democrats start to stand up for this rational and pragmatic ideal they will see a lot more voters coming to their side. Until they gain that courage they should expect any positive outcome in the 2006 elections.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Oliver North meets Oliver South.

Oliver North wouldn’t know "victory” in the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT)or Iraq if it jumped up an fragged his behind.

Below is a rewrite of Mr. North’s op-ed in Sunday’s Washington Times (6-25-06) “Wages of Defeatism” which can be found on the Washington Times wegsite at

“Wages of Militarism”
Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.
-- Winston S. Churchill

Churchill delivered this line in the British House of Commons on May 13, 1940, in his first address as Prime Minister. As he was speaking, the French and British armies were reeling from Adolf Hitler's onslaught through neutral Belgium. It's a good thing Churchill didn't have "war heroes" like George W. Bush or Dick Cheney, both untested in their early years in the horrors of real war. Otherwise Great Britain might have been compelled to invade and occupy Germany breaking his own nation’s budget and dividing his own nation politically to sustain an unending global war against all dictators democratically elected or not.
Regrettably, Messrs Bush and Cheney are but the most visible and strident members of an lethally ambitious cult of catastrophe. A war mongering cadre believing that the War against Global Terrorism is like World War II. Though they claim to "support the troops," they send them into battle with incompetent war planning and a lack of protective armor. Their party -- and a pliant press corps -- allowed this dynamic duo to ‘stay the course” in Iraq and forgo any hope a real victory in Global War on Terror. Osama Who? To them, and the shrinking capitulationist cabal to which they belong, there shall be no "bad news" from the battlefield. Every American casualty is regarded as a reason to carry on and only proponents of the war regardless of their military background have credibility.
It's apparent from last week's lack of real debate in the House of Representatives and this week's ranting Senate, that their party's leadership believes a steady drumbeat of war is the best way keep Republicans in power in the 2006 and 2008 elections. Whether that's true or not remains to be seen -- but the "stay-the-course crowd" has unquestionably emboldened our adversaries and disheartened our allies overseas. A few recent examples:
Tokyo, alarmed over North Korean willingness to flight test its multistage, nuclear-capable Taepo-dong II intercontinental missile has decided to withdraw its 600 troops from Iraq and bring them home on the chances they will be needed there if the US attacks Pyongyang.
From Caracas, Venezuelan strong-man Hugo Chavez, awash in petrodollars, is actively intervening in the coming Nicaraguan elections. With overt and covert help from self-described "Bolivarian Socialist" Chavez, Daniel Ortega and his Sandinistas are poised to reassert control over Nicaragua because they know the US is bogged down in the Middle East.
In Tehran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, also perceiving this American military weakness, is slow-rolling a U.S.-European proposal offering incentives for Iran to abandon its nuclear enrichment program. Meanwhile, the Iranians continue their crash program to install and "spin-up" more centrifuge arrays -- essential to manufacturing weapons-grade nuclear material, hoping the US further extends is military reach, fiscal deficit and alienation of the Muslim and non-Muslim world.
Inspired by Bin Laden’s survival a coalition of radical Islamic groups in Mogadishu, Somalia, calling itself the Islamic Courts Union, has proclaimed it now administers the Somali capital under "religious law." Though U.S. and allied forces are in neighboring Djibouti, the clerics and Islamic radicals appear confident that discord in Washington’s pentagon, policy makers and strategic alliances will prevent any interference with their plans for a Taliban-like regime.
And to prove again that "good news" in Iraq is "the only news" back home, the leaders of the "Stay the Course" movement either ignored or derided their won military leaders pre-war assessments about troop needs and likely resistance have gleamed onto the fact announced by Republicans Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, that "more than 500 artillery rounds containing Sarin and mustard gases have been found in Iraq." Rather than focus U.S. troops efforts in finding Bin Laden they hold a press conference for locating and destroying these weapons that were likely “old ammunition dating to before the first Gulf war" with “provided by USA” stamped on their components.
But now real generals familiar with fighting real wars (unlike North’s escapades of international law breaking) are joining the Iraq war critics. Because they understand the consequences better than most, they are speaking out against the Bush-Cheney Axis to "stay the course." To an extraordinary extent, these real generals (remind me of highest rank achieved by Oliver North) are re-enlisting their credentials and volunteering to speak out about the “incompetents” and occasional criminal acts carried out in Iraq and in the wider war on terrorism, not to mention our own Constitution, by the war mongering “patriots”.
And while all the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Guardsmen and Marines I have talked to in understand the value of being held accountable for their actions -- they do not comprehend the lethal fascination of those focusing only on positive news. Getting Abu Musab Zarqawi was a one man, one-day story. American "atrocities" touch thousands and are news forever.
Earlier this week, shortly before the Pentagon announced seven Marines and a U.S. Navy Corpsman would be court-martialed for crimes in Iraq, Vice President, Richard "Dick" Cheney, again compared the GWOT to World War II ignoring his own President’s words that this war will last a very long time…perhaps generations.
A recently returned soldier I talked to said, "If we can’t stop 100% of the home grown terrorist plots, the terrorists win, as a result of our own heavy handedness both here and around the world." He then said, "This is a war of ideas. And the reality of a war against an uninformed but highly capable enemy, combined with the intentional or unintentional collateral damage caused by both sides, waging war is no longer a winnable option" It's a statement the war mongers must eventually capitulate to if they are serious about any type of ‘victory’ against terror.

Oliver South is a fictional writer who takes Oliver North’s imbecile rhetoric as a nationally syndicated columnist and the Host of "War Stories? on the Fox News Channel, and shows how absurd any war mongering is in an era of ubiquitously available hyper destructive dual use technologies in an increasingly political divisive environment.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Bush: Trade best solution to poverty.

On June 15 in Washington D.C. before the Seattle based Initiative for Global Development's 2006 National Summit, President Bush stressed the importance of the U.S. role in fighting poverty and the importance of trade.

He said, “Fighting global poverty reflects this country's values. It serves our nation's interests, as well. It's the country's economic interest that we fight global poverty, because as developing nations grow in prosperity, they create better lives for their citizens and markets for U.S. products. It's in our security interests that we fight global poverty, because weakened, impoverished states are attractive safe havens for terrorists and tyrants and international criminals.”

Didn’t anyone tell the President that Democrats have always led the fight against global poverty? Perhaps Dems did it so poorly because they never realized that doing so would actually help our economy and improve our national security.

Bush also said: ...the strategy to defeat extreme poverty begins with trade. That's sometimes hard for some people to connect with. It's kind of a -- people don't quite understand why that's the case. One way to describe it, the value of trade, is this: The value of trade is more than ten times the value of foreign investment and foreign aid combined. In other words, prosperity as a result of trade is more likely -- ten times more likely to have a positive effect on somebody living in a poor society than just investment and grants.

Trade may boost third world nation’s wealth but trickle down to their poor is never a guarantee. Defeating extreme poverty actually begins with health, education and good governance that protects such basic human rights and laws that protect basic capitalist norms such as land ownership, labor laws and a healthy and educated work force.

