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Heck of a Deal

I've said it once before but here it goes again.

If we wanted to save money, we should bring the troops home and give 21 billion to the Iraqis to rebuild their own country. That not only saves us 66 billion, but takes our people off the table as targets of opportunity. So what if Saddam Insane comes out of hiding, the minute he does, he gets taken out by either the Iraqi people, a shiite presumably or we do it ourselves with a NOC, left behind for just such an occasion.

Of course, this won't happen because shrub is convinced that the terrorists want us to leave and he doesn't want to cave in. The truth is the terrorists are relying on our staying, so that they can kill more of our people and prove their machismo to the rest of the terrorist world.

posted by Doggeddem, The Titty Board

Daddy's Faking It

Ideally societies have some great collective purpose that engages them to the point that people vs. wealth doesn't become a dilemma. And the truth is that in times of existential crisis, wealth is very rapidly taken and put to taking care of social needs. Our problem lies in the times where people have no greater purpose than accumulating wealth/power, and in the process come to identify themselves with their wealth/power. But it's one of those curious and somewhat inane things that historically societies ultimately destroy wealth that isn't being used in ways compatible with their collective needs/purposes.

Paternalism and all that...Daddy Knows Best is always a scam. Daddy Is Faking It is more like the reality. How could it be otherwise?

The Founding Fathers were perfectly aware that the government they were setting up was bound to err, bungle, and get filled with incompetents. They knew they were personally going to make up a lot of the people running it and had no illusions about each other. And most of them were in colonial legislatures before the Revolution- so they knew perfectly well what miserable and nasty and petty and corrupt business it really is in practice. So that's why they set out to make the system robust rather than perfect- to fit very imperfect people and bad situations. The Federalist Papers are full of that. In Philadelphia they spent a lot of time deciding the terms of office- too short and nothing can be accomplished, too long and screwy things don't get corrected. The Constitution is not an optimistic design. It assumes stupidity, failure, corruption, and morons fighting; and it assumes the Checks And Balances will be in use often. And it has endured, with a lot of maintenance work.

Henrik Hertzberg compared the Republican Party to the Communist Party of Stalin and Lenin back when he reviewed Blinded By The Right. Constant revisionism, all in the name of clinging to the advantages of power. So start off with your Repug with something where Theory is, well, Changing. Supply Side Economics is always a good one- David Stockman disavowing it in 1984 it is always hopelessly embarrassing to them. Divorce rates in the Bible Belt, crime rising during Republican Presidencies, their Chickenhawks, their China hypocrisy- oldies but goodies. Revisionism always means hypocrisy. But arguing about their pocketbooks is pretty difficult. When things are bad they often don't see it that way- if the people they don't like get a lot worse off than they are, that assures them that they are going to have that much more of an advantage when things improve. In the end they are really moral relativists of the worst kind.
Posted by Lexingtonian, DU Forums

"RE: Judge tosses out BBV lawsuit"

Sad. I read that this a.m. in the Chron. Must truly suck to be the computer experts who have donated countless patriotic hours researching and putting the weight of their expertise behind this only to be rebuffed by lay people. ('Course they have good company, the Academy of Obstetricians was equally horrified at the passage of the so-called "partial birth abortion" ban. Hey, what do your physicians know? Who cares what your think??) But they will appeal. My hope in this darkness is that there are enough computer experts (and by that I mean REAL experts) horrified at these machines that we will be able to make it an issue before 2004. I wish I could call up where I read it, but I'm pretty sure it was David Dill from Stanford who recommended voting absentee if your registar is touch screen.
Posted by Concerned Citizen on BartCop


Let's be careful out there!

U.S. Customs Is on the Job! In August, U.S. Customs confiscated an SUV being used to smuggle Mexican immigrants into the country, but later admitted that their thorough search of it had overlooked a 13-year-old girl hiding inside; she was discovered 42 hours later. And in July, Adrian Rodriguez was imprisoned (but released by an appeals court a month later) because Mexican authorities found 33 pounds of marijuana that U.S. Customs had failed to find in a vehicle it had just sold to him at auction. That was the third time recently that someone had bought a vehicle from U.S. Customs that contained overlooked marijuana and for which the purchaser spent at least some time in prison (in one case, one year) before things were straightened out.

