Sunday, December 31, 2006

Hope for the New Year

Someone wanted to hear something positive for what's in store this new year. I mentioned Congressional investigations, but they wanted something more positive, so here's my response.

You wanted to hear something positive for what's in store this new year, and I know that Congressional investigations aren't exactly the sort of thing that moves us to the moon, but it is a necessary part of the foundation that needs to happen to begin to repair the damage from the last six years, if not the last twenty six years.

But more than that, more than the barest sense of optimism coming from the Democratic Party, or the hope born of the reality that Bush cannot just dictate to the Congress any longer, I think there is a growing sense of empowerment by everyday Americans, that the solutions offered by capitalistic market forces and the largesse of Republicans and Big Business are not so much part of the problem, but irrelevant to the problem solving equation. Because there is this new kind of community spirit that is growing, thanks to tools like the internet and those darned blogs and bloggers, groups like MoveOn and Daily Kos where people gather to talk and discuss and strategize and work together to find real solutions, to find ways to push our power elites to actually work constructively to solve problems like the rebuilding of New Orleans, or to realistically address global warming and mitigations to reverse the trends, and improving our wasteful consumerism, and so on.

Some of the big "events" that have happened of late, the ones not really reported, or not really reported appropriately, or not really reported correctly, are the stories that show that there's a rising tide of progressivism coming from the ground up, and that progressivism is a reflection of that empowerment, I believe.

While the media talked about the horse race and the attacks and the teevee commercials in the Connecticut Senate race, the real story was that a progressive and unknown citizen essentially unseated a sitting and thoroughly entrenched in the DC Beltway United States Senator through the power of common citizens, not teevee commercials and David Broder endorsements and political party money. That he later lost in November was a testament to the toughness of the nut, the desperation of the established forces, and the cowardice of the same. But a precedent was set on August 8th, 2006 when Ned Lamont defeated Joe Lieberman in the Democratic Primary, and there were a bunch of victories in November, like here in California's 11th Congressional District, that were rooted in that August victory. This address is a nice speech of what the Democrats hope to do this new year from Jerry McNerny, who won pretty much with just the help of grassroots, progressives, volunteers, internet bloggers, and his own hard work and great record.

My hope is the recognition among a lot of Americans that there are new political forces and new ways of communicating, and that people are using those tools and forces to have an impact against the corporations and the Bush Republicans. People are beginning to see that there are other ways to work collectively besides through entrenched moneyed forces, but still within our political framework, and that solutions can be found when progressives, maybe even in the hinterlands of Fargo or El Cajon, can advance an idea and connect it to that framework with the new tools, that new force (that isn't really new, I know) I'll call progressive people power, and circumvent the good 'ol boys network to get things done.

That's where I see the hope, and when you combine that with a Congress more inclined to support Americans instead of Corporations, we might see some actual progress this year in getting us out of Iraq, stopping the fiscal hemorrhaging of our tax dollars to the corporations, and getting some kind of a grip on our oil addiction, and its concomitant fight against global warming.

'06-Ends Improving, Outlook for '07-Depends on Us

Greetings and Happy New Year!

While 2006 is soon relegated to the ash heap, and while it ends with some hope, thanks to the 11/7 election, be mindful that the work has just begun.

The cynic in me says that Hussein was hanged before he could be tried for his war crimes against the Kurds, and we all know whose hand was in the middle of that, right?

But rest assured, any wingers reading this, there's no water shed for Hussein's demise, just nasty suspicion at the circumstances and timing.

I think that next years first Friedman Unit (FU) will be critical towards any successes the left and progressives and Democrats have moving forward, and I suggest that we all remain vigilant and involved, don't parse every action that Speaker Pelosi makes and wring our hands in anguish if an outcome doesn't happen in full blown flaming liberal.

Don't forget to make your contributions to the DNC and Leadership PACs and candidates and what not, let's build the war chests now instead of at the last minute for a change. Here's a couple I plan on supporting, modestly, as much to show support for the policies as anything:

The DNC and its campaign committees
Henry Waxman's
Barbara Boxer's
Act Blue
Earth Justice-Because the earth does indeed need a good lawyer
County Central Committees-here it's California but just google "[your state] county central committees" and you'll probably get something.

That's all for now, good luck, good wishes, good riddance to '06, let's make it good riddance to Bush in ought seven!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

1917, Bush, and the Death of Labor

You know how CSPAN has those book talks at bookstores, about some arcane or great historical figure or event, and they tell great stories, and make you want to read the book? Well, I checked out some books at the library the other day, and there was this new non-fiction titled "Fire and Brimstone: The North Butte Mining Disaster of 1917," by Michael Punke, and I figured, there's one of those books!

So I checked it out, and boy, howdy, who knew! I'm reading this book, which goes far beyond the mine disaster, and into the burning issues of labor rights, stagnant wages, politics, Constitutional rights, slander and slime. If I didn't know better, I would think I was reading about the Bush Administration. Here's a brief excerpt to show what I mean:

Through the summer and fall of 1917, though, the tone of the council [Montana Council of Defense-catchy, no?] began to assume a different character. The Helena Independent, with Will Campbell [take your pick, Brooks, Goldberg, Bennett ad nauseum] as its editor, began to emerge as the councils "unofficial mouthpiece." Editorials that once focused on topics such as physical fitness... began to take a sharper edge.

Frustrated by reports of college professors questioning the war, for example, one Campbell editorial bemoaned the lack of draconian deportation law. "[I]t would be an excellent thing if he or she were escorted down to the sea shore or to the border and kicked out of the country never to return." ... "The loyal Americans are almost ready to vote Wilson a dictator and hurry congress to intern camps or old men's homes."

Frankfurters renamed Hot Dogs, sauerkraut renamed liberty cabbage, threats, business monopolies putting profit before people, war profiteering by the same, labor unions demonized for having the effrontry to demand for safer work places and better wages to keep pace with inflation and/or rising corporate profits, corporate media hawking for their corporate masters, immigration and racism as a wedge to divide workers, fear mongering by the people in charge, it's just like what we have happening today. And throughout it all, stuck in the middle again, hard working Americans paying the price with their lives.

That is what Bush/Cheney and their corporate masters want, others have said they long for the days of McKinley and this mess in Butte was part and parcel of that era, robber barons and corporate monopolies, this time Standard Oil controlling the copper industry and the State of Montana. And you thought it was the religious nutjobs that drove Bush? No, that's just another of his great legacies, by pandering to those freaks and giving them power, he's set off wars of religion all over the world including here in the US. And good luck controlling that absurd and irrational force, but that's for another post.

Michael Punke has an interview, here, that talks about the book and the issues of the day, and gives a good flavor for it. And here's a strong article from him that hits hard at the essence of the labor/management flashpoint, appropriate to not just miners, but immigration, BP North Slope oil, and so on, While a new law represents a positive step for miners, there's a real risk that it will prove a distraction from the change that's needed most urgently -- ongoing enforcement and oversight.

Ah yes, oversight, the bane of George Bush and Friends. That's the essence of the problem, they do not want you to know what they're doing, because what they're doing is screwing you and me to their benefit. NSA wiretaps? Spying on Americans so they can control the newsmedia and silence critics. Cheney's Oil Executives meeting? Well, duh. Medicare drug plan and hiding the true costs? Big Pharma rolls in profits. Iraq invasion, it's all about the oil, but they'll never tell us that, even though the idiot President slipped and sorta did a few weeks back, that's just because he's really not that smart. And it just never stops.

I close with this last quote from Punke's article, my bold. It speaks for itself. Let me just add, that Mr Punke is a lawyer and he worked for Sen. Baucus and in the Clinton White House, including some time on the NSC working in trade areas.

Federal regulators and mine officials like to point to the broad trend toward improved safety. Last year, for example, saw the lowest number of mine fatalities, 22, in U.S. history. In 1950, by comparison, 643 U.S. miners died. And there are certainly other countries where things are worse. The calamity-ridden Chinese mining industry is on its way to yet another year in which more than 5,000 miners will die.

