Political Critic Archives - June 2006

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Friday, June 30, 2006 - 12:00am

Israel Recklessly Bombing Gaza

I wouldn't normally comment on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, but the violence has sharply escalated in recent days.  Last week, Palestinian militants kidnapped an Israeli soldier.  They threatened to kill him unless Israel stopped their invasion into Gaza.  They also were looking for a prisoner exchange, as Israel is holding hundreds of Palestinians in their jails. 

   In response to the kidnapping, the Israeli government is bombing all of the Palestinians back into the stone age.  They are not focusing on the people that kidnapped their soldier.  Instead, their military response is far more widespread.  They bombed Gaza's only power substation, which shut off electricity and water to the 1.4 million citizens of Gaza.  Other attacks have also taken out bridges.  They have purposely created a humanitarian crisis by destroying this facility.  It has now been four days since the substation was destroyed and the residents have no power and limited water supplies.

The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) sent over 400 artillery shells into Northern Gaza, sent troops into Southern Gaza, and captured members of the Palestinian government.   They also invaded Syrian airspace in order to buzz the home of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The video shown does not show these attacks, but gives some background on the government's tactics.  The Israeli government does not allow the media to broadcast anything it deems negative toward them.

I abhor Hamas and the Palestinian Liberation Authority (PLO), but I am equally disgusted by the way Israel recklessly slaughters innocent people.  Hamas kills innocent people as well, but Israel holds themselves up in the international community as if they are somehow better.  They aren't. 

Both sides kill civilians, they just do it in a different manner.  Hamas uses suicide bombers to kill Israelis.  Israel sends fighter jets (that the U.S. gives them) into Gaza and drops bombs on civilian neighborhoods.  Both groups have been doing this for years.

The U.S. government should not sit idly by as Israel continues this action.  The are slowly exterminating an entire civilization.  The U.S. supplies Israel with a lot of money and a boatload of military technology.  They very easily could tell them to use their power more responsibly. 

I'm not saying that Israel shouldn't respond when a soldier is kidnapped.  They have every right to attack the people that kidnapped him.  The problem is that they are using the kidnapping as an excuse to initiate a more widespread attack against the Palestinians.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006 - 12:00am

Are the Republicans Planning to Reduce Troops Ahead of Election?

The Republicans have been referring to the Democrats' strategy in Iraq as 'cut and run', but have secretly been planning on reducing troops ahead of the mid-term elections in November.  The GOP is in trouble and what better way to win an election than to temporarily bring some troops home.  President Bush keeps making the convenient statement that he will draw down troops when the situation on the ground improves, but he can't make that argument anytime soon.

   It is deplorable that politicians of any party would use troop levels to help win an election, but that appears to be the case.  If anything, the number of troops on the ground in Iraq should increase, not decrease.  The rationale for this, as stated in previous posts, is to gain control of the country.  When you reduce the number of troops, you expose the forces that remain to greater risk.

The Republicans may win the election in November, but they will do so at the peril of the young men and women serving their country. 

Now it seems that the GOP is the 'cut and run' party.  I don't particularly agree with the strategy of redeployment that the Democrats have proposed, but at least they recognize that the situation in Iraq is a mess and debate some sort of change.  The White House and Republican Congressman have been calling the Democrats a bunch of cowards all week, but now they are doing exactly what they have been criticizing the left for.  Talk about hypocrites. 

After learning of the planned troop reduction, the Democrats took the angle that they were right all along about reducing troop levels.  Unfortunately, the Democrats are wrong....again. 

What both sides are missing is that the violence is still escalating and will get even worse when we take troop levels down.  The Iraqi military is not ready to take control of their country yet.  Bringing soldiers home will just invite terrorists and insurgents to attack more often.

If we reduce the number of troops in Iraq before the elections, more American soldiers will die.  It's that simple.  I would love to bring everybody home right now, but that just isn't possible.  We should never have been there in the first place, but we need to stay until we fix what Bush screwed up.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006 - 12:00am

Round 2:  Bob Casey vs. Rick 'Religious Zealot' Santorum

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is where we find our next semi-competitive Senate race.  It pits Bob Casey (D) against the incumbent Senator Rick Santorum.  Bob Casey hold a very comfortable, double-digit lead over Santorum in current polling.  In the latest poll by Quinnipiac poll, Casey led 52 percent to 34 percent.  That may sound odd to hold an 18% lead over the incumbent Senator, but Rick Santorum is not your typical Senator.  In a nutshell, Santorum believes that gay people are going to hell, evolution is a fallacy, and that liberals create sexual molesters.

