... there are two probable reasons. One is the assurance of a level-playing field for all citizens in India because of the success of the democratic system. The other is the absence of American influence on Indian policy all through the Cold War years and, to a large extent, even now.
... it has been observed that a majority of the terrorists come from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt and some of the North African countries. What is common about these countries is the lack of a genuine democracy, despite the adherence to form, and longstanding virtual patron-client links with the US. What is more, these two factors are interconnected.
A basic reason why the military or feudal autocrats control these countries is that the US propped them up to serve its economic and diplomatic interests.
... during the Cold War, India was regarded by the US and the West as being in the anti-American camp despite its claims to be non-aligned. This perception gave India a certain dignified status in the eyes of its own people since the Western world was still seen as being engaged in a colonial enterprise.
The pro-American countries seemingly lacked this sense of self-esteem, as was evident from the title of one of America's favourite dictator [of the 1960's,] Ayub Khan's book, "Friends, Not Masters".
The Pakistan president's grouse was that the US tended to behave like a viceroy. The result was that while the governments of these countries were pro-American, most of their people were not.
One of the reasons why the al Qaeda has gained ground among impressionable youth in the Middle East and elsewhere is that it portrays Muslims as an oppressed community.
The Times goes on to claim that Muslims are doing pretty well in their country - another reason why no Indian Muslim terrorists. Now we must point out that India doesn't have a sterling reputation when it comes to their minority groups (including Muslims), but still, the essay makes some important points.
Judith Miller revisited: (Our 26 June 2003post, to give you an idea of how tight Miller is with the neocon crowd and why she may be deeply involved with the trashing of Joe Wilson.)
The Washington Post has a detailed story about New York Times reporter Judith Miller and her influence over U.S. military officials and operations. She is also closely connected to Ahmed Chalabi of the INC. In the wake of this news, Eric Alterman writes, "... if this story is true, it is really beyond belief." We agree. Miller has become part of the team(s), and should not be considered an impartial reporter. We diagram key points from the Post story below:
UPDATE: Miller has connections with Daniel Pipes' Middle East Forum (story)
UPDATE: Arianna Huffington recaps this situation in a post of 28 July 2005.
The recently passed energy bill adds another month of daylight savings. (The bill calls for daylight savings to begin three weeks earlier, on the second Sunday in March, and to end on the first Sunday in November, one week later.) This, in our view, is absurd. It's getting close to the all-time insanity of 'total' daylight savings. From Slate's explainer: (emp add)
American daylight-saving time began in 1918 as a way to conserve energy for World War I. (Germany adopted it two years earlier; British "summer time" followed soon thereafter.) But our six-month schedule of clock changes was repealed just after the war in deference to farmers, whose sun-based schedule works best when the rest of the world is on a standard clock. FDR signed a more extreme form of daylight-saving time into law during World War II, also to save fuel. "War time" set the clocks forward one hour on a permanent basis, without a fall-back. Once again, the law was repealed during peacetime.
What's the point of moving all the clocks ahead one hour for the entire year? Must school start at 8:00 AM no matter what? In our opinion there should be no daylight savings at all.
Businesses and schools should adjust their hours throughout the year - just like they do on weekends and holidays. Clocks should not be adjusted. Also, by allowing each entity to set their hours, you get a more efficient schedule for a particular latitude and longitude (remember, some cities are near the edges of time zones, which can be a significant factor).
Eliminating DST can result in optimal configuration of human behavior with respect to sunlight. But we don't expect anybody to agree with doing away with DST. You know how it is. Establishing, and tweaking, daylight savings is a way of feeling as if something has been accomplished - misguided though it might be (and it's a hell of a blunt instrument).
In any event, to see how wonderful the extension of DST will be, we direct your attention to a website calculator that tells you when the sun will rise and set, depending on city (or latitude/longitude) and time of year. Here is when the lucky people in various cities can expect sunrise to occur in November:
Seattle, Washington - Shifts from 7:00 AM to 8:00 AM
Boise, Idaho - Shifts from 7:25 AM to 8:25 AM (even though Boise is at a lower latitude than Seattle, it is near the western edge of the Mountain Time Zone).
Fargo, North Dakota - Shifts from 7:16 AM to 8:16 AM
Detroit, Michigan - Shifts from 7:10 AM to 8:10 AM (this city is also significantly to the west of the Eastern Time Zone 'midline').
