Friday, April 14, 2006
Climate change is here to stay. The argument about whether or not it exists is a needless exercise. We need to accept its reality and plan accordingly. Know this: whatever we do now will not reverse the effects. The carrying capacity of all nations will be affected within the next ten to twenty years as more land becomes unusable. Who gets to live where under what conditions will be a political mess we do not have the tools for. So yes, IT IS all about equality, human rights and general fairness.
But don't take my word for it. Here are links that illustrate the issue better than I ever can:
The New Scientist
Chinese Controled Media: Znet
KTVA-TV Anchorage, Alaska
English Version of German Mag, Spiegel
The bulk of evidence indicates that Iran is far from obtaining enough nuclear fuel to build a bomb, despite much alarmism from right-wing advocates of violent "regime
change." But just as the threat of military action persuaded Saddam Hussein to
admit the United Nations weapons inspectors whose work might have prevented war, the possibility of force could induce the mullahs to meet the West in productive
Anyways, I am not much of an environmentalist not because I don't are about our planet but because my schtick is more along the lines of human rights, feminism, poverty, etc. So when politicians who have a decent environmental record (anything is better than "clean coal") have something to say- I'm down with their spouting.
Besides, it's Al Gore. Remember, we voted for him once. Maybe again. I can't help but think that a Gore/Obama ticket in 2008 might just be what we need to unfuck the donkey. So go watch the trailer for this film that he made. Looks pretty cool to me.
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I cannot accept,
and the wisdom to hide the bodies of those people I had
to kill today because they pissed me off.
And also, help me to be careful of the toes I step on
today as they may be connected to the ass that I may have
to kiss tomorrow.
Help me to always give 100% at work....
12% on Monday
23% on Tuesday
40% on Wednesday
20% on Thursday
5% on Fridays
And help me to remember.....
When I'm having a really bad day,
and it seems that people are trying to piss me off,
that it takes 42 muscles to frown and
only 4 to extend my middle finger and tell them to bite me!
WARMINSTER, Pa. -- The leaders of the Republican and Democratic committees in Warminster are calling for the resignation of GOP Supervisor Fred Gold, who sent an e-mail with a photo of a topless woman promoting Jan. 15 as "Breast Appreciation Day."
The e-mail that accompanied the photo asked, "Beats ... Martin Luther King Day, doesn't it?"
Democratic chairman Joseph Bowes Jr. and Republican chairman Jim Messina described the e-mail as insulting to women and blacks.
"It embarrassed the party. It embarrassed me," Messina said.
Bowes called it "offensive on many levels."
Gold sent the e-mail from his personal account, and apologized if anyone who received or saw it was offended.
"I certainly don't think I did anything immoral or unethical," he said. "To resign because of this, I don't think so."
Of coures he doesn'tget it, b/c he doesn't get it. Nothing like offending both women and blacks at the same time. Hey, at least he's efficient!
So I say Thursdays shall be funny!
HRH, The Red Queen
On that note- Gud from the Ministry of Unknown Science!
Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other man pulls out his phone and calls emergency services.
He gasps to the operator: "My friend is dead! What can I do?" The operator in a calm, soothing voice replies: "Take it easy. I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead."
There is a silence, then a shot is heard.
Back on the phone, the hunter says, "OK, now what?"
If you have ehard it before, you don't have to laugh!
"The Bush administration has demonstrated, in too many ways, that it's better at starting fights than finishing them. It shouldn't make that same mistake again. Threats of war will be more convincing if they come slowly and reluctantly, when it has become clear that truly there is no other choice."
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
I am having a hard time remembering what the objections were to universal healthcare to begin with. I know there were things like: You don't get to choose your own doctor, you have to wait for appointments or surgeries for extended periods of time, the quality of care starts to suck, etc. And for the life of me right now I am trying to figure out how that is any different from our current system.
So if y'all wouldn't mind- please throw some of the objections you have or have heard about why we shouldn't have universal healthcare so I can renew my arguments against them.