In widely publicized criticism in August, the Arab League (22 nations, all of which are governed by monarchies, clerics or military dictatorships) charged that the new American-installed Iraqi Governing Council was illegitimate because it was not freely elected but consisted only of appointed representatives from various interest groups. The league's secretary general announced that Iraq's former seat in the Arab League would therefore remain vacant until the country has an elected government (which would then make it the league's only elected government). [Washington Post, 7-30-03]

In the town of Baqubah, Iraq, Ms. Iman Salih Mutlak, 22, was gunned down by U.S. soldiers, who said she relentlessly charged at them, despite orders to halt, intending to explode the 10 grenades she was carrying. While some Iraqis treated her as a courageous martyr, her family in Zaqaniyah, Iraq, was disgusted with her, not because they are pro-American, but because she shamed them by leaving home without permission. Said her father, to an Associated Press reporter in May, "Had she returned home, I would have killed her myself and drunk her blood." [Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle-AP, 5-31-03]

*Source: News Of The Weird

Sure, the cake is good, but the icing is bittersweet.
The bitches are just hos.

I want to take the opportunity to apologize to cuddly little CNN news chick Dana Bash, to whom I delivered a savage tongue at last week's press conference. While I was faulting Ms. Bash for her lack of journalistic chutzpah, I was completely missing the larger picture. At issue is not the inattentive Wal Mart Nation grazing at the trough of corn-fed media bullshit.

No, the issue is, why the bloody hell is Karen Hughes worth a million bucks more than me? I mean, seriously...I loyally delivered razor-sharp obfuscation and distortions to cover his sorry ass, only to have the same pointy headed liberal publisher offer Karen Hughes a cool mil more than me.

For what? She bailed even before the bodies were cold. Obstensibly to raise her kids, or somesuch. But I happen to know they're just rented kids from a sweatshop in Baltimore. Karen is nothing if not efficient, and I'm sure she did the math...over the life of the child, it is a far better use of pre-tax dollars to invest in the market and rent a child only for special occasions and holidays. Big deal. It doesn't warrant an extra million!

The kicker is, I jumped through hoops to convince super dealmeister Bob Barnett to represent me at the negotiating table. After all, he got millions for the dumb bitch, Hillary. She obviously slept with him to get that kind of cake. Hughes, too.

They had to have at least polished som serious knobbage. How else does a good republican explain the inequity of two dames getting paid so much more than me? I know where the bodies are buried, damnit!

Ah, what's the use? Hillary and Karen are responsible for most of the bodies in the first place. My book will have a more human angle to it -

An educated electorate is the right-wing's worst nightmare! Learn their tricks and tactics in this enlightening slide presentation...

Volume 2, Number 10


"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."
"Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star", 149May 7, 1918

Trent Lott demonstrates compassionate conservatism towards Iraq, suggests U.S. "just mow the whole place down."

By Geoff Earle, The Hill

Senior Republicans have begun raising concerns about the administration’s strategy in Iraq amid daily attacks on U.S. forces there.

But congressional Republicans still echo President Bush’s overall positive assessment of reconstruction, even as some warn of political trouble unless signs of improvement become clearer fast.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who recently compared aspects of the conflict to Vietnam, yesterday said U.S. forces need to be more proactive.

“To set up roadblocks after the bomb goes off is not the answer,” he said. “We’ve got to get into prevention.”

“Honestly, it’s a little tougher than I thought it was going to be,” Lott said. In a sign of frustration, he offered an unorthodox military solution: “If we have to, we just mow the whole place down, see what happens."

The number of attacks on U.S. forces has increased to about 30 a day in recent weeks, and a series of apparently coordinated attacks rocked Baghdad on Monday. Another attack targeted the a-Rashid Hotel in Baghdad, where Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was staying.

