How to Catch the Sniper

Ballistics have long allowed police to link a bullet to a particular gun. So if they ever find this killer and his weapon, they can clearly connect rifle and crime.

But what if you could reverse the process and link a gun to a particular bullet? The technology now exists for every gun's ballistic "fingerprint" to be kept on file. In this way, police could instantly know which specific gun was used in the commission of a crime and track down the owner.

But who has opposed this sensible idea? The NRA. The organization has bullied Congress into refusing to set up a national registry of guns.
If I lived in the conservative suburbs around Washington, D.C. I'd be re-thinking my position on supporting these clowns.

Thanks to MWO for pointing to this.

VFW Endorses Chickenhawk Over War Hero!

Counterspin Central pointed me to this article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The national VFW has endorsed a Republican chickenhawk over war-hero Max Cleland for the Georgie Senate.
One side touts Cleland's immense sacrifice in war: he lost three limbs in a grenade explosion, and was decorated for helping wounded comrades during a 1968 rocket attack.

Other veterans point to Chambliss' conservative politics and unwavering support of the military as outweighing Cleland's service. That side won.
"This is about whether the liberal Democrats or the Republicans will be in control of the Senate," said retired Vice Adm. John Scott Redd of Marietta, who is backing Chambliss as vice chairman of the Veterans for Saxby organization.
That's right, it isn't about veterans or war heroes or who fought for the country and who didn't. The VFW has joined the Republican Crony Club and that's all that matters.

When the Republican Machine wants you out of the way, it won't matter who you are or what you've done. War hero? Record of brilliant public service? Record of honesty in your business dealings? Forget it. And it doesn't even matter how long you've on their side - when you're in the way, you're in the way and you're in the way.

For some reason this takes me back to what happened to well-respected, honest, conservative, war-hero John McCain in the South Carolina primary against Bush. He wasn't willing to play the crony game so the Republican Machine needed him out of the way. The crony candidate - Bush - a chickenhawk, foul-mouthed, alcoholic, drug-using, not-too-bright, spoiled rich boy with a history of failure in business and accepting bribes for his dad, and otherwise no particular resume. Military patriotism is a big deal in South Carolina, so the challenge was great. Remember what the Bush people did? Remember the rumors about McCain as being mentally deranged, being a "Manchurian Candidate", being too angry to be the leader of a country, "the fag candidate", and all that?

When you're in the way, you're in the way. War hero vs. chickenhawk? VFW chooses chickenhawk. South Carolina chooses chickenhawk.

Easiest Way to Steal the Election

The other day I wrote about the nightmare of Republicans controlling the companies that make the vote-counting machines. Today BuzzFlash links to Who makes the vote-counting machines?, another story on this topic.

I used to worry that the Republicans would eventually just cancel elections. After reading these stories I worry that they won't need to.

By the way, about 1/4 way down this article mentions Koch Industries. As you read this article, remember this is the same Koch that I wrote about recently - Bush just handed them the contract to supply all the oil to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (billions of dollars). This is the same Koch who funds a chunk of the Republican Machine.



Republicans are holding fast to the idea that getting money into the hands of businesses and the rich "creates jobs."

I ran a company for 13 years. I know a little bit about how it works. I employed exactly as many people as we needed. I did not employ extra people because I perhaps had more money in the bank account than usual. If times were slow and someone handed me a sackful of money I'd say, "THANKS!" and pocket the money. The only thing that would get me hiring more people was customers with money coming in the door. Period. And if I didn't have extra money around I would find it.

Let me repeat that. Customers with money coming in the door. That is what gets companies to hire. They hire just enough employees to handle the extra customers. Period. And when there are customers with money coming in the door companies will find the money to hire them, don't you worry about that.

Raise the minimum wage. Extend unemployment benefits. Launch some jobs programs. Cut the payroll tax. How to pay for that? Raise the sh*t out of taxes on the rich. Raise them till they squeal and then raise them some more.

Scaring People

As I often say, if you want to learn what Republicans are doing, take a look at whatever they are currently accusing Democrats of doing. Their tactic is accuse the other side of doing whatever THEY'RE doing in order to "inoculate" themselves. It heads off being exposed themselves. It's a little bit complicated, but it works.

According to today's NY Times, In campaigns across the country the Republicans are accusing Democrats of scaring people.

Imagine, scaring people as an election strategy. "According to President George W. Bush, as well as Senators John Warner, Joseph Lieberman and many others who have spoken lately in the Capitol, there is no limit to the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. According to them, it is 1939, and we are again facing the twilight of Western civilization."

Why Isn't This a Major Story?

White House Sides With Automakers Against California's Zero Emissions Requirement for Cars

That's right, the STATES RIGHTS White House has joined in a lawsuit against California setting tough pollution and fuel economy standards.

New Unemployment Claims

New claims for jobless benefits fell by 40,000 last week. BUT WAIT, from the story,
"While the decline offers a promising sign, Labor Department analyst Thomas Stengle cautioned against reading too much into the drop, saying it may partly reflect difficulties adjusting for seasonal factors. The unadjusted claims figures, for instance, showed an equally sharp rise."
Got that? UNadjusted claims figures INCREASED by the same amount. (And the economy LAST 43,000 jobs last month.)

So don't get your hopes up too high yet.



Check out America's Best Christian's page, "President Bush To Use What's Left of Social Security for Multi-Billion Dollar National Demon Defense Shield"

And PLEASE surf around the rest of the site!

Election Issue

At this point there is no question that the Republicans planned this Iraq war campaign to coincide with the election. I hope that the Democrats are just waiting until the right time to make a really big noise about this. They shouldn't be subtle and let the public come to their own conclusions - they should be making it clear that without an IMMINENT threat the Republicans had no business bringing this up during the election campaign.

With some help the public will come to understand this.

Appearance of Impropriety

Imagine a world where Republicans control all the vote counting.

I have worked in elections. If you use paper ballots, you have the actual ballots that can be watched and counted by enough witnesses to control chances of fraud. If we switch to paperless voting, it's all over - you're at the mercy of what the machine tells you, and machines can be rigged.


Join a Union

A line in this morning's The Note, about the dock workers situation here on the West Coast, got me thinking,
The lockout explodes this morning as a political issue, leading the Wall Street Journal : "The move toward intervention cast President Bush solidly with his Republican base: business groups that are often at odds with the country's big unions. And in this case, the president is taking on a union that is widely regarded as one of the best organized and best paid in the country. West Coast longshoremen can earn more than $100,000, with overtime, plus generous retirement and health plans to go along with it.
Some people would read this and think, "Those guys get paid too much - way more than me - I think unions are too powerful."

I think about it a different way. I would say to the complainer, "LEARN from it, bonehead! Stop complaining about unions and JOIN a union, bonehead. You'd get PAID MORE and you'd have better BENEFITS and JOB SECURITY, bonehead."

I mean, you'd think people would figure it out. It's right in front of their faces. I remember hearing talk at HP of forming a union before the Compaq purchase. But noooo, not THAT. So what happened? The purchase went through and so far at least 16,800 have been laid off. Better that then, God forbid, form a union.

Well, Maybe One

Well, maybe ONE post now... :-)

I'd like to see it pointed out more often and much louder that most of the people pushing for this war are people who found something better to do when VietNam was going on (click here and here), while so many of the people against it were in combat or very close to it, or at least in the military.

I've been thinking about comments I have heard about those Representatives who went to Iraq to try to prevent a war - Rep. Jim McDermott, Rep. Mike Thompson and Rep. David Bonior. The right-wing drumbeat I've heard repeated all over the place was that these three were "still stuck on protesting against the VietNam war." I heard this repeated from several sources, so I figure it must have been the official focus-group-tested Republican talking points handed out by the Heritage Foundation (or someone similar).

But those guys WENT TO VietNam! And the people mocking them as "protesters" DIDN'T! How do they get away with it, without being called on it, dragged into the street and tarred & feathered by the veterans? And how do military veterans justify their continued support for these Republican clowns? At what point do they say, "Wait a minute, I went to VietNam, these guys didn't, these guys are all rich and acting like they are war heros, why am I voting for them"?

It's an interesting problem of persuasion. How do you neutralize the politics of you being a chickenhawk, and your opponents being war heros - Bush vs McCain - or at least being VietNam veterans - Bush vs Gore? One way appears to be with enough loud bluster. Another way appears to be to make sure that no one involved in the debate has a child who would have to actually fight the war you're starting.


Sorry - very busy otherwise today, no posts. Maybe later.


Active Duty Marine

Drudge is pointing to a story, "Views of an Active Duty Marine"

This Marine asks, "Where was Sun Tzu's press corps? My best guest was in the grave. I'm sure he considered them to be enemy spies."

Some of us might think this shows that the press should be restricted. Others of us would think this shows why the military needs to be kept firmly under civilian control.


Go Protest

I won't be posting until later because I'm heading up to San Francisco to join in anti-war protests. I feel that I should add myself to the numbers. Info is here.