Over the past months, we've read about how Bush - who has yet to veto a bill - was unhappy with the pending highway and transportation bill, and in this case, would veto it if it wasn't trimmed back to under $284 billion.
But in this story about the deals made to pass CAFTA, we read:
Lawmakers also said many of the favors bestowed in exchange for votes [for CAFTA] will be tucked into the huge energy and highway bills that Congress is scheduled to pass this week before leaving for the August recess.
The highway bill is currently over $284 billion, but it looks as if Bush will not veto it since it now contains goodies-in-exchange-for-the-CAFTA-vote.
Photo taken on 3 May 2005, facing east-southeast. Body of water is the Ballona Channel which runs into the Pacific Ocean next to Marina Del Rey, California. A bird is barely discernible in the lower left. Somewhat visible are the buildings of Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles . Below the sun and slightly to the right is the bell tower of Sacred Heart Chapel; to the right of the tower is a row of tall palm trees that run along the edge of the cliff. This picture was selected mostly for the color and lighting on the water. It has not been modified, except for resizing and cropping.
It took personal visits from the president and vice president, along with strenuous arm-twisting from Republican leaders, before the House passed the Central American Free Trade Agreement early Thursday by a two-vote margin, 217-215.
The House vote, supposed to take 15 minutes, dragged on for an hour as negotiations swirled around the floor among GOP leaders and rank-and-file members reluctant to vote for the agreement. In the end, 27 Republicans voted against CAFTA, while 15 Democrats supported it.
"I don't see any benefits for workers, for sugar people," said Democratic Rep. Charlie Melancon, who said his family owed everything to 225 years of sugar production in his home state of Louisiana.
"We've given away textiles. We've given away steel. We've given away fruits and vegetables," Melancon said. "Now let's just go ahead and give away everything and be dependent on every other country for our food and our defense."
Another over-15-minutes vote, but who cares about that anymore?
In any event, who are these 15 Democrats?
Bean, Melissa L., Illinois, 8th
Cooper, Jim, Tennessee, 5th
Cuellar, Henry, Texas, 28th
Dicks, Norman D., Washington, 6th
Hinojosa, Rubén, Texas, 15th
Jefferson, William J., Louisiana, 2nd
Matheson, Jim, Utah, 2nd
Meeks, Gregory W., New York, 6th
Moore, Dennis, Kansas, 3rd
Moran, Jim, Virginia, 8th
Ortiz, Solomon P., Texas, 27th
Skelton, Ike, Missouri, 4th
Snyder, Vic, Arkansas 2nd
Tanner, John, Tennessee, 8th
Towns, Edolphus, New York, 10th
Nothing really jumps out. No regional or political (Red vs Blue) distribution of interest.
Looking at the Republicans that voted No, we get:
What's libertarian-Republican Ron Paul doing voting against CAFTA-DR?
Via Mark A. R. Kleiman we learn that the satirical on-line magazine, The Onion, has been looking at the Rove scandal. Kleiman cites this headline:
Bush Awaits Orders From Rove On Handling Of Rove Scandal
Which is pretty good - although we couldn't find the item when we visited the website. We did, however, find these two:
Bush To London Bombers: 'Bring It On'
WASHINGTON, DC—President Bush officially responded to the latest round of London transit bombings Monday, challenging terrorists to "do their worst." Said Bush, in a televised statement from the Oval Office: "The proud and resilient people of London can take anything the forces of evil and cowardice can throw at them. They will never live in fear of you. Bring it on." Prime Minister Tony Blair thanked Bush for his comments, inviting him to visit London and ride the Underground in a show of solidarity.
Embattled Rove Seeks Asylum In Scarorough County
SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY—Diplomatic sources reported Monday that White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove has sought asylum in the conservative stronghold of Scarborough Country. "During his June 23 visit, Mr. Rove had indicated he might petition us for sanctuary from media persecution," said Joe Scarborough, the monarchical ruler of Scarborough Country. "And in my country, no passports are required and only common sense is allowed." While officials review Rove's asylum request, he is being held in the No-Spin Zone, a region of absolute neutrality governed by commentator Bill O'Reilly.
You know, that "Bring it on" line of Bush's was really a stupid thing to say. It'll catch up with him, you can be sure of that.
