Subject to Change, version 2.0
I'm a goddamed liberal. Deal with it.

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Sunday, June 05, 2005

Sunday Sermonette.

"My earlier views at the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation and the human origin of the scriptures, have become clearer and stronger with advancing years and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change them"

--Abraham Lincoln,...

10:09:46 PM    

What can one man do?.

Courtesy of Eric, The Straight White Guy, we are reminded that we have just passed an anniversary, one written about eloquently by Kathy at

The Moderate Voice]
10:40:57 AM    

Machines Tested.

Leon County (FL) Elections Supervisor Ion Sancho asked BlackBoxVoting to test the county's Diebold optical scan voting machines for their suscepibility to fraud. He was less than happy with the results.

9:33:28 AM    

The Real Class Warfare.

Whenever a Democrat, like Al Gore, like John Edwards, has the temerity to point out the huge gulf between the super rich and average working people in this country, they are attacked as engaging in "class warfare". It's so ridiculous, mostly because what they are saying is actually supported by the factual data, and because this bunch is the base of the RNC vote - the landed gentry who don't economically help this country grow, but benefit disproportionately from the tax policy of the Washington Republicans.

The people at the top of America's money pyramid have so prospered in recent years that they have pulled far ahead of the rest of the population, an analysis of tax records and other government data by The New York Times shows. They have even left behind people making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

The next version of American politics needs to directly address this disparity, talk about why its wrong, and provide an alternative that brings up a larger slice of people to make America greater.

[Oliver Willis's blog]
9:32:30 AM    

No, Iraq is nothing like Vietnam

You go find the bunkers, infidels

Huge Underground Bunker Discovered in Iraq

By ANTONIO CASTANEDA, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 22 minutes ago

LATIFIYAH, Iraq - Hundreds of Iraqi and U.S. troops searched fields and farms Saturday for insurgents and their hideouts in an area south of Baghdad known for attacks, and the Marines said they discovered 50 weapons and ammunition caches and a huge underground bunker west of the capital fitted out with air conditioning, a kitchen and showers.

The joint U.S.-Iraqi force operating in Latifiyah to the south was backed by American air power and said it had rounded up at least 108 Iraqis, mainly Sunnis, suspected of involvement in the brutal insurgent campaign to topple the Shiite-led government.

To the west of the capital, the 2nd Marine division said its forces had discovered 50 weapons and ammunitions caches over the past four days in restive Anbar province. The military said the find included a recently used "insurgent lair" in a massive underground bunker complex that included air-conditioned living quarters and high tech military equipment, including night vision goggles.

That bunker was found cut from a rock quarry in Karmah, 50 miles west of Baghdad. The Marines said the facility was 170 yards wide and 275 yards long.


About two hours into the operation, for example, American forces voiced concern that an area covered in tall grass had not been searched. An Iraqi commander said he was reluctant to send his troops into the field for fear of an insurgent attack.

"This is a dangerous area. We need helicopters and the American army," Iraqi Brig. Gen. Najim al-Ekabi said.

The American soldiers, who had spent months training Iraqi soldiers, tried to persuade al-Ekabi to send his troops, saying it was likely that weapons were hidden in the fields and alongside an irrigation canal.

Army Capt. Jason Blindauer of the 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division told al-Ekabi the force had orders to search the area. "No one is going to do it better than your group," Blindauer said.

Al-Ekabi asked for a private meeting with the Americans and departed shortly afterward in a large convoy, ostensibly to conduct the search.

Maj. Ronny Echelberger later went into the area with American forces and searched a few homes, saying was not been sure the Iraqi search had been sufficiently thorough.

The Iraqi army's reliance on U.S. troops was evident in other ways. Echelberger had to show an Iraqi brigade commander his location on a map shortly before Iraqi troops launched the operation, and a few minutes later Iraqi soldiers fired hundreds of rounds when they mistakenly thought they saw an insurgent.

"These guys are doing baptism by fire. It takes time," Blindauer said.

Oh, bullshit. They will run if they hit heavy fire. He took his men and fucking went home. Jesus Christ. Depending on Iraqi auxilliaries will get Americans killed one day, either when they turn their guns on the US, or just fucking run.

Tuinnels? Interesting. Not like Iraq is anything like Vietnam, though

Tunnel rats in Vietnam

Cu Chi: The underground war

Preparing to enter the Viet Cong's underground fortress

By BBC News Online's Joe Havely

War is hellish at the best of times. But imagine fighting a war underground in the suffocating, sweltering blackness of tunnels, barely tall enough for a man to crawl, let alone walk.

Here, a wrong turn could send you plunging onto the lethal bamboo spikes of a punji stake trap.

Elsewhere carefully placed trip wires were primed to detonate a grenade or release a box of scorpions onto their unsuspecting victim.

In other places the entire walls of the tunnel seemed to move, covered with an impenetrable mass of spiders and stinging fire ants.

This was the reality of warfare in the tunnels of Cu Chi, the Viet Cong's underground fortress dug beneath the jungles of South Vietnam.

