Monday, April 30, 2007

Price of war and incompetence: U.S. Fatalities for April

U.S. fatalities in Iraq for the month of April reached 104 as of this last day of the month at 10:00am P.S.T. So here's the run down for this month and previous months:

April 104
March 82
February 80
January 83
December 112

5 Month Total = 461

How does this compare to last year:

April 76
March 31
February 55
January 62
December 68

5 Month Total = 292

In addition, April 2005 had only 52 Fatalities, or half that of this month. So the trend is going up fast.

As you can clearly see from the numbers above, things are not getting better in Iraq, if you use U.S. Fatalities as the benchmark. This most likely will result in the summer months being the worst of the entire war. I hope this does not come to pass, but this does not bode well for our soldiers, their families. and our country. And we have President Bush and VP Cheney that both separately remind me of that picture of the 3 monkeys, hear no evil, see no evil, and speak n evil! How true it is. Denial is a permanent state for these 2 supposed leaders. They need to be held accountable and as Rep. Murtha said on Face the Nation, IMPEACHMENT is an available tool to deal with them.

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Learning a lesson from Israel's mistake

First the headline, "War report prompts calls for Olmert exit"

Now a brief note on the story:

"A government commission that probed Israel's summer war against Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon accused Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday of 'severe failure,' saying he hastily led the country into the conflict without a comprehensive plan." Sound familiar?

Now my comment:

It only took the Israeli's a mere 9 months to issue the report and call for his resignation for incompetence. It took us 4 years to get the Iraq Study Group report issued and even then they didn't even slam Bush like the Israeli's slammed Olmert. We could learn something from Israel.

For the whole story click here.

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Condi Rice laughs at Administration's mistakes with Katrina- Get serious for a change!

Condi Rice laughed while delivering her response to questions on ABC's This Week with respect to discoveries that aid from other countries for Hurricane Katrina never made it to help the victims, was lost, spoiled over time because they were perishables or because our government refused the aid. She responded to questions with "certainly mistakes were made", but did so, not with some regret, but with a wide smile. What's so humorous Dr. Rice? Maybe if it was your family down there in New Orleans still trying to make it you wouldn't be so glib. Get serious, you are all incompetent even when you jest, and that's not anything worthy of a laugh!

I'm sick of the lack of sincerity by Condi Rice, Dick Cheney and President Bush. Everything has political spin, even grief. Hide you heads in shame.

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Is Saddam's #2 Izzat al-Douri really dead or behind the bombings?

With today's carnage against a Shia holy place (a parked car exploded and killed 55 near Shiite Islam's holiest shrine located in Karbala), one has to ask who has the most anger and loathing of the Shia's. It was Saddam as we know, but Saddam's hatred against Shia's was carried out by Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri. According to BBC in an article in January of this year, they said the Baath party named al-Douri as its new leader shortly after the execution of Saddam. There have been many claims that al-Douri was killed a number of times. Has he been in hiding? Is it possible, that the once suspected underground bunkers, (that went so deep underground that when people visited these underground bunkers their ears popped) are still there? Al-Douri is capable of this action today. I know many think it is Al Qaeda and maybe it is. But just maybe, al-Douri is still alive too.

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Iraq funding needs to be tied to benchmarks- For the Administration and the Iraqi's

Democrats have made their point about funding the war and tying it to a date for withdrawal of U.S. troops. The President is expected to veto this Bill next week, possibly on Tuesday, the anniversary of Bush's Mission Accomplished moment in flight gear. But after the President vetoes the Bill, Democrats and the President are back to square one. Many have called for this next round of confrontation to be linked to successes and benchmarks for the Iraqi's. I suggest also that they be tied to President Bush and the effort for a diplomatic solution. There needs to be measured progress in meeting with the parties in the region such as Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, as well as efforts to resolve, once and for all, the Israeli/Palestinian issue and push for a 2 State solution. This is something worth pursuing even while benchmarks are difficult to establish. At least there should be a prerequisite that minimally there be monthly meetings with the regional parties with the Goal of a framework for peace in the region. Jim Baker could be appointed as Middle East Special Diplomat in charge of negotiations, as he knows many of the players, is a Republican and has the necessary skills to pull this off.

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Bush official resigns over sex scandal

Randall Tobias, head of the Bush administration's foreign aid programs, abruptly resigned after his name was linked to a call-girl ring in DC. Tobias was involved in Aids funding for Africa. Wednesday Mr. Bush praised his efforts coordinating Global Aids relief. Most watchers of the Administration like myself are waiting for that extra-special Karl Rove spin on this one that Mr. Tobias was only doing research on the Aids issue while meeting with the Call-Girl. :)

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Terrorist plot against Saudi's- What should be our reaction?

