The World According to Imal

Musings on Life, the Universe and Everything.

"Imal is a warrior poet, a modern day Nostradamus without all the annoying quatrains."
-Greg Packer

"Heed the need to read my screed."

Published Wheneverly. A Proud American and Citizen of the Free Republic.

"Come for the coffee, stay for the pie."

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Thursday, January 29, 2004

Comment Feature Removed 

Due to performance issues I have removed the comment feature. Sorry you must suffer in silence!

Ignorance is not safety.

posted by Imal  # 3:37 PM

Abraham Bush? 

Bush is controversial, if nothing else. Although I disagree with him on several issues, I cannot fault his cleverness as a politician.

Anyone who doubts Bush's skill in politics should take a look at the state of affairs in Texas before and after his reign as governor.

He is now applying his subtle skills to the federal government, quietly dismantling a dazzling array of dynasties and sacred cows on the one hand while preoccupying his opponents with "spotlight" issues on the other. His apparent (and temporary) concession on one issue hides the knife in his hand for another.

All the while, he disarms his enemies by getting them to "misunderestimate" him. Just like back in Texas.

Bush seems to work from Abraham Lincoln's playbook, silencing some enemies by appointing them to office, and neutralizing others by hijacking their causes and bending them to his will. And all the while humbly and patiently enduring their virulent insults while carefully, deliberately and mercilessly pulling the rugs out from under every one of them.

The howls of protest from friends and foes alike do nothing to sway him from his agenda, a fact that becomes clearer with the passage of time. Just like Lincoln.

In fact, it is a concern of mine that Bush indeed seeks to follow in Lincoln's footsteps, upon considering the consequences should he do so. There is already far too much power concentrated in the office of the President and, as under Lincoln, Bush seeks even more.

If he wins re-election, and I very much suspect he will, we will all become witnesses to his real agenda, unfettered by the need for a more diplomatic approach. Then the kid gloves will come off, and the fur will really fly.

Misunderestimate him at your own risk.

Students of Lincoln are de facto students of Bush.

posted by Imal  # 12:03 PM

Sunday, January 25, 2004

WMDs: What's the Story? 

This is getting to be problematic. The passage of time is crystallizing the issue into two poles.


1) There were no WMDs in Iraq and the whole dog and pony show leading up to the invasion was based on either lies or incompetence, both of grave consequence to the security of the United States. Every single high-level Bush administration official has made unequivocal statements at one point or another that Saddam had WMDs at the time the U.S. was mobilizing for the invasion, yet no credible substantiation of these claims has ever been produced. Or,

2) There were and are WMDs in Iraq, and the U.S. government is deliberately withholding all credible and relevant information from its citizens and the world. Several attempted "smoking guns" have been trotted out, only to be either debunked or found to be ultimately irrelevant with regard to any reasonable resemblance to pre-invasion administration claims. It is not plausible that every bit of WMD evidence must be concealed from the people for reasons of "national security" or "protecting sources". Those lines only go so far in covering the tracks of scoundrels.

I am aware that there are many good reasons for taking action in Iraq that have nothing to do with WMDs. But the administration itself, and no one else, chose to make WMDs the lynchpin of its justification for invading Iraq, and did this so emphatically that the other reasons have become moot. By doing so, the Bush administration has put itself in a position where a lack of WMDs in Iraq effectively delegitimizes the entire effort, regardless of all the other benefits it may reap.

On the other hand, Iraq could be brimming with WMDs, but withholding this fact from the American people (who supposedly run this country) for so long amounts to an arrogant dismissal of the very principles upon which our nation was founded. A government that cannot trust its citizens is itself worthy of distrust. An elected government should never belittle the power of the electorate, lest it be nothing more than a glorified dictatorship.

I was initially optimistic that this whole Iraq thing was in the bag and that the Bush administration would use it as part of a grand "strategery". However, the truth is that sensitive issues like these have a limited shelf life, and the longer the administration lets this issue fester in apparent contempt of the people of the United States, the less support for the administration in general will remain.

