Monday, May 14, 2007

War funding and support for the troops 

Ok...I am a registered Republican, but I consider myself more moderate or centrist then conservative and I have to say the actions of the Democrats who are voting for a quick withdrawal strike me as very irresponsible, to criminally negligent.
Can we all suspend the extreme rhetoric on both sides and examine likely outcomes for the US, Al Qada, Iran, Syria, Israel, and Iraq?

Irrespective of your stance on the initiation of hostilities, isn't it one's responsibility to fix something that we broke? Don't we owe a responsibility to the Iraqi people who have been supporting us thru these difficult times in Iraq, putting themselves and their families at risk? We made a promise as a country to see this through. How can the congressmen voting for an immediate withdrawal not consider the consequences to our future foreign policy strength, let alone the potential for millions of Iraqi civilians who would be killed in any ensuing bloodbath? Somehow you and I both know that if it happened and the US did withdrawal and some Baghdad killing fields event took place, the blame would fall squarely on the neo-cons and Bush despite their opposition to any such forced withdrawal. The Democratic Party would state that Bush had put them in the position and it was their fault, ignoring any evidence that didn't support that meme.

What happens to US foreign policy when Syria and Iran know that the US cannot sustain any war effort beyond air strikes? The American public is being played by the terrorists and the terrorist weapon of choice isn't just the IED, it's the ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and even FOX.

Whenever I hear the comments from Pelosi or Reid in the news I feel almost ill. It seems like the completely do not care about anyone beyond themselves. The American public wants the war to end and lets face it, I think we all want our troops to come home, but personally I want them to keep killing Al Qada troops wherever they live.

I remember 9/11 and I take someone at his or her word when they say they want to kill me. Seriously, how can others not do the same? I am not drawing a connection between Saddam and 9/11, but we know Al Qada is in Iraq. In fact they just announced we should stop searching for three captured US soldiers that they have in South Baghdad or else. Excuse me...I thought Pelosi said Al Qada wasn't in Iraq? Never mind her extensive military experience, clearly she perhaps learned inside news from her trip to Syria and her meeting with Assad.

OK…this is turning into a rant, so I will try to wrap up. I understand many do not like Bush and many do not like the reasons for the war, but are you willing to make the US flee from Iraq because of the loss of 3K+ US personal? Obviously any death of any serviceman or women sucks. This is true for the parents of Iraqi soldiers and police as much as for US parents, but when you step away from the blood dripping headline from a car bomb, the losses in the Iraq war are tiny compared to any other war in US history...ok...maybe Granada had less.

Is it responsible to cut and run and basically say to hell with anyone in Iraq, it's not our problem...good night and good luck and it's all George Bush's fault anyway?


Thursday, October 26, 2006

He's...back - Some proposals for Iraq 

Hi all,

Haven't been posting for a while, but I have some thoughts on our circumstances in Iraq and how best to proceed forward that I wanted to post and hopefully debate.

I’ve got an idea and it may seem way off the wall, but here goes....

Combine the carrot of oil revenue going to Iraqi people with additional shares of revenue for civil servants, military, and police whose lives are most at risk in supporting the present Iraqi administration. Graduate the scale of shares based on time of service with a 5 year timescale. I.E. Five years of supporting the government as a police officer would garnish increased reward. Ten years with no negative charges against you (desertion, corruption) and a larger bonus would be the result. The intent here is to increase the professionalism of the police and help prevent desertions etc.

Another carrot....Areas that maintain a lack of sectarian violence would also gain an increased share of the profit proceeds. This increased share would come from areas that were still experiencing violence.

Some sticks:

The root of the sectarian violence is righting old wrongs and gaining access to the oil. Additionally the Sunni/Shiite violence is driven by religious intolerance. What has to happen is make the cost of the violence so high that it is in the benefit of all involved to keep the peace.

Anyone apprehended in taking part in the sectarian violence would have their district’s share of the revenue decreased to spread among the districts that are at peace. Additionally, all property owned by the individuals would be forfeit with the proceeds going to those injured by the individual.
The disadvantage to this avenue is it has the potential to leave families destitute and on the street with limited options because of the actions of one family member. Conversely, this very likelihood would stop those most at risk of joining a militia in an effort to improve their station from doing so.
An alternative would be some amount of blood geld would be paid by the family to the injured parties as set by clan intermediaries. This blood payment would not be unfamiliar to the culture and could be paid by the government in exchange for service from the family for some period, based upon the injury involved.