But surely the bar in the United States should be set higher than either 1950s America or present-day China. Mine safety, after all, is not the Manhattan Project.

But if it interferes with profits, it might as well be.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Pardon Legacy-Bush II

Good to see everybody has their thinking caps on!

I couldn't help but think as CNBC was extolling Ford and his legacy, how putting the long national nightmare (Nixon presidency? Nixon political career? The two years we'd had of Watergate as opposed to, oh, I don't know, ten years of death and destruction in Vietnam?) behind us only served to cover up the bleeding sore of republican malfeasance, and of course, allowed it to continue to happen.

It happened during Reagan, it happened during Bush I,
Bush also deftly handled the S&L scandal, signing a bill to bail out countless fraudulent Texan savings and loan corporations, including (at a cost of $1 billion) Silverado S&L, whose board, led by brother Neil, loaned Neil's partners in JNB Exploration $132 million, which they never repaid. George denied any connection, just as he claimed to have no idea that Manuel Noriega, whom he met as early as 1976 (the year that Noriega began receiving $110,000/year from the CIA) was involved in illicit drug dealing...

It happened during the Gopper Congressional Interregnum, it certainly happened during Bush II.

So who did benefit from the pardon, exactly?

Nixon's pardon, no matter how decent the media tells us Gerald Ford was, and they'll be telling us that for a good week, but that pardon was just a cover-up, and a continuation of the business as usual that marks the parasitic relationship of the MSM and the wholly owned corporation called the Republican Party.

If Nixon had really gone to trial, all sorts or corporate "business" was in danger of being exposed during the trial and investigation, and that could not be tolerated by the Corpse, even the risk, however unrelated to Watergate and Nixon's paranoid actions, that they might be exposed in the process. And with vermin like Cheney and Rum Drunk and Bush I right in the middle of the Nixon Administration, there were plenty of people who would benefit from a pardon in the long run.

Not the American People, mind you, but the Beltway crowd, the K streeters, the Gopper insiders, the Wall Street fat cats. And benefit they have, thanks in no small measure to Ford's pardon of Nixon. So sleep well, Gerald Ford, sleep well.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Developing Ignorance

The North County Times did some great reporting during the Cunningham imbroglio, but boyo, they've got a winner as a regular opinion columnist, Michael D. Pattinson. The sad thing is that he's the president of a large builder in the North County, Barratt America, and seems woefully ignorant of anything but developing, even as he donates $100k to San Diego State University for education.

I say this because after reading a couple of his columns, well, frankly, he sounds like a smaller version of George W Bush, woefully out of touch with reality in his single minded drive to wallow in the filthy lucre at all costs.

Try this one on for size:

The result: Too many elections for too many elected officials doing too many things without our knowledge, let alone consent. That is the definition of tyranny.

Because the media fails to fully inform the electorate, because people in positions that make decisions that affect everyone in a community are elected officials, and thus responsible to the people, that becomes tyranny. Okay, sure, that makes sense. But wait, we find out the problem soon enough. The real problem:

Elected and non-elected officials are hiding behind a screen of too much government in every area of our lives. To build a home requires dozens of permits from every level of government. First-time home buyers are often stunned to learn that $100,000 and more of the price of their house comes from local, state and federal government fees, regulations and delays. So when people ask why housing prices are high or traffic so congested, the blame gets passed around like a pile of hot rocks.

I'd like to see that figure substantiated, but be that as it may, now I know why he so opposed to all those elected officials. They're in the way of his developments. And let me tell you, he's got a big one going on in the East County, Fanita Ranch, and that project has had all sorts of roadblocks and changes, as developers have tried to build a huge community with no regard to densities, roads, the environment, open spaces, quality of life, roads, you name it. And out of all that fighting the developer has provided a million dollars to improve a state highway, reduced the footprint, increased the open spaces and public facilities provided, and all thanks to all those damn elected officials.

