Ungodly Politics

"Announcing your plans is a good way to hear god laugh." - Al Swearingen


Saturday, August 31, 2002  

Just ran across this little jewel, enjoy:

The Office of the Secretary of Defense rejected efforts to include language in the FY 1996 and FY 1997 Defense Program Guidance to include air sovereignty and air defense as a stated mission and to program resources for them. In 1996, the General Accounting Office (GAO) criticized the Air Guard for continuing to maintain 150 fighters in 10 dedicated air defense units to defend the United States against invading enemy bombers at a cost of nearly $500 million annually nearly a half-decade after the Soviet Union's demise.

The GAO urged that the 10 ANG units be either disbanded or given other missions. That criticism was well established in Washington, D.C. Gen. Colin Powell, while JCS Chairman, had advocated an end to dedicated continental air defense force in 1993 as had the GAO a year later. Both had suggested that general-purpose fighter forces of the Air Force, Navy and Marines -- active duty and reserve components -- could accomplish the mission.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/usaf/1af.htm

Thanks, Colin! Boy, that alternate security plan just worked fine, didn't it?

posted by lazarus | 01:22 | |


Friday, August 30, 2002  

news.telegraph.co.uk - Germany raises stakes against US over Iraq

Yeah, this whole war thing is a good idea. Yup.

Now Mr Schroder says he no longer believes Germany would be properly consulted. "Serious consultations must not only concern the how and when, but also the if,"

Finally, someone brings up the other option, IF. I'm getting so sick of the debated being framed over when, when IF is the critical question we should be looking at.

posted by lazarus | 21:40 | |
 

An interesting story from my old hometown paper, The Andalusia Star News. This lawsuit could seriously hurt Seigelman's chances, which is bad, as he is, after all, a Democratic Governor, and Riley is just a Very Bad Choice for governor, regardless. On the other hand, it could potentially help get rid of State School Superintendent Dr. Ed Richardson. And yes, that's how he's referred to in most stories. I almost think that's his legal name.

State School Superintendent Dr. Ed Richardson is a dictatorial power-mad buffoon who doesn't know the first thing about actually teaching in a real classroom. If he'd leave his lofty position and actually teach in a classroom for a year under the idiotic and ever changing demands put on our teachers, he might learn a thing or two.

Then again, maybe not.

The state still has not told teachers what standardised test will be given this year, nor the format, nor even the first clue as to what will be tested. But if a school's students aren't properly prepared for this mystery test, that school will have hell to pay, or State School Superintendent Dr. Ed Richardson's particular version of it. Funding is being cut, but standards have to be raised. Local funding is being stolen, but woe betide the school that doesn't perform up to his standards, whatever they are that day.

posted by lazarus | 21:01 | |
 

NYPOST.COM World News: KABUL IS AGAIN THE LAND OF THE BANNED By NILES LATHEM

Okay, yeah, it's the NYPost, but still.

Pay no attention to the women behind the veil, of course. As far as you know, they're still partying and dancing in the street. We have to worry about Iraq now, you know.

posted by lazarus | 00:20 | |


Thursday, August 29, 2002  

Mark Twain, addressing some Bible-thumpers:


You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, burning bushes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive stories, and you say that WE are the ones that need help?

posted by lazarus | 19:24 | |
 

Michigan's Attorney General has found a nice old trick for election time: Let's start up a howling fury about child pornography!

Her problem is, she's fallen prey to the belief that child porn is actually a widespread thing. It's actually very rare. I know at one point the largest manufacturer of child porn in the US was the Postal Service, copying stuff they used in stings. (This was in the 80's, so no link yet.)

Child porn makes wonderful campaign fodder for State AGs. Hard to argue against them, because you suddenly look like you're for child porn.

Note the wording in this line, especially the bold part:

"By going after the online money changers of the child porn world, we are trying to target a choke-point in the industry," Granholm's statement said."

Money changers? How more obviously pandering can one get?

posted by lazarus | 00:52 | |


Wednesday, August 28, 2002  

CNN.com - Six found shot to death at Alabama house - August 28, 2002

Damn. I live within an hour of this, and used to live about 15 minutes from there. Nice, quiet rural area.

Damn.

posted by lazarus | 22:29 | |
 

Any of you who still don't believe that atheists are discriminated against read this.

In essence, a man lost a court case because the opposing attorney simply mentioned, during jury questioning, that he is an atheist. No reason for mentioning it, no relevance to the case, in which he was suing a contractor for breach of contract.

Teague said he believes the jury ruled against him because he is not a Christian.

"There's no question about that," Teague said. "You should have seen the jurors. You could have heard a pin drop after they were told I was an atheist."

The Alabama Supreme Court disagreed and upheld the jury's verdict in a decision dated Aug. 16.

Darby, Alabama director of American Atheists, said in the appeal to the high court that Brittain's statement was made to alienate jurors against Teague. He said his client's religious affiliation had nothing to do with the dispute over work done at Teague's home.


While the objection should indeed have been brought up during the questioning, rather than after, it doesn't really matter. Justice has not been served. Of course, the Alabama Supreme Court upheld this decision, but remember that the Chief Justice in Alabama is Roy Moore, the man who decided it was just fine and good to put a huge Ten Commandments monument in the Supreme Court Building.

His only hope now is the US Supreme Court. Anyone wanna bet what they'll find?

posted by lazarus | 16:49 | |


Tuesday, August 27, 2002  

One of my previously stated stances has changed. In reference to the McKinney defeat, I called for an end to open primaries.

Upon further review, I've changed my mind, and here's why:

In many parts of the south, such as Alabama, all local politics is Democratic. So, in an primary with, say, one US representative, anyone who is registered Republican would have no say in any of the other local races. That's not good at all. It actually prevents people from having a say in very important elections.

Now, I could see a compromise, where we basically eliminate party affiliation for local races, such as county and city, and just run with a big field that everyone can vote in, but until that happens, and it won't, we actually need open primaries.

Or how would we feel if we got this change, and all the local weenies switched to Republican? Suddenly, we couldn't vote in local primaries if we wanted to vote in national and state primaries. Again, not fair at all.

posted by lazarus | 15:01 | |
 

Salon.com News | A diary of baseball's coming crunch time

Keith Olbermann, as always, is a great writer. Read this.

posted by lazarus | 14:05 | |


Monday, August 26, 2002  

BUSH MAY HAVE EVADED TAXES ON SALE OF BASEBALL TEAM

Oh, my. Honour and integrity? Where?

So, here's the deal. In 1972, now-former Illinois Governor Otto Kerner reported the proceeds of the sale of his race track ($180,000, small potatoes, right?) as long term capital gains, same as Shrub did for the 15+ million from the sale of his baseball team. The tax savings? The difference between 20% and 39.6%. Good chunk of change.

Just like Bush, Governor Kerner pushed and signed legislation that made him a whole bunch of money.

And Kerner was convicted of income tax fraud, because these policies had a substantial effect on his stock's appreciation. Of course, the treatment of the sale itself is fraudulent if called long term capital gains anyway, isn't it?

So, since we have a precedent for jailing someone for these acts, and we have a precedent for suing a sitting President, any lawyers out there ready to take up the case?

Anyone?

posted by lazarus | 00:18 | |


Sunday, August 25, 2002  

Guard Battalion called to service

Not a big deal, right? But let's look at where they're going:

The battalion, headquartered in Fort Dodge, will deploy to locations within the United States for homeland security missions as part of Operation Noble Eagle II...

Now let's look at why they're going:

The battalion's mobilization is critical to the accomplishment of the Department of Defense Homeland Defense Security Plan, said King. The Iowa soldiers will provide security at several locations.

Okay, that starts to sound Not Good. Homeland? In the States? But let's look at how they'll be "providing security":

The soldiers will provide indirect fire support, using artillery weapons accurate from a distance of 11,000 to 12,000 meters...

Err......I was in the military, and have played a lot of war games, etc., and have never once thought of long range artillery as a good thing for security in a domestic area. No, you use long range artillery for attack.

Two options here: (tin foil hat time) They're preparing for martial law, since they're deploying in early September. This would presumably come after a much bigger repeat of 9/11.

Option two: This is a cover to get these guys into Iraq. As much as I hope we don't go to war, I think this is the more likely scenario.

I hope it is.

posted by lazarus | 23:35 | |
 

Muslims Urge Caution After Arsenal Found: From The Tampa Tribune

Misleading headline. A man in Tampa was found with, not only an arsenal, but a list of mosques.

A couple of questions: Why didn't Ashcroft have a big press conference to brag about this? No evident thought crime?

Second question: Is this a terrorist, and will he be labelled a "noncombatant" by Bush and sent to Gitmo?

I think we all know the answers to this, and those answers are really sad. This administration has consistently turned a blind eye to terrorists that they approve of.

Any Democrat who voted to approve Ashcroft as AG has a LOT of explaining to do.

posted by lazarus | 22:19 | |
 

And another quick comment, which just came to me:

If Ralph Nader really and truly wanted to influence the Democratic Party, wouldn't he have run as a Democratic candidate in the primaries and made waves at the convention?

posted by lazarus | 21:45 | |


Saturday, August 24, 2002  

Quick note: I've not been kidnapped, either by aliens or the Ashcroft brownshirts. Visiting my daughter in the wilds of Alabama. I'll be back on Monday.

posted by lazarus | 10:16 | |


Thursday, August 22, 2002  

news.telegraph.co.uk - Attack Saddam now and let history judge, says Rumsfeld

America cannot afford to wait for proof that Saddam Hussein is building weapons of mass destruction, the US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, has declared.

"The people who argued for waiting for more evidence have to ask themselves how they are going to feel at that point where another event occurs."


Well, there you go. Rummie just admitted they HAVE NO PROOF.

No proof that Hussein has WMD. No proof at all. And they still want to attack.

Bloodthirsty bastards. Let history judge? No, let's have the people judge, and soon.

posted by lazarus | 01:35 | |


Wednesday, August 21, 2002  

Salon.com News | Agency planned to crash plane on 9/11

Bizarre coincidence, or cover up? After all, this "exercise" scenario would nicely cover any references to a plane hijacking that might be found pre-9/11.

I dunno. I have trouble believing that they didn't know it was coming, since we seem to have so freaking much data about them now. Of course, the data now could be the lie.

How are we to know when we're facing the most secretive administration since Nixon?

posted by lazarus | 22:39 | |
 

Max has an interesting take on this, to which I'd like to add:

Okay, my turn to talk about Cyntha McKinney.

Was she a hero to the left? I don't think so. I think she was a hero to a lot of people on the left, however, and so her defeat is important.

First, she is an example. She was outspoken, and it hurt her in the long run. Yes, the Republicans brought out all the dirty tricks, and yes, the Dems abandoned her, but the question is, why?

She went a wee bit too far. The American people weren't ready for the questions she was asking. And maybe what happened to her explains why the Democratic leadership hasn't firmly put on their tinfoil hats and accused Bush of being behind 9/11.

Personally, I find the strategy used to defeat her repugnant and unethical, but we've done it, too. Remember McCain? And let's face it, it won't be able to happen in too many places, as not many states have that inane open primary rule. California does, so that's a place to watch. Maybe what we need to do is prevail up the state legistatures to eliminate the open primary rule.

A lot of people have said the her loss and Earl Hilliard's loss in Alabama are due to "the Jews". Nonsense. Hilliard had a lot of local issues that were affecting him, as did McKinney. Yes, a lot of money came from out of state in both campaignes, but that sort of thing has been happening for a long time. Yes, Republicans crossed over, but a lot Dems voted against each of them. At this point, it doesn't matter.

We need to elect Dems, because I'd much rather see Speaker Gephardt the next few years than Speaker Hastert. The primaries are over, in most places. Let's not lose focus, and let's not forget the important thing here: a Democratic House and Senate.

posted by lazarus | 20:47 | |


Tuesday, August 20, 2002  

Tax Revolt Takes Aim at a County's Libraries

Well, isn't this disgusting? Remember, the anti-intellectualism of the right will never, ever stop. An educated populace would never let them get away with this, or any of the other nonsense the right is trying to pull off.

Remember that the next time Bush spouts some nonsense about being the "Education President".

posted by lazarus | 22:19 | |


Monday, August 19, 2002  

Okay, I haven't come up with a link yet, but I have to say something about the latest al-Qaeda tape supposedly found.

The critical part of this tape is the one nobody is talking about, of course.

