Sunday, April 29, 2007

Here’s An Idea For Bringing our Soldiers Home

The US State Department has paid $750 million to Blackwater, USA, which in turn pays $1000-a-day tax-free bucks to every soldier in a shadow army of mercenaries in Iraq. We have, at any given moment, somewhere between 100,000 and 120,000 mercenaries in Iraq. The combat pay of the average US soldier in Afghanistan and Iraq is $7.50 a day or about $225 a month. So, why not pull out all of the US soldiers from Iraq and leave the mercenaries to carry on GOP’s illegal war? Sounds good to me. What is Blackwater, USA? According to its website, Blackwater provides, "a spectrum of support to military, government agencies, law enforcement and civilian entities in training, targets and range operations as a solution provider." Blackwater's slogan is: "Providing a new generation of capability, skills, and people to solve the spectrum of needs in the world of security." Read, mercenaries. Blackwater, USA was founded by Erik Prince, a rightwing Christian and former Navy SEAL whose family funded the Contract With America crowd that gave us Newt Gingrich’s Republican revolution in 1994. Blackwater, USA handed Gary Bauer the money he needed to start his rightwing Christian group, the Family Research Council. And it has given mega-bucks to James Dobson and his Christian Focus on the Family group. And here’s an interesting bit of info: If you get involved in a lawsuit with Blackwater, USA its current counsel is Kenneth Starr, the guy who was obsessed with impeaching President Bill Clinton. Plus, Blackwater’s former mouthpiece was Fred Fielding, who is now Bush’s White House counsel. It’s a whole other question whether it’s right or moral to privatize an army. And I’m not saying all of the guys in Blackwater, USA are thugs who will kill and maraud for a buck. (Although I am saying that many of the mercenaries in Blackwater, USA are thugs who are not held accountable for their actions in Iraq and like all thugs, will do almost anything for a buck that you might dream up.) But what I’m mainly saying is that the war in Iraq could not continue without the participation of mercenaries who are being paid by a far-right Christian warlord named Erik Prince. I’m saying the US State Department has bought and trained over 100,000 people to fight in Iraq and there are double the number of soldiers in Iraq than the number the Bush administration claims is in Iraq. I’m saying the deaths of these soldiers are not on any casualty list. And I am saying most citizens of the United States have no idea about this $1000-a-day army being funded by the US State Department. In addition, I will also contend with no proof to back me up, that the reason the buildings which were supposed to be built in Iraq for the Iraqis and which are crumbling and falling apart is that the men who were hired as independent contractors to build these buildings actually are Blackwater, USA mercenaries who threw up shoddy shitty constructions and then went off to play war. You can read a book about Blackwater, USA by Jeremy Scahill (“Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army”) that lays all this out in exquisite detail. It’s about 380 pages with 2000 footnotes.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Watch Bush Pull Out of Iraq & Call It Staying

The latest Bush administration strategy has emerged. The White House is looking for a way to pull the troops out of Iraq while claiming it is committed to fighting on forever. Two articles in the New York Times show how the GOP will manage its newest doublethink. No. 1) “The White House Scales Back Talk of Iraq Progress” No. 2) “Bush and Congress Easing Tone of Debate on War Bill” We find out in article No. 1 how prescient CNN’s Michael Ware was when he said, “What General Petraeus is going to do in September is have a look at the strategy that they're using now…he’s merely going to say, we continue this and go forward or we need to look at other options.” After months of calling failure success and defeat progress, the White House suddenly says there will be no more talk about progress in Iraq until Petraeus hands down his determination in September. The NYT said, “The Bush administration will not try to assess whether the troop increase in Iraq is producing signs of political progress or greater security until September, and many of Mr. Bush’s top advisers now anticipate that any gains by then will be limited, according to senior administration officials.” The Bush administration is putting all its eggs in Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s basket. The NYT went on to say, “the Democrats say that if there is no measurable success by August, they believe several more Republicans will defect from Mr. Bush’s camp and vote for a staged pullout.” Measurable success means that it must be demonstrably clear Maliki has pulled together a viable government and that Maliki is firmly in charge. Everyone from General Petraeus to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates knows this is not going to happen in September or any time soon. In article No. 2 we find out that the Prez is willing to consider a pullout timetable as long as it’s not called a pullout timetable and as long as the Dems say it’s not binding. In this article, the NYT lede paragraph says, “With the $124 billion war spending bill, and its timetable for withdrawing American troops, headed for a presidential veto early next week, both President Bush and Democratic leaders yesterday toned down the talk of the last several weeks and hinted at a willingness to compromise.” Further on, the article says, “Charlie Black, a Republican strategist close to the administration, said if Democrats sent Mr. Bush a bill with nonbinding benchmarks in it, the president would have to consider it. ‘I don’t think he’ll accept anything that’s binding,’ Mr. Black said. ‘If they want to put something in there that says the Iraqis should do the following things by certain benchmarks, language that’s just advisory and nonbinding, I would think he’d have to look at it.’” Translation: President Bush is ready and willing to pull the troops out of Iraq if the Democrats agree that he is not pulling the troops out, and that in any case his strategies may not always have been right, but they’ve never been wrong. How far will Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV), House majority leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi go on this charade? Probably not very far. The surge in Iraq is not working, Maliki’s government is powerless, September isn’t far away and Repub politicians are looking at 2008 with dread. But what will the White House call a pullout that isn’t? The WH will probably say the Generals have concluded the Iraqi people want Iraq to go back to being a non-democratic state, they want the Americans out, and the US has always wanted the Iraqis to determine their own future, and oh, by the way, we won.

