Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Elections in Iraq

Despite the fact that some have called for the elections in Iraq to be delayed, things will apparently proceed on schedule.

This is probably wise. Whatever problems with legitimacy an electoral delay may cause, if the Shiites don't get a chance to have their say, they will revolt.
I doubt that we will see much democracy, but the US is going to do its best to appease the Shiites because if they turn against us, our list of enemies in Iraq triples or quadruples.
The Arab Sunnis won't like this, and it is possible that the elections will have to be arranged so as to set aside a number of seats for them in order to keep them quiet. But there is no way that Bush can afford to anger the Shiites.
Of course, long term we're screwed in Iraq elections or no.

That is all.

Lynne Cheney's Novel

For a whole now, we have heard stories about Lynne Cheney, the wife of the Vice President having written a story with Sapphic overtones. This went a little bit above the radar after the flap about Kerry maliciously defaming Dick and Lynne Cheney's daughter Mary by calling her a "Lesbian" (why this statement, which is true, is defamatory, only the Republican National Committee and Bush 2004 know), which of course is something that should be kept personal and private except when she was working for the Republican Unity Coalition.

For those of you who wish to discover what exactly Mrs. Cheney wrote, her novel "Sisters" is now available online. (Credit CounterPunch for drawing my attention to it.
I'm certain that Jerry Falwell is very happy to have such a broad-minded Second Lady.

That is all.

Ukraine, Again

John Laughland suggests that we are getting a biased story about the Ukrainian elections.
Also, look at Yushchenko's face! Something is up there. Conspiracy theories abound, although some feel that the explanation is more prosaic; that Yushchenko suffers from cancer or a skin condition. what is the truth? I don't know. However, it is a little suspicious that whatever disease aflicted Yushchenko did so so close to the election.

That is all.

Iraq Casualties

So far, 121 coalition troops dead this month from enemy fire, 11 dead from other causes.
Wounded stats for US soldiers looks like it's going to be over 1000 when the weekly figures are all figured into the monthly figures.
I suspect that the hostile death toll next month will be somewhere in the 60s, and will start increasing again by February.
Stats
Hostile/non-hostile timeline

That is all.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Oil-for-Food

One thing about the oil-for-food program - it doesn't entirely absolve the US of the problems caused by sanctions. Even if the oil-for-food program could have perfectly provided for the Iraqi population were it not for the mismanagement, embezzlement, and corruption by and of the UN and Saddam Hussein, the oil-for-food program didn't exist until the mid-90s, while the sanctions were in place from 1991 on. So for about five years, there was no oil-for-food program, so oil-for-food corruption can't be blamed for problems during that time.

That is all.

Ukraine

There's a lot over at AntiWar.Com about the Ukrainian elections.
My feeling - we should butt out. If the world began to demand that we redo - or retabulate the results - of our election on the basis that some poeple felt it was stolen, we wouldn't like it.
I'm not saying that I know it wasn't stolen - but I think that the goal of the US here is not to make certain that the election is fair, but to make certina that it turns out the way WE want it to.
Not, of course, that Putin is any more interested in fairness than we are.

That is all.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Disturbing

James Pinkerton makes the case that the current war in Iraq is likely to spin out of control into something much, much more brutal.
I am afraid that he is right. If we wind up going after Iran (and I believe that any attack on Iran or attempt to bring about a coup will lead to a full-on war), then the only alternative to a draft will be to bring to bear massive firepower, i.e. slaughter the population. We can't defeat Iran and hold it without huge numbers of ground troops under the normal rules of war, but we can probably defeat it if we simply kill anything that moves.
Syria we could probably take, but that would overextend our troops further and require either that we either pull a lot of troops out of other countries, or that we accept a lot more chaos in Iraq and Syria than we have right now because we lack the troops to contain the violence.

That is all.

Polygamous Hmarriage? Possible Hmurder?

I'm sure you've heard by now of the killing of several hunters in Wisconsin by another hunter, named Chai Vang. It has even been mentioned that the guy is a Hmong. What hasn't gotten as much attention is that the guy is probably also a polygamist, which is not uncommon for Hmong.

The larger question here is whether it is a wise thing to import so many people without assimilation (and whether we can assimilate at the current levels).
Difficulties in understanding hunting laws have long caused conflict between the Hmong and the rest of the populace.

In all due fairness, both sides probably share some of the blame for the problems. But to the extent that this shooting was the end result of the conflict between the Hmong and hte non-Hmong in Wisconsin, this does show that cultural differences matter when immigrating and that we need to consider culture a lot more in our immigration policy.

On the Coming War with Iran

Stephen LaTulippe has some interesting thoughts.
I wouldn't necessarily assume that he i s telling the whole story, and using numbers and factoids outside of a larger context as he does in some places can be misleading, but the article has some interesting insights.

That is all.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

My Top Ten List

Rolling Stone has released their 500 Greatest Rock 'N' Roll Songs of all time.

My choices for top ten (although they may not all qualify as Rock 'N' Roll):

(Not necessarily in order)

1. Ordinary World - Duran Duran
2. Shadows of the Night - Pat Benatar
3. Ask the Lonely - Journey
4. Peace of Mind - Boston
5. And We Danced - The Hooters
6. Friday I'm in Love The Cure
7. Your Love - The Outfield
8. I Wanna Go Back - Eddie Money
9. Jocko Homo - Devo (laugh if you want, but it started off new wave)
10. Video Killed the Radio Star - The Buggles

That is all.

Bush Still Fighting for Illegal Alien Amnesty

El Presidente is still pushing his guest worker program.

That is all.

Some Good News and Some So-So

The daily death toll in Iraq appears to have gone down over the past few days, compared to where it was during the incursion into Fallujah. This is good news, although it remains to be seen how long it will last. Currently this is the second deadliest month for the Coalition in terms of hostile deaths, and tied for second with last Novemer for total deaths. Most commentators will tell you that it hit 2nd place status days ago.
That is because they count only American deaths, and last November there were 28 non-American deaths compared to this November's 4.
By the way, the graph on the Hostile-non-hostile timeline needs to be made Mac-compatible!

On a More Personal Note

Apple stuff sure is expensive! But I still like it better than Windows. I've had to get a new keyboard because my old one had something spill on it.
New Hampshire has a very diffficult highway system. Getting to Salem (NH, not MA) from Durham is a er - female dog. But at least they usually put up a sign or two to tell you where you are going, unlike a certain other state that shall remain nameless but that rhymes with Bassachusetts.

That is all.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Andy and Happy Thoughts

Here are a few pieces from Andrew Sullivan.
Andrew is apparently upset with Bill Kristol. The only complaint I have about that is that when he points out that Bill has been unwillingto criticize Bush before the election, he does not also point out that Bill did disagree with Bush on troop levels since - well, at least several months ago and quite possibly last (i.e. 2003) summer. I remember him constantly beating the drums for more troops, so his belief that Bush has not put enough troops on the ground is something that he has been implicitly announcing for a while now; he's not a Billy-come-lately.
As to the issue of more troops itself, I sort of agree with Andrew and sort of don't. While I think that it is true that we will need more troops if we are to keep order Iraq over the next few months (at least unless we decide to keep order through collective punishment and mass slaughter), I think that it will be a temporary solution at best.
Ultimately, the longer we are in Iraq, the more the populace will turn against us. Unless we can pinprick our attacks enough to cause very, very little collateral damage, each of our campaigns will probably create more terrorists than they kill.
I think that in any counter-guerilla campaign, the military aspect can only provide a solution once enough people are killed that it becomes hard to garner new recruits. This happens either because potential new recruits see the cause as hopeless, or because everyone who could potentially join the insurgency is dead. In other words, our efforts against the insurgency will further enrage the soldierable* populace until there is no one left to enrage. So until we kill, let's say, 2 or 3 million Iraqi males, I have a feeling that military solutions alone won't work.

*Apt to fight in a war.

It's a Windows World

My keyboard broke and I went to Wal*Mart to get a replacement (wanting a replacement before the morning and not having anywhere else open).
So almost all of the keyboards were for IBM or 100% compatible computers only.
Thank God for Spongebob Squarepants.

That is all.

Kevin Sites: His Own Words

Kevin Sites speaks out on his blog and explains the story behind his taking the photograph of the soldier shooting the wounded insurgent.

That is all.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

How Sweet it is

These losers went all out to make certain that the left kept it within the two-party spectrum.
Well, pragmatism lost, you wimps. Kerry would have lost to Bush if every Nader voter had gone for Kerry.
As much as I hate Bush, it's always nice to see jerks lose.
Now, if somehow Bush can get caught in a trist with a nubile young Mexican who is here illegally, my year would be made. (Although this is very unlikely).
I feel about Bush and Kerry the way that Kissinger felt about Iraq and Iran.
"It's too bad they both can't lose."

NRO Comments on the Shooting

Mackubin Thomas Owens and
Jack Dunphy on National Review explaining the actions of the soldier who shot the wounded Iraqi. In both cases, they make the point that the soldier was justified in assuming, based on past experience, that the insurgent was faking it in order to get to attack him.
But both avoid the trap that Hack Kelly falls into by stating definitively that the insurgent was "feinting death."
(I don't have the references right now, but I recall reading or hearing reports that definitively identify this man as an insurgent rather than a civilian, so I am now comfortable definitively calling him an insurgent).

Michael Ledeen, on the other hand, offers something that I'm not certain I understand. He points out that a certain British soldier, by the name of Henry Tandey, could have killed Adolph Hitler way back in World War I, and by sparing his life, allowed him to take over Germany.
I am not entirely certain what the point is here.
In all due fairness, this was an excerpt from his book Machiavelli and Modern Leadership, and contains no commentary except for the passage in the book, so it doesn't comment per se on the current issue of the Marine shooting the wounded Iraqi. moreover, it is not clear whether Mr. Ledeen chose to put this comment on NRO, or whether it was the editors.
Nonetheless, in the context of the current situation, what is Mr. Ledeen's point? That we should never take prisoners but kill everyone associated with the insurgency? That we should kill anyone that we suspect might become Hitler in the future? I'm not certain I get it.
In any case, I am troubled by the idea, implied by the article, that we should think about preventively killing anyone who might become Hitler in the future.

Victor Davis Hanson

As usual, VDH spouts a lot of conventional wisdom that is not entirely correct.
For one thing, he apparently belives that the elections in Afghanistan are showing that Afghanistan is creating a real democracy, and that they prove wrong those who said:
"They said the country had descended into rule by warlords, and called the very idea of scheduled voting a laughable notion."

The possibility that the elections were rigged or that to a great extent, the way people voted was directed by their warlords:
"And there are those who will be happy to help - notably warlords who have already been reported using their militias to ensure local people vote in the required fashion."

He also gives the impression that Afghanistan has suddenly gone out of the media spotlight now that the elections have proven the medai wrong.
Actually, Afghanistan went out of the spotlight shortly after the fall ofthe Taluban in 2001, and only a few people have commented on it since.

Hanson also says: "Instead, Westerners simply now assume that there was never any controversy, but rather a general consensus that Afghanistan is a "good thing""

With the implication that many of the people who condemn the war in Iraq but who support the one in Afghanistan didn't initially support the war in afghanistan and are now trying to get on the train.

I don't know about everyone, but I know that I supported going to war in Afghanistan in 2001, although I never shared the beleif that it would turn into a democracy and I ahev always been skeptical of reports that Afghanistan is becoming a free nation. In fact, I got some people angry at me for supporting the war.
I will admit, though, that at one point I opposed bombing, preferring that we put in ground troops, because of the fear of massive starvation (a fear that did not materialize; I should have been more skeptical); however, unlike some of the leftists, I did not see the possibility of massive starvation from bombing as a reason to simply let the Taliban stay in power and to be nice and charitable. We lost lives, damnit, and we needed to make an example of those who were sheltering bin Laden.

In any case, there were several people who supported going into Afghanistan who later turned against going to war in Iraq. And I wager that a good number of those opposed to Afghanistan have not changed their tune, so Mr. Hanson's implication is wrong.

Also, any attempts to prove the success of Iraq based on the "People doubted we could win in Afghanistan, too" - type arguments falter on the grounds that Afghanistan doesn't seem to be worsening in the same way as Iraq.

A look at fatality metrics suggests that in Afghanistan a steady average of around 45 troops a year are being killed. I can try to crunch the numbers month-by-month later (click on the "+" signs for a day-by-day dropdown count of deaths) to see if there were any spots at which things seemed temporarily to go downhill, but I doubt there were.

On the other hand, in Iraq the rate at which soldiers are killed has kept going up.
Looking at total coalition fatalities, American fatalities, coalition hostile fatalities (my preferred metric), or whatever metric shows a marked increase in fatalities over time. This first started in October 2003, when the monthly hostile fatalities broke 30, and only went below once (February 2004, with 16, probably largely because we pulled all our troops back into their bases) and increased again after April, at which point monthly hostile fatalities never went below 40, and then in August, after which monthly fatalities never went below 58.

I'm sorry if I seem pessimistic, but very little irks me more than Utopian triumphalism of any stripe, including Messianic Democratism.

God Bless You, Allan Wall.

A soldier votes.

Iranian Feelings

Nicholas Schmidle offers an interpretation of the Iranian situation that seems reasonable to me - most Iranians like us, but they wouldn't respond well to the US trying to interfere in their government - this is a lot more believable to me than the Perle/Ledeen argument that the Iranians (like the Iraqis) want nothing else more than they want a US puppet regime, (because they love the US so much that a puppet regime would automatically have great legitimacy).
On the other hand, one of the examples that Mr. Schmidle gave of an Iranian expressing doubts about the US is rather poor, as the Iranian could just be criticizing the US to appease the regime (as they were under surveillance). I suppose mr. Schmidle assumes that the person is critical of both the Iranian regime and the US and that he wantd to make certain that both sides of his criticism were known, but he really never addresses the question of the man's sincerity.

US Boosting Troop Levels?

This article is cheerful.
In the last 2 paragraphs, they talk about Iraqi commando units. How much does anyone want to bet that these units are mainly Kurdish?

Friday, November 19, 2004

Jack the Hack is Back

Another waste of good bandwidth.

Some of the things he says don't make sense:
For example, he quotes john Thompson saying that a guerilla force must cause seven casulaties for each casualty on their side to remain viable.
Uh - doesn't that depend on how many insurgents there are and how big the enemies' force is, and on how quickly the guerillas can recruit more?

He also states that 1200 insurgents have been killed and 1100 captured, which sounds nice, but which assumes that the army isn't assuming anyone it finds who is dead to be an insurgent. Without some official estimate of civilian casualties, it is difficult to believe that some number-fudging isn't going on.

He quotes Ralph Peters saying that as a rule of thumb, a force taking a city suffers 1/4 to 1/3 its strength in casualties.
Again, an impressive rule of thumb, seeing as it doesn't take into account the size of the forces.

He also mentions that the police stations that were overun in Mosul were recaptured the next day. This ignores the fact that one probable reason for caputring them was for the insurgents to resupply themelves with ammunition. It is doubtful that they ever intended to hold them.

He also makes the statement, apparently backed up by Centcom, that there were only 5000 insurgents in Iraq and that, with the implication that, having eliminated 2000 of them, we are sitting pretty. (He acknowledges that some estimates are higher, but does not elaborate).

Wasn't that 5000 figure given back in January? And it's interesting that he dismissively states "other estimates were higher," as if it isn't worth analyzing.
I don't recall where this came from, but I thought that the last official estimate was 20,000. If this came from centcom, then Mr. Kelly is using old, out-of-date information. Does anyone know if this was a centcom figure or not?

He also sneers at the idea that Fallujah will help the insurgents by making the Arabs mad by saying that "By this logic, once we've killed all the terrorists, they'll be invincible."

Except that the process used for killing all of the "terrorists" may wind up helping them recruit more. Is this too hard for his little brain to understand? Oh, wait, they can't recruit Iraqis because the Iraqis love us. Kenneth Joseph told him so. And we all know how reliable ol' Ken is.

(Some may fault me for trusting Counterpunch, a very leftist site. But why has no one on the pro-war side mentioned Mr. Joseph, or the "hours of videotapes" of Iraqis pleading with us to conquer them, for more than a year?)

I also find it interesting that he is so certain that the wounded Iraqi was "feinting death." That of course means that he was entirely at fault for getting shot. It seems to me more likely that he was unconscious, and that his shooting was a mistake (in that if the Marine had had perfect knowledge, he wouldn't have shot), although it was justified under the circumstances (we don't have perfect knowledge).

UPDATE: I am not denying that the soldier thought that the Iraqi was feinting. I just find it irritating that idiots like Jack Kelly make the statement that he was faking when we don't know that. My perception was that the soldier's assumption was in error, but it was a good faith error, and one based on the actual behavior of other insurgents.

Thomas Sowell is Wrong

Thomas Sowell's latest column, Unlimited Enemy, is incorrect in my opinion for a number of reasons.

"Today's version is that, no matter how many Middle East terrorists we kill, new ones will take their place and we will have nothing to show for all our efforts and sacrifices."

What Mr. Sowell fails to recognize is that (a) the insurgents in Iraq don't need a lot of resources, and (b) the issue isn't that no matter how many terrorists you kill, there will be more, the issue is that as long as a you occupy the country, it is difficult to kill insurgents without creating more. Methods of killing those who pose a threat to the US that do not involve occupying foreign countries for long periods tend to cause less regeneration, methinks.

Moreover, the point is also being made that a successful strategy needs a good political component, not just "kill 'em all." As Afghanistan is proving, you can avoid increasing the insurgency too much if you avoid leaving too big a footprint.
Put another way, if you choose to occupy a foreign counry, there are less costly and more effective ways to defeat those who would attack you than trying to "kill 'em all."

Of course, there is a way that "killin' 'em all" would work; if we assume that the entire populace of Iraq is our enemy (or at least particular segments, e.g. the Sunni Arabs, and go about wiping them out).

He also resuscitates the old canard, "If Iraq is not connected to terrorism, why are so many terrorists desperate to drive us out."
Uh - Mr. Sowell, terrorists don't fight "for terrorism." They fight for causes. There are a lot of people who hate the idea of the US occupying an Arab country. The fact that they may be willing to use terrorism to accomplish that goal does not mean that Iraq was essential to their plans previously.

Also, not everyone who attacks the US in Iraq is properly labeled a "terrorist." People who deliberately kill innocent civilians, like the ones who set of bombs in Kurdistan in February and who set off bombs against the Shiite cleric back in August of 2003, or the people who blew up a children's bus, presumably to force the British troops out in the streets where they could get a better shot at them definitely are, but I don't think that attempting to kill occupying military troops is properly classed as terrorism.
Which is not to say that our soldiers shouldn't kill people who fight against them, but let's call the insurgents what they are, and not use labels that are essentially propaganda. (That also goes for those antiwarriors who call the insurgents "freedom fighters").

Roach and Glaivester Agree

Chris Roach appears to agree with me on the issued of the photograph of the Marine.

Bock to the Future

This article is worth a read.
Alan Bock (this link takes you to his most recent article; the first link was a permalink) is probably the best writer at antiwar.com, not least of all because he doesn't tend to write articles along the lines of "why do the Israelis like to kill Arab children?"

I am worried about what Bush might do in his second term, as are a lot more conservatives than you might think.

That is all.

Latest Statistics

95 US dead, 4 UK dead this month. 91 hostile deaths (i.e. the enemy killed them), 8 were non-hostile deaths (e.g. accidents). All non-hostile deaths were American.

That is all.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Tsk, Tsk, Mr. Fisk

I am antiwar, and I find this article to be disgusting.
Fisk is actually accusing the US of murdering Margaret Hassan to use as propaganda.

Maybe I am wrong and he is accusing Allawi or some other group in Iraq that supports us of doing it (Lord knows, anytime you occupy a foreign country, you have to be careful about whom among the natives you trust, as a lot of people who claim to support you may be doing so for their own reasons and might manipulate you or sell you out if they saw it being in their interests).

However, he does nothing to suggest that he is not accusing America, and offers no evidence other than a highly speculative motive to support his claim; the only evidence he offers is why he feels it unlikely that Zarqawi did this, and he appears to think that the coalition therefore must be responsible by default.

In any case, I can see why people like Andrew Sullivan equate the name "Fisk" with lies and inaccuracies.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Is Jack Kelly Ever Right?

Once again, Jack Kelly is spinning things (see here and here for more).

This erstwhile champion of supposed former human-shield turned pro-war activist Kenneth Joseph seems to blame the CIA for any failures in Iraq.

"The CIA can be excused for believing Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction"

As if the CIA were the main agency pressing this line.

"but the CIA failed to detect Saddam's plan for protracted guerrilla war (the sudden collapse of the Republican Guard ought to have been a clue)"

Of course all of the people fighting us must be former regime loyalists, because every ordinary Iraqi LOVES us. And of course the fact that the Defense Department and the administration were pushing the line that everyone would greet us with flowers and love had nothing to do with this.

"or that Ahmed Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress was a spy for Iran."

At least the CIA resisted putting Chalabi in power. Just Google "CIA" and "Chalabi". It was the folks at Defense who were in love with the guy. Why don't they bear any of the blame?

Obviously, this guy is a nothing more than a two-bit hack.

Soldier Shooting Wounded Man

Sorry, too tired to find links.
My feelings on this issue.
I don't necessarily think that the soldier behaved wrongly. He may have had a justified fear that the man was booby-trapped. However, I am hesitant to say that the man was an insurgent until I know more about the situation.
Perhaps the stories about this mention reasons why we can be certain that the man was an insurgent. But I suspect that some of the talk-show hosts who call him a jihadi, or a terrorist, are simply labeling anyone who happens to be killed by our side a terrorist, because no innocent civilians could ever get victimized by "liberation," could they?

As for the embedded soldier taking the picture, I think that it is better that we see this and get it out of the way. Sooner or later, things like this are bound to come to light, and if the shooting was justified, let's not make it look shady with a cover-up (I'm not saying that thsi is what the military is doing, I'm saying that some of the war-bots want the military to do this).
In fact, the very fact that people want this to be swept under the rug would indicate that they think it is something to be ashamed of, or that they don't trust the American people to handle the brutal facts of war.
Of course, some may be concerned that Al Jazeera is using this tape to turn people against us. I don't really think that hiding footage like this is going to increase our popularity in the Arab world, primarily because if it comes out (as it will) that certain things have been censored, that will in the end turn more people against us than dealing with it will.

Civilian Casualties in Fallujah?

According to this, we may have at least 800.
This would confirm a prediction I made a few days ago of at least 500 civilian casualties, but would not agree with the prediction I made a day or so earlier of 5000-10000.

That Sinking Feeling

I have a feeling that the US dollar is going down in the next few years.

More on that later, with links and bells and whistles and analysis.

For now, that is all.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

On a More Happy Note

A website for my favorite female singer and her husband.
And my favorite female band.

A Draft?

Looks as if some people are looking into the possibility of a draft.
I don't think it will happen, because angry parents and college students would revolt, but it is disturbing that people are thinking about this.

Kurdish Amazons?

This looks interesting. Kurdish women forming Pershmega? Whether this will be a one-page blog or whether it will be updated, only time will tell.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Looking at the Fatality Count

We are up to 72 hostile and 5 non-hostile Coalition fatalities this month.
I notice that the number of soldiers killed on November 13 increased today from 5 to 9. This means, as I have said before, that there is as much as a 48-hour lag time in reporting deaths, so it is not generally safe to assume that no deaths listed on a day equals no deaths that day until 2 or 3 days have passed.
(Day-by-day breakdowns can be seen by clicking on the month on the Military Fatalities by Month chart at the Iraq Coalition Casualty website. This is the current month (November 2004). The chart won't say when the deaths were added to the chart, so unless you check it frequently you won't notice how much delay is between a death and the reporting of a death. 2 days is actually pretty speedy, but if you check the site daily or more frequently, you should build that delay into your interpretation of the chart; for example, as of posting, no deaths are listed for November 14, but you shouldn't assume that November 14 was a quiet day until the 17 or 18, when enough time has passed for any deaths to have been recorded).
One thing that this means is that from Nov. 8 - Nov. 13, at least 9 Coalition forces have died each day. In fact, during this time period the only (1) non-US death and (2) non-hostile deaths occurred on Nov. 8, when 12 soldiers total were killed, so 9 Americans have died of hostile fire each day.
My prediction of hostile deaths for November 2004 going above 100 seems pretty accurate now, so I am now deciding to stick with it.

Rice to Replace Powell?

According to "sources."
Remind me, please, what exactly was it that Rice did during the first term again?

What the Hell

does "coolbert" mean?

That is all.

Good News from AntiWar.com

AntiWar.com made it once more, getting the $50,000 it needed to stay afloat.
I used to be a regular donor, but I am a little short right now.
No, I'm not trying to ask for donations myself. This blog, right now, is for my pleasure only. No ads or tips or anything.
I just wanted to say how pleased I am for them.

That is all.

And now Iran?

Amidst all the concern over what to do about Iran, Gordon Prather suggests that they are not violating nuclear treaties, after all.
I myself have at times thought that a strike against Iranian reactors might be necessary. (However, I have resisted the idea that we should bring about regime change, because I don't want to invade Iran, and Michael Ledeen notwithstanding, any attempt to arrange a coup will lead to all-out war; any attempt at regime change will lead to invasion. whether Ledeen knows this and is being dishonest or whether he is just very, very wrong I don't know. If I am wrong on that, that is good.
Is it possible that the Iranians want nuclear power even though they've got a lot of oil? There probably are reasons, and what those reasons might be should be discussed more broadly by those who doubt Iran's nuclear-weapon ambitions.

That is all.

Powell Leaving

Colin Powell is leaving. This is not good, especially since the neocons are going to push to get someone to replace him that thinks that we should conquer all of the Middle east.
Let's hope I'm wrong.
Rod Paige, Spencer Abraham, and Ann Veneman are also leaving, but I'm not certain that this will affect much of anything, seeing as I can't offhand think of any particular agenda that is heavily associated with any one of them.

That is all.

Vital Links

for any Krull fan.
Krull Movie Archive
Krull the Arcade Game (a description, you can't play it on the computer)
Arcade Game with Quicktime Demonstration (still can't play, but can watch).
Nitpicks

That is all.

Boo Hoo Hoo, Joseph Farah

Farah excoriates Bush for betraying conservatives on illegal immigration.
Well, that's what you get when you are so irrationally afraid of Kerry that you refuse to consider a third-party candidate.

I have no respect or sympathy for the man.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Peroutka got 135,159 Votes

New data from the Washington Post (free registration required).
I'll crunch the numbers later to get a precise Peroutka percentage, but as Peroutka has added 3000 votes, and I am assuming that much of the increase comes from write-ins being counted, I think that his prcentage should have increased very slightly. (As neither Bush nor Kerry is likely to have received many write-in votes, being on the ballot in all 50 states). I say "many write-in votes" because it is always possible that someone for some reason did decide to write-in the name of a major party candidate even though he was already on the ballot. In an election where over 100 million people participated, there would have to be at least a few whackos.

Constitution Party and the Vote.

PicAttic.com
Well, here is the map of the Constitution Party vote that I promised. As I understand it, 0.2% (for example) means between 0.15% and 0.25%, so remember that when analyzing. The good news, I guess, is that nowhere where Peroutka was on the ballot did he receive less than 0.05% of the vote.
The numbers I used were rounded number from USA Today, and the map was adapted from the Perry-Castenada collection at U Texas.

More War Nerd News

After being gone for a month, the War Nerd, Gary Brecher, is back!!!!

He makes the tongue-in-cheek (I think) suggestion that we should put Saddam back in power.
The scary thing is that while I think he is being tongue-in-cheek, I am not quite certain.

Civilian Casualties in Fallujah

A bit of news about Fallujah:
Civilian Cost of Fallujah.
Well, we'll see if my predictions of 500 civilain deaths seem to pan out, or if my more dismal prediction of 5000-10000 civilian deaths is closer.
Offhand, I 'd say that I am sticking with my earlier belief that there will be more than 100 hostile coalition fatalities, as we are now up to 62 (58 hostile American deaths, 4 hostile British deaths) plus 4 non-hostile deaths (all US). [From http://www.icasualties.org ].
Of course, 51 of the hostile and 2 of the non-hostile (all American) deaths occurred last Monday-Friday (Nov. 8-12), so how high the November total gets is greatly dependent on how much things die down now that we have taken Fallujah.
If the insurgency dies down to the levels of the first week of November (12 in 7 days), for the period from Nov. 13-30, we should end with 12/7 * 18 more deaths, or about 30, for a total of 92 more hostile deaths.
If the recent flare-up in the insurgency pushes the death toll much beyond that, there will be > 100 hostile fatalities.
In any case, I think that there will be fewer than 10 fatalities among non-American members of the coalition unless there is a single large-casualty attack, like the one against the Italians Nov. 12 of last year.

Are We Importing Antisemitism? And Other Concerns...

Ilana Mercer rightly expresses concern over the effect that immigration from Muslim countries (which, let's be honest here, have a high level of antisemitism, not in the sense that they don't completely trust Jewish people, but in the sense that they want them dead) might have on American Jewry.

The problem we currently have with immigration is that our policies are not based on any rational notion of what is best for the country; there is little attempt to make certain that immigrants assimilate, or even that they wish to assimilate or even that they have made any moves before coming here to assimilate. Moreover, constatnly streaming in new immigrants without a break makes it difficult to assimilate the ones who are here, because they can form a critical mass that can maintain enough of their culture to avoid assimilating.

Now don't get me wrong; I have nothing against people from Mexico or Africa or the Middle East maintaining some of their traditions. But we need to make certain that the American concept of government, the American concept of law and order, the American concept of how to relate to neighbors and to family (e.g. wife as partner) and the general American ethos firmly saturates their minds.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that only Americans believe in these concepts, but other countries often have a different conception of what they mean or of how to achieve them. Not necessarily every one of these things, but people from some other countries might have a different concept of family relationships (women as chattel) or of relationship to society (protect your own people first), or of government (the goal of goverment is to enrich family and friends through nepotism). Not that there aren't some Americans with these ideas, or that most non-Americans will necessarily have them, but we only need a small number of people with a vastly different idea of society to cause problems. This is especially true when we consider that a lot of the Mexicans who come to the US do not particularly like US culture, they are just looking for the jobs it produces. While I am sympathetic, such people will not necessarily make model pro-American citizens if they wind up staying here (and let's face it, the Mexican government would rather be rid of its poor by sendng them to the US than deal with the corruption, racism and other problems that make poverty such a common Mexican problem).

The point is that we need a more regulated system for letting people in the country, and for the next few years, should probably greatly decrease the number of people we let in and even deport some of those who are in here, as we assimilate those who remain.

And lest we think that Mexican immigration is unrelated to the topic of this post, let me remind you that foreign-born Hispanics have the second highest incidence of antisemitism of any ethnic group in the US (Yes, the title of this post is based on the title of that Steve Sailer essay).

Voting Irregularities? Probably Due to Incompetence.

Interesting article at TomPaine.com. But I think that they assume too much. To the extent that there were not enough voting machines and that hampered the vote, I believe in the old maxim "don't attribute to malice that which can be attributed to incompetence."
Someone was sleeping on the job and therefore forgot to make certain that there were enough machines in the minority districts.
This is another problem with machine voting; if turnout is high, you can't easily increase the capacity to handle voters, because it is difficult to bring out new machines on the spot.
But with, say, optical scanner paper ballots (the kind you where you fill in boxes like it's the SAT), you can always set up more booths, and for that matter, you should be able to easily print out new ballots.

The Problem with Lefties

People who write crap like this will never be taken seriously, nor should they be.

Conflicting Interests and Agendas in Iraq

The problem with Iraq is that everyone there has interests, and as we continue to occupy the country, we will get further drawn in to their little wars.

Turkey, and to a lesser extent Iran and Syria have an incentive to make certian that the Kurds don't get independence, as that could make the Kurdish populations in their countries restless. Turkey in particular probably won't be happy if the Kurds have too much power even in a united Iraq.
The Kurds want independence. To that end, I think that they will go as far as they can towards ethnic cleansing of all non-Kurds out of Northern Iraq, becasue the fewer non-Kurds who live in the areas htey wish to have, the more de facto independence they will have. Of course, they have to be careful not to reach some critical point where they bring Turkey in.
The Sunni Arabs want control over some oil, and don't want to let either the Kurds or the Shiite Arabs to dominate them and try to get revenge.
The Shiites want some form of election, any form, so that they can dominate the country.
Iraqi Christians want to be able to survive, preferably in Iraq, but if necessary, somewhere else.
Israel more or less wants a docile, non-threatening Iraq. They probably don't want it split up too much, as it would no longer be a bulwark against Iran, although on the other hand, they may not care because they want to overthrow the current regime in Iran, and presumably that would obviate the need for such a counterbalance. The Kurds could also prove to be useful allies, so Israel may be willing to see Iraqi Kurdistan break off (or even encourage it) if they think that they can turn Kurdistan into the bulwark that Iraq once was. At the same time, Israel would like to have either pressure put on Syria, or for us to invade Syria and take out another of their enemies. (I will try to add links later if I get around to it).
The US would like Iraq to become a democracy, and to be pro-American, not necessarily in that order.
Osama bin Laden's desires were expressed fairly well, in my opinion, by Pericles.

So we return you now to the high-stakes game of Risk.

That is all.

