Archive for the ‘National News’ category


March 21, 2008

The Michigan State legislature adjourned yesterday without taking up any remedies for the Democratic National Committee’s blunder.  From a fairness perspective, Hillary has no right to the delegates since Obama followed the DNC’s instructions.  On the other hand, Obama has no right to deny Clinton the ultimate support of Michigan delegates should they end of favoring her.  Standing in the way is the problem of whether to, or how to seat Michigan delegates at the Party convention in August.  The same can be said for the Florida delegates who are in a similar situation.

A compromise is needed.  Here is a suggestion.

1. Florida and Michigan delegates should be seated but not allowed to vote on the first ballot.  On subsequent ballots, like all the rest of the delegates, the Michigan and Florida delegates should vote for what is best for the Party.

2. Michigan and Florida delegate selection should be (1) in Florida as voted in the contested primary, and (2) in Michigan on a basis of 50/50 Obama-Clinton leaning.

The basis for the compromise is that there will be no winner prior to the convention and therefore the first round will not determine the nominee.  As has been done throughout history, there will be “horse trading” for votes and oh so many promises made.  But there will be a nominee.  With Florida and Michigan fully engaged, the chances that both States will be open for Democratic victory in November is at least maintained.

Who Wrote This?

March 20, 2008

Yesterday President George W Bush delivered a piece of fiction to military members gathered at the Pentagon.  Below is his speech (gotten from the White House web site) and in parenthesis I have added a necessary amount of truth and balance.  Enjoy.

President Bush Discusses Global War on Terror
The Pentagon

10:04 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Deputy Secretary England, thanks for the introduction. One boss may not be here, but the other one is. (Laughter.) I appreciate your kind words. I’m pleased to be back here with the men and women of the Defense Department.

On this day in 2003, the United States began Operation Iraqi Freedom. As the campaign unfolded, tens and thousands of our troops poured across the Iraqi border to liberate the Iraqi people and remove a regime that threatened free nations.

Five years into this battle, there is an understandable debate over whether the war was worth fighting, whether the fight is worth winning, and whether we can win it. The answers are clear to me: Removing Saddam Hussein from power was the right decision — and this is a fight America can and must win.

The men and women who crossed into Iraq five years ago removed a tyrant, liberated a country, and rescued millions from unspeakable horrors. (The justification given the American people was (1) to stop a nuclear weapons program, (2) to eliminate all WMD, and (3) to punish Iraq for its support of al Qaeda and its attack on 9/11.  None, I repeat, none of these reasons have been shown to be true.  On the other hand, Iraqis have suffered enormously since the invasion from their own form of ethnic cleansing.)  Some of those troops are with us today, and you need to know that the American people are proud of your accomplishment — and so is the Commander in Chief. (Applause.)

I appreciate Admiral Mullen, the Joint Chiefs who are here. Thanks for coming. Secretary Donald Winter of the Navy. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte is with us. Admiral Thad Allen of the Coast Guard is with us. Ambassador from Iraq is with us — Mr. Ambassador, we’re proud to have you here. Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen and Coastmen — Coast Guardmen [sic], thanks for coming, thanks for wearing the uniform. Men and women of the Department of State are here as well.

Operation Iraqi Freedom was a remarkable display of military effectiveness. Forces from the UK, Australia, Poland and other allies joined our troops in the initial operations. As they advanced, our troops fought their way through sand storms so intense that they blackened the daytime sky. Our troops engaged in pitched battles with the Fedayeen Saddam — death squads acting on the orders of Saddam Hussein that obeyed neither the conventions of war nor the dictates of conscience. These death squads hid in schools and they hid in hospitals, hoping to draw fire against Iraqi civilians. They used women and children as human shields. They stopped at nothing in their efforts to prevent us from prevailing — but they couldn’t stop the coalition advance.

Aided by the most effective and precise air campaign in history, coalition forces raced across 350 miles of enemy territory — destroying Republican Guard Divisions, pushing through the Karbala Gap, capturing Saddam International Airport, and liberating Baghdad in less than one month.

Along the way, our troops added new chapters to the story of American military heroism. During these first weeks of battle, Army Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith and his troops came under a surprise attack by about a hundred Republican Guard forces. Sergeant Smith rallied his men; he led a counterattack — killing as many as 50 enemy soldiers before being fatally wounded. His actions saved the lives of more than a hundred American troops — and earned him the Medal of Honor.

Today, in light of the challenges we have faced in Iraq, some look back and call this period the easy part of the war. Yet there was nothing easy about it. The liberation of Iraq took incredible skill and amazing courage. And the speed, precision and brilliant execution of the campaign will be studied by military historians for years to come.

What our troops found in Iraq following Saddam’s removal was horrifying. They uncovered children’s prisons, and torture chambers, and rape rooms where Iraqi women were violated in front of their families. They found videos showing regime thugs mutilating Iraqis deemed disloyal to Saddam. And across the Iraqi countryside they uncovered mass graves of thousands executed by the regime. (I do not know if these statements are true but they certainly could be.  Iraq is not the only country in the world where these conditions could exist, are we to invade every one?  And on whose authority?  I wonder where the President puts Abu Ghraib in this matter?)

Because we acted, Saddam Hussein no longer fills fields with the remains of innocent men, women and children. Because we acted, Saddam’s torture chambers and rape rooms and children’s prisons have been closed for good. Because we acted, Saddam’s regime is no longer invading its neighbors or attacking them with chemical weapons and ballistic missiles. Because we acted, Saddam’s regime is no longer paying the families of suicide bombers in the Holy Land. Because we acted, Saddam’s regime is no longer shooting at American and British aircraft patrolling the no-fly zones and defying the will of the United Nations. Because we acted, the world is better and United States of America is safer. (Applause.) (It is strange indeed that the UN did not vote to authorize the invasion, not to mention that there was no need for the US to be flying in the “no-fly zone”.)

When the Iraqi regime was removed, it did not lay down its arms and surrender. Instead, former regime elements took off their uniforms and faded into the countryside to fight the emergence of a free Iraq. And then they were joined by foreign terrorists who were seeking to stop the advance of liberty in the Middle East and seeking to establish safe havens from which to plot new attacks across the world.

The battle in Iraq has been longer and harder and more costly than we anticipated — but it is a fight we must win. So our troops have engaged these enemies with courage and determination. And as they’ve battled the terrorists and extremists in Iraq, they have helped the Iraqi people reclaim their nation, and helped a young democracy rise from the rubble of Saddam Hussein’s tyranny.  (Did the President forget to mention that our troops arrived without sufficient body armor?  And did he forget that all the Iraqi ammunition dumps were left unguarded and were ransacked by the deserting military members?  And did he mention that the White House representative, L. Paul Bremmer disbanded the Iraqi Army putting hundreds of thousands Iraqis out of any means to earn an honest living and ready to join any type of insurgency?)

Over the past five years, we have seen moments of triumph and moments of tragedy. We have watched in admiration as 12 million Iraqis defied the terrorists and went to the polls, and chose their leaders in free elections. We have watched in horror as al Qaeda beheaded innocent captives, and sent suicide bombers to blow up mosques and markets. These actions show the brutal nature of the enemy in Iraq. And they serve as a grim reminder: The terrorists who murder the innocent in the streets of Baghdad want to murder the innocent in the streets of America. Defeating this enemy in Iraq will make it less likely that we’ll face the enemy here at home.

A little over a year ago, the fight in Iraq was faltering. Extremist elements were succeeding in their efforts to plunge Iraq into chaos. They had established safe havens in many parts of the country. They were creating divisions among the Iraqis along sectarian lines. And their strategy of using violence in Iraq to cause divisions in America was working — as pressures built here in Washington for withdrawal before the job was done.

My administration understood that America could not retreat in the face of terror. And we knew that if we did not act, the violence that had been consuming Iraq would worsen, and spread, and could eventually reach genocidal levels. Baghdad could have disintegrated into a contagion of killing, and Iraq could have descended into full-blown sectarian warfare. (Everyone including the village idiot knew that 130,000 was not enough to provide security for a country the size of Iraq.  Yet the improvement in security that the President assigns to the surge may come more from deals struck with Sunni leaders and Shiite leader Muqtada al Sadr following a period of ethnic cleansing.)

So we reviewed the strategy — and changed course in Iraq. We sent reinforcements into the country in a dramatic policy shift that is now known as “the surge.” General David Petraeus took command with a new mission: Work with Iraqi forces to protect the Iraqi people, pressure [sic] the enemy into strongholds, and deny the terrorists sanctuary anywhere in the country. And that is precisely what we have done.

In Anbar, Sunni tribal leaders had grown tired of al Qaeda’s brutality and started a popular uprising, called the “Anbar Awakening.” To take advantage of this opportunity, we sent 4,000 additional Marines to help these brave Iraqis drive al Qaeda from the province. As this effort succeeded, it inspired other Iraqis to take up the fight. Soon similar uprisings began to spread across the country. Today there are more than 90,000 concerned local citizens who are protecting their communities from the terrorists and insurgents and the extremists. The government in Baghdad has stepped forward with a surge of its own — they’ve added more than 100,000 new Iraqi soldiers and police during the past year. These Iraqi troops have fought bravely, and thousands have given their lives in this struggle.

Together, these Americans and Iraqi forces have driven the terrorists from many of the sanctuaries they once held. Now the terrorists have gathered in and around the northern Iraqi city of Mosul — and Iraqi and American forces are relentlessly pursuing them. There will be tough fighting in Mosul and areas of northern Iraq in the weeks ahead. But there’s no doubt in my mind, because of the courage of our troops and the bravery of the Iraqis, the al Qaeda terrorists in this region will suffer the same fate as al Qaeda suffered elsewhere in Iraq.

As we have fought al Qaeda, coalition and Iraqi forces have also taken the fight to Shia extremist groups — many of them backed and financed and armed by Iran. A year ago these groups were on the rise. Today, they are increasingly isolated, and Iraqis of all faiths are putting their lives on the line to stop these extremists from hijacking their young democracy.

To ensure that military progress in Iraq is quickly followed up with real improvements in daily life, we have doubled the number of provincial reconstruction teams in Iraq. These teams of civilian experts are serving all Iraqi — 18 Iraqi provinces, and they’re helping to strengthen responsible leaders, and build up local economies, and bring Iraqis together so that reconciliation can happen from the ground up. They’re very effective. They’re helping give ordinary Iraqis confidence that by rejecting the extremists and reconciling with one another, they can claim their place in a free Iraq — and build better lives for their families.

There’s still hard work to be done in Iraq. The gains we have made are fragile and reversible. But on this anniversary, the American people should know that since the surge began, the level of violence is significantly down, civilian deaths are down, sectarian killings are down, attacks on American forces are down. We have captured or killed thousands of extremists in Iraq, including hundreds of key al Qaeda leaders and operatives. Our men and women in uniform are performing with characteristic honor and valor. The surge is working. And as a return on our success in Iraq, we’ve begun bringing some of our troops home. (This is as untruthful a statement as any he has made.  The troops were scheduled to come home and the military has not a clue as to how to maintain the peak surge strength indefinitely.)

The surge has done more than turn the situation in Iraq around — it has opened the door to a major strategic victory in the broader war on terror. For the terrorists, Iraq was supposed to be the place where al Qaeda rallied Arab masses to drive America out. Instead, Iraq has become the place where Arabs joined with Americans to drive al Qaeda out. In Iraq, we are witnessing the first large-scale Arab uprising against Osama bin Laden, his grim ideology, and his murderous network. And the significance of this development cannot be overstated. (This is complete fabrication and boarders on outright lying.  There were no al Qaeda in Iraq before the invasion, and you can be sure as long as Sadaam had remained in power there would be none.  This is neoconservative fantasy.)

The terrorist movement feeds on a sense of inevitability, and claims to rise on the tide of history. The accomplishments of the surge in Iraq are exposing this myth and discrediting the extremists. When Iraqi and American forces finish the job, the effects will reverberate far beyond Iraq’s borders. Osama bin Laden once said: “When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse.” By defeating al Qaeda in Iraq, we will show the world that al Qaeda is the weak horse. (Applause.) We will show that men and women who love liberty can defeat the terrorists. And we will show that the future of the Middle East does not belong to terror — the future of the Middle East belongs to freedom.

The challenge in the period ahead is to consolidate the gains we have made and seal the extremists’ defeat. We have learned through hard experience what happens when we pull our forces back too fast — the terrorists and extremists step in, they fill vacuums, establish safe havens, and use them to spread chaos and carnage. General Petraeus has warned that too fast a drawdown could result in such an unraveling — with al Qaeda and insurgents and militia extremists regaining lost ground and increasing violence. (The President completely ignores two fundamentals… (1) we can not afford to keep spending in Iraq like we have, and (2) our military is totally over extended and unprepared for any sustained action elsewhere in the world.  The President screwed up by invading Iraq and has stubbornly stayed hoping things would improve.  For a people who have little or no idea of what is involved in Democracy, there is no chance that Iraq will emerge as a modern country.)

Men and women of the Armed Forces: Having come so far, and achieved so much, we’re not going to let this to happen.

Next month, General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker will come to Washington to testify before Congress. I will await their recommendations before making decisions on our troop levels in Iraq. Any further drawdown will be based on conditions on the ground and the recommendations of our commanders — and they must not jeopardize the hard-fought gains our troops and civilians have made over the past year.

The successes we are seeing in Iraq are undeniable — yet some in Washington still call for retreat. War critics can no longer credibly argue that we’re losing in Iraq — so now they argue the war costs too much. In recent months we’ve heard exaggerated estimates of the costs of this war. No one would argue that this war has not come at a high cost in lives and treasure — but those costs are necessary when we consider the cost of a strategic victory for our enemies in Iraq. ( (1) we should never have invaded in the first place, (2) Iraq and the Middle East are not strategic to the national interests of the US, and (3) we need a practical set of tactics to withdraw and reduce the enormous expense.  There is no retreat or surrender, there is just the recognition of what Iraq is… a dismal mistake.)

If we were to allow our enemies to prevail in Iraq, the violence that is now declining would accelerate — and Iraq would descend into chaos. Al Qaeda would regain its lost sanctuaries and establish new ones — fomenting violence and terror that could spread beyond Iraq’s borders, with serious consequences for the world’s economy.

Out of such chaos in Iraq, the terrorist movement could emerge emboldened — with new recruits, new resources, and an even greater determination to dominate the region and harm America. An emboldened al Qaeda with access to Iraq’s oil resources could pursue its ambitions to acquire weapons of mass destruction to attack America and other free nations. Iran would be emboldened as well — with a renewed determination to develop nuclear weapons and impose its brand of hegemony across the Middle East. Our enemies would see an America — an American failure in Iraq as evidence of weakness and a lack of resolve. (None of this is new information and should have been considered in the first place.  When you are stuck in a hole, the first rule of how to get out is “stop digging”.)

To allow this to happen would be to ignore the lessons of September the 11th and make it more likely that America would suffer another attack like the one we experienced that day — a day in which 19 armed men with box cutters killed nearly 3,000 people in our — on our soil; a day after which in the following of that attack more than one million Americans lost work, lost their jobs. The terrorists intend even greater harm to our country. And we have no greater responsibility than to defeat our enemies across the world so that they cannot carry out such an attack. (Stop, stop, stop!!!  There is no connection between Iraq and 9/11 in any shape or form.  In addition the entire cost of 9/11 to New York City has been estimated as $ 15 billion (which is a lot of money) while the running cost of Iraq War is about $ 1 trillion (including continuing medical benefits) and has cost almost 4000 American lives.  Do we need any more explanations on why this war was so stupid?)

As our coalition fights the enemy in Iraq, we’ve stayed on the offensive on other fronts in the war on terror. Just a few weeks before commencing Operation Iraqi Freedom, U.S. forces captured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind behind the September the 11th terrorist attacks; we got him in Pakistan. About the same time as we launched Operation Iraqi Freedom, coalition forces, thousands of — hundreds of miles away launched an assault on the terrorists in the mountains of southern Afghanistan in an operation called Operation Valiant Strike.

Throughout the war on terror, we have brought the enemy — we have fought the enemy on every single battlefront. And so long as the terrorist danger remains, the United States of America will continue to fight the enemy wherever it makes its stand. (Applause.) We will stay on the offense.

But in the long run, defeating the terrorists requires an alternative to their murderous ideology. And there we have another advantage — we’ve got a singular advantage with our military when it comes to finding the terrorists and bringing them to justice. And we have another advantage in our strong belief in the transformative power of liberty.

So we’re helping the people of Iraq establish a democracy in the heart of the Middle East. A free Iraq will fight terrorists instead of harboring them. A free Iraq will be an example for others of the power of liberty to change the societies and to displace despair with hope. By spreading the hope of liberty in the Middle East, we will help free societies take root — and when they do, freedom will yield the peace that we all desire. (Remember these words are coming from a C+ student who must have skipped all the classes on history.)

Our troops on the front lines understand what is at stake. They know that the mission in Iraq has been difficult and has been trying for our nation — because they’re the ones who’ve carried most of the burdens. They are all volunteers, who have stepped forward to defend America in a time of danger — and some of them have gone out of their way to return to the fight.

One of these brave Americans is a Marine Gunnery Sergeant named William “Spanky” Gibson. In May of 2006 in Ramadi, a terrorist sniper’s bullet ripped through his left knee — doctors then amputated his leg. After months of difficult rehabilitation, Spanky was not only walking — he was training for triathlons.

Last year, at the “Escape from Alcatraz” swim near San Francisco, he met Marine General James Mattis, who asked if there’s anything he could do for him. Spanky had just one request: He asked to re-deploy to Iraq. Today he’s serving in Fallujah — the first full-leg amputee to return to the front lines. Here’s what he says about his decision to return: The Iraqis are where we were 232 years ago as a nation. Now they’re starting a new nation, and that’s one of my big reasons for coming back here. I wanted to tell the people of this country that I’m back to help wherever I can.

When Americans like Spanky Gibson serve on our side, the enemy in Iraq doesn’t got a chance. We’re grateful to all the brave men and women of our military who have served the cause of freedom. You’ve done the hard work, far from home and from your loved ones. We give thanks for all our military families who love you and have supported you in this mission.

We appreciate the fine civilians from many departments who serve alongside you. Many of you served in Iraq and Afghanistan — and some have been on these fronts several times. You will never forget the people who fought at your side. You will always remember the comrades who served with you in combat [but] did not make the journey home. America remembers them as well. More than 4,400 men and women have given their lives in the war on terror. We’ll pray for their families. We’ll always honor their memory.

The best way we can honor them is by making sure that their sacrifice was not in vain. Five years ago tonight, I promised the American people that in the struggle ahead “we will accept no outcome but victory.” Today, standing before men and women who helped liberate a nation, I reaffirm the commitment. The battle in Iraq is noble, it is necessary, and it is just. And with your courage, the battle in Iraq will end in victory. God bless. (Applause.)  (There are many disgraces of the war but they all lie in the policy area.  The military has fought like a good soldier should.  They have followed orders even when it was confirmed that their government was ignoring them when they returned home wounded and handicapped.  Unfortunately the “battle in Iraq” is anything but noble and absolutely was not necessary.  This is the legacy that President George W Bush will leave all those who did their best in the military.)  

The Big News Story

March 11, 2008

Yesterday and today’s headlines are all about Eliot Spitzer and his victimless “crime”.  Without passing judgment or suggesting what next steps he should take, it is odd that if he had visited a NYC hotel instead of a Washington DC one, there would be no grounds for federal charges.  Same events, different outcomes.  But that’s not the important news.

Yesterday the House of Representatives filed suit in Federal Court seeking the enforcement of subpoenas for Harriet Meyers and Josh Bolton.  This is potentially the makings of Constitutional crisis, and at the very least, whether the track record of unilateralism practiced by President George W Bush and his boss Vice Presdient Dick Cheney will be sustained.  The post Nixonian death wish to return the Executive branch to the more equal of equals has been a cardinal principle of this Administration.  Forget about wisdom and good judgment, or consideration for all of our citizens, this Administrations mantra was “we are in charge and you are not”.

On this matter (Executive Privilege), the White House has instructed Meyers and Bolton not to respond to the Congressional subpoenas.  The White House claimes they are considered close advisers to the President and therefore immune to Congressional questioning.  Strangely, the President has said he was not involved with the firing of 7 US Attorneys (the subject of the subpoenas) and therefore it is unclear what basis he has in mind for claiming executive privilege.

With the world falling in around him, I wonder whether this suit will bring about a change in attitude.

Missing – 18 Minutes and 2 Videos

December 8, 2007

I never could understand why Richard Nixon did not destroy the White House tape recordings immediately and never have gotten to the need to transpose them.  The CIA apparently has been paying attention and is said to have destroyed two video recordings of “interrogation” of CIA guests.  The CIA, however, waited too long and apparently destroyed them with a pending subpeana for all videos in force.  The CIA also added insult to injury by saying they destroyed the tapes so that al Qaeda would not find out who the interrogators were and then come after them.  (Seems a little late to close the barn door.)

The CIA has always liked to march to a different drummer.  They have often taken the position that all they rules do not apply to them.  This could be the case this time but I don’t think so.  I believe this is simply another example of the Bush/Cheney dysfunctional “tone at the top” encouraging the CIA to get rid of the evidence.  It will be interesting to see if the Administration finds another Scooter Libby to take the fall so that they can do the old pardon thing again.

You have to ask yourself why the CIA would  have made a recording in the first place.  Was it for training purposes?  Was it for later use in court proceedings?  Was it for fun?  Was it to show future prisoners and scare the heck out of them?  Who knows but certainly they must have know that viewed out of context, the video would make Abu Ghraib look like routine military procedure.

George Bush and Dick Cheney are the dynamic duo who just keep giving.

Their Finest Hour?

December 6, 2007

On a day when the Supreme Court is hearing arguments which in essence could make it perfectly legal for the US Government to go into the piracy and hostage taking business, The news was headlined by the senseless shootings by a mentally sick young man in Omaha.  TV news jumped on this incident as flies do horseshit in July.  What are the national networks thinking?

1. There certainly is a place for reporting this tragic event and it begins in Omaha and probably ends in Nebraska.  There needs to be accurate information delivered so that the public can remain calm and cooperate with what ever type of investigation is felt necessary.  There does not need to be any pretty (male or female) faces standing before the camera telling you what you are seeing or what you are about to be told (by a less pretty face).

2. National reporting is just what these sick people want.  For what ever the reasons they are losers in their own world and through the magic of media, they want a record made that they were here.  Media executives who pander to the general audience and feed this sick information are simply encouraging the next sicko to do the same.

3. The Supreme Court case could reaffirm a 600 year old right of Western Law, habeas corpus.  This would be a wonderful victory for common sense and the American way.  Or, in the end, the Court could side step that fundamental issue and simply declare that the law governing the military commissions in Guantanamo is flawed and remand the case back to the Government for further revisions.  In the worst case, where the conservative four stand, the Court could rule it has no call to be involved, and in that situation, they will validate the wholesale hijacking of our due process and probable cause tradition.

The argument that “we are at war” is laughable on its merits.  We are no more at war than a child shooing a ghost from behind a tree at halloween.  We are definently involved in two police actions, Afghanistan and Iraq, but these are not wars since Congress has never declared war.  The Guantanamo prisoners are not even classified as enemy combatants and not accorded their protections under the Geneva Convention.  Some of these people may have been or are bad people.  That is no excuse for not offering them due process.  The real losers are the American people who do not see their freedoms slipping away.

The Gold Standard

December 5, 2007

There are some things upon which certainty is assured.  The sun rises, cream floats, and crap stinks.  We can add to that list one more.   Many people have thought this to be true and now we have more proof.  President Bush is an embarassment to all Americans and a huge disappointment to George H. W. and Barbara Bush.

The just released (but already months old) National Intelligence Estimate has reported that the Iranians (the same people we were about to bomb before they could start World War III) do not have an active nuclear weapons program.  You can go to the bank when our man George “please take my picture” Bush gets up and makes some pronouncement.  You can be sure that whatever George says will be incorrect.

When asked if this report would change the US Iranian Policy, George said “no way”.  “They were dangerous, they are dangerous, and they will be dangerous”, he said.  George is a man of great faith and so the presence of facts are irrelevant.  George has made up his mind on this subject and he’s sticking to it.

Actually there is a practical explanation for not changing his position.  His bullying and bluffing posture versus Iran is just another piece of the Bush/Cheney overall foreign policy.  B/C treat everyone; US citizens, foreign prisoners, foreign heads of state, and all other countries as subordinate to the US.  This attitude makes negotiating much simpler, there is none. 

January 20, 2009 is coming, but not fast enough.

Republican Senatorial Awakening

July 14, 2007

Senators John Warner and Richard Lugar announced a proposal to require the President Bush to produce a troop reduction plan by October.  While this is a promising sign, it could also lead to a dead end.

1. The issue should not be just a troop reduction plan although that will be a primary part of any positive change.

2. The issue facing the US is an Administration that does not consider reality and continues to make decisions based upon ideology and not fact based reason.  This is not a Republican problem since there are plenty of rational and clear thinking Republicans.  This is a “neoconservative-fundamentalist/evangenical” alliance thinking that has lead to the Iraqi debarcle.

3. Now that Iraq is broken, the US has a responsibility to fix it.  To fix Iraq will require a Middle East fix involving a total repositioning of the past uneven approach.

4. Beware of the Trojen horse.  In October, the President will likely announce an May or June 2008 date for a slight reduction.  This will correspond to the date that the Pentagon has said would be the date where they could no longer maintain the current 160,000 troop strength and so there would need to be a reduction anyways. 

5. Warner and Luger are honest men and I would guess are mostly genuine in the proposal.  Mostly I say because the two big issue for Republicans are:

  • Do not get tagged with losing the War
  • Get as many Republicans elected in 2008 as possible

6. For Bush and Cheney, their objectives remain the same:

  • Do as much as is possible to necessitate an indefinite presence of US troops in Iraq
  • Ensure there is no decision to end the war (or long term presence) before the end of Bush’s term.  In this manner they can criticize the next administration for ending the war.

It looks like a long shot to see justice served.  In the international arena, there should be a trial on initiating an illegal war and various crimes against humanity.  In the US there should be articles of impeachment and lying to Congress charges for both Cheney and Bush.  As the days go on debating withdrawal proposals, the end of Bush’s term draws nearer.  Soon no one will have the energy of a trial and most everyone will be happy to just see them go.

Free Libby

July 3, 2007

Here is a big “no surprise” news report.  Scooter Libby’s sentence has been commuted.  George Bush announced President Dick Cheney’s decision yesterday following his summit with Vladimir Putin.  Dick waited until the evening cleaning crews were in the White House to make the announcement in an attempt to keep the news media off guard and unprepared for the evening talk shows.  The decision came as no surprise to anyone with an ounce of sensibility and who saw the Bush/Cheney Administration for what it is.

1. The Bush/Cheney crowd is about “the ends justify the means” and Scooter’s transgression stemmed from the cover up plan hatched by Cheney and Rove (in little George’s presence).  In their minds the outing of Valerie Plane’s CIA covert status broke no rules or laws, and in politics, all is fair.  So if Joseph Wilson upset the White House, it was fair game to get even with Wilson by attacking his wife.  (Makes you proud to be an American).

2. The Bush Administration has lacked any sensitivity to the idea of “tone at the top” and how the way they perform their jobs can influence so many others. 

  • Alberto, please get me an opinion on why it would be ok to use aggressive means to interogate those terrorists (or any suspected terrorist).  George’s request and the tough talk of the Chicken Hawk’s lead directly to Abu Ghraib.
  • Remember hearing “Abu Ghraib does not represent America’s intent”, rather it is the result of a few “bad apples”.  With essentially no one of rank held accountable, it is clear that Abu Ghraib was ok with the Administration.
  • With no WMD found in Iraq following the toppling of Sadaam Hussein, no one lost their job in this Administration.  The White House simply switched its justification for the unprovoked invasion of Iraq.  It is simply clear that they felt they needed no justification or approval to send our Country into war.
  • Following Iraqi mass looting of stores, museums, and sadly ammunition dumps, no one was held accountable.  “Stuff happens” and we do not care about Iraqis themselves was the unmistakeable message from George and Dick.
  • With the dismissal of the Iraqi sitting government and ministry experts along with the entire military, Iraq became a sucking vacuum into which flowed all sorts of insurgents.  No one was held responsible for this fiasco.

What is one to think if the people who are suppose to be the highest authority in the country, act without any regard for accountability and responsibility.  The rule of law is an inconvenience to this Administration.

The Libby case is not fully closed.  We should fully expect following the 2008 election, a complete pardon for Libby.  And if you are worried about the $250,000 fine, don’t.  It will be covered by help from his friends.  And for pocket change, you can be sure that with or without a bar membership, he will be earning high 6 figure income for some years to come.

We can only hope that America has a short memory and will not remember have lasting memories that the way Bush/Cheney run things is the proper way.  We must hope that the next Administration is center based and returns America to the values and principles that have made this a great country.

With regards to Bush and Cheney, history will record that they followed ideological and politically based “ends” using any “means” that seemed to work.  Ironically, history will also point out that Bush and Cheney were the most incompetent and failed leaders of all time. 

Immigration Time Out

June 29, 2007

Yesterday the Senate, on a procedural vote, decided not to pass any immigration legislation.  I hesitate to use the word “immigration reform” because the proposed legislation compromise was anything but a “reform”.  The proposed legislation was bad for everyone and it is hard to find anyone who would have been benefited.  So it is difficult to understand why so many politicians have voiced such large disappointment.  From my perspective the Congress missed the following:

1. Call it what it is.  The bill most Americans thought was being debated was a “Mexican entry limitation” bill.  It had little meaningful about actual immigration.

2. It was not a “Home Land Security” bill.  Secretary Chertoff practically cried over the bills death.  I am confident that Islamic radicals and fundamentalists will not be confused with Mexicans if they should slip into the country.

3. It was not about sealing the boarders.  The 2000 mile boarder is practically impossible to seal and economically it is foolish to try.  Every day the authorized boarder crossings are jammed with trucks, cars, and foot crossers so there is ample opportunity for Mexicans to cross with forged documents and simply disappear into the US.

4. It was not about amnesty.  Somebody was smoking something when they proposed that the undocumented aliens already living here would come forward, pay a fine of $ 5ooo and then face the requirement that the head of the household must return to Mexico and apply to re-enter the US.  That will never happen.  It is a far better deal to continue living quietly in the shadows and let your children grow up as American citizens.

5. It was not about sensible tax and social services policy.  There are over 12 million undocumented aliens, most of whom are not paying any taxes.  They are, however, using social services and no one is paying for it.

6. It is not about getting rid of the 12 million undocumented aliens.   There is no practical way to find them, and most likely economical prohibitive to try to find them and then deport them.

How then did this bill get so far? 

1. Most likely supporters were looking for politically expediant steps now and believe they would have a chance to modify provisions in the bill later when it became evident that the provision was not working.

2. There had to have been well organized special interest groups who were simply opposed to Mexicans taking US jobs.  The statement that if employers simply paid more there would plenty of legal Americans who could fill the jobs is patently impossible.  If farms paid signicantly higher wages, the consumer would vote at the grocery store and choose produce imported from lower wage countries.

3. Ideologues (also a special interest group) were dead against the entry and legitimizing the undocumented because the majority of these people would become a Democratic Party voter.  For these ideologues, opposing the bill with any argument was ok and the outcome, that is a stalemate, was very acceptable.

The “Immigration Time Out” also showed the dysfunctional nature of both the President and the Congress.  George Bush has no (null, zero, niente, none) political capital left and when combined with his lack of any leadership skill or stamina, it should not be surprise that Republicans did not support the bill.  The Congress is so compromised with the race to raise money that they are paranoid about who is objecting to any legislation.  They can not differentiate between real grass roots opposition or special interest smoke screens.  This does not bode well for the near future.

Kennebunkport Summit

June 28, 2007

George H. W. Bush is bailing George W. Bush out of a jam again.  George the senior has agreed to host a mini Summit between Vladimir Putin and his son, George “still listening to a higher power” Bush.  Putin will want to know why the “higher power” thinks it is a good idea to put missiles and radar on Russia’s front door step when if Russia tried to put missiles into Cuba or Venezuela to defend themselves against rogue South American coutnries, Bush would not think that was such a good idea.

Putin’s counter proposal of including Russian assets in the NATO defenses was quite clever and if the US was on the up and up, it should have been accepted.  But our cold war “die hards” (who sorely miss the simplicity of one good guy and one bad guy) really want a system that could potentially be used against Russia or some Russian ally.  What everyone should want is to prevent Russia from retargeting its missiles on European sites.

George senior knows this and so does every other clear headed person.  Speaking of clear headed people, this is one Summit that the other President, Dick Cheney, should not attend.  His mind is locked in the ice ages of the cold war and has been the pusher of this missile program from day 1. 

On my wish list is that George senior will take Junior aside during the weekend and tell him where the bus stops.  George junior is on target to have, in 8 years, discredited the Bush name, the Presidency, and America’s reputation around the world.  The most gracious thing one can say is that Junior has listened too long and too hard to Dick “5 deferments” Cheney and his narrow and wrong headed neoconservatives.  It is time to dump Cheney and as fast as he can paddle the ship of state back towards the center.  (Unfortunately Junior is not big on hard work and much prefers to have his picture taken and give speeches with fractured English).