Friday, April 27, 2007

There Is No Good Solution In Iraq

The Repubs insisted that the United States attack Iraq, then mismanaged their illegal war, which never should have happened in the first place. And now, no matter whether we stay or go, both the US and Iraq are fucked. Those are the undeniable and horrible facts. And now the Repubs are whining, “It’s really nasty and unpatriotic to keep blaming us for the outcome in Iraq when our brave soldiers are dying there.” Last night, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Michael Ware what might be the practical effect of the just-passed $124 billion war spending bill that the president has promised to veto. Blitzer: “Our Michael Ware has covered the war since it began. Today he's in New York. Michael thanks very much. Good to have you here stateside. What would it mean practically speaking -- and you've been there from day one. You've spent four years covering this war -- if the Democrats had their way and by the end of March of next year, U.S. combat forces pulled out of Iraq? “Ware: Well, at that point, or very soon thereafter, you would have some kind of regional conflict in the Middle East almost without a doubt. You would instantly see the Shia militias that essentially are driving this government. They're the ones who own this government, because this government isn't a government in the sense that we understand it. “It’s a loose alliance of these militias. The U.S. intelligence says it's backed by Iran, so you would immediately see them consolidate their power. That means consolidating Iranian influence. They'd also look to expand that. Now the Arab states in the region, America's allies, have been screaming about this since before the invasion, would not be able to sit back. They would have to respond by supporting the Sunnis. So you would see the country immediately turn into an Iranian proxy kind of territory or Iranian sponsored territory and then an al Qaeda dominated Sunni-Arab regional backed semi state, war with each other that would suck in all the regional players. It's nothing but disaster.” Blitzer then asked what General Petraeus would likely say in September since President Bush has said it will be clear in September whether the so-called new strategy has worked or not. “Ware: OK, for a start I think many people are looking to General Petraeus' remarks and his reference to September as him coming to deliver the magic solution. Well it's not that at all. Simply what General Petraeus is going to do in September is have a look at the strategy that they're using now, and he's going to say if it's working or if it's not, he has no expectation that he's going to say, it has worked and that the job's over and that it's finished. He's merely going to say, we continue this and go forward or we need to look at other options. We're now hearing top military commanders talk about what some of those other options are. A major general in Iraq has now opened the door to the possibility that the solution in Iraq, the political solution everyone talks about, may be a non-democratic state.” So even in September, Blitzer summarized, if things are going as best they can, the generals may conclude that what is needed is another strong man like Saddam Hussein to control the situation. “Ware: Indeed. What this U.S. major general who commands a division in northern Iraq pointed to was precisely that...he listed the elements of U.S. victory…and I said to him you can have all of those things without a democracy -- his response -- indeed. You see that across the Middle East. So, that's what shaping as the alternative. That's plan B, a strong man with a quasi-democracy who first and foremost delivers security.” If it weren’t so stupid and tragic, it would be hilariously funny. After all the lies, posturing, bullshit about spreading democracy, innocent blood shed and billions of dollars spent, it turns out that the final best outcome will be Iraq going back to having a strong leader who dictates policy. However, when you think about it, it’s perfect. The Bush administration has claimed all along that it wanted to give Iraq the kind of government we have in the United States. To that end, Iraq is now prepared for a corrupt, thieving, lying regime headed by an autocratic, fascist warlord. Exactly like the United States.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Repubs Bluster, Fume and End Their Careers

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a $124 billion Iraq war spending bill that requires US troops to start withdrawing from Iraq by October 1. The Senate is expected to approve the same bill today. The Prez has long said he will veto any spending bill that dictates a troop withdrawal timeline. And the GOP lawmakers are predictably ranting and raving about unholy Al-Qaeda terrorists taking over the United States unless the American military stays in Iraq forever. In the midst of all the hot air blowing out of Washington, DC, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) inadvertently touched on a basic though little acknowledged truth. First Boehner wrapped himself in the flag and claimed "Every generation of Americans have had their obligation to stand up and protect their country, not just for today but for tomorrow and the next generation.” Then he added, "We have a solemn obligation to the American people to finish the job we started." Did he say, “Finish the job we started”? Yes, he did. But he should have been a little more precise. He should have said, “The Bush administration has a solemn obligation to the American people to end the illegal and unnecessary war on Iraq which the Bush administration started”. But at least the idiot acknowledged that the Repubs started the catastrophic war in Iraq and the Repubs should end it. While Republican politicians publicly diddle themselves and each other and while the Prez tries to seem manly and determined, do they not realize that the majority of Americans are watching and thinking, “These assholes have to go”? Are the Repubs not aware that orating and pontificating and raving about winning an unwinnable war is tantamount to ending their political careers? Yesterday, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) launched his presidential candidacy by telling a lie. He said on the Larry King show that as president he would welcome compromise with the Democrats. That is totally untrue, unless by compromise McCain meant that he would welcome the total capitulation of the Democrats to the McCain vision of the war in Iraq. In an interview with Scott Pelley on “60 Minutes” on April 8th, McCain said, “I disagree with what the majority of the American people want.” Although McCain now is criticizing the Bush administration’s many failures on many issues, he is firmly committed to the Bush strategy in Iraq. Does McCain not know that his intransigence on the issue of the war in Iraq will doom his political career? Bush’s veto will guarantee more unnecessary deaths in Iraq. But it also will kill off the political careers of hundreds of Republicans. The Bush years are over and any politician who remains committed to prolonging the Iraq war, may as well pack up his duds and head for home. Does the Bush administration realize this? Does McCain realize this? Unimaginable and crazy as it may seem, they don’t care.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

McCain Asks: If We Lost the War, Who Won?

Last night on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show, Senator John McCain apparently felt he was in a marathon-talking contest. Perhaps his intent was to jabber with no pause and at breakneck speed in order to run out the clock so that Jon Stewart would not have the chance to rebut. If that was his plan, it failed of course. Stewart, who seems to sincerely like McCain, slammed him unmercifully on his Iraq war stance. When a Stewart observation was applauded by the audience McCain said, “It’s obvious whose side they are on.” Stewart said, “They are on the side of the American people.” In any case, McCain was his usual patently charming and wrongheaded self. McCain mentioned Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) statement that the US had lost the war in Iraq and he asked, “If we lost, who won?” And there you have in a soundbite what is wrong with John McCain. He does not understand that there will never be a winner in the war in Iraq. McCain will formally launch his run for president today. But his campaign actually started last night when Jon Stewart asked, “Are you running for president?” And McCain said, “Yes. Yes I am.” McCain then embarked on his hyper and frenetic defense of George W. Bush’s so-called new strategy in Iraq, stating that although mistakes and miscalculations have been made for four years, now the US military can win. No, Mr. McCain, the US military cannot win in Iraq. No one can win in Iraq. The US never could have come out a winner in Iraq. The Bush administration lied in order to get its legislature and its people to back the war in Iraq. The US attacked a weak nation for no reason except to further the aims of George Bush, Dick Cheney, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and other neocons for gaining control of oil in the Middle East. Even if the war had gone well in 2003, there would have been no winner. There only would have been an oppressor and the oppressed. At this point, the US might gain military bases in Iraq if the war is prolonged and extended ad infinitum, but there never will be a winner in Iraq. There cannot be a winner in the sorry situation the Bush administration has brought on Iraq. And try though he might, John McCain cannot change the outcome of the US involvement in Vietnam by committing more atrocities in Iraq and calling them just and righteous.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Bush’s Silly but Honest Response Re Gonzales

Yesterday, the Prez said, “The attorney general went up and gave a very candid assessment, and answered every question he could possibly answer, honestly answer.” Bush added that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had “increased my confidence in his ability to do the job.” On March 14th, Bush said he wasn’t happy with the Justice Department’s explanation of the firings of eight federal prosecutors. He said Attorney General Gonzales “has got work to do” to repair his reputation on Capitol Hill. Gonzales said, “I don’t recall” or words to that effect over 60 times during his Congressional testimony last week. Does the president’s claim that he has renewed confidence in Gonzales mean that now he is happy with the Justice Department’s performance, happy that Gonzales has repaired his rep, and happy with Gonzales’s lame routine before the Senate Judiciary Committee? No. It means that the president is convinced Gonzales is a loyal Bushie and that as Attorney General he will continue to obey his masters. Does the president believe that his declaration of confidence in Gonzales will end the matter? Yes. George W. Bush has no doubt that he is all-powerful. And although George W. Bush may be delusional, grandiose and crazy as loon, he has been given no indication that his fascist regime won’t continue to prevail in the White House. So who is going to stop George W. Bush? You and me? Yes, as a matter of fact. The Bush administration serves at the pleasure of the American people. It's up to us.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Out-of-Touch Administration

A mile-long list could be made of topics, issues and instances where the Bush administration has been out-of-touch with reality, with Congress, with the will of the people, with Repubs, with Democrats, with facts, with ethics, with the Constitution, with the rule of law, with democratic principles and with normal human behavior in general. But, I have to say, to use Alberto Gonzales as an example of a loyal Bushie who is out-of-touch (as one Repub “official” was quoted saying today) would be a misnomer. Gonzales has been and is totally, but TOTALLY in touch with his duties as outlined by his masters. He has followed every order from Karl Rove and Dick Cheney to the letter. However, the most glaring case in point of the Bush administration being out of touch is its latest strategy in Baghdad. The New York Times reported this morning, “American military commanders in Baghdad are trying a radical new strategy to quell the widening sectarian violence by building a 12-foot-high, three-mile-long wall separating a historic Sunni enclave from Shiite neighborhoods.” The Berlin Wall divided East Berlin from West Berlin for 28 years. We have had to put up with Ur-Republican President Ronald Reagan being held up as a saint for saying “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” And now, that same self-righteous Republican Party is building a wall in Baghdad to divide Sunnis from Shiites. The American military said in a written statement that “the wall is one of the centerpieces of a new strategy by coalition and Iraqi forces to break the cycle of sectarian violence.” Any first grader (and a not-too-bright first grader at that) could tell the Bush administration that this wall will only make the situation worse between Sunnis and Shiites. The NYT reported that Abu Hassan, a doctor in Adhamiya, said the wall would transform the residents into caged animals. “It’s unbelievable that they treat us in such an inhumane manner,” he (Hassan) said in a telephone interview. “They’re trying to isolate us from other parts of Baghdad. The hatred will be much greater between the two sects.” It’s an unspeakably nasty, mean-spirited, doomed-to-failure and out-of-touch tactic. Unless…. Unless, the Bush administration wants to build up hatred between Sunnis and Shiites. Ah, then, building a wall in Baghdad to foment unrest, chaos, hatred, and fighting that the US cannot quell and does not appear to be responsible for makes perfect sense. What all thinking human beings on this planet have to understand is that the plan for keeping US military forces in Iraq has nothing to do with ending the war or peace or democracy or freedom. The Republicans plan to keep a military presence in Iraq forever. And that plan involves dividing and conquering. That's it.

Friday, April 20, 2007

While the AG Twists in the Wind, Bush Brags

In the midst of everything going wrong that could possibly go wrong, our Prez escaped to Tippecanoe High School in Tipp City, Ohio yesterday to tell a friendly audience of 500 southern Ohioans about his thinking. Bush was accompanied by John A. Boehner, the minority leader in the House who is Tipp City’s representative. With the progress in Iraq running in reverse, Republican seats in Congress in jeopardy, the president’s great friend and flunky Attorney General Alberto Gonzales coming across like a buffoon, and the president’s popularity at zero, the oblivious George W. Bush told his handpicked audience he wouldn’t knuckle under to negative opinion polls and that he believed he’d be vindicated by history. “Let me put it to you this way,” Bush said, “When it’s all said and done, when Laura and I head back home — which at this moment will be Crawford, Tex. — I will get there and look in the mirror, and I will say, ‘I came with a set of principles and I didn’t try to change my principles to make me popular.” The operative words in the above sentence are “at this moment”. There is still that matter of the 100,000-acre ranch that Bush twin Jenna scoped out for her dad in Paraguay while she was “working” for UNICEF. Rumors say the Prez is now the owner of that ranch. George W. Bush and his set of principles would probably be very happy in South America. Hitler’s buddies really liked Argentina.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Abortion Debate

The point is we do need to talk about and think about abortion. The point is there are better procedures for getting rid of an unwanted pregnancy than going into a woman’s womb and suctioning it out or scraping it out. The point is the “intact dilation and extraction (partial birth abortion),” is a barbaric procedure and something else needs to be figured out for the few women who would be affected by the procedure being outlawed. The point is many Roman Catholic women practice contraception and those who want abortions get them. And many priests in the Roman Catholic religion counsel women to make their own decisions about both issues. The point is we all need to get information on the “morning after pills” which are available to any girl or woman who wants to take them. They prevent conception if taken immediately after unprotected sex occurs. But they do not work when conception has already taken place. The point is we all need find out about the RU486 pill, which chemically induces abortion. It is not to be used after the 49th day (seven weeks) of pregnancy. It is available to women who want it. The point is no abortion technique should be readily available after 7 weeks unless it is medically necessary. If a woman can’t make up her mind to abort by seven weeks, she should carry to term. The point is if a woman wants to abort a fetus she can do so. And only she and her doctor need to know about it. And as long as medical technology exists, the ways to end an unwanted pregnancy will become easier, less invasive and more private as time goes on. The point is the whole so-called abortion debate is a political ploy and is pure nonsense. And Congress knows it, the Roman Catholic Church knows it and the far-right religious factions know it. But here’s the real point. Today, regarding the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, George W. Bush said : “The Supreme Court’s decision is an affirmation of the progress we have made over the past six years in protecting human dignity and upholding the sanctity of life. We will continue to work for the day when every child is welcomed in life and protected in law.” The profound arrogance and hypocrisy of George Bush claiming his administration has been “protecting human dignity” and “upholding the sanctity of life” while it has willingly murdered thousands of innocent people in Afghanistan and Iraq will not be lost on voters in the next election.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Shiite Cleric al-Sadr Powerful as Ever

For whatever reason, Iraq's defiant Shiite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr went to ground last February. But he and his Mahdi Army are still calling the shots as far as the enormous Shiite faction in Iraq is concerned. In a written statement yesterday, Al-Sadr withdrew his six ministers from the Iraqi cabinet because the government had refused to set a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops. This is a major complication for George Bush and his flunky government in Iraq who thought they could shut Al-Sadr down, or at least shut him up by giving him a stake in Iraq’s political future. But Al-Sadr, in Iraq or out of Iraq, keeps sticking a finger in George Bush’s eye. He called for a protest march on Monday to demand the resignation of the governor of Basra Province. And last week he called for a protest of tens of thousands in Shiite Najaf to demand that the American military get out of Iraq. Al-Sadr may have any number of reasons for keeping a low profile and/or for staying out of Iraq, but fear of the US so-called surge in Baghdad is not one of them. Shoring up Baghdad security has been one of the bigger failures of the Bush administration’s war. Not only has Bush not been able to protect the people he victimized in Baghdad, but also he is powerless against the influence of a Shiite cleric who isn’t even physically present in Iraq. And this latest demand by Al-Sadr that Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s government (read, George Bush’s government) set a timetable for American withdrawal, is coming at exactly the same time as many Democrats and some Republicans in Congress are demanding exactly the same thing from President Bush. George Bush and Senator John McCain say we’re making progress in Iraq. It’s becoming ever more clear that they mean progress toward a total pullout.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

McCain the Stand-up Prez

New York Times reporters Michael Gordon and Adam Nagourney interviewed Senator John McCain (R-AZ) about his plans for Iraq if elected to the presidency. The resulting article, “McCain Sees ‘No Plan B’ for Iraq War”, is in this morning’s NYT. “Senator John McCain said that the buildup of American forces in Iraq represented the only viable option to avoid failure in Iraq and that he had yet to identify an effective fallback if the current strategy failed,” the lede paragraph says. McCain told the reporters that under George Bush’s plan only three of the five additional combat brigades that are to be deployed in and around Baghdad have arrived. He said we would know “within months” if the strategy has worked. “I am not guaranteeing that this succeeds…I am just saying that I think it can. I believe it has a good shot,” McCain said. The NYT article went on to quote McCain. He said “if the Bush administration’s plan had not produced visible signs of progress by the time a McCain presidency began, he might be forced — if only by the will of public opinion — to end American involvement in Iraq.” However, McCain dismissed all other substitute plans for ending the war in Iraq as “unrealistic”. As the comics say, let me get this straight. The Bush administration attacked Iraq for no reason and is now in the fifth year of its war in Iraq. The result has been total chaos, rampant unchecked terrorism, civil war and abject total failure. However, John McCain says the only way the US can “avoid failure in Iraq” is to continue to use the Bush administration’s failed strategy because no other strategy will work even though McCain isn’t sure that failure can be avoided by continuing to fail. Have I got that right? And now we have heard McCain’s personal exit strategy for pulling himself out of the political cowpies he has stepped into. McCain says that George W. Bush’s war has been just and right and voters should vote for McCain because he will continue Bush’s righteous and just war in Iraq. But in case Bush and McCain have been proven wrong by the time McCain becomes president, then McCain says he “might” be “forced” by public opinion to end American involvement in Iraq. Oh, and don’t forget John McCain is a “decorated former Naval aviator who spent five and half years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam”. As far as I can tell, this is the John McCain platform: OH PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE LET ME BE PRESIDENT BECAUSE MY HEAD IS SO FAR UP GEORGE BUSH'S ASS THAT I WILL LIE , CHEAT AND SAY ANYTHING AND I WAS A PRISONER OF WAR FOR FIVE-AND-A-HALF YEARS!!!!!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Old Fools

This coming summer, Don Imus will be 68 and John McCain will be 71. Not only are Imus and McCain both old fools, they have another circumstance in common. They both have been used by the rich white power elite. To cluck tongues and wag fingers about the language used by rappers and everyone else in the entertainment field is to ignore the group who elevated Don Imus to his position of power. Rappers and shock jocks may talk trash and use ugly locutions, but they have no power of their own until the conservative moguls with money anoint their mojo. To say that John McCain made a huge mistake and is paying for it is to overlook who put McCain in the position to be a lightning rod for the Republican Party. The Repubs are paying for McCain’s faux pas and the Repubs are not likely to let McCain off the hook. Whatever McCain says from here on out is from a script handed him by the conservative moguls with dough. Both Imus and McCain forgot they were owned by the establishment. They both forgot that at any moment everything could be taken away that had been bestowed. An interesting article by Tim Rutten in the LA Times this morning, equated the insult Imus lobbed at the Rutgers University women's basketball team with Ann Coulter’s fall from grace. Rutten said, “Our current media culture tolerates all sorts of mean-spirited and offensive speech, but every once in a while, the practitioners of invective blunder onto a target that's just too sympathetic and our collective gag reflex is triggered.” With Coulter, it was when she insulted the 9/11 widows. And Imus crossed the line, Rutten said, when he “affronted an accomplished and attractive group of young women, who could have been any proud parents' daughters.” McCain crossed the line when he said people could safely walk around a Baghdad market while he was photographed surrounded by US soldiers, protected by US helicopters and wearing a bullet proof vest. It’s not that the conservative rich white guys who run things are outraged. It’s that they are exquisitely sensitive to the point when the public will be outraged. It’s also interesting that one particular trait is necessary to tip the scales against a popular icon. That person has to be so self-absorbed that he is numb to the hurts that he inflicts. Until this current flap, Don Imus only heard praise and the encouraging words of the men at the top for whom his racial slurs and insults spelled MONEY. And John McCain says he doesn’t care what the American people want. McCain knows what he wants and what he wants is the way it will be. The old fool’s plaint is always the same: You mean you never loved me for myself? Oh woe! No Don. No John. Your asset was getting sponsors. No dough? You gotta go.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

John McCain Is Reliving Vietnam

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) is an angry old man who wants to rewrite his experience in Vietnam by reinventing the war in Iraq. Yesterday, in the first of three policy addresses McCain will give before he announces his candidacy at the end of the month, he once again said signs of progress are real and measurable in the Bush administration’s security plan in Baghdad. Ironically, yesterday a bomb breached that security plan and went off in the parliament building in Baghdad's green zone. As Jonathan Alter said in his article in Newsweek (April 16th issue, “McCain’s Meltdown”), “If it (the surge) fails, as most analysts outside the Bush administration believe it will, McCain will either have to reverse course in the fall or go into the primaries as the fiasco's main cheerleader. To ratchet up the irony, he has said repeatedly that he doesn't believe that Bush is putting in enough additional troops. That means McCain is betting his political future on a strategy he believes is flawed, executed by a president he has never much liked. “To understand why he's doing this, we need to go back to his own experience in a faraway war. ‘This is all about Vietnam,’ says a longtime diplomat who insists on anonymity because he's supporting another candidate. ‘You can see it in his face. This triggers all the complexities of his father and grandfather and the code of honor he has written about and believes in deeply. It's hitting him in his gut. It's not a rational thing. If it were, he'd listen to the advisers who are telling him to move toward a diplomatic solution.’" Yesterday, when McCain spoke to several hundred cadets at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, he said, "I understand the frustration caused by our mistakes in this war. I sympathize with the fatigue of the American people…but I also know the toll a lost war takes on an army and a country. It is the right road. It is necessary and just." The only way John McCain can make it right for the US to have left Vietnam without crushing the enemy is for John McCain to ensure that the US stays in Iraq and crushes the enemy there. The only problem is, the US started the war in Iraq. The war never was necessary, it always was unjust and the enemy cannot be crushed because the Bush administration neocons bungled their initial attempt to control Middle East oil from the onset. Barack Obama condemned McCain’s speech, saying, “Progress in Iraq cannot be measured by the same ideological fantasies that got us into this war -- it must be measured by the reality of the facts on the ground. And today those sobering facts tell us to change our strategy and bring a responsible end to this war. What we need today is a surge in honesty." Every day McCain becomes more angry and further removed from reality. Finally, in his 70th year, John McCain has become totally unhinged by the war in Vietnam.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Repubs Begin to Get It

New York Times headline this morning: “Some in G.O.P. Express Worry Over ’08 Hopes” The article by Adam Nagourney and John M. Broder leads off saying, “Republican leaders across the country say they are growing increasingly anxious about their party’s chances of holding the White House, citing public dissatisfaction with President Bush, the political fallout from the war in Iraq and the problems their leading presidential candidates are having generating enthusiasm among conservative voters.” Only George W. Bush and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) are confident about George W. Bush and Senator John McCain. Former Repub congressman from Oklahoma Mickey Edwards said, “My level of concern and dismay is very, very high…we don’t have any candidates in the field now who are compelling.” California’s former Republican Party chairman Shawn Steele said the candidates were being dragged down by their associations with George Bush as well as with the war. The NYT went on to say, “Republicans made their comments a day before Senator John McCain of Arizona, once the party’s presumed front-runner, is to give a speech intended to revitalize his troubled candidacy. In the speech, focused on Iraq, Mr. McCain will warn against making policy about the war based on 'the temporary favor of the latest public opinion poll' and assert that the administration’s strategy for securing Baghdad is the right one, according to excerpts released Tuesday by his campaign.” This is the John McCain who claimed on Monday that he would have gone to Iraq and walked around the Shorja market whether he had protection or not. A pointless boast since the military would not have allowed it. The other two GOP frontrunners are former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Gov of Massachusetts Mitt Romney. Federal prosecutors told Giuliani’s Police Commisisioner Bernie Kerik on March 30th that he is likely to be charged with several felonies, including tax evasion and conspiracy to commit wiretapping. This is the Bernie Kerik that George W. Bush wanted for his homeland Security chief. And then we have Romney, the macho man. Last week, he claimed he’d been a hunter all his life, when in fact he’d hunted varmints once in Idaho when he was 15 and had shot at defenseless quail let out of a cage once last year in Georgia. But Romney is not known for his integrity. He has flip-flopped on abortion rights, gun control, same-sex marriage and his pledge against new taxes. According to the NYT, “Mr. Steele and other Republicans argued that the candidates were in a difficult position as they tried to distance themselves from a president who is having so many difficulties, while at the same time not alienating Republican base voters and donors who remain loyal to Mr. Bush and his foreign policy. “It’s a dying administration,” Mr. Steele said. “There’s a fatigue factor and there’s a rubbing-off when it’s not very smart to be closely associated with such low ratings.” The current issue of Newsweek (April 16) has an article by Jonathan Alter that precisely describes McCain’s fall off the catbird seat (“McCain's Meltdown”). “On the surface,” Alter says, “McCain's strategy for becoming president makes perfect sense. He repressed the maverick spirit of the 2000 campaign (it didn't get him elected last time, he's said), hired a bunch of Bushies and signed off on a strategy of kissing up to the hard-core conservatives who dominate the Republican primaries. The fact that many liberals and independents fell out of love with him didn't seem relevant; they don't vote in those contests. Under the GOP's system of primogeniture, the nomination traditionally goes to the guy whose turn it is. It's McCain's turn, so he figured all he had to do was sound a few conservative themes and line up the right endorsements. He'd lock it up early, then tack to the center for the general election.” “But something's gone terribly wrong…the magic is on the wane…that’s because he's bogged down in Iraq,” Alter says. Alter closes his article saying, “John McCain may be playing the political angles on various social issues, but not on Iraq. Henry Clay, the great 19th-century senator, once said, ‘I'd rather be right than be president.’ Sadly for McCain, the odds are growing that he'll be neither.”

Monday, April 09, 2007

Cheney’s Temper Tantrums

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is right. Vice President Dick Cheney is having fits of temper. Cheney just can’t get his mind around the fact that he’s not in control anymore. Time was, he could tell House Speaker Denny Hastert to tell a lie or jump off the capitol dome, come to that, and Hastert would do it. Now, Cheney can’t even blast the Democrats for not having a plan for Iraq or a foreign policy plan. The Dems do have a plan for Iraq and they do have a foreign policy plan. And Cheney is so pissed he can’t see straight. He said, "I think it is, in fact bad behavior on her (Pelosi's) part. I wish she hadn't done it (gone to Syria)...Fortunately I think the various parties involved recognize she doesn't speak for the United States in those circumstances, she doesn't represent the administration." It’s true, Nancy Pelosi does not represent the administration. And Cheney can’t understand how that happened. How can it be that the Speaker of the House of Representatives does not represent the Bush administration? Cheney is livid. Nor can Cheney understand how it happened that the Democrats speak for the citizens of the United States in all circumstances all around the world. It’s more than Dick Cheney can handle. He said, "The president is the one who conducts foreign policy, not the speaker of the House." In other words, Cheney believes it’s up to the president to bungle United States foreign policy, which he has done, in spades, for over six years. John McCain made an interesting statement last night on CBS’s “60 Minutes”. He was reminded by interviewer Scott Pelley that the majority of the people in the United States are in opposition to McCain’s views on how the situation in Iraq should be handled. McCain said, “I disagree with what the majority of the American people want.” McCain and the Bush administration disagree with the will of the citizens of the United States. And this minority of men sees no problem with imposing their minority views on the entire world. That is Cheney’s foreign policy doctrine and he cannot understand why it’s not working anymore. Not only is it fun to watch Dick Cheney acting like a sandbox toddler, it’s also fun to watch the talking heads on TV. Priss-faced passive-aggressive National Review Washington Editor Kate O’Beirne got in her licks against Pelosi yesterday on Tim Russert’s "Meet the Press". Acting as though she was concerned for Pelosi’s career in particular and the Democrats in general (when we all know O'Beirne would like for all Dems to pack up and go home so the Repub dictators could run the country), said “What I wonder, though, is what she was thinking with respect to the effect on her own Democratic caucus back home? Republicans wonder whether or not she’s tone deaf. There was a real blowback in commentary, a lot of criticism for her doing this, a lot of editorials thinking she’s with—out of line. And I think that raises questions on the part of her colleagues. I’m thinking of the more moderate members of the Democratic Party. They don’t want to be labeled with being a 'Nancy Pelosi Democrat' back home, and to the extent she makes herself such a lightning rod and so controversial, it just really raises the heat on them. So I really questioned her judgment with respect to the delicate task she has with her conference.” Couldn’t you just gag? God knows, O’Beirne and her conservative neocon cohorts are finding the new Congress very hard to swallow. During the same Meet the Press segment, Judy Woodruff, who is back on PBS, and was a Sunday guest on NBC was a caution trying not to roll her eyes and keeping her tongue out of her cheek as O’Beirne went on and on and on with her snide gibes and jabs at Pelosi. As Paul Krugman pointed out this morning in his New York Times Op/Ed piece, “The G.O.P.’s reversion to the Little Lie technique is a symptom of political weakness, of a party reduced to trivial smears because it has nothing else to offer. But the technique will remain effective — and the U.S. political scene will remain ugly — as long as many people in the news media keep playing along.”