Here's my take on the idea that pharmacists should be able to refuse to dispense things that go against their morality. This is a Right to Work Country which is basically an odd way of saying that people have the right to choose what jobs they want and employers have a right to choose what workers they want. We are not arbitrarily assigned some profession based on a central planning committee. We can choose what type of work we want to do as long as we are willing to accept the consequences of that choice. I could choose to be an artist as long as I was willing to accept that I won't receive a regular paycheck, or I can choose to be a store clerk as long as I accept that I will have to follow the rules of the store.
Pharmacists don't have to be pharmacists. They know going into the profession that they may be required to dispense things that they morally disagree with. I morally disagree with the military industrial complex- so I do not work for GE. I have a friend who also disagrees with it, but he likes the paycheck and the chance to live overseas that working for GE gives him, so he accepts the moral consequences. If he didn't he would find work elsewhere.
But what about doctors? Doctors get a refusal clause because A) They perform the specific act resulting in life or death - pharmacists perform an auxiliary function but not the actual administration of either medications (doctors dispense RU486 in the office) or procedures that result in abortions and B) they physically risk their lives and families by choosing to perform abortions. No pharmacists have been killed to my knowledge for dispensing birth control- though that may change will the zealot of the wing nuts.
However, if it were up to me I would say there is enough specialization in medicine that if a doctor doesn't want to perform abortions then he should not become a gynecologist- he can be a proctologist instead. Since specialization in not available for pharmacists (they are their own specialization within the medical field already) then they should choose another profession where their morals won't be in conflict.
But why shouldn't it be the patients that have to change pharmacies instead of the the pharmacists changing professions? Patients do have some choice of what pharmacy they go to, but it is in the interest of the greater good that patients in a crisis get the treatment they need in a timely manner rather than that pharmacists get to refuse service based on morality. We understand this with doctors, and doctors are not allowed to refuse treatment of a patient in a crisis. For example, if a woman came into the emergency room with an ectopic pregnancy a doctor could not refuse to perform a lifesaving operation even though he would be removing a fertilized egg. However, because doctors in hospitals are rarely there alone, the doctors usually have a backup if there is a procedure they are unwilling to do. But pharmacists generally work alone (or with clerks who do not have the same authorization as the pharmacist) and therefore a viable substitute cannot be utilized in a timely fashion. I would have no problems with a morality clause if pharmacies were required to keep 2 pharmacists on hand if one had objections to dispensing certain drugs. This would increase the cost of prescription drugs though, because of the necessity for redundant labor.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Last summer I spent several weeks cooped up with Dilettante and he grilled me endlessly on healthcare. It was painful and tedious, but after three days of nothing but healthcare discussion, I think I had a decent solution to healthcare for all and good arguments as to why universal healthcare is good not just for people but for business too. It was actually from this (and a conversation a while back with MDH) that The White Papers was conceived.
This is a really long post- so it will be done in installments.
First- The Current Cost of Healthcare
We massively outspend countries with comparable standards of living on healthcare.
The latest numbers I can get are from the OECD report of 2003 using numbers from 2001 (the same numbers my political science textbook uses, by the way) and does not (obviously) include the increase in spending from the new Medicare prescription drug plan or inflation.
Of the 30 countries analyzed in the report, we spent the most at 13.9% of GDP on healthcare. The other top two were Switzerland (10.9) and Germany (10.7) but the average was 8.4%. If you look to the UK, they spend 7.3% and Mexico spends 5.6%.
If you look at the numbers for PPP (purchasing power parity- or the lumping of similar goods and services into one basket across different economic systems so that different systems can be examined together) Americans spend $4887 each to get the same types of care that Brits get for $1992 and Mexicans get for $586 (add that little number to your immigration debate). We spend more than twice the average of all the countries surveyed if you use PPP numbers.
All that spending and privatization hasn’t made us any healthier.
