micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links

Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.

Please send him email at micahth@chartermi.net.

Holmquist's full archives are listed here.

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Sites Holmquist trys, and often fails, to go no more than a couple of days without visiting (some of which Holmquist regularly swipes links from without attribution)

Aljazeera.Net English
AlterNet (War on Iraq)
Alternative Press Review
Always Low Prices -- Always
Another Irani online
antiwar.com (blog)
Asia Times Online
Axis of Logic
Baghdad Burning (riverbend)
BBC News
blogdex.net ("track this weblog")
The Christian Science Monitor (Daily Update)
Common Dreams
Daily Rotten
Democracy Now
The Drudge Report
Eat the Press (Harry Shearer, The Huffington Post)
Empire Notes (Rahul Mahajan)
frontpagemag.com (HorowitzWatch)
Guardian Unlimited
The Independent
Information Clearing House
Informed Comment (Juan Cole)
Iranians for Peace

Iraq Dispatches (Dahr Jamail)
Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation
Iraq Occupation and Resistance Report (Psychoanalysts for Peace and Justice)
Mr. Show and Other Comedy
The Narco News Bulletin (blog)
The New York Times
Occupation Watch
Political Theory Daily Review
Press Action
Project Syndicate
Raed in the Middle (Raed Jarrar)
The Simpsons Archive
Simpsons Collector Sector
Technorati ("search for mth.blogspot.com")
United States Central Command
U.S. Embassy Baghdad, Iraq
War Report (Project on Defense Alternatives)
The Washington Post
Wildfire (Jo Wilding)
wood s lot
www.mnftiu.cc (David Rees)

Blogs that for one reason or another Holmquist would like to read on at least something of a regular basis (always in development)

Thivai Abhor
As'ad AbuKhalil
Ken Adrian
Christopher Allbritton
Douglas Anders
Mark W. Anderson
Aziz Ansari
Atomic Archive
James Benjamin
Elton Beard
Charlie Bertsch
alister black
Blame India Watch
Blog Left: Critical Interventions Warblog / war blog
Igor Boog
Martin Butler
Chris Campbell
James M. Capozzola
Avedon Carol
Elaine Cassel
cats blog
Jeff Chang
Margaret Cho
Citizens Of Upright Moral Character
Louis CK
Les Dabney
Natalie Davis
Scoobie Davis
The Day Job
Jodi Dean
Dominic Duval
Steve Earle
Daniel Ellsberg
Tom Engelhardt
Lisa English
Barbara Flaska
Brian Flemming
Joe Foster
Yoshie Furuhashi
Al Giordano
Rob Goodspeed
Grand Puba
Guardian Unlimited Weblog
Pete Guither
The Hairy Eyeball
Ray Hanania
Mark Hand
Hector Rottweiller Jr's Web Log Jim Henley Arvin Hill Hit & Run (Reason) Hugo Clark Humphrey Indri The Iraqi Agora Dru Oja Jay Jeff Lynne d Johnson Dallas Jones Julia Kane Blues Benjamin Kepple Ken Layne Phil Leggiere Brian Linse Adam Magazine Majority Report Radio Marc Maron Josh Marshall Jeralyn Merritt J.R. Mooneyham Michael Scott Moore Bob Morris Bob Mould Mr. Show and Tell Muslims For Nader/Camejo David Neiwert NewPages Weblog Aimee Nezhukumatathil Sean O'Brien Patton Oswalt The Panda's Thumb Randy Paul Rodger A. Payne Ian Penman politx Neal Pollack Greg Proops Pro-War.com Pure Polemics Seyed Razavi Rayne Simon Reynolds richardpryor.com Clay Richards Mike Rogers Yuval Rubinstein
Steven Rubio
Saragon Noah Shachtman Court Schuett The Simpsons Archive Amardeep Singh Sam Smith Soundbitten Jack Sparks Ian Spiers Morgan Spurlock Stand Down: The Left-Right Blog Opposing an Invasion of Iraq Aaron Stark Morgaine Swann Tapped (The American Prospect) tex Matthew Tobey Annie Tomlin Tom Tomorrow The University Without Condition Jesse Walker Warblogger Watch Diane Warth The Watchful Babbler The Weblog we have brains Matt Welch
Alex Whalen
Jon Wiener
Lizz Winstead
James Wolcott
Wooster Collective
Mickey Z

Sunday, January 16, 2005
"Democracy simply does not work," Kent Brockman was right to say: Bush says he hates America

Bush says he doesn't have to be accountable and the public had judged him to be right on Iraq because he beat a guy who agreed with him on all of the major issues involving Iraq, Jim VandeHei and Michael A. Fletcher report in today's Washington Post.

tex of antiwar.com has a take on this that's worth reading. I'm going line by line with the story:

President Bush said the public's decision to reelect him was a ratification of his approach toward Iraq and that there was no reason to hold any administration officials accountable for mistakes or misjudgments in prewar planning or managing the violent aftermath.
This is badly written and I'd have doubts about what the second part means if this weren't Team Bush in question.
"We had an accountability moment, and that's called the 2004 elections," Bush said in an interview with The Washington Post. "The American people listened to different assessments made about what was taking place in Iraq, and they looked at the two candidates, and chose me."
Since there were more than two candidates and I voted for one of these "third" candidates, I want to thank Bush for informing me that I don't count. By the way, I'm opposed to the death penalty, but I don't think Bush should count under this opposition.
With the Iraq elections two weeks away and no signs of the deadly insurgency abating, Bush set no timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops and twice declined to endorse Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's recent statement that the number of Americans serving in Iraq could be reduced by year's end. Bush said he will not ask Congress to expand the size of the National Guard or regular Army, as some lawmakers and military experts have proposed.
a wide-ranging, 35-minute interview aboard Air Force One on Friday, Bush laid out new details of his second-term plans for both foreign and domestic policy. For the first time, Bush said he will not press senators to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, the top priority for many social conservative groups. And he said he has no plans to cut benefits for the approximately 40 percent of Social Security recipients who collect monthly disability and survivor payments as he prepares his plan for partial privatization.
Re Social Security, one thing Gore was right about was the idea of a "lock box." If you are going to have the system, Congress shouldn't use it as a piggy bank.

I'm going to assume that Bush just doesn't care about marriage. Funny how he once said, "the preservation of marriage rises to this level of national importance. The union of a man and woman is the most enduring human institution, honoring -- honored and encouraged in all cultures and by every religious faith. Ages of experience have taught humanity that the commitment of a husband and wife to love and to serve one another promotes the welfare of children and the stability of society. Marriage cannot be severed from its cultural, religious and natural roots without weakening the good influence of society. Government, by recognizing and protecting marriage, serves the interests of all."

Bush must hate America.

Bush was relaxed, often direct and occasionally expansive when discussing his second-term agenda, Iraq and lessons he has learned as president. Sitting at the head of a long conference table in a cabin at the front of the presidential plane, Bush wore a blue Air Force One flight jacket with a red tie and crisp white shirt. Three aides, including his new communications adviser, Nicolle Devenish, accompanied him.
I really needed to know what Bush was wearing.
With his inauguration days away, Bush defended the administration's decision to force the District of Columbia to spend $12 million of its homeland security budget to provide tighter security for this week's festivities. He also warned that the ceremony could make the city "an attractive target for terrorists."

"By providing security, hopefully that will provide comfort to people who are coming from all around the country to come and stay in the hotels in Washington and to be able to watch the different festivities in Washington, and eat the food in Washington," Bush said. "I think it provides them great comfort to know that all levels of government are working closely to make this event as secure as possible."

I have a hard time understanding how anybody can about Bush's little party.
The president's inaugural speech Thursday will focus on his vision for spreading democracy around the world, one of his top foreign policy goals for the new term. But it will be Iraq that dominates White House deliberations off stage. Over the next two weeks, Bush will be monitoring closely Iraq's plan to hold elections for a 275-member national assembly. He must also deliver his State of the Union address with a message of resolve on Iraq, and he will need to seek congressional approval for about $100 billion in emergency spending, much of it for the war.
What we would we do without this report?
In the interview, the president urged Americans to show patience as Iraq moves slowly toward creating a democratic nation where a dictatorship once stood. But the relentless optimism that dominated Bush's speeches before the U.S. election was sometimes replaced by pragmatism and caution.

"On a complicated matter such as removing a dictator from power and trying to help achieve democracy, sometimes the unexpected will happen, both good and bad," he said. "I am realistic about how quickly a society that has been dominated by a tyrant can become a democracy. . . . I am more patient than some."

This isn't new.
Last week, Powell said U.S. troop levels could be reduced this year, but Bush said it is premature to judge how many U.S. men and women will be needed to defeat the insurgency and plant a new and sustainable government. He also declined to pledge to significantly reduce U.S. troop levels before the end of his second term in January 2009.
That may happen. If Uncle Sam leaves Iraq in my lifetime, I have little doubt it will be because they were forced out.
"The sooner the Iraqis are . . . better prepared, better equipped to fight, the sooner our troops can start coming home," he said. Bush did rule out asking Congress to increase the size of the National Guard and regular army, as many lawmakers, including the president's 2004 opponent, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), are urging. "What we're going to do is make sure that the missions of the National Guard and the reserves closely dovetail with active army units, so that the pressure . . . is eased."
Which means what?
A new report released last week by U.S. intelligence agencies warned that the war in Iraq has created a training ground for terrorists. Bush called the report "somewhat speculative" but acknowledged "this could happen. And I agree. If we are not diligent and firm, there will be parts of the world that become pockets for terrorists to find safe haven and to train. And we have a duty to disrupt that."
The disturbing thing about Bush is that he is as much of an asshole when he is honest as when he isn't.
As for perhaps the most notorious terrorist, Osama bin Laden, the administration has so far been unsuccessful in its attempt to locate the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Asked why, Bush said, "Because he's hiding." While some terrorism experts complain U.S. allies, such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, could do more to help capture the al Qaeda leader, Bush said he could not name a single U.S. ally that is not doing everything possible to assist U.S. efforts.
What the fuck? Even those that aren't helping Team Bush "liberate" Iraq? If there was a decent media, this guy would have to get his story straight.
"I am pleased about the hunt, and I am pleased he's isolated," Bush said. "I will be more pleased when he's brought to justice, and I think he will be."
Bush acknowledged that the United States' standing has diminished in some parts of the world and said he has asked Condoleezza Rice, his nominee to replace Powell at the State Department, to embark on a public diplomacy campaign that "explains our motives and explains our intentions."
If this gang were trustworthy, this might have a shot at working. Oh who the hell am I kidding? My realistic nightmare is that it does work. Team Bush is good at dishonesty.
Bush acknowledged that "some of the decisions I've made up to now have affected our standing in parts of the world," but predicted that most Muslims will eventually see America as a beacon of freedom and democracy.

"There's no question we've got to continue to do a better job of explaining what America is all about," he said.

What is it "all about"?
On the domestic front, Bush said he would not lobby the Senate to pass a constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage.

While seeking reelection, Bush voiced strong support for such a ban, and many political analysts credit this position for inspiring record turnout among evangelical Christians, who are fighting same-sex marriage at every juncture. Groups such as the Family Research Council have made the marriage amendment their top priority for the next four years.

The president said there is no reason to press for the amendment because so many senators are convinced that the Defense of Marriage Act -- which says states that outlaw same-sex unions do not have to recognize such marriages conducted outside their borders -- is sufficient. "Senators have made it clear that so long as DOMA is deemed constitutional, nothing will happen. I'd take their admonition seriously. . . . Until that changes, nothing will happen in the Senate."

Translation: I can say whatever I want. Your job is to believe it.
Bush's position is likely to infuriate some of his socially conservative supporters, but congressional officials say it will be impossible to secure the 67 votes needed to pass the amendment in the Senate.

Yesterday morning, the day after the interview, White House spokesman Scott McClellan called to say the president wished to clarify his position, saying Bush was "willing to spend political capital" but believes it will be virtually impossible to overcome Senate resistance until the courts render a verdict on DOMA.

I blame Bush for destroying marriage and thus America. Either that or just being a lying asshole.
On the subject of revamping Social Security, Bush said he has no intention of making changes that would affect the approximately 40 percent of Social Security recipients who receive disability or survivor benefits. The Bush administration has privately told Republicans that the White House plan to restructure Social Security will include a reduction in benefits for future retirees. The interview marked the first time Bush strongly suggested disability and survivor benefits would be shielded.

"Frankly, our discussions in terms of reform have not centered on the survivor-disability aspect of Social Security," Bush said. "We're talking about the retirement system of Social Security."

I have trouble caring.
Bush has put an overhaul of Social Security at the top of his domestic priorities. He has revealed few details of his reform proposal, except to say he wants to enable young workers to voluntarily divert a portion of their taxes to private accounts. Program participants could then pass the accounts to their heirs.

Bush said it is imperative that the White House and Congress deal with the "baby boomer bulge" that is threatening the long-term solvency of Medicare as well. Medicare faces the same demographic crunch imperiling Social Security in coming decades, as the population grows older and more money is taken out of the system to pay benefits than is put in by younger Americans funding it. Many lawmakers and policy experts say Medicare is in much bigger trouble than Social Security because of skyrocketing health care costs and the added expense of the prescription drug benefit signed into law by Bush in his first term.

"The difference, of course, is that in Medicare, we began a reform system [in the first term] that hopefully will take some of the pressures off" the system by preventing illnesses and streamlining the program, he said. Social Security and Medicare trustees estimate that the cost of Bush's prescription drug plan will top $8 trillion by 2075 -- more than twice the projected shortfall in Social Security.

On the election Bush said he was puzzled that he received only about 11 percent of the black vote, according to exit polls, about a 2 percentage point increase over his 2000 total.

"I did my best to reach out, and I will continue to do so as the president," Bush said. "It's important for people to know that I'm the president of everybody."

Can Bush go more than a minute without contradicting himself. I didn't even consider voting for him or his partner in the "war on terror." So I'm not one of "[t]he American people," but then I am.

Oh I get it. The real message is that no matter what, Bush rules over me, with the help of reporters like Jim VandeHei and Michael A. Fletcher.