Sunday, November 28, 2004
* Economy: Yet More on the Dollar
Good Kos diary on the dollar situation here.
Thursday, November 25, 2004
** Politics: Bush's Behavior at the Clinton Library Opening
Sidney Blumental seems to have the inside story on what happened when Bush attended the opening of the Clinton library. Well worth the read.
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
*** Economy: Heading Towards Armegeddon?
I know I'm not supposed to be posting this week, but you must read this piece on the economy.
Monday, November 22, 2004
Thursday, November 18, 2004
Rolling Stone magazine has named the top 500 songs of all time. The complete list is not available online at this point, but apparently the top song is Bob Dylan's Like a Rolling Stone. Number 2 is the group the Rolling Stones' (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction.
Does anybody else find it suspicious that the top two songs are both "Rolling Stone" related?
--(A Rolling Stone Gathers No) Moss
P.S. Why don't you try saying "rolling stone" twenty times in succession. The meaning just disappears.
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
*** Health / Environment
You should definitely be worried about mercury levels in fish. My recommendation for fish and sushi lovers: don't ever eat Swordfish, Tilefish, Grouper, Orange Roughy, or Shark. Eat Tuna and Makerel (King) sushi only when you have to (e.g. as part of a Sushi Deluxe dinner). Don't order Ahi any more. Tuna from a can is better than fresh Ahi, but don't eat too much of it. Same with Sea Bass, Halibut, Lobster, Crab, Cod, Monkfish, and Skate.
Best to stick with: Abalone (farmed), Anchovies, Butterfish, Calamari (squid), Catfish, Caviar (farmed), Clams, Crab (king), Crawfish/crayfish, Flounder, Haddock, Hake, Herring, Lobster, Mackerel (Atlantic), Mussels (farmed), Oysters, Perch (ocean), Pollock, Salmon (wild), Sardines, Scallops, Shad, Shrimp, Sole, Sturgeon (farmed),Tilapia, Trout, Whitefish.
But even those last should be eaten in moderation, if possible.
Don't miss this fascinating NYTimes article regarding the propoganda war in Iraq and Falluja. Surprisingly, it is not just the US that engages in psy ops. For example, the insurgents left some leaflets for American soldiers as well:
Who will benefit from your death?" one of the leaflets said in handwritten English. "George Bush and his oil cronies."Read the whole article, though, as the music wars are even more interesting.
"Who will benefit from your death?" said another leaflet. "Your wife and her new boyfriend."
Monday, November 15, 2004
This is a good LA Times article summarizing some of the issues relating to the decline in the dollar.
Saturday, November 13, 2004
* Note regarding Loudocracy
I've enabled comments on my blog. If you post a comment, I will be notified by email. I don't expect for there to be much discussion on any of my posts since I don't have very much traffic to this site. So feel free to think of a comment as a message directly to me. But they will be visible to the public too, so remember that anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
Oh, and let me know how the interface is if you post a comment.
Look, I'm posting this on Saturday night, but even if you don't see this entry until Monday or Tuesday, you really should read this NYTimes article. It's a slice of life from what's happening with the Marines in Falluja, but it reveals more about how fucked up things are there than any other article I've read about this battle.
While we're talking about Falluja, I want to raise the question of whether it is possible that the insurgents have lured the US to right where they want them. The article indicates that the quality of the insurgents' fighting has improved as the US has pushed deeper into the city. The insurgents are allegedly cornered, but there is also a tunnel system in place. Is it possible that the US is overextended, and that they could get beat by the hard core that's left of the insurgents? Given the confidenent statements from the US military and George Bush, this has to be seen as very unlikely. I mean, if the Americans were to retreat now and give the city back to the insurgents, there'd be no way to spin it. You have to think that the confidence is not completely misplaced.
But generals make mistakes, and conventional wisdom has been wrong before. Urban fighting is extremely difficult, and US forces are not experienced at this. So my question for you: is defeat thinkable? Current answer: probably not, but it is more thinkable for me now after reading the NYTimes article I linked to above than it was before.
Thursday, November 11, 2004
According to this Kos diary, Seymour Hersh said in a recent speech that it is Kurdish fighters, and not trained Iraqi National Guard members that are fighting alongside US troops in Falluja. I think this would be big news if true and if it hit the mainstream media. Although the Bush administration would probably argue something like "well Kurds are Iraqis too", this would probably be seen as a blatant lie to the public to massage our impressions about Iraqi army readiness.
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Yesterday I wrote about the attack on Falluja and why I didn't think that it would be effective. I feel obliged today to point you to this NYTimes op-ed piece by James Marks, who was the senior intelligence officer for the ground forces during last year's invasion of Iraq. This is a well-written, intelligent article, and he sets forth the counterargument as to why we should be doing this and why it might work. In particular, he discusses the vulnerabilities of the insurgents and how we can beat them by taking ground, paying off informers, and exploiting political differences amongst the various subgroups. I recommend that you read the article, and in a week or a month we can look back and see who was correct. Because I'm standing by my comments.
