Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Change must come from within

Congrats to President-elect Obama and thanks to the many volunteers and voters than made this possible. As Obama said, remember that this is the beginning of a long road. And while many of us - myself included - are sorely tempted to treat those of us who voted for John McCain and the GOP as enemies and to throw this in their face, let us simply be the change that we have hoped for and find ways to convince our fellow Americans to be part of the solution. Lets treat them as we would have liked to have been treated.

So I’m putting it out there - I’m not going to gloat, make snide remarks, and support those that ignore concerns that I disagree with. I will seek to find common ground and pragmatic solutions for the benefit of all Americans.

I hope you will join me. I suspect that for me, it will be harder than quitting smoking is for most people. But change must come from within and I cannot expect it without some personal sacrifice. I want a better world for my children than I have created. I hope you want it too.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Is Sarah Palin A Woman Of Destiny? Or Token Female prop?

Read the post here:


This woman has done nothing of note other than be the cleanest pig in the pig sty. She is embroiled in a corruption scandal that suddenly is being stonewalled, lies about her well-documented history on being pro-earmarks, doesn’t believe in science, things God is in charge of sending US soldiers off to die for the lies of our leaders, and thinks we can drill our way out of our oil addition. Sure, she looks great up there running amidst corrupt war criminals who have abused thier power , the architects of our current republican economy, and an old guy who has sold out ever ideal that he ran on in 2000. Standing next to this crowd, Nixon would look good.

Has Palin any real credentials of note, I’d cheer her on. But having an XY chromazone isn’t enough. We’ve seen what unproven, unskilled, idealogical zealots like Micheal “Brownie” Brown, Alberto Gonzolas, Harriet Meyers, and Monica Goodling have wrought on America.

Electing an unqualified woman would only be a short term success for women - until McCain keels over and her inexperience puts all Americans in even more danger. We’ve seen the gross incompetence of the Bush administration, and Bush was more qualified than Palin. This isn’t a job for amateurs, not matter how much lies and spin are shoveled to a crowd of mindless delegates to put lipstick on this particular political pig.

(Note: Pig is just a metaphor - it is not intended as a personal slander)

If she had any sense, she would have realized just how unqualified she is and not accepted the job offer.

Finally, if you are going to tell the rest of us how to live our lives, your personal choices and failures are a legitimate part of the discourse. While I do not think that the media should ask her daughter or future son in law a single question or post pictures of them, the line of inquiry is a legitimate one. When a candidate opens this values door, their judgment and believes are the issue. Personally, I could care less. But you don’t get to claim to be morally superior and then claim that your moral failures aren’t part of the debate.

And quit whining about sexism. Obama has to deal with racism. McCain has to deal with ageism. Deal with it. Don’t whine about it like Hillary did. Obama didn’t win the nomination without a lot of help from Hillary’s campaign whining about the media. And I don’t think that Palin is whining - its McCain’s campaign staff. But if she doesn’t speak up, she implicitly approves of the message and proves that she is nothing more than a token fundementalist and a token woman, not a woman candidate and certainly not presidential material.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Yeah, what Thomas Friedman said

On top of it all, our bank crisis is not over. Two weeks ago, Goldman Sachs analysts said that U.S. banks may need another $65 billion to cover more write-downs of bad mortgage-related instruments and potential new losses if consumer loans start to buckle. Since President Bush came to office, our national savings have gone from 6 percent of gross domestic product to 1 percent, and consumer debt has climbed from $8 trillion to $14 trillion.

-- Thomas Friedman

If the old saying — that “as General Motors goes, so goes America” — is true, then folks, we’re in a lot of trouble. General Motors’s stock-market value now stands at just $6.47 billion, compared with Toyota’s $162.6 billion. On top of it, G.M. shares sank to a 34-year low last week.

That’s us. We’re at a 34-year low. And digging out of this hole is what the next election has to be about and is going to be about — even if it is interrupted by a terrorist attack or an outbreak of war or peace in Iraq. We need nation-building at home, and we cannot wait another year to get started. Vote for the candidate who you think will do that best. Nothing else matters.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Documents confirm U.S. hid detainees from Red Cross

What would you say if an enemy nation did this to our soldiers? Or rather, now that President Bush has opened this Pandora’s box, what will you say when this happens and the countries around the world say, sure its wrong, but the US did it.

Documents confirm U.S. hid detainees from Red Cross

Moral authority. Reputation. Leadership.


Our brave soldiers now and in the future, in much greater danger.

Never has our country’s soul been sold so cheap by those so low.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Impeach, or the terrorists win

Written in response to South Florida Sun-Sentinel's editorial on June 12th: Impeachment not worth another minute of anybody's time

Is there anything more important than holding our leaders accountable for their actions?

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel argues in its June 12 editorial that the fruitless wars this President lied us into, the failing economy that this President has spent us into, that gas prices – a by-product of the disastrous war, falling dollar, and lack of a real energy policy – are more important than impeachment.

By this logic, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel argues that attacking Iraq was not necessary. Saddam was in his 70s and wouldn’t have been in power much longer. Holding war crime trials in Nuremburg was pointless – the war was over. The embargo on Castro’s regime in Cuba should be tossed aside as well and we shouldn’t bother to try him for his crimes should we have the opportunity as he is now out of office.