Let’s compare the UK and the US. We know that they spend about half of what we do on healthcare either by PPP or GDP. From that we would expect them to have worse health statistics (if the idea that spending more improves services is true). However they have slightly higher life expectancy rates (UK 80.6 years for women and 75.9 years for men compared to US 80 years for women and 74.6 years for men) and lower infant mortality rates (5 deaths per thousand for the UK, 7 for the US). Stats are from the UN Statistics Division
Switzerland and Germany are kicking our ass in the life expectancy and child mortality rates. Germany and Switzerland both have infant mortality rates of 4 per thousand).
Mexico doesn’t do as well. Their life expectancy is lower (72.4 for men and 77.4 for women) and child mortality is 21 deaths per thousand.
What all this shows is that we could certainly reduce the cost we spend on healthcare (though not to Mexico’s level) while maintaining or even improving life expectancy and child mortality.
All that spending, and 15.7% of the population is without healthcare. And that number is growing.
From the US Census of 2004, 45.8 million people in the US are without health insurance. That’s about 5.8 million more people without health insurance than in 2000 and 13.8 million more people than in 1988. But we spent $1.9 trillion on healthcare in 2004.
So some simple math:
If there are about 300 million people in the US and we spent $1.9 trillion covering everyone then the average healthcare payout would be about $6330 per person per year.
If you remove 46 million from the population for the people who aren’t covered then that spending increases to about $7451 per insured person per year.
Most people that did have insurance had it through private employers (58.9%) but those numbers are decreasing while numbers of people receiving health insurance through government programs (particularly Medicaid) are increasing.
If most of the population is insured by employers, hiring new employees is expensive and employers are looking to cut those costs
So it’s about $7500 to provide an employee health care on top of wages and taxes. Large employers are increasingly not offering healthcare (Wal-Mart) or requiring employees to shoulder a greater burden of the cost. They are also cutting plans that include insuring dependants and spouses, or promised benefits to retirees.
Small businesses (a large portion of the businesses in the US) either can’t offer health insurance because the cost is too high or can’t hire new employees and expand because they can’t pay for coverage on the new employees.
In the last recession, the biggest challenge to hiring new workers (and decreasing unemployment) was the cost of health benefits for new employees.
Next Time: What would universal healthcare look like in the US
I guess my own opinion (and not just on immigration but on everything) is that expansive and incusionary are better than restrictive and exclusionary.
If I were thinking solely as an economist, then the more information generated by more people making small decisions the better the value of that information is and the more competive the market is. So while we are all hemming and hawing about those immigrants using up resources- let's not forget that they don't live in a bubble. They buy food and cars and housing and clothes and, and, and. They pay sales tax. They pay income tax and social security (that goes into the system under fake social security numbers so there is a pool of money contributed by immigrants- especially into social security-) for which no tax return or benefit ever has to be paid out. We also need them to keep the age of the population lower. The older the general population is, the more a country's economy stagnates (go see Germany or any other european country with falling birthrates).
If markets are free, then labor should be as unrestricted as goods are when it comes to flowing across borders. Though if markets were actually free (no more crop subsidies!) then labor would get less benefit from moving across borders because they would have a chance at moving up in their own country.
From the Washington Post. Consider this one more for the reading list Redd.
"I'd rather see them locked up," said Phil Burress, president of the organization. "It's a lie that condoms prevent all sexually transmitted diseases anyway. People should be educated about that and practice abstinence." But there is little impartial evidence of measurable benefits from abstinence-only policies, say scientists.
Burress pointed to a 2001 National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases report showing that condoms aren't effective in preventing the spread of the human papillomavirus (HPV). But, according to the NIAID report, condoms are considered effective against unwanted pregnancy (86 to 97 percent), HIV/AIDS (85 percent) and gonorrhea in men (49 to 74 percent).
And what does locking up condoms do?
At this point, Dominguez, the Hyattsville teen mom who was frustrated in her efforts to buy condoms at her local CVS, doesn't much care whether her local pharmacy locks up its condoms.
"I don't think I'll ever buy them for myself," she said. "That experience turned me off." ·
As for me, in the future I will be buying all of my condoms at Rite-Aid, or Babeland.
