Monday, August 29, 2005


The US military is seriously stretched because of Iraq and Afghanistan, and to a lesser extent Bosnia. If another serious crisis develops I don't know where the troops would come from. The army and marines are having to constantly redeploy troops to the Middle East as it is. Some say a draft might be reestablished, but I think it would take a horrendous national or international crisis for the American people to accept one.


Eric Rudolph: Olympic bomber, abortion clinic bomber, gay nightclub bomber. He has been labelled a "Christian terrorist" in the past by some in the media. In responding to Christians who have evidently been trying to witness to him since his arrest he said: They have been so nice, I would hate to break it to them that I really prefer Nietzsche to the Bible. Some Christian.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


Edward Morissey at The Weekly Standard analyzes some of the problems tracing the movements of Mohammad Atta ["Rethinking Prague"]. My problem with the 9/11 Commission Report and the news media in general is that they have ignored or discounted Czech intelligence reports that Mohammad Atta met with Iraqi officials in Prague (Czech Republic) in 2001. The assumption is that Czech intelligence erred, which is possible. However, just because Czech intelligence represents a very small country does not mean that we should so readily disregard this information. Czech intelligence, while not the same institution as it was during the cold war, does have the ability and experience to conduct intelligence operations, especially within its own borders.

Friday, August 19, 2005


Mickey Kaus seems to have the appropriate explanation for the "Able Danger" warning about Mohammad Atta that was never passed on to other government agencies in the late Clinton administration. There were actually two Mohammad Atta's and U.S. intelligence was actually tracking the earlier Mohammad Atta. But as he points out, it is still possible the later Mohammad Atta [who flew a plane into the World Trade Center] might have been discovered if the "Able Danger" info had been disseminated to other security agencies.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


I discovered a very unusual anti-war web site--it comes from a libertarian political slant so it is not your usual leftist anti-war rhetoric. It has essays by Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul, but also appears to have contributors more to the left of these men.

I have started to follow the "Able Danger" controversy, but I don't think enough facts are public to be absolutely sure of what was occurring. The web site has an interesting article "9/11 Revision, Revisited. The Mystery of 'Able Danger.'" I am not convinced that the evidence supports the author's viewpoint and also it begins to move into conspiracy thinking which gives me some concern.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


The August 17th New York Times has an article detailing the warning on bin Laden issued by the State Department to the Clinton administration in 1996. [if you read it online, you may need to establish a login]

State Department analysts warned the Clinton administration in July 1996 that Osama bin Laden's move to Afghanistan would give him an even more dangerous haven as he sought to expand radical Islam "well beyond the Middle East," but the government chose not to deter the move, newly declassified documents show.

Several former senior officials in the Clinton administration did not return phone calls this week seeking comment on the newly declassified documents.

Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said the declassified material released to his group "says to me that the Clinton administration knew the broad outlines in 1996 of bin Laden's capabilities and his intent, and unfortunately, almost nothing was done about it."

The NYT can hardly be accused of being an anti-Clinton bashing, conservative screed. Furthermore, the State Department is not a bastion of anti-Clinton or conservative sentiment. However, the article again raises the issue (like so many other articles and books of the past few years) that the Clinton administration was not prepared to deal with the rise of Islamic terrorism. In time more declassified documents will emerge -- I don't think future documents will be any more lenient on the Clinton administration on this issue.

Monday, August 15, 2005


For the last year or so I have been contemplating all of the corporate downsizing that has been occurring. Thousands of people are dismissed so that a company can grow and become more profitable. However, I keep wondering if all of this will damage the purchasing power of many Americans and end up creating more profit problems for a company. When this trend is combined with the huge bonuses that executives get, often for doing nothing, it is hard for me to see American capitalism as healthy.

Recently I was sent a copy of an email newsletter Whisky and Gunpowder. The newsletter was reacting to a headline: "HP [Hewlett Packard] to Slash Work Force by About 10%" and a comment by Caris & Co. analyst Mark Stahlman: "They've gotten themselves in fighting shape here. It dispels uncertainty, which had been frustrating for some in HP's engineering culture. I think this is going to give a big boost to morale internally."

The newsletter goes on to state:

Enquiring minds might be asking some of the following questions:
1. When was the last time firing 14,500 people boosted morale?
2. Would firing 20,000 have boosted morale even more?
3. Is there a "Laffer Curve" on firing people to boost morale?

Reports like these are bound to be good news for Wal-Mart. . .

Saturday, August 13, 2005


Christiopher Hitchens is interviewed at

Among the ideas raised in the interview is the issue that Republicans and Democrats would have reversed positions if the presidency were held by a Democrat on 9/11. Many seem to forget how bellicose the Democrats sounded under Clinton (although it was mostly rhetoric with little action) and how anti-internationalist Republicans sounded in the 2000 election. It was Clinton who sent troops into the Balkans against Republican criticism (troops that are still there well beyond Clinton's stated deadline for their removal).

Q - If there was a Democratic president on 9/11, would there have been a difference of opinion in the American left about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq?
A - Not from people like Michael Moore (the American film director and strong critic of President Bush), who makes a perfectly good brownshirt [fascist]. Or Noam Chomsky. No, it would not. To them it would have been further proof that the ruling class just has two faces and one party. But I think, in the mainstream of the democratic and Republican parties, you would have seen an exact switch. Richard Holbrooke’s position (Holbrooke was Clinton's UN Ambassador and is a leading Democratic foreign policy thinker) would be Dick Cheney’s position. The ones in the middle would have just done a switch, finding arguments to support or criticize the war. In fact, I remember that people in the Clinton administration spoke of an inevitable confrontation coming with Saddam. They dropped this idea only because it was a Republican president. That is simply disgraceful. It is likewise disgraceful how many Republicans ran as isolationists against [former Vice-President] Al Gore in the 2000 elections. The only people who come out of this whole affair well are an odd fusion of the old left – the small pro regime change left – and some of the people known as neoconservatives who have a commitment to liberal democracy. Many of the neocons have Marxist backgrounds and believe in ideas and principles and have worked with both parties in power.

Columnist Austin Bay also comments on the interview at

Friday, August 12, 2005


Go to


According to Uncut magazine, the following music, film, etc. changed the world. See the BBC piece at

1. Bob DylanLike a Rolling Stone
2. Elvis PresleyHeartbreak Hotel
3. The Beatles She Loves You
4. The Rolling Stones(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
5. A Clockwork Orange
6. The Godfather and The Godfather II
7. David Bowie The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust
8. Taxi Driver
9. Sex Pistols Never Mind The Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols
10. The Prisoner