And the South Florida Sun-Sentinel might have been right if this was simply incompetence – his and ours – for we the people elected him, at least the second time. And in a democracy, we would be responsible. But this has been anything but a democracy and he has been anything but a President. For Bush and his administration has lied to the American public, ignored the rule of law, and subverted and perhaps perverted the justice system in its ideological quest for power. He has championed torture, spied on Americans, and lied to lead us into war, and that is only 3 of the impeachable offenses that he should be held accountable for.

And thus the South Florida Sun-Sentinel is wrong. In its short-sighted view, it ignores what is obvious to most citizens of this republic, that if we do not hold these men accountable for their actions against us and their oaths of office, we cheapen the US Constitution and that which makes this nation great. By not acting and recognizing the failures and holding those accountable for them, we weaken the republic. By not impeaching this President and his administration, and thus holding them accountable on the record, we hand the terrorists a victory beyond their dreams – the very real damage to our nation that will last far longer than the smoke from 9/11, the ill-deserved freedom of Bin Laden, and the spectre of violence in Iraq. We lose the rule of law that our founding fathers clearly held so dear. We lose our reputation, our dignity, our moral authority. We lose the core of our uniquely American values – now and for generations to come.

By not impeaching this President, the terrorists win.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

When you see it coming but can't get out of the way

America is about to feel in a very real way the effects of years of governmental mismanagement. I fear the next depression is upon us as the shock of war debt, government corruption, bad economic policies that result in inflation and falling dollar, bad corporate stewardship, the lack of any real energy policy and R&D, climate change, and rising foreign economies converge. My tea leaves say that we are one big disaster away from going over the edge.

What I can't figure out is what to do about it.

Sure, if I were young and healthy, I'd probably find some out of the way place and stock up to try to ride it out. But I'm old and chained to the pharmaceutical industry for the rest of my life. Any collapse of manufacturing, the supply chain, and my ability to pay is going to result in a very short, painful life for me.

And it doesn't matter that I've been a good citizen, a hard worker, financially conservative, and made all the "smart" choices. I'm going over the edge with the idiots that dug us into the mess. The only difference is that they will have shinier cars when it all goes to hell in a handbag.

Anyone got any suggestions?

Required reading for Business leaders and students

Some business books are just so good that you have to have it on the shelf.
Stall Points: Most Companies Stop Growing--Yours Doesn't Have To by Matthew S. Olson and Derek van Bever (Hardcover - April 28, 2008)Buy new: $27.50 $18.15

And be sure to check out thier blog:

Amazing stuff. This isn't the same old strategy process book. This is hard core research results and practical, data driven, actionable recommendations.

If only all business books were this good. And business leaders read and followed them. Maybe worker would suffer less for the bad decisions that their bosses inflict on them.

If there is one thing I want my business students to walk away thinking, the that the decisions they will make will impact peoples lives. People who come to work everyday and put in a fair day's work, only to lose their jobs because their bosses won't read books like this and put the lessons into practice.

Ask yourself - why can't Toyota keep their cars in stock and why can't GM give theirs away? The answer isn't the workers. Why they haven't burnt their HQ to the ground during a board meeting is beyond me.

My favorite artist: Sharleen Spiteri

I'm not sure if we are ever going to see another album from Texas, but thier lead singer, Sharleen Spiteri, is coming out with a New album on July 15th called "Melody." Here is the video from the first song release:

Monday, June 2, 2008

Live or die - just quit whining at me!

I've managed a lot of people of the years and few have ever told me that they had enough money or thought that were much worse at their job than everyone thought. Everyone thinks they are worth more money, a promotion, a better spouse, happier kids, etc.

Really? They why are so stupid that you keep working here, going home to your spouse, living the same boring life that you are whining about?

I'm not the bubbly, happy type (as if you haven't figured that out by now), but I'm happy with my job and my life. I'm worth a hell of a lot more than I'm paid, but I've worked for myself and the boss was a jerk. I worked 90 hour weeks and couldn't keep up with the work but didn't want to hire people. A stupid decision in retrospect, but I was young and used to working hard. I'm not whining about how unfair and miserable I am - I'm trying to find new ways to add value by fixing problems for my employer. And I've been trying to figure out how to be a better husband and father, although I haven't made much progress.

We all get the life we work for. People don't go around making bad decisions intentionally, although the do seem to sabotage themselves quite a bit. We all pick the best option at the moment and that leads you to your present situation.

Deal with it. Change your life or quit complaining about it - I'm tired of hearing about your problems.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Suffer not the IDiots

People who do not believe in evolution and are advancing this fiction of "Intelligent Design" - or as I prefer to call them, IDiots, are only interested in proving that science proves that their god is right. This is all about teaching their twisted view of religion in public schools.

This isn't about God, or Truth, or Science. The faithful will believe in their god and their religion no matter what science says. The scientists know that science doesn't explain the why, only the how, and understand that ID is based on a twisted and ignorant view of scientific principles.The tactic of the IDiots is to convince people that science is scared and threatened by this alternate theory. The IDiots are playing the persecution card to try to elevate their crackpot ideas to be on par with scientific principles.

