I have grown increasingly frustrated with Google's Blogger, and so I have begun the process of migrating "Zalandria" over to Wordpress.com, of which I have heard great things.
There are still some kinks to work, but so far I have been able to migrate almost all previous entries over to Wordpress, although there was some difficulty (now resolved) with posting YouTube videos.
I will make a formal announcement when the process is complete.
If you want to check out what's there now, go to:
I'll keep you posted!
Larry Sabato predicts Democrats will take control of the Senate by winning 6 seats -- Virginia and Missouri go Democratic, Tennessee does not -- and the House by winning a 29 seats. In the states, he sees Democrats picking up 7 gubernatorial seats.
"For many a political practitioner, Election Eve is when pure nerves take over. Most of the hard work has already been done, and nearly every vote decided. Surely many Democrats will go to sleep tonight sensing the same giddy anticipation felt on Christmas Eve, with dreams of congressional majorities dancing in their heads and electoral goodies stuffed in stockings. Surely many in the GOP will go to bed dreaming that Democrats' gifts will be few and far between tomorrow -- and that the 'gifts' are mainly coal and switches!"
In other news, this is post #375! Congrats to me!
War simulation in 1999 pointed out Iraq invasion problems
POSTED: 10:15 p.m. EST, November 4, 2006
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A series of secret U.S. war games in 1999 showed that an invasion and post-war administration of Iraq would require 400,000 troops, nearly three times the number there now.
And even then, the games showed, the country still had a chance of dissolving into chaos.
In the simulation, called Desert Crossing, 70 military, diplomatic and intelligence participants concluded the high troop levels would be needed to keep order, seal borders and take care of other security needs.
The documents came to light Saturday through a Freedom of Information Act request by George Washington University's National Security Archive, an independent research institute and library.
"The conventional wisdom is the U.S. mistake in Iraq was not enough troops," said Thomas Blanton, the archive's director. "But the Desert Crossing war game in 1999 suggests we would have ended up with a failed state even with 400,000 troops on the ground."
There are about 144,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, down from a peak in January of about 160,000.
A week after the invasion, in March 2003, the Pentagon said there were 250,000 U.S. ground force troops inside Iraq, along with 40,000 coalition force troops.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Central Command, which sponsored the seminar and declassified the secret report in 2004, declined to comment Saturday because she was not familiar with the documents.
News of the war games results comes a day before judges are expected to deliver a verdict in Saddam Hussein war crimes trial. (Watch people prepare as curfew sets across Baghdad in anticipation of the verdicts -- 3:20 )
The war games looked at "worst case" and "most likely" scenarios after a war that removed then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from power. Some of the conclusions are similar to what actually occurred after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003:
"A change in regimes does not guarantee stability," the 1999 seminar briefings said. "A number of factors including aggressive neighbors, fragmentation along religious and/or ethnic lines, and chaos created by rival forces bidding for power could adversely affect regional stability." "Even when civil order is restored and borders are secured, the replacement regime could be problematic -- especially if perceived as weak, a puppet, or out-of-step with prevailing regional governments." "Iran's anti-Americanism could be enflamed by a U.S.-led intervention in Iraq," the briefings read. "The influx of U.S. and other western forces into Iraq would exacerbate worries in Tehran, as would the installation of a pro-western government in Baghdad." "The debate on post-Saddam Iraq also reveals the paucity of information about the potential and capabilities of the external Iraqi opposition groups. The lack of intelligence concerning their roles hampers U.S. policy development." "Also, some participants believe that no Arab government will welcome the kind of lengthy U.S. presence that would be required to install and sustain a democratic government." "A long-term, large-scale military intervention may be at odds with many coalition partners."
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Presidential coalitions endure because their agendas remain unfulfilled. Thus, when communism ended, the Reagan coalition began to decay. In politics, there is an important axiom: Success kills party coalitions. The fall of communism presented the Reagan coalition with its first crisis. Bill Clinton took advantage and won the presidency because of Reagan’s success.
George W. Bush sought to revive the Reagan coalition. First, he energized Christian conservatives who were repulsed by Clinton’s behavior during the Lewinsky affair. Second, he revived the Reagan tax cuts. But it was the war on terror that gave Bush his best hope for success. By reminding voters of September 11, Bush Republicans could offer themselves as the only barriers between safety and imminent holocaust.
There is a second rule of politics that is being reaffirmed this year: Failure guarantees the end of a party coalition. Dissatisfaction with Iraq is so high that Republican candidates have become stand-ins for Bush. Despite the burdens Democrats carry into the midterm contests, they are likely to win thanks to the successful enactment of a Republican tax cutting agenda at home, and the abject failures of the GOP’s foreign policy. This is reminiscent of 1968, when Democrats lost the presidency because the New Deal succeeded at home while the Vietnam War had become a colossal failure overseas.
The result is a terminal shrinking of the Reagan coalition. In 1980, Ronald Reagan asked a weary public the following questions: "Can anyone look at the record of this administration and say, ‘Well done?’ Can anyone look at our reduced standing in the world today and say, ‘Let’s have four more years of this?’" Democratic pollster Patrick Caddell observed that "there was no way we could survive if we allowed [the election] to become a referendum on the first three years of the Carter administration."
So it is once more. This year, Democrats want to make this election a referendum on the past two years. If you like the way things are going, they say, vote Republican. Republicans counter that these contests should not be a national referendum on the past, but a choice between an unhappy past and an even unhappier future should Democrats seize power. Since so few Americans are satisfied with the status-quo, Democrats are poised to win.
Ronald Reagan understood this elemental rule of politics -- namely, that elections boil down to choices based on simple questions. And his 1980 questions have renewed resonance this year. It is the Democrats who have donned the Reagan mantle. All they need is a presidential candidate to forge their new majority.
-- John Kenneth White is a Professor of Politics at the Catholic University of America and the author of The Values Divide: American Politics and Culture in Transition.
|Eisenhower coins the term "Military-Industrial Complex". Re-edit to Philip Glass' Fog of War music.|
We're All Prisoners, Now: US Citizens to be Required ''Clearance'' to Leave USA
October 26, 2006
Forget no-fly lists. If Uncle Sam gets its way, beginning on Jan. 14,
2007, we'll all be on no-fly lists, unless the government gives us
permission to leave-or re-enter-the United States.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (HSA) has proposed that all
airlines, cruise lines-even fishing boats-be required to obtain
clearance for each passenger they propose taking into or out of the
It doesn't matter if you have a U.S. Passport - a "travel document"
that now, absent a court order to the contrary, gives you a virtually
unqualified right to enter or leave the United States, any time you
want. When the DHS system comes into effect next January, if the
agency says "no" to a clearance request, or doesn't answer the
request at all, you won't be permitted to enter-or leave-the United
Consider what might happen if you're a U.S. passport holder on
assignment in a country like Saudi Arabia. Your visa is about to
expire, so you board your flight back to the United States. But wait!
You can't get on, because you don't have permission from the HSA.
Saudi immigration officials are on hand to escort you to a squalid
detention center, where you and others who are now effectively
"stateless persons" are detained, potentially indefinitely, until
their immigration status is sorted out.
Why might the HSA deny you permission to leave-or enter-the United
States? No one knows, because the entire clearance procedure would be
an administrative determination made secretly, with no right of
appeal. Naturally, the decision would be made without a warrant,
without probable cause and without even any particular degree of
suspicion. Basically, if the HSA decides it doesn't like you, you're
a prisoner - either outside, or inside, the United States, whether or
not you hold a U.S. passport.
The U.S. Supreme Court has long recognized there is a constitutional
right to travel internationally. Indeed, it has declared that the
right to travel is "a virtually unconditional personal right." The
United States has also signed treaties guaranteeing "freedom of
travel." So if these regulations do go into effect, you can expect a
lengthy court battle, both nationally and internationally.
Think this can't happen? Think again. It's ALREADY happening. Earlier
this year, HSA forbade airlines from transporting an 18-year-old a
native-born U.S. citizen, back to the United States. The prohibition
lasted nearly six months until it was finally lifted a few weeks ago.
Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union are two countries in recent history
that didn't allow their citizens to travel abroad without permission.
If these regulations go into effect, you can add the United States to
For more information on this proposed regulation, see http://
In my opinion, we are living in the early stages of dictatorship.
Friday, November 03, 2006
BREAKING: All 4 leading military papers will call Monday for Rumsfeld to resign or be fired
by John in DC - 11/03/2006 11:39:00 PM
Let's face it. If God really is a Republican, then he's really pissed.
Editor & Publisher was able to get the entire editorial via The Ross Report. It will be published Momnday in the Army Times, Air Force Times, Navy Times and Marine Corps Times. Here is the text:
TIME FOR RUMSFELD TO GO
"So long as our government requires the backing of an aroused and informed public opinion ... it is necessary to tell the hard bruising truth."
That statement was written by Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Marguerite Higgins more than a half-century ago during the Korean War.
But until recently, the "hard bruising" truth about the Iraq war has been difficult to come by from leaders in Washington. One rosy reassurance after another has been handed down by President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: "mission accomplished," the insurgency is "in its last throes," and "back off," we know what we're doing, are a few choice examples.
Military leaders generally toed the line, although a few retired generals eventually spoke out from the safety of the sidelines, inciting criticism equally from anti-war types, who thought they should have spoken out while still in uniform, and pro-war foes, who thought the generals should have kept their critiques behind closed doors.
Now, however, a new chorus of criticism is beginning to resonate. Active-duty military leaders are starting to voice misgivings about the war's planning, execution and dimming prospects for success.
Army Gen. John Abizaid, chief of U.S. Central Command, told a Senate Armed Services Committee in September: "I believe that the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I've seen it ... and that if not stopped, it is possible that Iraq could move towards civil war."
Last week, someone leaked to The New York Times a Central Command briefing slide showing an assessment that the civil conflict in Iraq now borders on "critical" and has been sliding toward "chaos" for most of the past year. The strategy in Iraq has been to train an Iraqi army and police force that could gradually take over for U.S. troops in providing for the security of their new government and their nation.
But despite the best efforts of American trainers, the problem of molding a viciously sectarian population into anything resembling a force for national unity has become a losing proposition.
For two years, American sergeants, captains and majors training the Iraqis have told their bosses that Iraqi troops have no sense of national identity, are only in it for the money, don't show up for duty and cannot sustain themselves.
Meanwhile, colonels and generals have asked their bosses for more troops. Service chiefs have asked for more money.
And all along, Rumsfeld has assured us that things are well in hand.
Now, the president says he'll stick with Rumsfeld for the balance of his term in the White House.
This is a mistake.
It is one thing for the majority of Americans to think Rumsfeld has failed. But when the nation's current military leaders start to break publicly with their defense secretary, then it is clear that he is losing control of the institution he ostensibly leads.
These officers have been loyal public promoters of a war policy many privately feared would fail. They have kept their counsel private, adhering to more than two centuries of American tradition of subordination of the military to civilian authority.
And although that tradition, and the officers' deep sense of honor, prevent them from saying this publicly, more and more of them believe it.
Rumsfeld has lost credibility with the uniformed leadership, with the troops, with Congress and with the public at large. His strategy has failed, and his ability to lead is compromised. And although the blame for our failures in Iraq rests with the secretary, it will be the troops who bear its brunt.
This is not about the midterm elections. Regardless of which party wins Nov. 7, the time has come, Mr. President, to face the hard bruising truth:
Donald Rumsfeld must go.
November 03, 2006
"The generic ballot measure of the House has surged up and not stopped rising since September 22. The surge began the week in which the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) appeared, followed by Bob Woodward's book, State of Denial. A week later the Foley scandal broke, adding to the move that began a week earlier.
"The week or so before the NIE was published there was a small trend in the Republican direction which was remarked on in political news, but this very modest movement was abruptly revered. I would not have thought the NIE or Woodward revelations would have had much effect on mass public opinion, but the timing here is pretty convincing that these did in fact play a role."
ABC News: "Despite running an attack ad accusing a Democratic senatorial candidate of accepting money from 'porn movie producers,' the Republican National Committee itself has accepted several donations over the past few years from the president of a large pornographic movie distribution company."
Update: It turns out Josh Marshall had this story last week.
(a) Sadam verdict due on Sunday --- 2 DAYS BEFORE THE ELECTIONS! I'm sure the chief judge has a direct line from the White House!
(b) More importantly, this:
12 SMARTCARDS GO MISSING IN TENNESSEE; CONTROL ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINES
Fri Nov 03 2006 10:09:31 ET
Political insiders have expressed alarm after 12 voter smartcards have gone missing from one Shelby County, TN early vote location!
The cards are used to activate electronic voting machines.
The location at the center of the controversy is Bishop Byrne High School on E. Shelby Drive in Memphis.
The polling place started out with 25 cards. By Wednesday, 11 were missing, says an eyewitness.
The location was given 5 more smartcards on Thursday.
And another card went missing!
Someone possessing a smartcard could use 'off the shelf equipment' [equipment that reprograms the card] and alter it to be used multiple times, and cast multiple votes.
One concerned insider explains: "Shelby County Board of Elections has been notified. They said is was 'not a big deal' because, they said, the cards are deactivated. But the reality is, you can buy the equipment at computer stores to reactivate them. It's on the Internet how to reactivate the cards!"
Meanwhile, The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is reviewing reports by the Shelby County Election Commission that two people voted twice during early voting in Memphis.
Dist. Atty. Gen. Bill Gibbons said he's referred the cases to the TBI for investigation along with other matters he declined to discuss.
Poll watchers are expected to turn out Tuesday to observe voting in Tennessee's heated U.S. Senate race between Chattanooga Republican Bob Corker and Memphis Democrat Harold Ford Jr.
So, in a state with one of the closest Senate races, and one that may determine who controls the Senate, electronic voting cards go missing?! This smacks of Karl Rove, to be frank. However, it is possible that Democratic operatives pulled this off, and in that case, never mind.
Ha! I can't stand it when gay people hide behind hate!
MORE HERE, from Newsvine.com.
November 02, 2006Reuters/Zogby poll shows.
Democrats lead Republican incumbents in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri, Montana, Virginia and Rhode Island, "but only the Rhode Island and Pennsylvania races were outside the polls' margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points."
"To gain a Senate majority, Democrats must hold their own seats and win six of seven at-risk Republican seats, including knocking off at least five Republican incumbents."
Other key findings:
Said pollster John Zogby: "The Democrats have a real shot at the Senate now, and six weeks ago you probably could not have said that. But it's still a jump ball, and there has been volatility both ways."
- The race is Tennessee seems out of reach as Bob Corker (R) opened a 10-point lead on Rep. Harold Ford (D-TN) in the race for a Republican open seat in Tennessee.
- Democrats lead in Maryland and New Jersey, their two most vulnerable seats. In fact, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) has opened a 12 point lead over Tom Kean Jr. (R).
- In Connecticut, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I) is on his way to victory with a 10 point lead, but since he's said he'll caucus with Democrats the race doesn't impact the struggle for control.