Shocking plot to attack Saudi Arabia seems to be uncovered with the Saudi's arresting 172 people suspected of targeting senior officials and the important Oil fields. If successful the whole world would have been in turmoil, as it would have disrupted the Oil supply to all countries, which includes our friends and our enemies. This report by ABDULLAH SHIHRI, Associated Press Writer a few minutes ago, runs chills through my spine and brings the images of 9/11 back in focus. The world has gone mad as if bitten by a rabid dog and unfortunately there is no injection to prevent the rabies from causing death.

There is a solution to this problem but it is a difficult choice for the U.S. and the world. We in the U.S. must first get the President and VP's attention to engage in an intensive summit searching for an end to the fighting in Iraq and a removal of all U.S. troops form the country. We must also put the Isreali/Palestinean conflict resolution on the table and work towards a 2 State solution, which will help create a peace in the Middle East. This was clearly spelled out in the Iraq Study Group Report. This President and VP have no interest in promoting this course of action. Their Oil interests are well known. Therefore, Articles of Impeachment should be acted upon, as time is running out. The possibility of a world in flames is very real. The sophistication of the Al-Qaeda plot should get everyone concerned and moved to action. Let's fight the real war with the rest of the world and fight Al-Qaeda together. And let's stop world leader's excuses for not helping us, by taking away the impediment and leaving Iraq. It's time for the "i" word: IMPEACHMENT. This would make a statement to the world: The American people are in charge of their country and not held hostage to perilous strategies by an incompetent President and Vice President.

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Solar Power in California

Those that read my Blog know that I had converted my home to Solar Electric Power about 6 years ago. My county in California is active in support of more Solar in California and my State Representative has sponsored a Bill requesting support for more help in passage of the Bill. Here's some background from you might find interesting if you are a California resident.

The Solar Water Heating and Efficiency Act of 2007 (AB 1470), authored by Assemblymember Jared Huffman (Marin), has passed two committees in the state Assembly over the past two weeks. The bill would create the nation's largest rebate program for solar water heating technologies, helping to lower energy bills, reduce global warming pollution and expand California's solar power market.

Solar hot water systems are one of most promising technologies available today. The systems can be located directly on the roof of a home or business, just like solar electric panels. They capture heat from the sun to heat water to reduce gas bills by up to 50 percent.

AB 1470 would create a statewide rebate program to grow a mainstream market for solar hot water systems, building 200,000 rooftop systems within 10 years. The typical cost of a solar hot water system is between $4,000 and $6,000. With a rebate from the state, and continuation of a federal tax credit, such systems could become cost effective from day-one if financed through a home loan or could pay for themselves within 8 to 10 years.

Despite opposition from Sempra, one of California's largest natural gas corporations, a majority of two key committees in the state Legislature voted in favor of AB 1470.

The first committee vote came on April 16th in Assembly Utilities & Commerce Committee. The assemblymembers voting in favor of the bill were: Hector De La Torre (LA), Karen Bass (LA), Mike Davis (LA), Dave Jones (Sacramento), Laura Richardson (Long Beach), Bill Author Jared Huffman (Marin) and Cameron Smyth (Santa Clarita).

The second committee vote happened on April 23rd in Assembly Natural Resources Committee. The assembly members voting in favor of the bill were: Loni Hancock (Berkeley), Patty Berg (Eureka), Julia Brownley (Santa Monica), John Laird* (Santa Cruz), Lori Saldana* (San Diego), and Lois Wolk* (Davis). The starred members are co-authors.

Please help us build support for solar power by asking a friend or family member to e-mail his or her assemblymember in support of AB 1470.

To take action, click on the link below or paste it into your Web browser:

I have been fortunate that with the exception of a one month period when I had my panels off, I have not had to pay for any electricity in 6 years. The only electric bill I receive is about $100-$160/year for fees the Pacific Gas & Electric charge me for being hooked up to the electric Grid so we can send our excess electricity back for all to use. It was one of our best decisions to go Solar as there are additional benefits not cited. First, your roof stays cooler in the summer because the panels block the rays of the sun. This keeps our upstairs cooler requiring less air conditioning. The roof should last longer too as the sun's rays aren't beating all day on the roof. And thirdly, they value in appreciation of your house is also a plus. The City of San Francisco, which in the summer is well known for its fog, is considering purchasing all its power from alternative energy sources that are Green, thus saving on Middle Eastern oil needs. Say what you like about San Francisco being so Left of Center politically, they are often leading the country for the betterment of society. Recently the City banned plastic bags from grocery stores as these bags will not decompose in dumps and will be around for many lifetimes.

Think Green and act Locally.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Iraq democracy Bush/Cheney style.

Here's the latest from the UN as to conditions in Iraq since the surge. According to reports, "the U.N. released a new human rights report Wednesday saying that sectarian violence continued to claim the lives of a large number of Iraqi civilians in Sunni Arab and Shiite neighborhoods of Iraq's capital, despite the coalition's new Baghdad security plan. Begun Feb. 14, it has increased U.S. and Iraqi troops levels in the capital." and this, "The U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq report said civilian casualties in the daily violence between Jan. 1 and March 31 remained high, concentrated in and around Baghdad.

And finally this, "The Iraqi government withheld recent casualty figures from the United Nations, fearing they would be used to present a grim picture of Iraq that would undermine the coalition's security efforts, U.N. officials said Wednesday."

This all seems to me that the Iraqi Gov't has learned about democracy Bush/Cheney style; where no truthful information is presented to the public ever, as it might look bad to the public.

To read the entire report by Thomas Wagner, AP Writer, click here.. It is shown on Yahoo News.

Still think the "surge" is working?

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

U.S. Casualties for April: Crying for humanity

On this sad, tragic day in the Iraq war, we have reached 86 deaths so far this month, with still one week to go. The chart shows that there is an ever-increasing death rate, from the very beginning of the war, to now. This fact reveals similar conditions were shown in the Vietnam war. It proceeded a significant increase in troop levels then, and God forbid, this Administration uses similar thinking and strategy. They are becoming more desperate to show they have the answers by even more increases in troop levels.The chart shows that the fatalities are increasing steadily with Al-Quaida using suicide bombers to show their determination. There appears to be an infinite supply of these individuals willing to give up their lives for what they see as their just cause.

What a tragedy for every human life lost. Has the species gone mad? It appears so. My wife has said to me many times that the signals are all there, we may have over extended our welcome on planet earth and may become as extinct as the dinosaurs. The earth is reacting to our presence by presenting us with a result of our collective actions: Global Warming. Scientists say we have only 10 years left to reverse the tend before it can't be stopped and Mother Earth melts its Polar Ice packs and floods wipe out millions of us, saving us from ourselves. What a tragedy. And the real tragedy is that most of us humans are asleep to see how we personally are all connected in causing these problems.

But, most of us believe someone else is doing it, not me. And for many on this planet, the solution is killing; killing themselves through solitary suicide, others through murder and wars, and still others by suicide bombing and blowing themselves up to join God. They believe in a heaven and believe these actions will get them there sooner, rather than later. The so-called religious clerics commit sins against God and nature by supporting and encouraging this behavior. Evidently, they don't believe as their "good" book tells them that there is also a hell. If you believe in a God, ask yourself are we humans fit to be in their presence when we are gone given our support for war, killing, murder, access to guns not for their need to kill game for our food needs but for the "sport" of it. And be sure to look yourself in the eye in front of your mirror without looking away, when you answer that question.

Now the data:
Dec. to April 2005 U.S. Fatalities were 324
Dec. to April 2006 U.S. Fatalities were 292
Dec. to April 2007 U.S. Fatalities were 443 (so far with one week remaining for April)

Do you still see the "surge" working?

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Bush's missed opportunity on Gonzales

This morning the President said this of Attorney General Gonzales, This is an honest, honorable man, in whom I have confidence." That may be true Mr. President but you forgot the one word that would be most important in your support of Gonzales. That word in COMPETENT which he is not and forms the basis for any job. Come to think of it Mr. President, you don't score high in that area either, and that may be why you can't judge others on that scale. You must be competent to evaluate one's competence.

If you had competence, Mr. President, you would seize this moment to galvanize Republican support for replacing Gonzales and finding an exemplary alternative as you did with Sec. of Defense, Robert Gates. Now he's an honorable man and very competent as well.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Renditions- Understanding the complexity of the issues.

C-Span covered a great committee meeting on April 17th regarding Extraordinary Renditions with testimony from several members from the British Parliament, as well as officers of the E.U. Rep. William Delahunt (D), Chair of the Committee, engaged along with Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R) of California and others, in questioning Dr. Michael Scheuer, our former CIA head of the effort to get Osama Bin Laden under President Clinton. To educate yourself on the specifics on Renditions, this is must viewing. The exchange was brutally honest and all sides of the issue were articulated with an honesty not usually front and center in Washington. It is not so easy to find absolutes. It was one of the best Committee hearings I have heard on C-Span.

The Europeans find themselves wanting to advise us and raise our image in the world for their own good interests as much needs to be done by us and our allies and that would seem a good thing. However, what I learned is that nothing is that simple. It is much more complicated.

Watch the C-Span recording on the committee meeting and you won't be disappointed. But be prepared it is long but well worth it.

UPDATE: To access this hearing on Real Player search the C-Span archives dated for April 17, 2007 under the title of "House Hearing on Transatlantic Relations"

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Gonzales Testimony or Let's Make A Deal

To learn just how incompetent this Administration has become try listening to Alberto Gonzales's testimony before the Senate today. It will be a real spectator sport and offers to provide much material for the likes of Comedy Central's Jon Stewart and the Late night Shows of David Letterman et al. I'm sure I'll have something to add too but will not have availability of a computer for 3 days to post something so just imagine what I would have said. The interesting thing here is that Gonzales will be testifying before Monica Goodling, his liaison with the White House's Harriet Myers and Karl Rove, so there is a good possibility that today he will perjure himself.

Till then.


As Paul Harvey, famous radio personality would say, "And now the rest of the story..." Well the opening questioning by Senator Arlen Spector was terrific and the responses by Gonzales was as I promised. This is the same incompetent Attorney General who advised the President, while he was his General Counsel, that they could redefine the definition of Torture as noted in U.S Laws and the Geneva Convention. It is why with the advice of Gonzales this President with his Vice President have committed High Crimes and Misdemeanors.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

So much for the "surge"!

Huge attacks in Iraq were in mass today in Baghdad where at least 127 were killed with more than 138 injured. It is a direct attack against the security plan of the U.S. to bring Baghdad under control. It seems the insurgents can change tactics confounding our forces and Iraqi government forces on a regular basis. There were 6 car bombs today.

In addition the U.S. fatalities continue to climb to the highest levels of the war. This month there has been 64 so far. And we are on our way to this month concluding 6 months of the highest death rate since the war began 5 years ago.

With the death of 33 at Virginia Tech and all the attention from the media that is being showered on this tragedy, as it should be, it brings to mind why aren't we morning the U.S. soldiers every week in the same manner. One reason for this is that coverage of the caskets coming home from Iraq has changed in this war than that of the Vietnam war, where we saw many ceremonies of returning caskets and funerals. This Administration has worked hard at keeping us sanitized from the pain and suffering facing the Nation from the loss of these brave men and women who serve their country without questioning authority and following orders. It is up to us, as civilians, to stand up for them and use the freedoms they defend for us, to express outrage over this war of choice by Bush and Cheney.

In his new book, George Tenet, former head of the CIA under this President, has documented and made the case that this President and especially this Vice President would not listen to any intelligence that did not support their desire to go to war. Not only did they cherry pick what facts they wanted to highlight from the intelligence, they added more color to the intelligence reports and promoted fear to the intelligence community to flush out even more bias to support going to war. The Administration was obsessed with going to war coming into office.

We must be willing to face the reality of this war. The facts are that the war is lost! The Democrats didn't lose this war, the Republicans didn't lose this war, the President, VP and this Administration flush with incompetence lost this war and don't let any Karl Rove's manipulation of language and propaganda make you believe differently. The President would love to pass this war on to Democrats so he can blame them for losing the war, but history and his legacy, will show differently. Much data on this incompetent Administration exists for historians to review, starting with the case for WMD and the lies that were told about yellow cake uranium being purchased in Niger in the President's State of the Nation speech, to the total incompetence in responding to Hurricane Katrina and handling the rebuilding of New Orleans. We will never forget, nor forgive such incompetence, trickery and lies not to mention the suspension of the Constitution as the foundation of all law in this country. This will be seen as Americas's darkest period.

UPDATE: It turned out that I was premature in identifying 127 deaths yesterday, as it turned out to be close to 200 at the end of the day in Iraq.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Virginia Tech tragedy

Virginia Tech shootings and the questions raised will be front and center for weeks to come if not longer. Commentators mentioned that on opening day there was an incident, there has been a bomb threat last week and many wonder why all the violence, as this is unique to the United States. It is the biggest school tragedy in U.S. history. Did this tragedy occur because we have become a violent society? Is it because guns are easily obtained and there are more guns per capita here than in most other places in the world, probably with the exception of Iraq? Will the NRA (National Rifle Association), which is headquartered in Virginia, rebuke calls for more gun control which is most certain to be voiced? Or is it because we see and hear about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq all the time?

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Iraqi elections- Isn't it time again?

Seems like it's time for another round of mid term elections in Iraq. Now that Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has quit the Parliament maybe it's time for ordinary Iraqi's to decide if they are on the "right course" or if a change in leadership is needed. Al Maliki has the support of President Bush but Moqtada al-Sadr is removing his support of the leadership. And add to that Al Sadr is the most popular figure in Iraq today and you can see what a problem is created here for the U.S., as well as the Maliki government. All this is happening at the time of the "surge". The issue for Al Sadr is when will U.S. troops leave? He has called on his people to protest in the streets peacefully to make a big statement to us and his own government. Moqtada al-Sadr reportedly has over 60,000 in his militia according to CNN reports and hundred's of thousands of other supporters.