And when you point out that every one of their principles are wrong, they whine about how you just don't get it.They have ways to pour this nonsense into unsuspecting brains by homeschooling, religious schools, and madrassas. This isn't about getting their view out, this is about peeing on your leg. They are out to establish dominance. Just as all of their views are.

They don't like stem cell research and would rather you die for their believes than label the fruits of the research and allow them to choose to die and suffer for their beliefs. They don't like abortion - so rather than not have one, they want to force you not to have one. And so on and so forth.

Jesus didn't say "go forth and legislate." He said to lead by example. This isn't the example He lived.

This is nothing more than a political cult that has lied and manipulated people into sending them money and doing stupid things to demonstrate their power over you and your children.

And we have seen what happens when these people get into power in the Bush administration. The censor scientific research, cancel funding for research, and outright lie (see effectiveness of abstinence teaching) to advance their IDology (or would that be IDolatry?). This is how the Dark Ages got started. And all it takes for another Facist state is for good people to not speak up.

I'm not suggesting that anyone take any action beyond voting or political action to keep the IDiots off school boards so that are children doing have this stupidity inflicted upon them as valid science. And to speak out publicly to defend their right to believe any stupid idea they want in their home and church as is their right, but not to force it upon science and our kids.

Eventually this stupidity will end. The problem with evolution is that it doesn't work fast enough.

See also:

Monday, April 28, 2008

Medical Economics

A bunch of people with health care don't think the government should intervene to fix the health care system. Most of these people work for insurance companies, HMOs, lobbyists, and lack both a soul and and real grasp of economics.

How much is your life worth to you? Enough to spend your money? Enough to spend mine? Everyone's life - and that of a loved one - has infinite value. Everyone thinks that they should be entitled to the best medical care and screw the cost.

And the current system tries to make a buck off every procedure. The problem is, that about 1/2 the cost of health care DOESN:T DELIVER ANY CARE AT ALL. Its administrative overhead, profit, accounting, medical records, insurance billing, waste, or outright fraud. And some of the rest - much less than you are led to believe, is spent charging you more to care for those who cant afford it, because we are human and there are laws that try to prevent allowing hospitals from allowing people to die on their doorstep from preventable causes.

The problem with this approach is that that a person's real value is measured in most part by his or her value to society. Wealth should have some privileges. But we shouldn't let people get sick because that comes back to haunt us like the plague. Exactly like the plague.

Here's a modest proposal:

The government pays for all care for kids until age 18 or age 21 if they are in college. After than, the government pays for basic care and drugs. Basic, cheap stuff - no frills, no transplants, nothing experimental. Old fashioned basic care. You walk in, get treated, and walk out. No paperwork, maybe a small copay just to discourage idiots from abusing the system and to leave a credit card trail to help the accountants out in figuring out reimbursement. Oh, and if you catch someone at fraud, its a mandatory year of public service for each count.

If you work, you can buy insurance that provides better coverage and madatorly pays you between jobs for up to 2 years - much like cobra. You can get additional coverage if you can afford it - let the free market take care of what it costs an what works. You can buy the coverage you think you deserve and can afford.

This cuts the waste out of the biggest part of the system and matches a persons value to what he or she contributes. Wealth should have its privilege.

Just a thought.

Yesterday's hippies are today's hypocrites

Talkin' 'bout my generation. What a bunch of hypocrites!

The free love group is now advocating abstinance - which doesn't work.
The peacenicks now support the war
The "don't trust anyone over 30" crowd is buying viagra and cosmetic surgery to look young
The "no more taxes crowd" is running up that national debt and breaking the bank
The "don't need no money, just need love" crowd is going to suck social security dry
This generation mantra is "Screw the kids, we got ours"

And when the time comes, that slack jawed idiot you didn't invest in is going to make euthinasia legal and stand on your oxygen hose and happily watch you greedy bastards die.

And you've earned it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Its been 3 days, and Charlton Heston is still dead.

That is all

Law of unintended consequences revisited

Congress, with its collective lips firmly around the shaft of the farm lobby, voted even more subsidies to the American Farmer, aka ConAgra, ADM, and the 3 other conglomerates that own every farm in America. They all start growing corn and selling to ethanol producers so they can collect their subsidies. This raises the price of both food and gas (since ethanol is one of the worst biofuels out there, with the least energy content and most overhead since it requires special processing and separate transportation), making food and everything else cost more. And if that isn't enough...

Poor countries are selling off food crops since prices have increased, so people are both poorer and hungrier since they can't afford the limited remaining food. Hungry, starving people tend to be unhappy, so they do whatever they can to eat. Guess who has food and is recruiting: Terrorists.

Yes, Congress is creating even more terrorist by pretending to be green. Ethanol is creating terrorists by using up food to create a bad biofuel. Oh, and MIT released a study showing that the increased farming is generating much more CO2 than the oil from all the farming, so global warming is actually increasing.

We are so phucked.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ubuntu 8.04 - Maybe its time..

I've just loaded an old machine up with the latest (beta) version of Ubuntu Linux and its not bad. Still a bit too geekish, but past the awkward teen period that made me dump it the last few tries.

If Ubuntu or any other Linux wants to own the desktop - and its ripe for the taking - then they need to focus the next release on useability and recoverabilty. While the forums have many people willing to answer your every problem, the OS still relies far to much on the user community for support.

Make the system auto-repair itself and never, ever fail to the point of having to understand the intricacies of Linux to resolve the problem and you will own the desktop. Make it like MAC's OS X so that users can load and go and not have to think about the OS and you will win.

But its probably too late for that. Linux is no longer an OS - its a religion. And Geeks don't really want to win the desktop, they want to show everyone why they need to be a geek or need geeks to live.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Charlton Heston Dead At 83

Do you think I'll need a crowbar to pry the gun from his cool dead hands now?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Time by Pink Floyd from Dark Side of the Moon

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

Tired of lying in the sunshine
Staying home to watch the rain
And you are young and life is long
And there is time to kill today
And then one day you find
Ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run
You missed the starting gun

And you run, and you run to catch up with the sun, but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

Every year is getting shorter
Never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to nought
Or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone
The song is over
Thought I'd something more to say

3rd graders form plan to kill teacher - the good news

No, I'm not going to blame this on bush's leadership in the field of torture, or the media, or the fact that it happened in Florida, a place that is giving California a run for leader in the crazy things category. I'm not going to worry about the blame - the idiot talking heads have that angle well covered.

I'm impressed by this.

Three 3rd graders formed a detailed, actionable plan, complete with roles, responsibilities, and risk management contingencies. And the leader was a girl, getting another girl and a boy to join in.

I've worked with mid-level managers who lack the planning skills that these kids demonstrated. If they can rehab the little psychopaths into business leaders, they have a future in investment banking.

If not, put them in charge of the war. At least they will have a plan.

Mounting Evidence that Bush is a war criminal

Evidence is mounting that our president is a war criminal. Countdown with Keith Olbermann reports that another damning memo from a special counsel has surfaced with details that are remarkably similar to the torture that this administration pinned on a bunch of low ranking soldiers.

War Crimes. Like those that the Nazi's were convicted of. By an American President.

Convicted or not, impeached or not, this man's name should not be spoken in polite company by future generations.

Bush's war more important than energy and science

via MSNBC:

Congress axed virtually all the money that was set aside for ITER (fusion energy research) operations during the current fiscal year.

How much are we talking here? $215M next fiscal year, or about 10% of the total that is shared with 6 other countries that we are reneging on.

The only investment Bush will make is America is a deficit and dead soldiers.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Learning about Moral Hazard the hard way

So I picked the more expensive fixed rate for my house. So I had to make tradeoffs to afford the house - investing more up front, scaling back in other areas to afford the payment. I made - as far as I can tell - all the right choices.

But now my taxes are going to pay for shareholders of big investment companies and people who have bought houses beyond thier means.

I’m learning the lesson - be irresponsbile, preferably rich and irresponsible, and you get a free ride. Be responsible and you get to pay for others getting the free ride.

Thanks government! Its been an expensive lesson for me, but I’m off to ruin my credit rating in a spectacularly reckless manner so I can get some of my money back.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hillary should run as a Republicain

She wants to change the rules because she's behind. She hurls false accusations left and right. She praises warmonger and right-wing suck-up McCain. And now she's lying outright about her experience.

Why doesn't she just follow Lieberman and switch parties? Whats the difference?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

((U+C+I) x (10-S))/20 x A x 1/(1-sin(F/10))

Murphy's Law can now be written as

((U+C+I) x (10-S))/20 x A x 1/(1-sin(F/10))

where U=urgency, C=complexity, I=importance, S=skill, A=aggravation and F=frequency.

From See also

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Daily Kos bloggers whine about Clinton, form union

Blogging is the ultimate in free speech, unfiltered and uncensored. It allows the marketplace of free ideas to compete. And like any free market, there is lots of pollution such as spam and misinformation. And despite its drawbacks, its as close to the real world democracy as you can get.

Which is why when I read that some bloggers at the DailyKos website went on strike and are trying to form a union because they thought that DailyKos was unfair because they allowed readers to respond negatively to the Clinton cheer leading that these bloggers engaged in, I almost choked laughing. There are so many things wrong here.

First off, they are playing the victim card. Life is unfair because people are allowed to respond freely to the bloggers opinion. Basically, they want censorship for the criticism of their ideas.

Second, like Clinton, they don't like the outcome and want to change the rules. Remember folks, its a fair contest only if one side wins because the game is rigged. Republicans much better at rigging games (see all the gerrymandering that has been done in Texas, Virginia, and other red states, the K street project, etc.). Clinton admires McCain and the Republicans she wants to emulate them?

Finally, like most Democrats, they made the stupid choice. They could have easily started their own site and made their own rules, or gone to work for Fox News where one-sided reporting is the standard, but instead they whine that if the rules aren't changed to support them, they are going to form a union. Really? And what exactly does that do for you? Other than clearly identify you as a group of whiners.

DailyKos should do us and this group a big favor. Revoke their access and kick their dumb arses to the electronic curb. Let them blog in the real world. If they can't swim with the sharks in the free market of ideas, they deserve to sink.