The tape was made in 1998. Now, how much of a threat is this chemical capacity of theirs if it has never once been used?

posted by lazarus | 22:27 | |
 

Lean Left: Conservatives vs. the NEA

Explicates this issue much better than I can, but I will say this:

The conservatives who are attacking the NEA are simply participating in Nixonian ( and now Bushite) anti-intellectualism, and it apparently plays well with some. That's a damned shame, too. Education is the most critical tool for correcting what's wrong with this country, so of course the conservatives are attacking it.

An educated populace wouldn't let them get away with the crap they're getting away with.

posted by lazarus | 19:12 | |


Sunday, August 18, 2002  

ABCNEWS.com : Europeans Not Needed for Iraq Attack - U.S. Adviser

A better headline would be from a quote in the article:

"Our European allies are just not relevant to this."

With Russia prepared to sign a $40 billion trade and economic agreement, we might want to look into just who is relevant, don't you think?

A final bit from this article:

"If you look at President Bush's experience and how we've done this in the past, (you'll see) that if he decides to go forward with any sort of military action that he'll do so in a way that is very responsible and very judicious," Bush spokesman Dan Bartlett said on "This Week."

Questions come leaping to mind:

What experience?
When have we done this before?

Is he talking about Afghanistan? Because if that's the resume, we're in big trouble.

Or maybe it's his Viet Nam experience. Hmm...........

posted by lazarus | 21:54 | |


Saturday, August 17, 2002  

news.telegraph.co.uk - Back us against Saddam or else, US tells Arab states

And that's that. You're with us or against us. The li'l Bush boy is apparently willing to declare war on the entire Arab world rather than back down from his ridiculous rhetoric.

American diplomats are sending an uncompromising message to Arab states: those who do not support the planned United States operation against Saddam Hussein will be treated as enemies.

We are approaching the point that someone, somewhere, has to take Bush aside and gently explain to him that there is no bloody way we can defeat the entire world without resorting to nuclear weapons.

Then again, this idiot is entirely likely to jump to the nuclear option out of curiousity. "Pa, what's a mushroom cloud look like?"

Hopefully these chickenhawkds will be faced with a strike by the Pentagon, but their recent purge of veteran Generals makes that unlikely as well.

posted by lazarus | 23:08 | |
 

Ex-General Says Wargames Were Rigged (washingtonpost.com) Got this by way of Lean Left.

General Van Riper was basically using good standard tactics he had learned in the field to defeat the new fangled tactics thought up by defense contractors to sell new weapons and systems. One of the most striking is this:

Robert Oakley, a retired ambassador who played the role of civilian leader of the Red force, told the Times that Van Riper was outthinking the Blue force. He said, for example, that in the computer simulations, Van Riper used motorcycle messengers to transmit orders, negating the Blue forces' high-tech eavesdropping capabilities. When the Blue naval forces sailed into the Persian Gulf early in the experiment, Van Riper's forces surrounded the ships with small boats and planes.

Much of the Blue force's ships ended up at the bottom of the ocean. Oakley said Joint Forces Command officials had to stop the exercise and "refloat" the fleet in order to continue.


The motorcycle messengers. Hmm. Remember how Mullah Omar supposedly escaped Afghanistan? That's right, motorcycle.

As far as his strategy in the Gulf against our ships, well, anybody remember the Cole and the Stark and the Roberts? All three heavily damaged by, that's right, a small boat and a small plane and a mine.

Low tech warfare. Something our planners seem to want to ignore.

Here's what disturbs me most about this: The civilians who came up with these new fangled war strategies are also the ones that were recently reported to be the folks who came up with our Iraqi war plans.

Maybe they've figured out a way to "refloat" ships in real life.

posted by lazarus | 19:28 | |


Friday, August 16, 2002  

I finally figured out where I heard this sort of justification before....

The failure to take on Saddam after what the president said would produce such a collapse in confidence in the president that it would set back the war on terrorism.

Sounds almost exactly like the justification the Supreme Court used to appoint the Boy King, doesn't it? They essentially stopped the recount because finding out that Gore won would harm Bush's claim to the Presidency.

Has any person ever been given so much for so little reason, and deserved it less?

posted by lazarus | 23:36 | |
 

And the Republicans pull off another beauty. Not content with nominating child molestors and dealers in drug paraphenalia for their Businessman of the Year award, are they? No, let's go a step further, and put a child abuser in charge of our children! Yes, this will help things.

TALLAHASSEE - The man named Thursday by Gov. Jeb Bush to head Florida's notoriously inept child welfare agency is an evangelical Christian who views spanking that causes ''bruises or welts'' as acceptable punishment.

The revelation did not come to Bush's attention until hours after the governor introduced Jerry Regier, a former Oklahoma Cabinet secretary and aide to Bush's father, as the new chief of the state's Department of Children and Families.


Oops. You think maybe they should spend a wee bit of time and money on background checks or something? If they select these people at random, the laws of chance dictate that virtually every Republican is crooked or immoral, apparently.

posted by lazarus | 06:02 | |
 

A British politician has spoken up about Blair's increasingly lonely stance as Bush's lone ally in the Universe. The saddest bit about reading this blistering commentary is the knowledge that very few Americans will ever see it, as our media seems completely sold out at this point.

A couple of choice bits that really got me smiling:

At the same time he launched a savage attack on Mr Bush, calling him “the most intellectually backward American President of my lifetime”, and on his advisers, “whose bellicosity is exceeded only by their political, military and diplomatic illiteracy”.

He added: “Pity the man who relies on Rumsfeld, Cheney and Rice for counsel. The only man in the US Administration who knows the score is Colin Powell, who actually won the last war against Iraq. He is so marginalised as to be an object of pathos.”


Condoleeza Rice is a massive problem, and has been from the beginning. First, she actually has an oil tanker named after her. I wonder where her loyalties might lie?

Secondly, she is an expert on the Soviet Union. As in the USSR. Which doesn't exist. I guess we need an expert on Persia in case Xerxes makes another run at Thermopylae, eh? Or an expert on Ancient Rome, never know when the Caesars are gonna get all frisky again.

Would it be too much to ask for the administration to instead put in experts in something relevant?

Oh, yeah, there's that oil tanker thing. I guess they did, after all.

posted by lazarus | 05:26 | |


Thursday, August 15, 2002  

I just saw the silliest spin on Hardball. Chris Matthews played a soundbite from Hillary Clinton talking about the "Clinton-Rubin" economic policies. He then immediately spun it that she didn't say "Clinton/Gore" because she's in competition with Al Gore for leadership of the Democratic Party. Of course, he conveniently forgot that Rubin was the primary architect of Clinton's economic policies.

And he's moved on to a pile-on on Cynthia McKinney. A couple of facts that he's spun the wrong way: She did not accuse Bush of knowledge of the 9/11 attacks, simply called for an investigation into the possibility. Sort of the way people suspected Roosevelt knew about Pearl Harbor. And he also has accused her of receiving funds from groups under investigation of terrorist connections.

Since many of George Bush's contributors are also under the same investigations, I'm sure he'll be calling for Bush to resign real soon now.

Right?

posted by lazarus | 22:02 | |
 

Well, and let's get started.

As the title indicates, I intend to discuss primarily politics and religion, from a Godless American point of view. I'll be adding links as time goes on, and as I learn the ropes on this blogging thing.

To start with: BBC News finally allowed an atheist to give their Thought for the Day recently.

A quote from that article that I find remarkable:

In his talk, Prof Dawkins argued that science had managed to explain many of the mysteries of life and that believing that God could protect us was an "infantile regression".

He said: "We have been born and we are going to die, but before we die we have time to understand why we were born. Humanity can now leave the cry-baby phase and finally come of age - that is a thought for more than one day."


How long before we finally start to see this sort of maturity here? Consider that there are no atheists as main characters on television. Even the show that portrays science and reason in its best light, CSI, has as its lead the cliched "tortured lapsed Catholic" who keeps questioning his faith.

I'm ready for someone in the popular media to just unabashedly come out and declare the truth, that 10-15% of Americans don't believe in God, and the number is growing.

But, with the religious nuts taking firm hold in this Administration, I don't see that happening anytime soon. And it's sad, as I think it will simply contribute to the ongoing trivialisation of our nation in the world community.


posted by lazarus | 21:52 | |
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