But I think he forgot to mention that anywhere in his diatribes. But this last one is even better for it's cluelessness. It's all about illegal immigration, and who's to blame. And let me assure you, it isn't the people that hire those illegal aliens, nosiree.

However, there has to be a better solution than arresting business people while letting the people who do violate our laws run free. A solution better than putting American citizens in jail while illegal aliens sleep comfortably in their Escondido rentals.

Regardless of the law, regardless of the circumstances, his real outrage is directed solely at those who interfere with his building developments. Bottom line. Pattinson is a true example of the kind of people who really back BushCo, the blind businessmen who think that their activities are of paramount importance, that what they do is superior to what other people of a different mind might do, and damn any future negative impacts, a mindset that holds no value towards anything but the short term and the particulars of the business.

The kind of mentality that allows an Alberto "Abu" Gonzalez to parse the definitions of torture to make it an acceptable activity for the United States to indulge in because that was what Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld wanted, nevermind the laws and morality and human values that normal people hold.

In another column he rails against California's Coastal Commission, but one of the comments pretty well argues why the CC is so often an obstacle for the developers:

Coastal Lady wrote on August 23, 2006 12:57 AM:"The Coastal Commission is a welcomed protector of our coastal resources. If it were up to Pattinson and the Building Industry of America (BIA) our coastline would be lined with 12+ story buildings along our beaches with the public trying to figure out a way to get there. San Diego's beachfront looks more like those in Hawaii and we in north county do not want that on our beachfront. As for the Malkin acceptance vs Manchester, just look at the facts. Manchester wanted our amphitheater, community center, Betty's public parking lot on the Strand as well as Pacific Street, Mission Avenue, & Pier View Way along with our future parkland at El Corazon. How much was that worth to our future needs.... The Coastal Commission backed up the Citizens for the Preservation of Parks & Beaches of Oceanside and the citizens of Oceanside in their outcry to protect our beachfront. I will support the Coastal Commission over the BIA's personal financial interest any day. As far as the Coastal Commission driving up home prices in our coasal zone, what planet do you think we were born on Mr. Pattinson. It is the basic law of supply and demand. A lot of people like to live and be close to our most precious resource, The Ocean. Have you checked the real estate market lately. Basic law of supply and demand. Housing demand is down and out and so is your article of mistruths and lies. Long live the Coastal Commission to protect the people's access and right to our California coastline."

There are more values in life than just dollars. There are many things of value, or of necessity, like clean air and water, that government provides and protects for us all, and people like Pattison and Bush and Cheney simply have no conception of how that could be. All they know, or think they know, is money and power. But without all of the intangibles or unquantifiables that make up LIFE, that money and power would be useless. Yet, these people persist with their visions and actions and wars and developments. How foolhardy that makes them, I leave to your descriptions. I think it makes them pathetic, and contemptible for the uncompromising amongst us. Just something else we need to deal with in our daily lives.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Lost Innocence

I've been listening to Bachman Turner Overdrive, "Not Fragile", and it just touches me how much differently things were then and now.

"Rock is my life (and this is my song)"

"When we play our music, Hands are in the air"

Now they wave their cellphones in the air, a hunk of technology, divorced from the warming glow of matches or BIC lighters, removed from the connection we felt towards our Rock and Roll defiant music; now they bask in the cold and artificial electronic shine of technology.

Now the music is harder (not musically speaking), even more corporate, driven by the polarization and hatred of our times, unshaded by the loss of the revolution, of sticking it to the man, of seeking a different way forward, that was the driving force behind much of Rock Music in the 60's and 70's and early 80's.*

And I find that ineffably sad.

It's a hurried up life
But it's the life I choose
No use in asking me to slow down
Cause I got nothing to lose

But time and time is all I've got
You know I born standing up with a guitar in my hand
I'm not trying to come on like hollywood
But hollywood is what I am

When we come into a new town
Everybody's there
When we play our music
Hands are in the air

When the music's over

You wonder where we are
I'm standing in the silence
With my old guitar

Rock is my life and this is my song
It's a crying shame
That some of us have not survived
No use in asking how it happened
But very few are left alive

I just wanna keep on makin' music
We gotta keep on keepin' on
You're only as good as your last record
I know that someday we'll be gone, gone

When we come into a new town
Everybody's there
When we play our music
Hands are in the air

When the music's over
You wonder where we are
I'm standing in the silence
With my old guitar

Rock is my life and this is my song
When we come into a new town
Everybody's there
When we play our music
Candles light the air

When the music's over, over
You wonder where we are
I'm standing in the silence
With my old guitar, my only friend
Rock is my life and this is my song

*I know, not all of the music of today is like that, but we've lost the sense of wonder and new found powers that we once had, and you young-uns are missing out on that.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

We Can't Allow Another Bush to be Kept Out of the Loop

A politician by himself is limited in his impacts. But few politicians operate alone. They have followers, aides, disciples, protégé’s, sycophants, who operate in their sphere. And oftimes those are the people who cause the most damage, "who will rid me of this meddlesome priest" comes to mind.

So when sillyparty says over at DKos,Yeah, ok, I'm sure Reagan broke laws in Iran Contra. So what happened? Some idiot took the fall. I felt bothered by that dismissal. My comment followed, below, then I posted it as a diary with added links.

Yes, some idiot took the fall then bounced back up and became:

Elliot Abrams-Deputy National Security Adviser for Global Democracy Strategy

And then a bunch of his buddies and betters completely involved in the death of thousands in Central America fighting a dirty, filthy war of no sense, no logic, no reason that served to protect the United States or her People from any enemies or threats, also continued on to become:

John Negroponte-Director of National Intelligence

Robert Gates-Secretary of Defense

John Bolton-UN Ambassador

Dick Cheney-Vice President of the United States

Among others. The same people that broke the laws then, the same people who caused the death of thousands of innocents and fostered guerrilla war in the region to, essentially further US business interests at the expense of the people of the region, who then subsequently provide us with all sorts of cheap labor here in the US, those people are the ones running the show now. (My bolds to follow-DGR)

Twenty years later, the Iran-Contra affair continues to resonate on many levels, especially as Washington gears up for a new season of political inquiry with the pending inauguration of the 110th Congress and the seeming inevitability of hearings into a range of Bush administration policies.

For at its heart Iran-Contra was a battle over presidential power dating back directly to the Richard Nixon era of Watergate, Vietnam and CIA dirty tricks. That clash continues under the presidency of George W. Bush, which has come under frequent fire for the controversial efforts of the president, as well as Vice President Richard Cheney, to expand Executive Branch authority over numerous areas of public life.

As John Nichols said today on Mark Marron's radio show, Americans can walk and chew gum at the same time, and since Congress will be working 5 days a week instead of 2 or 3, they will have plenty of time to "do something for America" and Iraq. And in fact, impeaching Bush and Cheney will well and truly do something for America and Iraq. It will start us back onto the road of respectability, reliability, responsibility we once had on the world's stage, it will stop Bush from looting and pillaging and raping the country, hell, the world, at the bequest of his corporate masters, and it will begin to stop our ruinous slide into self destruction and self pity.

That seems fairly worthwhile to me. And all we need to do is let Henry Waxman and Russ Feingold and others conduct their investigations, while we lay the groundwork for why impeachment is needed. I say it is, I say that the only argument in all of these diaries is the WHY, not the how's or when's or what's, but why. I've laid out my reasons, and there are more, but that's enough for now.

Thanks for listening.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Progressives and Primaries

The Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party had a meeting in Anaheim Dec 8th. I, of course, did not attend because I'm too damn busy, hence the paucity of blog posts so far, but they are definately a group or their membership that will be involved in the primarying of Ellen Tauscher. (e-mail sent from the Progressive Caucus regarding the Anaheim meeting.)

“Don’t Tread On Me”, was a bold and brazen flag of the Revolution. Well, there are those who are daring to galvanize the ire of the Progressive Movement, inside and outside of the Party by doing just that. We say, let all of the DLC plots in the mud hatch out! We are here to restore, revitalize and revive the Republic. Any attempt to block us, control our impetus forward or distort our purpose and intent is futile. Facilitation is the only path for the leadership of the Party and the country to deal with this unparalleled breakthrough of democratic consciousness. We are on the move. We are the majority of American citizens. We are the mainstream. We are Main Street. We are the principled people this nation was founded for, by and of.
The Blue Dog Democrats are scarcely any better than the DLC at this point, and it's not because they're conservative or fiscally tight, but because they keep on aiding and abetting the corporate policies of George W Bush and his Corporate Masters. And that won't do.

If I note that Tauscher has gotten fat since she's been in Congress, it's not because she's a woman and her appearance matters, look at the pictures in this Kos post for the growth, but because it is emblematic of what she has become, fat off of the sweat and product of the American People, just like Gingrich and Hastert and Hunter, their obesity is a perfect symbol of what they have become. Bloated parasites sucking the lifeblood of our country for their own benefit. Bloody pigs at the altar of Mammon.

From Milton's Paradise Lost:

Mammon led them on-- Mammon, the least erected Spirit that fell From Heaven; for even in Heaven his looks and thoughts Were always downward bent, admiring more The riches of heaven's pavement, trodden gold, Than aught divine or holy else enjoyed In vision beatific.

Sounds like the guy in the middle.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Reality Intrusion on Immigration Debate

I haven't been following the Swift packing plant raids, too busy working 2 jobs this holiday season, but we have our own immigration follies here in San Diego. Recall that the Escondido City Council passed an ordinance banning housing rentals to illegal imigrants, and making the landlords responsible for, essentially, the enforcement.

Well, the City Council has reversed itself because they couldn't, and in a bit of civic reasonableness, realized (I hope) that they shouldn't be carrying the burden for the Federal Government. So it's back to the drawing boards for Marie Waldron and the anti-immigrant groups to ban illegal immigration.

(Note this bit from the article, and a reader comment. See any similarities to anyone we know?)

The two don't always agree, [Gallo] said. But Waldron has earned his respect, in part, because she never wavers from her stance."She's not going to do things just because people want to hear it," Gallo said. "And in her mind, she's going to do what she thinks is right."

That's a Problem wrote on Oct 17, 2006 7:06 AM:"Gallo hit the nail on the head. Marie Waldron is "going to do what she what she thinks is right". That's a Problem. Council Members are here to do what the citizens of Escondido want. Council Members are here to represent the people and listen to the voices of the people. Noone was screaming about illegal immigration until she opened up the conversation because what she believes. ... . And now, we have a huge mess! Personally, I think she is full of herself."

Illegal immigration is a problem, but you can't fix it by locking up or deporting the illegals, that's just a bandaid, as is building a stupid Halliboondoggle fence for the benefit of KBR and Co (only bigger). We need something that addresses the fact that there's some 10 million people living and working illegally in this country, and no amount of prohibition is going to stop them from coming here and working here.

Digby has the straight dope on the Swift Raids here, as usual, I agree, it's not anything but fear mongering and lies and the usual cowardice by frightened elitists and wannabe's abusing other people for their own gain. Values party indeed.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Why Impeachment

John Dean was in town Monday giving a lecture, and the Chairman of the East County Democratic Club, Raymond Lutz attended, and gave a report back to the membership. I must respond to Dean's comment on impeachment as reported by Ray. "He made the case that impeachment of Bush would do no good at all (Cheney is actually in charge, he said) and impeaching Cheney would do almost nothing as well, since they are almost out of office, and we can rely on the Democrat-controlled congress to keep them in line."

Well, I view impeachment from a different frame. I don't see it as a political proscription nor as a legal remedy, but I do see it as a remedy.

A cure, and maybe a prevention as well. Bush and Cheney are frightened, twisted men who have no morals, who share no values we recognize as truly "American," if you work through the American Mythology of our Founders; men who seek power as validation for their own insecurities and mortality, and it is a great and enduring shame that these men are the leaders of our nation, that they are the sworn protectors of our Constitution and our Rights, that these men are the face of America for the world to see, the face that all Americans look to to preserve and protect and foster the American Ideal, the truth that we are all created equal, and endowed with certain inalienable rights.

As Jefferson most famously said (my bolded type),

"...that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness." --Declaration of Independence as originally written by Thomas Jefferson, 1776.

It is imperative that we alter and/or abolish their governance of our country, to prove the lie to the Bush/Cheney/Republican prescription that the private sector can do all things better than the public sector, from prescription drug plans to natural disaster relief to war. As others have written, their "incompetence" masks their truer motives, devolving our government and its great Constitutional protections; and capitalistic exploitation on a grand and on a base scale the likes of which we have never seen in this country before.

They need to be impeached to stop the destruction they do to our future and our honor and our standing, all related concepts in our foreign affairs I add. And I disagree that the Congress can be a sufficient check on their greed and destructive actions, Bush has too many appointees, too many secretive deals with Corporate America to expect a Democratic controlled Congress without a veto proof majority to stop Bush and Cheney.

And perhaps more importantly, they need to be removed to demonstrate that what they represent is an aberration and a perversion of America and her values, that they do not represent Freedom and Truth and Inalienable Rights, Mom and Apple Pie, but the basest and darkest side of humanity, and that the American people will not tolerate that behavior any longer.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

The Iraq Cheer Section

One of the things that has struck me, and we've all read the Broder Comity column to get a proper taste of things, Listerine please, about this IWG, IRG, PRG, whatever, report is the participants. On the NewsHour tonight, two big time fixers, Dem Vernon Jordan and GOPper Sandra Day O'Connor, just seemed so determined to tell everybody what a good job they did and how hard they worked and how well they got along ad nauseum. I got the impression that the ISG story is really all about the members and precious little to do with the actual report. Saw the same thing this morning on CSPAN with asshole Alan Simpson and Leon Panetta. It was all about them, their contributions, their work, how well they got along.

Not surprisingly, given that the report is at first blush a sober and damning assesment of Bush's monumental cock up, but on further review is a Readers Digest report full of truisms and assumptions presented as fact and nostrums lacking any mechanism for actually being brought to fruition. It's just like those teevee commercials, you know the ones where the girl works 5 hours a week and makes 2 grand, but we have no idea how this is accomplished, but it does happen and don't you worry about the picyune little details, just buy the book. Well, in this case, that's what we have, a book being sold by teevee and the beltway media.

That's why you have this curious campaign that seems as much focused on the stars as the recommendations. Why do they talk so much about how well the group got along, how they checked partisanship at the door, like they had this bonding kumbayah moment and must share it with the world. Since they don't really have product, since the report says the same thing I said last week, get everybody together and then have Iran and Syria get the insurgents to get along and train a bunch more police and everything will be wonderful, as if 3 years of fighting can be overcome because they wrote the script for it this time.

As if the dead and wounded, the families torn apart, the devastation, the hatred and torture and bullets and drill holes can be undone via the agency of pages from a book

Maybe that's it, they think that they can prove to the Democrats by example, that they should strive for bi-partisanship, for the "center," if they want to solve the country's problems. Or not.

Maybe it's just what it is, foma for America, or at least Bush America, while George W Bush continues to stay the course but with his left hand on the steering wheel instead of his right (no political significance, that's all we got!), and the looting of Iraq can follow to completion, and as the looting of the American Treasury can continue unabated, and the Grovers prove how useless government really is.

Perhaps the biggest irony of the Bush-is-incompetent frame is that these "failures" — Iraq, Katrina and the budget deficit — have been successes in terms of advancing the conservative agenda.

One of the goals of Conservatives is to keep people from relying on the federal government. Under Bush, FEMA was reorganized to no longer be a first responder in major natural disasters, but to provide support for local agencies. This led to the disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina. Now citizens, as well as local and state governments, have become distrustful of the federal government's capacity to help ordinary citizens. Though Bush's popularity may have suffered, enhancing the perception of federal government as inept turned out to be a conservative victory.

The Iraq Study Group, chaired by the Bush Family Fixer, and the Democratic Chief Enabler and Blind Man, yeah, there's a prescription for a real roadmap for a solution of our illegal war and occupation of Iraq.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

They Don't Work So Hard For Our Money

TPM has this piece, okay, I saw it there first, but heard it on the AAR radio driving to work, Stacy Taylor riffing a little rant on the outrageous notion that Congress should work for their money, including this offhand comment, which I think is a great idea.

Show them your pay stubs, appropriately blacked out, show Congress how much we work, and how those hours are part of the sacrifice we pay to keep a roof over our beds, and food on our tables, and sanity in our heads. Send it not just to Congressman Kingston, the Vice Chair of the Republican Conference, here, but to your local Rep and Steny Hoyer and Nancy Pelosi.

Congressmen sometimes have a hard time relating to the nuts and bolts of reality, and it would serve them well to see what it is we have to put up with in order to carve out some kind of living in this wonderful free market world the GOP has shoved down our throats.

I see this as a learning opportunity. Show them your hours, then maybe lay out a typical week or day, and ask them why it has to be this way for working Americans, people who don't lie and cheat, who don't live in some fantasy land where opportunity is there for the picking, where everybody was on the school newspaper or the football team or has some wonderful talent that makes them marketable. We have to be marketable or else we aren't worth a damn you know.

And I find that to be unacceptable.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Frightened Little Men

To show you how stupid the neo-cons are, and how untouched by reality they remain, I give you duck slanderer, Fred Barnes.

Not only does Barnes hate democracy, he's scared to death of it, and would welcome a dictatorship to protect him from his demons.

He offers ways the President can go unilateral and totally ignore Congress, now that they will no longer be a willing tool for his incompetence and insanity. To wit,

Stop earmarks. ... Without a line-item veto, the president can't single out earmarks for destruction. What he could do, however, is announce that he will veto any appropriations bill that contains earmarks. Congress would squeal, but it would probably back down if Bush stuck to his guns.

Why would Congress squeal, and why on earth would they back down? Quack, oy, what, because Bush is so powerful now? Quack, they give me a headache, they do!!!

Apply the Kennedy model to North Korea. ... "It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union," Kennedy declared in 1962. Bush could update this with Kim Jong Il, telling him if a rogue nuke hits the United States or its allies, the United States will hit North Korea. That should deter him.

What, Fred, we weren't going to retaliate if a "rogue" nuke hit the US or allies? Jeebus, what thinking went into this nonsense, and what moronic editor let it get printed? Oh, never mind, Barnes is the executive editor

And lastly, and most disgustingly,

A final gift to the world. [WTF??-ed] As Bush is leaving office in January 2009, he could implement the military option and take out all of Iran's nuclear facilities. The world would be aghast--but also relieved and, without admitting it, enormously grateful. The new president would have one less crisis to deal with. So would the United Nations. Terrorists might respond, but we could brace for that. Anything they did would pale next to a nuclear attack by Iran.

That's some gift to the world, Barnes. War, death, destruction, pestilence, hatred, suicide bombs, anarchy, and more death. That people like Barnes are listened to is a true indicator of how sick are country has become. That this pathetic coward writes that President Bush should bomb Iran without provocation or authorization simply defies my comprehension of how wrong one man can be. War is diplomacy by other means, or it's the failure of diplomacy; one is spin, the other ugly reality. When the purpose of a State is to preserve its people and the State itself, waging war, with its concomitant loss of life and property, is clearly a failure of some sort, and to put forth such a repugnant proposal exposes the abyss of morality that is the conservatives of the republican party.

The punditry has long told the Democrats what to do to heal themselves, they now try to spin bi-partisanship as a pancetta to salve the nations wounds, but the truth is that the Democrats are not, and were not, the sick party. Barnes should be denounced by responsible and legitimate Republicans for letting such filth see the light of day, the absense of such denunciation tells us all we need to know about the values of Republicans like McCain and Romney and Bush and Hastert and Boehner et al.