Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Bush "Legacy"

Bush & Cheney's legacy: this picture is worth 3,969 words as of 2/21/08

(this letter to USA Today was in response to an op-ed by Bob Beckel and Cal Thomas on 'HOW WILL BUSH BE JUDGED")

Cal Thomas came within one letter of getting it right in the column “HOW WILL BUSH BE JUDGED” when he wrote “Bush led us into Iraq.” Insert the letter “i” in “led” and his comment becomes accurate. As a parent whose son was sent off to Iraq in 2003 to invade the country, based on fear mongering and outright lies from President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and others in his administration, my greatest regret is that the spineless Democrats haven’t mustered enough votes to impeach both Bush and Cheney for the egregious violations of their oaths to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. Labeling him the worst president in history hardly does justice to the man whose incompetence and arrogance has led to the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis and four thousand Americans, with over twenty thousand Americans wounded or maimed. Katrina, mine disasters, wrecking the Justice Department, taking Clinton’s hundred sixty billion dollar surplus and turning it into three trillion dollars of deficit spending, trampling on the rights of Americans, torture, illegal detentions, violations of international treaties governing human rights, the decimation of the international goodwill towards America which existed after 9-11-- that is Bush’s legacy, today, tomorrow, and 100 years from now.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


"Conservative" (yeah, sure) Congressional Republicans have replaced their hero, Ronald Reagan, with Mr. Potato Head, who better reflects their intellectual heritage.

That sound you don’t hear is the thundering silence of self anointed “true conservatives” not screaming in protest over the “stimulus package” which finally united Republicans and Democrats in Congress. What can you call a bill which will ladle out over $160 billion this summer in “rebates” of $600, $1,200 for married couples, plus $300 per child, to Americans? I almost wrote “taxpayers,” except that the bill’s largesse does not extend to wealthier taxpayers who earn a few thousand over $75,000 ($150,000 for married couples) while dispensing billions of dollars to those who pay no taxes but who do have a valid Social Security number (illegals need not apply). So they aren’t rebates to those who paid nothing in taxes.

“Communism,” perhaps? After all, the bill does nothing less than to redistribute the wealth of the nation-- if that nation is China or Saudi Arabia, from whom we will cheerfully borrow the money to be tossed in the air like Pac Man partying in a Vegas strip club. Naah, “communism” is too retro, too 1950’s. It’s lost its sting. Maybe “bribery” would be a better term, since, not coincidentally, the checks will arrive just a scant few months before every member of the House and one-third of the Senate is up for election- including two Senators who will be vying to take the top spot in the executive branch.

And here is what our Congress hath wrought: a drain on the United States Treasury to subsidize short term purchases (Congress’s stated hope) that will get our economy kick started again just in time for the Fall elections. None of that money will go for desperately needed infrastructure repairs, benefits for wounded veterans, or extended unemployment for those laid off in the recession.

True conservatives, how do you feel about the fact that our fiscally imprudent lawmakers declined to pass any legislation that would cut spending or increase taxes to pay for the giveaway? Where were your gatekeepers? Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell jumped on the giveaway bandwagon, alongside his ideological soulmates, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry. Georgia’s uber conservative Saxby Chambless didn’t blink an eye at signing on to this misbegotten piece of legislation. Hey, he’s up for re-election this year. Perhaps he can provide us plebians with some circuses to go with the bread he is parceling out. And you can’t blame Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama for this example of 21st century irresponsibility- they didn’t bother to show up to vote. But John McCain voted- yea, of course. After all, he’s the “liberal” Republican in the race for President.

And the hero of the American Legion and the American Enterprise Institute, who had no problemo vetoing extra funds for health care for children because some needy adults might get helped, too? Does he have his veto pen ready to wield? Here’s the damning quote from the White House: "This plan is robust, broad-based, timely, and it will be effective," President Bush said in a statement. He called it "an example of bipartisan cooperation at a time when the American people most expect it."

Okay dittoheads, Limbaugh listeners, Fox news channel compulsives. Read those quotes again, and then try to muster enough breath to tell the rest of us who live in the real world why we should elect conservative Republicans instead of those dastardly “tax and spend” Democrats who would turn our wonderful Darwinist capitalistic U.S. of A. into a Socialist workers’ paradise.

And please don’t let your heads explode from the cognitive dissonance of watching your beloved leaders sign on to legislation that would have made Karl Marx proud. Republicans, it turns out, can pander to the masses with the best of them, doling out dollops of borrowed money to the undeserving in hopes that they will further unbalance our trade deficit by spending their government checks buying Asian manufactured electronic toys.

Monday, February 04, 2008

IT’S THE IRAQ WAR, STUPID (and torture, and Guantanamo, and spying on Americans, and...)

Hillary Clinton: too clever for her own good, voted for war in 2002 to position herself to run for President later; now won't admit her mistake in handing the worst President in history a blank check to kill hundreds of thousands of human beings while decimating America's military, eroding our civil liberties, and destroying our moral standing at home and abroad

It was a moment which might come once in a lifetime. It was also a moment which may have doomed a presidential campaign. John Edwards, a former U.S. Senator from North Carolina, was stumping for the Democratic nomination for president, sharing the stage with Jimmy Carter at a college in Americus, Georgia. In the audience, standing respectfully at a microphone, was the father of a twice deployed Iraq War veteran. His daughter-in-law was one day away from her second deployment. Several thousand people listened as the obviously emotional parent asked the politician:

“Senator, Democrats have been criticized for being ‘cut and run defeatists’ who will lose the war in Iraq. We have been accused of having no ‘Plan B’ for dealing with the chaos in that country other than just leaving it as a hotbed for Islamic terrorism. Why don’t you propose an alternative- a Plan B that would get American troops out of the country without abdicating our moral responsibility to the Iraqi people? Why not suggest that we engage our closest Arab allies in the region-- Jordan and Egypt-- and pay whatever it would take to rent part of their standing armies and bring them to Iraq as peacekeepers as we rotate our troops out of the country? After all, they have a greater stake in having a peaceful Middle East than we do. They have a greater stake in not having Islamic extremists take power in Iraq. Why not propose a plan that would replace English speaking, mostly Christian foreigners, and bring in Arabic speaking, Muslim peacekeepers? Why not defuse the attraction of Iraq as a recruiting ground for Al Qaida ? Why not propose a plan that would put the Bush Administration and the Republican leadership in the position of having to explain why they think it would be better for America to have our sons and daughters dying in Iraq’s civil war? Make them tell America why they want us to have an open ended commitment, draining hundreds of billions of dollars from America’s treasury, with no end in sight and no exit strategy.”

Mr. Edwards, somewhat surprisingly, agreed with the comments of the father. He said he thought that it would be a good idea to bring in Arabic speaking, Muslim peacekeepers from the region to replace American troops. But the father had not sat down, and immediately followed up: “Senator, will you make that proposal at the next debate?”

Then Edwards made his fatal mistake. In an election whose most motivated voters had focused on ending the Iraq War, on ending the drain of blood and money from America, on reducing the threat from international terrorism by removing the provocation of American troops on Arab soil as invaders and occupiers, he had an opportunity to seize on an idea that could have generated a groundswell of support among both primary voters and Democrats in Congress. An idea which could have altered both the dynamics of the election and of our foreign policy, which could have started us down the path of regaining our self respect as a nation and our stature abroad.

Instead, he answered, somewhat lamely, “Well, we only have time for 30 second sound bites in the debates, and I don’t know if there will be enough time.....” In the months that followed, he never made a concrete proposal to end America’s military involvement in the civil war in Iraq.

Five months later, the father was in a voting booth in Georgia, casting his ballot a week in advance of the Democratic primary. He had weighed the advantages and disadvantages of voting for Edwards or for Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton was not an option. She had never backed down from her position that she had not made a mistake in judgment when she voted in 2002 to authorize President Bush to use the American military in Iraq to protect America from fictional weapons of mass destruction. In the years following, long after the official lies had been exposed, she had consistently voted for funding the war which had killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, thousands of Americans, and cost over $500 billion. Edwards had admitted his Senate vote for war in Iraq was a mistake, albeit way too late to have made a difference. He waited until after the 2004 Presidential election, unbelievably claiming in a 2007 Meet the Press interview that he had been too busy during the ‘04 campaign to think about his position on the war- the central issue in that election.

Finally, the father cast his vote- in favor of Barack Obama, whose judgment had been right from day one. In the months leading up to March 19, 2003, when President Bush gave the fatal order to send 150,000 Marines and soldiers, including one young Marine reservist from Southwest Georgia, over the Kuwait-Iraq border, Obama had publicly opposed giving the worst president in history the authority to use the United States military as he saw fit. For the father casting his ballot, that was enough to tip the scales. Coincidentally or not, Edwards dropped out of the race the next day.