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Right click to open full image… Pictograph Courtesy of Viral..

So, can someone tell me again, why we shouldn’t tax the rich, and instead, balance the budget on the backs of everyone else?…….

I seem to be missing that little detail where that all makes sense……

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Duffy is God’s answer to a prayer.. I miss the old days of blogging when we were debating principals instead of people… Duffy has stuck to the old line of debating principals with facts, and that is what makes him special in the eyes of bloggers everywhere…

Since the passing of Steve Newton, he has been the only one to challenge me in any argument, and usually some pretty good stuff comes out of both sides during the exchange… I have respected that.. Cause once again, opinions mean dick. Facts are what we steer by.. It is my hope that in responding to his challenge that an answer may make itself apparent.. Who knows? It may not come from me… But if I’m the catalyst for bringing it out in the open, then… none of this was in vain..

Why I like to debate Duffy is simple.. Neither side, he or I, is concretely set in their opinions… We accept it when the other side makes sense… I usually go into such debates having no idea where they’ll end up… I hope the rest of you enjoy the ride as welI….

That said..

Duffy leads: Wall Street’s problems were caused by Fannie and Freddie loaning money to people they knew couldn’t pay and moreover, forcing banks to lend money to people who couldn’t pay. That was not deregulation but misregulation

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate.

First off, the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 was developed for, and locked in on, urban developmental areas and had no part of the subprime boom, which primarily occurred out in western desert regions where owning 4 to 5 investment homes was normal… Those homes were overwhelmingly funded by loan originators NOT SUBJECT to the act… We all know the crises was not because people couldn’t afford a payment on their house. It came about, because with no occupants, people could not afford the payments of 4 to 5 houses….. Instead of one loan per borrower turning up in default; four to five were.
Investment Homes lead forclosures not inner city Residences

Second off, The housing bubble reached its point of maximum inflation in 2005.
The Housing Bubble Starts to Dive in 2005
Courtesy of NYT

Third off, During those exact same years, Fannie and Freddie were sidelined by Congressional pressure, and saw a sharp drop in their share of loans secured by the Feds… Follow the dotted line on the very bottom of the graph…
Freddie and Fannie on the lowest line
Courtesy of NYT

Fourth off; During those exact same years, private secures, like Delaware’s own AIG, grabbed the lions share of the market.
Private, not Public Insurers Caused the Crash
Courtesy of NYT

Remember these graphs for later on when I discuss the results of deregulation, versus regulation… But like it or not, these graphs conclusively show that private insurers, who thanks to Marie Evans, we now know were deregulated by Phil Gramm in the 2000 Omnibus Bill, were the primary cause of the worlds financial collapse.. Probably put best by these words of AIG’s spokesperson, who when asked why they didn’t have sufficient funds to cover losses, said point blank, “We were deregulated. We were no laws requiring us to keep any funds, ..so we spent it…”

Duffy leads: The loosely regulated hedge funds escaped this mess largely unscathed. Why? They can’t count on a bailout like the big banks. The Too Big To Fail banks were counting on a bailout (not unlike the S&L bailouts which started on the Republican’s watch) and they got them.

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate. I agree that the hedge funds did survive better than the banks. Not because of bailouts, but because they sold short during the crises and made billions while firms closed and people got thrown out of work. There is nothing wrong with that; I did the same. In fact close readers may remember my warnings that the crises was impending almost a year earlier. Very close readers may remember my telling them exactly when to sell, and at what point the stock market would rebound… I must say: I called it rather well. 🙂

“Hedge funds were not in my understanding, at fault in the credit crisis,” said David Ruder, former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. “At the most what they did was to sell securities when some of their investments were declining and they needed to have liquid funds. They were not the architects of these problems.”

De regulated hedge funds are not the issue… De-regulated, excessively leveraged, mortgage securities, are a different story however… They, not the banks that held them, are the cause of the crises…Years from now, when academics search for causes of the stock market crash of 2008, they will focus on the pivotal role of mortgage-backed securities. These exotic financial instruments allowed a downturn in U.S. home prices to morph into a contagion that brought down Bear Stearns a year ago this month – and more recently have brought the global banking system to its knees.

Where you err is when you state that banks too big to fail, assumed they would be bailed out… By implication, you say imply they failed from squandering money, and wanted the bailouts.. But your tax dollars didn’t flow directly to the bottom line.

The roughly $200 billion the Treasury Department has handed out to battered banks was swapped for a special class of stock that pays a 5 percent dividend (rising to 9 percent after five years.) As of April 15, the Treasury had collected about $2.5 billion in dividend payments on its investment.

So in that sense, the bailout money represents an expense for banks. That’s one reason a number of banks have said they want to give the money back as soon as possible.

You say big banks were counting on a bailout, and they got them? That didn’t happen to these banks. New Mexico, Georgia, and Florida each lost a bank just last Friday. That brings to 8, the number of banks failed in June. Unfortunately if a bank is failing, it can’t bet on itself to fail, as can a hedge fund.

Duffy leads: Banks have successfully lobbied to get their losses absorbed by taxpayers and gains are kept private. How nice for them. They felt comfortable making insane gambles because they knew they’d be bailed out. Most of them were right. Also remember that it was Bill Clinton who tore down the wall between retail and investment banking. The idea was to give banks more stability as they typically perform as exact opposites in bull and bear markets. (FWIW, I think that was a good idea and I can tell you first hand that two of the Fortune 100 banks I worked for were carried by retail banking in bear years. They may not have had bonuses those years but they didn’t have layoffs either)

kavips rebutt’s:Uh… Mr. President. That’s not entirely accurate. The idea is that the banks made bad decisions knowing taxpayers would bail them out is the issue that is inaccurate. For the record, I have no qualms that it was the Clinton legacy who tore down the wall between banks and investment banking. Like you, I feel it was a good idea to do so… Again the problem was not primarily with banks making loans to people who could not pay.. Although, it was as late as October 2009, when I was made aware of one private Bank in Denver still exaggerating income to make loans look good enough on paper to get approval of securitization. What caused the collapse was the leveraging of those loans as securities, so that as the housing market became overextended, and the ARM jumped past the low cost opening years, the damage was 100 times worse because of leveraging. What made the collapse criminal, was that the insurance most financial institutions had bought from AIG, to cover such an improbable event, had already spent by that companies executives, out on bonuses to themselves. What made it doubly criminal, was that when they received government dollars through a taxpayer bailout, those same executives assumed it was to first go towards paying their bonuses again. However, very recent events may give some cover to the argument that some collusion was implicit in the bailing out of Goldman Sacs and AIG… Basically, once bailed out, AIG paid Goldman Sacs for shares twice as much as they were worth. The documents also indicate that regulators ignored recommendations from their own advisers to force the banks to accept losses on their A.I.G. deals and instead paid the banks in full for the contracts.

On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, the continuous guns fell silent…… After years of incoming artillery’s deep, resonant pounding,…..the quiet began. The rare pop of small arms fire,….. faded away. Cautiously a brave soul or two crawled out and stood on top of the trenches. Turning to the other side, they saw the enemy of just a few minutes before, mirroring their own actions…..It was truly over.

Compared to the rest of Europe, the US fared well. Germany, France, Great Britain lost an entire generation of their young men…..

Some dreamed that surely, after such a waste, there never could, or would be such a war again……

It was only a dream…..as history would soon prove……

On this day, there are 22 verified veterans left….worldwide. Four of these are Americans. Soon the last living memories of this war….. will fade away……….

My brush with living memories happened when I was in High School. What the German war machine failed to do………an insignificant clot accomplished. Those who visited, told stories of the dark, turbulent wrestling within the soul……They whispered of an alert mind, albeit one locked in the year 1917 from which it would ultimately and peacefully escape…. They spoke in hushed tones of an old man, possessing enormous strength, incapable of being subdued by even the hospital’s largest orderlies……They told of the soldier’s enterprising son, who climbing back into those years to be with him, and navigating the treacherous barbed wire memories, peacefully calmed him down, until the old soldier finally accepted that his war was over, and quietly signed his own armistice with God………..

We learned he had suffered from shell shock as they called it then, spending the post-war years in a sanitarium somewhere in occupied Germany, of the bland letters to his wife and unseen child back home, letters whose lack of substance during this vapid time, played rabidly on her fears of another women…..

We heard stories of involuntary reactions, occurring some twenty years later…of a face, framed by white hair, turned scarlet in the middle of a social gathering, when someone absently said, “Oh that was during the war.”

And then there were the personal effects, a letter rapidly written in German by a dying officer, with our hero’s first name mentioned as being the one entrusted to make sure the letter got back to his wife, a letter that said the war would soon be over for him, that the only important thing he hung onto as he crossed over to the the other side, were the times he and she had shared together……..As kids we used to march around in a dough boy’s hat, and a genuine spiked Prussian helmet. (the originals were all black, by the way, no silver.)

And then the youngest son, who came along after our soldier had mellowed somewhat, told of stumbling with his dad, across a model of one battlefield, I think it was Belleau Wood, and how that opened up the memories which, pent up for years, calmly flowed out unrepressed, with no emotional consequences.

Through this, we heard the story of a young officer defying a direct order to attack, solely because the objective was unattainable and trying to attempt it, would wipe out every one of his men….Who opting, instead of facing a firing squad, to have himself crawl into no mans land……accompanied only by his sergeant who had stood steadfast with him during this ordeal only to get ripped apart minutes later, had to lie there for two days protected under the warm, safe body which occasionally absorbed a well placed bullet, kept safe by only the tiniest rise of land preventing a direct shot…..

The story of showing up in France, and leading the AEF’s first attack, upon a fortified hill surrounded by the Meuse, and succeeding…..

Those memories didn’t die….they passed and took seed in another generation. Today they lie embedded in one more, a generation who once again questions the “why” of war.

Like his grandfather before him, this person too was brought up under a religion that seem to question war and tell us to “turn the other cheek.” Like his grandfather before him, this person too believes that sometimes there is no greater duty, than to give one’s life for one’s country……..How are these two, supposedly opposite points of view, ever to be reconciled?

We know that Jesus allowed his disciples to carry swords. During the final days, when he asks the disciples if they have a sword, and Peter shows two, he says that is enough…..But later that night when Peter uses his sword to protect Jesus and cuts off a servant’s ear, Jesus tells him sternly. “Put that away. We will have no more of that…”

Fascinating. This duality starts from the beginning of the Christian religion itself.

Throughout history, the worst wars fought have been religious ones. The longest animosities, the ones considered too hard to bury, are those originally pricked by religion….

When we are told to turn the other cheek, perhaps we are to do that on a personal level…. By doing so, hoping that we show others, just how deeply we believe these principals . Perhaps this line of thought recognizes that we are each small instruments of change; but a change of heart in multitudes of men, can implement massive changes…..Therefore doing a self deprecating act, such as dying for another, or carrying an enemy soldier’s bag an extra mile, can have a much greater impact overall, than another killing and the loss of one dead soldier…..

But as a nation of free people we have another responsibility. That responsibility is to ensure that justice, (or that which is right),… prevails over evil, (or that which is wrong)…. As some of you may note, there is a wide play of interpretation in just exactly what is right, and what is wrong…..

But for a strong nation to appease a despot like Stalin, Hitler, or those tyrants in Burma, does exactly the opposite of performing justice. Instead it shows others, despite our words, that we implicitly support these evil regimes, and in doing so, we fail to send hope and inspiration to those who fight, to right the wrongs caused by their misguided leaders….

War enacted by a political state is sometimes a necessity, the last remaining line of defense against the selfish designs of a demented few. Less pain and suffering worldwide, can be bandaged by enacting war, than by allowing open wounds to fester, rot, and spread their evil infection elsewhere.

Therefore as a nation, the United States must occasionally gamble all of it’s resources in the ultimate test…. One must on occasion risk all, to determine whether all was worthy to be risked……

Any nation is only as good as its foot soldiers,…. its grunts. Those choice veterans I know, with whom I’ve hugged, laughed, and cried, …… continue to reinforce the notion I once had as a child: that based on the quality of people who put their lives on the line for this nation, we are truly the best nation to have ever lived upon this planet……..

Hube is married to a Latina. Chavez is also a Latina. It may seem hard to believe, but based on evidence to the contrary, it could be possible that Hube supports the policies of Chavez. Even up to a whopping !% chance that he does. IT COULD BE POSSIBLE.

Mike M is familiar with geo positioning technology. In the wrong hands, that could be dangerous. He has recently returned from Canada, which has less stringent border requirements than does the US. There could be a chance that he spoke with someone about sensitive technology. Perhaps even a gigantic 1% chance that it possibly could have happened. BUT STILL, IT COULD BE POSSIBLE.

Randy, has left WGMD. Sometimes a personal event can change a person’s perspective. He is knowledgeable of radio technology. That knowledge in the wrong hands, could be dangerous. Perhaps there is even a 1% chance that he will instigate some type of disruptive event. You say it is far fetched. I say THERE IS A POSSIBILITY!

Congressman Mike Castle has supported the war in Iraq. despite the fact that it removes resources devoted to finding Bin Laden in Northwestern Waziristan. Why would someone WANT TO LET UP pressure on America’s number one terrorist, if that person wasn’t being a sympathizer to Al Qaeda’s cause? What other reason would representative Mike Castle have for aiding and abetting Bin Laden? The chances are possible that he is a mole, operating not to defend the Constitution, but under code from a lanky Arab who climbs over rocks and shoots a gun……(at least that is all we ever see him do…) You laugh, but look at the results. There is at least, if one rounds up, a 1% chance that congressman Mike Castle is helping Al Qaeda. IT COULD BE POSSIBLE.

Dave at FSP supported McCain in 2000, and now supports Mitt. Anyone who supports Mitt Romney is aware of his views on Iraq. His sons have not joined any branch of the Armed Services…. Does that mean that secretly, Mitt does not want them fighting and killing terrorists? By default, anyone who does not want to fight or kill Al Qaeda, must want them to live. Therefore anyone who WANTS a terrorist to live, is being supportive of their cause. Dave, who supports Mitt, who supports his sons’ decisions. which indirectly support sparing the lives of terrorists, could be considered a co-conspirator. At least there could be, again rounded up, a 1% CHANCE THAT IT IS SO.

The Cheney doctrine is as follows: Even if there’s just a 1 percent chance of the unimaginable coming due, act as if it is a certainty. It’s not about ‘our analysis,‘ as Cheney said. It’s about ‘our response.’ … Justified or not, fact-based or not, ‘our response’ is what matters. As to ‘evidence,’ the bar was set so low that the word itself almost didn’t apply.

You laugh, but look at those arrested so far on terroristic charges. Granted it is hard to arrest, and prove intent before a crime has been committed. Sometimes the flimsiest of evidence is necessary to proffer a conviction. And sometimes the evidence is stretched a little too thin. We are fortunate that ultimately our actions will be judged, not by government officials, but by twelve citizens culled from a pool of those who could not escape their jury notices. We are fortunate that members from such a group would be skeptical of the government’s infallibility.

But acting on the possibility of 1% chance of a terrorist attack, as we demonstrated in the above examples, crosses the line that differentiates the reasonable from the unreasonable.

The underlying tenet that makes unthinking Americans susceptible and willing to believe this nonsense,.. is that on an emotional basis, it makes sense. After all, I still vaccinate my children for diseases they have less than a 1% chance of exposure.

However that being granted, the simplistic doctrine of “if at least 1 percent, then act becomes especially frightening in the context of international conflicts, not just because of the number of threats misconstrued to meet the 1 percent threshold is overwhelmingly large, but because the consequences of misconstrued military action are so terrible, expensive, and irrevocable.

Therefore the emotional argument turns against the 1% doctrine. What do we have to give up to maintain such an unrealistic level of security? Here are some examples……….

At the last Drinking Liberally, I ordered a Heineken. Across the bar was a Miller Lite drinker, dressed conservatively, who glared at me. I deduced there was more than a 1% chance he would give me trouble…….I shot him.

My wife visited the Doctor. “Anything wrong” he asked and she said “I woke up with this scratchy throat. It could be allergies.” He said it could be cancer and if it is, we don’t have time for conclusive tests. Begin chemotherapy now, just in case.

The leader of the free world, conferred with his second in command. The consensus was that they could attack a third world nation intent on building a nuclear weapon before the leader’s term was up. Just as in the last engagement, no one worked through the possible consequences of their drastic action. Perhaps Russia will retaliate with a nuclear attack of their own. There is at least a 1% chance of Armageddon.

As Cheney said. “It’s about ‘our response.’ … Justified or not, fact-based or not, ‘our response’ is what matters.

So impeach now.

Education is a vast enterprise, covering the scope of human existence. Currently our nations entire bureaucratic focus is to raise our test scores. This starts on a national scale and penetrates right down to the roots of each individual. Obviously, to increase test scores, you remove those who are pulling down the average.

Since our obsession with test scores has mushroomed, so has our dropout rate. More students are failing to graduate. Is there a correlation?

It seems from personal experience that as soon as a child has taken his last DSTP in March of his 10th grade year, he is considered a lame duck, and is left in educational limbo. Of course that is not true, all school administration officials will sound…..but for those skeptics I challenge them to compare the intensity that exists before the test to that of the educational process that occurs afterward.

So from society’s point of view, what good does it do to increase test scores marginally, even as we fail to graduate more of those same students? In energy talk…..we are drilling a dry well.

Since Delaware, due to the relationship of its size to its wealth, is the perfect laboratory to test this rethinking, we should begin debating the use of graduation rates to rank our schools.

But wait,…. some of the more astute will say. That is just what we did before testing and people were being passed to the next grade even though they were not ready? They are right. Graduation rates alone should not be the final word in ranking a school.

When struggling with a problem, it is always prudent to ask, 1) who is doing it right and 2) how can we do what they are doing. Reinventing the wheel is usually fun, but is always much more expensive than purchasing one cheap that does the job.

Except for the US, almost all other industrialized nations have a comprehensive exam that is taken post secondary school. We have two that could be used. The ACT and the SAT. Our higher educational institutions have relied on these two tests for half a century to determine the future potential of a high school graduate.

So what if we made the SAT mandatory? To be taken at the end of the senior year? For one, most college bound students have already taken it twice, so perhaps they may pull off their highest score yet……. 2) It is pre-standardized making the act of developing a separate state test nothing more than a waste of money. 3) It can be trained and taught within a curriculum that begins with the seventh grade. 4) Every student can be given the pre-study books out today that not only trains one on the questions that will be asked, but in the explanations provided, actually teaches how to solve the problems better than all but the most motivating teachers on the planet. 5). As a student graduates, the test score beside their name, gives future institutions a clear idea of whether they deserved to graduate.

Therefore, by streamlining the DSTP to blend and meet with the future criteria of the final Comprehensive Exam (SAT), we can use that data to determine and rate the effectiveness of each student, each teacher, each school, each district, each state, as well as the quality of our nation’s educational output compared to our intellectual rivals for future economic opportunities.

Now that we have a way of measuring results, it is time we get to the heart of the problem and figure out how to stem the drop out rate that is extremely high in schools where our poverty is the highest.

Again we turn to someone who has succeeded. The inner city district showing the most success is the Boston District. Basically they have found that it is rather cheap to target those individuals where intercession is needed, intercede, and follow through up to the point they graduate.

Delaware does well in the lower grades (K-5). Our problems develop first at the middle school level, and continue into the district’s high schools. Based on the inner city districts of other cities, we can be reasonably assured that if and when a Wilmington District is reborn, that it will have the highest drop out rate of all Delaware’s schools. Especially if nothing is done to intercede.

The intercession dollar amount tabulated in Boston was between 600 to 800 additional dollars needed per student. In Delaware this funding will need to come from other sources outside the current revenue flow patterns for our schools.

The Chicago school district study reveals an even finer point. Based on correlations with those who failed in freshman year or 9th grade, with those who failed to graduate, by interceding just with those failing or about to fail (D), one could make drastic reductions in the graduation failure rate, and increase the numbers of those continuing education beyond high school.

The most interesting facet of the study was this caveat. Interviews with 8th graders still showed strong positive outlooks towards their future. Many thought they were going to college, or getting a great job. But physical data directly shows that those who fail one grade in freshman year, will probably not go all the way to finish high school.

One failing grade during freshman year has not been considered critical. The student has three years left, they can make it up. But evidence shows that the tendency exists to fail another courses the next year and the year after that. It is the accumulative effect that disillusions most students who then fail to apply excessive effort.

100% success rate is a worthy goal, and may be achievable. However my concern is reducing the rate of drop outs.

What worked in Chicago was targeting those in freshman year who needed additional help, and giving it to them. Once they had the basics down pat in algebra, the tended to do well on their own in the upper classes.

Of course parents and society have a part to play in the ennui occurring in each student. But even those students who had nothing to go home to, if given proper respect, encouragement, and instruction at school, they too began to believe in themselves despite their economic surroundings.

This is just one head of Delaware’s hydra of educational problems. But for someone looking for a bang for the buck, and willing to donate substantial funds to do Wilmington’s poverty stricken schools some good, this intense focus on incoming high school freshmen, just might to the trick…………

Positivity works with children. Negativity works for wizened adults. Unless you turn an inner city school into a meaningful experience for each student who lives in an inner city environment, you give them no reason for wanting to succeed.

Daddy, what do you know about the Electronic Revolution? Teacher says it took place early this century and that it changed a lot of how we do things today. I would like to know more, but teacher says I should ask you.

“She did, huh?”

“Well……. your grandpa and a couple of people at the same time just got mad at how things were being run in their small state and decided to use a new medium at the time to yell about it. As more and more people began checking into what exactly they were saying, more and more people came into agreement, and said, yeah, we feel that way two. Suddenly the entire population felt the same way as they did.”

“This made a several powerful people angry, because they had secret plans that they wanted to accomplish. And before, when no one was paying any attention, they could do a lot of bad things with other people’s money, like spend it on themselves, and no one would ever know. But after the Electronic Revolution, when everything they did became known by everyone else, they had no choice but to change their habits and not do those bad things anymore. Everybody was watching.”

“What bad things were they doing?”

“One of the worst, was they were not changing with the times. As people became more and more modern they wanted more things done. Like you want to do more now that you are 9, than you did when you were 3. You used to be happy walking around in a big circle…….remember that? Walking, running, walking? You did it all the time. But it is not so fun anymore, now is it?”

“So when someone wanted to change the law to make things better for everybody else, these people would stick it in a drawer and never open it again. That law would stay in that dark drawer with all the other bills people wanted passed, because by law, that was the end of the bill. And when they wanted to talk about how to spend our money, no one was allowed to listen in. It was done in secret, and we would find out too late, that our money was already spent by some friends of that man who put the bill in his drawer……”

“Teacher said something about newspaper’s? What were they?”

“Ahhh……newspapers…….that goes way back. Well, in those days believe it or not, many people did not have computers, and if they did, most of them did not know how to properly use them. So they got their information printed on big sheets of paper, which newspaper boys sold to make some money. But at that time the newspaper companies had became so preoccupied with getting more and more money that they stopped printing what people wanted to hear, and since the news was always uncovered first on a blog anyway, most people stopped buying the papers.”

“Why did they stop printing what people wanted to hear?”

“Well the newspapers became more concerned with presenting a certain point of view. Telling others only what they wanted them to believe. They were trying to print only good news about the bad people, and were not telling the public just how bad those people were……..”

“So how did people find out?”

“Well these few brave people, one of which was your grandfather, would talk to people who had something to say and then write it on their blog for everyone to see. Those people your grandfather would talk to had first gone to the newspapers, who would pretend to be interested, but in end, wouldn’t print the bad news for people to read, because they were paid lots of advertising dollars by those very candidates who put bills in drawers. So those people told the bloggers what they knew and the bloggers printed the truth for everyone to see.”

“When did it happen?”

It happened between 06 and 07, many years ago. Many people learned to blog for the 06 election. After it was over, they continued looking at the government officials and wrote about them nonstop.”

“Because of them, many changes took place in the state. Some of those bills that were buried in the drawer, were pulled out and became law. People were happy.”

“Why is it called the Electronic Revolution?”

“Because it changed things. Before, with just television, people learned how to control it and would only tell people what they wanted them to hear. If you had a question and wanted to find something out about a candidate, you couldn’t. You just had to listen to whatever he said and decide whether you liked him or not…….”

“During the electronic revolution, instead of only a few hundred reporters looking over your shoulder, and most of them only wrote follow up stories based on what one or two reporters who broke the story, you had anyone and everyone who knew how to search the internet, looking at everything you ever did. Because politicians knew that someone would one day find out the truth, they were more careful to look like they actually cared for their citizens.”

“Also, especially in our small state, the bloggers on opposite ends would actually post messages to each other, and eventually they realized that both sides wanted changes to take place that would allow the public to see what was going on.”

“So Dad. how can I sum it up for my report tomorrow? The electronic revolution did………?”

“How about this. The electronic revolution returned the power of government away from elected officials, and back to the people, for the people, giving them once again, a government of the people?

George W's  Imperial Palace:  Baghdad

As the Bush administration struggles to weave together any positive pieces out of Iraq, into a quilt large enough to hide themselves and his administration behind, more servicemen die each day. More money goes bye-bye. More bad news filters back.

With everything going on I missed the anniversary of a deceit fostered on Congress by this administration. Just a little over a year ago today, Bush spoke before a large Chicago convention and said, ” We have now reached a turning point in the struggle between freedom and terror”, he said, pouring on the optimism. “Iraqis have demonstrated that democracy is the hope of the Middle East, and the destiny of all mankind. …….Years from now, people will look back on the formation of a unity government in Iraq, as a decisive moment in the liberty, a moment when freedom gained a firm foothold in the Middle East and the forces of terror began their long retreat.

Two days later an intelligence assessment (pg 471), classified as SECRET, was circulated among White House staff members that showed the forces of terror were not on retreat. It was a stunning refutation of the president’s forecasts most recently made in Chicago, just two days earlier.

In large print it stated: “ATTACKS IN MAY WILL LIKELY SURPASS APRIL LEVELS WHICH WERE THE HIGHEST EVER RECORDED. THE SUNNI ARAB INSURGENCY IS GAINING STRENGTH AND INCREASING CAPACITY DESPITE POLITICAL PROGRESS AND IRAQI SECURITY FORCES DEVELOPMENT.

This was next to a chart showing average attacks per day climbing consistently from January 06 at 72, up each subsequent month: 87, 95, 110, 113 in May 06. A ten point average daily climb would result in an increase of 30o each month. It is the trend that is noticeable, not the number of attacks. As we Americans back home were propelled towards a midterm election, we were being force fed on our progress in Iraq, not that we were steadily losing the battle of security.

This SECRET report continues: INSURGENTS AND TERRORISTS RETAIN THE RESOURCES AND CAPABILITIES TO SUSTAIN AND EVEN INCREASE CURRENT LEVEL OF VIOLENCE THROUGH THE NEXT YEAR. The picture could have not been darker.

The US had about 130,000 troops, about 80% of the height of 160,000, and the Iraqis had steadily added security forces and now had some 269,000 military and police. Many of these Iraqis had taken the lead, running security operations within Iraq, although even they had US military advisers embedded with them. We were doing all the right things……….why was it not getting better?

The SECRET transcript says more. ASSESSMENT: CONTINUING SECURITY AND SABOTAGE DIVERT RECONSTRUCTION FUNDS TO TRIAGE REPAIRS AND FUEL IMPORTS. PRODUCTION UNLIKELY TO MEET 2006 MINISTRY OF OIL TARGETS WITHOUT INFRASTRUCTURE REHABILITATION, ENHANCED SECURITY AND EXPANDED FOREIGN INVESTMENT.

The political front was preoccupied with the fight for control between the ministries of Sunnis and those of the Shiites. MINISTERS WILL BE POLITICALLY LOYAL TO THEIR RESPECTIVE PARTIES AND SOME MINISTRIES ARE LIKELY TO BECOME HAVENS FOR THE POLITICAL PARTIES WHO CONTROL THEM.

THREATS OF SHIA ASCENDANCY COULD HARDEN AND EXPAND SHIA MILITANT OPPOSITION AND INCREASE CALLS FOR COALITION WITHDRAWAL.”

SHIA MILITIA INTEGRATION MAY ALIENATE SUNNI ARABS, MANY OF WHOM VIEW SHIA GROUPS AS COMPLICIT IN EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS.

Other intelligence added to the bleak picture. It was at this time that advanced IED’s called explosively formed penetrators (EFP’s) were tearing apart our Humvee’s, Bradley’s, and even penetrating our Abrams. They were not that high tech, but required sufficient sophistication that they could not have been handmade. The high quality of machining and the higher quality of triggering devices had been traced to Iran. Some were triggered by passive infrared devices that could overcome US countermeasures.

It is obvious why this was not made public. If it had leaked it would have cause a fire that could have cost the election. First to fall would be the administration’s credibility. “Hey republicans, are you sure it’s not another WMD?” Second, if it were true, it meant that Iran was killing American soldiers, an act of war. Opponents of the original war had proposed that it would lead to war with Iran…..and here it was proving true. Third, the EFP’s were being fed to a few Shia groups in the south. Suppose the Iranians were to give the technology and knowhow to the militant Sunni’s, the group responsible for 95% of the attacks on US forces? Polls showed that 50% of Sunni’s had positive feelings towards the insurgency. Since Sunnis were 20% of the population of Iraq, that means that at least 10% of the entire population of 20 million, or at least 2 million, looked favorably upon the insurgency. It is now too late. There is no way to turn them around. To win, as republicans want us to do, we will have to kill 2 million people, one third of Hitler’s Holocaust totals.

Here is what we heard, the next day, if you dare remember. This is General Pace, Chairman of Joint Chief of Staff: ” Sure the attacks are up. Folks want this place to be ungovernable so that when it is ungovernable, we will walk away and they can take over. So you can expect the attacks to stay up because every day that Maliki and parliament meet it is a bad day for those who are creating the attacks.” The reporter asks: “so are they on the ropes?” He answered, ” they are on the ropes …………if this parliament continues to function, and this prime minister continues to function.”

” You are going to sound like Cheney…” commented the reporter. “You want to retract that?” “I do,” he replied. “I would like to retract that. Thank you. I appreciate that. I appreciate the courtesy.”

The reporter then asked about victory and how it might be achieved? He acknowledged that there would have to be self government and physical reconstruction of the country for that to happen. “Is this going to happen in your lifetime?” he was asked and he replied in true military fashion: “Yes it is. Well, I hope, yeah. I don’t know, “ he said. “I should retract that line. It can happen in my lifetime…….”

Here is the kicker. On May 26, two days after the intelligence assessment, and one day after Pace’s acknowledgment that we at least had very difficult times ahead, the Pentagon released a mandated public report to Congress entitled “Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.” Although there was a report embedded in the middle of the 65 page document, that showed the attacks per week were over 600, the document put its most positive spin on stability and security.

Some of the happy talk: “Anti Iraqi forces, extremists and terrorists continue to fail in their campaign to derail the political process. and to foment civil war.” the report said, omitting any mention of the dark estimates lifted from the recent intelligence assessment. ” “More than 80 percent of attacks were concentrated in just four of Iraq’s 18 provinces”, it said as if violence had actually gone down. It failed to mention that those four provinces, included Baghdad, and contained 47% of the population. The report predicts that Iraqi rejectionists will maintain strength levels through 2006. But the report went on and completely fabricated this line: ” that the appeal and motivation for continued violent action will begin to wane in early 2007″. The Pentagon report to Congress flatly contradicted its own secret assessment two days earlier that said that terrorists and insurgents retained the resources and capabilities to ” sustain and even increase current levels of violence through the next year.”

Isn’t lying before Congress a crime?

So who’s to blame. You can’t blame the military. They are being forced to put their best face forward and spin positive the impossible task to which they have been given.

You can’t blame the soldiers. They truly are America’s best and are doing an amazing job. They have but one order: to do their duty. And they do it so well. When asked to serve, they stepped up, and anywhere they go, they make a large impact. If anyone is to receive the blame for this shame, it belongs, not so much to those who are responsible for putting our troops into this mess, but to those who abdicated their responsibility to pull them out on time, thereby abandoning them and leaving them stuck in Iraq.

The President is in denial. His administration can pursue only one option. We had this before, when the Nixon administration hunkered down, defending its cover up of the Watergate affair. We can yell at him all we want, but he can’t hear us…………

If America is to pull back from the precipice, and acknowledge that we can’t butcher the 2 million Sunnis required to win, and recognize that we need to pursue other options besides the military one, ir America is to change its destiny, the push that will tip the balance, needs to come from Congress. Not the Democrats mind you, for they do not have the 67 votes needed to overcome the certain veto. It will require the defection of Senate Republicans, one by one, away from the failed policies of Cheney-Bush who commenced a policy so flawed, that even our generals estimate that it will take the Holocaust of 2 million Sunni’s to win the war. It is strictly on the shoulders of these 18 republican (or independent) Senators, that all hope lies. If you have a Republican senator, they need to hear from enough of you, their constituents, to know that their jobs are in jeopardy should they fail. They also need to know they will be forgiven, if they change their votes right now. It is not the brave, but the fence sitters who now hold America’s future in their hands. The destiny of those who will not come back, lies in their decision. Those eighteen are in need of our prayers and our support. They need to know you care. Each voter who has a Republican Senator should take on as their personal responsibility, to call them and ask how long the are willing to prolong a dying cause. Tell them you know it will take the slaughter of 2 million Sunni’s for us to win? Tell them that is unacceptable for Americans. For without your pressure, calls, and letters, those eighteen would continue to plod along through a vacuum devoid of facts, spun by this administration deep in denial, and unknowingly throw this country’s reputation away for some cheap assurances of political loyalty.

Had the opportunity to watch the Health Care debate in Las Vegas. Here are some of the gems.

“We are looking at a system where people tell you the words you want to hear, but are less than forthcoming with plans to make it happen.”

“Half of the bankruptcies in this country are the result of people not being able to pay their hospital bills.”

“31% of the money in the insurance system goes toward the “for profit” system. Using that toward bringing down health costs would prevent financial insolvency.”

“Corporate profits, stock options, execuitive salarys takes 31% out of the healthcare dollar with no benefit to the health of anyone.”

“Doctors do testing to cover their backsides. do away with malpractice.”

“Take the profit out of medicine. Health care is a right, not a privelege,”

“Who has the courage and willingness to take a stand for the American people and take on the insurance companies who give us diminishing returns and insist on higher co-pays and higher deductibles.”

“How does Ameica plan to stay competitive against other countries with lower health care costs.”

“If Individuals hold on to more of their money, using only a fraction of the money to maintain the system. eliminate costs, purchase drugs by bulk, thereby passing the lower costs on to the economy”.

“Single pay, medicare option is the way to go. If people chose this option, this country could evolve. Competition among insurance companies is not the answer for competition drives up prices. Each company is cherry picking for the most lucrative health dollars, whereas the poor will get stuck on Walter Reed type government programs which will collapse under the strain, and a death spiral of the entire system will occur.”

“Some suggest that the government provide subsidies to insurance companies. Did it work for pharmeceuticals? Take insurance companies out of the picture. Health Care is a right.”

“The change will not happen through Congress. Are you kidding? They are beholden to too many lobbyists. Any attempt to change will be chopped up, water downed giving, no relief.”

“This country is literally bankrupt. Controlled by the military industrial complex, this country is whistling through the grave yard. You cannot trust a president. You can only trust the Amercan people. We need a plan where you chose the options. You know what is best for you. On this issue, you cannot trust the leadership. They have been screwing up for fifty years, have you had enough yet…..”

‘There is a role for the president. That is to change the culture. To energize the environment which sets a tone to demand from us the best that is in us. We diet all the time, but with a trainer we have a greater chance of success. The president is not an solution, the president is a tool, the people can use it.’

‘Lobbyists pay for the people who pay for the campaigns that pay for the candidates who pay for the marketers who manipulate you people to vote for those who have been told to suscribe to the view that was paid for originally.’ — Gravell