"It's simple. Barack Obama put it exquisitely in his victory speech: "Government can help provide us with the basic tools we need to live out the American dream."
Here's a dirty little secret. The Republicans know this. Nothing scares them more than us returning to our simple answers...
Democratic congressmen can do that, for example, by making a credible collective pledge that if you vote Democrat enough you will never pay another medical bill as long as you live. You really think people wouldn't stop voting Republican then?
It makes a virtuous circle. The most important exit poll finding from last year's election was not about moral values. It was all the people who said they disagreed with Bush on the issues, but they were voting for him anyway because they knew what he stood for.
What I call "superjumbos"—grand policy commitments that span generations—add value by the very credibility of the commitment."
We need to make it clear to the Iraqi government that we’re leaving, & that it will be sooner (potentially much sooner) rather than later. The process should begin immediately (although I think it’s unlikely). If they make me dictator tomorrow, our approach would look something like the proposals advanced by Zbigniew Brzezinski. Once we’ve consulted with the Iraqi government we should invite regional countries to participate in a regional Iraqi peace process. The US should express their willingness to leave immediately or to stay for a limited period (no longer than a year) with the additional understanding that we will begin to draw down almost immediately if the government doesn’t take immediate measures to address the militias & sectarian violence.
There are people who will argue that we would be signaling failure. The blunt truth is that we don’t have to signal it. We’ve failed. There’s no way to salvage the situation militarily without a MASSIVE commitment of new troops (about a half million), there’s no chance the American people will stand for that kind of investment, the rest of the world has shown no interest in seriously supporting the effort. So if the implication is that if the country descends into civil war, while that’s not an outcome we hope for, without a dramatic increase in multinational interest, there isn’t a damn thing we can do about it. Best to pull our troops sooner & mitigate the loss of American lives & spending.
A similar story holds true in Iran. Rather than saber rattling & threatening…we should be pursuing constructive engagement. The bottom line is that we couldn’t possibly sustain any kind of ground campaign, & that absent that, there is no unilateral option short of nuclear weapons that could check any ambitions that Iran might have for nuclearization. The consequences of such a unilateral action by the US would be an unmitigated disaster. We should speak very bluntly with our European allies that the US is NOT willing to carry the torch on this one alone. It will be a very long time before Iran has the technical delivery capabilities to menace the continental US. If Europe wants to play ostrich head in the stand…the brutal truth is that they’ll be in the nuclear crosshairs long before we will. If they want to get serious about shutting down the Iranian program, they need to get clear about how far their willing to go so that Europe & the US can present a united front when we sit down to do some serious horse trading with Russia & China in the UN security council.
The US has become too reliant on “hard power” or our military might & technology. While there are clearly contexts in which a military stick is important, it should be used on a VERY limited basis. Right now, the US is facing the very real danger of watching our “soft power” our economic & technological dominance that has powered our position as a superpower slip away. Constructive engagement is ALWAYS vastly cheaper than almost any kind of military conflict. The cost of one month in Iraq is more than the entire State Department budget for the year.
Our general approach should be to significantly increase (I’m talking about tripling the budget of the State Department within a year) our funding & commitment to diplomacy. We will be very aggressive militarily on issues that impact the continental US (Terrorism for example) & will continue to deploy special-forces & pursue air missions against training camps etc. (allowing the Democrats to continue to be tough on terror) But we’re unwilling to play peacekeeper for the world. Regional problems like Iraq, Iran, Taiwan, & Korea should be referred to the UN. That doesn’t mean that we won’t act outside the scope of the UN, but we will not move to solve distant regional problems unilaterally. If our international partners (Europe, Israel, Japan) aren’t on board, meaning willing to pony up the cash & send troops into harms way, then they can face the music.
We should move diplomatically to pursue negotiations with Russian & China on nuclear exports. But, perhaps most significantly, we should attack one of the crucial items that tie us to conflict ridden out of the way places. I presented a part of this in one of my comments earlier. “Declare a war on fossil fuel dependence. The reason the middle east has become so influential in our policy making is this dependence. Katrina & it’s costs are just a taste of the longer term implications of a warming planet. Propose a massive package/policy (comparable to the moon program) of tax incentives, legislative requirements (make California’s 10% zero emis. Law national, progressively stricter CAFE standards). The correct spin is that while moving away from fossil fuels won’t be great for the huge petroleum companies that have been raking in record profits it will be great for middle class jobs to support the construction of new alternatives infrastructure, maintain the systems etc. I’m talking about a massive program with billions of dollars in new incentives & direct investment.
I was hanging out with The Kid yesterday and we had to go downtown so I could buy some books for a class. We happened to hit the end of the the immigration protest and the streets were filled with people. But not your regular patcholi and piercings protesters, the streets were filled with families, brown families. It was nice, like a parade day but with political impact.
So this led the kid and I to a discussion about the immigrants and the law. Kid was horrified and said "I'll never be racist". Huhm. I do my best to make sure that's true, but I did point out to The Kid that he happens to have been born really lucky. I said "Kid, you were born a white male with American citizenship- this is just luck. There are lots of people who are born lucky and think that because they have luck they somehow deserve the privledges they get and that anybody else can have the same experience they do if they tried hard enough, but the truth is- it's just good luck".
Kid thought about it for a while. Then we went into Left Bank books and I got a fantastic little comic book called Addicted to War (I have a 2 page paper on it due tomorrow) and Persepolis. After spending all day reading for my macroeconomics class, I needed something non-school issued to read so I read Persepolis on the bus and Kid read the war comic. He was mortified.
"Mom, we are evil! We are sooooooooo evil!"
"Oh kid, all societies are evil, we just don't usually hear about how our own society is evil".
And that's the truth. We can idealize or romanticize all we want, but all societies have histories (past and present) of violence and war and inequality. And because society is stratified (and will always be. See Michels' Law of Oligarchy) that won't change much.
Don't go thinking I'm all pessimism and hopelessness though. Someone once said to me "The world isn't fair, but sometimes people can be". So we work in little bits to make it better. sometimes we take one step forward and two steps back in a weird little dance for justice. But we have to keep on dancing. That was what made me so happy about the protests, people who are usually afraid to dance because of the costs to them (deportation for coming out of the shadows and demanding to be treated fairly) joined the dance.
Welcome to the dance.
Unless we, meaning our entire population, can come to grips why our mothers, our wives, our girlfriends, our friends, sisters, co-workers and equal contributors (actually women probably work harder, but I have no evidence) to our economies have been and remain such targets of hate, we cannot consider ourselves living in a progressive society.
The only justification I can determine for women's lesser status is that men are physically 1/3 stronger. Women think differently than men, but difference does not better or worse make. I could list other differences, but the point has already been made.
A major "disadvantage" women have is that they have and continue to be responsible for children. I don't simply mean that women bear our offspring, I mean that if a man chooses to walk away from his prodigy, generally, the woman must, for many socially justified reasons, assume the feeding, development, clothing, education etc., of her minions. For some reason this glaring inequity is lost on about half of the population. Whether it is from physical prowess, tradition or nature does not matter, women are tied to their offspring. That men have an advantage is indisputable. That they exploit it is unexcusable. It is this same mentality that encouraged trans-Atlantic slave trade: the slavers and its consumers because of geographical luck stood in a better position to exploit a group of people. No matter how defenders of the institution try to justify its use, slavery wronged millions.
In a way the hate men still show women is worse. Slaves were hidden from the view of most, a distant problem that few saw. Women are such an integeral part of our lives, the parties who determine the survival of our species far from hidden from view. The only explanation is that we are still so filled with self-loathing that we need to destroy or at least control the beings that bring us life.
So no matter how many distant planets we discover, what we do with quasars, whether or not we leverage nano-technology, until we progress to the point where women do not have to constantly live in fear, we are no better than the primitive peoples we think we are so much better than
So here's a handy chart (cribbed from Alas, A Blog). Since I can't seem to de-fuzzy the chart, just click the link and go read the real thing.