Juan Cole and the Iraqi Civil War

Juan Cole notes the new ethnic component of the insurgency, i.e. Sunnis attacking the Kurds.
Later, though, he seems to suggest that if we keep the provinces multiethnic, we can make civil war less likely.
"Eighteen multi-ethnic provinces would be more stable in the long run. Provinces like Diyala (with Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites), Ninevah (Christians, Turkmen, Kurds) and Baghdad (everything) are a bulwark against ethnic cleansing and the simplification of Iraq's ethnic map."
I think that whether we go for regional provinces or whether we try to build the provinces multiculturally, we will find the different ethnic groups at each other's throats.
The Kurds currently have an incentive to destroy or to get us to destroy Mosul, or at least to destroy Sunni Arab areas of the city. I expect that we will see a new battlefield in Mosul before the year is out, either with Kurdish Pershmega driving many of the Arabs out, or with the US more or less doing it for them.
I doubt that any of this is affected significantly by whether Mosul is considered part of a Kurdish province or part of a multicultural one.

That is all.

A Liberal's Take

Interesting analysis by Pericles at Daily Kos (why are there so many good bloggers on the left *sigh*)?
Dovetails with some of what I have said about bin Laden.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Ol' Dirty Bastard (1968-2004)

Ol' Dirty Bastard died today.

That is all.

And the Toll Keeps Rising...

56 hostile and 3 non-hostile coalition fatalities this month so far. (55 US, 4 UK).
Perhaps my prediction of at least 100 coalition fatalities will come true, although it seems that the prediction that 20 will be non-American is not likely to come to pass.

That is all.

Fallujah Conquered?

Well, I made some predictions:
Predictions
Fallujah Thoughts.
We'll have to wait awhile, though, to see if they pan out.

More on the Hispanic Vote

My previous post on this subject.
Matt Yglesias believes that the 59% Hispanic vote in Texas may be plausible.
However, his "debunking" of the conclusions reached in two of SteveSailer's articles (here's a link to the other one), as well as by others contains in my opinion one problem: he looks at only one of the arguments, given by the Houston Chronicle.

"But if Bush actually did claim almost 60 percent of the Latino vote statewide, his overall margin over Kerry in Texas should have been closer to 70 percent, not the final 61 percent to 38 percent, Gonzalez said."

and doesn't look at the intensive math that Mr. Sailer did in his second article.

More on this by Mr. Yglesias and by Charles Kuffner.

The Benefit of Tax Cuts

Most conservatives nowadays do not think clearly, and so don't develop a complete picture of things.
One example: tax cuts.
Most people think of tax cuts as good because they give us more money. It's a little more complicated than that.
As long as there are deficits, tax cuts themselves do not reduce the amount of money the government takes out of the world economy. Spending cuts do. Tax cuts simply alter how the government takes the money out. (When there is a surplus, spending cuts do not reduce the amount of money taken out of the economy, but tax cuts will, for reasons I will explain shortly).
Basically, if the government wants to spend more money thatn it has, it has four choices:
(1) Raise revenues with taxes
(2) Borrow money from its citizens
(3) Borrow money from foreigners.
(4) Print money to pay its bills (i.e. inflation).

Option (1) obviously takes money out of the economy, in a way that most taxpayers have only slight control over (e.g. they can, to varying degrees rearrange their investments and alter their spending and earning habits to reduce the burden).
Option (2) is somewhat better in the short run because while it still takes money out of the economy, people have much more freedom to choose whether or not they will loan the government money (e.g. buy bonds). To the extent that lowering taxes and making up the difference by domestic borrowing helps the economy, it is because of the fact that the citizens have more control over who loans and so it is more similar to a fre market. The downside of course is that bonds need to be paid back, so there has to be a constantly willing supply of creditors to keep covering the repayment of old bonds, or else eventually, options 1,3, or 4 will have to be used to pay back the bonds.
Option (3) has the benefit of option 2 as well as the added benefit that the money won't come out of the domestic economy, but the same drawbacks as #2, and the additional drawback that it puts the country at the mercy of foreign creditors.
Optiuon (4) is more destructive than taxes, because it destroys paper wealth and thus the incentive to save. If you believe that saving capital rather than unbridled consumption is the key to long-term economic growth, than this is a dismal opion indeed - especially seeing as it also will pretty much dry up any reliance on Options 2 and 3 (who will lend to someone if the interest they get is eaten up by inflation?)

Spending cuts, on the other hand, allow money not to be borrowed or devalued, keeping resources in the private sector.

With a surplus, things go in the opposite direction; extra money goes to a wealth transfer to the government's creditors (although in the long run it will decrease the amount of money given to the creditors by reducing the principle and thus future interest charges) or if the government is a creditor, to whatever projects the government wants to invest in. Therefore, in times of surplus, reducing spending will just shift the government's control of revenues from consumptive spending to investment (e.g. loaning to other countries or actually becoming an investor in private businesses in some way, or maybe buying land).

Of course, the best course of action is to reduce both spending and taxes, which will always reduce the government control of the economy.

What's my point here, you may ask? Simple. Until Bush decides to cut spending somewhere, his tax cuts are only minimally fiscally conservative.

And Don't Forget

To give a quick look-see to the Kurdistan Blogger's Union.

Tales from Kurdistan

Lots of stuff from Kurdo.

Updates from Mosul.
Appears to confirm my suspicion that a lot of the Iraqi Security Forces are actually Kurdish Pershmega.
More evidence. Money quote:"Mosul & Kirkuk should have been given to Kurdistan Regional Government just after Arpil the 9th 2003."
I have a feeling that the way the insurgency will be defeated in Mosul and Kirkuk is through the ethnic cleansing of Arabs from the cities.
Note the link to a story about the Arab insugents (whom it appears may in this case legitimately be called "terrorists") terrorizing Christians and making them flee. Of course, I think that the emphasis is a little one-sided in that it negelcts to mention that some Kurds have also been less than friendly to the Assyrian Christians (use Control-F or Apple-F and search for "Kurdish").
More evidence of a Kurdish/Arab divide in Iraq.
And it is hard to read these posts without a concern that a civil war is brewing:
Kirkuk Mayor Escaped Terrorist Attack
Our Wills are Stronger than the Terrorists
A Number of Civilians Were Also Wounded
Kirkuk's Kurdish Mayor was Targeted
And just some random war news:
Fierce Fighting Erupts in Mosul
Finally, there is the implication that Kurdish separatism is not limited to Iraq, in the statement this post. Money quote: "No wonder why Turkey is worried about "developments" in Iraqi Kurdistan. Simply because 'Freedom is like cancer, once infected, it spreads out through all over the body.'"

That is all.

The Coalition

In the comments section of a post on Lunaville, there is a listing of the current strenght of the multinational forces in Iraq.

Could anyone with a link to a website that keeps an updated total of coalition forces by country send it to me?

I'll try to keep you posted as this information changes.

United States 138,000
Britain 8,530
Albania 70
Australia 850
Azerbaijan 150
Bulgaria 455
Czech Rep. 92
Denmark 510
Dominican Rep. 300
El Salvador 360
Estonia 55
Georgia 150
Hungary 300
Italy 2,700
Japan 1,000
Kazakhstan 25
Latvia 120
Lithuania 105
Macedonia 28
Moldova 25
Mongolia 180
Netherlands 1,263
New Zealand 60
Nicaragua 115
Norway 150
Poland 2,400
Portugal 120
Romania 730
Singapore 200
Slovakia 105
South Korea 675 (3,000 on way)
Thailand 460
Tonga 44
Ukraine 1,700

Friday, November 12, 2004

Casualty Watch

According to the count at Iraq Coalition Casualties, there have been 53 coalition soldiers killed so far this month. That breaks down to 51 in from hostile action and 2 from accidents, or 49 from the US and 4 from the UK.
News of the deaths seems to be trickling in, as the numbers have been increasing by one each time I check for the past, oh, six to eight hours.
The sudden increase in fatalities isn't a bad sign per se in military terms (of course it is bad news). That is to say that it is not a sign that the coalition is losing. This is because it appears to be realted to a sudden offensive that we are launching against the insurgents and the counteroffensive that they have launched. That is to say that it is not due to some sudden increase in the insurgency but due to the fact that the US military is moving aggressively to shut down the insurgents and such a move has a price tag attached.
What will be bad news is if the increase in casualties is prolonged and if progress eludes us.
I am somewhat pessimistic on this score. I have a feeling that by the end of the month, we will have beaten back the insurgency. However, in doing so, there will be thousands of Iraqis made homeless who will now hate our guts, and from this new insurgents will go.
If this campaign is successful in making Iraq more peaceful up until the elections, expect the insurgency to resume soon afterwards.

