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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A New Era in Divided Gov't

The people have spoken, and we can safely say that we are all better for it! The democrats have taken power in the House of Representatives and are on the brink of claiming the Senate. Donald Rumsfeld is finally out! And Cheney has been rebuffed by Bush for the first time publicly! What difference one night and a humiliating defeat makes! For the first time the President seems humble and willing to be bipartisan(like he has any other choice). The tone of the President's noon press conference was very subdued, though still defiant when it came to Iraq. The Republicans seem shocked back into reality and their reign, dictatorial at times, is at an end. A new era of divided gov't is about to begin, and it could not have come at a more urgent time. The american people have taken their country back from the radical right, the neoconservatives, and the evangelicals. With the resignation of Don Rumsfeld and the rebuffing of Dick Cheney (who did not want Rumsfeld gone and then wanted another idealogue to replace him) by the president, the neoconservative movement is all but done, at least for a good while. Bush has found independence and freedom himself at the hands of an overwhelming Democratic victory. Ironically he brings in Robert Gates, former CIA director and a Bush 41 team member, in what could possibly be a merger between Bush 41 and Bush 43 policy. All in all, some will say that "father ultimately knows best". How funny it seems that Bush 43 has to go back to daddy and his team to help him get out of yet another mess. The return to a more sensible foreign policy seems at hand. The neocons are dead in the water as the President faces a more lonely future than he has in the past. He will have to depend more on his judgement than on his advisors', whose ideology has been flatly rejected by the people. Some think this is a scary thought, and it very well could be, but no scarier than if Cheney and has neocons were to run policy. At least there is opposition with power to say, NO NO NO! Let the '08 presidential games begin!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Vote for the Future: Will It Be Good or Bad

Today America votes to elect a new Congress. All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 33 seats in the Senate are up for grabs. It has been a very contentious and dirty campaign on both sides but, and no surprise here, the bulk of the dirty tricks on the Republican side. The general consensus is that the tide is flowing with the Democrats, although the Republicans have made some gains over the last few days. Voter turnout is also expecte to be very high, a sign of how angry the electorate is.

But what is most important here is the fact that this election is about so much more than just Congress. This is as important a midterm election as there has been in the past. So much is at stake, not just the Iraq War and the War on Terror. The future of the country is at stake. For six years, with help from the panic caused by the 9/11 attacks, the Bush Administration has undertaken policies and measures that have eroded the freedoms attained through much ardor in this country, all in the name of National Security. National Security is extremely important, but so are the freedoms and rights which this country has so vehemently fought for in the past. These freedoms have been endangered by an Administration whose policies seek to (and to a large extent have) expand presidential powers comparably to a dictatorship, and to suppress the minority opinion, which in this case represents half or more of the population. The majority of the country disapproves of the Bush Administration and the Republican Congress, but the minority Republicans are in control of everything so the majority of the country remains disenfranchised. For six years this Republican controlled government has taken over in imperious fashion over everything and forced policies through that have been detrimental to the middle and lower classes, while rewarding the richest 1% of the nation. They have diminished world opinion of the United States, turned some of it into hatred. They have weakened the might of the most powerful military in the world and by extension weakened its ability to defend the fatherland. They have undertaken economic policies that have resulted in the largest federal budget and trade deficits every recorded. The national debt has tripled practically and we are being held hostage to an extent by China, who holds a large portion of that debt. Tax cuts that have benefited the richest 1% have translated into a fairly good economy that is only felt by that 1%. The rest are struggling to get by, working two jobs, increasing credit card debt to a record high just to stay afloat. Healthcare and energy prices are through the roof, and the Administration passes drug perscription and energy plans that benefit the drug and oil companies. These result in record profits for oil companies and excellent ones for drug companies. All the while 44 million + americans do not have health insurance because they cannot afford it. Education, the cornerstone of any country's future, is pathetic, with a No Child Left Behind initiative that has been underfunded completely. Higher education is now out of the reach for most americans not only because of higher tuition prices, but the federal government cut funding for higher education grant and loans. Although unemployment is low at around 4.3%, the fact the wages are stagnant at $5.15 an hour translates into people having to work two or more jobs to get by. Any attempt to raise the minimum wage has been denied by Republicans, and when they introduce a minimum wage bill it is ammended to include other issues that are not beneficial, so Democrats vote it down and then Republicans try to make them look like the bad guys. Other non-policy issues such as gay marriage and federal stem cell research funding have been used to divide the country bitterly. Even in the face of scientific eveidence, Bush and his people have denied the progress of research because of their highly misguided concept of religion. In gay marriage, they have sided with evangilicals to used the wedge issue and deliver the vote, all the while some of these leaders secretly doing those things they preach against. The height of hypocrisy. This governement has taken the idea of "divide and conquer" a step further, more like divide, destroy and conquer, all at the expense of the nation's future. Their environmental record is abyssmal. The White House has systematically denied and supressed scientific evidence indicating global warming, a world wide problem, to advance its goals (many benefitting energy companies). Death of Habeas Corpus? Torture? Warrantless eavesdropping? I could go on and on about endless number of things that have harmed the country. I will not even discuss the Iraq War and the War on Terror, there is no need to, everything is clear by now. The Republicans say that Democrats don't have solutions or that they do not offer anything. Well, first of all, Republicans do not allow Democrats to introduce anything in Congress. Anything good introduced by Democrats is shot down, then a similar bill is drafted by the Republicans and introduced in Congress. Second, why should Democrats have to offer up a solution to clean up the mess created by the Republican Congress? Is it not as Colin Powell said: "you break it, you own it"? Democrats offer a solution while they are not in the majority? Why? The President is already going to leave this mess to the next President. Republicans always try to blame democrats about everything, but last time I checked they controlled everything. I'm not saying that Democrats are going to be any better, but they cannot be any worse than Republicans already are. Republicans on the other hand CAN make things worse. After all they are the ones who got us here. What is worse is that they do not see how bad the country is doing, therefore they offer no solutions to stop the downward spiral. Democrats won't do much, after all it is still a Republican presidency and most likely senate, and no veto proof majority. But they can at least put a stop to the Republican Titanic and start some very much warranted investigations into Republican misconduct.

So you see, this midterm election is not just for Congress, but for the restoring of some sense of decency and correctness to the nation. It is a vote for the future, to provide our children with a lot of the great things this country has provided for us. It is a vote to protect what this country has been in the past and should be in the future. It is a vote for AMERICA.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Vote for Truth Not Spin

On Nov. 7, VOTE FOR TRUTH NOT SPIN. Educate yourself about the important issues and your candidates. Do not fall for these dirty political ads full of lies and innuendo. Learn what each candidate's stance is on the IMPORTANT issues. For the incumbent, review his past performance and see how it stands against his current position. Is it political in nature, or is it genuine? Has he been consistent? Does he show independence? Is he open to change or inflexible? Character is always important, but it should be defined by the candidates' past and present actions, not by his opponent's political ads. Judge the candidates by their merit. If a candidate is willing to run ads that lie and suggest very offensive material, ask yourself, what kind of person would stoop to this level? Why is he/she not talking about the real issues? Your vote is as important as it has ever been. Use it wisely, and don't fall for crooked spinsters like Ken Mehlman of the RNC or the 507 groups that have made a reputation of destroying reputations. On the Democratic side, less dirtyness is seen (mostly because they are not as organized and have less money, and no Karl Rove), but still don't believe it. Vote smart, not your heart.

On the Recent Dirty Political Ads...

