Thursday, March 31, 2005

"intelligence" capabilities

"we simply cannot afford failures of this magnitude."

"The harm done to American credibility by our all too public intelligence failures in Iraq will take years to undo."

This from a report released today by the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction that was appointed by President Bush a year ago. The commission is led by Laurence H. Silberman, a retired federal judge, and Charles S. Robb, a former Democratic governor and senator from Virginia.

The report also concludes that while many other nations believed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, "in the end, it was the United States that put its credibility on the line, making this one of the most public - and most damaging - intelligence failures in recent American history."

Who will accept responsibility for this? Where does the buck stop?

Maybe a better question is, when will one of these "commissions" include "policy" in their mandate?

This just in from the Wall Street journal Op/Ed page "In any event, whether under the influence of hope or fear, the buck stops not with the intelligence community but with the policy makers."

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

I know it's distracting....

A private, family matter concerning the life and/or death of a wife, daughter, and sister that has been locked in a vegetative state for the past 15 years with an atrophied cortex most of which is filled with spinal fluid. It's distracting to have the executive, legislative, and judiciary (with the sage exception of the Supreme Court) branches of the federal government trying to overturn state government and law by interjection of "political capital". The "culture of life", who supports killing thousands of human beings in Iraq, as well as hundreds on death row, saw fit to have an emergency Sunday session of congress. The president left his vacation early (Is that a first?). The urgent and hastily signed legislation was not for the genocide in Sudan, not for Our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, not for the Columbine-like killings in Red Lake High School in Minnesota, but for a case like thousands of others (including Delay's father in 1988) where a family is divided on the final outcome of a loved one's life. If the Schindlers and Schiavos lived in Texas this may have all played out differently. In 1999 George W. Bush signed the Texas Futile Care Law. This law gives hospitals the right to remove life support regardless of the family' wishes. A baby (Sun Hudson) was removed from life support against his mother's wishes this week (Thursday) in Texas. I normally don't link to blogs, but the Houston Chronicle has scrubbed the story.

On March 30, 2005 Terri Schiavo died. May her final rest be more peaceful than her final days.

There's been rumors of war and wars that have been
The meaning of the life has been lost in the wind
And some people thinkin' that the end is close by
"Stead of learnin' to live they are learning to die.
Let me die in my footsteps
Before I go down under the ground.

-Bob Dylan

Friday, March 25, 2005

NYC 03/19/05

ny 03:05
Originally uploaded by the squid.

No, this isn't the latest prayer vigil "for" Terri Schiavo. It's not Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Lebanon, or Kuwait. It's right here in the US (New York to be exact), not that you would have known by the "liberal media" reaction. March 19, 2005 was the second anniversary of Our invasian of Iraq and people came out in numbers once again to say they do not approve of the war in Iraq, including military and military families of Fort Bragg. Thousands protested in cities throughout the Country. It's hard to find accurate numbers, because so few news agencies covered them. The crowds certainly seem larger than those I've seen coverage of lately in front of a hospice in Florida, and there are 150,000 American lives at stake it what they protest.

"While this Republican administration has spoken strongly about promoting democracy around the world, the House Republican leadership is working feverishly to undermine democracy here at home,"
-Pat Buchanan

I don't think he was talking about the silencing of the protests, but if the shoe fits.

Thursday, March 24, 2005


The shock of homecoming hit like a brick when i got out of the cab in front of home.. Back from the sun of 70 degrees. Back from the land of the beats, the yippies and hippies. The place that Kerauoc, Ginsberg, Kesey, Garcia, Joplin, Hendrix, Thompson, Miller and Steinbeck have all called home. The beautiful sunsets and blue skies of the big sur coast, the power, strength and majesty of the Pacific and the Redwoods. The dread locked, hippied, punked, skaters and surfers homelessed and housed from Haight St to Santa Crauz. The upscale uptown dining in bayside sausalito and the 4.95 mission burrito on mission and 23rd. Elephant seals, sea otters, a heron and a whale. California was very cool!

A nice way to get away.

On my first day back to work (3/22/05) most of my co-workers and I were placed on Unpaid "hiatus" until further notice. The city council minority had voted against an Emergency Appropriations resolution the night before that would have allowed the city funding for the salaries of all, including us "non-essential", city employees with additional funding for operating expenses. The resolution, at least the salary portion, has been passing monthly since September. These votes are necessary because an agreement can not be reached on the municipal budget. The mayor's plan is to fill the $7-$9 million budget deficit with the sale (and lease) of the municipal garage. Councilwomen Marsh and Castellano, and councilmen Russo and Soares say "No More One Shot" budget fixes. That is where the "debate" has stagnated since September. Neither side has budged. The mayor doesn't seem to want to change his policies or his decision to sell another piece of public land to fix a budget "gap" and the councilpeople have not offered a suggestion on how to do fix it, except for whispers of layoffs. Unless, of course, your Councilwoman Marsh's most disliked employee. I won't type his name here for fear of being sued. There is no real easy solution here. Something's gonna have to give. My guess is they'll sell the garage when the crisis Actually hits and the city is Actually running out of money, after the election. I don't much like being a pawn in some amateur game of risk. I don't think anyone thought the city would Actually Shut Down. Michael Russo was on the corner doing "Collateral Damage" control as we were being notified of our hiatus. Carol Marsh was seen a few hours later frantically cell phoning in the street with Michael Lenz. There is a real face to this. Real people who depend on their salaries caught in the middle of the political challenges of fixing a budget with a $7-9 million dollar deficit. It is kinda nice to be forced to play hookie, though, at least for now.

Arms folded
to the moon,
Among the cows.
- Jack Kerouac

On Thursday, March 24, 2005 the city council of Hoboken voted unanimously to put the City back to work and pay all employees for the time they missed.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The Spread of Democracy

The protestors in the Ukraine, some weeks ago, were not met with the fire hoses of pepper spray that were turned on American protestors during Inauguration 2005. They were met with a second election. The tens of thousands of protestors in Lebanon, unlike the hundreds of thousands that have protested the current US administration, received the resignation of the protested government. Those protestors have been outnumbered by the latest pro-Syria protests in Lebanon. I wonder if the administration is still for the majority's right to choose there. Saudi "elections", which of course excluded women, a practice that is currently being protested in Kuwait combine with what seems to be a growing will to change in Egypt, and last, but certainly not least, the ink fingered election in Iraq have all sent a signal to the world that people want to run (elect) their own government.

So the question is do the ends justify the means. It appears the boulder that this administration launched into the Persian Gulf has positive ripples forming from it, along with the negative. This is not to say that any one of these "movements" has a favorable view of the United States. It is most likely quite the opposite. We are having enough trouble keeping European allies let alone swaying "Arab" nations. After incidents like last week's killing of Italy's top intelligence officer in Iraq and BBC 4's new show, Guantanamo Guidebook, where willing participants are put through allowable "interrogation procedures" documentary style, we haven't been looking so hot. But can it be said that invading a nation to overthrow a leader whose methods we do not approve of, based on "intelligence" that others throughout the world may have agreed with, but certainly did not see as actionable, is the right course of action. Is the loss of life, culture, and economy there acceptable? Our current presence in Iraq, the largest US embassy in the world included (but not completed), has helped to bolster the strength of those that want their voices heard. They have found that their leaders are merely mortal. Our presence has also spread a fear of US Military invasion against any leader who is seen and/or portrayed as "against us". We have seen the power of the people rise (foreign more than domestic). What this new found power will bring to the table, aside from ahmed chalabi, has yet to be seen. Populations all over the world are against Us and Our current occupational forces in Iraq. Will we hear their call to leave? More Lebanese have now yelled for Syria to stay, should Our president continue with his ultimatum that Syria must leave. Will his ultimatum goad the Iranian-Syrian coalition into attacking our 150,000 troops sandwiched between them? Or does it simply mean... Syria, we don't care if you gave us saddam's brother in law and agreed to begin a pullout in Lebanon. You are next.

The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson