"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door." The Statue of Liberty (P.S. Please be so kind as to enter through the proper channels and in an orderly fashion)

Location: Arlington, Virginia, United States

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Who Is He Calling "Stupid?"

* Real GDP increased 3.5% in 2005

*The economy has been growing for 17 straight quarters, and the composite index of leading indicators has risen the past 6 months, indicating continued growth

*The Conference Board Index of Consumer Confidence rose to 107.2 in March - The highest level in nearly four years

*Inflation remains contained. The core Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose just 0.1% in February. Core CPI has increased a moderate 2.1% over the past 12 months, indicating core inflation remains contained

*Over the past year, Employment has increased in 48 states

In March, the economy Added 211,000 Jobs

The unemployment Rate is at a 4 1/2 Year Low, below 5%, which is considered well at full employment by many--if not most-- economists

America has the most productive workers of any major economy in the world

*Real Disposable Incomes have risen 2.2 % over the past 12 months

*Since January 2001, real after-tax income per person has risen 8.3%.

*Real household net worth is at an all-time high of $52.1 trillion

*The median net worth of American households rose 1.5 % between 2001 and 2004

*Real consumer spending has increased 3.2 % over the past year

*Nominal retail sales are up 6.7 % over the past 12 months

*College graduates face the best job market in five Years

*Manufacturing expansion continues: The Institute for Supply Management (ISM), a private research group, reports manufacturing activity grew for the 34th consecutive month in March, and its reading of 55.2 indicates continued sector expansion

*According to the Federal Reserve, over the past 12 months total industrial production rose 3.3 %, including a 0.7 % increase in February, and manufacturing industrial production rose 4.2 %

*New orders for durable goods surpassed expectations and rose 2.6% in February

*Construction spending is at an all-time high, rising 0.8 % in February to reach a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.185 trillion

*Service sector grows: The ISM reports non-manufacturing business activity grew for the 36th consecutive month in March. The ISM's business activity index reading of 60.5 indicates continued sector growth

*Productivity growth continues: During the past four quarters, productivity has increased 2.5 %. Productivity has grown at a 3.4 % annual rate since the business-cycle peak in the first quarter of 2001

In the past five years, the President's tax relief kept $880 Billion in the American people's hands.

Those are the facts.

Have a nice day.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

No! Really?

[From top: Maturity and Intelligence make for a winning combination; Kerry about to blame Bush for dropping the ball; Kerry slobbering over his new girlfriend; Kerry caressing his new girlfriend's earlobe; the happy couple; Rush Limbaugh's EIB network identifies what would be confirmed in a lingual/psychological study years later; Vice President Cheney very worried about being outsmarted]

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin took speech samples of President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and Senators Kerry and Edwards from 271 televised interviews, news conferences, town hall meetings, and debates from the 2004 campaign.

The samples were run through a computerized text-analysis program that identified subtle but distinctive linguistic patterns and words that conformed to personality types and characteristics as profiled in previous research.

The results:

President Bush and Vice President Cheney sounded more presidential than Senators Kerry and Edwards (as using more words and speech patterns used by presidents going back to FDR).

President Bush came off as the "oldest" in the analysis (as using more words and speeech patterns used by seasoned citizens).

Vice President Cheney came off far and away as the most intelligent (as demonstrated by "cognitive complexity marked by sophisticated sentence structure and word choices"-- i.e. using more words and speech patterns used by those with a high I.Q. and advanced education).

Senator Kerry sounded the most depressed or suicidal (as using more words and speech patterns used by depressed and suicidal people).

Senator Edwards sounded the most female (as using more words and speech patterns used by females).

Monday, April 03, 2006

Oboy! It's The Sequel To *Basic Instinct!*

All the rage about the first Basic Instinct–and Sharon Stone herself as being a “serious actress”– was because she flashed her vagina (above, as she crossed and uncrossed her legs).

And so, over a decade later, she titillatingly hinted at more of the same to promote the sequel and create a buzz.

After all, doesn't everybody want to see Sharon Stone's vagina?

(Republicus hasn't seen the sequel--nor the first, actually-- and doesn't know the extent of skin, but would heavily wager that there is plenty of it)

"HURRY! Don’t miss it! You MUST see it! I mean her! I mean…!"

But the sequel is bombing.


Well, as far as the audience that is drawn to that sort of thing is concerned, when the first one came out (1992), pornography was relegated to the video store on the other side of the tracks and cellophane-wrapped magazines in some bookstores and was still a deviant product, so the first movie gave the mainstream no-porn popcorners a cheap thrill of porn without having to actually look at X-rated porn.

It was like: “No-no, I don’t look at porn, but I saw Basic Instinct eight times!”

It was, after all, rated R, not X, and even had Michael Douglas in it, so there was nothing to be embarrassed about.

But come on. It was all about Sharon Stone’s vagina.

Now, however, pornography has become ubiquitous and even mainstream, and the very gimmick that Basic Instinct had to make it the blockbuster it was over a decade ago (i.e. a glimpse of Sharon Stone’s vagina) is anticlimactic (no pun intended) and even trivial and certainly not worth the seven or eight bucks and the endurance of two hours or so of crap just to get cheap and fleeting glimpses of a naked Jenna Jameson-Lite (i.e. a "nude" Sharon Stone) when you could get 80 proof for free and in an instant in the privacy of your own home off of your own PC (if not at work), or wait for the DVD release to pause and zoom at your pleisure. I mean pleasure. I mean leisure.

Ahem! Anyway, and so, ironically, the gimmick that made the first movie such a big deal (i.e. a glimpse of Sharon Stone’s vagina) contributed to the mainstreaming of that very gimmick over the last decade and made the second coming of the gimmick (no pun intended) no longer a big deal.

Another reason for the bombing is, to one extent or another, the conservative revival which has made people who never appreciated that sort of thing to begin with (but often naively stumbled into it) now conscientious boycotters who are privy to Hollywood’s intentional exploitation of the sex drive (or of the "basic instinct," as it were).

The drummed-up “excitement" about the sequel to the notorious Basic Instinct and Sharon Stone’s own shameless teasing confirmed that very privy, knowing that Hollywood's stimulation and exploitation of the sex drive is achieved by the prostituting of actresses and the peddling of nigh-pornographic imagery in lieu of a good story, consequentially contributing to the coarsening of the culture that the conservative revival is--here and there-- reversing (by political activism and product boycotting).

And Stone didn't do her mass appeal any favors by brazenly recommending oral sex for teens who were being pressured to have sex.

Essentially, her advice to American teenage girls in compromising situations was not "Just say no," but "Just put it in your mouth!"

(Because that's not really "sex"!)

And, of course, if you want your career to take off and to be considered "serious," just flash your vagina!

Hate to break it to ya, Sharon, but this ain't the Clinton 90's no more.

And so the movie bombs.

But, in all fairness to Hollywood, it is conforming to the conservative sea change which is demanding a supply of more story-driven, wholesome, family fare.

And Christian-themed movies are bringing in sizable box-office receipts.

Mel Gibson single-handedly lifted Hollywood out of the economic doldrums with The Passion.

And the Christian allegory and family-friendly Narnia has been in theaters now for a long time.

But, presumably, the Left would consider that a bad thing (proof of the Bush "theocracy").

A healthy society should be paying money to see Sharon Stone’s vagina, you see, and not Azlan the messianic lion.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

"Peaceful Purposes"

Iran Claims to Have Test-Fired Missile That Can Destroy Warships

Sunday, April 02, 2006

(Associated Press)

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran announced its second major new missile test within days, saying Sunday it has successfully fired a high-speed torpedo capable of destroying huge warships and submarines.

The tests came during war games that Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards have been holding in the Gulf and the Arabian Sea since Friday at a time of increased tensions with the United States over Tehran's nuclear program.

The Iranian-made torpedo — called the "Hoot," or "whale" — has a speed of 223 miles per hour, said Gen. Ali Fadavi, deputy head of the Revolutionary Guards' Navy.

That would make it about three or four times faster than a normal torpedo and as fast as the world's known fastest, the Russian-made VA-111 Shkval, developed in 1995. It was not immediately known if the Hoot was based on the Shkval.

"It has a very powerful warhead designed to hit big submarines. Even if enemy warship sensors identify the missile, no warship can escape from this missile because of its high speed," Fadavi told state-run television.

It was not immediately clear whether the torpedo can carry a nuclear warhead.

[Note by Republicus: For quite some time Iran has been playing the offended party, "insulted" that the West would second guess its motives vis-a-vis its desire to possess enriched uranium.

President Mahmoud even saw fit to demand an apology.

He just wanted uranium for "peaceful purposes," you see, and muttered about Neoconservative plots that sought to portray his peaceful nation as militant so as to distract from imperial America and Zion's own genocidal militancy against Muslims and their plot to invade Iran next.


Meanwhile, as "imperial" and "militant" Israel unilaterally withdraws from Gaza and West Bank settlements, Mahmout genocidally talks about "wiping Israel off the map" and develops a very advanced torpedo that behaves like a Russian one while Russia assures the West that it would chaperone Iran's desire for "peaceful" nuclear energy just as it comes out that Russia passed on to Saddam American military plans just prior to the invasion.

And it's all President's Bush's fault and his greed for oil (but NOT Russia's) and his militancy (but NOT Iran's)!]

Greek Independence Day (March 25)

(White House photo by Eric Draper)

Above, President Bush is applauded by Archbishop Demetrios from the Greek Orthodox Church of America at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington.

The president addressed an audience celebrating Greek Independence Day and honored the 185th anniversary of Greece's independence from the imperial Ottoman Turks (who had the Greeks in a state of Islamic, Karaghiozaic dhimmitude for centuries):

President Bush: Thank you. Welcome. Your Eminence, thank you for your kind words. You're a philosopher, you're a wise person, you're an incredibly compassionate soul, and I'm proud to call you "friend." Thank you for being here.

Thank you for inviting me to help celebrate the 185th Anniversary of Greek Independence. America is a better country because of Greek Americans. It's something about the passion, the verve for life, the willingness to serve. I am blessed by having Greek Americans in my administration, two of the most important of whom have joined us, Your Eminence: John Negroponte, the Director of the National Intelligence, and the Homeland Security Advisor, Frances Fragos Townsend

Greece's struggle for freedom was fierce, and from out of that struggle arose the Greek National Anthem:

I recognize you
From the cut of the terrible sword!
I recognize you
From your steady countenance
That carefully measures the ground...
From the dislocated bones
Of the hardy Greek
Like those first men
I welcome Liberty!

Liberty hard fought.

And won.

They also had outside help, notably from England (with, incidentally, the Romantic, English poet George Gordon, Lord Byron--who died in Greece-- a great champion for their independence).

The Cradle of Democracy faced other threats to her freedom in the 20th Century.

Like the fascist Saddam Hussein fancying himself as both the biblical Nebuchadnezzar and the Mediaeval Saladin in his visions of imperial conquest, the definitive fascist Mussolini fancied himself Caesar and, as one of the Axis Powers (along with imperial Japan and Nazi Germany) thought it would be a great idea to show up Hitler by conquering Greece.

He invaded on October 28, 1940.

Bad idea.

The Greeks said "OXI!" (i.e. NO!) and by April 6, 1941, the Italians were repelled.

The nazis, however, weren't and came in and occupied the country from 1941-1944 (atrociously massacring both Greeks and Italian leftovers, the latter by then fighting for the British).

The turmoil that was WWII had Italian fascists, Nazi Germans, Soviet Bulgarians, and the British Empire creating all sorts of political factions that led to the bloody Greek Civil War between the communist north and conservative south from 1946 until 1949.

There we had the first post-WWII communist insurgency, and the government anti-communist forces were victorious, and led to Greece's membership in NATO and helped to define the ideological balance of power in the Aegean for the entire Cold War.

From that Greek civil war came the Truman Doctrine, presented in its entirety below.

Read it carefully, and juxtapose it with today's mission statements.

Republicus will disagree but has no quarrel with principled--i.e. consistent--pacifists.

And he will disagree but has no quarrel with principled non-Intervensionists/isolationists.

But he will sure as hell quarrel with the Leftist, "antiwar," Bush-hating crowd when they call the mission "radically un-American" and "Imperialist," because that is seeing things backwards, or as an inverted, negative image of the United States.

Or they are being ignorant of American history.

Or are aware of it, and hate every step of it.

Or they're lying.

Give-'em-hell Harry could just as well be talking about today's Iraq, and the threat of Islamo-fascism.

Understand that what we're trying to do in Afghanistan and Iraq-- and envision for the rest of the Middle East-- is nothing new.

It's America at her best.

At the vanguard of Freedom.

The Champion of Democracy.

The Dream of Pericles.

We saved Greece--Europe, the Western World-- from the evils of totalitarianism, and we're all better off for it.

And we will save the Middle East.


(bold by Republicus)

Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Congress of the United States:

The gravity of the situation which confronts the world today necessitates my appearance before a joint session of the Congress. The foreign policy and the national security of this country are involved.

One aspect of the present situation, which I wish to present to you at this time for your consideration and decision, concerns Greece and Turkey.

The United States has received from the Greek Government an urgent appeal for financial and economic assistance. Preliminary reports from the American Economic Mission now in Greece and reports from the American Ambassador in Greece corroborate the statement of the Greek Government that assistance is imperative if Greece is to survive as a free nation.

I do not believe that the American people and the Congress wish to turn a deaf ear to the appeal of the Greek Government.

Greece is not a rich country. Lack of sufficient natural resources has always forced the Greek people to work hard to make both ends meet. Since 1940, this industrious and peace loving country has suffered invasion, four years of cruel enemy occupation, and bitter internal strife.

When forces of liberation entered Greece they found that the retreating Germans had destroyed virtually all the railways, roads, port facilities, communications, and merchant marine. More than a thousand villages had been burned. Eighty-five per cent of the children were tubercular. Livestock, poultry, and draft animals had almost disappeared. Inflation had wiped out practically all savings.

As a result of these tragic conditions, a militant minority, exploiting human want and misery, was able to create political chaos which, until now, has made economic recovery impossible.

Greece is today without funds to finance the importation of those goods which are essential to bare subsistence. Under these circumstances the people of Greece cannot make progress in solving their problems of reconstruction. Greece is in desperate need of financial and economic assistance to enable it to resume purchases of food, clothing, fuel and seeds.

These are indispensable for the subsistence of its people and are obtainable only from abroad. Greece must have help to import the goods necessary to restore internal order and security, so essential for economic and political recovery.

The Greek Government has also asked for the assistance of experienced American administrators, economists and technicians to insure that the financial and other aid given to Greece shall be used effectively in creating a stable and self-sustaining economy and in improving its public administration.

The very existence of the Greek state is today threatened by the terrorist activities of several thousand armed men, led by Communists, who defy the government's authority at a number of points, particularly along the northern boundaries. A Commission appointed by the United Nations security Council is at present investigating disturbed conditions in northern Greece and alleged border violations along the frontier between Greece on the one hand and Albania, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia on the other.

Meanwhile, the Greek Government is unable to cope with the situation. The Greek army is small and poorly equipped. It needs supplies and equipment if it is to restore the authority of the government throughout Greek territory. Greece must have assistance if it is to become a self-supporting and self-respecting democracy.

The United States must supply that assistance. We have already extended to Greece certain types of relief and economic aid but these are inadequate.

There is no other country to which democratic Greece can turn.

No other nation is willing and able to provide the necessary support for a democratic Greek government.

The British Government, which has been helping Greece, can give no further financial or economic aid after March 31. Great Britain finds itself under the necessity of reducing or liquidating its commitments in several parts of the world, including Greece.

We have considered how the United Nations might assist in this crisis. But the situation is an urgent one requiring immediate action and the United Nations and its related organizations are not in a position to extend help of the kind that is required.

(note by Republicus: That is unilateralism, no UN support, no coalition, not even with good ol' reliable England-- and there is nothing wrong with that)

It is important to note that the Greek Government has asked for our aid in utilizing effectively the financial and other assistance we may give to Greece, and in improving its public administration.

It is of the utmost importance that we supervise the use of any funds made available to Greece; in such a manner that each dollar spent will count toward making Greece self-supporting, and will help to build an economy in which a healthy democracy can flourish.

No government is perfect. One of the chief virtues of a democracy, however, is that its defects are always visible and under democratic processes can be pointed out and corrected. The Government of Greece is not perfect. Nevertheless it represents eighty-five per cent of the members of the Greek Parliament who were chosen in an election last year. Foreign observers, including 692 Americans, considered this election to be a fair expression of the views of the Greek people.

The Greek Government has been operating in an atmosphere of chaos and extremism. It has made mistakes. The extension of aid by this country does not mean that the United States condones everything that the Greek Government has done or will do.

We have condemned in the past, and we condemn now, extremist measures of the right or the left. We have in the past advised tolerance, and we advise tolerance now.

Greece's neighbor, Turkey, also deserves our attention.

The future of Turkey as an independent and economically sound state is clearly no less important to the freedom-loving peoples of the world than the future of Greece.

The circumstances in which Turkey finds itself today are considerably different from those of Greece. Turkey has been spared the disasters that have beset Greece. And during the war, the United States and Great Britain furnished Turkey with material aid.

Nevertheless, Turkey now needs our support.

Since the war Turkey has sought financial assistance from Great Britain and the United States for the purpose of effecting that modernization necessary for the maintenance of its national integrity.That integrity is essential to the preservation of order in the Middle East.

The British government has informed us that, owing to its own difficulties can no longer extend financial or economic aid to Turkey.

As in the case of Greece, if Turkey is to have the assistance it needs, the United States must supply it. We are the only country able to provide that help.

I am fully aware of the broad implications involved if the United States extends assistance to Greece and Turkey, and I shall discuss these implications with you at this time.

One of the primary objectives of the foreign policy of the United States is the creation of conditions in which we and other nations will be able to work out a way of life free from coercion. This was a fundamental issue in the war with Germany and Japan. Our victory was won over countries which sought to impose their will, and their way of life, upon other nations.

To ensure the peaceful development of nations, free from coercion, the United States has taken a leading part in establishing the United Nations.

The United Nations is designed to make possible lasting freedom and independence for all its members. We shall not realize our objectives, however, unless we are willing to help free peoples to maintain their free institutions and their national integrity against aggressive movements that seek to impose upon them totalitarian regimes.

This is no more than a frank recognition that totalitarian regimes imposed on free peoples, by direct or indirect aggression, undermine the foundations of international peace and hence the security of the United States.

The peoples of a number of countries of the world have recently had totalitarian regimes forced upon them against their will. The Government of the United States has made frequent protests against coercion and intimidation, in violation of the Yalta agreement, in Poland, Rumania, and Bulgaria. I must also state that in a number of other countries there have been similar developments.

At the present moment in world history nearly every nation must choose between alternative ways of life. The choice is too often not a free one.

One way of life is based upon the will of the majority, and is distinguished by free institutions, representative government, free elections, guarantees of individual liberty, freedom of speech and religion, and freedom from political oppression.

The second way of life is based upon the will of a minority forcibly imposed upon the majority. It relies upon terror and oppression, a controlled press and radio; fixed elections, and the suppression of personal freedoms.

I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.

I believe that we must assist free peoples to work out their own destinies in their own way.

I believe that our help should be primarily through economic and financial aid which is essential to economic stability and orderly political processes.

(note by Republicus: The United States also had military bases there throughout the Cold War)

The world is not static, and the status quo is not sacred. But we cannot allow changes in the status quo in violation of the Charter of the United Nations by such methods as coercion, or by such subterfuges as political infiltration.

In helping free and independent nations to maintain their freedom, the United States will be giving effect to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

It is necessary only to glance at a map to realize that the survival and integrity of the Greek nation are of grave importance in a much wider situation. If Greece should fall under the control of an armed minority, the effect upon its neighbor, Turkey, would be immediate and serious. Confusion and disorder might well spread throughout the entire Middle East.

Moreover, the disappearance of Greece as an independent state would have a profound effect upon those countries in Europe whose peoples are struggling against great difficulties to maintain their freedoms and their independence while they repair the damages of war.

It would be an unspeakable tragedy if these countries, which have struggled so long against overwhelming odds, should lose that victory for which they sacrificed so much.

Collapse of free institutions and loss of independence would be disastrous not only for them but for the world. Discouragement and possibly failure would quickly be the lot of neighboring peoples striving to maintain their freedom and independence.

Should we fail to aid Greece and Turkey in this fateful hour, the effect will be far reaching to the West as well as to the East.

We must take immediate and resolute action.

(note by Republicus: Imminent threat!)

I therefore ask the Congress to provide authority for assistance to Greece and Turkey in the amount of $400,000,000 for the period ending June 30, 1948. In requesting these funds, I have taken into consideration the maximum amount of relief assistance which would be furnished to Greece out of the $350,000,000 which I recently requested that the Congress authorize for the prevention of starvation and suffering in countries devastated by the war.

In addition to funds, I ask the Congress to authorize the detail of American civilian and military personnel to Greece and Turkey, at the request of those countries, to assist in the tasks of reconstruction, and for the purpose of supervising the use of such financial and material assistance as may be furnished.

I recommend that authority also be provided for the instruction and training of selected Greek and Turkish personnel.

Finally, I ask that the Congress provide authority which will permit the speediest and most effective use, in terms of needed commodities, supplies, and equipment, of such funds as may be authorized.

If further funds, or further authority, should be needed for purposes indicated in this message, I shall not hesitate to bring the situation before the Congress. On this subject the Executive and Legislative branches of the Government must work together.

This is a serious course upon which we embark.

I would not recommend it except that the alternative is much more serious.

The United States contributed $341,000,000,000 toward winning World War II. This is an investment in world freedom and world peace.

The assistance that I am recommending for Greece and Turkey amounts to little more than 1 tenth of 1 per cent of this investment. It is only common sense that we should safeguard this investment and make sure that it was not in vain.

The seeds of totalitarian regimes are nurtured by misery and want. They spread and grow in the evil soil of poverty and strife. They reach their full growth when the hope of a people for a better life has died. We must keep that hope alive.

The free peoples of the world look to us for support in maintaining their freedoms.

If we falter in our leadership, we may endanger the peace of the world -- and we shall surely endanger the welfare of our own nation.

Great responsibilities have been placed upon us by the swift movement of events.

I am confident that the Congress will face these responsibilities squarely.