Politics over the decades, especially the last one, have gotten so dirty and disgusting that it is disturbing to watch. Both parties use negative ads, but Republicans have taken it from negative to dirty and outright lies. When do ads become personal? When the candidate cannot run on his performane on the most important issues. All he is left with is trying to tarnish the integrity and reputation of his opponents. That is what we have seen in the past few weeks, beginning with the Republican ad run in Tennessee against the Democratic challenger Harold Ford Jr which insibuates interracial sex along with porn producers, etc. Then in New Jersey where Tom Kean Jr. is running an ad that ties Sen Bob Menendez with the mob directly by name. In Virginia, Sen. George Allen has been reduced to picking sexually explicit excerpts from his democratic opponent James Webb's FICTIONAL novels. Nevermind that there is such a thing called poetic license. There are many more. Why don't these "public servants" spend money to present their accomplishments on the real issues important to our country: Iraq, Afghanistan, the economy, wages, gas prices, health care, terrorism, corruption, budget deficits, trade deficits, incompetence, social security, medicare, education and costs, North Korea, Iran... should I keep going? Are these issues not more important than somebody going to the playboy Mansion for a super bowl party along with 5000 others? Or that an accomplished novelist wrote a sexually explicit passage in a novel, like many other successful novelists have? Why do they choose to go the dirty ad way? Because they cannot run on the real issues. The majority of Republicans have a record that practically mirrors the President's agenda, a deeply unpopular and failed agenda. The only option left for these Republicans is to try and tarnish their opponents with dirty and misleading ads that are easily disproven, but they still ring some bells.

The only reason that every Republican seat is not in danger is because disctricts have been so gerrymandered, that even when discontent is as large as it is right now, most house seats are protected. There are only a few house seats that are competitive, and they are almost all Republican. What does that tell you? Is this a real democracy? If that were true, then more than a few house seats would be in peril.

On Nov. 7 vote for truth not spin.

Get Rid of John Kerry

John Kerry must retire immediately and go off into obscurity hoping we forget he ever existed. The junior Senator from Massachussets is the most pathetic example of a suppossed leader in Washington D.C. (Corrupt Republican gov't officials not included). Kerry could be the biggest embarrassment to the Democratic party since Michael Dukakis. What makes it even more gut wrenching to watch is the fact that Kerry is a well educated man, who served honorably in the military, and his resume reads like what a President's should, certainly more suited for the oval office than George W. Bush ever was. When he made his comments on Monday, he didn't do anything that President Bush has done repeatedly throughout his political career, he mangled a joke?, statement?, or something like that. Bush does it all the time. The difference is that it is difficult to extract what the meaning of Kerry's mangled joke was. Was it that stupidity, a lack of knowledge and mediocre grades lead us into a war like Iraq, or that our lower classes are the ones forced to take up conflicts such as Iraq when they join the army in an attempt to have the gov't pay for higher education once you serve your 4 years (it certainly was not intended to offend the troops, as the Republicans would have you believe)? These certainly are very valid and factually supported arguments. But it is easy to spin that into something else as has been done. What Kerry did wrong was not to mangle his speech (we all do that sometimes), it was to take such a stupid stance after he clearly screwed up. He came out and said "I apologize to no one for attacking the Presdident". The moron doesn't realize that what he meant to say is no longer the issue, it is what it has been spun into. Instead of apologizing quickly, he waits three news cylces to do what he should have done five minutes after he messed up his speech: correct it and apologize if his misstatements offended anyone. Most folks with common sense and a brain understand that Kerry's intent was not to insult the troops, but that is no longer the main concern. The concern here is to halt the Republican spin machine from morphing the screw up into a sound bite supporting terrorism. But alas, leave to Kerry to do something stupid and make it more difficult for Democrats to win. John Kerry must go. He is a worthless political leader, and any aspirations he had for the presidency in '08 were shot down in '04, and buried in '06.

