Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Bureau of the Public Debt : FAQ 4.2 - How do you make a contribution to reduce the debt?

This is just too good. ^Click the title^

As of 9/16, the debt was $7,919,996,476,821.03, aka ~$7.9 trillion.

Can you imagine Bush going door-to-door asking for donations?

"Your $100 contribution will bring us just $7,919,996,476,721.03 away from our goal! If you donate right now, we'll also throw in bioweapons-certified duct-tape, science-proof earmuffs, and a box of official Presidential M&Ms!"

Oh man... and this guy refuses to repeal his tax cuts even in the face of what we'll have to pay with both Katrina and Iraq on our hands. So where's the money coming from? China, Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia, and the UK. Woohoo! Buy American! Oh... wait...

This is ironic... really it is. Bush wants to separate from the international community and wants to basically end any international agreements, doesn't want the UN to have any force (despite claiming he thought the UN should be stronger... guess that's only when it's aligned with US interests). And yet, with all this borrowing from other countries, with the oil we depend on from the Middle East, we're becoming ever more dependent on the rest of the world financially while at the same time trying to distance ourselves from the world politically.

Looks like democrats are waking up. Along with the interview Bill Clinton gave linked above, John Kerry and John Edwards both gave awesome speeches recently. I'm sorry, but at least Edwards can speak well spontaneously, and either of them would be better Presidents. I reserve judgement on what policies they might or might not have done, but in terms of the President's responsibilities and such, I'd be willing to bet both of them would be more Presidential than our current one.

And it looks like Americans are starting to think the same thing. Too bad they couldn't have realized this just a year ago, or we might have improved things some.

One last note... again with the appointment of political hacks by this administration! Bush wants to appoint Julie Myers to be head of the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency. Funnily enough, she just married Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff's chief of staff, her uncle is Air Force General Richard B. Myers, and she has no experience with immigration or customs.

That's all I have for right now. Maybe next time I'll post something more my-life and not current-news.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

The Taming of the Shrub

Contracts are being handed out by the military to help restore their bases in the South. Guess who? Yup, that's right, Halliburton, the company that Cheney had never told to stop sending him money. And another thing, do you know why those people stuck in the convention center in New Orleans didn't have any food or water? The so-called Department of Homeland Security ordered the Red Cross not to enter the city, because it would "make people not want to evacuate and cause more people to enter the city" Take a look.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are witnessing the worst presidency in American history. Some of you may have been shocked by how long it took to get relief and help into New Orleans, and how Bush went to gave his VJ-day speech more importance than rushing to the disaster area. You may have scoffed whenever someone brought up how everything he does is politically-driven (where I mean 'politics' in the worst sense) and his public appearances are highly controlled and scripted, or how any protesters are forced into a fenced-in zone far away from where the president actually is. Maybe you've dismissed seeming character flaws as "charming" and "he's a man of the people." Perhaps you've overlooked some bad moves just because he's part of your party, or supports some policies you like. Well guess what? Just as we had plenty of warning of what a hurricane could do to New Orleans, we could have had plenty of warning about Bush from his years as governor of Texas, which were enshrined in Mary Ivins's book Shrub: The Short and Happy Political Life of George W. Bush. What she reported there has been carried over verbatim into the federal government, with little or no exception; but even worse, because the Texas governorship is one of the least powerful in our country, while the Presidency is extremely powerful, and he's been increasing it even further. And it doesn't help that Republicans in Congress are putting politics and party above the best interests of the nation, and have stood behind Bush in lockstep until recently. Bush hasn't changed any, it's just that this horrendous disaster and the stress that has been placed on him by Cindy Sheehan's rekindling of the anti-war movement is pushing him to the breaking point, causing him to lose his cool and to start making political mistakes.

However, many of the Democrats are no better, Hillary Clinton one of the worst among them. She's as politcal and scripted as any number of Bushes. We need real leadership in this country. We need to boot out our representatives who are placing politics at the forefront and show them that we will not tolerate a government run by elite, calculating politicos jostling for power first and doing their jobs second.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

What God giveth, God can taketh away

Update: I left out how Bush has cut funding for the Veterans Administration and has cut veterans benefits since he came into office, while we're starting to see the first homeless Iraq vets on the streets. There's just so much he's done that one can't even begin to list everything they've done which is dragging us down.



A man who claims to be doing God's work and who claims to talk to Him personally is being brought down by his Creator.

This is the worst disaster we've ever seen as a country. We knew, however, that this was a danger, and Americans all over are asking why the levees in New Orleans failed and why our President didn't mobilize our forces quickly or rush to the scene immediately. European countries, including the Netherlands which faces the same problems as New Orleans, don't understand this either, because a disaster of these proportions is not something you'd expect to see in a very wealthy, powerful nation which has known of the danger for a long time. Meanwhile over $70,000,000 has been donated to the Red Cross by Americans, $100,000,000 donated by businesses. The American people are doing there part, but where's our president? Why are we facing such a horrible disaster we've forseen?

Take a look at these editorials:
New York Times: "Waiting for a Leader"
Washington Post: "A Dearth of Answers"
Manchester Union Leader (a conservative paper, folks): "Bush and Katrina"

We also have to ask oursleves about where we've placed our priorities. We've spent hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq. Most of our armed forces, including our National Guard who are supposed to be on-hand for situations like this, are tied up in Iraq as well, let alone those who have been killed over there. Getting involved in Iraq has weakened our country. Iraq and the all-important tax cuts were directly blamed by the Army Corps of Engineers for the Bush Administration's cuts in funding for New Orleans' levy reinforcement and for the Federal Emergency Management Administration's Project Impact which was supposed to help us prepare for such a hurricane hit. And what have we gotten in return for stretching ourselves so thin? World opinion has turned against us, and some people have turned so far as to be susceptible to recruitment by terrorist organizations. Iraq is unstable, and it's turning into an Islamic republic and an incubator of hatred for America. We've killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and thousands of Americans. Many thousands of lives both here and there have been scarred forever, and many communities are badly wounded as well. We've employed contractors in Iraqi prisons who've been getting away with raping and murdering and torturing the captives. No weapons of mass destruction were secured, and it sounds like we didn't make a big attempt to secure those UN-sealed facilities which were in Iraq or the nuclear scientists there, possibly making it easier for other countries to get WMDs. Iran and North Korea have become more determined on the Nuclear front just because they want a deterent against US invasion. Saudi Arabia is still considered one of our biggest allies. Afghanistan is still not entirely stablized and we still haven't caught Osama bin Laden and the Taliban is still in the country in force.

We've had so many problems here we should be spending our resources on, and it's so apparent that there wasn't any urgent need to attack Iraq; how can anyone now think that Iraq was a good idea? At least with Saddam in power the Mideast was more stable, and we were succeeding in keeping him in check, yet Bush took us to war, wouldn't tell us how much it would cost while cutting taxes massively, he wouldn't say how long we'd be there, told us Iraq's oil would pay for the war, told us Iraqis would welcome us with open arms, told us Saddam was a wildcard who had secret WMDs and was in cahouts with terrorists (as if Saudi Arabia and Pakistan weren't), told us that it didn't matter that we weren't able to catch Osama, told us that Afghanistan was doing just great, told us war was the last resort against Iraq, opposed the creation of the 9/11 Commision until it became politically expedient, puts political friends in positions of power regardless of whether they're actually qualified for the job, and has been consistently doing things to the benefit of large corporations without regard to what is actually good for our country and the people. Something's fundamentally wrong with this administration, and it needs to go.

Of course, none of this mentions peak oil. Peak oil is the point at which no matter how many oil wells we drill, no matter how fast we pump oil out of the ground, the amount of barrels filled per day will not increase, and will begin to decrease. Almost everyone agrees that it will occur within 50 years. Some experts think we may have already reached it, but most predictions put it within 15 years. Think about how high gas prices have gotten already. Then look at how a disaster has affected that price. Now imagine that supply starts decreasing while demand keeps increasing. Unless we make a major initiative to break free of the grasp of oil and to start using renewable sources of energy and to push fuel efficiency as far as we can until we can find some non-oil method for fueling cars, we may not be able to survive the peak. Such a change in the economy has the potential to be catastrophic, especially for those below the current poverty line. I think we can, and we will survive it. But we have to make the necessary changes now, before it becomes a problem.