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Thank You (Again), Frank Rich

This morning, Frank Rich has an Op/Ed piece in the New York Times about Senator John McCain’s political suicide. Rich says, “The political press has stepped up its sotto voce deathwatch on the McCain presidential campaign”. However, the interesting part of the Rich article is where he details the president’s whines and complaints against the Democrats during his Rose Garden press conference on Tuesday, April 3. The litany actually turns out to be a listing of abuses committed by the Prez himself and/or the Republican Party. Rich said, “ Almost everything he said was patently misleading or an outright lie, a sure sign of a leader so entombed in his bunker (he couldn’t even emerge for the Washington Nationals’ ceremonial first pitch last week) that he feels he has nothing left to lose.” 1. “He chided his adversaries on the Hill for going on vacation just as he was heading off for his own vacation in Crawford.” 2) “Then he attacked Congress for taking 57 days to ‘pass emergency funds for our troops’ even though the previous, Republican-led Congress took 119 days on the same bill in 2006.” 3) “He ridiculed the House bill for ‘pork and other spending that has nothing to do with the war,’ though last year’s war-spending bill was also larded with unrelated pork, from Congressional efforts to add agricultural subsidies to the president’s own request for money for bird-flu preparation.” 4) “Mr. Bush’s claim that military equipment would be shortchanged if he couldn’t sign a spending bill by mid-April was contradicted by not one but two government agencies. A Government Accountability Office report faulted poor Pentagon planning for endemic existing equipment shortages in the National Guard. The Congressional Research Service found that the Pentagon could pay for the war until well into July.” 5) “Congress’s failure to fund our troops on the front lines will mean that some of our military families could wait longer for their loved ones to return from the front lines, he said. And others could see their loved ones headed back to the war sooner than they need to…His own failures had already foreordained exactly these grim results.” 6) “The once-pacified Tal Afar, which Mr. Bush declared ‘a free city that gives reason for hope for a free Iraq’ in 2006, is a cauldron of bloodshed.” Rich says many have watched “the constantly recycled and ridiculed spectacle of (McCain’s) ‘safe’ walk in Baghdad” and that the incident “has the staying power of the Howard Dean scream. Should it speed America’s disengagement from Iraq, what looks today like John McCain’s farcical act of political suicide may some day loom large as a patriot’s final act of sacrifice for his country.” That’s certainly a positive spin on John McCain’s ego-driven obsession with being President of the United States at all costs. I see McCain as a 70-year-old addled Vietnam vet who can no longer discern reality from fantasy. I see McCain as an old fool for whom war is a re-play of his days of glory. I see him as a man willing to kill thousands more innocent people to live out his dream that the US will leave Iraq as glorious victors, not as impotent losers the way we left Vietnam. I see John McCain as a dangerous old soldier with unfinished business on his mind who has lost touch with his moral center.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

McCain: I Misspoke and I Will Misspeak Again

CBS has released advance excerpts from a “60 Minutes” interview with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) who is trying to rehabilitate himself after having staged a foolish propaganda stunt in Baghdad last Sunday. Of his claims that Baghdad is a safe city where one can freely stroll in the markets, McCain says in the CBS interview that he misspoke and he regrets it. And, he says, "Of course I am going to misspeak, and I've done it on numerous occasions, and I probably will do it in the future." Given that John McCain has chosen to run for president on the premise that he is George Bush’s clone, McCain has no choice but to base his whole election platform on claiming that Crazy George is not crazy and if he is crazy, then McCain will not only match him crazy for crazy, but he will raise him by 50%. This morning, the Washington Post said, “It is a gamble at a critical time for the former front-runner for the Republican nomination, the political equivalent of a "double-down" in blackjack, as one person close to the campaign put it. A candidate once seen as the almost inevitable winner, McCain is struggling in the polls and this week placed dead last in fundraising among the three top Republican and three top Democratic contenders.” In blackjack, McCain could double his original bet but he would only get one more card. A ballsy move, yes. But in blackjack the player is only going to lose money. In McCain’s double down, soldiers’ lives, the reputation of the United States and billions and billions more dollars would be flushed into the open sewer that the Bush administration’s war in Iraq has become. The one card that McCain has pinned his hopes on is that the Bush administration has defiled the Constitution to the point that it will be impossible to have a fair election in 2008 and that, therefore, he will be a shoo-in. The glitch that McCain hasn’t counted on is that his own party doesn’t want another crazy man in the White House. But John McCain is right about one thing. He has misspoken in the past and he will surely do so in the future.

Friday, April 06, 2007

I Repeat…

The following was originally posted on Ratbang on October 1, 2005. It deserves to be said again. Here's The Thing Let's say, for argument's sake, that the New Testament stories of the Last Supper are fairly accurate. Let's say that, in spite of all the magical nonsense, political propaganda and editing and rewriting, the basic story of that last Seder is true. Let's say that back in that day, a man named Jesus wanted to reform some of the practices of Judaism, and the theocracy in power was dead-set against him. Let's say that Jesus knew a ratfink mole from the tradition-bound theocracy had wormed his way into Jesus' band of friends. Let's say Jesus knew he would not be alive to honor another Shabbat after Passover. Let's say Jesus called his friends together so they could have their Seder together, knowing that Judas had sold him out. Let's say Jesus took a loaf of bread, said a prayer of thanks and passed it around, then took a chalice of wine, said a prayer of thanks and passed it around and then said, “Look, I know one of you has given me up to them, I even know who it is, but remember what we stood for, guys. Every time you eat and drink, think of me and then just keep on keepin' on.” Let's say Jesus said something like, “When you do this, remember me”. Here's the thing: There is not one single account that reports that Jesus said, “It's not kosher for you to eat bread and drink wine and remember me unless a guy in a dress gives you permission, says some mumbo-jumbo and decides whether you are worthy to think of me while having a teaspoon of wine and eating something called a wafer that doesn't even resemble stale matzo brei.” See…the thing is, Jesus never said that. All he said was, “When you do this, remember me.” So you know what? Why not just cut out the middleman? Whoever you are, if it feels right to remember a man who had integrity, wanted to fight injustice and wasn't afraid to die for his beliefs, then go ahead, have some supper, drink a glass of wine, and remember that man because all the stories say he was good, kind, just and honorable. And that is more than can be said for the pompous assholes in the Vatican who are more diabolical, self-serving and greedy than the worst fanatics who wanted Jesus dead.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Iraq Is Doomed if US Leaves, However....

It’s impossible to argue that there will not be chaos, bloodshed, warfare, and more terrorism in Iraq and the Middle East if the US cuts off funding for the war and if we pull our troops out of Iraq. What can be said, then, in favor of the US cutting off funding and pulling out our troops? Nothing except it’s the thing to do to save American lives. And I do have a plan. Let’s hand over to the Iraqis George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Karl Rove. I would be willing to throw in four-star general and former secretary of state Colin Powell for being a silly dupe and flunky, but I could be talked out of that. First, Congress will issue a declaration. It will be something like a Papal Encyclical. It will address the main issues and will end all debate regarding the war in Iraq. It will say that Congress and the American people made a mistake. The declaration will state that Congress and the American people believed a few assholes (I am convinced this word must be used in the declaration) that lied to us. It will say we admit we never should have attacked Iraq. We are sorry. We will give X number of dollars (it will be billions) outright to the Iraqi people to show how sorry we are. The Iraqis will have to trust their age-old modus operandi to insure that the money gets to the people. We acknowledge that the Iraqi MO is not our MO, but it has served the Iraqis for thousands of years and we are aware it is the way Iraqis do things. Now we must leave Iraq, alas. We will no longer fund the war. All of our troops are coming out on X date. However, in order to appease the Iraqi people and to show our good faith, we will hand over President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney and Counselor Smarty-pants Karl Rove (and Colin Powell if that’s what the American people want) to the Iraqi people on X date. The Iraqi people may do what they want with these men. These are the chief assholes that wreaked havoc on Iraq. The fate of these men is up to the Iraqi people. They can draw and quarter them or make them head of their government. We don’t care. We don’t need them. They are dead to us. Good luck and goodbye. That’s my plan.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Empty Suit in the White House

Peter Baker has an article in the Washington Post this morning titled, “For Bush, Fighting Democrats And Doubts”. It quotes the Prez saying, “I do fully understand the anguish people go through about this war." Bush was referring to his adviser Matthew Dowd who has deserted him, Baker said. That’s a false statement. George W. Bush is incapable of feeling sympathy, empathy or remorse over wrongful acts. George W. Bush feels nothing other than a need to gratify his childlike urges of the moment. That’s why Bush makes social gaffes and the press passes them off as humor. And of course the title of Baker’s article means that Bush is fighting Democrats and other people’s doubts about him. Bush has no doubts about himself. It’s a very big deal that George W. Bush cannot feel sympathy or empathy for other human beings. For normal people, it’s impossible to imagine having that monumental flaw. George W. Bush does of course feel anger, resentment and contempt for people who interfere with his projection of his vision of himself. In response to a question from a reporter, Baker quoted Bush saying he is “not ‘more isolated from his own party in Congress’ than any president of the past half-century, as one conservative columnist wrote. He has not, he said, lost his ‘gut-level bond with the American public,’ as the chief strategist of his 2004 campaign wrote. “Instead, Bush presented himself as an unwavering leader trying to avoid the ‘cauldron of chaos’ he believes Iraq would become if Democrats succeed in forcing him to withdraw U.S. troops. He sees the broader threat that others overlook and will do what needs to be done to defend against it, the president said, even though he knows his path is tormenting the country.” Baker said, “At another point, recalling how he settled on a new strategy to send more troops, Bush allowed that doubts seeped into his own West Wing. ‘This is precisely the debate we had inside the White House: Can we succeed?’ he said. ‘I know there are some who have basically said it is impossible to succeed. I strongly disagree with those people. I believe not only can we succeed, I know we must succeed.’” Bush said, "Congress shouldn't tell generals how to run the war.” And that’s a telling statement, if ever there was one. Bush has erased from his mind, if he had actually allowed the fact to enter his mind, that many generals have found fault with the way Bush wants to run the war. Like many sociopaths, George W. Bush has learned how to mimic the responses normal people have. And whenever he is called upon to make a statement, he is told how and what he should be feeling. But you have to know, whenever George W. Bush says, “I know how you feel” he hasn’t the foggiest notion how you feel. George W. Bush only knows how he feels about people who disagree with him. And that is: He is so pissed off that so far as it is within his power, he will zap you off the face of the earth. In case I haven’t been clear, George W. Bush is a sociopath, fascist, megalomaniac, grandiose, narcissist, unprincipled, amoral crazy man.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Once Again I Say McCain is Unfit and Unstable

On April 1, mortar attacks, suicide car bombs, roadside bombs, ambushes and gun battles killed at least two dozen people including four American soldiers in Baghdad. As it happened, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) was also in Baghdad. He was leading a Republican Congressional delegation. They went to a downtown market where McCain said they strolled about, haggled and drank tea. McCain said the new American security plan was making progress and we should be cautiously optimistic. However, the New York Times reported, “The delegation traveled in a convoy of armored military vehicles and was accompanied by a large contingent of heavily armed soldiers. The politicians wore body armor while they shopped.” McCain had to be pressed by reporters to finally admit, “We had protection today.” The NYT also reported that two unexploded suicide vests were found in the protected and fortified Green Zone in Baghdad. Earlier in the week, McCain had said “General Petraeus goes out there almost every day in an unarmed humvee.” Retired General Barry McCaffrey contradicted McCain and said, “No Iraqi government official, coalition soldier, diplomat, reporter, foreign NGO [nongovernmental organization], nor contractor can walk the streets of Baghdad, nor Mosul, nor Kirkuk, nor Basra, nor Tikrit, nor Najaf, nor Ramadi, without heavily armed protection." And CNN journalist Michael Ware who has been stationed in Iraq for four years said, “Honestly… you’ll barely last twenty minutes out there. I don’t know what part of Neverland Senator McCain is talking about when he says we can go strolling in Baghdad.” Ware also said that McCain’s suggestion was “beyond ludicrous” and that he “would love Senator McCain to tell me where that neighborhood is.” This morning, the NYT has yet another article from Baghdad about McCain’s staged and bogus visit. Kirk Semple writes, “The merchants there (in Baghdad’s central market) were incredulous about McCain’s conclusions.” Semple’s article (“McCain Wrong on Iraq Security, Merchants Say”) goes on to say, “The delegation arrived at the market, which is called Shorja, on Sunday with more than 100 soldiers in armored Humvees — the equivalent of an entire company — and attack helicopters circled overhead, a senior American military official in Baghdad said. The soldiers redirected traffic from the area and restricted access to the Americans, witnesses said, and sharpshooters were posted on the roofs. The congressmen wore bulletproof vests throughout their hourlong visit. “’They paralyzed the market when they came,’ Ali Jassim Faiyad, the owner of an electrical appliances shop in the market, said during an interview in his shop on Monday. ‘This was only for the media.’” It’s hard to imagine what McCain thought he was doing. Did he not know he was being photographed wearing a bulletproof vest? Did he not realize journalists, generals and shop owners would be interviewed who would tell the real story? Does he, like George W. Bush, think he is the Great Oz and therefore his word will be believed in spite of proof positive that he’s lying? Semple wrote, “At a news conference shortly after their outing, Mr. McCain, an Arizona Republican, and his three Congressional colleagues described Shorja as a safe, bustling place full of hopeful and warmly welcoming Iraqis — ‘like a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime,’ offered Representative Mike Pence, an Indiana Republican who was a member of the delegation.’” Are they all out of their minds? What city in Indiana has mortar attacks, suicide car bombs, roadside bombs, ambushes and gun battles killing two dozen people? That was the real life drama going on in Baghdad while the McCain delegation had commandeered an army with helicopters to protect them. Did they think their “Wag the Dog” version would be believed rather than the real story? Semple said several merchants in the Baghdad market said McCain’s visit might make the market an even more inviting target for the insurgents. There is a cogent and reasonable argument to be made that cutting off funds for US troops would be disastrous for Iraq. Michael Ware has made that argument. On Saturday on CNN Ware said, “It would be an American nightmare. If Congress decided to cut off the flow of finances, if America decides to stop paying for this war and the fight grinds to a halt, then the people who would benefit will be the enemies that identified -- al Qaeda and Iran particularly. “Because there's no one else to pick up the mantle of the fight and carry it forward. Within Iraq, there would be unimaginable bloodshed. And, as the former chief of Central Command, General Abizaid, forewarned, there would also certainly be regional warfare within the broader Middle East that, without a shadow of a doubt would not only produce more terrorists, but would ultimately, eventually, blow back on the United States of America.” Even I, who want our troops out of Iraq yesterday, can see Michael Ware’s point. But for John McCain to enter Iraq heavily fortified, armed and protected and to argue that everything is peachy in Baghdad and that he can walk about free as a bird and that the US already has made it possible for Iraqis to live a normal life is a ridiculous, deceptive and transparent lie. But the real point is that only someone who has lost touch with reality would pull a stunt like McCain pulled and expect that he would not be exposed as a GOP tool and con man. A spokeswoman for McCain said he left Iraq on Monday and was unavailable for comment because he was traveling. Is it possible John McCain is shunning the limelight because he feels like an old, over-the-hill fool? Probably not.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

When The Idiots Are On Your Side No. 2

Matthew Dowd is looking back at his defection to the Republican side and saying his faith was misplaced. Dowd feels he’s been called by God to restore the balance. In 1999 Dowd was a Texas Democrat. He was impressed by George W. Bush. So impressed, in fact, that he switched parties in order to see to it that GWB became president. In 2004 Dowd was appointed the president’s chief campaign strategist. This morning, the New York Times reporter Jim Rutenberg writes about his interview with Dowd (“Ex-Aide Details a loss of Faith in the President”) in Austin, Texas. Rutenberg said, “Mr. Dowd called for a withdrawal from Iraq and expressed his disappointment in Mr. Bush’s leadership. “He criticized the president as failing to call the nation to a shared sense of sacrifice at a time of war, failing to reach across the political divide to build consensus and ignoring the will of the people on Iraq. He said he believed the president had not moved aggressively enough to hold anyone accountable for the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and that Mr. Bush still approached governing with a ‘my way or the highway’ mentality reinforced by a shrinking circle of trusted aides.” What woke Matthew Dowd up? Apparently, he was okay with the lies the Bush administration told to invade Iraq. In fact, Dowd was onboard with the Bush team in 2000 and as a campaign strategist in 2004 Matthew Dowd was one of the GOP loyal liars. He was one of the team that painted John Kerry as a flip-flopper. He said Kerry could not be trusted with national security during wartime. Matthew Dowd was not just a bystander who thought Bush had some good ideas and now is disappointed in the outcome of six years under Bush. Matthew Dowd is one of the guys who shaped and molded the twisted, lying and cheating election strategies of the Bush administration in 2000 and 2004. Matthew Dowd was an intensely loyal Bushie. And now he says he was wrong. However, if you read Rutenberg’s article, Dowd never says the Bush administration’s lies and steady march toward dictatorial rule was wrong. He never says that the Bush administration’s giving the Executive Branch unprecedented power and declaring itself above the law was wrong. Even though Dowd was a willing participant in and promoter of the GOP power grab, Dowd never says the White House was wrong to rule like a fascist regime and to punish dissenters. What happened to turn Matthew Dowd around? Matthew Dowd’s personal life disintegrated. He went through a divorce, one of his twin daughters died and his son was deployed to Iraq. In other words, Matthew Dowd was forced to think about life and death. He no longer could be a detached strategist in his own life. Dowd says his loyalty to the Prez was “almost like you fall in love.” He said, “I was frustrated about Washington, the inability for people to get stuff done and bridge divides. And this guy’s personality — he cared about education and taking a different stand on immigration…when you fall in love like that…and then you notice some things that don’t exactly go the way you thought, what do you do? Like in a relationship, you say ‘No no, no, it’ll be different.’ ” So okay, Matthew Dowd fell in love with the President and he didn’t notice or didn’t care that the President and all the president’s men were thugs and thieves and liars and warmongers, and that he himself was enabling the worst administration in the history of the United States to visit some of the worst disasters on the world. And then Dowd had some personal reverses and his son had to go to Iraq and Dowd fell out of love. Sorry Mr. Dowd, you are the problem. And your seeing the light because you personally have been affected by calamity and because you personally have been affected by the disastrous unilateral decisions of the White House do not white wash your share in the moral and ethical lapses in the Bush administration. What is really perfect is that now Dowd says Barack Obama is the only candidate who appeals to him because he likes his message of unity. Dowd probably will not be involving himself in politics any time soon. He says, “I wouldn’t be surprised if I wasn’t walking around in Africa or South America doing something that was like mission work…I do feel a calling of trying to re-establish a level of gentleness in the world.” Sweet. Matthew Dowd has fallen in love again. This time with his image of himself as the great white hope bringing peace and succor to the black and brown nations. From Matthew Dowd may the good Lord deliver the world.