Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Yee-haw! Move Along Little Doggies! Midweek Roundup!

By: UnrepentantNewDealer

I am aware that my blog posts may appear to be too long for people who hold the "average" attention span. These people should stop watching TV, pick up a good book, and get a life! I am a verbose writer and nothing short of death or carpal tunnel syndrome is going to change that. That being said, I don't have an issue to write a full-length post about, so I will write a little bit about several issues. Think of it as the Headline News of the Blogosphere. Real News, Real Fast, Real Bad Grammer.

Declare Your Independence and Move to South Ivicia

First off, there is the little matter of the online game NationStates. Follow the top link to create your own nation and rule it how ever you like. Make sure of course, you move your nation from the South Pacific to South Ivicia. For more information, see Akerman's post below. Feel free to join the People's Republic of Ivicia (my "psychotic dictatorship"), The Republic of Kashikov, The Fiefdom of Norwelshdom, and The Theocracy of Geredad in the beautiful archipelago of South Ivicia.

Houston, This is SpaceShipOne. How D'ya Like 'Dem Apples?

Well, this is truly a historic moment. Eighty years ago, Charles Lindberg flew solo across the Atlantic Ocean, spurred on the promise of lucrative prize money offered to the first pilot to accomplish this feat. This jump-started the commercial aviation industry. The $10 million Ansari X prize was set up to accomplish the same thing for commercial spaceflight. Since the very beginning, manned spaceflight has been prohibitively expensive--so much so that only the governments of superpowers could afford it. For years, NASA has promised to deliver cheap, reusable spacecraft to enable commercial space travel. It has failed miserably, delivering instead the expensive, not-quite-fully-reusable bastardized Space Shuttle. But think about it: NASA now has a monopoly on American manned space travel. Why would they want the competition? Only private enterprise can make space travel affordable to the general public.

And so it was that SpaceShipOne took off on Monday, and by making its second trip in two weeks, went into the history books and won a cool $10 million. Things are moving quickly now. A new company called Virgin Galactic will license this technology to create an armada of commercial spacecraft which could fly up to 3,000 people in the next five years. "I have a hell of a lot bigger goal now (than NASA)," Bert Rutan said. Quoth Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson: "The development will also allow every country in the world to have their own astronauts rather than the privileged few."

The democratization of space travel, the universe opened up to space tourists and the average Joe, the sky's the beginning and there is no limit! God Bless the United States of America and the private enterprise system!

Apparently, Facts Aren't His Strong Suit

From the profound to the profane. Last night's Vice-Presidential debate was very informative. Dick Cheney really seemed to know what he was talking about. That is, until he rebutted John Edwards' criticism of his ties to Halliburton by telling viewers to "go to" to find the truth. Naturally, I jumped on the internet after the speech. And then a funny thing happened. I was greeted on by the big bold words: Why We Must Not Re-Elect President Bush. Huh?

Turns out this website is also known as . As in George Soros, the Hungarian-born financier who has contributed no less than $15 million of his own money to defeating George W. Bush. Whoops! How embarrassing for Cheney! Turns out, he actually meant Well, I was sure they would back up his claims. He wouldn't have tried to cite them otherwise, would he? It gets still more surreal.

According to this website, "Cheney wrongly implied that FactCheck had defended his tenure as CEO of Halliburton Co., and the vice president even got our name wrong. He overstated matters when he said Edwards voted 'for the war' and 'to commit the troops, to send them to war.' He exaggerated the number of times Kerry has voted to raise taxes, and puffed up the number of small business owners who would see a tax increase under Kerry's proposals." Even though Cheney claimed Edwards and Kerry voted "for the war", the facts show that, at the time, neither Kerry, Edwards, Bush, or even the language of the resolution support this assertion in the slightest! Cheney claimed the jobs figures Edwards spouted were old numbers from 2003. Wrong!

"Now, in my capacity as vice president, I am the president of Senate, the presiding officer. I'm up in the Senate most Tuesdays when they're in session. The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight." Thus Cheney spake last night. Oooh! What a devastating blow to Edwards, I thought at the time. But Cheney demonstatedly met Edwards on at least two previous occasions. Cheney disputed Edwards' assertion that the United States was bearing 90% of the casualties in Iraq. Wrong again! He claimed that "900,000 small businesses will be hit" by proposed Kerry tax increases. Wrong yet again! The correct number is only about 471,000. More from " 'I have not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11.' But The Washington Post reported Oct. 6 that Cheney often 'skated close to the line in ways that may have certainly left that impression on viewers,' especially by repeatedly citing the possibility that hijacker Mohamed Atta met with an Iraqi official, a theory disputed by the 9/11 Commission."

But should we really be surprised at what could only generously be described as Cheney's willing suspension of disbelief, his apparent inability to separate fact from fiction? On August 26, 2002, Cheney proclaimed, "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussain now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies and against us." But as we now know, there were strong doubts within our nation's intelligence agencies about this matter. Reports that suggested possibilities and unknowns were transformed by this Administration into concrete certainties. There is no room for doubt in Cheney's statement, or in the countless others made by others in his Administration.

And today, the Iraq Survey Group, the U.S. team searching for Saddam's stockpiles presented their final report: "Saddam Hussein did not possess stockpiles of illicit weapons at the time of the U.S. invasion in March 2003 and had not begun any program to produce them"--this from Let's face facts. Changing "possibly, the intelligence sources don't agree and we have serious doubts about some of these claims" into "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussain now has weapons of mass destruction" is misleading. If this is not a lie, I don't know what is.

Truth is, Edwards and Kerry haven't been entirely honest either. But they haven't fed the American people this bulls--t for four solid years. I'm sorry if I sound bitter. I resent being lied to and I'm tired of it. When my commander-in-chief tells us he's sending our troops into harms way for a good cause, to defend our people from an imminent foreign threat, I want to believe him. But I can't with this deceitful Administration in power. They have betrayed the trust the American people have reposed in them, as well as my trust. I can't trust anything they say. Ultimately, that is why I'm voting for John Kerry. Because I'm tired of being lied to.

With Hope For The Future,

Michael J. Smith