An election of even minor parliament figures could change the balance of power within the government and this in turn could lead to some necessary changes and decisions by the Iraqi government. It could also provide the clarity for us as to when we should leave Iraq. The main stream media will position Al-Sadr leaving the government as a bad thing. It really isn't, as that is how change takes place in a democracy.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Spineless Democrats

It is obvious the politicians are far behind where the American people are regarding the Iraq war and Border Security. But it seems that they are more worried about the inevitable spin that could discredit them from archenemy Karl Rove, than they worry about American voter's outrage. They have miscalculated again. Many of them won't be around in the next election cycle, as more courageous politicians will unseat them too. The sea change is coming and, as powerful as a tsunami, it will take timid Democrats in its path along with Republicans.

The clamor for impeachment is being heard in new places. The idea that impeachment is a waste of time is being challenged, as many believe, as I do, that impeachment is not only worth pursuing, it is the only way to gain back credibility for America with the rest of the world, especially our remaining friends. But, it is going to take many more of us to speak out. It can start by you having the courage to write your Congressmen and Senators and posing the fact that impeachment is worthwhile. If there were ever a time in our history where High Crimes and Misdemeanors were committed it has been by President Bush and VP Cheney. These Crimes make Clinton's transgressions look like Kindergarden antics compared to this Administration's subversion of the Constitution.

But to show real courage, you will need to start a conversation with friends and family over the idea. This will take a Village. The real question for you is this, What is it going to take by this President and VP for you to call for impeachment, as they have given us plenty of reasons already?

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

April first 2 week total of fatalities in Iraq equals 51

U.S. fatalities in Iraq now total 51 for the first 2 weeks in April. There were 24 the first week in April, so this second week shows and increase in the rate. We are now losing 3.64 soldiers per day in Iraq. This means that by month's end, we can expect that we will have had 109 fatalities.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Error of no oversight? Former Bush appointment Wolfowitz back in the news

Does this sound like familiar territory? Well it is. Back in the news today the once forgotten but never out of the news, Paul Wolfowitz, former Deputy Secretary of Defense under Donald Rumsfeld and current World Bank President. He was asked to consider resigning by the World Bank after this investigation. Seems he did what all Bush appointments are used to, promoted someone without proper oversight. It turns out it was his girlfriend. Here's a quote from the Staff of the World Bank, "The president must acknowledge that his conduct has compromised the integrity and effectiveness of the World Bank Group and has destroyed the staff's trust in his leadership," To read the full story click here.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Green Zone suicide bomber attack: Did U.S. make changes in Green Zone strategy as contemplated?

With the unprecedented attack today, within the heavily fortified and "secure" Green Zone, one wonders whether reports, several weeks ago, contributed to the suicide attack by an apparent Sunni Parliament member's bodyguard. It was only back on March 28th, a few weeks ago, that reports stated that the U.S. Military was considering turning over parts of the Green Zone security to Iraqi's. Read below for what was said and my earlier posting on this topic. I still believe that the answer to truly negotiate the necessary compromises, the Iraqi's must take over security for eachother in the Green Zone.

On March 28th, I posted the following:

Jamie Mcintyre of CNN reported today that the military is considering turning over parts of the Green Zone to the Iraqi's and he stated that the view by our military is that if the Iraqi Army can't protect the Green Zone, they will never protect the country. I applaud this novel approach.

Maybe U.S. Generals should read my Blog more frequently. Below is what I said on Dec. 10, 2006 right on this Blog titled, "A formula for Guaranteed Iraqi success:"

"Here's another thought about Iraqi's standing up, so we can stand down. We need to turn over the Green Zone to the Iraqi's to protect. If they can't protect even one square mile, they will never protect the country. The Iraqi politicians, Sunni, Shiite and Kurds, all have a vital interest in being protected. It has been shown that in order to solve large problems, any group that has differences, (and the 3 Iraqi groups definitely have a dog in this fight,) needs to work together to solve small problems, then with the experience they have gained and the increased trust can solve larger problems. So by having all 3 groups responsible for security in the Green Zone, there is a chance that once their lives are entrusted to each other they might compromise and rise to the occasion. If not, and they can't secure the Green Zone, the leaders will eventually be killed and a new government will need to be formed but in any event, the current stalemate will be resolved. :)"

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Surge or Escalation? It's all spin!

Yesterday's decision to extend the service of those serving in the military from 12 months to 15 months brings the answer to the question. Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, and General Pace say that this helps them be able to maintain the "surge" for a year. This is not a surge, it is an escalation!

The word "surge" means the following:
1) A sudden onrush: a surge of joy.
2) A period of intense effort that improves a competitor's standing, as in a race.

This so called "surge" is neither sudden nor does it provide an intense period. This surge is planned now for at least a year. Back in the days of the Vietnam War, this would be called an 'Escalation".

The word "escalation means the following:
1) The act of increasing or rising
2) Enlargement
3) Boost or buildup

President Lyndon Johnson had to deal with the issue of how to "escalate" the war because he knew that many of his supporters would have serious questions about escalation. Make no mistake of the parallels to Vietnam. The first true measure of the escalation was the increase in the fatalities and casualties, same as they are in Iraq today.

Here is a brief article of the situation Johnson faced and a link to the article and tapes released of the conversation between Johnson and Robert Kennedy over "escalating" the war. See the parallel to Iraq, the Iraqi army vs South Vietnam army and their ineffectiveness, and the morale.

"Tapes reveal how LBJ and RFK 'sold' escalation in Vietnam

February 21, 1997

ATLANTA (CNN) -- On the 9th of June, 1964, U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy called President Lyndon B. Johnson to talk about South Vietnam.

The United States already had about 16,000 military personnel in the small, Southeast Asian country, most of them described as "advisors."

But it was clear that it would take more than 16,000 Americans to stop the Viet Cong guerrillas, who were proving to be increasingly troublesome and destructive.
Adding to the concern was the ineffectiveness of the South Vietnamese Army. Troubled by poor leadership and low morale, the South Vietnamese showed little enthusiasm for taking on the Viet Cong.

It was evident that President Johnson would have to escalate U.S. involvement in Vietnam or risk losing the country altogether. More important, he would have to decide how to sell that escalation to Congress and the public."

For the complete transcript click here.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I don't like the war but I like Gates

True, today Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, held a news conference over changes to deployment of our soldiers in the field. Gates was angry with one of his own as they let him down. I am sure this individual got the message a new man is leading the Defense Dept. I wasn't sure how I would feel about Gates, but over several months I have come to the conclusion that we are lucky to have him. He is a straight shooter, obviously wants to do the right thing for the troops with respect to sharing the burden equally and trying to create a sense of predictability. I know he doesn't have time to read Blogs, but I just want to say God Bless you for serving your country so well and for thinking how best to improve the lives of the families and soldiers serving their country.

Who are the 36% approving Bush's job performance?

Nothing surprises me much anymore. But what still does surprise me is that 36% of those polled still approve President Bush and how he is doing his job and handling the Iraq war. Who are these Americans? What Kool-Aid are they drinking? If at this point in Bush's 7th year in office we still have 36% of Americans approving Bush and this Administration, is there any hope left for America? Where did we go wrong as a country, what were the early signs and what can we do about it now?

If you are one of the 36% that give Bush that approval rating, leave a comment, as I am doing an anthropologic study of regressive homosapiens. Also, please leave the name of the State you live in. Do not include the State of Denial, as we already know that little tidbit about you.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

What's wrong with our Nation's Educational system

Would you like to be a teacher? Do you think we get the best people in the teaching profession? Why aren't you willing to consider being a teacher? Does it have anything to do with the Salary teachers make? What would it take to get you to consider becoming a teacher? If you have answered these questions for yourself, here's some interesting data. How much would it cost us to really make a change in the teaching profession and once again be the best-educated citizens on the planet?

There are 2,997,748 teachers in Public schools. Their average base salary is $39,857 although some can make double that after many years in the job but it is rare.

Total Funding for Public Schools is broken down as follows:
The Federal Government pays about 7.3% of all the costs.
Your State pays 49.7% and your Local government pays about 43.1% through Property taxes.

Now here's how to change the system. If the Federal government picked up the costs to double the base salary for teachers from $40,000/year to $80,000/year as a base salary, the costs would be an additional $240 Billion dollars. If at the same time teaching became a year round job, with generous vacations but still not as much as they get now, we would attract a very capable and motivated work force where the standards for the teaching profession could garner the best possible people teaching. To put these costs into perspective, the cost of the Iraq war is $415 Billion dollars so far, not including related costs due 25,000 Iraq Veterans because of sustained serious injuries and understandable mental illnesses, as a direct result of the Iraq war. Where are our priorities? What do you think?

For more data on teaching and the source of the data above click here.

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

U.S. Fatalities for the first week in April

U.S. Military fatalities for the first week in April totaled 28. On a Monthly basis this would equate to about 112. Compared to the previous month, March had 24 fatalities, as I reported in my post titled, "U.S. Fatalities for the 1st week in March 2007".

U.S. Fatalities
For the entire month of April 2005 a total of 52

For the entire month of April 2006 a total of 76

Projected from data for the first week we are on our way to 112 for the month of April, 2007.

Let's see how good your math is. For the same month, If we had 52 in 2005, 76 in 2006 and are on our way for 112 for 2007, does this show that things are getting better or worse? If you guessed worse you are correct. President Bush, VP Cheney and now Senator John McCain and Senator Joe Lieberman think things are getting better. They must have done poorly in Math too, as we knew and have been reminded quite often that Bush has no command of English either. Someone investigate what is being taught at Yale please. Maybe that is why Bush pushed “No child left behind”, as he would have been left behind, if they had standards and exams for professors and teachers when Bush was getting his education. Check into his Elementary school too, which was Sam Houston Elementary School in Midland, Texas. as maybe they didn't have standards for teachers there either. Something has to explain his poor use of the English language. He must have done poorly in Civics as well or wouldn't have trashed the Constitution so easily and so often.

Oh, and we had 7 U.S. Contractors killed in Afghanistan which are not counted nor kept track of by the media and Department of Defense. This compares to only 2 in March and 1 in February of this year. Still think things are getting better. Let's stop this useless war, which was started on lies and reasons no longer valid, otherwise blood will be on your hands too for not speaking out to stop the war! Saddam has been removed from power and is dead but apparently Osama Bin Laden lives. Go figure.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

It's TIME for the "I" word- IMPEACHMENT!

There is good reason to ponder this today. Yesterday well-respected journalist, Joe Klein, of TIME magazine, wrote an article throwing in the towel on Bush and bringing the issue of impeachment to the forefront of considering to more years of Bush and an incompetent Administration. First read the article, which I have pasted below, and then a few additional comments I make. Here it is:

Thursday, Apr. 05, 2007
An Administration's Epic Collapse
By Joe Klein
The first three months of the new Democratic Congress have been neither terrible nor transcendent. A Pew poll had it about right: a substantial majority of the public remains happy the Democrats won in 2006, but neither Nancy Pelosi nor Harry Reid has dominated the public consciousness as Newt Gingrich did when the Republicans came to power in 1995. There is a reason for that. A much bigger story is unfolding: the epic collapse of the Bush Administration.

The three big Bush stories of 2007--the decision to "surge" in Iraq, the scandalous treatment of wounded veterans at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys for tawdry political reasons--precisely illuminate the three qualities that make this Administration one of the worst in American history: arrogance (the surge), incompetence (Walter Reed) and cynicism (the U.S. Attorneys).

Iraq comes first, as always. From the start, it has been obvious that personal motives have skewed the President's judgment about the war. Saddam tried to kill his dad; his dad didn't try hard enough to kill Saddam. There was payback to be had. But never was Bush's adolescent petulance more obvious than in his decision to ignore the Baker-Hamilton report and move in the exact opposite direction: adding troops and employing counterinsurgency tactics inappropriate to the situation on the ground. "There was no way he was going to accept [its findings] once the press began to portray the report as Daddy's friends coming to the rescue," a member of the Baker-Hamilton commission told me. As with Bush's invasion of Iraq, the decision to surge was made unilaterally, without adequate respect for history or military doctrine. Iraq was invaded with insufficient troops and planning; the surge was attempted with too few troops (especially non-Kurdish, Arabic-speaking Iraqis), a purposely misleading time line ("progress" by September) and, most important, the absence of a reliable Iraqi government.

General David Petraeus has repeatedly said, "A military solution to Iraq is not possible." Translation: This thing fails unless there is a political deal among the Shi'ites, Sunnis and Kurds. There is no such deal on the horizon, largely because of the President's aversion to talking to people he doesn't like. And while some Baghdad neighborhoods may be more peaceful--temporarily--as a result of the increased U.S. military presence, the story two years from now is likely to resemble the recent headlines from Tall 'Afar: dueling Sunni and Shi'ite massacres have destroyed order in a city famously pacified by counterinsurgency tactics in 2005. Bush's indifference to reality in Iraq is not an isolated case. It is the modus operandi of his Administration. The indifference of his Environmental Protection Agency to the dangers of carbon dioxide emissions was rejected by the Supreme Court on April 2.

On April 3, the President again accused Democrats of being "more interested in fighting political battles in Washington than providing our troops what they need." Such demagoguery is particularly outrageous given the Administration's inability to provide our troops "what they need" at the nation's premier hospital for veterans. The mold and decrepitude at Walter Reed are likely to be only the beginning of the tragedy, the latest example of incompetence in this Administration. "This is yet another aspect of war planning that wasn't done properly," says Paul Rieckhoff of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. "The entire VA hospital system is unprepared for the casualties of Iraq, especially the psychiatric casualties. A lot of vets are saying, 'This is our Katrina moment.' And they're right: this Administration governs badly because it doesn't care very much about governing."

Compared with Iraq and Walter Reed, the firing of the U.S. Attorneys is a relatively minor matter. It is true that U.S. Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the President, but they are political appointees of a special sort. They are partisans, obviously, but must appear to be above politics--not working to influence elections, for example--if public faith in the impartiality of the justice system is to be maintained. Once again Karl Rove's operation has corrupted a policy area--like national security--that should be off-limits to political operators.

When Bush came to office--installed by the Supreme Court after receiving fewer votes than Al Gore--I speculated that the new President would have to govern in a bipartisan manner to be successful. He chose the opposite path, and his hyper-partisanship has proved to be a travesty of governance and a comprehensive failure. I've tried to be respectful of the man and the office, but the three defining sins of the Bush Administration--arrogance, incompetence, cynicism--are congenital: they're part of his personality. They're not likely to change. And it is increasingly difficult to imagine yet another two years of slow bleed with a leader so clearly unfit to lead."

Joe is the first of Main Street media to say it like it is and to raise the implied question, as to what are we going to do about this as free people and a Nation. This problem should not be addressed in a divisive manner by the Democratic Party. It needs to be an American solution. Impeachment is the answer for both Bush and Cheney. The method and timing need to be considered and discussed but there are plenty of reasons why this should be done. It is exactly for these reasons the framers of the Constitution left the language vague when they included "High Crimes and Misdemeanors", as reasons to impeach a President. The Constitution was written just for this period of time and circumstances that truly free people must consider. I saw this quote on a web site this morning called that Benjamin Franklin said, "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety". This is the time to put sufficient pressure on the Congress and Senate with Republicans and Democrats united because they know what is right for America and have the courage to take a principled decision of such gravitas. We don't need: 2 more years of this misery. Not 2 more years of the same failed course in Iraq. Not 2 more years of the possibility of another entry into a sovereign nation like Iran. Not 2 more years of arrogance, incompetence and cynicism. Joe Klein had courage to write this piece and admit he was wrong. We need courage to do what is right here. Put pressure on your elected officials and join me in calling for the Impeachment of President Bush and VP Cheney. Attach Joe Klein's piece to anything you write. God Bless America.

Postscript: You know something is wrong when citizens of a State want to secede from the Country. Vermont has such a movement. See The Once and Future Republic of Vermont" Washington Post article written on April 1st.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Income tax versus Consumption tax?

At the heart of the debate on illegal Immigration and Border Security is a significant financial component. The argument goes something like this. All these illegal immigrants are causing major financial burdens on the rest of Americans because they don't pay taxes, work cheaper than legal immigrants and are destroying our healthcare system as they use Emergency Rooms to treat their illnesses as they don't pay for health insurance. In addition, we are not going after employers who hire these illegal immigrants.

A lot of these arguments are valid. However, there is a way to change the financial equation that could help solve part of this burden. It would require changing our tax system from a tax on income to a tax on consumption and that would include services. What do you think?

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Did Speaker Nancy Pelosi play a role in the release of the British soldiers?

News this morning from RTT cites the following, " Syria played a key role in resolving the standoff over the 15 British sailors and marines held by Iran, two government officials said Wednesday.
"Syrian efforts and the Iranian willingness culminated with the release of the British sailors," said Information Minister Mohsen Bilal.

He said Syria had been asked "to help positively in the issue of British" crew members since their March 23 seizure by Iran in the Persian Gulf.

He did not elaborate."

We will never really know if the trip by Speaker Pelosi to Syria had any connection to the release but the coincidence of the trip and the releease is striking. It was a chance for both Syria and Iran to take a whack at President Bush and they took it.

To read the story of Syria's involvement click here.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

End game for the Democrats in defeating Bush on the Iraq war.

Every news media anchor person is saying that no one knows where this latest confrontation is headed with the President over funding of the war in Iraq, because the Democrats don't have the votes to stop Bush. This is absolutely a false statement. The Democrats don't need 60 votes to override the veto of the president. It is the President that needs the Democrats to approve spending. If the Senate stays in gridlock, the funding will not be approved and the troops will have to come home. Ultimately the President knows this and will either come with hat in hand, looking for some compromise, or will try to blame the Iraq war aftermath on the Democrats. None will believe the Democrats created this mess no matter how Karl Rove tries his best. This was, is and will be Bush's war and his legacy, period! Democrats and courageous Republicans like Hagel need to hang tough. You are doing your best service to your country by bringing the troops home sooner rather than later. You will be saving our soldier's lives.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Supreme Court again whacks the Bush Administration

The Supreme Court today ruled against the Bush Administration again, this time on car pollution and the role of the EPA in setting limits on pollution. Even with the Supreme Court rigged with Conservatives, the 5-4 decision is a setback for both Bush and Cheney and their big Oil friends. They rebuked the Administration for inaction on global warming!

The court's four conservative justices — Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas — dissented.

Those rebuking the Administration's position were Justices John Stevens, Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Ruth Ginsburg and Steven Breyer. To read the compete news report click here.

In my humble opinion, this Administration should have been taken to Court over their record on Katrina too.

Background of Supreme Court appointments:

Of the 9 Supreme Court Justices 7 have been appointed by Republican Presidents and only 2 by a Democratic President.

Justice Stephen Breyer appointed by Clinton
Justice Ruth Ginsburg appointed by Clinton
Justice John Stevens appointed by Ford
Justice Anthony Kennedy appointed by Reagan
Justice Anthony Scalia appointed by Reagan
Justice Clarence Thomas appointed by Bush 1
Justice David Souter appointed by Bush 1
Justice Sam Alito appointed by Bush 2
Chief Justice John Roberts appointed by Bush 2

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