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Remember how the future was depicted in The Terminator? John Connor and his small band of guerillas hid in the shadows and were able to hold off the much stronger military force of the robots. Picture that in your mind, and now you know what it's like in Falluja today.
Picture American forces with incredible weapons, but who are unwilling or unable to truly engage the enemy. When Americans are attacked, they figure out where the attack is coming from and then level the building. By that time, of course, the insurgent forces (or should I say the resistance forces) have left. This NYTimes article gives some of the flavor of what a battle like this looks like.
Frankly, the insurgents think that American soldiers are cowards. They believe that Americans hide behind our big weapons and airplanes and are so afraid of death that they will not be able to beat the insurgents on their own terrain.
I have no idea if they are right or not. I would guess that if the Americans level enough buildings that they can "beat" the insurgency in Falluja even if they never actually get close enough to the actual fighters to see them. Eventually American bombs can make Falluja look just like that horrible Terminator landscape.
Meanwhile, the leaders will have left Falluja and established operations elsewhere. The 1000 dead insurgents will be replaced by 2000 enraged relatives and friends. The 5000 dead civilians will never be replaced. Nor will the 10 or 20 dead American soldiers who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
A week or two later, Iraqi National Guard soldiers will start patrolling Falluja's semi-ruins and will be killed by the dozens or hundreds by car bombs, and Samarra or Ramadi will become the latest no-go zone for American soldiers. Maybe in February or March the Americans will go in and level those cities too.
But the Iraqi John Connors will still own the shadows. Because even the US in its military heyday does not have enough bombs or time to obliterate all of the hidey holes.
This is a waste of time and life.
Monday, November 08, 2004
I cannot recommed The Incredibles highly enough. Funny, exciting, and not your typical CGI fare -- for example, some bad guys die. I will be very disappointed if it is not nominated for Best Picture.
Friday, November 05, 2004
If you just can't cope and Canada seems like the only option, Salon's War Room has the details.
I really don't have much to say about why we lost or what we need to do to move forward more successfully. There's plenty of commentary on those issues elsewhere and I'm sure that progressives will be a big part of the dialog.
I do have one thought on how the democrats should respond to the whole mandate vs. unity issue. Obviously the first key test will be Rehnquist's replacement. If/when Bush attempts to appoint a Wingnut, we need to respond "Hey, I thought you said you were trying to unite us!" Then we need to begin the filibuster to end all filibusters. Otherwise, I basically recommend going along with the Republican agenda. Tone it down, but don't filibuster everything (although I did fantasize about buying "filibustereverything.com"). Things are going to be pretty messed up during the next four years and it is important that we don't take the blame.
Otherwise, go states rights!
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
I have a practical recommendation on the coping concept: listen to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Their music comes from the same place that we are in now as a nation.
Other classic rock recommendations from the late 60s, early 70s that will fit with today's politics: The Doors and Bob Dylan.
Let's face it, we're in for some serious grief here. We need to find strategies to cope.
Monday, November 01, 2004
Watching CNN tonight, you couldn't help but to think that this puppy is over. John King, who has been with the Bush folks for a long time now keeps mentioning "nostalgia". And Bill Schneider basically just said it was Kerry's to lose on Aaron Brown. The tide must have truly turned to get CNN changing it's tune this substantially.
Meanwhile, commenters on Kos are reporting that right wing radio hosts are already referring to "President Kerry".
The only possible concern is rain in Ohio. But with Florida and New Hampshire looking like sure things for Kerry at this point, there are not many scenarios where Bush can win even if he takes Ohio. Perhaps this is why he's been campaigning so hard in Pennsylvania, which has always been a major long shot for him.
I asked my dad today if he thought Kerry would win, and he said yes. A month ago he thought Bush would win. He is almost the perfect barometer of semi-liberal public opinion. So I take this as evidence that, at a minimum, people do not believe that a Bush win is inevitable. More likely, I think the undecideds will be breaking for Kerry as people jump on the bandwagon tomorrow.
If it is true that right wing radio is calling this for Kerry, it could get really ugly for Bush. I wouldn't be surprised seeing some sore losers stay home. Add to that the youth vote which everyone is agreeing is under-polled, and we might even be seeing serious Democratic gains in Congress!
I will go to sleep happy tonight and vote tomorrow for the first time since I voted for Clinton in '96.
If you're looking to read about something other than the election, I recommend this Salon article on a hapless New Zealand backpacker's ordeal in the Iraqi / US justice system.
Newsweek reported yesterday that Colin Powell has told some friends that he believes that the insurgents are winning in Iraq. My Kos diary on this subject was the number 1 Recommended Diary for most of the day on Kos yesterday.
Unfortunately, this story has not left the blogosphere, and at this point it might be too late to affect the election.
The Newsweek article itself is definitely worth a read. The reason things are so fucked up is that the insurgency has infiltrated the Iraqi National Guard from top to bottom.