Friday, September 29, 2006

It's The Pinocchio Effect

GOP elephant with extremely long trunk.  On looker says 'Don't worry.  It always gets longer as elections get closer.'Click on cartoon to enlarge.

Technorati Tags:

Used with permission.

Help, I've Fallen And Can't Get Up

George Allen (aka MaCuckoo) is in a deep hole yelling 'Help me! I can't stop digging'. A bystander tosses him a football and says 'Put this in your mouth.'Click on cartoon to enlarge.

Technorati Tags:

Used with permission.

Allen Swift Booted

Senator George Allen has been Swift Boated and is about to be Swift Booted.

Technorati Tags:

Caught In Their Own Web Of Lies

Republicans have lost touch with reality. They realize all their assertions and policies are based on fraud. They scream that the Democrats have no plans because the Republicans now realize they have been living and preaching a pack of lies. Bob Woodward's new book reveals even more administration lies.

Representative Marsha Blackburn, Republican from Tennessee, was just on Hardball with Chris Matthews to refute Bob Woodward's new book. She was unprepared to defend administration behavior. When Chris pressed her on issues for which Republicans have no answers, she fell back to repeating party lines as fast as she could, whether or not they were appropriate to the question. She repeatedly claimed that since Democrats have no plans, they attack personalities --- then in the same breath she starts attacking Nancy Pelosi. These people are so panicked they don't even listen to what they are saying.

Technorati Tags:

Call Me An Idealist

I've heard arguments that our country's future lies in maintaining a military that is massively superior to any other country. We will only be safe if we are so strong no one dares challenge us. I doubt that is even possible. We must maintain a military strong enough to counter threats, but I'm an idealist. Wouldn't it be better to set a goal to be the dominant country when it comes to freedom, education, tolerance, health care, civil rights and other qualities and traits that make us the great country we are? If we are generous in sharing our blessings with the rest of the world, maybe we won't have as many threats to counter.

Technorati Tags:

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

ES, The New Political BS

The misinformation coming from Republicans is getting worse. I suggest we rename BS to ES, elephant shit.

Technorati Tags:

Monday, September 25, 2006

Show Us Progress Or The Door

Car DoorThe options in Iraq are not just "Cut and Run" or "Stay and Pay" (or was that "Stay and Pray"). We need to get out of Iraq as soon as we can consistent with our responsibility to provide Iraq with the tools to build a functioning democracy and civil society.

The Bush Administration seemed to have had success with a technique I thought would not work. I was wrong. Unfortunately, they have forgotten their own successes. That tool was deadlines. We set deadlines for all sorts of tasks: provisional governments, elections, a constitution and to the credit of the Iraqis, they met those deadlines. Sometimes it took a little longer than planned, but they got there.

Why did we stop setting deadlines? Both for the Iraqis and ourselves. These deadlines should be large political goals, like, amend the constitution as promised and create a document that all Iraqis will want to support. Or decreasing sectarian violence as measured by number of murders. They could be more modest goals: Increase the availability of electricity, clean water and sewers by some metric.

It is clear that we have done about as much as we can to give the Iraqis the tools they need to make a country of their choosing. This administration can't give us a clear definition of "winning", so how about some goals and metrics that we expect the Iraqis to meet? If they can't make progress on basic issues they must confront to succeed, we leave.

Technorati Tags:

Sunday, September 24, 2006

NIE Seals The Deal

This morning's New York Times has an article by reporter Mark Mazzetti titled, "Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terror Threat." The article contains comments from people who are close to a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) completed in April. An NIE summarizies the opinions about a subject from 16 different US governmental agencies responsible for intelligence.

Here are some direct quotes from the article.
The intelligence estimate, completed in April, is the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by United States intelligence agencies since the Iraq war began, and represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government. Titled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,’’ it asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe.

An opening section of the report, “Indicators of the Spread of the Global Jihadist Movement,” cites the Iraq war as a reason for the diffusion of jihad ideology.

The report “says that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse,” said one American intelligence official.

Several politicians were asked about the report on this morning's news shows. Since the story just appeared this morning, there hasn't been time for Karl to communicate the proper spin. Instead of curve ball answers or slider answers, we got knuckle balls (all puns intended).

Among the best knuckle ballers was Senator Bill Frist on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

He said the American people just want to be safe. He listed attacks on the US - the WTC attack in '93, Khobar Towers, the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, the attack on the Cole and the WTC attack on 9/11. He then said "...we haven't been attacked in the last five years." The implication is that Democrats failed to protect you. Only we, the Republicans, can protect you.

The answers that come out of the Bush Administration and Republicans are so misleading and distorted, it is difficult to know where to start when trying to refute them.

Since 9/11 American interests have been targeted directly at least five times, including attacks in Karachi, four in Saudi Arabia and the attacks in Amman, Jordan. I guess the arguement is that these did not occur in the US although Senator Frist's list only includes two attacks in the US, the two attacks on the World Trade Center.

What about the attacks in Madrid and London? They also don't count because they weren't in the United States? Attacks on our allies don't count? We lecture the world that this is a global war on terror and then forget we are not the only country that has been attacked. And I'll bet Senator Frist wonders why some of the world thinks the US is arrogant.

Senator Frist wants to change the subject rather than talk about the latest NIE. He would rather talk about how Republicans and this administration are tough on terror and the Democrats are weak on terror. What were the Republicans and President Bush doing to fight the war on terror before 9/11? In the months before 9/11, why didn't they get Osama bin Laden? Why didn't they avenge the Cole? For an administration that claims the RIGHT to start preemptive wars to fight terrorism, they did NOTHING to fight terrorism before 9/11.

Senator Frist also threw in the overused and utterly untrue, we are fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here. I guess that makes sense if you don't view the attacks in London, Madrid and elsewhere as real terrorist attacks. What he is saying is that while the intelligence agencies believe the war in Iraq has hurt the war on terror, it doesn't matter since we haven't been attacked in the US.

Senator Frist reiterated that this is a global war on terror being fought in many places besides Iraq and then goes on to just assume that therefore the threat is increasing. His implication is - - of course the threat is growing; this is a war. Duh. Isn't it just as reasonable to assume if you had done a better job of fighting the war on terror the threat would be decreasing? It is a war you've been fighting for five years. You've gotten everything you've asked for and you haven't won it. What your intelligence agencies are telling you now is that your actions in Iraq have actually made the war on terrorism worse! The threat should be decreasing, not increasing! You guys are incompetent!

Senator Frist was stammering this morning because the intelligence agencies have completed the case for throwing the Republicans out. With five years of unlimited resources the Bush Administration and the Republican leadership have not only not won the war on terrorism, they've made the threat of terror worse! Even those who claim the Democrats have no plan to fight terrorism (untrue) have a simple choice in November. Retain Republicans who have obviously failed miserably in Iraq, proven to be incompetent and whose actions their own intelligence agencies have said has increased the threat of terrorism, or give the Democrats a chance.

Technorati Tags:

Why Is Iraq The Central Front?

Senator Bill Frist was on ABC's This Week this morning and once again said we are fighting the terrorists over there so we don't have to fight them here.

What a bunch of crap!

I would like someone to ask Senator Frist why, if he really believes that, couldn't we have just fought them in Afghanistan? There was widespread agreement in the US and the world that the war in Afghanistan was justified. Once we were there, why didn't President Bush just tell the terrorists, "Here we are in Afghanistan, bring it on."?

If all the terrorists are coming to Iraq to fight the US, why didn't we just have them come to Afghanistan instead? Wouldn't it have been easier to fight them all in one country instead of two? Iraq is politically a much more complicated place to fight a war than Afghanistan. Maybe the administration just didn't think about that.

We keep getting the same old crappy responses. Don't they think people are smart enough to catch on that they are being manipulated? I guess Republicans think at least some people are not that smart. And since they generally play to their base, guess who they think the real dummies are?

Technorati Tags:

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Democrats Need A New Voice

I don't really want a Democratic Party that speaks with only one voice. A party whose members are bullied into supporting the party line even when they know it is wrong, but much of the country does. That is the Republican approach and all too often we've seen them march like lemmings off the cliff.

Some voters like a party with a single message for the reasons John Dean discussed in his book, "Conservatives Without Conscience" (see previous post). Other voters prefer a more unified voice since it indicates a party with a plan and members who are united to achieve it. Voters want action and affective governance, not more political in-fighting.

I believe the Democratic Pary agrees on broad goals they would like to achieve if once again given the chance to lead. Unfortunately, the party does not have a leader that can articulate their goals. To be honest, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are not the right people to be the face of the Democratic Party at this point. Their personalities, public demeanor and rhetoric styles are just what Republicans want. I'm sure Harry Reid is a good person and a first rate senator, but neither he nor Nancy Pelosi give anyone confidence that Democrats can lead and defend this country.

Howard Dean is much more articulate and could do a better job of explaining Democratic positions, but he carries too much political baggage from his presidential run. His political smarts are essential to future Democratic victories, but he is not going to convince voters to vote for Democrats.