Waiting for trade to end poverty could take decades. With nearly 30,000 children dying every day from easily preventable malnutrition and infections waiting even one day isn’t such a good idea. If Americans value human life as much as business perhaps we should spend as much on direct aid as we do on trading with people who spend far too much time being sick, illiterate and burying their own children.

If defeating poverty is helpful in eliminating ‘safe havens for terrorists’ perhaps we could spend just one month of our war in Iraq each year to defeat global poverty. According to UN statistics that would be the US fair share. Do the freakin’ math.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Liberals gutless in war on poverty.

Liberals are so peace loving they can’t even wage an effective war against hunger and poverty. Over the last 20 years child deaths from easily preventable malnutrition and infectious diseases have gone down from 42,000 a day to approximately 29,000 a day. That’s progress! And most liberals are so proud of if they refuse to look at the abysmal failures.

Most winners will tell you that they learn more from losing than winning. Liberals are too peace loving to even consider keeping a competitive edge. They appear to prefer working in harmony, keeping everybody happy…. Rather than taking names (and putting them into a data base…) and kicking some serious ass regarding the senseless 29,000 child deaths each day from the worst aspects of poverty.

The greatest liberal failure to date may be our collective inability to marshal the political will to fulfill the promises made at the 1990 World Summit for Children for the year 2000. That 1990 summit was a historical turning point for those committed to child heath, nutrition, education and survival. Liberals missed the turn. I’m not going to dwell on the fact that the measurable, achievable and agreed upon goals weren’t even ambitious enough to eliminate preventable deaths… I will dwell on the point that most of the year 2000 goals were NOT met and there was not much ever said about it. Nor was the failure analyzed to determine cause with hopes of preventing future failures. The goals could have made a decent dent. Even the lesser dent that was made has seen some goal regression over the past few years.

President Bush’s father attended the Children’s ummit just prior to the first Gulf War. At that time it was the largest gathering of world leaders in history (good pre-war photo op). At the conclusion of that great gathering President Bush I signed a pledge to “make available the resources to meet” the goals before the year 2000. This week President Bush II pledged to the Iraqi’s that America keeps its word. Bush II should have a talk with Bush I, or vise versa. We are now spending approximately $9 Billion a month on the Iraqi war/occupation/reconstruction…with no end in sight. And this figure doesn’t include the interest that will pile up as war debts go unpaid and soldiers home coming costs mount. Even worse, our efforts there are making us more enemies in the world than friends.

According to the UN providing universal access to clean water, sanitation, primary health care, basic education, and nutrition to all those in the world who are now in need would cost the world about $60 billion on top of what is already being spent.
The US share would be around $6 billion …about twice what we are spending now on humanitarian aid. This is less than one month’s worth of ‘nation building’ in Iraq. I’m fairly confident that meeting global human needs would make us far more friends in the world that occupying and trying to fix a Middle East nation we bombed. And it will be friends, lots of them, that help us reduce the terrorist threats.

June 14-15 the Initiative for Global Development 2006 National Summit will be held in D.C. This is a virtual love fest of liberal do-gooders. Almost, everyone will agree that more appropriations are needed for achieving their own special important projects (child survival, TB control, HIV/AIDS treatment, family planning, Education, clean water…) but I’m guessing no one, not one single person will bring up the point that if any interest group successfully lobbies for it’s cause, one or more of the other causes will likely be cut. The US budget is zero-sum game that liberal play while in deep denial. Even if someone did mention this win/lose reality…I assure you from experience…that eyes would glaze over – or roll -- at it’s mention.

Any rational look at global human needs and the current level of federal resources is bound to declare a lethal miss match. We now have the Millennium Development goals set for 2015. Like the 2000 goals they are less than ideal but like the 2000 goals we are well on the way to missing these as well. If you are real quiet you can hear the roar of concern…in your dreams.

What is urgently needed is a ‘new’ source of funding. One that would allow governments to meet their international promises and obligations without cutting other important (or unimportant) domestic programs. Several options are available. Our European allies are moving toward an airline tax.

The one that makes most sense to this researcher is the Tobin tax. A Nobel prize winning idea to reduce global economic instability…the largest likely source of a global economic meltdown that could devastate our own economy. Nearly 1.8 trillion dollars a day crosses international borders chasing currency fluctuations to make a profit. George Soros made his billions this way. The 1997 Asian economic meltdown was sparked by such a massive and rapid free flow of currency. A Tobin tax (essentially a micro-user fee on global gambling) would slightly dampen such currency trade pressure…AND generate $100 to $200 billion a year in ‘new’ revenue. Enough to meet global human needs AND rebuild most of Iraq…with some left over for domestic education and health care needs.

Post 9-11 banks can no longer legally hide such large transfers of capital. So, one huge barrier has been eliminated. The other huge barrier is the public’s general fear of a global tax, or global taxing agency. These concerns can quickly be overcome by doing the math on the economic and human cost of ignoring poverty. Infectious diseases know no borders. Poverty is their primary Petri dish. America will be their final destination.

Helping the world’s poor is no longer a matter of doing the moral thing. It’s a matter of doing what’s needed to ensure our own health, security and prosperity. But liberals are afraid of using fear (even though rational) to push their agenda. Here is the point where I need to repeat myself, so you get the absurdity of this ironic stand. Liberals fear using fear to motivate voters and policy makers to do the moral, urgent and essential thing. They are so motivated by their fear that their ‘principled stand’ is as lethal to the poor as it will be to us here at home (see ‘Bird flu’ = 100 times the impact of 9-11, Katrina, Tsunami, Earthquake and Mud Slides combined).

I believe there is strong evidence that Kerry lost the 2004 elections because liberals/democrats refused to push the fact that liberal policies such as humanitarian aid, international law and avoidance of war are the most effective means of defeating terrorism. Conservatives are quick to accurately claim that none of the 9-11 hijackers were poor. Liberals are too ignorant or fearful to mention that most of them felt strongly about the effect that global poverty and US supported repressive leaders had on the general impoverishment of Islamic populations. Liberal championed nation building (prevention) pre 9-11 is far more effective counter terrorism measure than nation rebuilding after bombing (preemption).

The recent news of Somalia falling back into the hands of Al Qaeda (and their sympathizers) posing a renewed terrorist threat to the US suggests poverty does have something to do with breeding terrorism. It doesn’t cause it. But, poverty and lawlessness makes a damn good Petri dish for terrorist incubation growth.

Remind me which party was for increasing aid for dealing with such failed states prior to 9-11. Oh, yea. It was the liberal Dems because they felt sorry for poor Somalis. Same with post Soviet withdraw from Afghanistan. Conservative pre-011 response: Help those poor bastards? No way. Afghanistan is of no interest to us now that the Soviets have left. It’s a very poor nation and can’t possibly be a threat to God’s favorite Christian nation. Remind me which party is strong on national security?