   In Pennsylvania, the key to any victory depends on your political affiliation.  If you're a Democrat, like Bob Casey, you must overwhelmingly win Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and then hold your own in the middle of the state.  It is said that once you get outside the Philadelphia area, you are basically in Alabama.  So even though Pennsylvania is a "blue" state, the middle of it is completely red.

Philadelphia is the largest city in PA and has a very large African-American population.  As I'm sure you know, African-Americans vote Democrat by an extremely wide margin.  This is why you will see the black woman in this video of Casey's background story.  Bob Casey needs the black vote to win this election

   Rick Santorum's problem is that he is completely intolerant of others.  He has even turned Republicans against him.  Santorum believes that sodomy laws rightfully exist because they protect the family.  His rationale is that sodomy "undermines the basic tenets of our society and family.  Santorum also compared a Democratic fight to keep a filibuster to the Nazis and he believes women belong in the home.

If that isn't bad enough, Santorum blamed the Roman Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal on the media, academia, and liberals in Massachusetts.  His argument was that priests were affected by the liberal culture of the area and that is what forced them to sexually abuse 12-year old boys.  When given the chance to retract these insane statements, Santorum declined.  So he honestly believes that the people of Boston are to blame for priests molesting kids.

Fortunately, most people in PA have figured out that Santorum is not right in the head.  Bob Casey will be an acceptable replacement and strike a more moderate tone in the Senate.  My prediction is that this race will not be competitive and that Casey will win by 20 percent.


Monday, June 26, 2006 - 1:00am

Let the Attack Ads Begin!

There are six competitive Senate races this year, so I thought I would blog about each one and talk about what's going on in each state.  First up is Montana, the only state that takes 12 hours to drive through and you still never see anything.  In Montana, Senator Conrad Burns (R) is up against a very tough competitor in John Tester (D).  Tester recently won the Democratic primary and is currently ahead by 4% in the latest Rasmussen poll.  Rasmussen polls tend to favor Republican candidates, so for Burns to be down is a bad sign for the GOP.

   Conrad Burns is best known for having close ties to Jack Abramoff, the high-powered lobbyist who was recently convicted on a number of charges.  Jon Tester and the Democratic party are trying to use the Abramoff scandal to paint Burns as a corrupt Washington politician.  It shouldn't be that difficult. 

Jon Tester's background is one of farming and politics.  He has continued the family business of dry-land farming operations and he was previously a custom butcher operator.  On the political side, he is currently President of the Montana Senate, having served four sessions in the state.  Tester thus far has portrayed himself as a successful, third-generation Montana farmer.  His strategy seems to be working in the early going, but the election is still over four months away.

   The country has been focusing on this race in Montana and other states because the Democrats may take back the Senate in November.  To do that, the Democrats must win all six competitive races.  They have a strong candidate in Jon Tester, so my prediction is that Jon Tester wins the Senate race in Montana and the Democrats pick up this seat.

If you've read this blog before, you will know that I want the Democrats to take back the House and Senate to restore the balance of power in Washington.  I am also begging for Congress to investigate this corrupt administration and the only way to do that is to put the Democrats in power.  Jon Tester is the first.  With five others, the Dems will take over.


Friday, June 23, 2006 - 4:00pm

Violence Escalating in Afghanistan

The United States invaded Afghanistan in late 2001 and was able to quickly overthrow the ruling Taliban party.  They helped put a new leader in place, Hamid Karzai, and were successful in restoring peace in the country.  However, over the last 4+ years, the U.S. has reduced troop levels and the Taliban have regrouped.  The Taliban now attacks in the south and in the east with increasing frequency.  The violence in Afghanistan this year is the worst it has been since the Taliban lost power.  NATO forces will be taking over the southern part of the country shortly and expect a very bloody summer.

   What once was a victory for the U.S. and coalition forces is now looking like a protracted battle that could rage on for years.  With a larger concentration on Iraq, the U.S. has literally fallen asleep on Afghanistan.  As a result, the enemy has grown more confident and has caused Afghanistan to destabilize.  The situation on the ground is quickly starting to resemble Iraq and that is not something the U.S. can afford to have happen.

Much like Iraq, the coalition needs to provide more troops in Afghanistan to restore safety and security in the nation.  This has already proven to be effective in the past, so there is no reason to doubt it now.  The question is whether the U.S. is willing to send more forces to the country or if they take the same, incompetent strategy that they have in Iraq.

With the transition to NATO troops, the Taliban may sense an opportunity to gain the upper hand in the war.  We cannot allow this to happen.  The administration needs to act now or they will be fighting two intense wars at the same time.


Thursday, June 22, 2006 - 2:00pm

Is North Korea Just Looking for a Handout?