“We need more troops,” said McCain. “We need more special forces. We need more marines. We need more intelligence capabilities.”

McCain is often among those Republicans most willing to criticize the administration -- although he often refrains from doing so on military and foreign policy matters.

But other Republicans joined him in raising questions about U.S. tactics.

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he was concerned that U.S. forces were unable to anticipate many of the attacks in a situation he described as tantamount to a guerrilla war in which the enemy is able to strike and then quickly retreat into the population.

“I can tell you, I’m very worried about the lack of pertinent intelligence to fight that kind of a war,” he said. “It appears we have some real problems.”

Asked whether he favored any policy changes in Iraq, Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) responded: “We need to have a different mix of troops, is the key. We may need to move some troops around.”

Lott suggested moving more troops from the relatively stable south closer to the region around Tikrit, where attacks on U.S. forces have been common. He said there was a need for more trained military police, adding that his comments were not a criticism.

“Honestly, it’s a little tougher than I thought it was going to be,” Lott said. In a sign of frustration, he offered an unorthodox military solution: “If we have to, we just mow the whole place down, see what happens. You’re dealing with insane suicide bombers who are killing our people, and we need to be very aggressive in taking them out.”

Republicans fear they could suffer in the polls if the situation does not improve, since the administration’s Iraq policy is so closely associated with Bush.

“Politically, it is difficult,” said Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), “because certainly for the American public … they read: ‘Americans killed every day,’ and it hurts. But I, at least at this point, am convinced that we’re doing the right thing, and we’re doing the best we can.

“What’s the alternative? It’s not to cut and run.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas)said the situation in Iraq “will continue to be a political issue because it will continue to be a matter of public concern as long as there are any casualties.” Results so far had been mixed, he said and cited the recent conference in Madrid which secured loans and pledges to help rebuild Iraq, as well as passage of a new U.N. Security Council resolution.

“What I worry about most is that we will simply lose our resolve, and we won’t finish the job,” he added.

GOP criticisms have emerged only recently and no Republican has come close to statements by retired Gen. Wesley Clark and other Democrats that the administration has no plan for Iraq.
In fact, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) chided the media for focusing on casualties at the exclusion of positive developments in Iraq’s reconstruction. In a sign of the administration’s ability to secure GOP unity, Brownback acknowledged that he probably lacked the votes for a compromise plan to provide some aid to Iraq in the form of loans -- an idea the White House opposes.

“The opposition, the terrorist groups, the Baathists read our media and read our public opinion polls, and are trying to play to the country’s opinion,” he said.

Brownback even said U.S. adversaries were using attacks to drive down support for Bush.

“Absolutely,” he said. “No question in my mind. This is an international media. They know the importance of this.”

Bush, who was criticized on the Hill yesterday for saying that attacks in Iraq were a sign U.S. progress and the terrorists’ desperation, was resolute at a White House press conference. “This country will stay the course,” he said. “We’ll do our job.” CONTINUES AT THE HILL

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GOP high on hypocritical hysteria praising ruling by the otherwise crazy left-wing god-hating 9th circuit court

BY David Kraveats, AP Legal Affairs Writer

- A federal appeals court has tossed out a lawsuit seeking to ban electronic voting machines that don't print paper records, ruling that no voting method can completely eliminate electoral fraud.

Riverside County voter Susan Marie Weber had sued state and county election officials to ban the ticketless voting machines. She argued that the new voting system in her county did not allow proper auditing or recounting of votes.

But a three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided unanimously Tuesday to dismiss Weber's lawsuit.

"We agree that Weber has raised at most a hypothetical concern about the ability to audit and verify election results," Judge Pamela Ann Rymer ruled for the panel. But in dismissing the case, she wrote that "electoral fraud can never be completely eliminated no matter which type of ballot is used."

"They don't allow a meaningful recount because if you vote for Candidate A and the machine records a vote for Candidate B, all the records are going to say that you voted for Candidate B," said David Dill, a Stanford University computer scientist.

- Electronic Voting: What You Need To Know
- Helping America Vote?

Some computer scientists agree with Weber's concerns. They say ticketless voting booths leave the machines ripe for hackers. Voters in the California counties of Alameda, Riverside, Shasta and Plumas use a ticketless touchscreen to make their choices.

"They don't allow a meaningful recount because if you vote for Candidate A and the machine records a vote for Candidate B, all the records are going to say that you voted for Candidate B," said David Dill, a Stanford University computer scientist.

Dill and others say voters should be able to verify their votes with printouts that can be compared with their electronic votes. Printouts would also help detect fraud by computer hackers, Dill said.

"The current method requires the machine to be trustworthy and 100 percent accurate," Dill said.

California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley, whose predecessor approved the ticketless machines, did not return calls seeking comment.

Electronic voting advocates acknowledge that no system is perfect, but they say touchscreens are better than older technology, such as the voting machines that produced "hanging chads" and other irregularities during the 2000 presidential election.

Outmoded punchcard machines also sparked calls to delay California's Oct. 7 gubernatorial recall election amid allegations that those machines inaccurately tallied votes and were confusing to use.

Following the 2000 presidential voting debacle, Congress set aside $3.9 billion for states to overhaul their voting systems. Elections experts say as many as 75 percent of voters nationwide will cast ballots electronically by 2010.

For Weber, an accountant, ticketless touchscreens don't make sense.

"If the IRS came to audit you, do you think they would accept your entries into your computer?" she asked. "They'd want receipts."

The case is Weber v. Shelley, 02-56726

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The stealth republican continues to confound the doubters by offering harshest criticism yet of Bush blunders

By Nedra Pickler, Associated Press Writer

Democrat Wesley Clark on Tuesday blamed President Bush for the intelligence failures that contributed to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"There is no way this administration can walk away from its responsibility for 9-11," Clark told a conference, titled "New American Strategies for Security and Peace." "You can't blame something like this on lower level intelligence officers, however badly they communicated memos with each other. ... The buck rests with the commander in chief, right on George W. Bush's desk."

Later Tuesday, Clark called on Bush to release the details of an intelligence briefing he received from CIA Director George Tenet in August 2001.

Clark, a retired Army general who led NATO forces in Europe, delivered his sharpest critique yet of Bush's foreign policy. As the newest entry in the Democratic presidential race, he echoed many of his rivals arguments for removing Bush from office.

Clark argued that Bush has manipulated facts, stifled dissent, retaliated against detractors, shown disdain for allies and started a war without just cause. He said Bush put Americans at risk by pursuing war in Iraq instead of hunting for Osama bin Laden and other terrorists, pulling a "bait-and-switch" by going after Iraqi President Saddam Hussein instead of al Qaida terrorists.

He called Bush's labeling of Iraq, Iran and North Korea as an axis of evil in his January 2002 State of the Union address -- "the single worst formulation in the last half century of American foreign policy."

But his criticism of Bush's handling of intelligence related to the terrorist attacks is some of the harshest since former Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Bob Graham, D-Fla., exited the Democratic presidential race.

In May 2002, the administration fended off questions after it was revealed that Bush was given a warning a month before the Sept. 11 attacks that bin Laden's terrorist network might hijack American airplanes. Administration officials said the information was among several possible terrorist attacks being plotted against the United States.

"Strong rhetoric in the aftermath is no substitute for wise leadership," Clark said to applause from the largely Democratic audience.

The Bush-Cheney campaign declined to respond to Clark's criticism, referring calls to the Republican National Committee. Christine Iverson, spokeswoman for the RNC, said Clark "sounds exactly like Bob Graham, the failed presidential candidate from Florida who launched similar attacks against the president a few month ago, and was forced to drop out of the race because his message of protest and pessimism failed to resonate with the American people."