It’s hard to admit it, but liberals are losers. Not so much because they lose. They don’t even believe in competing. Not even competing against stupid ideas….like waging war against terrorism, or ‘fight them there so we don’t have to fight them here’. Liberals don’t even like saying “fighting the good fight”. It sounds too much like war.

Give me a freakin’ break. Do the freakin’ math. Poverty is about 10 times more lethal than war. And to most liberals its not worth taking a military approach (tactics and strategic planning and overwhelming political force…) to win it.

Do I sound disgruntled? Damn right I do. I’m going to stay that way until some liberal organization has the courage to take a disciplined (not usually a liberal trait) stand for NEW funding for meeting basic human needs because it’s the SANE thing to do in an insanely interconnected and interdependent world. I’m not holding my breath. I’ve thought about starting yet another organization…like that’s gonna help. I have drafted a legislative proposal that Congressman Van Hollen’s staff promised to run through Legislative council. But, again, I’m not holding my breath. I first drafted the proposal in 1996. Timing is everything… and persistence hasn’t yet paid off.

Imagine. What would happened if just one organization had the courage to lead (another trait unbecoming to the liberal herd/consensus mentality) a bold new initiative for sufficient funding to meet global needs? I’m guessing most liberal groups and even many conservative groups would see the value of it and jump on board. What could such a huge advocacy effort actually accomplish regarding the ‘political will to cut the loss of 29,000 children a day? How much would it increase our security and help preserve our freedoms and prosperity? You do the freakin’ math.

Gore’s movie stimulates ‘science’ debate.

Some scientist don’t believe the earth is warming. Scientist still debate evolution, destroying the remaining samples of smallpox, the origins of the universe and who’s going to win the next super bowl. The voting public doesn’t really care. What they do care about is the cost of gasoline, their family and friends dying in Iraq and the possibility of losing their own life (or loved ones) by terrorism or bird flu.

Anyone seeking immediate and sensible changes in fossil fuel consumption should stick to the fact that U.S. dependence on foreign oil is one of our most serious national security threats. Every gallon of gasoline we buy ultimately helps fund those who want to kill us. On another level, a well organized terrorist attack on our oil supply would cripple the US economically. Related complications would cost thousands of American lives, jobs and obliterate what little social cohesion America has left.

Climate change, if it is proven beyond any doubt (and I believe it will be), will create many problems…but none that can’t be solved or overcome by massive investments in various counter measures. In short, it would be a great jobs program. Governments would either fund these projects or suffer elimination via violent overthrow or irrelevance.

There is a threat however, that is far more lethal, immediate and inevitable than global warming. The threat of infectious diseases. There have been no fewer than 6 prestigious studies/report over the last 12 years that all came to the same uncontested conclusion (all infectious disease scientists agree!!!). Pandemics and other disease threats happen. They are getting worse. We are over due for a big one. The intentional release of infectious agents (bioterrorism) is a growing threat that could be as devastating as a natural pandemic (see Weaponized Smallpox).

If my memory serves me Gore states that global warming could cause an additional 300,000 deaths a year. Drop in the bucket!!! Easily preventable infectious disease kill that many children every 10 DAYS. A bird flu pandemic could even put these ghastly numbers to shame. Yes, climate change contributes to the increase of infectious diseases but that impact is tiny compared to the impact of poverty, war, crime, poor governance and other forms of environmental degradation (dirty water). Universal access to clean water and sanitation alone would cut global infectious diseases by half.

Bottom line. If you want Americans to stop burning fossil fuels make the case that their oil addiction fuels terrorism.

If you want to be rational about the greatest threats we face … consider focusing attention (generating political will) to end the worst aspects of poverty. If you want to reduce chances of a bioterrorist attack…insist on a more rational foreign policy that makes us more friends in the world instead of more enemies.

If on the other hand, you insist on caring more about protecting the future environment than reducing the current lethal threats already wiping out masses of innocent people…don’t expect a lot of attention for your pet concern. At least, not while we are still in a war against mass murderers (with increasing access to WMD) and an inevitable pandemic just around the corner. You can debate the science of climate change until earth turns to hell or freezes over. There is no debate about the security risks associated with our oil dependence or the threat of infectious diseases…unless you are talking to a an oil CEO or a Christian Scientist.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Iraq war not winnable. His opinion!

Harlan Ullman, Washington Times columnist, is one of the brightest on the paper’s payroll. “To tell the Truth” (June 14, 2006) gives the best overview of the hopeless situation we face in Iraq. (Lesson to learn before bombing Iran). Ullman’s accurate analysis (he did his freakin’ math) best portrays the worst kind of problem set. The kind for which there is no good solution. Like getting HIV AIDS. There are treatments….but once you’ve got this problem…your life changes take backs.

Preemptive doctrine is much like having unprotected sex with a Bangkok hooker. It’s very likely to create an incurable problem. Check Ullman’s math. He did his homework!

“ …the explosion of vicious partisanship and the highly destructive adversarial proceedings that pass for politics in Washington today have driven what is left of truth and candor from the field of battle. Without both, and without the courage to admit what we do not know or fail to understand about Iraq, no matter how much money the United States pours into that fractured state, long-term peace and stability will not be obtainable. Indeed, even if we can find the "right" strategy, assuming one exists, it could be too late.
First, let us try to put ourselves in the places of the 26 million Iraqis. If the violence and chaos in Iraq were transposed to the United States, here is what Americans would be facing. In the belt that includes more than one-third of our population — stretching from Boston to New York and Philadelphia, encompassing Washington, Atlanta and Chicago and then meandering through St. Louis and Denver to Los Angeles and San Francisco — each week about 3,000 Americans would die violently in the insurgency. That's the same number who perished on September 11. That makes about 12,000-15,000 dead Americans a month or 150,000 a year killed in the violence.
By comparison, some 300,000 American service personnel died in World War II, admittedly from a population that was half the size. The violence would extend to all members of the community, including merchants and business people on whose products many depend for their livelihoods and sustenance.
In these cities, tens or hundreds of thousands of well-armed militiamen and gang members would be free to roam, taking the law into their own hands with the national army and police forces afraid or unwilling to intervene.
Meanwhile, America would be occupied by a foreign force conducting operations of its own in which innocent American citizens were killed or driven from their homes on a daily basis. Electricity would be available for less than half a day. Fresh water and sewage facilities would be in short supply, and lines at the gas pump would be measured in hours of waiting time. Underemployment and unemployment would be a staggering 50 percent.
In the face of this adversity, a large number of affluent Americans would be emigrating or fleeing to more peaceful shores, producing a huge brain drain. Meanwhile, neighboring states would be eying old territorial claims and encroaching on America's resources.
Of course, this is not happening here. However, most Americans are simply unaware of the realities that are part of Iraq today and indeed commonplace in too many parts of the world.
What can be done? First, we need a national dialogue, not a debate, on Iraq. Debate has made both political parties inflexible and unwilling to accept the merits of opposing views. Neither listens to the other. There are those who favor withdrawal as the best means of inducing Iraqis to stand up, but done precipitously, the Iraqi security forces would implode, probably leading to a full-out civil war. And there are those who argue to stay the course, but continued U.S. presence surely has a negative downside, antagonizing much of the Iraqi public.
We need to understand what choices we have and what consequences each brings. We have not done that yet.
Second, having held a Camp David summit, the Bush administration must do the same with Congress, including members of both parties to discuss and explore a way ahead. A dialogue with the American public is also essential. And outreach to friends and allies in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and elsewhere is necessary. Part of this dialogue should call for a regional conference to discuss Iraq's future.
Third, while military force cannot win a political victory in Iraq, it surely can lose one if mishandled. The administration has been consistent in accepting the judgment of military commanders on the ground in Iraq as to the required forces. With all respect to Generals John Abizaid and George Casey and Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, this is a time for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other senior military commanders to be more engaged in considering our choices, including surging additional forces for a set period to provide the new government with a respite, during which it can strengthen its political base.
As one whose somber forecasts about Iraq have sadly proven accurate, I am not prepared to predict failure yet. However, we are close. Let us hope that we have the wisdom to confront the truth and the courage to respond to it.”

Tell him what you think:

Letters to the Editor: 202/636-3386
Fax: 202-715-0037

Iran is not Germany

There he goes again. Comparing apples (Iran 2006) to oranges (Germany 1933). Tony Blankley just doesn’t get it (Washington Times, Mental Path to Appeasement 6-14-06). This is a Post-9-11 and a post World War II world.

Iran is not anything like Germany. It has invaded no one and has no plans for world domination. Iran is caught between Iraq and a very hard place (US, Israel, Pakistan, India and China nuclear arsenals.) What’s an oil rich nation to do in a world where military power speaks louder than diplomacy or international law?

And, it's not just nuclear bombs we need to worry about. Advances in biotechnology enable even grad level biologists to make designer weapons capable of killing more people than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Botulism, the most deadly substance known to man (three times more lethal than VX gas) is hard not to make. Ask anyone who makes homemade canned peaches.

Osama showed us that even the most powerful military in the world can’t stop attacks against its most valued targets. Well informed citizens can (See Flight 93). Better intelligence might stop most attacks but in an era where any individual can have superpower capability…disarming a nation just isn’t what it used to be. Especially, when attempting so by force will only enrage and inspire millions of super capable individuals to hate America even more.

We can’t win the war on terrorism. But we can only lose it. We lose more of it every time we try ending terrorism through war. In this era collateral damage doesn't deter our enemy... it enrages them and creates more of them.
Blankley should take a closer look at his history books. World War I led to WW II. WW II led to the cold war. The cold war led to the war on terrorism. War evolves. If we don’t, extinct will be our future. Or, at very best, very harsh lives where freedom from government intrusion will be history. But this time the intrusive government will be American and not German or Soviet.

My father and hundreds of thousands more fought WWII to free us from the scourge of war. They saw international law as a possible alternative to war. Unfortunately, their generation was unable to build an international institution capable of replacing war with law. If we don’t do this, war will replace us.

Danger from the North?

Does this mean we need to start building a fence on our northern border? According to the Washington Times editorial “Danger form the North”…”Canada in per capita terms” …“takes in double the number of immigrants and three to four times the number of refugees as the United States. Moreover…Canada is unable to effectively screen and integrate these immigrants, with approximately 90 percent of applicants from Afghanistan and Pakistan being insufficiently vetted for security purposes.” “Saudi money [from us buying their oil] and radical clerics that have helped turn Canada into a home of radicals who fought in such places as Chechnya, Afganistan and Bosnia. In total, according to Canadian intelligence, there are more than 350 jihadists and 50 terrorist groups with a presence in Canada.” Them’s some important numbers to consider.

When do we start construction? So how long is the Canadian border? And, what federal programs will Congress cut to fund this project? Perhaps we could just go deeper into debt… to the Chinese.

At this point it’s useful to remember Osama’s two primary goals in his war against us. Break us economically and divide us politically (it worked against the Soviets in Afghanistan.) Fences both cost and divide. Ultimately, they are also ineffective. Where there’s a will, there’s a way…to go over, under, around and through them. With over 30,000 innocent Iraqi’s killed (approximately half as collateral damage by coalition forces and the other half intentionally murdered by insurgents and terrorists in an effort to thwart our occupation forces, I’d say there will be plenty of ‘will’ to murder Americans for quite some time.

Joe Black’s rant about the 3 layers of our Mexico border defenses was quite telling. ‘One layer of reinforced concrete. One layer of barbwire. And, one layer of dust…stirred up by all the illegals walking around the fence.’

After our land borders are sealed we’ll need coastal barriers. These will work as well as the New Orleans levies when the real immigration shit storm like a pandemic bird flu hits the fan. What about stopping tunnelers, small air craft and catapults? Remind me, how much will all this cost? What if terrorists decides to use birds to deliver a deadly bioterrorist concoction? When West Nile virus first hit the east coast of the US some intelligence analysts thought it might be Saddam field testing an avian bioweapons delivery system (wrong again! But not an ineffective possibility. SEE Bird Flu)

What would a bullet/missile proof bubble dome over the entire US cost? (Heck with Hawaii and Alaska)

Preemption (see Iraq) only makes matters worse. Unilateralism (see Kyoto treaty, ICC, CTBT, Convention on the Rights of the Child, CEDAW…) only makes others dislike us more. Perhaps we can try prevention.

Someone famous once said “You can always count on the government doing the right thing…but only after exhausting every other possibility.” I might add “at least twice”.

What has been our Governments response to the 9-11 Commission’s report? About the same response they gave the Hart-Ruddman Commission that 6 months before 9-11 said Americans should prepare to die in large numbers on American soil. Not much to virtually nothing.

Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic (or committee chairs on the ship of state) isn’t going to protect us from (let alone prevent any) icebergs. The answer can be found in doing the math. For every innocent Iraqi that dies as a result of collateral damage…we piss of at least one Iraqi family and one Iraqi religion.

Is the war on terrorism winnable? The answer is a resounding YES!!! But not by us. Osama can beat us senseless from a cave…just by scaring us.

When will American’s ever learn. War is not the answer. It only sets the stage for the next war. This isn’t a good idea in a Cyber/Bio/Nano era populated by Pleistocene minds. Perhaps building effective international institutions committed to justice and the protection of human rights through enforceable laws would be better than building fences.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Anne Coulter says anything to sell books

Thursday, June 8, 2006 “Coulter: Zarqawi Dead, Bin Laden ‘Irrelevant’” During Fox News Channel’s "Cavuto on Business” Coulter said “It's funny how they [liberals] describe the war on terrorism in the most limited way possible – only as the pursuit of Osama bin Laden. He’s irrelevant now. He’s hiding in a cave. Al-Zarqawi was still killing people.”
The fact is, it's funny how Anne Coulter describes the war on terrorism in the most limited way possible – only as the pursuit of Al-Zarqawi in Iraq. Zarqawi has always been a sideshow in the war on terror. Bin Laden is still alive and planning the next strike on our homeland. Bin Laden was probably the guy who dropped the dime on Zarqawi because he was diverting attention away from killing Americans and giving Al Qaeda a bad name in Iraq.
Fortunately, Zarqawi won’t be killing any more people. But now thousands more, inspired by both Bin Laden’s survival and Zarqawi’s martyrdom will be. And they aren’t going to limit their war on terror to Iraq.

Coulter is good a verbal assaults on liberals. How else would she be selling books? DTFM.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Al Gore for President. Of the world.

Fat Albert (Gore) needs to spend less time behind his laptop and chauffer and more on a bike or treadmill. Those were the first thoughts that went through my mind when I watched his new movie today “AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH”. Before the movie I was warned by a credible liberal friend that the movie might seem like “too much Gore” and not enough “global warming”. The one positive thing about global warming is that it has thawed out Gore-the-bore. By the end of the movie I was in tears and hoping Gore would run for President….of the world.

As an environmentalist I’ve always taken for granted that human behavior is hurting the planet (Daaa. Squared!!). Especially American behavior (sorry my American amigos). For me, the Gore movie clearly documents this reality and the looming global consequence. But, the movie is more like a science lecture than a movie (I only nodded off 6 times. That’s a compliment…I usually nap solidly during most science lectures).

Fact is, I laughed out loud at least 3 times and got choked up at least 4. Mostly from being inspired by what a committed soul has done with his life… and, may yet do…if he has enough listeners and followers.

Global warming is solvable. And, like I have said many times over the last 20 years, fighting global warming full on and head on…won’t impoverish us, it will enrich our nation and the world. Like waging any war, it will stimulate the economy. But this war will even save lives…instead of destroying them, and increase the manufacture of useful tools instead of deadly ones.

Don’t get me wrong. I still only hold global warming as the third greatest threat we face. Infectious diseases being the greatest, and the nexus between war, terrorism and biological weapons the second. The vital point (and I believe Gore would agree on this) is that all of these issues are interconnected…and can be, and must be addressed at once. Funding poor people to plant trees and giving greater tax breaks and other government rewards to those who live lightly on the land will help reduce poverty, lessen infectious disease threats and lead to fewer armed conflicts.

We as humans do have the capacity to “rise above” our problems and solve them. We also have the capacity for laziness, genocide and denial. If you are a betting person it would be safer to put your money on the latter three. If we want to live a richer, happier, more healthy and meaningful life we would invest far more time into the higher capacity.

I don’t want to give away the ending of this movie …so I’ll simply state, “I never thought a single pixel would move me to tears.” See the freakin’ movie!!!!

Fat Albert for President! Of the world.

(for a more reasoned assessment read movie critic Roger Ebert essay below.

By Roger Ebert
June 2, 2006

I want to write this review so every reader will begin it and finish it. I
am a liberal, but I do not intend this as a review reflecting any kind of
politics. It reflects the truth as I understand it, and it represents, I
believe, agreement among the world's experts.

Global warming is real.

It is caused by human activity.

Mankind and its governments must begin immediate action to halt and reverse

If we do nothing, in about 10 years the planet may reach a "tipping point"
and begin a slide toward destruction of our civilization and most of the
other species on this planet.

After that point is reached, it would be too late for any action.

These facts are stated by Al Gore in the documentary "An Inconvenient
Truth." Forget he ever ran for office. Consider him a concerned man speaking
out on the approaching crisis. "There is no controversy about these facts,"
he says in the film. "Out of 925 recent articles in peer-review scientific
journals about global warming, there was no disagreement. Zero."

He stands on a stage before a vast screen, in front of an audience. The
documentary is based on a speech he has been developing for six years, and
is supported by dramatic visuals. He shows the famous photograph
"Earthrise," taken from space by the first American astronauts. Then he
shows a series of later space photographs, clearly indicating that glaciers
and lakes are shrinking, snows are melting, shorelines are retreating.

He provides statistics: The 10 warmest years in history were in the last 14
years. Last year South America experienced its first hurricane. Japan and
the Pacific are setting records for typhoons. Hurricane Katrina passed over
Florida, doubled back over the Gulf, picked up strength from unusually warm
Gulf waters, and went from Category 3 to Category 5. There are changes in
the Gulf Stream and the jet stream. Cores of polar ice show that carbon
dioxide is much, much higher than ever before in a quarter of a million
years. It was once thought that such things went in cycles. Gore stands in
front of a graph showing the ups and downs of carbon dioxide over the
centuries. Yes, there is a cyclical pattern. Then, in recent years, the
graph turns up and keeps going up, higher and higher, off the chart.

The primary man-made cause of global warming is the burning of fossil fuels.
We are taking energy stored over hundreds of millions of years in the form
of coal, gas and oil, and releasing it suddenly. This causes global warming,
and there is a pass-along effect. Since glaciers and snow reflect sunlight
but sea water absorbs it, the more the ice melts, the more of the sun's
energy is retained by the sea.

Gore says that although there is "100 percent agreement" among scientists, a
database search of newspaper and magazine articles shows that 57 percent
question the fact of global warming, while 43 percent support it. These
figures are the result, he says, of a disinformation campaign started in the
1990s by the energy industries to "reposition global warming as a debate."
It is the same strategy used for years by the defenders of tobacco. My
father was a Luckys smoker who died of lung cancer in 1960, and 20 years
later it was still "debatable" that there was a link between smoking and
lung cancer. Now we are talking about the death of the future, starting in
the lives of those now living.

"The world won't 'end' overnight in 10 years," Gore says. "But a point will
have been passed, and there will be an irreversible slide into destruction."

In England, Sir James Lovelock, the scientist who proposed the Gaia
hypothesis (that the planet functions like a living organism), has published
a new book saying that in 100 years mankind will be reduced to "a few
breeding couples at the Poles." Gore thinks "that's too pessimistic. We can
turn this around just as we reversed the hole in the ozone layer. But it
takes action right now, and politicians in every nation must have the
courage to do what is necessary. It is not a political issue. It is a moral

When I said I was going to a press screening of "An Inconvenient Truth," a
friend said, "Al Gore talking about the environment!!" This is not
a boring film. The director, Davis Guggenheim, uses words, images and Gore's
concise litany of facts to build a film that is fascinating and relentless.
In 39 years, I have never written these words in a movie review, but here
they are: You owe it to yourself to see this film. If you do not, and you
have grandchildren, you should explain to them why you decided not to.

Am I acting as an advocate in this review? Yes, I am. I believe that to be
"impartial" and "balanced" on global warming means one must take a position
like Gore's. There is no other view that can be defended. Sen. James Inhofe
(R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Environment Committee, has said, "Global
warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people." I
hope he takes his job seriously enough to see this film. I think he has a
responsibility to do that.