While the U.S. has it's hands full in Iraq, it seems that Iran and North Korea have been very busy playing with missiles and nuclear warheads.  Iran has been trying to develop nuclear weapons technology and North Korea is getting ready to test-fire one of their missiles.  The North Korean missile is believed to be capable of reaching the mainland of the United States.  It is also believed that North Korea already has nuclear weapons.

   It should be noted that there are a number of countries that have nuclear weapons and other missiles capable of reaching the United States.  The difference is that North Korea is considered to be an unstable nation with unknown intentions.

The U.S. has activated its missile defense system, but that system is not very effective.  In tests over the last few years, the defense system has connected on 5 of 8 targets, but there have been a number of instances where the defense missile failed to launch at all.  This was due to malfunctions.  So 20+ years after Reagan began "Star Wars" (SDI), it is still not very good.

It does appear that North Korea is just feeling blue because the U.S. is paying so much attention to Iran.  Apparently, North Korea doesn't want to be left out in the discussion of which regime is the craziest.  Ok, what they're really after is a handout from the U.S. government.  Bush and his people have already offered a deal to Iran, so North Korea wants similar treatment.

So what we have is a country that is just trying to coerce the United States into giving them knowledge, technology, money, etc.   They are effectively holding a gun to the U.S. government in order to become even more powerful.  Hopefully, the administration won't give them a dime!


Tuesday, June 20, 2006 - 2:30pm

The Difference Between Us and Them

I read a right-wing, political blog the other day that suggested we carpet-bomb the entire Sunni triangle.  At the time, I thought it was a crazy idea, however now I may be moving in that direction. 

Today, the two missing soldiers that the U.S. military were looking for were found dead in Iraq after being severely tortured.  Their bodies were beheaded, mutilated, and booby-trapped.  The bodies were so destroyed that DNA tests had to be done to identify them.  An insurgent group claimed responsibility on a website, claiming that they had been "slaughtered" in accordance with God's will.

   Now if that doesn't give you an idea of what we're fighting, nothing will.  These insurgents are animals.  It's not enough for them to kill their enemy.  They go out of their way to mutilate and desecrate their bodies.  If this were an isolated incident, you might argue that it was just a few 'bad' apples, but that is not nearly the case.  These insurgents have a long pattern of obscene violence that goes well beyond the rules of engagement.  From the videotaped beheading of Nick Berg to the disturbing murder of these two young soldiers, the insurgents have proven that they are monsters and they need to be destroyed.

I will not argue that the U.S. military and the private contractors are always choir boys.  However, anything we do pales in comparison to what these animals do every day.  It is the exception, not the rule, if an illegal act is committed by our troops.  Also, when we find out about alleged atrocities, we investigate them and hold people accountable.  The insurgents are praised when they commit disgusting atrocities.

That is the difference.  Insurgents commit heinous crimes constantly and are greeted as saviors.  The U.S. does everything in its power to make sure these crimes are not committed.

What we are fighting is a barbaric culture that refuses to develop into a civilized society.  Even if we stay for a decade, we will never be able to teach them to respect human life.  That is a fight we will not win.


Monday, June 19, 2006 - 3:00pm

Twenty Years After the Death of Len Bias

On June 17, 1986, the Boston Celtics drafted Len Bias with the 2nd overall pick of the 1986 NBA draft.  Len Bias was arguably the best college basketball player in the country and he was set to become a professional.  The Boston Celtics were a storied franchise and had just won their third championship in the last six years.  Two days later, in the early morning hours of June 19, 1986, Len Bias would die of a cocaine overdose.

   It's hard to put into words just how good Len Bias was, so I've included two video clips that give you a glimpse of his extraordinary ability.  He was so good that Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is noted as stating that the two most impressive college players he had ever seen were Michael Jordan and Len Bias.

Len Bias's death rocked the basketball world and the country as a whole.  Cocaine use was pushed to the forefront of discussion.   The tragedy forced parents to talk about drugs with their children.  What also shocked people was that Bias was not previously a cocaine user.  On the night he died, it was the first time he had ever snorted cocaine.  Bias's death and the fact that he had never used before scared many people into never touching cocaine or any other drug.

Growing up in the Boston area, I was a huge Celtics fan.  I can still remember watching them win the championships in 1981, 84, and 86.  I did not follow college basketball as closely, but was aware that the Celtics had just drafted a great college player.  Even though I was just 12 years old at the time, I remember hearing the news that Bias had overdosed.  At that age, I don't think his death scared me in the same way it would've had I been a few years older, but it did make a difference.  Having never taken a single drug in my life, I wonder if it was always in the back of my mind.  Perhaps his death simply reinforced what I had been taught; that drugs were dangerous and could easily kill you.  That might have been all I needed to stay away from them.

   Cocaine use did decline after the death of Len Bias, but it has since increased.  It has been a full generation since his death and many people have either forgotten his story or were not alive when he died.

The anniversary of his death brings to light the current state of the drug war.  Today, cocaine use is alive and well.  Colombia continues to provide the majority of cocaine and has little trouble getting it into the U.S.  It typically comes into the country over the southern border or through ports in South Florida.  Both of these access points have been huge discussion areas on immigration and port control in recent months.

This is a problem that is fixable.  We know who provides the drug and we know how it gets into the country.  One of the other reasons for a 2,000 mile fence along the southern border is that it could greatly reduce drug trafficking.  With more funds directed toward port and border control, supply could be effectively cut off.

We'll never know how great of a person or basketball player Len Bias could've been.  What we do know is that his death helped a great number of people stay off drugs.  Hopefully, the lesson we learned from his tragic death can be passed on to the next generation.


Saturday, June 17, 2006 - 12:30pm

Republican Attack Machine Continues to Target Veterans

The Republican leadership makes themselves out to be very supportive of the troops and of vets.  They belittle Democrats for being unpatriotic and unsupportive of the military.  Unfortunately, the GOP is only on the side of the military if they keep their mouth shut.  Anyone who dares speak out against the war or against neo-conservatives gets a taste of the Republican attack dogs.

   This despicable campaign targets anyone who stands against them.  It started with John McCain, a decorated veteran and POW who ran for President in 2000.  After McCain won the New Hampshire primary, George Bush, Karl Rove, and their people launched a smear campaign against McCain, accusing him of fathering an illegitimate black baby, questioning his war record, and telling voters he was not sane.  After that vilification, McCain lost the next primary and Bush went on to win the nomination and presidency.

Two years later, the same attack machine went after Max Cleeland, a decorated war veteran who served his country admirably in Vietnam and elsewhere.  As a result of malicious and false personal attacks by the GOP, Cleland lost his Senate seat to the Republican challenger.

In 2004, the machine was back at it again, attacking the war record of John Kerry.  Senator Kerry also served in Vietnam admirably, but that didn't stop the thugs in leadership from attacking his record.  A partisan "Swift Boat" commercial was launched against Kerry, which was wrought with inaccuracies, fabrications, and lies.  The fictional commercial was shown everywhere by the so-called liberal media and Kerry went down in defeat.

   Now the personal attacks are focused on John Murtha, a Democratic Congressman from Pennsylvania.  Murtha dared to speak out against the war, heaven forbid, and is now the recipient of vicious smear tactics by the GOP attack dogs.  Murtha served as a Marine for 37 years.  He also served in Vietnam and received many medals for serving his country.  However, that doesn't matter to those who want to discredit his service.  It started with Jean Schmidt (R-OH), an unknown Congresswoman who has never served her country.  They used her to call Murtha a "cut and run coward" in a speech on the House floor.

Since the Schmidt comment, it has only gotten worse for John Murtha.  Conservative news services have claimed that Murtha didn't deserve his Purple Hearts while in Vietnam and that he lied in order to get the medals at all.  This is the same exact tactic the dogs used against Kerry.

Yesterday, on the House floor, the attack machine used another relatively unknown Congressman to smear John Murtha.  Representative Gohmert (R-TX), who also has never served his country, gave a speech on the House floor in which he said of Murtha, "Thank God he was not here and prevailed after the bloodbaths of Normandy and in the Pacific or we would be here speaking Japanese or German."

It should be noted that Murtha's father and three of his brothers all served during World War II.  Murtha and his family have served admirably throughout American history and the people that attack him personally have never even picked up a gun to stand a post.  Jean Schmidt and Gohmert are just pawns that are being used by Bush, Rove, and Cheney.  The only one of those five to ever serve was Bush, who hid in the National Guard for a few years to avoid going to war.  Cheney received five deferments to ensure he would never serve.

What's disappointing is that voters are buying this crap hook, line, and sinker.  Conservatives, who should be able to think for themselves, now believe that McCain, Cleland, Kerry, and Murtha are just crazy people who never did anything for their country.  Conservatives have bought these fabricated stories of the GOP attack machine and have helped bury men who were brave enough to serve out country and strong enough to speak out against these evil people.


Thursday, June 15, 2006 - 3:49pm

U.S. Death Toll in Iraq Reaches 2,500

Three years and three months after the start of the Iraq war, the U.S. has lost it's 2,500th soldier.  In addition, the U.S. has lost 18,490 soldiers to injury in Iraq.  That bring the total loss of troops to nearly 21,000.  That is an average of 64 American people being killed and 475 people being wounded every single month.  To make matters worse, there seems to be no end in sight.