And take a moment to reflect that this is the type of people that Hillary is attracting to her campaign, and that this is the type of leadership she is projecting. Ask yourself if this is any better than the scum that are currently in office (yes, I'm suggesting that Hillary is just as bad as Bush as a leader if she can't play by the rules and the end justifies the means)?

As I've stated before, it wasn't Obama that convinced me that I should vote for him, it was Hillary. And every day my choice seems more and more to be the correct one. Because I don't want another four years of whiners and rule breakers to be in charge.

Victory in Iraq: What EXACTLY is it?

Bush and his lap dogs attack the patriotism of their critics and declare this war a success, but ask yourself a very important question: What exactly are we winning?

Because it costs us more than $12B each month. And 4,000 American lives. And 100,000 American casualties. (note these figures do not include contractors, only military).

Our soldiers have won the war. And 140,000 of them are winning the peace. Our military has heroically done what has been asked of them and done so despite being treated deplorably, with a lack of armor, 15 month deployments, stop-loss orders, and despicable tactics used to not pay them after they are injured and discharged. They have won, at least tactically.

In support of what, EXACTLY?

There is no strategic goal for America in Iraq. Lets say that Iraq starts actually functioning. So what? Once we leave, they have the same problems as the rest of the Mideast. Or does Bush thing it will be like Disneyland when this debacle is over?

If its a democracy, they are going to vote for the type of government they want. And if you haven't noticed, they don't want anything like what we call democracy. And its unlikely to be sympathetic to America after 5 years of occupation (or 100 more)

And in Bush's world, democracy includes torture, revoking the right to a lawyer and to be brought before a judge and told the charges against you (habeous corpus), the ability of the President to ignore the laws, the right to prevent free speech, and more. Obviously, Bush doesn't know what a democracy is either, although he is damn good at destroying one.

By the time this war ends, it will cost every American taxpayer $1 million dollars. And that debt will be payed for by generations of Americans, who will have to pay off this debt at the expense of choices they might want to make for themselves. And they will have nothing to show for it. The world around them, unburdened by this crushing debt, will have more options and become more competitive as America falls behind on paying the bill for this war.

But its not just a future problem. The dollar is collapsing, driving up the cost of fuel, food, and everything else. The interest rate is falling, trying to prevent the economy from collapsing. This increases inflation, driving up costs and the value of the dollar down. All of which makes America a bad place to invest, so no one will invest or buy our debt because they can get a better return elsewhere, forcing interest rates up.

Its the perfect storm, created by the perfect idiot.

There is no victory in Iraq, now or in the future. And its not the fault of our military. Its Bush's fault. In practical terms, America has already been defeated by Al Qeida. Because this is exactly what guerrilla (asymmetric) warfare is. You get the larger opponent to stay in the field where you can bleed him slowly, driving up his costs, weakening him over time. Its just a bonus that our idiot president likes torture, is criminal in is actions, is blind to realities, and has done more harm to America than Al Qeida ever dreamed. And Osama Bin Ladin is alive to savor his victory because Bush sent the Military to attach Iraq to prove to his daddy who has the bigger Dick Cheney.

And that's what victory is. It just isn't our victory.

Obama, the War and the economy

This important Obama speach seems to not only not be reported in the news, but isn't posted on his web site yet either. Still, it is an important speach, one that I've been waiting for someone to make for quite some time.

Via the only place I've found it:

The Cost of War University of Charleston Charleston, West Virginia Thursday, March 20, 2008
Five years ago, the war in Iraq began. And on this fifth anniversary, we honor the brave men and women who are serving this nation in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world. We pay tribute to the sacrifices of their families back home. And a grateful nation mourns the loss of our fallen heroes.
I understand that the first serviceman killed in Iraq was a native West Virginian, Marine 1st Lieutenant Shane Childers, who died five years ago tomorrow. And so on this anniversary, my thoughts and prayers go out to Lieutenant Childers' family, and to all who've lost loved ones in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The costs of war are greatest for the troops and those who love them, but we know that war has other costs as well. Yesterday, I addressed some of these other costs in a speech on the strategic consequences of the Iraq war. I spoke about how this war has diverted us from fighting al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and from addressing the other challenges of the 21st Century: violent extremism and nuclear weapons; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease.
And today, I want to talk about another cost of this war – the toll it has taken on our economy. Because at a time when we're on the brink of recession – when neighborhoods have For Sale signs outside every home, and working families are struggling to keep up with rising costs – ordinary Americans are paying a price for this war.
When you're spending over $50 to fill up your car because the price of oil is four times what it was before Iraq, you're paying a price for this war.
When Iraq is costing each household about $100 a month, you're paying a price for this war.
When a National Guard unit is over in Iraq and can't help out during a hurricane in Louisiana or with floods here in West Virginia, our communities are paying a price for this war.
And the price our families and communities are paying reflects the price America is paying. The most conservative estimates say that Iraq has now cost more than half a trillion dollars, more than any other war in our history besides World War II. Some say the true cost is even higher and that by the time it's over, this could be a $3 trillion war.
But what no one disputes is that the cost of this war is far higher than what we were told it would be. We were told this war would cost $50 to $60 billion, and that reconstruction would pay for itself out of Iraqi oil profits. We were told higher estimates were nothing but "baloney." Like so much else about this war, we were not told the truth.
What no one disputes is that the costs of this war have been compounded by its careless and incompetent execution – from the billions that have vanished in Iraq to the billions more in no-bid contracts for reckless contractors like Halliburton.
What no one disputes is that five years into this war, soldiers up at Fort Drum are having to wait more than a month to get their first mental health screening – even though we know that incidences of PTSD skyrocket between the second, third, and fourth tours of duty. We have a sacred trust to our troops and our veterans, and we have to live up to it.
What no one disputes is that President Bush has done what no other President has ever done, and given tax cuts to the rich in a time of war. John McCain once opposed these tax cuts – he rightly called them unfair and fiscally irresponsible. But now he has done an about face and wants to make them permanent, just like he wants a permanent occupation in Iraq. No matter what the costs, no matter what the consequences, John McCain seems determined to carry out a third Bush-term.
That's an outcome America can't afford. Because of the Bush-McCain policies, our debt has ballooned. This is creating problems in our fragile economy. And that kind of debt also places an unfair burden on our children and grandchildren, who will have to repay it.
It also means we're having to pay for this war with loans from China. Having China as our banker isn't good for our economy, it isn't good for our global leadership, and it isn't good for our national security. History teaches us that for a nation to remain a preeminent military power, it must remain a preeminent economic power. That is why it is so important to manage the costs of war wisely.
This is a lesson that the first President Bush understood. The conduct of the Gulf War cost America less than $20 billion – what we pay in two months in Iraq today. That's because that war was prosecuted on solid grounds, and in a responsible way, and with the support of allies, who paid most of the costs. None of this has been the case in the way George W. Bush and John McCain have waged the current Iraq war.
Now, at that debate in Texas several weeks ago, Senator Clinton attacked John McCain for supporting the policies that have led to our enormous war costs. But her point would have been more compelling had she not joined Senator McCain in making the tragically ill-considered decision to vote for the Iraq war in the first place.
The truth is, this is all part of the reason I opposed this war from the start. It's why I said back in 2002 that it could lead to an occupation not just of undetermined length or undetermined consequences, but of undetermined costs. It's why I've said this war should have never been authorized and never been waged.
Now, let me be clear: when I am President, I will spare no expense to ensure that our troops have the equipment and support they need. There is no higher obligation for a Commander-in-Chief. But we also have to understand that the more than $10 billion we're spending each month in Iraq is money we could be investing here at home. Just think about what battles we could be fighting instead of fighting this misguided war.
Instead of fighting this war, we could be fighting the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 and who are plotting against us in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We could be securing our homeland and stopping the world's most dangerous weapons from falling into terrorist hands.
Instead of fighting this war, we could be fighting for the people of West Virginia. For what folks in this state have been spending on the Iraq war, we could be giving health care to nearly 450,000 of your neighbors, hiring nearly 30,000 new elementary school teachers, and making college more affordable for over 300,000 students.
We could be fighting to put the American dream within reach for every American – by giving tax breaks to working families, offering relief to struggling homeowners, reversing President Bush's cuts to the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and protecting Social Security today, tomorrow, and forever. That's what we could be doing instead of fighting this war.
Instead of fighting this war, we could be fighting to make universal health care a reality in this country. We could be fighting for the young woman who works the night shift after a full day of college and still can't afford medicine for a sister who's ill. For what we spend in several months in Iraq, we could be providing them with the quality, affordable health care that every American deserves.
Instead of fighting this war, we could be fighting to give every American a quality education. We could be fighting for the young men and women all across this country who dream big dreams but aren't getting the kind of education they need to reach for those dreams. For a fraction of what we're spending each year in Iraq, we could be giving our teachers more pay and more support, rebuilding our crumbling schools, and offering a tax credit to put a college degree within reach for anyone who wants one.
Instead of fighting this war, we could be fighting to rebuild our roads and bridges. I've proposed a fund that would do just that and generate nearly two million new jobs – many in the construction industry that's been hard hit by our housing crisis. And it would cost just six percent of what we spend each year in Iraq.
Instead of fighting this war, we could be freeing ourselves from the tyranny of oil, and saving this planet for our children. We could be investing in renewable sources of energy, and in clean coal technology, and creating up to 5 million new green jobs in the bargain, including new clean coal jobs. And we could be doing it all for the cost of less than a year and a half in Iraq.
These are the investments we could be making, all within the parameters of a more responsible and disciplined budget. This is the future we could be building. And that is why I will bring this war to an end when I'm President of the United States of America.
But we also know that even after this war comes to an end, the costs of this war will not. We'll have to keep our sacred trust with our veterans and fully fund the VA. We'll have to look after our wounded warriors – whether they're suffering from wounds seen or unseen. That must include the signature injuries of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – not just PTSD, but Traumatic Brain Injury. We'll have to give veterans the health care and disability benefits they deserve, the support they need, and the respect they've earned. This is an obligation I have fought to uphold on the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee by joining Jay Rockefeller to expand educational opportunities for our veterans. It's an obligation I will uphold as President, and it's an obligation that will endure long after this war is over.
And our obligation to rebuild our military will endure as well. This war has stretched our military to its limits, wearing down troops and equipment as a result of tour after tour after tour of duty. The Army has said it will need $13 billion a year just to replace and repair all the equipment that's been broken or lost. So in the coming years we won't just have to restore our military to its peak level of readiness, and we won't just have to make sure our National Guard is back to being fully prepared to handle a domestic crisis, we'll also have to ensure that our soldiers are trained and equipped to confront the new threats of the 21 century and that our military can meet any challenge around the world. And that is a responsibility I intend to meet as Commander-in-Chief.
So we know what this war has cost us – in blood and in treasure. But in the words of Robert Kennedy, "past error is no excuse for its own perpetuation." And yet, John McCain refuses to learn from the failures of the Bush years. Instead of offering an exit strategy for Iraq, he's offering us a 100-year occupation. Instead of offering an economic plan that works for working Americans, he's supporting tax cuts for the wealthiest among us who don't need them and aren't asking for them. Senator McCain is embracing the failed policies of the past, but America is ready to embrace the future.
When I am your nominee, the American people will have a real choice in November – between change and more of the same, between giving the Bush policies another four years, or bringing them to an end. And that is the choice the American people deserve.
Somewhere in Baghdad today, a soldier is stepping into his Humvee and heading out on a patrol. That soldier knows the cost of war. He's been bearing it for five years. It's the cost of being kept awake at night by the whistle of falling mortars. It's the cost of a heart that aches for a loved one back home, and a family that's counting the days until the next R&R. It's the cost of losing a friend, who asked for nothing but to serve his country.
How much longer are we going to ask our troops to bear the cost of this war?
How much longer are we going to ask our families and our communities to bear the cost of this war?
When are we going to stop mortgaging our children's future for Washington's mistake?
This election is our chance to reclaim our future – to end the fight in Iraq and take up the fight for good jobs and universal health care. To end the fight in Iraq and take up the fight for a world-class education and retirement security. To end the fight in Iraq and take up the fight for opportunity, and equality, and prosperity here at home.
Those are the battles we need to fight. That is the leadership I want to offer. And that is the future we can build together when I'm President of the United States. Thank you.

-Barak Obama. Posted without permission.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Goodbye to my old friend, Buddy.

As bad as the economy and state of the nation is, today I just can't write about it. Today I lost a good friend and one of my best friends lost his best friend.

My best friend K. rescued Buddy, a gaunt Great Dane over 10 years ago. He was so thin it was touch and go at first. But as he gained weight, the show dog physique and regal personality came to life. Buddy had an impish sense of humor - one day snagging the potato off my plate as I walked by and walking off as if nothing had happened. But he also had a great big heart, taking care of K and his family like they were his pack. And they were. And so was I, even though I only visited once or twice a week.

Buddy and our dog, Ellie, used to play from morning to night. Ellie was a pup, a Shar Pei mix, with boundless energy and sprit. Buddy played with her like she was his pup, teaching her but never dominating. Ellie looked forward to playdates with Buddy from the moment she started heading to the car. They would run and jump and race all day. She'd be so tired the next day from playing that her legs trembled as she walked, but she never let it show in front of him. But mention his name and she would perk up, trembling legs and all, and be game for a rematch.

Buddy lived a full life for a Dane. He was 12 years old and only started slowing down about 6 months ago. His Dane sister Mattie, and the new puppy Tyson, and even the cat Xeno looked out for him as his body gave out, such was the respect that they had for Buddy. His people did every thing they could to make him comfortable in his last days. He passed on peacefully.

I'm not a religious person, but the closest I get is believing that if their is an afterlife, our pets show up and testify about the person we were when we die. Buddy will have many good things to say about his family, who rescued him and the rest of his pack. And he rescued us with his love and friendship and loyalty in return.

Thank you, Buddy for being a good friend and taking care of my friends and your family. We will all remember you fondly and with love.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The vast Clinton right wing conspiricy

I'm voting for Obama. And I'm going to keep sending him money until he get the nomination. Why? Its not like I think the guy is going to be able to deliver on all his promises. I think he's well-intentioned, well-principled, and erudite, but what really sold me on Obama was Hillary and Bill.

I didn't like the tactics the Republicans used on the Clintons and each other in the last few races. I generally think if you have to lie and smear your opponent, you have a really weak position and probably shouldn't win.

And as much as she whined (often and loudly) about the VAST RIGHT WING CONSPIRACY (VRWC) and their tactics, you think she'd be the last one to use those tactics.

And yet she has, using her henchmen, including Bill, as attack dogs. And then on top of it all, she plays the victim and blames the media and Obama for attacking her. Hell, if anything, he hasn't attacked her enough because of his "good guy" positioning. And Bill, an elder statesman, is paying the attack dog with great relish - much to her and the party's detriment.

The problem with the Bush administration and the current Republican party- is its lying to start a war, its advocating of torture, its stacking the judiciary with dumb-ass religious zealots, its rape of NASA, FDA, CNC, and other agencies that protect the public, it lack of oversight of our money, and its total criminal disregard for the laws and Constitution of this country, is, fundamentally, that it believes THE ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS.

And Hillary is willing to become her own VRWC just to win an election. On top of which her advisers are complete and total idiots incapable of forming a logically consistent argument for why she's the better candidate. (said best by Keith Olbermann: Clinton's tepid response to Ferraro is shameful). She is willing to win a pyrrhic "victory" at the ruination of principle, party, and the votes of the American people.

I admit it. I have the audacity to hope that Obama wins. Because I can't take any more of the Republican destruction of the American ideals. Even if its done by a Democrat.

Spitzer is sezy, but Fallon is more interesting

Everyone is following Elliot Spitzer's fall from grace ( or whatever her name was) and missing the fact that an Admiral, Commander of Centcom, one of our military's highest leaders, just resigned effective immediately because of "a loss of confidence by the President." That would be the President that has gotten EVERY POINT ON THIS WAR WRONG AND WANT TO START ANOTHER WAR WITH IRAN.

Shivers run up and down my spine thinking about it. That moronic idiot that is in charge of our military either wants to overrule the professionals and either keep our soldiers in harms way indefinitely or wants to overrule the professionals and start yet another war or two.

I have respect for the military; I don't know if I could allow this madman idiot to send me to my death for no good reason other than his paranoia and delusions about the countries he thinks he can conquer. It obvious Bush and his minions don't have any respect for our military to continue to squander them like toy soldiers under a petulant child's magnifying glass. Admiral Fallon did the only thing a professional soldier and patriot can do - he resigned and made it public.

Its a warning flare, a salvo in the fight for America that we all should heed. This man fell on his sword so that we might take notice and demand accountability before more of our brave men and women die following the orders of a damn fool.

Spitzer is damned and by his own hand. His story is over. Let's pay attention to the real terrorists that have infiltrated our government. Lets remind Bush that he is accountable to the people.

The Fed rewards companies that created mortage mess by sticking taxpayers with bill for the party.

CNN: The Federal Reserve on Tuesday announced a program that will lend up to $200 billion to a group of 20 big investment firms, for a 28-day term. The firms can put up as collateral mortgage-backed securities issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which generally are seen as safe because of an implicit government guarantee.

In other words, your government is dumping $200 billion into the economy by giving it to the companies that own all that mortgage debt. They are going to take that money and give it to their shareholders and executives. Then they are going to default on much of it, and the government insurance will step in and pay the bill - effectively gouging the taxpayers twice. Better yet, all Americans are getting screwed in this deal, because it is likely (like gravity is likely) to increase inflation and cause the dollar (that's the thing you don't have) to drop even further.

This is what an economic collapse looks like. It starts with a looting of the Treasury. Have you noticed the deficit lately? And the $12B in war costs each month? (and lets not forget we have to replace all that worn out equipment if we want to keep defending this country).

Is it insurrection to wonder where the citizens are and why they aren't burning the institutions and people responsible for this mess to the ground?

Studies: Iraq Costs US $12B Per Month

In case you are wondering, that’s $1M in war debt for every person in America and just over $2M for every taxpayer ASSUMING IT ENDS THIS YEAR. Don’t forget to add generations of additional debt in interest payments – mostly due (payable) to China. So while you pay attention to sex scandals, false economic accusations about immigrants, amendments against flag burning,and for displays of religion in public buildings, have some sympathy for Nero, who fiddled while Rome burned. Just as surely, our economy under the weight of this deficit and will collapse along with an aging and ill-maintained transportation system, an aging population, and a health system that will be second to none right up until the moment it collapses too. And when our children and grand children throw us out into the streets and pull the plugs that keep us alive, know that the ones who really deserve it, the ones that have looted our treasury, sent our kids to a senseless death, taken our civil liberties and ignored our Constitution are likely to be mercifully dead. And know that we deserve our fate for the sheep we have been.

Studies: Iraq Costs US $12B Per Month

Friday, January 25, 2008

Robbing Peter's kids to pay Peter

This is an economic stimulus plan that is flat out stupid!

America has spent itself into a deep, dark hole. The biggest part of that is the devt-financed war that has had no economic return (like cheaper oil) for America, only costs (soldiers, equipment, incresaed oil costs, loss of security, etc). And the world is getting tired of it, hence the falling dollar.

So what do we do? LETS BORROW MORE!

This is exactly like taking a cash advance on your credit card. Some day you have to pay it back. WITH INTEREST. And in the meantime, you've ruined your credit rating even more, so your borrowing costs go up and up and up.

Then your economy collapes.

What could we do that makes sense? Well, if you are going to steal from you grand kids, you might want to consider investing the money into a crumbing infrastructure (a collapsing bridge comming to a town near you soon!). Its cheaper to build it now and it will last until they get stuck with the bill. And it generates jobs and produces something of value. You could also change our policies to improve long term growth and distribute wealth across the economy. When you give the rich more money than they can spend, the invest it where it makes the best return. That isn't America right now. Welcome to the reality of a global economy.

Another example of both parties trying to out stupid each other.

What am I doing with my $1500? Paying off bills. I need a new TV and a newer car, but the $14,000 I pay for my kids day care makes that unlikely.