What can we do? Switch to and encourage the development of alternative
energy sources: Solar, wind, tidal, and, yes, nuclear. Move quickly toward
hybrid and electric cars. Pour money into public transit, and subsidize the
fares. Save energy in our houses. I did a funny thing when I came home after
seeing "An Inconvenient Truth." I went around the house turning off the

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Can't outlaw WMD without global government.

The UN’s new report by its own Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission ("Panel aims to outlaw nukes: WMD Report raises alarms." Washington Times 6-5-06) demonstrates yet again the extraordinary ignorance of so-called experts regarding vital facts that are critical to understanding their own area of ‘expertise’.

To state that “Nuclear weapons” should be “outlawed” just like “chemical and biological weapons – have been outlawed” is akin to saying Trade should be outlawed just as genocide and terrorism have been outlawed. Earth to UN experts. There are no laws on the global level. Only unenforceable good ideas (Declarations) and occasional good weather agreements (Treaties). "Laws" imply legislature and enforcement. The UN has neither. And, this is just as the US Government and other unelected permanent members of the Security Council wanted it and still like it.

The really bad news however, is that even if there were UN legislated laws and a UN police capacity for enforcement against violations of NBC (Nuclear, biological and chemical) WMD proliferation there is virtually no way they could consistently be enforced. Even of the most intrusive and repressive military police states couldn’t detect the creation or distribution of WMD capacity given the dual use nature of the technology used to make it.

Here is where a primarily conservative ideal whips liberal day dreaming about disarmament. The bad news for Conservatives is that the Second Amendment is really a global inalienable right. Given the dual use aspect of all technology (nuclear, biological, chemical, cyber and even conventional) there is NO WAY the means to make and deliver WMD can be stopped. Efforts to do so will only bring bad vibes and repeated failures to those who try.

The real issue is how do we ensure security. The fact is you can’t. Security is an illusion. All you can really do is work your best not to piss people off so much that they want to kill you. Especially people who are willing to die and kill for what they believe.

There is an solution. It’s called the rule of law. Both liberals and conservative have to understand that peace and security is not a function of armaments or disarmament. These valued ideals are the product of the rule of law. Laws made and enforced by a democratic process, applied equally to all, and protective of a certain set of inalienable rights. (for the list of rights see the Universal Deceleration of Human rights).

Until the UN is reformed or created with such a ‘rule of law’ there will be no real peace or security.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Same Sex marriage a National Security Issue:

Some liberals believe that President Bush’s new support for a Constitutional Amendment is simple politics drawing attention away from his Iraqi quagmire and Iranian dilemma and to raise is dismal approval rating…at least with his core religious fanatic followers.

But all this attention to same sex marriage (SSM) is far worse than a distraction from dealing with vital and urgent national security issues. It actually works against our nation’s security and is simply unAmerican.

First of al, President Bush and others under his tent on this human rights issue is taking exactly the same side as radical Islamic terrorists groups. This puts the President’s war cry “your either with us… or with the terrorists” into a whole new area of darkness.

Far worse is the influence that Christian fundamentalist homophobes had in inspiring the US government to fire dozens of red blooded American Arabic translators from our government’s anti-terrorism ‘intelligence’ operations … because they were homosexuals.
I don’t think you can find a group of American’s more clear about the terror that can be imposed by radical Islamic beliefs. I don’t believe these people were fired for fear of misquoting Muslim terrorists.

Bin Laden is probably laughing himself silly that Americans are diverting attention way from the war on terrorism with a Taliban-like mandate, but you can bet that he’s praising Allah for answering his prayers by providing yet another issue to further divide the American people politically. A united nation will be as important as an effective United Nations if we are ever to win this war on terrorism

It’s worse than ironic that the only victory America had on 9-11 was over the farming fields of Shanksville PA. Mark Bingham, an openly gay male was one of the real American hero’s that day who gave it all to protect our nation’s capitol and perhaps the President’s own hide. How could any American seriously consider denying someone like Mark and others like him who are now serving quietly in military uniform or private contractor garb in Iraq (or here in homeland defense) of the most fundamental of all human rights --- a legal bond of love and spiritual commitment?

If our nation’s Constitution is converted from protecting human rights to banning them, then this country may no longer be worth fighting for. I’m sure there will be some who will feel that way. The right to chose who we love and who we join in a life long partnerships with is not the business of government. There is not even a commandment banning the legal sanctity of love between two people. There should never be such a Constitutional Amendment.

The war on terrorism is ours to lose. Christian fundamentalist are aiding Muslim terrorists with their fundamentalist demands. Is Same Sex marriage a valid issue? Any rational American at this time should be thinking about bringing our soldiers home from Iraq with the same arms, legs and psyches they went there with. Anything different is aiding and abiding the enemy. It's us against them. DTFM.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Iran is not Iraq

History never really repeats its self but it does often rhyme. Iran isn't even c close to rhyming with Iraq. Michael Barone’s op-ed in the Washington Times (6-2-06) looks at “Iran through prism of Iraq”. Or, is it Alice’s looking glass?

Unlike most liberals I don’t believe Bush “misled the nation about Iraq’s WMD programs” or that he “manipulated” or “cherry-picked” the intelligence. Saddam had WMD. We gave it to him. We know he would use it. He used it against the Kurds and we helped him with targeting of Iranians. After Kuwaiti he certainly didn’t like us and knew it would take something far more powerful than his Republican Guard to deter us from invading. It’s even possible he was annoyed enough with our persistent interference in his oil operations or national sovereignty that he would try some covert means of delivering WMD for the purpose of diverting our attention from him (he could make it look like the evil North Koreans did it). He knew that even with the greatest man hunt in US history we were unable to find Osama or even the American guy who WMD’d our capital with a domestic Anthrax stash we still haven’t found.

Barone is correct in that “Saddam was not entitled to a presumption of innocence.” But neither were we regarding Saddam’s possession and actual use of WMD. Who will hold the US accountable for aiding and abetting those war crimes?

I also agree that “the precise facts were unknowable” but it is for that reason a US invasion should have never happened. Months before our invasion there were front page stories in the Washington Post regarding Saddam’s likely possession of weaponized small pox. Blood tests on Iraqi solders who were born after the global Smallpox eradication vaccination effort revealed smallpox antibodies. This and other evidence suggested Saddam may have had possession of a ‘weaponized’ form of smallpox. A strain that Bush’s domestic anti-terrorist smallpox vaccines would have been useless against. Let me do the math for you on this one. Smallpox normally has about a 5% kill rate. The weaponized smallpox that the USSR had biologically engineered and poorly guarded after their nation’s fall had a far greater kill rate. According to some soviet defecting bioweapons scientists it was even genetically altered to yield non-smallpox symptoms so that diagnosis would be difficult and thus treatments wouldn’t be as effective. This could have been the source of Saddam’s other WMD.

Saddam knew if Iraq was invaded he and his army would be soundly defeated. If he was really insane, why wouldn’t he release such a weapon to teach the West a lesson and make a real name for himself among jihadists. This Armageddon prism makes the invasion of Iraq look like a completely insane Presidential decision. Are we ever lucky Saddam didn’t have WMD! We aren’t so lucky to be stuck in Iraq when Iran has dramatically more potential for WMD possession and dispersion than Iraq.

But here is a “precise fact’ that is known but ignored by both liberals and Conservatives. Any jerk with a post graduate biology degree and an evil agenda can bring the US to it’s knees. Iran’s nukes aren’t the problem. The fact that they or any other nation, group, or seriously pissed off individual can develop WMD that is virtually impossible to detect. And with every day that passes the technology for creating such horrific WMD becomes cheaper, more available, and more easy to use.

Under this microscope, ‘maintaining the military option’ to preempt Iran’s nuclear program will only provoke their desire to get any WMD program.

Barone is right in that there is no easy answer. But there is a right answer. War is not the answer (see cost of Iraq war). A wiser path would be to indict Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for inciting genocide on the Jews. Let him defend himself before Iranian and world opinion. If he retracts his threats on Israel, let the man be. If he escalates his calls for genocide…mobilize an international police force to go in an arrest him…without any collateral damage. When Iranians see invaders who are willing to die but not kill innocent people in order to get their suspect, the world will be far closer to peace and lasting security than starting yet another war. DTFM.

Bush responsible for Haditha murders

Michelle Malkin calls Congressman Murtha “John ‘cut and run’”. Perhaps we should call her “Michelle “murder for fun” Malkin. I can almost understand her defense of the Haditha Marines in her Washington Times op-ed (6-2-06) “Haditha Haste” but I can’t understand her persistent defense of President Bush in starting this war.

Twenty four Iraqi men, women and children intentionally murdered by a handful of US soldiers. That’s the claim. Chances are it may even be accurate. And, it may not even be an isolated incident. With over 30,000 innocent Iraqi’s now dead according to President Bush’s own statement, even to me, these two dozen more Haditha deaths just don’t seem that important.

“Intentionally murdered” seems to be the catch phrase that is gaining them so much media attention. I do trust our military investigators to come out eventually with the facts and to punish those who committed this atrocity IF they are convicted after a fair trail.

Allegations of cover up may or may not be dealt with appropriately. A desire to cover-up such an atrocity is understandable given the immensely negative consequences such an incident will have on troop moral, theater combat resources, future soldier trigger readiness and insurgent recruitment.

Personally, I feel as sorry for the US soldiers involved in this tragedy as I do for the Iraqi family survivors. I don’t think these soldiers should be punished by the military or even turned over to Iraqi authorities for processing. They should be allowed to return home, write their books, inspire movies and sing songs about the hell of War if they can remain sane enough to do so. These soldiers, if they are real men and real Americans, will live in hell until they take their last breath. Even if they are found innocent, they will be shadowed by the accusations and the uncertainty around almost any legal outcome -- the OJ Simpson effect.

What is of more importance in this tragedy is the guilt of those who intentionally started the war in which such incident was inevitable to happen. The instigators of this war did so with the full understanding that with any war there will be collateral damage. Thousands of innocent men, women, children and fetuses maimed and brutally killed no matter how hard good soldiers try to prevent it. In the fog of war, hell happens. Knowing this, anyone who starts a war should be held accountable for such deaths.

When one person kills another innocent person, we call them a murderer. When one person kills twenty people we make them a celebrity. When one person kills thousands we call them President. The poor Marines in Haditha will likely gain unwanted celebrity status. The President however is the real mass murderer. And the really bad news is that the horrors of the Iraqi war and the carnage it brought to the Iraqi people will not remain isolated in Iraq. It will come home to roost in many forms -- in the minds and nightmares of tens of thousands of soldiers and in the hearts and minds of future terrorists.

It will be President Bush who is responsible for this chain reaction of killing that we, our children and perhaps even our children’s children will suffer from. The great question is, will he be held accountable in this life? Conservatives are unlikely to punish their elected leader and us liberals simply fail to respect the intended purpose of the Second Amendment.

Over a hundred metric tons of weapons grade nuclear materials (and many war heads) are currently protected by underpaid (over liquored) Russian troops in the former Soviet Union. It’s only a matter of time before Bin Laden and his boys get their hands a nuclear IED if they don’t already have one. What will be the President’s response to a nuclear detonation in a US city? Which Islamic cities will he retaliate against? How much of our tax dollars will be used for that war crime?

When liberals say “War is not the Answer” perhaps they have thought through the issue a little more than Conservatives give them credit for. The Rule of Law is the answer. It may not be fast or even that efficient, but it’s got War beat all to hell. Just ask the Marines coming home from Haditha to do the Freakin math.

President's Softer Tone a winner.

“President’s softer Tone uncalled for”

What goes around comes around. Diana West’s Washington Times op-ed (6-2-06) “Warm, Fuzzy: President’s softer Tone uncalled for” is typical right wing thinking in asymmetrical times. Talk tough, carry a big bazooka. Does she not believe in the bibilical passage about those who "live by the sword."

Ms. West just doesn’t get it. Tough talk and offensive actions (invading Iraq) will make us more enemies in the world. Winning a war on terrorism (if that’s even possible) will require making more friends.

Rumsfeld himself recently made the statements, “Anyone who thinks the US military can win the war on terrorism alone, just doesn’t get it.” And “Anyone who thinks the US military alone can protect the United states, just doesn’t get it”.

Wild west diction, Abu Ghraib asses, Guantanimo Gestapo’s, and Haditha hit men, are not winning hearts and minds. The reason they want to kill us isn’t because we are being nice in the world. Yes, we offer occasional assistance in the form of food and medicine, but this pales in comparison to our persistent offers of assistance (and guns) to authoritarian and repressive leaders.

Projecting military power isn’t nearly as effective in making friends as projecting moral power. Accepting collateral damage of over 30,000 Iraqi citizens is hardly morally persuasive. Our aid efforts to help Muslim Tsunami victims and Pakistani earthquake victims made us far more likable.

Contrary to Ms. West’s view Abu Ghraib was a military setback for us. It provided valuable ammunition to insurgent and Al Qaeda recruiters.

The primary reason “American superpowerdom” is a “risky enterprise” is because advances in technology have given almost anyone with a small budget and a grudge the superpower capacity of powerful biotech killing capacity or cyber tech disruption capacity. A few guys with razor blades will pail in comparison to a few biologists with anthrax, botulism or -- Allah forbid -- weaponized small pox.

If President Bush really values protecting the freedoms and security of Americans there is a lot more he ought to “apologize for”. DTFM

China will overtake US supremacy.

China will eventually overtake US supremacy.

Reading Chinese may be easier than reading US foreign policy toward China. Fred Stakelbeck Jr. makes some good points in his Washington Times op-ed June 2, 2006 titled “Inconsistent U.S. policy: Military, Space and Economic overtures are pro-China.”

He points out that the Bush Administration’s recent “pro-engagement” efforts in “military cooperation, space exploration and economic policy” to bring us closer to China is a complete reversal from “previous statements made by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice over the past year concerning Beijing’s global intentions.” And, “The Pentagon’s Quadrennial Defense Review recently described China as a potential military threat” after asking China to “explain the purpose of its accelerated military buildup.”

China is on the rise and we are…well…not doing so hot.

But Stakelbeck is clearly wrong when he says “Almost everything Beijing has done over the past two decades, from Westernizing its economy to modernizing and streamlining its military to updating its infrastructure, has been undertaken to challenge America’s world Authority.” China is just like every other nation including the US. It just wants to make progress.

The bad news is that we aren’t. China’s progress will eventually overtake our progress given its shear force of numbers. And a few other factors. Like:
1. US debt in every arena, DTFM
2. US commitment to an endless war on terrorism. DTFM
3. Our failure to invest quickly and wisely in energy independence from an increasingly troubled region of the world. DTFM
4. Our failure to make adequate investments in obvious things like;
a. Levies for hurricane protection.
b. Public health and health providers for pandemic prevention or improved response.
c. Science education to boost our nations numbers of techies coming out of our High Schools and Colleges to boost our R&D for defense, produce high tech trinkets to stimulate our economy or sophisticated technologies to effectively manage our government. DTFM

About the only advantage we have over China is an immigration policy that provides us with economic advantages like cheap hard workers, entrepreneurial spirit, and cultural and language assets that dramatically boost our nations economic, science and intelligence gathering capacity. But that policy appears to be in trouble now too.

What can our nation do?

Stakelbecks suggestion to “promote core Western values and fair market competition” will only accelerate China’s advances.

What is really called for is noble US leadership in establishing a fair global system of laws and standards while we now have the power to do so. “Preserving America’s national security interests” without doing the same for other nations and people’s security interests is a path to oblivion. Virtually unrestricted global commerce of technology, goods and services ensures that US power will slowly wane as other nations might rapidly progress. China and India will likely be two of those nations. We must act now…before it’s too late. Do the freakin math.

CFIUS reform is futile.

Foreign investments and National Security conflict as long as we are in conflict in the world.

An old patriot once said “Those who trade with other nations are a traitor to this one.” That’s isolationism at its extreme but it holds more than a nugget of truth. If one tires to stay true to the mythical idea of “independence” then making one’s economy dependent upon trade with another nation kinda works against that ideal.

Republican Congresspersons Roy Blunt, and Deborah Price and Democratic Congresspersons Carolyn Maloney and Joseph Crowley joined hands across the isle today to write an Oped in the Washington Times titled “Reform the CFIUS process: Balance foreign investment with national security”.

CFIUS is the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States.

In general, if the US is going to make enemies with its foreign policy then foreign investments in the US is probably not a good idea. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against foreign investments in the US. I believe the only real path to maintaining our cherished freedoms and security IS by making sound US investments in the health and well being of others we share this tiny planet with. Allowing them to invest here is also sometimes good for some Americans. The sad news is that that’s not the primary focus of our investments there or their foreign investments here. The goal of most of our trade with other nations and their investments here is to make profits for a few. Not for the protection of inalienable human rights for all – here or there.

Let’s face it. Poor people die a lot sooner and a lot more often than people with money…except during pandemics, airline crashes and terrorist attacks. If the majority of people are not benefiting from the trade and investments then they are very likely being hurt. This unintentional harm has unintended consequences on American lives in terms of infectious diseases, international crime, terrorism, global warming, toxic wastes and global economic instability.

I believe Bush was correct in supporting the planned purchase by Dubai Ports to manage commercial operations in six US ports. We need more friends in the Middle East and if you can’t trust Dubai who can we trust. The fact is, it would have made it somewhat easier for terrorists to slip a nuclear surprise into our country with such connections. The bad news is that it can’t get much easier to slip a nuclear surprise into our country even if there were NO ports available. And, there is virtually no way of stopping any biological WMD surprises from coming across our border even if we sealed the whole damn thing. (Think global postal service and a pathogen smaller than a micro chip.)

Any CFIUS reform is useless if we insist on making enemies in the world with a military heavy, oil dependent, and profit priority foreign policy. These simply make us fewer friends in the world. We need more friends, not less. Do the freakin’ math.

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Numbers are real people. Often children.

Every day nearly 30,000 children under the age of 5 die as a result of easily preventable malnutrition or infectious diseases. For every child that dies approximately ten more live on with permanent mental or physical disabilities.

To date there are well over 200 different definitions of terrorism yet none have been found that everyone can agree on. That’s odd. Because, no one can seriously argue that the death of their child or the prospect of their child being needlessly maimed for life isn’t the most terrible and terrifying of all human experiences. This is a fact of life for tens of thousands of families around the world every DAY.

But it ‘our world’ that changed on September 11th when Osama Bin Laden’s plans to mass murder Americans succeeded. A handful of his followers killed just under 3,000 Americans in one day with cunning and improvised weapons. This horrific act sparked the greatest change in our federal government since World War II -- changes that are still being made and will continue because of ignorance and misplaced fear. Al Qaeda’s attack also resulted a significant economic loss to our nation. That fact remains however that the actual destruction caused by 4 jet airliners crashing, pales in comparison to the costs that we have inflicted on our selves in response to that single attack. Bin Laden had two goals. One is to break us economically. The other is to divide us politically.

If you want to know who is winning the war on terrorism…do the math.

As US President Tony Blair said nearly 5 years after 9-11 the war on terrorism won’t be won with hard policy (weapons and offensive operations). It will be won with soft power (development, human rights, the rule of law and global cooperation). He and other thoughtful conservatives are starting to see the weakness of military power and the real power of winning hearts and minds. Blair went so far to admit that “Idealism” is now the most practical and pragmatic means of defeating terrorism. The Bush Administration has taken up a new banner of “Transformational Diplomacy”. Condellesa Rice says its three pillars are “defense, diplomacy and development.” One only needs to do the math (dollars devoted to each) to determine the actual level of transformation in the new Bush Doctrine.

It is clear that poverty does not cause terrorism. It is just as clear when interviewing terrorists and potential terrorists that they hate us for “what we do” not for “who we are”. There can also be no doubt that terrorists thrive in the conditions of chaos and lawlessness that are clearly associated with abject poverty. Surveys of Muslim view on American foreign policy were quite supportive after they saw US aid efforts after the Asian Tsunami and Pakistani earth quake. It is also clear that our “kill them there” strategy and “whack a mole” tactics in Iraq are only increasing the hate against Americans and the likely hood that terrorists will soon be hitting us here.

This blog will focus on the absurd views and ideas of both liberals and conservative regarding the war on terrorism, protection of American freedoms and defending our homeland as well as our moral values. The Washington Times and News Max magazine will be used to demonstrate both. I hope this blog will be used by others to write Letters- to-the-Editor to these two sources of conservative perspective and liberal criticism to assist them in real analysis of world events, trends and perspectives. God knows we need it. Just do the freakin’ math.