   President Bush met with the newly formed Iraqi government on Tuesday, but the Iraqi government is irrelevant if the situation on the ground is not made safer.  Yesterday, 50,000 Iraqi troops and 7,000 American troops began a concentrated effort to make the streets safer in Baghdad.  Unfortunately, the Iraqi troops are not trained well enough to function without the Americans and these troops will not be staying in Baghdad after the offensive.

That is the major issue.  There may be 57,000 troops in Baghdad today, but they cannot stay because there are not enough forces to cover the entire country.  When the military squashes an uprising or attacks a town that is an insurgent stronghold, they do not stay to stabilize the area.  They don't stay because there aren't enough of them.  As a result, insurgents simply move from one town to the next and continue to wreak havoc on civilians and American forces.

As for the death toll, I wonder how much is too much.  At current troop strength, this war is not winnable or losable.  By that I mean that the current level of forces is enough so that the U.S. won't lose, but not nearly enough for them to secure the country and win.

I'm afraid the next three years and three months will result in another 2,500 deaths and 18,490 injuries if the overall strategy is not completely changed.  There has been zero progress in terms of safety since this war started.  In fact, it has gotten progressively worse.  The U.S. may kill leaders of the insurgency, but they will simply replace him with some other murderer.

The real answer is what no politician wants to discuss:  more troops.  An insurgent will not commit a crime if there are American soldiers on every street and tanks on every block.  You simply flood the entire country with soldiers until such time as the Iraqi military and police are fully trained.  It will probably take between 300,000 - 500,000 troops to secure the country, but it will prevent another 2,500 from dying.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006 - 4:45pm

A Bad Day For Liberals

Today has not been a good day for the liberals in this country.  Karl Rove was told today that he wouldn't be indicted, George Bush flew to Baghdad to meet with the new Iraqi leader, and Patrick Kennedy agreed to plead guilty to a DUI.  Rove not being indicted is a huge disappointment, but I did think it was a good move for Bush to fly to Iraq.  As for Kennedy, that sniveling, little drunk should resign his seat and go directly to jail.

   On Karl Rove, I am very disappointed that he will not be indicted for his part in the Valerie Plame affair.  Rove has been getting away with a variety of crimes for decades now, but has been slick enough to never get charged.

For all the secrecy of the Bush trip, at 10:00am EST the media was reporting exactly how long George Bush would stay in Baghdad and that he had to take a dangerous 6 minute helicopter ride from the Baghdad International Airport to the fortified Green Zone.  The media reported this before Bush left, which put him at greater risk for his return trip to the airport.  Idiots.

As for the trip itself, Bush needed to do this if only to show support for the troops and the new government.  Even if it was just an elaborate photo-op, it was necessary.  I was surprised Bush hadn't been there since November, 2003 though.  The larger problem is that the situation on the ground has not changed.  The strategy has not changed.  The insurgency is still as large as ever and soldiers and civilians are dying every day.  I have yet to hear a clear strategy from either side to solve this war.

   Patrick Kennedy plead guilty to a DUI, but not for alcohol.  He still maintains the BS story that he was under the influence of Ambien and back medication.  He will serve no jail time, which is a tragedy.  He has already committed a number of crimes as an adult and would be in jail already if not for his last name.

Unfortunately, the Democrats are so completely incompetent that they will not push for Kennedy to resign his seat.  That will hurt them in November.

Bush will probably get a decent bump off his rock-bottom approval ratings, but it will be short-lived.  The reality in Iraq will be what drives this rating.  His approval should crawl up to the low 40's, but he will eventually slide back down to the 33% - 35% range.


Monday, June 12, 2006 - 4:30pm

Ben Roethlisberger Seriously Injured in Motorcycle Accident

The Pittsburgh Steelers' quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident late this morning in downtown Pittsburgh.  He was not wearing a helmet and crashed into a car at an intersection.  He flew over the handlebars of his bike and hit his head on the windshield of the car.  Current reports are that Ben Roethlisberger is in serious, but stable condition and that he is undergoing surgery.  He is said to have damaged both knees, broke his jaw, fractured his left sinus cavity bone, and lost some teeth.  Roethlisberger also has a very large gash in his head.  A plastic surgeon has already been brought in to assist.

   From a political perspective, this brings to light the 2003 repeal of the motorcycle helmet law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  At the time, lawmakers had decided that they would let bikers have more freedom.  Personally, I don't know what they were thinking.  I'm all for personal freedom, but repealing that law does not make much sense.

Now one of the most well known people in all of Pennsylvania is severely injured as a result of not wearing a helmet.  Ben Roethlisberger is already a legend in western Pennsylvania for helping to bring a Super Bowl to Pittsburgh in just his second professional season.  This is Ben's fault, of course, but I wonder if this law will be re-examined now that their golden child has suffered these extensive injuries.

Hopefully, the government in Pennsylvania and in other states that do not have helmet laws will take another look at this issue.  It can only help and protect their citizens.


Monday, June 12, 2006 - 5:00am

YearlyKos Demonstrates the Power of the Blogosphere

The first annual YearlyKos Convention took place in Las Vegas over the last three days and by all accounts, it was a raging success.  YearlyKos is the brainchild of Markos Moulitsas Zuniga of DailyKos.com.  Markos is considered the foremost liberal blogger in the country and has used his power and influence to bring liberal bloggers together for a convention.  Democratic politicians came from near and far to attend this event and to schmooze with 1,000 of the country's top bloggers.

   This convention in Vegas has basically served as a coming out party for bloggers.  It has put them on the political landscape.  It is now clear that politicians will need to cater not only to mainstream journalists, but also to top-tier blogs, who command an audience of millions.  Bloggers also have the ability to raise significant amounts of money for political campaigns and may be able to influence the 2006 elections.

Take the State of Connecticut for example.  Liberal bloggers do not like Senator Joe Lieberman (D) because he does not fall in line with party leadership.  Markos and others are backing Ned Lamont, a Democratic challenger in the primary.  It is unheard of to challenge an incumbent within his own party, but the bloggers are undeterred.  With a primary date of August 8th, it will be interesting to see if the blogosphere can knock off an incumbent Senator in his own primary.  If they pull it off, it will be a remarkable feat.

The real eye-opening story of the convention to me is how important politicians think it is.  With the exception of Hillary Clinton (who isn't liked by liberal bloggers), any Democrat who wants to be President in 2008 was in attendance.  From Governor Mark Warner of Virginia to General Wesley Clark, many were there getting some face time.  Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico even changed his plans at the last minute to attend the festivities.

The key tests in 2006 for the power of the blogs will be whether they can get Ned Lamont nominated in Connecticut and if they can derail Hillary Clinton as the frontrunner for the 2008 presidency.  Hillary is the early leader for the Democratic nomination, but bloggers really can't stand her and they support other candidates.

Either way, the blogs are here to stay and they are becoming the new form of media in this country.  They are influencing political elections and the politicians themselves.  Their power will continue to grow.


Friday, June 9, 2006 - 4:15pm

The Idiocy of the Congressional Black Caucus

The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) has recently decided to put their credibility, or lack thereof, behind Congressman William Jefferson (D) of Louisiana.  Jefferson, if you recall, is the guy who was caught with $90,000 in cash in his freezer.  He was videotaped taking a bribe of $100,000 from an FBI agent.  The leadership of the Democratic Party is trying to get him to resign from his committee membership, but the Congressional Black Caucus has decided to stand up for this crook for no other reason than the color of his skin.

Now I understand that the CBC exists to represent African-American members of Congress, but they are truly picking the wrong battle.  The Chairman of the CBC, Representative Melvin Watt of North Carolina has come out with some ridiculous comments about the situation and is making the CBC look foolish.  He believes that the whole story will "blow up" in the face of party leaders who are calling for Jefferson to resign from his committee seat.  He can't possibly be serious.

Melvin Watt seems to think that this is about how the Democratic Party takes the black vote for granted.  He asserts that this is about black versus white.  He couldn't be more wrong.  This case is about a corrupt and crooked Congressman from Louisiana named William Jefferson.  It's about the Democratic Party attempting to clean up their own house before they battle Republicans.  That's it.  It has nothing to do with the color of William Jefferson's skin.  If a white Congressman was videotaped taking a $100,000 bribe and an election were coming up, the Democrats would want him to step aside as well.

The Democrats aren't even asking Jefferson to resign, as he should immediately.  They simply want him step down from his seat on the House Ways and Means Committee.  That is a very minor request and the very least he should do.

What the Congressional Black Caucus fails to realize is that not everything in this country is about race.  There is a lot of racism in this country, but it doesn't apply in every single solitary situation.  They seem to think you can just play the race card every time a prominent black person gets in trouble with the law.  You can't.  It will destroy their credibility and will turn people off.  Unfortunately, down the road when one of the CBC's members really is being railroaded, nobody will listen to them because they are screwing this one up big time.


Wednesday, June 7, 2006 - 6:30pm

I Have Seen Satan and Her Name is Ann Coulter

Ann Coulter, aka Satan, was on NBC's "Today" show on Tuesday.  When asked about the widows of the 9/11 tragedy, Ann Coulter stated "I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much."  She also claimed that "These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities..."  Coulter also calls the 9/11 widows the "Witches of East Brunswick."  Those insane comments from Ann Coulter reflect how evil she really is.  If  you don't believe me, let me just take you through some other things Ann Coulter has had to say.

   Coulter has commented on the women whose husbands were killed on 9/11 in the past.  She stated "How do we know their husbands weren't planning to divorce these harpies?  Now that their shelf life is dwindling, they'd better hurry up and appear in Playboy."

Ann Coulter has also claimed that women are "not as bright" as men, that they "shouldn't be in the military", and that they "have no capacity to understand how money is earned."  She also believes that women should not have the right to vote.

When it comes to radical religious cults, Coulter seems to be on their side.  She stated that the Branch Dividians in Waco, Texas were "harmless American citizens" and that Ruby Ridge was an "unprovoked government assault".  She also wanted Timothy McVeigh to go to The New York Times building and blow it up instead of bombing the federal building in Oklahoma City.

 The amusing part is that Ann Coulter was born in the liberal Northeast, went to college in New York, and is educated as an attorney.  Apparently, none of that helped her narrow-minded beliefs.

It is sad that people actually buy Satan's book and agree with her rants.  Coulter is laughing all the way to the bank, as she just bought a posh, $1.8 million home in Palm Beach, Florida.  She'd like to thank all the suckers who helped pay for it.


Wednesday, June 7, 2006 - 8:07am EST

California 50: Brian Bilbray Narrowly Wins

Brian Bilbray (R):  49.5%

Francine Busby (D):  45.3%

   96% reporting (481 of 500 precincts)


Tuesday, June 6, 2006 - 6:45pm EST

A Close Race in a Republican Stronghold

A special election is taking place today to replace the seat vacated by Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R), who is currently serving a long jail sentence.  This is an important race for the nation, as it will give an indication of how much trouble the Republicans are really in come November.  This particular seat is in a district just north of San Diego that is very Republican. 

   George Bush took 55% of the vote in this district in his last run for President in 2004.  He also did not spend very much money in California, so that percentage could've been even higher.  In terms of registered voters, the breakdown is 44% Republicans and 29% Democrats.  So this is a seat that should go easily in the GOP's column.  The issue is that the race is in a virtual dead-heat.  The Democratic candidate, Francine Busby, is polling almost even with the Republican candidate, Brian Bilbray.

Both parties have spent a lot of money in the race in order to get a sense of how the November elections will play out.  The Republican should still be able to win this seat tonight, but the fact that it is even close should make Republicans fearful of losing both the House and Senate.  If the race is anywhere within 5%, it will be a moral victory for the Democrats. 

It will be a victory because it will put a lot more seats in play that were not previously thought to be competitive.  In the House, there are now about 50 races that are close.  The Democrats need only 15 of those seats and many of those districts are more heavily Democratic than the election taking place today.

I will be updating the site with election results as they are known from California.  On the off chance that Busby actually wins, the perception is that it will significantly change the landscape for the mid-term elections.


Tuesday, June 6, 2006

How Many Bigots Are There in the Senate?

Rather than focus on real issues like the war in Iraq or the escalating budget deficit, the Republican Senate has decided to focus on writing discrimination into the Constitution.  The Republicans have seen their base of support erode for months now, so they are banking on the issue of gay marriage to help them shore up the base.

   You see, voters are stupid.  Every election, the GOP brings up gay marriage and flag burning in order to garner support from their base.  These issues have no hope of passing, mind you, but the GOP likes to talk about them and ignore more important topics.  Why you may ask?  Well, because the neocon vote is very easily swayed and gets all fired up when the talk is about gay people having equal rights.  The sad part is that it works.

What the nutjobs on the right fail to understand is that the Republicans are very good at winning elections, but are very bad at governing.  The war in Iraq is a disaster, the war in Afghanistan is getting worse, the government is spending a record amount of money, and immigration has still not been fully addressed.  If I didn't know any better, I'd say this administration was filled with Democrats.  They have no fiscal responsibility, they can't manage a war, and they don't want to deal with illegals.  Sounds like Democrats to me.

Oh, so back to the bigot thing.  It appears that there are about 52 bigots in the Senate.  That is the estimated number of people who will vote to amend the Constitution to make sure that gay people never get married.  This reminds me of the part in the Constitution that says that black people should only be counted as 3/5 of a person in the population.  Discrimination is discrimination is discrimination.


Monday, June 5, 2006

One Year After "The Last Throes of the Insurgency"

It has been one year since Vice President Dick Cheney claimed that the insurgency in Iraq was in the "last throes."  It's hard to believe it has been a full year since those ridiculous comments from the second in command.  In Cheney's view, the Iraq war should now be over.  Unfortunately for all of us, the disillusioned man has been proven to be wrong....again.

   So let us take a look back at what has happened in Iraq since Cheney's comments.  In the last year, Iraq has dissolved into a civil war.  The media likes to refer to it as 'sectarian violence', but in reality, it is the first stage of an all-out civil war between the Sunni and the Shia.  Even the interim prime Minister of Iraq, Iyad Allawi has called it a civil war

In the last year, insurgents have stepped up their daily attacks from 70 to 75.  They have attacked U.S. forces, Iraqi police, Iraqi military forces, journalists, and have murdered a countless number of civilians.

In the last year, hundreds of American soldiers have lost their lives as a result of the insurgency.  The death toll of American forces as of May 30th was 2,452.  In the last year, insurgents have also severely wounded thousands of U.S. troops.  As of May 30th, there were 18,088 troops wounded in Iraq.  That is an average of over 6,000 per year.  That brings the total number of U.S. forces wounded or killed in Iraq to 20,540.  With 132,000 troops still in Iraq, that is about 1 out of every 7 soldiers.

I'd say that the insurgency is nowhere near the 'last throes' a year later and that it is, in fact, getting stronger.  Unfortunately, the Vice President and his boss continue to deny this and as such, are not effective.  If you're in denial about what is going on, then you're not going to be able to fix the problem.  The administration and the hard-right are still blaming the 'liberal' media for everything that goes wrong in Iraq.  Heaven forbid they stop casting blame and help get us out of this mess that is costing American lives.


Saturday, June 3, 2006

The Horror of the War in Iraq

The painful story that is Haditha has fueled animosity around the world and within the borders of the United States.  Political pundits on the left have disparaged American troops as a whole, while bloggers on the right blame the media for reporting the story.  The left points to the atrocities as reason not to be in Iraq; the right refuses to acknowledge that these atrocities even exist.

   Neither side is entirely correct in this argument.  Whether the Haditha story is true or not, we must come to grips with the fact that civilians do get murdered during wars and it is not always the enemy that is committing these crimes.  The media needs to cover these atrocities so that they do not continue to occur.  The media will, of course, sensationalize the story to no end, but that is what they do with every story they get.

This war in Iraq gives people up close and personal coverage of a real war in real time.  Reporters throughout the world are embedded with troops or out on their own covering the violence.  It brings the war into our living rooms. They say that Vietnam was the first war we could watch on television, but back then, there were only three major networks, limited international coverage, and no cable news.

What we're seeing now is the horror of war.  It's painful to say, but there have been many, many rumors of American troops randomly killing Iraqi civilians in the last three years.  To be fair, most of these stories could not be corroborated.  However, with the allegations of murder in Haditha and of other incidents, the spotlight is now on the conduct of the U.S. armed forces.

Like I stated in a previous post, the vast majority of American soldiers are great people.  However, they have been put in a position to fail in Iraq.  They have never had enough support on the ground in Iraq and have been forced to be more aggressive in order to stay alive.  For some, that aggression has led down the wrong path, a path to unprovoked killings.

If these allegations are true, America will no longer be able to stand on the high moral ground in the world.  There is already an enormous amount of anti-Americanism in the world today.  These tragedies will only further erode world opinion of this country.


Thursday, June 1, 2006

The Tragedy in Haditha

One of the reasons you do everything in the world to avoid going to war is so that you don't end up with incidents like what happened in Haditha, Iraq on November 19, 2006.  In Haditha, United States Marines lost one of their members to an IED (improvised explosive device) and proceeded to execute two dozen civilians.  Some of these civilians were women and children.  They were unarmed and were murdered at close range.

   Unfortunately, atrocities such as these happen in war.  You will never get 100% of your armed forces to obey the law and obey the rules of engagement.  Beyond that, soldiers are typically under intense pressure and put their lives at risk on a daily basis.  They could die at any moment and they often see their friends die right in front of them.  That is a lot to take for any person, let alone a teenager or someone in their 20's. 

This is not an excuse to execute civilians in cold blood, but it does give us a glimpse into how atrocities can occur in a war.  When left to their own devices, people will take the law into their own hands.  They will eliminate any threat to their own life, whether it is a real threat or perceived.

This tragedy illustrates how much respect we all should have for going to war.  It is not something that is to be taken lightly, as it has been in the past.  The "Bring It On" mentality of going into battle is not helpful to anyone.  Furthermore, covering up incidents like these also does not help.  We live in a democracy, where people are held accountable for their actions.

I don't condone the action of these Marines.  The soldiers who executed these civilians should be brought up on murder charges.  If they are found to be guilty, they should go to prison.  However, it is important to remember that they are not a reflection on the entire Marine Corps or the United States military.  99% of American soldiers are good, hard-working, decent people.  Let us not lose sight of that while we pursue the truth in this tragedy in Haditha.


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