On a related note, when voting out there on Nov. 7, do not fall for all the spin and lies being spread out there (and these are heavily Republican). Do not take something like Kerry's blunder and give it more weight than it should have. Vote on the issues, on what is really important. Real lives are at stake, not political ones. If you identify more with the Republican party on ISSUES, then vote for them. If you identify with Democrats, then vote for them. Do not let all the BS meant to muddy waters, such as the republican spin on kerry, influence your vote. Vote smart, vote with your brain, not your heart. On Nov. 7 vote for truth not spin.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

White House and Republicans Reeling, Spin Machine Off it Axle

Last month Karl Rove reportedly had an October surprise up his sleeve which would deliver the Congress into Republican hands once again. Little did he know that he would be one upped by his own party's October surprise, and by a previous White House darling, Bob Woodward. After a month in which the Republicans seemed to be gaining ground on the Democratic lead for the November elections, they have been blasted back, full force by three major allegations. The first was the damaging leak of a National Intelligence Estimate that stated Iraq had made the war on terrorism worse. Bush was force to declassify a part of the report to do some PR control, when that did not work he declassified the entire document. That did not seem to do it either. Not because of a lack of effort by the White House to spin the report. The NIE was simply damaging beyond spin repair. Whichever way it was read the conclusion was that the Iraq War had helped the extremist jihadist movement. The White House tried to point out that the NIE also states what they've said all along, that if the Iraq War is won, it would strike a blow to the terrorists. They fail to point out that the Iraq War is going so poorly that 60% of Iraqis want us dead. 80% want us out. Yeah, IF the war was won, it would strike a huge blow. That IF being the biggest hypothetical of all time.

So, the White House is already spinning so fast that it's falling off its axle when another blow comes. The Republicans have a pedophile in their ranks, and it seems that the House leadership has at least known of the potential problem for a year, but swept it under the rug in an attempt to not endanger their control of Congress. But leave it to those darned reporters to mess everything up. ABC confronted rep Mark Foley about some suggestive e-mails he had exchanged with congressional pages, then he abruptly resigned when ABC denied his request to not publish the e-mails' content. Quickly the scandal unraveled and Foley was determined to have exchanged even more sexually explicit Instant Messages in 2003 with more congressional pages. Foley quickly checked himself into rehab for alcoholism, because alcohol is the "devil" and makes you a pedophile. The wheel had already started rolling though, and the House Republican leadership now finds itself facing questions regarding its values, morals, integrity, etc. How much did House Speaker Hastert know? Majority Leader Boehner? Who else? Why did they do nothing a year ago? Well, they messed with the wrong thing, people's children. The public, Republican and Democrat, can quip about the war, economy and everything else, but one thing that hits home equally is their children's safety, and House leaders chose to protect their political interests rather than protect the children of those who elected them. Let them try to spin this one. If they do try, they will be seen as trying to justify pedophilia. you can spin a war, numbers, reports, but you can spin a child crime.

The last slap on Bush was ex-White House darling Bob Woodward's new book "State of Denial". Woodward is now persona non-grata in the White House after he was loved by the Bushies when his first two books came out: "Bush at War", then "Plan of Attack". How fitting it is that The White House is in a state of denial over "State of Denial". They have tried to deny everything over the past weekend only to be proven liars, not by Woodward, but by the sources he used: Andy Card, ex-chief of staff, documentation regarding meetings, etc. Today the State Department admitted that a meeting between Condoleeza Rica and CIA director Tenet, where Tenet warned of an attack, did indeed take place, after Rice denied it all weekend. The White House also denied assertions that the Iraq War is going worse than they are telling, that they denied additional troops when they were asked for, that it is going to get worse in 2007. Essentially, they deny everything, hence the appropriate title of the book "State of Denial". They forgot one thing, Woodward is one of the most respected journalists in the country and if he makes an accusation or assertion, he will most likely be able to support it beyond a doubt. This time it looks like the White House miscalculated and went up against someone with impeccable credentials and credibility, something that they themselves lost after Katrina (even though they should have never had any credibilty after Iraq).

Friday, September 29, 2006

A Week in Bush World

It stands to reason that among the most notable leaks this week, if you want to call it that, is the fact That President Bush is being advised on the Iraq war by none other than ex-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. As if Kissinger were the most qualified person to render advice on any military conflict. Kissinger still lives in a world dominated by Vietnam and the Cold War, therefore his prism lense is tainted by the failure of Vietnam and his frame of mind crafted in a Cold War era long gone. To Kissinger this is a golden chance to fight Vietnam all over again. In Bob Woodward's new book, "State of Denial", Woodward quotes Kissinger in his advice to Bush: "victory is the only meaningful exit strategy". Is it? Can it be won? I suppose the United States has the military power to sustain the conflict, but it would bankrupt itself financial, morally, militarily, and politically. In essence, we, the people, would end up paying the price for an arrogantly misguided policy. You cannot rely on advice from someone living in the past. You rely on someone who has lived the past and learned from it. The common denominator in all the mistakes this administration has commited is a flat learning curve. This Administration thinks it can do the same things that have been done in the past and not make the same mistakes. Well, it's been proven that the have made the same mistakes and compounded them. How arrogant to think that you are so much better than your predecessors, that you ignore the lessons of the past.

In other important events, a congressional report states that Jack Abramoff, the crooked D.C. lobbyist, had more than 400 confirmed visits to the White House. Remember the W.H. said that Abramoff only went a few times, and even then the President didn't remember meeting him? Well, Abramoff had hundreds of meetings and quite a few of them with high ranking W.H. officials. At least 10 were with Karl Rove. More than 400 times? To me that is astounding. Would someone without anything to offer be let into the W.H. 400+ times? The W.H. claims that you cannot believe the report because its source is Abramoff and his records. Hmm... they are going to have to do better than that. He's a liar is not a good defense. Then again, when you are caught with your pants down, good defenses are hard to come by.

Bob Woodward's book also makes some very disturbing claims. It sates that the violence in Iraq is much worse than the public has been led to believe, and that the number of casualities is much higher than the Pentagon has released. U.S. troops are being attacked on average every fifteen minutes. As disturbing as the assertion is, it is not all that surprising, if it is true. During the Vietnam war the Pentagon was caught red handed when they were releasing the number of enemy kills. The number of kills exceeded the entire population of Vietnam. Hence, this weeks claims are not surprising, though no less disturbing. If the claims are true, how long can the Administrtion expect the public, what is left of it, to support this conflict. It is already a major point of dissent in the publics mind.When I say if the claims are to be bellieved, keep in mind that Bob Woodward is one of the most reknowned and respected journalists in our country, and is known for having the deepest inside access to our government.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Bomb Pakistan?

According to Pakistani President Musharraf, the U.S. threatened to bomb Pakistan back to the stone age unless it cooperated in the war on terror. This message was supposedly relayed by deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage. President Bush says he was taken aback by Musharraf's statement, and that he was unaware of it. Armitage has disputed the language that Musharraf describes, but does not deny that the message was a strong one. Was Bush aware of the message or was he really in the dark? The latter is the scary one. The thought of a U.S. government official using the military prowess of the United States to coerce cooperation without the approval of higher ups is an extremely disturbing finding. I do not think anyone can deny that having Pakistan cooperate after 9/11 was essential, whether they were forced to or not. But if an Administration official makes that sort of assertion on his own, it reflects a level of disorganization in an area were power is so concentrated that the results of such an irresponsible comment could possibly be catastrophic. The issue here is not whether Pakistan was coerced or not, the issue is if a U.S. offical threatened military action without the consent of the highest ranking official in the nation. What would have happened had Pakistan's reaction to the message been an aggressive one? I would hope that Bush takes Armitage to the cleaners on this issue.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Not Black and White: Grey!

It is funny, but scary, how Bush sees the world. To him it is like a video game: good vs. evil. What a misguided concept. Yes, there are forces out there that wish to cause harm. But to simplify the issue as good vs. evil reflects Bush's ignorance of the geopolitical realities that have created a clash between the U.S. and the Arab world. Democracy cannot be forced onto a civilization that has never practiced it, and democracy cannot be dismissed when the outcome was not what was desired. That has happened in Palestine with the democratic election of Hamas to power and in Iran, though Iran's democratic process is somewhat restricted. Hypocrisy is not part of democracy, but we have become very good at it, preaching one thing and practicing another. You cannot have it both ways and expect the world to respect you for it. The again, respect is not among the top things the Bush Administration cares about. A black and white approach has gotten us where we are today. When is enough enough?

Is the White House for Sale?

Recent reports released by the Seceret Service show that Bush political allies Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed had access to the White House over 100 times in the last 6 years, possibly more, but those records have not been released. These meetings included more than ten with the President himself. To put this in perspective, it is extremely difficult to gain access to high level officials inside the White House and even more so access to the President. In six years, Reed and Norquist averaged more than twenty visits a year. Twenty. A White House spokesperson said of Norquist's visits: "He is one of a number of individuals who worked to advance fiscal responsibility, which is one of the key aspects of the president's agenda," to describe the visits. Well, we all know how fiscally responsible this President has been, with the record deficits and all. I'm sure the President's schedule is very tightly controlled, so it begs the question: what did these to have to offer that they were given such free access to the halls of power in the White House. On the other hand, maybe they are pals with Bush and were in the neighborhood.

The White House did not want these records released and argued in front of the judge that it would not be a good idea to release the records "because the information was privileged and might reveal how Bush and his staff get private advice". Huh?? Maybe the records just reveal how many times two individuals were able to access the White House begging the question why?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Bush's Moral Compass

It is increasingly clear that the political arena has become a very predictable cycle. Republicans use fear as a tool, Democrats run for cover. Or is it? Will the wimpy democratic party pull defeat from the jaws of victory again? Or will hey actually win this coming November? Bush has started touting the terrorism drum once again. This time though, it is about the only drum that he can beat, seeing as he is viewed as incompetent on every other issue. Still, terrorism is a very powerful issue, the most powerful actually. This is due not so much to the threat it presents (yes, there is a threat, but like the rest of the world, we now have to manage and learn how to live with it) which is exacerbated completely by the Republicans, as it is to the fact that most Americans are ignorant about the nature of terrorism and what creates it. The Bush Administration would have you believe that terrorists hate us for our freedom. That is a blatant distortion of the issue and means one of two things: either our political leaders, Republicans mostly, are incredibly stupid and lack an understanding of terrorism, or they are lying about it to further their political agendas. I don't know which one is worse, but I know that they have camps in both.

Terrorists do not hate us because of our freedom. That is a load of BS tidied up nicely for you to swallow without tasting it. The idea of freedom to Muslim extremists is to wrap their women in clothing and keep them uneducated, pray five times or more a day, eat no pork, drink no alcohol, punish the infidels, among others. That is their belief, that is their freedom. That they do not agree with our idea of freedom, does not mean they hate us for it. They hate us because of the foreign policies we have had in the middle east for decades. And in the last five years, those policies have become more inflaming. They hate us because the U.S. supports Israel unconditionally, and they hate Israel becuase it was created in 1947 on land taken from Palestine, they hate us because the U.S. has established a military presence in an oil rich Arab country (Saudi Arabia) after an invasion of an Arab country, Iraq in 1991, they hate us because they believe the only interest the Big Satan has in the Middle East is black gold. Just to name a few.

But now, the new generation of Muslims doesn't hate us because of foreign policies. Young Muslims hate us because they are taught to hate us. They see reinforcement in their belief by the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. They view the western world as an agressor. It has become much easier to recruit a terrorist than to recruit a soldier. How did we get to the point where it is easier to find someone willing to kill innocent people indiscriminately, than someone who will fight for their country and its people? Terrorists are bad people. They twist their religious belief to suit their extreme view of the world. They give the Muslim religion a bad image. But there is something to say about the fact that the majority of the Muslim world, though not sharing the extremist's view, is no longer publicly condoning terrorist acts. Their hatred for the west, particularly the U.S., is greater than their moral compass. How did we get to this point? Then again, how good is our mortal compass when we invade a country on a pretense, a pretense that has cost the lives of tens of thousands of Muslims?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Bush's Optimism: Warranted?

Yesterday morning President Bush gave a one hour press conference in the new press room accross the street from the White House. It was a good Q&A session with the President I have to say. Bush seemed relaxed and comfortable, something he has been getting better at since he has been forced to make more public appearances with the press to battle sagging poll numbers. He was his usual self, consistent in his stances, however right or wrong they are, though a couple of times the President rambled on about terrorism and Iraq in such a convoluted way that he sounded like he was delirious, his arguments making no sense to anyone. Beyond that, he did well, though as I said before he still mantained his stances on the issues, and that is the main problem. Until the Administration faces reality, the will not adjust the direction they are going in and will just dig themselves a deeper hole. Even with staunch Bush supporters in Congress turning against White House policy, the Bush Administration stood its ground. Which begs the question: resolve or stubborness?

Iraq is more violent now than it has been since the war started, yet the Adminstration paints a portrait of victory, one that every Republican in Congress is trying to hold on to. I can understand their position. But when do the facts overtake optimism? The argument is that if we pull out now Iraq will disolve into chaos. You have no argument from me there. But, is it not in chaos right now? Was it not supposed to be better after three + years? Yes, the country would fall into a civil war if we pull out now, but the same will most likely happen if we pull out later. So, if a reasonable assumption is that Iraq will evolve into a civil war regardless of when we pull out (after all U.S. military presence is the only thing stopping a full-blown civil war from exploding), what is the logic in staying the course, losing more soldiers and spending more money, when the outcome will most likely be the same, a civil war? Of course, the optimistic side of the coin is that we will somehow shore up Iraq's government and it's own security forces will be able to keep the country secure if we stay long enough. How many actually believe that? What are the odds 10 to 1, 50 to 1, 100 to 1? The point is the odds are heavily against us.

Do not take this as argument for military defeat. This war will not be lost by the military, it will be lost by those folks in Washington who launched an ill-planned and ill-conceived campaign. We will leave right or wrong of it out of this discussion. Under those circumstances our military has performed to excellence, considering all the handicaps it was given. When ideology overtakes reality, disaster occurs. That is why ideology is not reality, it is based on an ideal, not on fact. I could sit here and write over and over about all the things that have gone wrong, but it would be redundant. And what you have is that all the mistakes are coming to frutition now that we have been in the conflict for a while. The Administration is slowly being force to admit to face reality, but that still will not stop it from trying to paint an optimistic picture of a free Iraq. I don't suppose I cannot blame them. Hey, you have to hold on to some form of hope, right?

Am I Biased?

This has been by far the longest I have gone without posting an article or comment on some of the current issues. I could sit here and falsely say that I have been too busy to do it, but honestly, I just needed to take a step back and reevaluate my thinking and my position as an unbiased commentator. It felt like the appropriate time to do so when the Israeli attack on Lebanon broke out. This war, which was so heavily covered by the media, felt to me like an unwarranted event, with both sides in the wrong. Seeing as we live in a biased pro-Israel country, I did not want to write anything regarding this war, I found it disgusting, from Israel's destruction of a fledging democracy, to the United States refusal to put a stop to the violence. Though I am devoutly against an organization like Hizbollah, I cannot in good conscience support what Israel did. Israel should have been the bigger man, in manner of speaking, and so should have the United States. Back to my reasons for taking a sabbatical from writing, I felt I needed to reassess my position on the issues in order be able to provide unbiased commentary. I find it has become increasingly difficult to provide unbiased commentary on everything that is going on, because, in all truth, anyone who is being unbiased and accurate will not have much good to say about the current Bush Administration. It is an effort to find good things to say about the Administration because it has such ill-conceived policies, both domestic and foreign. So, I pose this question to you: is someone who does his best to provide truthful accounts and commentary, which unfortunately are heavily critical of an Administration that has made mistakes at every conceivable turn, which has a cloud of corruption surrounding it, and which makes no faithful effort to correct its direction, is this person biased? Is legitimate criticism a form of bias, or just plain honesty? Let me remind you that the Bush Administration has labeled everyone who disagrees with its policies and actions as left-wing radical nuts, and sometimes even traitors. This list includes some of the most reknown and professional journalists in this country. Are they biased because they report the truth (which is for the most part bad news all the time) as best they can, or are allowed by this secretive Administration?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Bush Doctrine Dead (Like it Ever Stood a Chance)

These past two weeks the media has picked up on what is now being called "the end of cowboy diplomacy". In other words, the Bush Administration's ridiculous approach to foreign policy has failed so miserably that it has been forced to make a drastic change in its approach and tone. Gone is the cowboy rhetoric known for unnecessary utterances like "wanted: dead or alive" and "bring it on", replaced by a more measured approach and retractments from statements such as those. Of course, the shift is not by choice. The United States finds itself in a very precarious position. By undertaking unilaterally the conflict in Iraq, it has affected its ability to influence favorably everything else. The overextension of military resources and the economic cost of the war has limited U.S. power. Allies, and enemies, have taken advantage of this position. Every possible hotspot around the world has heated up, not by coincidence. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Iran nuclear stand off, the North Korea missile crisis, the genocide in Sudan, the economic growth of China, all dangerous threats in their own right, have grown beyond the Administration's ability to do anything about them. That doesn't even include the mess that is Iraq, and the growing mess that is Afghanistan. While Bush has been busy crafting his own ill conceived war, every serious threat to the national security of the United States has escalated UNDER HIS WATCH! So much for national security. While Bush has been focusing almost entirely on Iraq, North Korea has allegedly developed nuclear weapons, the Israeli-Palestinian peace has been destroyed, Iran has flicked the finger at the U.S., Sudan's genocide has been ignored, and China has grown at a 10% rate and owns a lot of the U.S. debt and trade. And that does not cover Iraq. In pursuing its revolutionary idea to forcibly democratize a region in order to fight Islamic extremism, the Bush administration has unwittingly pushed some countries to elect governments that are more sympathetic to the Islamic extremist movement than with the Unted States. And when a government is DEMOCRATICALLY elected that does not suit the U.S., they shun it, I.E. Hamas. What kind of sham is our government running? Basically, if something doesn't turn out how they want then they criticize and sanction it, even if it is elected by the process the U.S. is trying to promote. This is hypocrisy at the highest level. Because the U.S. is stretched so thin, the only real option left to deal with these new issues is diplomacy. Probably the most important person in the Bush Administration right now is Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. A Bush hawk in the first term, when she served as national security advisor, Rice has undertaken her new position responsibly and has established herself as Bush's most trusted advisor. The fact that Rice has ammended her approach to foreign policy to a more realistic one can only bode well for an Administration that is known for ignoring diplomacy and following ideology. Too bad that the rest of the world got so bad during the process.

Annals from Bushworld

In the past few days President Bush has been stumping for what he believes is great economic progress. The numbers seem pretty good, so why are people not giving him any credit for it?

The President fails to mention, and highlight specifically, the fact that this is a good economy for the investor class, not for the worker class. The economy has been grwing for thirty straight months, but regular folks are getting squeezed more and more. Wages have remained stagnant for almost ten years, while healthcare, gas and energy, tuition costs have exploded, and inflation has driven the price of everything up. We are in period of stagflation. So, while the investor classes get richer, the workers get poorer and the middle class shrinks. Yes, the economic number, on average, look good. But when broken down into more specific categories, they look really good for one group, and really bad for the other.

On another economic note, the President has also been gloating over the anouncement that the new deficit forecast will be $296 billion, not the $400+ billion forecast previously. Though this is a large improvement, keep in mind that the White House always takes the optimistic approach to calculating the deficit, and also excludes the cost of both wars (which will happen no more since Congress passed a bill banning the practice). It would be no surprise if in the next few months there is a revising of that projection. Regardless, I do not remember a time when having a $300 billion deficit was something to gloat about. To put matters into context, the deficit represents about 2.3% of the size of the economy, so it should be manageable. Still, you have a White House whose CIC has never vetoed a spending bill, and a VP who infamously uttered the stupid comment "deficits don't matter". I certainly hope that Laurel and Hardy have gotten beyond previous beliefs. But can you realistically expect that.

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