Iverson also cited the recently documented instances in which Clark praised Bush and his administration for their handling of these foreign policy issues in 2001 and 2002.

If elected, Clark said he would repair relations with other nations and use force as a last resort. He said he would be willing to launch a pre-emptive strike against threats to the United States, and promised to seek a legal definition of terrorism from the United Nations to bring offenders to justice under international law. - SOURCE

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In case you missed it last issue, I'm switching gears with NBY. Your donation or print purchase sure would help!

By Me, dammit!

I launched this site to showcase an animated Flash movie I was making, "Bitch," and to possibly raise some money to help me finish it. It has been a couple of years now, the site is bigger than ever, I added Not Banned Yet and I'm drawing editorial cartoons faster than I can update. Not only that, traffic to "HOO Cares!" (another site addition) is growing and I am beginning to receive inquiries about publishing it, despite having not drawn a new strip in a few months.

For HOO Cares! to make it into syndication would be -- well, let's just say I'd consider it a happy thing. It has been a life-long goal/dream, quite literally. Any editors out there looking for the next big strip? E-me, let talk!

Classic understatement aside, I think the time is really right for "HOO Cares!" I began the in strip in 1997, and set it aside as I pursued other projects. I think many of the messages about health care as big business are even more spot-on today. (Besides, most of them are still less than a year old). The ones drawn during the lead-up to the Iraq invasion are almost quaint in an scary sort of way.

I'm going to re-focus my political activism, specialize, if you will. Take advantage of the political climate to help HOO Cares! find an appropriate audience. If you are reading this page, that already indicates a degree of political involvement...this comic is a natural for you. It is all about politics and big business. Give it a look, and I'd appreciate it if you'd send a recommendation to anyone you think might like it, and maybe even the editor of your local newspaper.

Kind of like a modern day "I want my MTV " type thing. Print a strip off the site and send it to the paper with a note saying "Hey, please put this on your comics page!"

As for Not Banned Yet, I am going to keep drawing editorial cartoons. Or lushly painting and coloring them in Photoshop, as the case may be. I'm loving it, but I have a backlog of cartoons to finish. Some are becoming outdated before I can publish them.

In light of the fact that I don't even have time to draw all of the ideas I've already scrawled across countless envelopes and Dunkin Donuts napkins, it seems crazy to spend a lot of time cut-and-pasting headlines for NBY.

Democratic Underground, BartCop, Truthout and a whole bunch of other sites are much better suited for that type of mass dissemination of information. Hell, those places are where I get much of my material from, and many of you probably do, too.

My site is so small compared to DU et al, (a little over 5900 unique visitors last month) that I doubt anyone is relying upon me for the latest developments. So I am planning to feature a few particularly noteworthy headlines with links (instead of complete stories), combined with the original content from contributors and the voices in my head. This will allow me to lavish more attention on my cartoons and finding a distributor for them, while spending less time attempting to stay ahead of the breaking news.

So now, for the first time in the two years since I started this site, I'm going to ask directly...would you please consider making a donation? As I've stated, I don't currently have an agent or an editor or publisher, but I'd like to plug away at this a bit longer before I take such drastic action as putting on a tie or something.

Get my original sketches and ink drawings with your donation to NBY!

If you are the artsy type, consider this an early warning and/or a heads-up for holiday giving; I am about to begin an experiment, beginning with the design updates to my site. To anyone willing to contribute over a certain amount via Pay Pal, Amazon or direct payment, I will send an original sketch from one of the cartoons on this page and in the archives, along with a signed hi-resolution color print of the cartoon the sketch is from.

How cool is that?

If I happen to also land a big gig off this site, you'll already have a collectible-in-waiting! I have not decided on the amounts yet, and the art will be first-come, first served. If you think you might be interested the artwork from a particular cartoon from the archives, and want to get a head start on the throngs of collectors likely to clogging me e-mail box...uh...ahem...anyway, e-mail me or just go ahead and make a donation. We can work something out! - RMcG

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