Democrats need more specific proposals and an articulate voice to explain them.

Technorati Tags:

Friday, September 22, 2006

Conservatives Without Conscience

I just finished John Dean's new book, "Conservatives Without Conscience." The preface, which explained how he came to write the book, was very interesting. The first part of the book was a little academic. I was hoping for some political fireworks. But John Dean brought together a lot of academic research to help explain the success of the Republicans the past couple of decades and why we should be concerned. At times it was chilling.

Conservatives will believe nothing in this book, but if, like me, you've encountered right wing rantings and hatred and wonder where it comes from, this book may help explain it. The book was interesting and seemed to be very well researched. Dean has many references to back up his writing.

Wading through the first part prepares you for the second part where you do indeed get some political fireworks and insight. Don't give up, finish the book. You'll like it. Unless you are a conservative. It is not very flattering to them.

Technorati Tags:

Say It Ain't So

There was a report on NBC Nightly News tonight that the administration is planning a new call-up of a significant number of reservists this fall. It was also reported that the administration believes this call-up will be politically damaging, so they will not announce it until after the November elections.

I have no idea if either of these items are true, but I will be watching. If there is to be a call-up and if it would be better for the country to make such an announcement after the elections, that would be one thing. If it were better for our war effort in Iraq, that would be another. If it were better for the reservists to wait until after November to be called-up, that would be still another. But to wait because it would help Republicans win an election, that makes my blood boil.

I really am tired of being cynical about every decision the President makes. I really do hope tonight's news reports are wrong.

Technorati Tags:

Thanks, Bill

I chuckled when I heard the joke, President Bush has given hope to all school children. He has proven that ANYONE can grow up to be President.

Of course, it helps to have a father with all the right connections.

This old joke came back to me as I watched President Clinton on MSNBC tonight. I like a President who is smarter than I am. Someone who understands not only how to win elections, but how to use logic, reason and intelligence to communicate ideas. A President who wants to build communities through consensus and not fear. A President who is more interested in listening, understanding and proposing solutions than in lecturing. A President who is interested in governing the country and not just pandering to his base. How I long for the good old days.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

How Long Can Republicans Blame Clinton?

A recent round of Clinton (Bill) bashing, made me once again wonder how many years it will take Republicans to get over their inferiority complex, take responsiblity for their own actions and quit blaming President Clinton for the ills of the world. In comparison to what we have now, he looks better every day.

It also made me wonder which will occur first,
A) Republicans stop blaming President Clinton for ________ (fill in the blank)
B) The last US soldier leaves Iraq.
You've got to admit, that's a tough call.

Technorati Tags:

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Worst President Ever, Nixon or Bush?

I think George Bush, the current president, is a terrible president. Of course, I didn't believe he possessed the necessary qualities to be elected the first time.

I wonder if there is a relationship with President Bush's "stay the course" policies and whatever illogic led people to re-elect him in 2004. Maybe many voters had to vote for him again or admit that they made a mistake the first time. Not a character trait that Republicans seem to exhibit. Or maybe it took more nuanced analysis than most Republican voters can muster.

But my musings today actually have me wondering if history will view President Nixon or President Bush (43) as the worst US President ever. In fairness, we should wait until President Bush's term ends in 2009 to take a poll, although I think I have enough evidence to vote today.

Technorati Tags:

Monday, September 18, 2006

Now Wouldn't That Be Ironic?

After a violent few weeks, the war between Israel and Hezbollah seems to be over. This may be an ONCGTC moment (only Nixon could go to China). As bloody as the conflict was, it may have set the stage for a period of tranquility. There was world wide opinion that Israel lost the war, but more likely they "lost" the war and won the political battle.

I heard one commentator say that toward the end of the war, Israel was left pursuing the "Mad Dog" strategy. The idea was that while Israel could not easily win the war, they could make life so difficult for the Lebanese that they would not tolerate anyone poking the dog again. A slight provocation might set the mad dog on another rampage.

For decades, Israel has evoked an image of invincibilty. It had defeated all its neighbors and left them disheartened and demoralized. This is not a state conducive to compromise or peace. While objectively no one can claim that Hezbollah beat Israel, by not losing the Middle East sees them as victors. Now that Hezbollah has the aura of a winner, they may be more willing and able to negotiate.

Even if the money came from Iran, it was amazing how quickly Hezbollah started to help rebuild Lebanon. They were already organizing as a political party before the war. Hezbollah would probably win any election in Lebanon at this point, but not if people thought they would kick the dog again. If Hezbollah wants to become a political power and run the government in Lebanon, that is good. I don't believe the Lebanese people will allow them to start a war with Israel again.

It was amazing (and terribly ironic, given President Bush's Iraqi policies) that Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, said that "Had we known that the kidnapping of the soldiers would have led to this, we would definitely not have done it." Although they may not like him, Nasrallah may have the stature as a winner to negotiate some real solutions. Now that he is a winner, he may no longer feel the need to prove his military power (and would hopefully realize if he starts trouble again the Israelis will be better prepared).

One commentator, shortly after the cease fire, stated that even with a cease fire Israel still planned to eventual assassinate Nasrallah. At this point that would be very bad. Israel should not forget that Menachem Begin, who was eventually an Israeli Prime Minister, started out with terrorist ties. Nasrallah may be someone Israel can make deals with. Israel should, and probably is, working on a deal to get their two kidnapped soldiers back. This is a chance for Israel to determine if Hezbollah can be encouraged to negotiate instead of fight. Hint, another win for Hezbollah might not be such a bad thing.

Israel should keep the mad dog snarl, but encourage and help Hezbollah to be a positive political force in Lebanon. The Lebanese people have struck blows for democracy on their own so their desire for freedom and what looks to be a desire by Hezbollah to govern might be the right mix to make Lebanon one of those beacons of democracy in the Middle East we've been hearing about.

Now wouldn't that be ironic.

Technorati Tags:

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Smirk Has To Go

Senator George Allen, Republican from Virginia, was on Meet The Press this morning. It is never appropriate to judge the competency of a candidate by their visual appeal or lack thereof, but the voters of Virginia should be commended for electing George Allen even though he often exhibits a horrendous smirk.

His smirk is so bad, I'm sure it is the nickname people use behind his back. According to Wikipedia, a smirk "refers to a smile evoking insolence, scorn, or offensive smugness".

I don't know if Senator Allen's smirk is the result of an unfortunate physical malady or represents a personality leak. In any case, it needs to be removed by plastic surgery or counseling. It may be that he has had it for so long that the only group that can remove it are voters.

Technorati Tags:

Friday, September 15, 2006

They Didn't Volunteer To Be Sacrificed

I support the all volunteer military and greatly appreciate the brave men and women who have volunteered to defend our country.

I do have to wonder if a volunteer military has allowed the human costs of this war to be hidden.

There is a rumor that a secret report has conceded that we have already lost Anbar province in western Iraq. I heard a comment that it would take 50 to 60 thousand troops to even try to take it back. How many people who agree with President Bush's "stay the course" plan would be willing to stay the course if a draft were needed to supply the 50,000 additional troops?

We need a real plan to get out of Iraq. We cannot indefinitely sacrifice our military on a failed plan just because they volunteered.

Technorati Tags:

Shame on you, President Bush.

The Bush administration's assertion that they should be able to convict and punish a person based on information that the defendant is not allowed to hear and, therefore, cannot defend himself against, is outrageous. To insist that the government should be able to convict defendants based on confessions induced by torture or testimony from witnesses who were tortured is equally absurd. That a President of the United States is proposing such actions is beyond words.

There are certainly many bad people in this world who deserve to live the rest of their lives in a cell or to be executed, but the government cannot punish someone just because the government thinks they deserve to be punished. We give our government vast powers, but we require them to exercise them within laws to help insure that these powers are not abused. This not only protects us from abuse by government officials, but it also from ourselves. While outrageous acts might move us to outrageous reactions, our laws remind us we have agreed on ideas and ideals that are more important than the emotional reactions of the moment.

Convicting people of unnamed crimes or based on coerced testimony sounds like something out of the old USSR or a third world dictatorship, not the United States of America.

Shame on you, President Bush.

Technorati Tags:

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

John Boehner - WTHWYT

According to House Majority Leader John Boehner,

"I listen to the questions today and I listen to my Democrat friends, and I wonder if they are more interested in protecting the terrorists than protecting the American people."

I read your statement and wonder if you are more interested in the welfare of this country or saving your political ass!

And you are a liar. Democrats aren't your friends. A friend wouldn't make such a heinous statement.

Technorati Tags:

The Love Story Presidency

This is the Love Story Presidency..

Being a Bushie means never saying you're sorry.

Or, for that matter, that you ever made a mistake.

Or, even worse, admitting all your assumptions for going to war were wrong, but still insisting that even knowing they were wrong you would still go to war. Unbelievable.

If a definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome, what do you call voters who still support Bush's policies in Iraq? Worse, what does "stay the course" say about President Bush?

Technorati Tags: