Political Critic Archives - March 2006

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                       March 2006

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Friday, March 31, 2006

Is the U.S. Building Permanent Bases in Iraq?

I'm not sure anyone has noticed this or not, but the Pentagon has asked for hundreds of millions of dollars to build enormous military bases in Iraq.  The level of funds the U.S. is spending implies that they are building permanent bases, not temporary ones.  The U.S. military confirmed that they will be upgrading a number of airbases in Iraq. 

Soldier plays snooker at Al-Asad air base

To give you an idea of just how big of a base we're talking about here, look no further than the number of people it will house.  Up to 25,000 people can be stationed at the Balad base, just north of Baghdad.  That is larger than most towns.  It is more than 12 square miles in all!  It is so large that over $225 million was spent on it last year.

These bases have everything in them that you would find in a small American town.  They have pizza restaurants, coffee shops, movie theaters, and American chain stores.  They have pool halls, paved roads, dance clubs, and so much more.  You can see from the picture above that it looks like any other pool hall.  It's just in the middle of a war zone.

The point is that these bases are in Iraq to stay.  These are not temporary quarters.  The U.S. has constructed American towns in the deserts of Iraq and spent American taxpayer dollars to do it.  For anyone who thinks we are leaving anytime soon, you may want to think again.

The military people on the base expect it to remain in U.S. control for at least a decade.  That would put us in 2016.  That is a very scary thought.  How long could it possibly take to train the Iraqi military and then get out?  We keep hearing about all these Iraqi battalions that are trained.  Sure it takes time, but another ten years? 

Now Bush and Rumsfeld claim that those bases are not permanent, but we all know how honest and trustworthy those two guys are.  They can talk and talk and talk, but nobody outside of the Christian Coalition is going to believe them.  You have to ignore what they say and look at the facts.  The U.S. is pouring more money into those bases than they would ever think about spending to enforce their own borders. 

The military is never leaving Iraq and the U.S. government is simply trying to extend their tentacles further into the Middle East.  It's called Imperialism.  The American government continues to think that it's ok to occupy and control any country they wish.


Thursday, March 30, 2006

First Control the Border

Ok, I will concede that it will be nearly impossible to kick out 11 million illegal aliens immediately.  However, it is possible to control the southern border and prevent more Mexican citizens from crossing over.  That should be the current focus.

We can debate afterward about how and what to do with the current illegal immigrants who reside in this country and steal jobs away from Americans.  But until the actual border is controlled, what we do with current illegals is a moot point.

Controlling the border is not as difficult as people make it out to be.  If a wall is built along the entire southern border of this country, it will help tremendously.  Border patrol agents would have a much easier time spotting illegals trying to scale the wall.  It would eliminate the illegals that simply walk across the border into the country.

That is not the entire solution though.  Many illegals enter this country right through the border security checkpoints.  They hide in trunks of cars and hope that border agents don't check their car.  There are not enough agents and enough checkpoints to inspect every car that comes across. 

There needs to be greater funding for border patrol to inspect ALL cars that attempt to enter the country from Mexico.  In the U.S. ports, only 5% of cargo is inspected before it enters the country.  On the Mexican border, the percentage is not much higher.  So if you are a Mexican citizen and want to come to America, all you have to do is hide in a car and hope that it doesn't get checked.  Chances are that it won't, and if it does, you simply try again the next day and the next day and the next day.

So two things need to happen.  A wall needs to be constructed over the entire border, and more funding needs to go to border agents so that they can inspect each car that comes across.  These agents also need to monitor the wall to make sure people aren't climbing over.

This can be done.  It is actually not that difficult.  The question is whether or not lawmakers truly want illegal immigration to stop.  Up until now, the answer has been a resounding 'No'.  Make no mistake, illegal immigration continues because the government allows it to happen.  Let us hope that this time, a law is passed that starts to solve the problem.


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Is There a Wider Shakeup in the White House?

Washington insiders have been talking for weeks about a staff shakeup in the White House.  Congress has been pressuring Bush to make some changes and it appears that Bush has capitulated (again) to Republican leaders.  This time, he fired Andy Card.  Ok, he wasn't technically fired, but he may as well be.

There may be some more firings in the coming weeks to appease the Republican base, but it will be a useless exercise.  The people that should be fired will likely still be there when the dust settles.  If Bush fires Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld, that would be a shakeup.  Those are the top three men who need to be let go, but it won't happen.

Instead we get Andy Card offered up as the sacrificial lamb.  Nothing will change, mind you, as his replacement is not much different.  Congress wants new blood, but Bush is not really giving them any.

In addition to those above, you can also get rid of Condoleezza Rice and Michael Chertoff.  Those two are nearly as bad as Rove, Cheney, and Rumsfeld.  Together, they form one of the most incompetent governments in American history.

You have to remember that the moderate voices are gone.  All that are left are the far-right lunatics.  In the first Bush term, you had moderate Republicans like Colin Powell.  People like him are gone now, forced out by ideologues of the administration.  So when Bush fires one nutjob, he is simply replacing him with another crazy that has the same mindset.

The interesting dynamic in this is that Bush is completely pandering to Congressional Republicans.  It just goes to show you that if your approval rating goes low enough, even your own party will turn against you.  I would love to see what happens if Bush's approval goes under 30% into Nixon territory.  Republicans will be running away from him so fast that you will think they are Democrats.


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Big Business Preventing Immigration Law

It seems that the left and the right are generally in agreement on the issue of illegal immigration.  They disagree on how to handle it exactly, but both sides acknowledge that it is a problem and it needs to be addressed.  Why then does there seem to be so much resistance?  The country is not that divided.  Well, it's all about the corporations.  The people running big corporations want illegal immigrants to stay.  Why?  Because they are cheap.  American companies do not want to pay for American workers.

These big businesses have an enormous amount of power and money.  With that power and money, they have been lobbying Congress for years to not do anything about the millions of illegals that invade our country every year.  Politicians, of course, do whatever these companies want because they have no morals and no ethics.  They become fearful that if they don't do what the businesses want, they will be deemed the enemy and voted out of office.

These politicians don't want to be voted out of office because they crave the money and power every bit as much as the rich executives who run these companies.  So they do what the big money tells them to.  In the end, these politicians are just puppets for whoever has the biggest bankroll.

All this leads back to illegal immigration.  Everyone knows it is a huge problem, but there are too many people making too much money to change the system.  If illegal immigrants are sent back to their country, businesses would be forced to hire Americans and pay them a fair wage.

So part of the solution is for these politicians to get some cajones and go after these companies.  They must make companies accountable for who they hire.  All companies should verify that their employees are documented workers.  In the current bill that is before the Senate, this would be required.  Whether it is ever enforced or not is another story.

The current bill has passed the House and is up for vote in the Senate.  It needs to pass and it needs to be enforced.  Now is a pivotal time in American history in regard to this subject.  The United States is being overwhelmed by Mexican citizens and it cannot handle the continuous onslaught.  Ten or twenty years ago, it may not have mattered as much.  At that time, illegal immigration was a problem, but not nearly to the extent it is today. 

With illegals flowing into the U.S. year after year after year, the negative effects are beginning to show.  Wages are lower than they would be otherwise, not every "American" can find work, and crime is extraordinarily high in border states.


Monday, March 27, 2006

How Much Worse is Iraq Three Years Later?

The Republicans want to talk about all the good things that are happening in Iraq.  Frankly, I don't believe they have been paying attention one bit.  In the three years since the invasion, Iraq has less clean water, has electricity for less than six hours per day, and has virtually no sewage control.  There are dozens of kidnappings every day.  Over 30 people are being killed each day by what is described as sectarian violence.

To make matters worse, Iraq is producing less oil than they were before the attack.  Unemployment is over 50%, the U.S. has virtually stopped rebuilding projects, and infants are dying at an increasing rate.  Three years later, Iraq is far worse under U.S. control than it was under Saddam.

The people of Iraq know this.  That is why they are angry.  They are angry because they are shot at by U.S. patrols on a daily basis because they get too close to their vehicles.  American soldiers are so fearful of being killed by insurgents, that they often shoot and kill civilians who have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time.  American soldiers shout instructions to Iraqis in English and they are often misunderstood.  As a result, many innocent people die unnecessarily.

The skilled workers of Iraq have either left, been killed, or have been kidnapped.  Insurgents target the people with high-paying jobs, so that they can get a higher ransom.  Doctors, lawyers, teachers, and affluent businessman have left the country in droves.  Over 200 college professors and 300 schoolteachers have been murdered.

What is left in Iraq is unskilled workers, people too poor to leave, and insurgents.  With over 30 people being killed every day, it's a wonder how anyone will be able to survive.  Iraqi citizens are afraid to walk out of their house for fear of being killed by Americans or insurgents.

The right wants to talk about the good going on in Iraq so that their leader's poll numbers don't go down any further.  First, you have to acknowledge the bad and attempt to fix it.  I'd love to be optimistic, but there is no positive news in sight.  If Iraq is not seen for what it currently is, a country in disarray, then how is it ever going to be corrected?


Sunday, March 26, 2006

Los Angeles Rallies For Criminals

I have now seen it all.  Yesterday, we had rallies in Los Angeles to support people breaking the law.  A Republican measure to make the act of entering the country illegally a federal crime was met with 200,000 protesters in the city of Los Angeles.  The bill would simply do what should have been done a long, long, long time ago.  If you enter this country illegally, you have committed a felony and should be punished.  The protesters, who were mostly Hispanic, simply want the government to overlook the fact that illegals are breaking the law.

What the Republicans are doing is a good thing.  Do not get sucked up into the crying, moaning, and whining of people in L.A. who are looking for a handout.  Even the people who are outspoken on the side of the illegals contradict themselves in their own statements.  Eduardo Sotelo Piotin, a disc jockey in Los Angeles, readily admits he snuck into the country in the trunk of a car.  He is a criminal.  Just think about it.  If you have to hide in the trunk of a car for anything, chances are that you are not doing something good.

Piotin wanted a better life, he claims.  However, he did not follow the proper channels to enter this country legally.  That is the key element after all.  The United States is not against legal immigration; it is simply against illegal immigration.  There is a big difference and one that many people seem to want to ignore.

Right now, I'd imagine that the allowable number of legal immigrants into this country is very low, because so many are taking the illegal route and sneaking into the country.  If the U.S. government actually had some discernable policy on immigration and cracked down on the massive flow of people into this country, they would be able to increase the number of legal immigrations per year.

But people like Piotin don't care about following the rule of law.  They see illegal immigration as their right.  That is why they protest.  They remind me of the people who protested welfare reform a few years back.  They believed that the U.S. government has a requirement to provide for their well being.  That is not the case.

Bush makes the argument that illegal aliens take jobs that "Americans" don't want to do.  That is simply not true.  The unemployment rate in this country is 4.8%.  Although that figure is low, it still means that about 1 out of 20 workers in America is out of work.  If there were tougher enforcement of the borders and of illegal immigrants, that number would surely decline.

What people are missing is that legal immigration can work very effectively, but only if illegal immigration is halted.  It is completely unfair to the people who want to emigrate to this country, only to be declined because too many people from Mexico are coming to the United States.

The United States is a very diverse country.  It became diverse through legal immigration.  Legal immigration allows the government to let people in from all different countries, backgrounds, and ethnicities.  What is happening now is the opposite.  Residents of Mexico are virtually the only people emigrating to America.  If this isn't stopped, America no longer be a diverse nation.  It will be a country filled with former Mexican citizens.


Friday, March 24, 2006

Department of Homeland Security More Trouble Than it's Worth

Michael Chertoff, another one of the incompetent administration officials, declared yesterday that American ports would have been safer had they been under Arab control.  No, I'm not making this up.  The Head of Homeland Security apparently wants to outsource a vital entry point into the United States.  He made the argument that the economy would be adversely affected and that security would not.

That is a huge leap to suggest the largest economy in the world would be hurt because we limit the number of companies that are allowed to buy ports.  There may not be enough U.S. companies willing to take over port terminals, but there are many other allies who can do it.  If the economy can survive a major American city being destroyed by a hurricane, I'm quite certain it can survive a transfer of port ownership.

So what does Michael Chertoff and the Department of Homeland Security actually do other than spread political rhetoric?  That's a good question and one I'd like to know.  For the most part, it just seems to get in the way.  It is simply another layer of the federal bureaucracy. 

Ever since the department was created as a knee-jerk reaction to 9/11, it has been nothing but trouble.  Take for example the color-coded threat level.  It actually reminds me of War Games with Mathew Broderick where they keep increasing the code level.  In the movie, they increase the level after there is significant concern of a nuclear attack.

However, in reality, they don't increase the threat level when there is a significant concern of an attack.  The threat level is always one of the top three.  Has the threat level ever been "Low" or "Guarded" in the 4+ years it has existed?  No, of course not.  This renders the whole system basically useless.  On their website, they claim that we are now in an "Elevated" national threat level.  It states that their is an significant risk of terrorist attacks.  The threat level has been at "Elevated" for over 7 months.  If there was a "significant risk of an attack", wouldn't it have occurred already?

So besides using a ridiculous color-coded terror alert system, what does this money pit of an organization do?  Well, in addition to assuming responsibility of emergency response people during a terrorist attack, the department claims that they also take that responsibility during a natural disaster.  Their first big test was with the Katrina Hurricane.  We all know what happened there.  Nothing.

All in all, the Department of Homeland Security is useless.  They are a fluffy organization designed to slow down the real process of response, recovery, and disaster assistance.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Iraq War Veterans Will Dominate 2006 Elections

Leave it to politicians to exploit the military to further their own cause.  Democrats and Republicans alike have recruited Iraq war veterans to run in Congressional races in 2006.  Democrats have used this strategy more, but there are Republican vets that are running as well.  One of the most well-known candidates thus far is Tammy Duckworth, a former member of the Army National Guard who lost both her legs when an RPG hit the helicopter she was piloting.

For better or worse, both political parties have figured out that the public will vote for veterans of the Iraq war.  This has been the case throughout American history and this war is no different.  Someone who has been over to Iraq and fought in the war seems to have more credibility than an opponent who has not.  There are currently nine Iraq war veterans that are running for Congress in the mid-term elections.  Eight are Democrats.

I have to admit that having a veteran as a politician is probably a good thing, everything else being equal.  A person who has been to war would presumably know how horrible it is and would do everything possible in their political life to avoid going.  This does not always hold true, but it has seemed to help.  Just think if GWB had gone to Vietnam and experienced first-hand the horror that existed.  You would have to believe that George would have thought long and hard before committing troops to another battle.

That is why you heard such hesitation from Colin Powell before the war started three years ago.  Having seen what war was like, he was the last person to get on board with the administration.

The credibility gap sets these veterans apart from all other candidates in regard to the war.  When Tammy Duckworth tells an audience that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake and that the administration has mismanaged the war, people listen to her.  They listen because she had been to Iraq and fought.  They see the reality of it anytime they look at her and realize that she lost both of her legs in battle.  A candidate on the other side of the aisle will not be able to speak about Iraq like she can.

That alone gives Duckworth and other Iraq vets a huge advantage in the coming elections.  Duckworth still faces an uphill fight, as she is running in a heavily Republican district in Illinois.  Still, she has a legitimate chance.  If any Democrat can win in a heavily Republican area, it would be a war veteran.  It garners instant respect and admiration.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Administration Blames Media for Problems in Iraq

When all else fails, blame the media for your problems.  The lunatics on the right (see Limbaugh, Rush and Ingraham, Laura) hit the airwaves today to complain that the press does not report the positive stories on Iraq.  Are you kidding me?!?!?!?  How dumb are these people?  I can't believe NBC gave airtime to Laura Ingraham of all people.  The woman is nuts.  She seems to think that reporters are all covering the news from their hotel rooms and not going out.  I guess she forgot about all those reporters who have been killed or captured in the last three years.

