Friday, October 28, 2005

Blame Bush

The Chronicle editorial Saturday prompted me to go to the prediction I made before Katrina hit. In the jar I placed a small piece of paper, upon which I had written the anticipated Chronicle editorial response. I opened it yesterday, and found it was spot-on accurate. It read: "It's Bush's fault." To be honest, I must admit that I put the same piece of paper with the same prediction in the jar every time, and it has not been wrong yet.

I wonder if The Chronicle has someone with enough of a nose for news to go to the San Francisco City Hall and see if SF has a disaster preparedness plan, and check and see if the plan says to "do nothing, and then complain about Bush." Since San Francisco and New Orleans are both one-party towns, where there is no competition between competing philosophies and principles of municipal government (and where corruption and cronyism are expected and accepted), I expect that that is the situation. Wouldn't it be nice to find out before something bad hits the Bay Area?

Who Can We Kick Now?

Damn! These NY Times columnists are now only available online in Times Select, which costs $50 a year. As much as I enjoy pointing out their absurdities and the fact-free columns they write, I'm not paying any $50 to poke fun at them. Since Times Select will result in a vast shrinking of their reading audience, all they will have left to preach to is their choir of true believers - both of them! By reducing their exposure to critical thinkers, they may start to lose the defensiveness that has characterized their "work" of late. Krugman won't have his column held up as an example of what happens when you don't do any research.

The soon to be invisible columnists are:

Nicholas D. Kristof, Paul Krugman, Frank Rich, John Tierney, David Brooks, Maureen Dowd, Thomas L. Friedman, and Bob Herbert

They couldn't take the heat, so they got out of the kitchen!

San Francisco Chronicle Full of Gas, Not News

Your Mike Lukovich cartoon on the Sunday Chronicle editorial page was ludicrous. If he had an ounce of fairness or perception, he would have had the first panel of the pair with the "Help us" on the roof of the flooded house, followed by a picture of the hundreds of flooded buses in the parking lot. Don't you at the Chronicle ever give any of the crap you put on your editorial page the smell test. Didn't your mother teach you "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Move the people out with the buses before the flood hits, and you don't have people needing help on a flooded roof. Move the buses out before they are flooded, and you don't need to scream at President Bush to "Give me buses and gas. Buses and gas. Buses and gas." I think the Louisiana politicians are full of gas, and that the Chronicle is overlooking their failures to pursue the usual "It's Bush's fault."

Your Readers Representative column on Sean Penn had to be the lamest thing I have seen among a long list of lame Readers Rep columns. Are you putting out a newspaper or a lifestyle commentary? You gave more coverage to Burning Man and Cindy Sheehan each than to Able Danger, the Iraqi constitution, elections in Afghanistan, the Syrian pullout of Lebanon, and the disuse of the New Orleans hurricane disaster preparedness plan combined.

On The News Tonight

Did you see this on TV evening news?

On the screen are pictures of hundreds of buses parked in floodwater.

Terry Ebbert, head of New Orleans' emergency operations: "This is a national disgrace. FEMA has been here three days, yet there is no command and control. We can send massive amounts of aid to tsunami victims, but we can't bail out the city of New Orleans."

Louisiana Governor Blanco called for a mandatory evacuation following a personal President Bush request on Sunday. President Bush had already declared a state of emergency for Louisiana.

Someone notes that The City of New Orleans has a disaster plan they didn’t follow.

"Don't give me your money. Don't send me $10 million today. Give me buses and gas," said Dem. LA state Rep. Kargen Carter.

Meanwhile, hundreds of New Orleans buses sit flooded and useless, their gas and oil polluting the surrounding water. “Did you see the picture, Mr. Ebbert? Ms. Carter?”

The Democratic Black Caucus and NAACP leaders condemn President Bush for the slow pace of rescue efforts.

“But the City of New Orleans hurricane emergency management plan did address the evacuation of poor blacks. You can easily access it and read it on the Internet,” I point out – “I did, and I am not a reporter. In fact, I live in the tiny far-off northern California hamlet of Gualala.” (How did I get on this TV news show?)

Then the black mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, says President Bush and his administration did not do their jobs. At this point the camera pans back to the flooded buses. Then to Mayor Nagin. Then to Mr. Ebbert. Stunned silence, then heads bowed in shame.

But then Nagin, Ebbert, and Carter yell in unison: "Yeah, those buses were Bush's fault!" Then Michael Moore appears: "You know, brothers! Sister too!"

ICO Editor Gives Me Enough Rope

Thanks for giving me enough rope to hang myself, or to share with others.

As an afterthought to my letter concerning the lack of Ms. Plame's "covertness," I served three years in the Air Force Security Service as a Russian linguist radio intercept operator in the mid-1960’s. We went to Russian classes at Indiana University in uniform. We had classes at the National Security Agency. We worked in a secure compound in Turkey. We knew the Soviets knew who we were, and had a pretty good idea of what we did. We also knew that the Soviets knew the names of everyone who openly worked in intelligence activities. Especially if they went to work at the National Security Agency everyday. Or the Central Intelligence Agency. Even if they always sneaked in the back way! How did we know they knew? Because it was and is really stupid to think your enemy is too dumb or too lazy to find out and keep track of the obvious.

Let’s keep hangin’ ‘em high!

Tax The Rich!

Bill Meyers uncovered part of our little Republican secret when he said that we had an agenda to eliminate taxes on the rich. Then James Oglesby tried to throw everyone off the track when he disagreed with Bill. Unfortunately, I must disclose all the sordid details of one of the most diabolical plots ever devised by man.

Unfortunately, when we devised our plot to eliminate taxes on the rich, we forgot that government always screws everything up. Think of examples such as the National Health Services of Great Britain and Canada. Social Security and Medicare here. Any systems of tariffs by any governments anywhere.

Anyway, when government implemented our plan to eliminate taxes on the rich, as usual they fouled it up royally. Consequently, each year the rich pay a larger proportion of total taxes compared to their proportion of total income. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “The tax cut enacted last year has reduced tax burdens further. This analysis' update of the Treasury data shows that in 2001, … a median family of four will pay a smaller share of its income in federal income taxes than in any year since 1957.”

Conversely, the top one percent will pay four times more than the total paid by the bottom 50 percent, who will pay less than four percent of the total. And the percentage paid by the top wage earners has been increasing steadily for years. Of course the government screwed it up! Hopefully the Democrats will pass a tax-the-rich bill, and finally give the rich true tax relief!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Keeping it simple

What am I missing? Back in March the NY Times, Washington Post, ABC, CBS and about 32 other major news organizations filed a "friend of the court" brief to protect Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper against a charge of concealing the identity of a source responsible for compromising the identity of a covert agent. In essence, when the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 was reviewed, it became readily apparent that no violation of law had occurred. Simply, Valerie Plame had not meet the criteria to be a covert agent for over five years, and the CIA had not even taken the reasonable minimum steps to maintain her in a "covert" status.

So the question is, how can these news agencies be pursuing "Plamegate" so breathlessly when they already concluded there was nothing there?