Saturday, May 20, 2006

Just some random MSN news stories

Whenever I think about it, and read some decent MSN news stories, I will post some links to some stuff I think is worth a read. Here's some stuff worth knowing about:

China has finished the Three Gorges Damn
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12880810/

And they say they got Gitmo under full control:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12870427/

For some reason, I am a little skeptical about this:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12888244/

I guess the U.N. doesn't think Gitmo is to nice a place:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12864476/

Does Iran do its best keep oil prices high?
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12864476/

The Military smuggles ecstasy?:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12876229/

Don't mind me in my government approved Sky Marshal clothes:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12871145/

The new body armor is junk:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12876952/

Jesus was a liberal

The one thing that has always confused me about the religious right, was their dedication to a faith based on a man who was a liberal, while at the same time speaking things Jesus would never agree with or approve of. Jesus was a man who surrounded himself with the people society shunned and saw as essentially garbage. Many within the close circle of Jesus followers were people many in our country would walk right past trying to pretend not to see. These were the people that Jesus embraced with compassion and love, he choose not to ignore them as invisible, useless people.

The amount of intolerance that comes from those who claim to be speaking the word of Jesus, is just plain insanity to me. Those that the religious right are always so quick to condemn, are the very people Jesus would be living and associating with. I find it so odd that people can use a man's words of peace and love, and twist them to justify hatred and prejudice. Jesus today would be the first person in front of a march for immigrant rights, gay/lesbian rights, anti-war protests, anti-corporate globalization rallies, anti-seal/whale/any living creature killing in mass for the sheer pleasure of it type of activities. In short, Jesus would be a hippy for lack of a better word to describe him. All the things the religious right stands for are all the things that Jesus stood against.

I am not a religious person by any means, but I do understand the importance it plays in many peoples lives. The sheer presence of the religious right dominating every religious debate has become quite unnerving to me, but I do see things starting to change. Slowly the religious left is beginning to emerge as a political force, and I hope to see it grow. When a man from any time period speaks about peace, compassion, and tolerance, those words hold true for societies through all time. I think it has come time for the Democrats to show that the religious "right" is clearly "wrong" and do not have a monopoly on morality.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12879318/

Rumors Swirl!!?!! Lieberman to run as independent?

My oh my! Last night the Connecticut Democratic State Convention gave Joe a piece of their minds. His opponent, Ned Lamont, received 33.4% of the delegate votes in a show of no-confidence against sitting Senator Joe Lieberman. This was considered unthinkable in his once safe seat. Now, My Left Nutmeg reports rumors that Joe may bolt the party and run as an Independent.

The man called "Hannity's favorite Democrat" and a consistent apologist for the administration is now thinking of cutting and running- as the LamontBlog so aptly declares.

Below is a video from the convention of a guy stating that Lieberman has been rumored to be leaving the party in the next two weeks.

What's even more interesting than the rumor is Lieberman's rationale for leaving and the potential spin he will give publicly. First, he will have a better chance of winning in a statewide election. Which may be true since he will not face a potentially embarrassing Democratic primary and continues to have strong support among Republicans in the state. Secondly, his overall public perception allows him to say,
"I don't want the people in the primary to decide who should be the next senator, I want all the people of Connecticut to decide who should be the next Senator, "
as the man in the video proclaims. This would be an interesting turn of events.

If you have criminals for neighbors, hope their stupid

With friends like these....

Just when you thought even old ladies were safe to trust

This is just to much, these are some crazy old broads.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12870273/

Friday, May 19, 2006

Immigration

I am so damn tired of everyone picking on the nearest brown person as soon as anything in our society/economy starts to turn south. It seems as if the entire country, or at least 90%, have forgotten that we are a nation of immigrants. There is a quote at the base of the Statue of Liberty that spells out our country's position on this matter, both for our past and for our future. The quote is as follows:

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to
breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the
homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

So lets think about this for a second. We have all seen the hordes of brown people doing anything possible to get across our border to try to make it to a better place to create a better world for their families. Somehow while watching this, all compassion has been thrown out the window. Where is this compassionate nation I keep being told about? Where is this compassion when we are rounding up anybody that "WE" deem unfit for our society?

So why is it now, these people who only want what most of us have, must be barred from entering our country, and those who came recently must be sent back? How quickly we rally to the rule of law, that these people are criminals who came here illegal, with no regard for our laws. Did we forget that we took this country through killing and death? How is it crossing a border is seen as so much worse?

The people we are so easily able to discard are people, period, and they need help. If you read the quote above, it is clear, we are a nation built by the trash discarded the world over. That is were our greatness was derived from, and those we wish to rid ourselves of, fit that description. In the end, the only people we will be ridding our country of, are the very people who want to work harder than anyone to make our country the best place anyone could imagine.

The Mexican Invasion is a Repeat of the Yellow Peril

Just when I come up with a great topic to write about- something that will take some time and research to accomplish. I come across a great essay already covering the subject. I had not read Orcinus in a long time, but that will have to change.

"Invasion: Repeating History" is a brief, but important study of the similarities between today's "Invasion" rhetoric and the years-long-past xenophobic range against Asians.

This political agitation was further spurred by a Bay Area newspaper war between the Hearst-owned Examiner and the Chronicle, the latter of which began running headlines like the following:
THE YELLOW PERIL—HOW JAPANESE CROWD OUT THE WHITE RACE
JAPANESE A MENACE TO AMERICAN WOMEN
BROWN ARTISANS STEAL BRAINS OF WHITES

Eventually, this agitation led to the passage of Alien Land Laws forbidding "aliens ineligible for citizenship" (Asians were precluded from naturalization then) that outlawed ownership of land for Japanese farmers.

The same wave of immigrant-bashing reached high water in Washington in 1919-21, when the presence of Japanese farmers was blamed for the inability of returning veterans to obtain work. This was kicked off by a campaign by a fellow named Miller Freeman, president of the Anti-Japanese League of Washington and a wealthy publisher, who had been agitating about a possible Japanese invasion of the Pacific Coast since 1907. Freeman was chair of the state Veterans Commission in 1919.


Read it and see that history always repeats itself when we don;t look back to understand our past. Thanks Orcinus.

Afghanistan: Still not "Mission Accomplished"

Everyday I receive free email reports from an organization called Stratfor (short for Strategic Forecasting). They are a risk assessment firm focused on assisting corporations and investors in assessing foreign policy risk in their business. Go ahead and sign up for their free email alerts. They give background about some very important news not usually covered in the mainstream media. For instance, this early morning intelligence briefing was about Afghanistan.

Geopolitical Diary: The Other Theater of Operations

While the Iraq war drags on, there is precious little discussion of the other active theater of operations: Afghanistan. Afghanistan is frequently touted as the "un-Iraq," in the sense that the U.S. invasion of the country clearly was linked to fighting al Qaeda, and the United States has fought as part of a coalition. To drive that point home on Thursday, Canada voted (albeit by a margin of only four votes) to extend its mission in Afghanistan. Others have been indicating willingness to go on with their commitments there also.

At the same time, a major Taliban offensive is under way in Afghanistan. There was heavy fighting on Thursday when Taliban forces attacked the town of Mosa Qala, 300 miles southwest of Kabul. A suicide bomber attacked a convoy outside the city of Herat. Another suicide bomber struck near the town of Ghazni. All told, Afghan government reports set the death toll for the day at about 100. This does not count action elsewhere that was not widely reported.

It is essential to understand that the Taliban were not destroyed in the 2001 invasion. Under pressure from the Northern Alliance forces recruited by the United States, and by U.S. air power, Taliban forces declined combat in the cities, where they would have been decimated. They withdrew and dispersed, regrouping in isolated villages and across the Pakistani border. Then they systematically returned -- each year, increasing their tempo of operations and, each year, extending their reach. As the combat season begins every spring, Taliban activities increase. So it follows that, in the fifth spring since Kabul's fall, the intensity of fighting should be the greatest yet.

The United States has a fraction of the troops in Afghanistan that it has in Iraq. Its coalition partners, although they are taking casualties, are not engaged in offensive operations, as the Americans are reducing operational capabilities. Afghanistan is larger than Iraq and far more rugged. It is an inhospitable area for combat operations by conventional, mechanized forces. The Soviets, with hundreds of thousands of troops, were unable to subdue insurgents in Afghanistan; the United States -- with perhaps a tenth of the number of forces that the Soviets had there -- doesn't have a chance.

The only advantage the United States has in this environment is the political fragmentation of the countryside. The government does not control Afghanistan; in fact, it really is another faction within the country. That means there are forces in Afghanistan whose interests are not the same as the Taliban's, or who can be induced to fight the Taliban. It is not U.S. military force that blocks Taliban power, but the American ability to manipulate the constellation of forces in the country. Military force can preserve the government in Kabul; it cannot pacify the countryside.

The issue is that as Taliban power increases, the willingness of regional warlords to collaborate with the government and the United States decreases. No one wants to be caught on the wrong side of a war in that country. If the United States is perceived to have been defeated in Iraq, and if it appears the United States is losing its will to fight in Afghanistan -- which will be measured by its willingness to increase forces to match the Taliban's operational tempo -- then the strategy of coalition-building collapses.

While everyone is focused on Iraq, a crisis is slowly emerging in Afghanistan. It will play itself out politically, as warlords shift their alliances. It will then emerge militarily, with increasing pressure on forces in Afghanistan. In fact, that is what is happening now, except for the fact that most of the world has not yet noticed it. If Afghanistan has been the Bush administration's "good war" (as opposed to the war in Iraq), some of the shine is going to come off that image as the summer wears on, and certainly in 2007. The Taliban are back in Afghanistan, and they are not a marginal force. More important, they are not going anywhere, and they believe that the Americans -- like the British and Soviets -- will not be staying long. They can afford to be patient.
I Don't have link since it came via email, and I can't find this information on their website. Nevertheless, we can't allow the Decider-in Chief to lose sight of the ball. Afghanistan has the potential of being a major problem, and we need some real leadership to address the current situation.

PS. If someone at Stratfor would prefer that I not post this information please let me know. I will immediately pull it.

Where Did Bert Go?!!!!





Somewhere, Somehow Bert has disappeared. He tells me he needs a new password and his computer is screwed up! Frankly, I think the Evil Bert has gotten a hold of him. He's hanging out with some right wing wacko bent on international destruction. Is that you with Rumsfield? I think I saw a picture of Bert and John Negraponte together. Don't join the Death Squads!!! Where have you taken my good friend! When will he be coming back. Stay tuned. But for now, check out this hilarious joke site: Bert is Evil!

My Interns Are Great!




One of my interns at my paying job just sent me a link to one of the coolest website games around. Well... its really not a game. Its kind of like walking around the parking lot kicking a can. Something to be done during a momentary break from work. You do this when your stuck on a problem, or if the world is crashing around you, or if you hate your boss. Play it. Believe me, you will feel better! Just click on the falling Bush and throw him around. I'm not sure what the creator calls it, but I like to say its called "Bush's Balls!." Check it out. From Planet Dan.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Worst President Ever



I was fooling around on the internet and came across some cool generators. The above comic come from gaxed.com.

Check out the Generator blog for more!

What's on the Horizon

I was planning on writing about todays DOW/ equity market sell off. As you all probably know, the DOW got beat pretty hard today to a tune of 214 points, or about a 1.88% hit. The catalyst was the core CPI report that was higher than expected causing heartburn to the equity markets. Surprisingly, the bond market had a relatively tepid response. Not surprisingly, the market appears to be realizing the future is a little hazy. Afterall, a lack of certainty causes fear, and fear will drive the market southwards.

Billmon agains explains it better than I could.

If wage gains are already slowing, or at best just noodling along at a meager 2.5% rate (about half the headline inflation rate) what will they do if the economy does downshift to what the Fed considers a more "sustainable" (i.e. noninflationary) pace? Ouch. But if economic growth doesn't slow, or doesn't slow enough, will oil and other commodity prices keep rising -- pushing up headline inflation and making those 2.5% wage gains seem even more inadequate? Double ouch.

Theoretically, as well as ideologically, the stock market doesn't give a flying fuck about the plight of the worker -- as long as the sales growth needed to keep earnings growth perking along comes from somewhere. Shitty wage growth is good news. It boosts profit margins, and only dumb old Keynesians worry about how those underpaid workers are going to buy all that stuff they've been making (not to mention all the stuff being shipped in from China.)

But I think it's finally dawning on the equity cowboys (as it usually does after the Fed has been bumping rates up for a while) that the end result of a tightening cycle isn't likely to be positive for earnings, even if it doesn't lead to a full-fledged recession. What's different this time, I suspect, is that the market is beginning to realize this may be more true, not less, because the enemy is cost-push inflation instead of the old wage-pull variety.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Al Gore on SNL