And in case you still think this is the overly-paranoid ramblings from feminist, go read about how the next frontier (after baning abortions) is eliminating birth control here.
What has happened since women have gained the control over their own bodies that makes these people so afraid? We entered the workforce, we got better education, we got some financial independance. I am still trying to figure out how those things could possibly be bad for society. All that we want is the same autonomy over our bodies that men have always had so that we can participate in society as equals.
PS- anyone know why the spell check isn't working? Seriously, I freely admit to not being able to spell to save my life and not having spell check work really sucks.
Monday, April 10, 2006
I thought that since I have smart, open-minded, progressive friends that I wasn't gonna have to give you all a smack down and a primer on the power of the patriarchy. Man was I wrong. After Redd Herring's comment "don't let the facts get in the way of a good story" on the El Salvador abortion story, I know I have 2 choices when it comes to you boys- I can give you all the bitch slap you so desperately need and try to remember that I like you while I'm doing it- or I can close this thing down cause I'm really pissed and I don't want to spend my time getting pissed off teaching people who should know fucking better what the deal is.
I will not play Professor Bitch to you boys more than once- so learn this and learn it now or I am yanking privileges. This is not a blog for "Anti-misogyny 101"- you should know better already.
1) It is different for girls. Flat out. Most boys do not spend every day from the pre-puberty on with the fear of rape hanging over their heads. Just this one fact, that 50 percent of the population knows that at any given moment their body can be invaded and abused and that they will be blamed and scorned for it alters the power dynamic. Most of you boys have never been in a situation where someone could forcibly enter your body and hurt you. To those of you that have been in that situation- you shouldn't need to have it explained how powerless it makes you.
If a girl is raped- society says she is responsible because of where she was, what she was wearing, what she has done before, what kind of girl she is (see the comments made by Napoli of South Dakota on what kind of girl can get an abortion- only church-going virgins who have been sodomized -and then go back and read the comments about the black stripper who was raped at Duke). We don't do this to boys. We don't hold soldiers who get hurt in wars responsible for their injuries (but they we asking for it- they went to war), we don't blame men who are robbed or beaten by saying they were asking for it by what clothes they were wearing. But girls are somehow responsible for bringing out the animalistic rape urges in boys. Boys are not held responsible for bringing out the animalistic kill urges in other boys.
2) Girls are given 100% of the responsibility for sex and few of the tools to guard from the consequences of it.
If a girl decides to have sex, she is responsible for birth control and the failures of birth control- but every method that might give a girl a chance to choose her own fate is being systematically stripped away. Yet it is biologically programmed for people (men and women) to have sex. We can no more control the desire to have sex than we can control the desire to eat or breathe. Sure, it can be put off, delayed, squelched, whatever- but I think I safely say that only a very tiny minority of adults die virgins.
Right now, today, in this very country, girls are having access to birth control, emergency contraception or abortion services limited on every front. Funding is being cut. New laws are being passed to make it difficult for clinics to stay open. Pharmacists and doctors are not only refusing to provide medications for abortions, but also for birth control and emergency contraception (which is just a really high dosage of birth control pills and not an abortifacent- though you would never know that from the news). Laws are being written so that birth control doesn’t have to be covered by insurance, though Viagra still is.
Now I will make some allowances for differences in anatomy. Girls carry more of the responsibility because we carry the risk. We are the ones who risk our lives and health to have babies. Until there is a major change in biology, girls will be the only ones who carry that risk. Until that time comes- you boys are gonna have to give up some of the power and let us control our own bodies. Pregnancy impacts every aspect of a girl's life from the moment she finds out she's pregnant. We have to decide if we willingly give up control of our bodies to another. I know of no similar situation where a boy can be forced to give up control of his body.
It is this ability to temporarily give up the control of our bodies for the good of another that has let society think we should give up control completely. But they (you) don't get to decide that, society doesn't get to decide that. The only person who can decide is the one whose body it is.
As an example- pretend that I have a fatal kidney disease. You have the only kidney in the world that is a match. You are risking your health and even your life if you give me your kidney. Your life will never be quite the same afterwards, though modern medicine has come far enough along that the risk to health and life have been drastically reduced. Should you be forced by society or the government to give me a kidney? Should you be placed in jail if you decide not to give me a kidney? You may decide for your own moral or altruistic reasons to give me a kidney out of kindness, but if it's a risk that you don't want to take or can't take, should you be charged with murder when I die from kidney disease?
You boys think that this doesn't have anything to do with you, or that it can't possibly get as bad here as it is in El Salvador (or, and this is specifically for you Redd, that the story from El Salvador is not based on fact). Fuck you. No really. Civil rights had nothing to do with privileged white males either, except that they had to give up some of the power they had. Slavery had nothing to do with privileged white males either, except that they had to give up some of the power they had. And the privileged white males that understood that they had to give up some of their power because it was wrongly gained were part of the reason that things changed.
I know you think you have the moral high ground, but I am telling you that choosing to ignore the struggle of half the population to gain control over their own bodies is as immoral as choosing to ignore slavery because you live in a free state.
I don’t ignore the struggles of other people because they are a different race, or in a different country, or because they have a penis. You cannot dismiss the struggle for reproductive rights simply because you will never have to face the fear of carrying an unplanned pregnancy. By doing so you discount half the people on the planet for having less power than you.
So check out what he has to say about the Bush Leaks
Here's how the law works (and hopefully, it will). The Bush gang's use of the telephone in this con game constituted wire fraud. Furthermore, while presidents may leak ("declassify") intelligence information, they may not obstruct justice; that is, send a grand jury on a wild goose chase. Under the 'RICO' statute (named after the Edward G. Robinson movie mobster, 'Little Rico'), the combination of these crimes makes the Bush executive branch a "racketeering enterprise."
Next, I realize that I am one of the few girls writing on a blog full o'boys who seem to clam up like I'm giving out Too Much Information whenever the topic of abortion comes up. However, I'm giving you all another shot to put your two cents in after you read this horrifying article from the NY Times magazine about what a Pro-Life (forced pregnancy) Nation looks likes in El Salvador. And if you don't think it can't happen here, this is what our own domestic wingnuts say in the article:
The legislative battle and its outcome did not escape the attention of leaders of anti-abortion groups in the United States. Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, the head of Human Life International, based in Virginia, is intimately familiar with the campaign in El Salvador and says that there are lessons for Americans to learn from it. For one thing, as Euteneuer sees it, the Salvadoran experience shows that all moves to expand abortion rights are pushed through by "elite" institutions of government (the U.S. Supreme Court, for example); by contrast, Euteneuer contends, when the laws are tightened, a grass-roots campaign is inevitably responsible. "El Salvador is an inspiration," he told me recently, an important victory in what he called "the counterrevolution of conscience."Forgive any spelling errors as I am at work and firefox hates me too much to let me check spelling.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
“The Bush Administration, while publicly advocating diplomacy in order to stop Iran fro pursuing a nuclear weapon, has increase clandestine activities inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major air attack...The lack of reliable intelligence leaves military planners, given the goal of totally destroying the sites, little choice but to consider the use of tactical nuclear weapons. “Every other option, in the view of the nuclear weaponeers, would leave a gap,” the former senior intelligence official said. “ ‘Decisive’ is the key word of the Air Force’s planning. It’s a tough decision. But we made it in Japan.”
LIEUT. GENERAL GREG NEWBOLD (RET.)
“I've been silent long enough... What we are living with now is the consequences of successive policy failures. Some of the missteps include: the distortion of intelligence in the buildup to the war, McNamara-like micromanagement that kept our forces from having enough resources to do the job, the failure to retain and reconstitute the Iraqi military in time to help quell civil disorder, the initial denial that an insurgency was the heart of the opposition to occupation, alienation of allies who could have helped in a more robust way to rebuild Iraq, and the continuing failure of the other agencies of our government to commit assets to the same degree as the Defense Department. My sincere view is that the commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions—or bury the results.”