There are already many mutinous grumblings in the ranks of the Bush faithful. Flag waving and hollow rallying cries do not inflame them like they once did. Calls for piety and patriotism cannot forever sustain a people starved for the truth.

And whatever the truth may be about Iraq and WMDs, the Bush administration is playing a dangerous game of chicken with its own supporters, and galvanizing an increasingly radical opposition against it.

If a clear accounting of the real story in Iraq is not made for the American people and the families of those who have died fighting this war, and soon, President Bush may find himself, like his father, on the wrong side of the vote tally in November.

True leadership means earning the trust of those who follow you. Leaders who antagonize those who put faith in them will ultimately lose their loyalty and respect. This process is underway.

It is well past time for the Bush administration to stop jerking us around.

"America may not always be right, but God bless her, she's never wrong." -General Wombat, Wrong is Right

posted by Imal  # 6:56 PM

Monday, January 12, 2004

Congress First Voted to Back Regime Change in Iraq in 1998 

Excerpts from this U.S. State Department article:

"It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime," according to the Iraq Liberation Act (Public Law 105-338). [...]

The Act had strong bipartisan support in the House of Representatives, then controlled by Republicans. Republicans backed the bill by a 202-9 margin with 16 not voting. Democrats lined up behind the bill 157-29, with 20 not voting, and the House's sole Independent voted for H.R. 4655.

The Senate passed the Iraq Liberation Act by unanimous consent, a Senate bill with the same language had been co-sponsored by six Republicans and two Democrats, including Senator Joseph Lieberman (Democrat of Connecticut) and then Senator John Ashcroft (Republican of Missouri), the current Attorney General.

In the House, those backing the bill included House Minority Leader Representative Richard Gephardt (Democrat of Missouri), Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (Republican of Illinois), Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee (Democrat of Texas) and Representative Constance Morella (Republican of Maryland).

So what's all the hubbub about?

I want the anti-virus software hackers use.

posted by Imal  # 6:23 PM

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Bush Versus Illegal Immigration 

From President Bush's weekly radio address:

"This past week, I proposed a new temporary worker program that would match willing foreign workers with willing American employers, when no Americans can be found to fill the jobs. If an American employer is offering a job that American citizens are not willing to take, we ought to welcome into our country a person who will fill that job."

The actual number of illegals in the U.S. is somewhat higher than the 8 million typically reported, and the number is growing.

I favor enforcement of our laws, which has definitely NOT been happening due to a variety of factors, mostly a combination of corruption and the apathy upon which corruption thrives.

However, the reality is that mass deportations are simply not possible short of a declaration of martial law. Attempting to deport even just 100,000 people would clog America's courts so thoroughly that we would be facing chaos. Make it ten million, and it's literally not doable.

That's not even considering the political backlash that would probably unseat the party that tries this, as well as direct opposition from Congress and the Supreme Court. Anyone who thinks they would not intervene has not been paying attention for the past few decades. While it is certain that America's court system and laws of civil procedure also desperately need revision, it would be folly to expect that to happen any time soon.

A solution dependent on other solutions is not a solution. I'm not happy about it, but that's the way it is.

If America implements a guest worker program that actually works, closes abusive loopholes such as anchor babies (How about "You are only born a U.S. citizen if your parent is a legal U.S. citizen."), federally-mandated welfare for illegals (How about "We'll help you until we drop you off at the border."), etc. etc.

The cat is already out of the bag, mainly because having a class of easy-to-exploit cheap labor is the equivalent of crack cocaine to many U.S. business interests, who in turn funnel money into political war chests and lobbying to maintain the status quo on this issue. While I prefer to stand firmly on principle myself, those who think money -- lots of money -- isn't at the root of this problem have no concept of what the problem really is.

The grim reality of illegal immigration is that it is a very real and complex issue that will never be resolved with tautologies, blind reductionism or mendacious sophistry.

Instead, somebody actually has to get off their duff and do something about it, and that is what our President is doing, like it or not.

Everyone is an immigrant.

posted by Imal  # 12:15 PM

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