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but, .....I repeat myself.
Suppose you were a heartless bastard, and suppose you were a Republican, but, .....I repeat myself. Mark Twain
Thursday, January 29, 2004
Juan Cole at Informed comment on January 28, 2004 posits that the Number of foreign troops and civilians US military has killed since 1968 approximates 2 million.
Let's look at the issue Harpers style:

US population: 295 million
Iraq population: 24 million
US per capita annual income: $37,600
Iraq per capita annual income: 700
US nuclear warheads: 10,455
Iraq nuclear warheads: 0
US tons of lethal chemical weapons (1997): 31,496
Iraq tons of lethal chemical weapons (1997): 0
Number of foreign troops and civilians US military has killed since 1968: approx. 2 million
Number of foreign troops and civilians Iraqi military has killed since 1968: approx. 250,000

Could it be possible to get a breakdown of said casualties, and are said casualties the result of direct US intervention or of that of proxies ?

PS. I am of the opinion that the US is probably the fifth bloodiest regime of the Twentieth century after China, the USSR, Germany and Japan.

The price of Empire
Army Expansion Could Last 5 Years

An additional 30,000 soldiers authorized this week by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on a temporary basis could swell the ranks of the Army for five years or longer, depending upon troop requirements in Iraq, Afghanistan and other potential conflicts, a senior Army official said yesterday.
Briefing reporters one day after Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, disclosed the increase in congressional testimony, the official said a wholesale restructuring of the nation's largest military service should produce efficiencies that would enable the Army eventually to return to its current authorized troop strength of about 480,000 troops.
But the official, who briefed on the condition that he would not be identified, said it is not certain the Army would be able to cut strength in four to five years from the 510,000-troop level authorized by Rumsfeld under emergency authority approved after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Gee, I wonder how much that little expension is going to cost and how much money KBR is going to get out of it.

Schoomaker's restructuring plan calls for an increase in the active-duty combat brigades from 33 to 48, creating more versatile units available for rapid overseas deployment. Each new brigade will be more self-sustaining and have more combat power than current brigades, enabling the Defense Department to respond to smaller-scale contingencies by deploying a brigade of 5,000 soldiers, instead of a much larger division, with 20,000 soldiers.
There will be three types of brigades: heavy, with tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles; light, with motorized infantrymen; and airborne, with helicopters and paratroopers. Commanders then could deploy a headquarters structure from one division to command heavy, light and airborne brigades from three other divisions.
In assessing the current Army structure, still largely a Cold War force, Schoomaker and his staff decided the service had far too much artillery and air defense artillery, the official said. They now plan to convert 39 field artillery battalions and 10 air defense battalions to military police, civil affairs and light infantry units in greater demand for fighting the global war on terrorism.

Looks like we are planning for many more small colonial wars in which the locals will have quite a bit of firepower, but limited control of the airspace and little to no artillery and very little armor. If I was running a small country sitting on any sort of valuable natural resource, I'd be working overtime to get my hands on as many portable light anti-tank/ anti-aircraft weapons as possible, as many men trained in their use as possible, since there is no realistic way of preventing the Americans from invading said country, but it might be possible to make so expensive that they will leave rather than get sucked into a bloody quagmire.

Monday, January 26, 2004
SFGate - Budget analysts see deeper 10-year deficits of $2.4 trillion

The government's budget outlook deteriorated further on Monday as the Congressional Budget Office projected nearly $2.4 trillion in deficits over the next decade, providing new fuel for an election-year battle over soaring federal shortfalls.

Along with the forecast, almost $1 trillion worse than estimated in August, Congress' nonpartisan fiscal watchdog said this year's deficit would hit $477 billion. That would be a record in dollar terms.

Well, we now know which party is the party of Fiscal Responsability and it ain't the GOP.

onservatives, who have been rebelling openly for weeks over the growth of spending and deficits on Bush's watch, said Monday his proposals for corrective action were too timid.

Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., said he and other conservatives were working on a budget that would balance in five years and be even more stringent on spending, perhaps cutting programs that Congress controls.

"I think Congress can do better, and I think we should make it our purpose to present a bolder fiscal vision than the administration will put forward," he said.

Pence and others conceded that while they probably don't have the votes to push their plan through the GOP-run House, they hoped to influence the budget it produces.

That's the now that we have given away the store to the wealthy, lets get the middle class, the working class and the poor (AKA the Lucky Duckies) to pay for the give away.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Saturday, January 24, 2004
Reuters | Ex-Arms Hunter Says Iraq Had No Banned Stockpiles
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former chief U.S. weapons hunter David Kay has concluded Iraq did not have stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons, which could embarrass President Bush abroad and offer ammunition to his election-year Democratic rivals at home.

Undercutting the White House's public rationale for the war on Iraq, Kay told Reuters by telephone shortly after stepping down from his post Friday that he had concluded there were no such stockpiles to be found.

"I don't think they existed," Kay said. "What everyone was talking about is stockpiles produced after the end of the last (1991) Gulf War, and I don't think there was a large-scale production program in the '90s," he said.

So Mr Kay, are you basically saying that Georges Bush sent the country to war under false pretense, got over 500 Americans killed, a couple of thousand others wounded or crippled for life? And now you have the nerve to be worried a to what the Democrats are going to use this fact as a campaign issue.

As far as I am concerned the Dems should be starting impeachment proceedings.

Thursday, January 22, 2004
Boston Globe - Kennedy to propose universal health care
In a speech to health care advocates today, Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts plans to propose legislation to provide health insurance to all Americans at a federal price tag of $100 billion a year.

The plan would mandate that large employers cover their workers and would establish a national insurance plan for other Americans modeled on the plan that covers federal employees. Although similar initiatives have been proposed before, Kennedy's plan would attempt to make the mandate more palatable to employers by capping their contributions at 12 percent of payroll costs, up slightly from the current median expenses of 11 percent.

Considering that we will be paying over a $100 in interest on the National Debt for the first quarter of 2004, this sounds like it would be a hell of a good deal at twice the price.

Arizona Republic - List of Bush failures deserves contempt
List of Bush failures deserves contempt

Jan. 22, 2004 12:00 AM

President Bush can say as many times as he wishes that "the entire world is a better and safer place" now that he has taken down the Iraqi regime ("Clear call to battle," Editorial, Wednesday).

But how safe are our brave sons and daughters, who are being maimed and killed on a regular basis as they carry out their missions?

You can say that Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., owes respect to Bush by not showing his contempt at the president's misleading statements during his speech last night. But why don't you tell your subscribers the truth about Bush's failure to create new jobs and to keep businesses from outsourcing American jobs?

These and Bush's other failures deserve the contempt of all of us. - Betty Carter, Sun City

What can I say other than Right on Betty!

Wednesday, January 21, 2004
The morons at the RIIA are at it again
SF Gate - Music industry launches 2nd round of lawsuits Song file-sharing crackdown hits 532
Washington -- The music industry retooled, reloaded and fired another legal round at alleged Internet music pirates Wednesday, suing 532 computer users for downloading and sharing copyrighted songs for free.

I am not quite sure how they think they can prevent people from shaing music, I can go on any news group any day of the week and find a good dozen complete albuns to download. If they could kill P2P and News Groups, people could still share music for minimal cost, a standard data CD holds over 700mb, the equivalent of ten music CDs, it should not be that hard to create informal sharing groups that swap Data CDs full of music in person or by mail.

The music industry has lost 30 percent in sales over the past three years -- as much as $5 billion worldwide -- and blames Internet piracy for much of it. As of late last year, the RIAA said it had sued 382 people, warned 398 others and settled with 220 for payments typically in the range of $2,000 to $4,000 each.

If they stopped producing and marketting such third rate crap maybe they would not be losing so much business and just as importantly if the commercial radio stations started playing something beyond top fourties and classic rock, they might have something to sell.

CNN -Federal remote voting system called flawed
(CNN) -- A federally funded Internet-based voting system due for release in less than two weeks is inherently flawed and should be scuttled because of weak security, according to a report by a team of computer scientists.

Designing a web based voting system should not be that hard, but making it secure, well, that's damn near impossible. Even if you could prevent voters from voting multiple times, how can you tell that the person voting is who he/she claims to be?

Monday, January 19, 2004
Snooping in the Dark

Last month, President Bush signed off on a piece of legislation that gives the FBI unprecedented powers to obtain personal information from a financial institution. It also broadens the definition of financial institution, meaning that the Feds can now obtain your credit card records without a court order. Why haven't we heard more about this? It might be because Bush signed the law on the same day that Saddam was unearthed. Or it may just be that the media alarm is seldom triggered by such gradual expansions of the government's snooping powers. Bob talks to James Dempsey of the Center for Democracy and Technology.

WNYC - On the Media

Well, one more reaon to take the scissors to that stack of credit card and go back to old fashionned Cash.

Are we a police state yet?

Saturday, January 17, 2004
U.S. deficit grows to $128.7 billion in first quarter of fiscal year 2004
Washington - The government produced a deficit of $128.7 billion for the first three months of the 2004 budget year, which was $20 billion more than for the same period a year earlier, the Treasury Department reported Thursday.
So far this budget year, the biggest spending categories were Medicare and Medicaid, $135.4 billion; Social Security, $131.1 billion; interest on the public debt, $115 billion; and military, $107.7 billion.

A minimum of $460 Billion in yearly interest payment, it's a nice way of transfering wealth from the working & class to the wealthy.

A minimum of $430 Billion in yearly Military Expenses.

Miami Herald - Glance of Israeli Targeted Killings

Israel has a decades-long record of operations aimed at killing leaders of violent groups responsible for the deaths of Israelis.

Since fighting broke out in September 2000, more than 140 Palestinian militants have been killed in targeted raids, according to Palestinian medical officials, though that total also includes militants killed resisting arrest. They say more than 110 bystanders have also died in the raids.

Here are some of the most prominent and recent strikes:

_ February 1973: Israeli commandos enter Beirut by sea and kill three senior PLO leaders. One of the commanders was Ehud Barak, later Israel's prime minister.

_ January 1979: Israeli agents kill Ali Hassan Salameh in bomb explosion in Beirut. Salameh planned 1972 attack in Munich that killed 11 members of Israeli Olympic team.

_ April 1988: Israeli agents assassinate Khalid al-Wazir (Abu Jihad), Yasser Arafat's deputy in PLO and commander of operations in West Bank.

_ February 1992: Lebanese Hezbollah leader Sheik Abbas Musawi killed in southern Lebanon in Israeli helicopter strike.

_ October 1995: Islamic Jihad leader Fathi Shakaki killed by gunmen in Malta. Israel assumed to be responsible but does not comment officially.

_ January 1996: Hamas master bombmaker Yehiyeh Ayyash killed in explosion of booby-trapped cell phone in Gaza. Israel assumed responsible.

_ September 1997: Two Israeli Mossad agents arrested in Jordan after botched effort to assassinate Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal.

_ January 2002: Raed Karmi, leader of Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in the West Bank, killed in Israeli attack.

_ July 2002: Hamas commander Salah Shehadeh killed with 14 others when Israeli plane drops one-ton bomb on his Gaza house.

_ September 2002: Hamas commander Mohammed Deif wounded in Israeli airstrike.

_ March 2003: Ibrahim Makadmeh, senior Hamas strategist, killed in Israeli airstrike in Gaza.

_ June 2003: Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi wounded in Israeli airstrike in Gaza.

_ Aug. 21, 2003: Three Hamas members, including prominent leader Ismail Abu Shanab and two bodyguards, killed by helicopter missile strike. One bystander killed, at least 15 others wounded.

_Aug. 24, 2003: Four Palestinians, all Hamas activists, killed in helicopter strike in Gaza City. More than a dozen bystanders injured.

_Aug. 26, 2003: Two Palestinian bystanders killed in helicopter strike in Gaza City. Another bystander dies the following week.

_Aug. 28, 2003: One Hamas activist killed by missile strike in southern Gaza. Three others injured.

_Aug. 30, 2003: Two Palestinians, both members of Hamas, killed by Israeli strike. Two bystanders injured.

_Sept. 1, 2003: One Hamas member killed by missile strike, one bystander dies later of injuries. At least 25 others wounded.

_Oct. 20, 2003: Fourteen Palestinians killed in Israeli missile strike in Nusseirat refugee camp in Gaza, according to Palestinian count. Number of militants killed remains under dispute. Palestinians say two dead belonged to armed groups; Israeli military puts figure higher.

Well, so much for the rule of law.

I was under the understanding that conservatives thought that the rule of law was a requirement to be a modern democracy.

PS. Putting a bullet in the back of the head of a known terrorist may not be legal, but it can be understood and forgiven, Dropping a bomb from a airplane on someone's house in the middle of a city is not only illegal and immoral , it's downright stupid.

Israel kills 196 Palestinians in targeted killing in 2003: report

GAZA, Jan. 6 (Xinhuanet) -- The Israeli assassination operations in2003 claimed the lives of 196 Palestinians, 106 of whom were civilians, said a report released Tuesday by a number of humanitarian and legal institutions.

According to the report, the year of 2003 has witnessed the largest number of Israeli assassinations against the Palestinian militants since the outbreak of the intifada (uprising) in September 2000.

The Israeli army carried out assassinations during raids into the Palestinian territories by dynamiting houses and bombing cars as well as using bomb letters or packages, the report said.

During the past year, the Israeli army assassinated Hamas political leader Ismail Abu Shanab and carried out two failed attempts on senior Hamas representatives Abdel-Aziz Al-Rantisi, Ismail Haneya and Mahmoud Al-Zahar.

In addition, Hamas spiritual leader and founder Ahmad Yassin also narrowly escaped an Israeli assassination.

The report termed June the bloodiest month of the whole year, during which the Israeli army carried out 11 assassinations that claimed the lives of 36 Palestinians.

In September, Israel carried out 11 similar operations and killed 14 Palestinians, including seven who were not targeted but happened to be at the scene of the attack, the report said.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004
National Bank Of America
CNN MOney - Bank merger mania is back

Bank of America's announcement of a $47 billion acquisition of FleetBoston Financial Monday sparked a new round of bank takeover speculation, reminding many on Wall Street of the merger mania that swept through the sector five years ago.

Bank of America agreed to buy FleetBoston Financial for $47 billion in stock. CNNfn's Darby Mullany reports.

"For big banks that want to remain major players, this move is going to force them to make strategic mergers, just like 1998," said Gerard Cassidy, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets.

In April of 1998, three enormous deals were announced: Citicorp and Travelers merged to form Citigroup, Bank One acquired First Chicago NBD, and Bank of America and NationsBank got hitched. Two months later, Wells Fargo and Norwest agreed to a deal.

It appears that Wall Street is now lining up for tickets to the bank merger sequel.

J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank One plan merger
CHICAGO (AP) — J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Bank One Corp. teamed up to form a new banking powerhouse Wednesday, announcing they are merging in a $58 billion deal that will create the second-largest U.S. banking company.

The merged company, to retain the J.P. Morgan Chase name and be based in New York, will have assets of $1.1 trillion with 2,300 branches in 17 states, the two banks said after the markets closed. As many as 10,000 job cuts are possible, the companies said.

When will Uncle Sam put a halt to these mergers? When one of these megabanks fails, who is going to bail them out and at what cost?

How long before a half a dozen banks control 80 to 90% of the Banking Market?

Here is a list of the 100 largest banks as of 2001. You will observe that the larger banks seem the ones doing the most beefing up, getting bigger & bigger all the time.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004
I heard Twitty & now Eric Alterman on NPR's To The Point radio show claim that the US has never invaded a country that was not a threat to it.

Now, it seems to me that a lot of people are busily editing history and forgetting the Grenada Invasion, the Panama Invasion and the mother of all invasions The philipines 1899-1902.

Now According to Mathew White's Twentieth Century Atlas - Death Tolls and Casualty Statistics for Wars,Dictatorships and Genocides anywhere from 8,000 to 20,000 combatants an anywhere between a 100,000 to 300,000 non-combatants died. The death toll in Panama has been estimated at approximatly 500 to 600. The Death toll in Granada has been estimated at approximatly 18 to 250 depending on the estimator.

I am not quite sure what possible threat The Philipines, Panama or Granada ever posed to the United States.

Monday, January 12, 2004
The state of the economy

Reuters - Discouraged Job-Seekers Mask True Jobless Rate
In December alone, Labor statisticians dropped 309,000 Americans from the labor force, no longer counting them as unemployed because they have stopped looking for work. That cut the participation rate to just 66 percent, a level not plumbed since recession-plagued 1991.

Economists believe the drop in the labor force masks a much higher jobless rate -- perhaps as high as 9 percent, according to Anthony Chan, chief economist at Banc One Investment Advisors in Columbus, Ohio.

"The decline in the unemployment rate is the most misleading aspect of this employment report," said Chan. "It's a sham because of how we got there -- the labor force dropped precisely because more people became discouraged."

Washington Post - U.S. Poverty Rate Rises, Income Drops
In its annual report on income and poverty, the Census Bureau said that 1.3 million more Americans slipped below the government's official poverty line last year, the first increase since 1993. As a result, 11.7 percent of the population is considered to be in poverty, up from 11.3 percent in 2000.

Unlike previous recessions, most of the increase in poverty was experienced by white households and in suburban and rural areas, particularly in the South. The poverty rate fell for Hispanics and increased marginally in black households.

Still, while the poverty rates among blacks (22.7 percent) and Hispanics (21.4 percent) are at their lowest levels ever, they remain about twice those of the population at large.

For a family of four, the government calculates the poverty line at about $18,000.

On the income front, the Census Bureau reported that the median household income fell 2.2 percent last year to $42,228, after adjusting for inflation -- the first drop since 1991.

Pioneer Press - Number of U.S. uninsured rises by 2.4 million in 2002
he number of Americans who don't have health insurance rose sharply in 2002, mainly because of unemployment increases and two straight years of cuts in employer-provided health coverage.

The number of uninsured Americans jumped by 2.4 million to 43.6 million last year, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Monday. That's 15.2 percent of the population, compared with 14.6 percent in 2001.

Unemployment is steady but work force participation is at a level not seen since 1991. Median wages drop for the first time since 1991. More Americans are lacking health insurance than did last year. Poverty is up!!!

So what so great about the Bush economy?

Topeka Journal - Sklar: Separate Americas ring in the new year

The Forbes 400's combined wealth rose 10 percent over the past year. Since 1982, when "Forbes" began the list, the Forbes 400's wealth has jumped about 450 percent, adjusting for inflation.

Well, if you are one of these guys, the Bush economy has been great.

CBS 60 minutes - Bush Sought ‘Way’ To Invade Iraq?

And what happened at President Bush's very first National Security Council meeting is one of O'Neill's most startling revelations.

“From the very beginning, there was a conviction, that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go,” says O’Neill, who adds that going after Saddam was topic "A" 10 days after the inauguration - eight months before Sept. 11.

“From the very first instance, it was about Iraq. It was about what we can do to change this regime,” says Suskind. “Day one, these things were laid and sealed.”

As treasury secretary, O'Neill was a permanent member of the National Security Council. He says in the book he was surprised at the meeting that questions such as "Why Saddam?" and "Why now?" were never asked.

"It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying ‘Go find me a way to do this,’" says O’Neill. “For me, the notion of pre-emption, that the U.S. has the unilateral right to do whatever we decide to do, is a really huge leap.”

Looks like the people at the Onion knew what they were talking about when they wrote this piece Bush: 'Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over'. Satire just isn't what it use to be.

Now does anyone wonder why there are so many Conspiracy theories about 9/11?

Sunday, January 11, 2004
Conservatives have been complaining that France carries far to much weight in international affairs, just by looking at the numbers one can't help but disagree. It has the third largest Military in the world (assuming that their is a relationship between military expenditures, efficiency & size), the fourth largest Nuclear Arsenal and the seventh largest economy in the world.

Rank Country Military expenditures - dollar figure Date of Information
1 United States $ 276,700,000,000 NA
2 China $ 55,910,000,000 FY02
3 France $ 46,500,000,000 2000
4 Japan $ 39,520,000,000 FY02
5 Germany $ 38,800,000,000 2002
6 United Kingdom $ 31,700,000,000 2002
7 Italy $ 20,200,000,000 2002
8 Saudi Arabia $ 18,300,000,000 NA
9 Brazil $ 13,408,000,000 NA
10 South Korea $ 13,094,300,000 FY02

Rank Country GDP Date of Information
1 World $ 49,000,000,000,000 2002 est.
2 United States $ 10,450,000,000,000 2002 est.
3 China $ 5,989,000,000,000 2002 est.
4 Japan $ 3,651,000,000,000 2002 est.
5 India $ 2,664,000,000,000 2002 est.
6 Germany $ 2,160,000,000,000 2002 est.
7 France $ 1,558,000,000,000 2002 est.
8 United Kingdom $ 1,528,000,000,000 2002 est.
9 Italy $ 1,455,000,000,000 2002 est.
10 Russia $ 1,409,000,000,000 2002 est.

List of countries in order of number of deployed weapons

  • United States - 10,450
  • Russia - 8,400
  • China - 400
  • France - 350
  • United Kingdom - 200
  • India - 60-90
  • Pakistan - 24-48

The Tables are from the CIA world fact book, the list is from WIKIPEDIA.

Saturday, January 10, 2004
MSNBC - 6 killed when Iraq protest turns violent

AMARAH, Iraq - Iraqi police fired into a crowd of stone-throwing protesters angry over the lack of jobs in the southern town of Amarah on Saturday, killing six people and wounding 11, witnesses and a hospital doctor said.
Hundreds of protesters gathered opposite the coalition office where British security forces have a regional headquarters, saying coalition authorities had not kept a promise to find them jobs by the beginning of January.

Thanks to Iraq Coalition Casualty Count we know how many coalition soldiers have died or been wounded, thanks to Iraq Body Count we have an estimate of how much collateral damage has been caused by the Coalition forces. But does anyone have an idea as to how many people have killed by the new Iraqi Police? How many have died due to Banditry? And how many have died due to the resistance to the Coalition Forces?

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