Election Results - The Ones that Matter

Well, according to Ballot Access News and USA Today, Michael Anthony Peroutka got 132,067 votes, or about 0.1126% of the total votes cast (117,295,752).
I have made a map of Peroutka's state-by-state scores (not counting write-ins) that I will try to post later.
Utah had the highest Peroutka percentage, at .757% (6,524 out of 861732 votes), followed by Alaska with 0.669% (1,643 out of 245,599 votes).
California had the most actual votes for Peroutka, with 20,987 out of 9,944,625 votes (.211%).
I can't believe that more people voted for Leonard Peltier in California, though.
Wait, what am I saying? It's California. Of course they'd vote for Peltier.

Arafat

I suppose I should post something about Arafat's death.
I didn't approve of the man, so I suppose good riddance comes to mind.
But really, I don't have much to say about him.
To be honest, I don't think that the US should be involved in the Israeli-Palestinian situation, so the topic interests me far less than the topic of, say, Iraq.

Justin Raimondo, We Love Ya, but...

Justin Raimondo goes a wee bit overboard.
Some of what he says is true, but his portrayal of Israel as a "tyranny" is, well, ever-so-slightly over-the-top.

Interesting Questions About 9/11

By John Pilger.

Aha! R. J. Rummel and Genocide

R.J. Rummel echoes the point I made earlier about statism (being in love with government power) being the feature of the Nazis that allowed the Holocaust to happen.

Naomi Klein's Theory

An interesting article by Naomi Klein. I'm not certain how correct her central thesis (that the Iraq War was designed to create a capitalist utopia) is, and I think that she is woefully misinformed in that she seems to equate neoconservatives with libertarians, but sifting through the chaff, there seems to be some good food for thought in there.

Worse than Mary Kay Letourneau

Some articles on the case of Tammy Imre:

Newsday
Connecticut Post

The kid was eight. She claims "he was the aggressor."

What the Hell was she thinking? At least Mary Kay Letourneau went after someone who had hit puberty.

This of course raises the question: Are female pedophiles rare, or have they just been getting less publicity until recently?

Belgium is Evil. Statism, not Nationalism, Caused the Horror of Nazism

The Brussels weenies should allow the Vlaams Blok to operate.

The sick, sad thing, is that Europe's hysteria over "racism" and "nationalism," which was intended to prevent another Nazi regime and another Holocaust, is being used to promote the immigration of people who are often Nazi-like in their intolerance.

The problem is that the Europeans still see nationalism rather than statism as the big problem with Nazism. But the fact is, if the European Union ever really comes together, it has more potential for becoming a Nazi-like world power than any nationalistic European state.

I blame the socialist demagogue Franklin Delano Roosevelt, his successor Truman, and Europe's own hoity-toity elitism, for creating the idea that large bureaucratic states that seek to control every aspect of your lives are consistent with free societies. (Imagine how things might have been different if the occupation and de-Nazification of Germany had been undertaken by a capitalist rather than Harry S Truman).

The fact of the matter is, is that without the all-powerful state idea that is so prevalent in Europe, the Nazis would never have been more than a minor-league gang of thugs, but with the European state-worship, Europe will eventually turn into a fascist empire of sorts no matter what it does to suppress Nazi or fascist tendencies.

What Europe really needs is a good dose of ol' Murray Rothbard.

That is all.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Strange...

A lot of the fatalities that have occurred during the Fallujah assault are not in Fallujah, or even listed as in Al-Anbar province (which in many cases presumably means just outside of Fallujah). Of course, some of the Babil province deaths could be near Fallujah as well, as Babil province's northern border appears to be quite close to Fallujah.

Provincial map
Political Map (Includes Fallujah)

Still, it seems possible that there are a lot of deaths outside of Fallujah. This could be somewhat responsible for the fact that our casualties have been relatively heavy for the past few days even though we are told that the Fallujan resistance is lighter than expected. Although it could also be, as I said before, that the resistance is killing just as many Coalition troops as if it had been heavier, but it will kill them for a shorter period of time because we will take Fallujah faster (e.g. light resistance could mean 10-12 fatalities a day for 5 days, heavy resistance 10-12 fatalities a day for 2-3 weeks).

I also note that the number of fatalities for November 9 (Tuesday) has increased since this (Thursday) morning. This means that there is at least a two day delay in getting at some of the fatality stats. So the current listing of 2 deaths for Wednesday and none yet for today are probably going to go up in the future. So I'll be able to get a much better picture of what is happening in a week or so (hopefully), once this operation has mostly finished and once the figures have run their way through the system.

What you can do:

Want to make your feelings about the Bush Amnesty Plan Known?
There is a website:NumbersUSA
If you register,
you can send faxes to your Congressmen and women and your Senators.

Bush Did NOT Win 44% of Hispanic Vote

Despite false exit polls results to the contrary, Bush did NOT win 44% of the Hispanicvote, so calls for Republicans to "Hispander" on issues like illegal immigration and affirmative action because it will supposedly be easy to turn Hispanics into nice little conservative Republicans who will help to defeat the Democracts is based on a falsehood.
Steve Sailer's analysis.
Of course, whether this was deliberate fraud or just error in the polling methods I can't say for certain.
But we need to have more than one company doing the exit polling. If we had four or five companies, each with their own polling methods (e.g. different systems of weighting responses, etc.) then we could see which companies' election results were the closest to reality in each state or Congressional district, and then use that as a guide to which company's demographic breakdown of the vote is most likely to be accurate.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Well, I Really Don't Know

According to Juan Cole, the resistance in Fallujah is fierce, unlike the other reports I have heard that the city is mostly deserted.
I guess I don't know. I'll have a btter idea in a week, when the casualty figures come out.

Figures Don't Lie, but...

In the email mentioned in the previous post, I also made a prediction that Andrew Sullivan would take heart in a decrease in casualties from 85 to 65:

"Either way, Glenn Reynolds and Andrew Sullivan take heart over the fact that the number of coalition troops killed in hostile action is down from 85 in November to 65 in December. "Obviously," writes Andrew, "we are wearing the resistance down. By the way, did I mention that I am gay?" Glenn Reynolds posts Andrew Sullivan's entire article on his blog, and then adds his own eloquent and descriptive observation:

"'Indeed. Interesting. Read the whole thing.'"

For those of you who didn't get the sarcasm, remember that this was written in July (2004). At this point, other than the unusually high casualty months of November 2003 (94 hostile fatalities), April 2004 (131) and May 2004 (65), which was really in a sense just the tail end of April, there had been 45 or fewer hostile fatalities per month since the end of major combat operations (May 1, 2003), and fewer than 40 from March 2004 backwards.
The point was that the overall casualty trends, p[articularly in regards to hostile-fire fatalities were going up, but that a temporary one-month decrease would be seen as significant.

Andrew, to his credit, does not seem to have been fooled in this way, however, The Belmont Club appears to be quite enamored with this sort of analysis, where the time periods under review are specifically chosen so as to obscure long-term trends.

Interesting Thoughts

Stan Goff has some interesting thoughts on the Iraq war. I think that there is much truth to his ideas about Iraq and the poissible looming oil shortage, although I would view more unfettered capitalism as the solution, not the cause, of this problem.

In any case, anyone who predicts that the Coalition will leave Iraq soon after the elections in January, or who thinks that we will let someone be elected who doesn't support the Coalition and its agenda (likely Allawi or someone like him) is wrong.
Whether we are in Iraq as the beginning salvo of a war for the entire Middle East or whether we're htere to secure oil for the long-term or for a Messianic exercise in democratizing the world, we're going to stay and we're not going to let anyone get elected who tells us any differently.

Awhile ago, I sent Steve Sailer an email, which he published (use Control-F [or Apple-F if using a Mac] and type in "Hmmm..." [without the quotes, but include three periods]), detailing two possibilities, the first being what will happen if the US-led Coalition determines that Allawi serves its interests, the second what might happen if determiens that he doesn't, but he wants to retain power anyway.

(1) Allawi wins in a landslide. "Iraqis" refuse to let the UN monitor elections, as Iraq is "sovereign" and can do so itself. Or maybe Iraq insists that it only trusts the US to monitor them.

(2) Allawi dies in a suicide bombing while in a black limousine. a few days prior to the election. This attack is entirely consistent with threats made in November 2004 in an intercepted letter taht appears to have beeen written by Abu Al-Zarqawi. "Oh, when the elections occur, democracy will flourish and we will have to move out and not be able to attack Americans anymore. 90% of Iraqis now hate us and love Mr. Bush. Our only hope is to kill Prime Minister Allawi before the elections. Preferably through a suicide bombing while he is in a black limousine so if he dies that way everyone will know that I, Abu Al-Zarqawi, foreign terrorists, especially Al Qaeda and Saddam loyalists, and absolutely no one else was involved."

That is all.

Bend Over, Conservatives

Here it comes again.
You asked for it, Mr. Kupelian.
We need to flood Congress with postcards telling them to reject "Dubya's" stupid amnesty plan.
I'll try to post some more ideas on how to counter Bush's stupidity later.

That is all.

Fallujah Thoughts

Apparently the insurgents have largely abandoned Fallujah, given the weak resistance we have found there.
So what does this mean for our conquest, excuse me, liberation of Fallujah?
Well, we are still getting heavier-than-normal fatalities, so the insurgents have not entirely abandoned the city. I think the key to seeing how much they have abandoned it, though, is not only in the rate at which casualties or fatalities occur, but in how quickly we take the city. Even if they had stayed, we probably wouldn't be getting more than 10-15 soldiers killed per day, but the offensive would last for two or three weeks rather than, as it looks to be shaping up, no more than five days (obviously, the long-term pacification will take longer, but I'm referring to the initial taking control of the city, i.e. being able to move our troops through all of the major areas).
Of course, looking more closely at the fatalities, a lot of them occurred outside of Fallujah, so maybe I am wrong and there are few casualties in Fallujah, indicating an even more thorough abandonment of the city by anti-American forces than I had assumed.
In any case, I have a feeling that we may see the death toll for Nov. 8 and 9 increase over the next few days as reports of casualties work their way through the system; i.e. there may have been many casualties that occurred a day or two ago that have not yet been reported or confirmed.
In any case, my prediction that we would have more than 100 coalition hostile deaths this month (25 so far) may not turn out to be accurate, as the resistance in Fallujah was so much less than anticipated. I'll have to try to look over all of my predictions, but unless there is significant resistance waiting for us over the next day or so, I think that I'll have to revise all of them (which is, of course, an admission that I was incorrect).
In any case, though, I would think that we would kill at least 500 Iraqi civilians in this assault (although we may never be given an accurate number) and we will also destroy a lot of the infrastructure of Fallujah, thus turning more of the population of Iraq against us.
Although the war-cheerleaders don't seem to get it, that is part of the insurgents' plan: get the US to cause enough damage to turn the populace against us. Classic guerilla tactics, but most pro-warriors either don't consider this or assume that the Iraqis affected by this will blame the insurgents and not us, because, you know, the Iraqis are on our side, you know, and like, are, like, armchair generals like us, who, you know, like, look at this whole thing as a giant game of, like, Risk, the way, like, that we do, okay?

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Putin the Brownnoser

By the way, Putin's endorsement of Bush strikes me as more an opportunistic attempt to get in the good graces of the President than anything else. He knew Bush was going to win and decided to kiss up to him.
That is all.

Iraqi Elections in January Might be Rigged? NO! Not Possible!

Eric Margolis has suggested that the election of Hamid Karzai was rigged and that the upcoming elections in Iraq might similarly be rigged.
Of course, those who are always credulous refuse to believe that perhaps there is something fundamentally amiss (other than it "not going perfect") in an election where every candidate except the one who went on to win boycotted the election?

Kurdish Death Squads?

Look at this:

"But, in reality, only a segment of the 36th has really been trustworthy – the Kurdish fighters known as pesh merga."

I told you so.

Ballots

I have an agenda for the ballot in the future, and here it is:

(1) No machine voting without a paper trail. We need some way to check the results.
(2) Preferably, get rid of voting machines. If hand-counting is too tedious, states should adopt an optical scanning system like the state of Maine has (or at least Augusta has). The names of the candidates are listed, with a broken arrow on the right. Simply complete the arrow to the right of your preferred candidate. There is a space at the bottom to write someone in. If someone is written in, then that ballot must be hand-counted, but most ballots can be machine-counted. And yet, there isa paper trail if anyone suspects hanky-panky.
(3) Make it easier to get ballot access in states like Oklahoma and North Carolina. Also, every state should allow write-ins. Personally, I think that for Presidential races, more states should adopt a rule that a person will automatically be on the ballot if they can get ballot access in enough other states so that they have a theoretical chance of winning without write-in votes; that would allow candidates to get access in a large number of states to truly become national candidates.
(4) I also think that more states should adopt the system used in Maine and Nebraska, where electoral votes are based on Congressional district, except for the wo votes awarded based on Senatorial representation, which are based on winning the state.

The federal government, though, should not be involved in this for the most part; bcause voting is a state issue.
However, there is one thing that it can do under the Fourteenth Amendment. It can require unifrom voting within a state. In other words, every precinct within a state must have the same voting system, even though it may differ from other states.
It seems to me that the current voting system is too rife with possibilities for abuse, even if no abuse has occurred.

Predictions, Continued

I forgot to make one more prediction on my previous post: the US will hit 2000 dead in Iraq within a year of hitting the 1000 dead mark. (Just the US, counting all deaths). This means that the mark will hit on or before early September 2005.
As I have said before, I think that hostile deaths for the entire coalition is a better indicator than total American deaths, as it is more relevant to how strong the insurgency is. However, everyone was obsessed with total Americans killed, so I'm predicting on that number.
Currently: 1134 Americans have been killed, 878 by hostile action,
and 146 other Coalition Forces have been killed, 103 by hostile action.

Frank Gaffney is a Moron

Frank Gaffney is confident that the same moral values that lead Bush to oppose gay marriage and abortion also lead him to conquer foreign countries in order to force democracy on them.

So it's as Paul Craig Roberts predicted, the neocons are trying to interpret this election as a mandate for their policies.

I'll elaborate on why Gaffney's goals are bad and on why it is ludicrous to think of the neocon agenda as being intricately intertwined with social conservatism in a later post. I'm tired.

Good Election for the Constitution Party

Well, this election so far the Constitution Party's Presidential Candidate has 131,434 votes. I say so far because provisional ballots and write-ins have not yet been counted. This is compared to 101,278 votes in 2000.

I have done the math on another computer than the one I am using right now, and so don't have the numbers available, but we have increased our share of the vote from last time, not just our absolute numbers.

In addition, the CP has increased the number of states for which it has qualified status from 13 states to 15. (Maryland, Michigan, and South Dakota added, Kansas lost. Utah may be lost as well, which would make it 14).

Exit Polls

At some point I will try to blog on all of the discrepancies in the exit polls; there are so many interesting things to talk about, from whether there was vote fraud in the election to whether the voter profiles were accurate and why they were or weren't.
For now let's just say that I think that the high Hispanics-for-Bush numbers were wrong.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Jack, Jack, Jack

The political hack Jack Kelly is back. No, not Jack Kelley from USA Today, but the noxious warmonger who gives out "the war is going swell" propaganda by the mouthful.
You remember, the last guy to mention probable fraudster Kenneth Joseph (last to mention him in a positive light, anyway)?
Today he declares that "Victory is Coming!" which would be a lot more convincing if he hadn't declared essentially the same thing at the end of October a year ago, in contravention of the fact that violence had increased that month (35 coalition hostile fatalities compared to a previous post-end of major combat operations high of 28 in July and almost twice as many as the previous month [18 in September]).

Apparently, according to Kelly, most of the attacks were on Iraqis, showing how desperate the insurgents were.

"Largely overlooked by a news media which has honed its ability to miss the significant is that only one of last week's attacks in Iraq was directed at an American target."

How the insurgents still managed to kill at least 5 coalition soldiers in any 7-day period that ended from October 9 onward (the column was posted on Friday, October 31 2003) without targeting Americans, I am not certain.

No apologies over the next month, when the fatalities increasd by 150% to 94 hostile deaths in a month (although the number of wounded decreased from 413 to 337).

In any case, Jack's stupid little grin shouldn't fool you. He either doesn't know what he is talking about or else he is deliberately lying.

Predictions

The Fallujah assault has begun.
My predictions:
(1) November will have at least 100 hostile coalition fatalities, at least 20 of which will be non-Americans. I wouldn't be surprised if the final count is more like 200.
(2) If we succeed in conquering Fallujah, then things will die down for a few weeks before we have another surge in violence, probably around late December or around the time of the elections.
(3) Large desertions from the army will occur. The US governemnt will continually "Kurdishize" the Iraqi Security Forces while denying that it is doing so, or at least trying to distract attention from the fact.
(4) Civilian casualties will be in the 5,000-10,000 range, but the administration will try to claim that there were fewer than 3000.
(5) Fallujah will be practically razed to the ground, but the administration as well as pro-war propaganda outlets like FoxNews and WorldNetDaily will constantly refer to this as "liberation," and talk about how relieved the Fallujans are that we have taken the city away from those thugs who were controlling it.
(6) We will continually hear lies reports that 99.9% of Fallujans were pro-American and that everyone who fought against us was an Iranian or Syrian.

That is all.

bin Laden

Now, what do I think about Osama bin Laden's message to us right before the elections?
Well, as I'm still pressed for time, I'll add the links later.
But generally:
bin Laden's proximate goal is not simply to kill as many Americans as possible nor does it involve turning America into an Islamic country. He may wish to do that eventually, but not right this minute.
Bin Laden's overriding goal is to clean out the Middle East of corrupt governments and to replace them with governments run by devout Wahhabis (not "Wahhabis" like the Saudi Royal Family, ones who actually live up (or down) to Wahhabi beliefs). In the process, he presumably wnats to be the new ruler of this Caliphate.
Bin Laden sees the US as an obstacle to his dream becasue we have propped up so many of the corrupt governments. His goal is, in short, to unite all of the Middle Eastern Muslim countries by pitting them against the US and to arise as the warrior who wil free them from the yoke of the "infidel imperialists."
Based on this, it is reasonable to view the purpose of 9/11 as being provocation; that is, bin Laden wanted to provoke the US into retaliating against the Middle East with the hope of uniting the warring Muslim groups against a common enemy.
To this end, he is willing to adopt whatever grievances will serve to get him followers. He personally is mostly concerned with the US presence and influence in Saudi Arabia. However, since 9/11 he has mentioned the Palestinian situation, more in my opinion to rally support from Arabs who actually care about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict than because it weighs heavily on his mind.

So the question is what did he hope to accomplish with the tape he sent out?
Some say he wanted to get Kerry elected, others say he pretended he wanted Kerry elected because he really wants Bush elected. I say neither. For one thing, bin Laden explicitly said that neither Kerry nor Bush could protect us. For another, the interpretation that when he talked about states threatening or not threatening him, he was saying that states that voted for Kerry would be exempt from terrorism doesn't seem to be consistent with the idea that neither Bush nor Kerry could protect us; and this interpretation was mostly advanced by MEMRI, which has strong ties to Israel and is hardly an unbiased source of information.

My feeling is that neither candidate would try to draw troops out of the Middle East,and bin Laden knows this, so he wouldn't care which one is elected (and I should point out that I don't think that bin Laden necessarily would vote for the guy who would get US troops out - keeping our troops in there is a good way to unify the Muslim world against us).
Rather, bin Laden saw an opportunity to use the US election as a way to gain support among Arabs. His shifting demands (now he is demanding that the US leave him alone) do not signal a eduction in his goals because he is getting desperate. Rather, now that we are in Iraq, a lot of Arabs feel victimized by the US. Bin Laden hopes that by playing the victim, he will become more sympathetic and the Americans less so, thus gaining him support. At the same tme, his swipes at President Bush are designed more for his Arab audience than for his American one, perhaps in anticipation of a Bush win; this way, if Bush wins, the Americans can be seen as stupid and also as evil. If Kerry were closer to winning, he might have vilified Kerry instead, in order to increase morale and rage among his fellow Arabs.

Now some people think that bin Laden was simply trying to get Kerry elected, and that it doesn't matter that threatening the US in order to get a Kerry vote would be stupid and counterproductive. Bin Laden was stupid enough to attack the World Trade Center, they argue, a terrible stratgic miscalculation based on the assumption that we would be to wimpy to attack back, so why not assume that he is ignorant enough of the US mindset to assume that he can alter the course of hte elections through threats.

Well, that assumes that what happened after September 11 was not exactly what bin Laden wanted. As I have stated above, I think that he was making a calculated move and that he won big time when we decided to invade Iraq. So he does have a good knowledge of the US mindset, so it makes sense to look at him as behaving rationally toward his goal and not making obviously stupid screwups like demaning that Americans vote a certain way because he thinks he can control our vote.

In short, bin Laden is more concerned with the Arabs than with us, and his announcements are mostly for them. Analysts who use bin Laden's tapes to win votes for one side or the other are either deluded or dishonest.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Just a Quick Hello!

I'll post more when I actually think of something to post.
By the way, that grinning face at the top is really a drawing of me, and that weird five-pronged thing is my namesake, the legendary Glaive from the movie Krull.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Alan Keyes (gasp!) Loses Senate Race

Alan Keyes apparently understands why he lost in Illinois.
Perhaps Bush isn't the only one outside of the "reality-based community."
This picture seems to me to sum up Alan Keyes very well.
But you know what? I still admire the man. He's fighting for morality in a culture gone awry.

Lebanon on my Mind

Martha Kessler makes some of the same points in the LA Times that I have made previously about Lebanon.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Poor Joseph Farah

Now that Bush has been re-elected, Joseph Farah makes a plea to George W. Bush:

"We want to rein in the unconstitutional spending sprees. We want to seal our borders. We want to enforce our immigration laws. We want to limit federal authority over our lives. We want to win this war and win it decisively. We want to preserve the institution of marriage and not water it down with "civil unions." We want Supreme Court justices who don't see themselves as high priests in black robes who rule over us.
"Please listen to the people, Mr. President. You have one more chance to get it right."

In short, what he is saying is: "now that I threw principle to the wind and supported you, and have proven that you just need to be marginally better than the Democrat to get my support, I expect you to actually listen to me rather than just throw me a bone or too."

My take: If you bend over, don't be surprised when you get... well, you know.

Right On!

Steve Carson makes some excellent points. I am SO sick and tired of postmillennialists beating up on premillennialists like myself as being behind the war in Iraq.
Not everyone who believes in the dispensationalist view of the End Times believes that it is the US's job to bring the End Times about!!!

Results

Here is a state-by-state breakdown of the vote.
And here is the national total.
I think that this is a slight increase. I'll crunch the numbers later.

Oh, Well

Well, it looks like there won't be legal challenges.
So the election is over.
So now what is going to provide the political drama?
Okay, seriously. I'm going to try to find a table on how well Peroutka did and get that info up later.

Yes!

From what I understand, it is possible that if the margin of victory is very low in Ohio, Bush will have to contend with a recount of all of those provisional ballots.
So here's hoping for a low margin of victory, and here's hoping for another long, drawn-out court battle!
Long, drawn out court battle! Yay!
This election is very close, as I predicted and hoped. I'm not certain yet if it is close enough that we will have a long drawn-out court battle - but here's hoping we do!

Dare I Hope?

According to Yahoo! Bush is currently at 249 and Kerry at 216. According to FoxNews, Bush is at 269 and Kerry - I don't recall, but probably somewhere around 216.
Oooo... so close... I just hope the margin in Ohio is really, really, small! We could get another tie! C'mon, c'mon!!!!!
(No links because relevant webpages are not permanent).

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Haloscan down

I think that Haloscan is down, presumably due to high traffic. So if you are wondering why I don't have any comments on the blog anymore, that, I think, is the reason. Presumably it will be up again soon.

Avenge van Gogh

Whoever shot Theo van Gogh should be brought to trial, convicted, and executed.
Of course, the Dutch refuse to execute anyone unless they are deemed to be a burden on their health-care system.

I Can't Believe that he Won!

I probably won't be blogging the election much (at least not real-time), as I'm finishing up my Master's research.
So here's my reaction ahead of time to the winner of the US Election.
"I can't believe America that Americans voted for him!"
That, I believe, covers both bases.

Our Options

This post has an excellent analysis of the electoral options today.
Basically, the four options for those who want a more constitutional government are:
(1) Vote for Bush, he's better than Kerry.
(2) Vote for Kerry, he may be worse than Bush, but it will punish Bush and create beautiful gridlock.
(3) Don't vote, it only encourages them.
(4) Vote for Peroutka.

A Wasted Vote and a Wasted Voice

Dave Kupelian and Paul Craig Roberts both fall for the same trap. Oh, no, one candidate is so bad that you have to vote for the other!!
This is simply what the people in power want you to believe, so that they can continue to screw you.
People who proclaim that we need to continue to vote for the lesser of two evils so as to prolong the time we have to save the country ignore the fact that the two major parties are NO acting in good faith. Once they know that they can get your vote automatically, they will ignore you.
I will leave it up to my readers to decide who among those who have advocated not voting third party are sincere (i.e. they have been tricked) and who actually know what they are doing and are trying to neutralize those who would buck the system (I may offer my opinion on his at some later date when I have more time to think about it, though). (I am referring here only to those people who consider both candidates morally deficient but advocates voting for them anyway; someone who actually agrees with one for the major party candidates more than with any of the third parties is a different issue entirely.
There was an error in this gadget