Zogby polls U.S. troops in Iraq: 72% say leave within a year.

Excerpts of interest from New Poll Of U.S. Soldiers in Iraq by John Zogby. It appears a majority of the soldiers on the ground want us out of Iraq now or within the next six months, and an overwhelming percentage think we should leave within the year.

A first-ever survey of U.S. troops on the ground fighting a war overseas has revealed surprising findings, not the least of which is that an overwhelming majority of 72% of American troops in Iraq think the U.S. should exit the country within the next year.

It also appears that the troops in Iraq are unaware of the fact that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11 and that Al Qaeda’s presence in Iraq post-dates the invasion (one would think that the numbers might shift even more dramatically, if they did).

Nearly nine of every 10 – 85% – said the U.S. mission is “to retaliate for Saddam’s role in the 9-11 attacks,” while 77% said they believe the main or a major reason for the war was “to stop Saddam from protecting al Qaeda in Iraq.”

What Does “The Democrats” Mean?

Reading a great post at The Sideshow triggered something I have been brewing over. From the post,

“…afterwards we’ll have hand-wringing about how the Democrats failed to do this and that and the other thing.”

Let’s think about what is meant here by the term “The Democrats?”
“The Republicans” sure are good at jumping on things, taking advantage, making noise, persuading people, and getting their way. But when we say “The Republicans” who and what do we mean? Are we talking about the Republican Party? Republican elected officials?
When the Republicans “jump on” an event and do such a good job of getting their persuasion-message out to the public, what are the details of how this is accomplished? Who does what? Who formulates the message? Who conducts the polling and focus groups? Who pays the people who organize the writing of op-eds for newspapers? Who calls the editors to place the op-eds? Who arranges for all the Ann Coulters to appear on all the conservative media shows? How is it all organized and coordinated? How is it all funded? Who pays all the Ann Coulters and all the “little people” working behind the scenes?

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Engineering on the front lines in Iraq

This article, Re-engineering Iraq, and published by IEEE Spectrum, provides a fascinating inside look at the successes and failures and problems associated with the Iraqi reconstruction effort. It is a long, but definitely worthwhile read… unfiltered by “spin” from one side or the other. After reading it, you’ll be a lot more educated on the nature of the task at hand.

Free Markets and Ponies

In science you study what happens. In ideology you talk about what you wish would happen. One DEscribes, the other PREscribes.
The Wrath of the Free Market God takes a look at what actually happens when right-wing economic ideology is implemented. Enron, concentration of wealth, corporatization and the Dubai Ports deal.

Make no mistake what is happening. The Globalists are attempting to replace the nation/state with corporate hegemony. In many respects they have already succeeded. Our democracy has been subverted not by dictatorial government takeover, but by the stealth usurpation through a shadowy pay to play scheme. Instead of the traditional coup by military means, an army of corporate lobbyists has descended upon Washington with decidedly similar results.

Now, to be fair, I will grant that what we have with countries like China certainly is not free trade. China “pegs” its currency – and Bush lets them. This means that everything made in China costs about half as much as it should, and everything we make costs Chinese consuers about twice what it should. And our trade with most other countries is certainly not “free” because they by-and-large subsidize industries, don’t allow unions or environmental laws, or so many other non-free-trade violations that you can’t keep up And Republicans let them all get away with it in the name of free-market ideology.
But, of course, that’s the real world, and that’s the point. REAL people take advantage when you let them. That’s where DEscribing what people actually do interferes with right-wing ideological dreams of what people should do. People SHOULD get ponies. But what really happens is we get poorer, lose our health insurance, lose our pensions, lose our manufacturing infrastructure and lose our democracy.

On Third Parties

I left a comment to a Thomas’ post about the Greens, and decided it is worth promoting to the front page. I believe in the “open-source think tank” concept of blogs — a place where ideas can be introduced, discussed and refined. Here is my take on the Greens.
Anything that divides the opposition is good news for the Republicans.

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The inside story on the fight over abuse and torture within the Bush Administration.

[You can read the “secret” twenty-two page memo authored by Mora, the subject of the article below. -Thomas]
How an internal effort to ban the abuse and torture of detainees was thwarted.
Issue of 2006-02-27
Posted 2006-02-20
One night this January, in a ceremony at the Officers’ Club at Fort
Myer, in Arlington, Virginia, which sits on a hill with a commanding
view across the Potomac River to the Washington Monument, Alberto J.
Mora, the outgoing general counsel of the United States Navy, stood next
to a podium in the club’s ballroom. A handsome gray-haired man in his
mid-fifties, he listened with a mixture of embarrassment and pride as
his colleagues toasted his impending departure. Amid the usual tributes
were some more pointed comments.
“Never has there been a counsel with more intellectual courage or
personal integrity,” David Brant, the former head of the Naval Criminal
Investigative Service, said. Brant added somewhat cryptically, “He
surprised us into doing the right thing.” Conspicuous for his silence
that night was Mora’s boss, William J. Haynes II, the general counsel of
the Department of Defense.
Back in Haynes’s office, on the third floor of the Pentagon, there was a
stack of papers chronicling a private battle that Mora had waged against
Haynes and other top Administration officials, challenging their tactics
in fighting terrorism. Some of the documents are classified and, despite
repeated requests from members of the Senate Armed Services Committee
and the Senate Judiciary Committee, have not been released. One
document, which is marked “secret” but is not classified, is a
twenty-two-page memo written by Mora. It shows that three years ago Mora
tried to halt what he saw as a disastrous and unlawful policy of
authorizing cruelty toward terror suspects.
[continued at URL above]

Duopoly crumbling…

[ I received the item below on an internal Green Party mailing list. Byron De Lear is a candidate for Congress in Southern California – he’s registered over 100 people into the Green Party in less than two weeks, including 15 Republicans! If every activist Green did the same, over three months, there’d be a seismic shift in American politics. -Thomas]
_A Migration Has Begun by Byron De Lear_
“Excuse me Ma’am? – are you registered to vote? I’m running for Congress.”
“Oh, yeah?”
“Yes, we’re running a strong anti-war/peace campaign to stop this
tragedy unfolding in the Middle East… the problem of Global Warming is
an issue that the two corporate handled parties are not going to deal
with in any substantive way…”

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Today’s Housing Bubble Post

It’s here.
Number of unsold homes hits record high,

The backlog of unsold new homes reached a record level last month, as sales slipped despite the warmest January in more than 100 years.
The Commerce Department reported Monday that sales of new single-family homes dropped by 5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.233 million units last month.
That was the slowest pace since January 2005 and left the number of unsold homes at a record high of 528,000.

Comments Note

I am working on fixing the new problem where your comments are all smushed into one paragraph. Sorry.
Update – Multiple line comments are working now, but troll hats are gone. Still working on it – and there are some new comments that really deserve troll hats.

Neocon godfather Francis Fukuyama declares movement “a failure”

See this article in the Scotsman online, which states that Fukuyama has declared neoconservatism discredited and a failure, that “it seems very unlikely that history will judge either the intervention [in Iraq] itself or the ideas animating it kindly”, and that the movements’ advocates are Leninists who “believed that history can be pushed along with the right application of power and will..” Among other bon mots of note.
It appears that not all right wingers are completely immune to reality.
UPDATE: Just found an op ed in the New York Times authored by Fukuyama himself, entitled: After Neoconservatism.

“Ties To Terrorists” — Invade or Do Business Deal?

I want to make a comment on the “UAE port deal” controversy. We invaded Iraq based on less evidence of al Queda and other terrorist ties than there is of UAE ties. Yet, the Bush crowd insists that we have nothing to worry about from handing control of our ports over to the UAE.
Let me make this clear: I am NOT saying that UAE is a terrorist state, or even a terrorist-supporting state, I am pointing out the fear-mongering nonsense that Bush and the right spew for the lying, fear-mongering manipulative propaganda nonsense it is. The Bush crowd has spent four years whipping Americans into a state of absolute fear and paranoia over anything to do with Islam, Arabs, etc. Now they reap what they have sown.
According to the Bush/right-wing narrative, the invasion of Iraq was justified because Iraqi “had ties” to al Queda hijackers many years before 9/11. For example,

President Bush yesterday defended his assertions that there was a relationship between Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda, putting him at odds with this week’s finding of the bipartisan Sept. 11 commission.
“The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda: because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda,” Bush said after a Cabinet meeting. As evidence, he cited Iraqi intelligence officers’ meeting with bin Laden in Sudan. “There’s numerous contacts between the two,” Bush said.

See also here, here, here, here

President George W. Bush calls the nation behind the port-security controversy a trusted ally, but the Sept. 11 commission offers another take – saying the CIA believed top United Arab Emirates officials had cozy relations with Osama bin Laden before 9/11.
The United States even believed it had a lead on bin Laden two years before the attacks but passed up on an air strike to kill him.
The reason: fears of taking out UAE princes or other senior officials believed to be hosting bin Laden at a remote hunting camp in Afghanistan, the commission’s report said.

Which is it going to be, George? Do “ties to terrorists” mean we invade, or don’t they matter? Or, maybe that wasn’t it at all — maybe there were other reasons we invaded Iraq — reasons that you haven’t shared with us? Was “ties to terrorism” just a cover-story? Your reasoning sure doesn’t mean much when you want to do a business deal with UAE.