Just thinking out loud now...I’m much better at coming up with carrots then sticks....

A Saddam/Machiavellian solution to this violence would be to play off the two sects against each other to keep the peace. What we need are ways to increase the safe interactions between the parties involved that make the sides see the benefits of keeping the peace themselves. If they are currently fighting over the oil that indicates the real power behind the fighting is fighting over money. We need to change the dynamic to make a lack of violence profitable.

What I'm really looking for are additional incentives to foster support for the existing Iraqi government and ideas that will pull individuals away from the militias and Syrian and Iranian influences.

Are carrots alone, enough?



Monday, May 15, 2006

Salsa Pajama Reaction 

Not a perfect speech perhaps, but I think there are aspects of it I like. I do not like the idea of the millions of illegals being torn apart from their families. I do like the idea that any illegals would need to get into line behind the people presently waiting for citizenship. I do like the idea of securing the border. Clearly this is way overdue and in fact negligent that it hasn't been done more aggressively before now.
Part of my sympathy for the illegals comes from the idea that my grandparents were immigrants from Ireland, but if you think that given the choice of starving in Ireland or entering the US illegally would have made them stay out, think again. I have respect for anyone who is willing to work hard to feed his family as many of these people are trying to do.

Back to the speech...I liked the idea of a worker permit. Living in Arizona we are faced with the reality of human trafficking and the criminal element that surrounds it. We had a gun battle a couple miles from my house on the highway between coyote groups that left bystanders who were driving near them, caught in the crossfire. Hopefully the temp worker permit will decrease the pressure for illegal entries and put the coyotes out of business..ala...the end of prohibition put the moonshiners out of business.(personal consumption aside :)



Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Congrats OSM!!! 

Today is the premiere of Open Source Media. A new model for investigating and diseminating news to the general public. Check out the link above for more info. I am actually listed on the blog roll...YEAH!!!
I think the diversity of members of all political stripes is its greatest strength. Perhaps AP and Reuters aren't too worried yet, but if they are smart they would look for synergies and get on board.


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Doctored photos continue 

I sent the below email to USA Today (Richard Curtis-rcurtis@usatoday.com - Graphics editor), and AP Managing editors contact email (apme@ap.org). (edited letter to add better links)
(h/t - Michelle Malkin and FromThePen.com
In reading Rice won't rule out U.S. troops in Iraq in 10 years

I found the photo snapshot of Condoleezza Rice suspect.

Respectfully sir, why is the USA today doctoring Condi Rice photos?
Altered Photo

Compared with the unaltered photo one can clearly see the changes.

I would like to see the USA Today issue a correction to the public regarding the doctored photo. Aren't doctored photos just as bad as misrepresenting facts in print that do require correction?
Unaltered AP Photo by Mikhail Metzel

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a correction and explaination should be forthcoming.


So....what we have here is another example of someone tweaking reality to suit their own agenda. I have to admit when I first heard claims by Katherine Harris that the photos of her were doctored I scoffed a little before seeing the evidence, but it is very blatant. Michelle Malkin has a great synopsis here. As we approach the 2008 election and technolgies improve even more this doctoring will only increase unless there is a bin of undoctored photos for all to reference from and some form of standard setting and accountability in news is set (queue bloggers :).


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

You are Marcie!

Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Ever wonder which peanuts character you are?

(H/T) Fuzzybear Lioness


Thursday, September 29, 2005

To Re-Fi or not to Re-Fi 

ARGH! Anyone confused about the costs and rates you see online for refinancing? I am moving from a 20 year fixed to a thirty year fixed to cash out some equity and put in some home improvements...increase cash flow hopefully but man the rates and closing costs are hard to figure out. I was checking out bankrate.com and if you search for zero point loans you can see a wide assortment of loan rates, which seems reasonable as you would think the market would control rates and if a bank can sell a loan at a higher rate and make more money they will do so, but what confuses me as when you talk to brokers you find out invariably that they are each dealing with a bank that has teh lowest rates in the country and every other broker out there is doing a bait and switch. If the APR standard was setup to lessen confusion between rates, it needs to be revised. It would help if bankrate.com monitored what is posted to their website for some kind of accuracy also. The broker I am dealing with is telling me basically that two or three of the other lower banks listed are lying. I guess the ultimate proof test is to call one of the other banks and ask for a good faith estimate, but the one I did call wanted an application loan fee (refundable on close) of a few hundred bucks. Anyone have any good resource sites they have found?


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