... our government's response to all these troubles: "New Name for 'War on Terror' Reflects Wider U.S. Campaign." That's right. Bombs are exploding all over, and the main revision George W. Bush will make in the war on terrorism is to change its name. From now on, the United States is no longer engaged in a "global war on terror," and instead, we're fighting a "global struggle against violent extremism."
Administration and Pentagon officials say the revamped campaign has grown out of meetings of President Bush's senior national security advisers that began in January, and it reflects the evolution in Mr. Bush's own thinking nearly four years after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Mr. Rumsfeld spoke in the new terms on Friday when he addressed an audience in Annapolis, Md., for the retirement ceremony of Adm. Vern Clark as chief of naval operations. Mr. Rumsfeld described America's efforts as it "wages the global struggle against the enemies of freedom, the enemies of civilization."
The shifting language is one of the most public changes in the administration's strategy to battle Al Qaeda and its affiliates, and it tracks closely with Mr. Bush's recent speeches emphasizing freedom, democracy and the worldwide clash of ideas.
"It is more than just a military war on terror," Steven J. Hadley, the national security adviser, said in a telephone interview. "It's broader than that. It's a global struggle against extremism. We need to dispute both the gloomy vision and offer a positive alternative."
So, "violent extremism" is a positive alternative to "terrorism," and that's going to remove the gloom? Please.
But Rumsfeld wasn't the first to go V-E. Here is an excerpt from a White House story of May 23, 2005:
Joint Declaration of the United States-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership
This partnership will serve as the basis for our common efforts to cooperate in the war against international terror and the struggle against violent extremism, to promote stability and prosperity in the region, and to remain steadfast in supporting Afghanistan's campaign to eradicate poppy cultivation, provide alternate livelihoods assistance, and fight the production and trafficking of drugs.
... under pressure from the federal government, a number of banks and credit companies are raising their minimum payment rates from roughly two percent of the total balance to four.
How does that break down? Well, cardweb.com says the average American owes about $9,200 in credit card debt. If you're only making the minimum payment of two percent every month, you're paying about $180.
But if that rate goes up to four percent, your new minimum amount will be heftier: $368.
Photo taken from bike path that is on the north side of the Ballona Creek/Channel - which extends from Culver City to the ocean (and empties out adjacent to Marina Del Rey). This territory borders on the city of Los Angeles.
It's very slick. They offer several downloadable ads (in PDF format), all pretty much focusing on abortion. Here is one [PDF] to consider:
The clear message is that there should not be abortions even for those pregnancies caused by rape. That's not anywhere close to a mainstream view.
How much does Roberts' wife believe it this stuff? How much does Roberts himself? Hard to say, but it looks like they are inclined to want to prevent abortion in all circumstances.
UPDATE: FFL promotes the abortion -> breast cancer charge.
That's probably not true. The National Cancer Institute has charged that the study has been interpreted inaccurately and "[t]here is no evidence of a direct relationship between breast cancer and either induced or spontaneous abortion. [National Cancer Institute, Department of Health and Human Services, Risk of Breast Cancer Associated with Abortion, Washington, DC, February 13, 1996.]
Over at the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal website, there is an entry about "three weeks' good news from Iraq". Included in the long list (mostly about foreign countries committing money or resources to Iraq), is this item:
Work is nearing completion on a project that will allow Baghdad International Airport (BIAP) to achieve 100 percent electrical self-sufficiency. The BIAP electrical system has an generation output design range of 18 to 22.3 MW and consists of three 33kV power transformers, 11kV and 400 V distribution systems, five diesel generators, and numerous smaller emergency generators.
That's like saying the French are making progress at Dien Bien Phu because they're getting all their supplies airdropped and therefore aren't dependent on deliveries by truck.
... a bipartisan report from the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that his investigation had yielded little valuable information, hadn't reached the White House and hadn't disproved the Iraq-Niger link - in fact, in some ways it supported the link.
... it looks as if this scandal is about ... a whistle-blower who did not blow the whistle ...
Those are the big three nationals. All their readers will get the identical message.
The Washington Post is in the tank (as Yglesias pointed out recently). The use of "whistleblower" in their editorial is the give-away. It's not a point of fact to be argued about (say, official A telling reporter B about X on date Y). It's a Republican talking point. Those who suspect or accuse Rove of leaking Plame's identity have no interest in Joe Wilson being a whistleblower or not.
Looking back, it's obvious the Rovians didn't regard the original Justice Department probe as a serious legal threat -- no more than the Nixon White House regarded the original FBI investigation of Watergate as a serious threat. The Rovians must have thought the fix was in with Ashcroft, just as Nixon thought that his man L. Patrick Gray (recently departed for the infernal regions) would plug the cracks in his criminal conspiracy.
The Fitzgerald investigation is the first substantive inquiry not controlled by Republicans, and with legal power.
For most of the recent past, the commissions and congressional probes have been Republican-controlled (and the 'bi-partisan' ones configured by Bush). If the Democrats had, today, a majority in either the House or Senate, they could get the subpoena machine running and it's likely that Bush would be in total defense mode. But that's not the case.
Still, given that Fitzgerald has been able to get so close to the top of the pyramid, one wonders what else is out there.
On ABC's This Week, Martha Raddatz made an excellent point. Instead of asking the Bush administration for a timetable for withdrawal, why not ask for a timetable for getting the Iraqi security forces (fully) up and running? Answering that won't 'encourage the insurgents', as Bush likes to put it.
In today's New York Timesop-ed about tech jobs moving to India, this line:
[Rich Western countries] can't provide huge subsidies for their agricultural conglomerates and complain when Indians who can't make a living on their farms then go to the cities and study computers and take away their jobs.
Is it true that farm subsidies to red states and outfits like Archer Daniels Midland have been a significant factor in turning India to tech? (And let's not forget Europe's similar programs of farm support.) That support for retro economics at home causes emerging countries to leapfrog over activities like farming (and mining) and focus instead on higher-value jobs, like computer programming, for which there is no government support? Also, it's interesting that farm subsidies that go overwhelmingly to red states may result in third-world nations competing against the U.S. in economic areas that are largely the province of blue states.
Our first ever agreement with New York Times columinst John Tierney, who this time is ranting against computer hackers and focuses on the creator of the Sasser worm.. We've spent literally dozens of hours disinfecting friends' computers that have been struck with Sasser, and it's a royal pain to fix. Tierney has some excellent suggestions for punishment in his penultimate paragraph:
Make the hacker spend 16 hours a day fielding help-desk inquiries in an AOL chat room for computer novices. Force him to do this with a user name at least as uncool as KoolDude and to work on a vintage IBM PC with a 2400-baud dial-up connection. Most painful of all for any geek, make him use Windows 95 for the rest of his life.
Tierney forgot to include:
A mouse that doesn't repond nicely. Fourteen inch monitor set to 16 colors, 640x480 pixels. 32 Meg ram. The 'heaviest' browser available (which we believe is Netscape's version 6). Memory hogging screen saver that starts after 1 minute of inactivity. Tons of worthless crap in the StartUp folder (Windows).
Supreme court resignations: Some are talking about Stephens. It's always been our understanding that he indicated he'll only leave the court 'feet first'. His health seem okay, so we're not particulary worried at the moment.
Ignore warnings (e.g. "Bin Laden determined to strike").
After a major strike (9/11) and with the whole world behind you, don't go all out and capture the terrorist leadership.
Destabilize a regime (Iraq) that was not hospitable to the terrorists, turning it into an 'open country' where terrorists can at a minimum, find refuge.
Don't secure massive amounts of weaponry in the destablized country.
Focus on defense (security checks) instead of offense (capturing the leadership).
Think that an "Ideology of Hope" (democratic Iraq) will trounce an "Ideology of Hate" - as Condoleezza Rice did today.
At the present time Al Qaeda has limited tools at its disposal: truck bombs, conventional explosives, and suicide bombers. Even so, there is virtually no way to prevent an attack on soft targets - and there are millions of soft targets. As it stands, a defensive strategy is moderately helpful, but it's not the way to insure citizens are protected from more deadly weapons (chem, bio).
The proper thing to do is to go after the terrorist leadership and membership. That requires special ops, cloak and dagger, deals with unsavory countries, infiltration of terrorist groups, and the like. One thing for sure, a conventional and undermanned invasion of an Arab country that wasn't supporting Al Qaeda, doesn't do anything to improve the security of this country (and other countries as well).
Bush said at one point today that he was going to get the culprits. He's had almost four years, and failed to do so. It's our guess that this attack, close enough (culturally) to the U.S., will be seen as a virtual attack on the U.S. It's our view that if a second attack takes place in this country, especially with the Iraq War as a backdrop, many people will hold Bush accountable for failing to capture the Al Qaeda leadership.
That said, we acknowledge that on the right-wing radio, many callers are saying that the way to fight London bombers is to redouble our efforts in Iraq. So not everybody will blame Bush.
Over at Tapped, we're encouraged to read an article by Chris Mooney ("Mann Hunt", The American Prospect Online) which reports on Representative Joe Barton's heavy-handed tactics against a scientist that claims global warming is the result of human activities. In that article other players are mentioned, including Dr. Harold M. Koenig, president of the Annapolis Center for Science-Based Public Policy - the outfit that presented Barton with an award this April for his support of "rational, science-based thinking and policy-making. Mooney's article goes on to note that Koenig wrote to the Washington Times in November 2003 to throw cold water on the global warming claims. Koenig:
"... a letter signed by 17,800 scientists contends "there is no convincing scientific evidence" that human activity is causing "catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate.
"Who said that? The letter came from the Science Advisory Board (SAB), which appears to be a business-friendly organization. But now to the details. Who are these scientists that signed the letter? From the website you can find out in general terms who they are - but only in terms of job classification: Graduate Student/Research Assistant, Staff Scientist, Principal Investigator, Professor/Teacher, etc. Apparently grad students are considered scientists by this outfit. Can we learn more about who makes up various panels and boards over at the SAB? No. They say:
In order to facilitate the frank exchange of ideas, we have agreed not to reveal the identity, participation, or individual responses of our members. We have found that anonymity encourages members to comment more freely on most topics ...
So who knows who is signing these letters and how qualified they are to comment on an issue?
NOTE: We initially thought the letter-of-17,800 was the one John Stossel promoted in May 2003 (our post) which was completely ridiculous. That letter came from the Oregon Institute for Science and Medicine and the experts on global warming ranged from gynocologists to dentists to ophthalmologists to machine tool developers.
At least we're pretty sure it's a different petition. But there are some peculiar similarities: Both signed by 17,000 "scientists" and both reported as claiming "no convincing ... evidence" of human-caused global warming.
There is a huge debate roiling in Europe today over which economic model to follow: the Franco-German shorter-workweek-six-weeks'-vacation-never-fire-anyone-but-high-unemployment social model or the less protected but more innovative, high-employment Anglo-Saxon model preferred by Britain, Ireland and Eastern Europe.
Why does Friedman only mention high-employment for the Anglo-Saxon model ("innovative" is debatable). Parity would have dictated the following opening sentence:
There is a huge debate roiling in Europe today over which economic model to follow: the Franco-German shorter-workweek-six-weeks'-vacation-never-fire-anyone-but-high-unemployment social model or the less protected but more innovative, high-employment longer-workweek-two-weeks'-vacation-insecure-tenure-but-low-unemployment Anglo-Saxon model preferred by Britain, Ireland and Eastern Europe.
Many people, including this blog, said that the 2004 presidential election was going to be the most important one in many decades. Republicans in control of the presidency, Senate, and House meant no restraints and hard-right policies. The message went out. Many chose to ignore it.
We don't want to see people "taught a lesson," but that's what will happen. It's too late to stop.
Sure, some legislative issues like Social Security can be fought. But Bush has a totally free hand with the nomination. He'll get someone very conservative on the court.
At some point you've got to admit that the game is over and all that's left is to witness the consequences.
At any rate, I have to admit to finding the Democratic response a little amusing. They can sign 92 billion petitions, get a million volunteers to to form a human wall around the Supreme Court, and the simple fact of the matter is it just does not matter what they think or what they want. Elections mean things, and the Democrats are the minority party. Their only recourse is the filibuster, should they find a nominee objectionable.
At least not now. It's time for those 'moderates' who voted Bush/Republican, especially women, to wake up and see what's heading their way. It's going to be a very conservative Supreme Court which will take away rights of privacy and boost the power of businesses and the state. The individual will lose out. That's what they voted for, even if they didn't realize it at the time. So they will have to learn through experience, unpleasant though that may be.
Here at uggabugga, we're not particularly interested in guessing who Bush will nominate. It's going to be a staunch conservative, as bad as Scalia or Thomas. And then the previous 5-4 moderate-conservative court will turn into a 5-4 conservative court, poised to chip away at the New Deal and a lot of twentieth century legislation.
That's what's going to happen, and no amount of blogging or political activity will change it.