Guerrilla network

At its peak the Cu Chi tunnel network covered some 250 kilometres - from the Cambodian border in the west to the outskirts of what was then Saigon.

Beginning in 1948 during the war for independence from the French, the tunnel network slowly expanded. Each tiny tunnel was dug by hand, sometimes at a rate of just one or two metres a day.

As the tunnels grew, arms stores, hospitals, bomb shelters and even theatres to stage politically-motivating plays were added.

Kitchens to supply the tunnels' occupants with food were always built near the surface, but with long chimneys carved out through the ground to diffuse the smoke from the cooking fires and release it at a distance.

Burrowing silently beneath the feet of the American military, the tunnels connected isolated pockets of Viet Cong controlled territory, enabling the guerrillas to mount surprise attacks and then as quickly as they had appeared to vanish without trace.

See, completely different.

[The News Blog]
9:31:52 AM    

Sunday Sermonette.

"You know how long it took me to get there? A long time. When you die you're going to regret the things you don't do. You think you're queer? I'm going to tell you something: we're all queer. You think...

[James Wolcott]
9:30:08 AM    

Reality Based Talk About Iraq.

This is why Democrats can't just ignore Iraq.

While Bush and Vice President Cheney offer optimistic assessments of the situation, a fresh wave of car bombings and other attacks killed 80 U.S. soldiers and more than 700 Iraqis last month alone and prompted Iraqi leaders to appeal to the administration for greater help. Privately, some administration officials have concluded the violence will not subside through this year.

The disconnect between Rose Garden optimism and Baghdad pessimism, according to government officials and independent analysts, stems not only from Bush's focus on tentative signs of long-term progress but also from the shrinking range of policy options available to him if he is wrong. Having set out on a course of trying to stand up a new constitutional, elected government with the security firepower to defend itself, Bush finds himself locked into a strategy that, even if it proves successful, foreshadows many more deadly months to come first, analysts said.

A lot of Democrats I respect like John Kerry, John Edwards, and Hillary Clinton, voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq. It's time for folks to just say that they were wrong, and that the president has us on a path that has led to more deaths for American soldiers, less safety for Iraqis, and a decreased capacity to defend our nation from terrorism. Democrats need to push for a coherent Iraq strategy, rather than simply to keep jawboning about how great everything is when people are getting blown up every day with no end in sight. Every day we are in Iraq it is making America less safe. I don't believe simply cutting and running with a massive pullout is a viable strategy, as Iraq is no closer to stable democracy today than it was a year ago, but we have to have something more coherent than simply standing around and getting blown up.

[Oliver Willis's blog]
9:29:03 AM    

Andrew Samwick at the Crossroads.

Andrew Samwick thinks about what the Republican Party is--or, rather, what it might become:

Vox Baby: The Conservative Movement at the Crossroads: PGL from AngryBear notes that Max (of the newly and impressively redesigned MaxSpeak) linked to the Washington Post story in which I am quoted as follows:"I'm inclined to support the Republican Party, but the question becomes, how much other stuff do I have to put up with to maintain that identification?" asked Andrew A. Samwick, a Dartmouth College economics professor who until recently was chief economist of Bush's Council of Economic Advisers.I served on the staff at CEA from July 2003 through June 2004. The story quotes me later with:Samwick said the disenchantment of small-government conservatives has been building since the passage of the USA Patriot Act, which some saw as infringing on individual liberties, and the Medicare drug benefit, which created future government liabilities that exceed the entire projected Social Security shortfall."Some of these outcomes are really starting to alienate people who might be Republican because they are for limited government," Samwick said.The story quotes me accurately. The trigger for me has been the fiscal policy, and the unfunded expansion of Medicare in particular. I don't have...

[Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal]
7:42:57 AM    

The Medium Lobster Writes About Eggs and Omelettes.

It's a wise crustacean. Is there a discount if you order it before 6?

Fafblog! the whole worlds only source for Fafblog.:

Perhaps, at this time, you may require some reassurance. Perhaps, if you are one of the handful of Americans not otherwise occupied with Amber Alerts and runaway brides and the curious sleepover habits of washed-up eighties pop stars, you may have accidentally happened upon a few bodies halfway across the world (Afwhatsistan? Bagrawho?), which may or may not have pricked whatever remains of a long-dormant and desensitized National Conscience. And you may be asking yourself what the point of all this has been, what has driven Americans halfway around the globe to sieze innocent men, beat their legs to pulp, and chain them to ceilings until they die. Regrettable, yes, but let us remember that these two eggs, like the dozens before them, and the tens of thousands before them, were broken to make the greatest and worthiest of omelettes, the most succulent of breakfasttime generational commitments, the proudest and most visionary of truck stop slop. And when it is finished and served, to whomever it is served, will it not have been worth the mound of eggshells,...

[Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal]
7:29:21 AM    

Angels and dinosaurs.

Via Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon: the tale of how flood-maddened dinosaurs, egged on by fallen angels, attacked Noah's Ark. In...

[Making Light]
7:28:01 AM    

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