BRussells Tribunal critical of joint US-EU conference on Iraq (Brussels, 21/6)The fact is that the media always report negative stories and it has nothing to do with Iraq.  The media has always done this.  Just go sit down and watch your local news.  The nightly news isn't warm and fuzzy.  It's about death, accidents, and tragedy.

In addition, there just are no positive stories to come out of Iraq!  It's a civil war!  It ain't pretty!  This is simply the extreme right's last ditch strategy to explain away the dropping poll numbers of their incompetent leader and the downward spiral that is Iraq.  That is what scares the loons after all; poll numbers.  When the poll numbers drop far enough, their people will be replaced.

You know, just because you're Republican does not mean that you're not allowed to see reality of war and criticize the strategy.  There are horrible things going on in Iraq and the sooner we all start to admit it, the sooner we can resolve them.  These people on the far right that continuously defend the Iraq strategy and this president just sound so insane that they lose all credibility.  Case in point is Bush's speech today, where he claimed that Iraq was NOT in a civil war.  Perhaps he missed the part where Iraqi authorities are discovering over 30 dead bodies every single day.  He also ignored the statement from the Iraqi Prime Minister, who confirmed that Iraq was already in a civil war.

George Bush also believes that American troops will be in Iraq long after his presidency ends in January 2009.  So there you have it.  There is no way that U.S. forces will withdraw while Bush is in office.  If that isn't reason enough to get rid of him, I don't know what is.

I would hate to see how far Iraq has devolved in three years if George Bush is still running the show.  In three years, he has destroyed the country, created a haven for terrorists, and sparked a civil war that is resulting in enormous bloodshed.


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Democrats Face Uphill Battle To Win Back Congress

While it's true that the GOP is doing everything they can to lose the 2006 mid-term elections, the Democrats are not fully prepared to take advantage of that.  Due to redistricting lines and poor planning, the Democrats will have to win a vast majority of the competitive races in November to take control of the House and Senate.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

In the 435 seat House of Representatives, there are less than 10% of the seats that are considered "in play".  The remaining 90%+ seats are virtual locks to one party or another.  You can thank Tom Delay and others for that.  When redistricting lines were drawn, they were purposely designed to favor the incumbents.

The Democrats would need to pick up 15 seats or about 75% of the competitive races for them to regain the majority in the House.  That is a daunting task   The current polling is heavily in favor of the Democratic party, so it is possible, but the elections are a good eight months away and much could change.

In the Senate, there are even fewer seats that are up for grabs.  The Democrats need to take six seats to regain control of the Senate, and although their prospects are looking up, they have a long way to go.  They will be able to challenge GOP seats in Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, but not much else.  The Democrats would need to win all of them to take back the Senate.

Part of the problem is that the Democrats are ill-prepared for battle.  The Republicans are imploding, but the Dems have not done enough ground work to put viable candidates in place to challenge the GOP.  This work should have started over a year ago to recruit competent men and women in different districts across the country to challenge Republicans.  Unfortunately, that hasn't occurred to a large extent.

I argue that the Democrats need to take control of both the House and the Senate simply to keep the other party in check.  In this country, when one party controls the White House and both sections of Congress, it is extremely difficult to police them.  That is the case today.  Without checks and balances, each political party would run amok.

It is entirely possible that the Democrats can win 100% of the competitive Senate races and 75% of the House races.  However, the Republicans have a very good ground game and they will not be easy to beat.


Saturday, March 18, 2006

Today Marks Third Anniversary of Iraq Invasion

Three years ago today, President George Bush decided to invade the sovereign nation of Iraq.  Three years later, he has accomplished nothing, yet is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.  Anti-war demonstrators have gathered in dozens and dozens of countries to demand a withdrawal of American and coalition troops.

In Sydney, Australia, thousands marched through the center of the city.  In Tokyo, Japan, thousands more rallied to demand an end to the occupation.  In London, England, 100,000 people were expected to come out and march to Trafalgar Square.  Other countries from Sweden to Turkey to Pakistan to America are coming out to express their outrage.

Across the world, President George Bush is being called the biggest terrorist on Earth.  The world outside the United States refers to the superpower as murderers.  Outright hostility and anger has come together and it is all against the U.S.

In three years, this is what the Bush administration has accomplished.  Their incompetence, arrogance, and illegal actions have turned the entire world against the United States.  Three years ago, the world was sympathetic to the U.S.  After 9/11, an outpouring of support came from every corner of the globe.  Now, if another 9/11 were to occur, I'm afraid the world would not have any empathy for our nation.

It remains to be seen how much the mainstream media will cover this monumental event.  In the past, they have largely ignored the protest rallies.  Now that Iraq has deteriorated even further, perhaps they will pay attention.  I'm not holding my breath though.

In Iraq, authorities are now finding 30 bodies a day.  People are being killed left and right and the United States military can't do anything about it.  Civil War has erupted and the U.S. is now caught in the middle. 

I will again reiterate the need for the U.S. to withdraw.  Bush was never willing to put 500,000 troops on the ground to secure the region.  From the beginning, he has made a half-hearted effort to stabilize the country.  When generals on the ground asked him for more troops, Bush fired them.  Since then, no general will publicly say it for fear of receiving the same punishment.  When anyone suggested Bush needed more troops, he sent his attack dogs out to destroy their credibility.


Friday, March 17, 2006

Pre-Emptive Policy Makes Bush Sound Like the Terrorist

President Bush is talking tough on Iran, threatening to take pre-emptive action against the sovereign nation if he so desires.  If you remember, Bush used this same argument a little more than three years ago and then launched an illegal invasion of Iraq.  Bush claims it is a policy against weapons of mass destruction, but why should be ever believe him.  After all, he claimed that Iraq had WMD's and none were ever found.  Bush just likes to throw the term around as if it means something.

So let's talk about WMD's.  The term is used so often, but is never fully explained.  It simply means chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons.  The problem is that you should never group chemical and biological weapons in the same category as nukes.  Nukes can kill millions; chemical/bio weapons can kill large numbers, but not nearly as many as a nuclear weapon.

The other major distinction in nuclear weapons is ICBM's versus missiles that are not.  ICBM stands for Intercontinental Ballistic Missile.  That is important because a country with an ICBM is a threat to the United States.  It means that their missiles can reach our shores.  So whenever you talk about a country having WMD's, unless they have an intercontinental missile, they are not a threat to America.

That is the overriding litmus test, is it not?  A country needs to be threatening the use of an ICBM for the U.S. to take pre-emptive action.

Unfortunately, George Bush's version of pre-emption is that he can invade any country he wants and kill, capture, or torture anyone he comes across.  That is what makes him the ultimate terrorist.  He has become what he has tried to eliminate.  He invaded Iraq without any provocation and he is about to do the same thing to Iran.

Iran is said to be able to respond to a U.S. attack within 15 minutes.  They have been preparing for a U.S. attack for years.  That alone should give Bush pause before he decides to order air strikes against the country.  Iran does not have to retaliate against the actual United States.  They are on the border of Iraq and have a wide number of U.S. targets they could attack that are all within range of their missiles and their military.

If George Bush attacks Iran, which is exactly what he is telegraphing, he will expose the American troops in Iraq to grave danger.  The U.S. military is far superior to Iran, but not when it is overextended and already fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  To go to war with another country, one that is three times the size of Iraq, would be a fatal mistake.


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Newfane, Vermont Becomes Center of Political Universe

You have got to love Vermont.  Most of the time, Vermont is nowhere to be found on the political landscape.  It is home to just three electoral votes and is generally an afterthought for national candidates.  However, in the frigid, northeastern corner of the country, five towns are setting the tone for the battle to impeach the President of the United States.

It started in Newfane, Vermont, where town meeting voters overwhelmingly approved a measure that demanded that their Congressman file articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush.  The voters in Newfane want Bush to be kicked out of office and they want their Congressman to represent their interest.  What followed were four more towns in Vermont demanding the same thing.

What is significant about this is that other towns and communities from across the country are contacting the town's board members in Newfane, Vermont to find out how they can get the wheels in motion to also impeach George Bush.

One of the Newfane residents, Carlton Brown, who defended Bush seemed to be mis-informed, as he ranted about 9/11 and terrorists.  One can only assume that he had been brainwashed by all the lies that Bush spewed about how Iraq had something to do with 9/11.  If he was informed and realized that one has nothing to do with the other, perhaps he would change his mind.

That is the backbone of his last defenders, after all.  They point to 9/11 and claim that Bush is protecting us against terrorists.. Unfortunately, that could not be further from the truth.  What Bush has created in Iraq is a bastion for terrorist training and recruitment.  Foreign terrorists will come after the United States for decades because of what Bush has done in Iraq.  He has created exponentially more terrorists because of his invasion and subsequent occupation.

The lone Congressman that represents Vermont, Independent Bernie Sanders, has stated that it would be impractical to even attempt an impeachment now because of the Republican controlled House and Senate.

However, in less than eight months, the Republicans will be voted out of the majority in both the House and the Senate.  When that occurs, get ready for the long overdue impeachment of President George W. Bush.


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Third Anniversary of Iraq Invasion Looms Large

George Bush has been hitting the campaign trail in recent days to talk about how great the war in Iraq is going.  I guess George decided that he should go around the country and talk about the war instead of actually doing something about it.  You see, George's poll numbers are very low and whenever his approval rating has reached a new low, he hits the campaign trail.  You watch.  The next time Bush's approval rating hits another new low, I'll bet that he'll get out across America with a brand new set of speeches.

This time, George has a bunch of speeches designed to tell the American public that the he has a coherent strategy for winning the war in Iraq.  Of course, he's been saying this for nearly three years now and his strategy clearly is not working.  Actually, come to think of it, what is his strategy?  Damned if I know.

The only strategy he's employing right now is to bump up his approval numbers and to distract people from talking about the third anniversary of the war.  The last time he ran around the country giving speeches, his approval rating went up from 37-38% into the low 40 percent range.  However, now his low is down to 34-36% and his Republican base is beginning to turn on him.

On the second anniversary of the Iraq invasion, I was quite dismayed at the mainstream media.  For on that day, hundreds of thousands of people protested the war around the world and the U.S. media barely touched on it.  The story was buried deep into news programs and newspapers.

On March 18th, we will come up on the third anniversary of the Iraq war.  Protest rallies have been organized in many major cities.  Click here and here for information on some of the anti-war rallies.

Unfortunately, I don't know that the rallies will actually do anything.  It would be hard to top the worldwide protests of last year and that barely received any attention.  I, for one, don't believe that rallies solve much; at least not in this day and age.  In America, protesters are looked at with a leery eye and not taken seriously.  Perhaps we've just become apathetic over the decades.

The protesters can take solace in that public opinion to withdraw the troops is mounting.  It has more to do with the continued violence/civil war in Iraq, but it is slowly turning Americans against George W. Bush.  Finally!!!  It is now only a matter of time before the U.S. withdraws completely.


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Crash and Burn: Feingold Gets No Support

Senator Russ Feingold was trying to get some free press yesterday in order to boost his presidential bid in 2008.  See, good ole Russ figured that if he came out with something different, he would get his name in the press and give him some credibility as he attempts to make a run for the presidency.  Unfortunately for Rusty, his bid for a censure seems to have backfired.  Fellow Democrats ran away from his idea like scared, little chickens.  Mr. Feingold forgot the basic rule that Democrats never stick together.  They have no idea what they're doing, so they mostly operate without a compass.

There is the (remote) possibility that Senator Feingold is being sincere in all of this and that he was just speaking from his heart on "This Week" on ABC.  Ok, who are we kidding?  I mean, this is a politician we're talking about.  They don't say "boo" without checking a poll first.  No, Russ knew what he was doing, but it is bombing big-time. 

The whole notion of censure is just a political move anyway.  As stated in the previous blog post, it amounts to nothing.  It is simply what a minority party shoots for if they can't get an impeachment.

The part that frustrates and angers me to no end is that Dick Cheney gave a speech yesterday and mocked the Senator for stating that the spy program is illegal (which it is).  Cheney made jokes before the audience as if he is obeying the law.  The audacity he displays is just disgusting.  He breaks the law and then dares anyone to do something about it.

Feingold may have been making a political move, but at least he has the guts to come out and say something.  Most Democrats don't do anything.  The sit there with their tail between their legs; too afraid to stand their ground on any issue.  They fear of being painted a hard left liberal by the Republican attack dogs.

No, the only way that Bush, Cheney, and the rest of the thugs ever face justice is if the Republican Congress turns on them.  You are already seeing signs that this is happening.  Bush is losing support from the GOP and with the 2006 elections coming up, conservatives are distancing themselves from the low approval president in order to save their own hide.


Monday, March 13, 2006

Democrats Propose Censure Over Impeachment

So this is the angle the Democrats are going to take?  I should have known.  I should have known that the Democrats would never go after the Republicans with everything they've got.  The Democrats have Bush on the ropes right now; his approval is in the tank and his own party is turning on him.  You would think that the Dems would swing for the fences.  Unfortunately, that is not the case.  Rather than going full throttle for impeachment, they have decided to introduce a resolution to "censure" President Bush.

People inside the beltway think censure is a really, really, real big deal.  In reality, it means absolutely nothing.  All it is is a formal condemnation of the President's actions.  In this case, they want a condemnation of Bush's actions with regard to his illegal spying program.  A censure has no direct effect on Bush's presidency, it doesn't take away any of his powers, and it certainly doesn't remove him from office.

The Democrat floating this idea is Senator Russ Feingold.  Feingold is considered a prominent Democrat, so he surely was chosen as the mouthpiece to pitch this resolution.  On "This Week" on ABC, Feingold referred to it as a "big step".  Is he serious?

The only big step the Democrats could make would be to talk about impeachment.  Impeachment is the only solution that will help this country change course and recover.  You can even take your pick as to what you want to impeach the President on.  Here are a few examples.  Bush violated international law when he invaded Iraq.  The U.N. Charter, which the United States signed, states that no country shall pre-emptively attack another.  Bush also violated the Geneva Conventions when he set up torture camps around the world to abuse and kill prisoners of war.  Bush also broke the law by spying on Americans without a court order.

The point is that the Democrats have all the ammunition in the world and they do nothing.  They have let this monster run this country into the ground in the last five years and they sit idly by, worried about offering up their true opinion.  They are so busy sitting on the fence that the world is passing them by, and not for the good. 

The Democrats lack direction of any kind and I'm not entirely sure why.  They float topics out in the public like censure, then they look at the polls to see what course to take next.  What they should, and need to do is get a lot more angry and a lot more forceful.  They need to state what they really believe.  If they don't, you can rest assured that they will not see the inside of the White House ever again.


Sunday, March 12, 2006

Bush Worried About U.S. Image After Port Deal

George W. is now worried about how the United States is perceived now that the Congress has forced the Dubai company to give up control of an American port.  Frankly, it is amusing that Bush would make a statement like that.  If he was so concerned with the image of the United States, he would pay more attention to his own actions. 

Let's recount the most important things George can do to restore the image of the United States in the Middle East.

1.  Don't invade other countries and overthrow their government.

2.  Don't kill innocent men, women, and children in Middle Eastern countries.

3.  Don't torture prisoners of war.

So there you go.  If Bush is truly concerned about restoring America's image overseas, he can follow these three simple steps outlined above.  One would think that they are not difficult concepts to follow.  However, George has had an enormous amount of trouble following any of these rules.

But George says that the image of the United States is tarnished simply because the American people wanted to protect their own ports.  He ignores those three little items above.  In fact, he has ignored those laws for his entire presidency. 

If you want to know why people in the Middle East hate Americans, look no further than those three reasons above.  Since 9/11, Bush and his merry thugs have done everything possible to destroy the image of America in foreign countries.  Now he is using 'image' as a political tool against his enemies.  Bush didn't get what he wanted, so now he believes how the U.S. is perceived is important.  He should've thought of that three years ago when he launched the invasion.


Friday, March 10, 2006

Lame Duck President Loses Bid to Outsource Ports

The United States Congress finally woke up and forced a United Arab Emirates owned company to surrender it's bid to take over operational control of U.S. ports.  The House had already passed a measure to block the deal and the bill was headed to the Senate for approval.  The Senate was expected to pass the bill, but President Bush had vowed to veto it.  It would've been Bush's first veto ever.  Fortunately for him, the UAE let him off the hook.

Unfortunately, many in the mainstream media have painted this story as Americans versus Arabs.  They fuel the discrimination rhetoric and make it an issue when it isn't one.  The fact is that no country should control the ports of another.  If it's an independent company from another country, that may be different, but that was not the case here.  The UAE control all companies within their country, so it would have been a risk for the UAE to control U.S. ports.

There are many other foreign-based companies that control operations of U.S. ports.  These all need to be re-evaluated.  So many resources have been devoted to Iraq and Afghanistan that there hasn't been enough money to thoroughly evaluate port security and port ownership.

The sad part is that this lets Bush off the hook.  I wouldn't be surprised if he called up his oil buddies in the United Arab Emirates to ask them to bow out.  That way, Bush wouldn't have to use his veto power and look the fool.  What happens now is that this story basically goes away, which is exactly what Bush wanted.

It remains to be seen whether or not Congress will now look at port security and foreign ownership of those ports.  The Democrats and Republicans seem to be united on this subject, but now that they've blocked this port deal, I wouldn't hold my breath that they will do anything about the rest.  A more likely scenario is that the liberals and conservatives go back to their respective sides and go back to arguing.

While this story may go away, it is just another argument for the incompetence of George Bush and his administration.  Just in the last six months, Bush has screwed up the response to the Katrina hurricane, he nominated a completely unqualified woman to the Supreme Court, and he vowed to block any attempt to deny ownership of a U.S. port to a foreign country.  Who's side is he on anyway?  He obviously is not serving in the best interest of the American people.


Thursday, March 9, 2006

Cheney Talks Tough on Iran, But U.S. Has Few Options

Trigger happy Dick Cheney is back at it again, this time with harsh words for Iran.  The Vice President basically said that Iran had better behave themselves or else.  Unfortunately, unlike three years ago, the United States does not have the power to go into Iran.  They could launch some surgical air-strikes against the country, but not much else.  If they hadn't invaded Iraq and become bogged down, then perhaps the hardline stance against Iran would have some meaning.  Right now, though, they are just hollow.

I guess Cheney figures that all he can do is talk.  He can't put troops on the ground.  Never mind the fact that Iran is three times the size of Iraq.  The U.S. just doesn't have any troops left to create a third war.

Iran is clearly being defiant to the rest of the world, but the point should be made that the U.S. is now vulnerable to this defiance.  By that I mean that Iran can defy the United States all they want because they know there will be little, if any, repercussions.  If this were three years ago, Iran wouldn't be so hostile.  Three years ago, the U.S. was celebrating the conquest of Afghanistan.  They had invaded the country after 9/11 and successfully ousted the Taliban from power.  They did what the Soviets could not. 

At the beginning of 2003, the United States was the most feared and respected nation in the world.  How so much can change in just a few years.  Now, the United States is not feared at all.  They are being overwhelmed by a civil war in Iraq and are hated around the world.  Afghanistan remains relatively stable, but not nearly what it could be if troops had not been diverted to Iraq.  Osama has not been captured and it appears that he never will.

So Cheney can talk all he wants about Iran.  The simple fact is that he can't do anything about it.  If the U.S. takes out specific nuclear targets, you can be damn sure that Iran will respond to bombings inside their country.

The best thing Cheney and the rest of the administration can do is get out of Iraq and replenish the military.  The military is stretched too thin and it is time they come home so the U.S. can regroup.  Only then will the U.S. be able to make substantive threats against another rogue nation.


Wednesday, March 8, 2006

The Braindead Mainstream Media

I figure that if you're reading this blog, you're as much of a political junkie as me.  Ok, maybe not as bad as me, but in the same ballpark.  So I'm going to guess that you've all watched Hardball with Chris Matthews on MSNBC.  I used to like this show.  Chris seemed relatively neutral and somewhat intelligent.  Lately, his show has been killing me.

First of all, if I see Pat Buchanan on Hardball one more time, I think I'm going to throw up in my mouth.  The man is completely out of touch with the rest of America, but Mathews and/or MSNBC insist on having him as a regular on the show.  It is disgraceful.

Secondly, all Matthews talks about is Hillary Clinton and John McCain.  Now it is fine to mention that they are the early frontrunners for the 2008 elections, but for god's sake, the elections are 2 1/2 years away.  Matthews and Buchanan talk about this constantly.  In addition, they do the country a complete injustice to not talk about the other candidates or potential candidates.  They find a topic that drives up the ratings and then they stick with it, whether it has anything to do with the news.

That is the problem after all.  Chris Matthews and other political heavyweights are already framing the presidential race.  This is why it is so hard for other people to break through.  If Hardball continues to talk about Hillary and McCain every night, then the public will believe that nobody else can be president.

The other issue is the Fox Network.  Those people over there are just stooges for President Bush.  They actually had the audacity to say the other media outlets were making up the potential civil war in Iraq.  I don't know who said it first, but the White House literally has a direct line into the Fox News headquarters.

The ratings are the ultimate issue here.  You may be interested to know that the press does not cover protests.  On the second anniversary of the Iraq invasion, millions of people protested the war around the entire globe.  Tens of thousands marched in front of Trafalgar Square in London.  This is news.  There is no question that this is news.  Did the media cover this story?  They mentioned it in passing and it was in the paper somewhere.  However, not even a global war protest was going to knock off their lead story.  Their lead, by the way, was the Terri Schiavo vegetable case.  That was the case where all of 50 people protested.

As Jon Stewart said at the Oscars the other night, investigative journalism as reflected in the movie "Good Night and Good Luck" was a period piece.  It is from a time long ago.  Real journalism has left us.  What we're left with is a sensationalized media clamoring for the next ratings boost.


Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Government Debt Growing Out of Control

I've had some technical issues trying to blog in the last few days, so I apologize for the hiatus.  But I'm back to vent some more about the incompetent federal government.  This time, it takes the form of the budget.  Republicans are always so conscious of fiscal discipline, but it seems that this particular Republican administration doesn't much care about budgets and the like.

The problem is that the federal debt is now $8.2 trillion.  When abbreviated, it doesn't look so bad, but the full, spelled out number is $8,200,000,000,000.  Damn, and I thought I had a lot of debt.  What happens now is that the White House needs Congress to increase their credit limit.  It's sort of like when you max out your credit card and then call the credit card company and ask them to raise your line.  That's effectively what the government is doing.

Now it should be noted that this is the fourth time that the Bush administration has asked Congress to raise their credit limit.  Congress does not want the United States to default on their debt, so they extend the line.  If they didn't extend, the U.S. would be in serious trouble.  They would not be able to pay their debt and their credit rating would be crushed.

Just to clarify, there is a difference between the federal debt and the federal deficit.  The deficit is an annual number.  It reflects the difference between what the government is taking in versus what they are spending.  The federal debt is the accumulation of all the years of these deficits.  So when the White House talks about reducing the deficit, they are not reducing the debt burden.  In fact, the debt level will still rise if the deficit is reduced.  The debt level will not decline until a budget surplus is reached.

With wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, tax cuts and other spending, George Bush has managed to drive this country much further into debt.  The United States had a huge surplus when Bush took office and he quickly turned it into a deficit.  That sounds much more like a Democrat than a Republican.  It is usually the Republicans who are fiscally conservative.  Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case this time around.

If a countries' debt level continues to increase at a rapid rate, eventually that country will go bankrupt.  The U.S. already spends an enormous amount of their revenue (i.e. tax dollars) just to pay the interest on the debt.  If the interest expense keeps growing, it will eat away at the rest of the budget and the U.S. will not be able to recover.  We are a long way away from that day, but if nothing is done to control costs, the day will surely come.


Thursday, March 2, 2006

Tens of Thousands Come Out to Protest President Bush

Welcome to India.  About 100,000 people gathered in Delhi to protest the arrival of President George Bush.  They called him a war criminal, an enemy of Islam, and told him to go home.  They also protested against his record toward humanity.  Bush was in India to meet with the Indian Prime Minister to discuss giving India access to civilian nuclear technology.  The funny part is that Bush was there to help out the country.

Anti-Bush rally in Delhi

It wasn't just the capital of Delhi where people came to protest.  From Calcutta to Hyderabad to Bangalore, thousands upon thousands of people came to protest.  Everywhere you turned, the hatred and loathing of American and of this president was crystal clear.

What is interesting is that these protesters don't really know anything about Bush.  If they did, they'd know he wasn't nearly smart enough to be an enemy of Islam.  He isn't killing and torturing people because he's a monster.  He's simply an idiot.  He actually believes that what he's doing is right.  He thinks that torturing foreigners will protect his people and that killing all those people in Iraq is necessary for the ultimate goal of democracy in the country.  The people in India (and most of the world) already realize that democracy is crazy talk and that it will not happen anytime soon.

But don't worry India;  Bush's favorability at home is waning as well.  He is down to a 34% approval rating.  It's not as bad as Vice President Cheney's 18%, but is still horrible for a US president.  People in this country are taking a little longer to figure it out, but now even Republicans are starting to come around to the truth.

The protestors in India are really not that far off from the truth.  Bush is a war criminal and he is killing many people in Iraq.  He may not be pulling the trigger personally, but he may as well be.  Bush will, of course, never be held accountable for his war crimes, but unlike Castro or Saddam or Khadafy, President Bush will have to resign in less than three years.  The greatest thing about the American system is that one person can only hold power for a finite amount of time.  We may put another nutjob in the White House in 2008 (see Clinton, Hillary), but at least it won't be this nutjob.

On a side note, the state-run Fox Network seems to think that the media is making up the whole Iraqi civil war.  They ran the banner on their show last night.  Rather than report the news, Fox is making a mockery of it.  They simply report what the White House wants to hear.


Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Can't We Just Break Up Iraq?

For the life of me, I can't understand why people who hate each other choose to coexist.  When George Bush invaded Iraq, there was much discussion about the Shia, the Kurds, and the Sunnis.  At that time, it was made abundantly clear that these groups despised one another.  Although I was not blogging when the war started, I held the belief that the country should be split up into three.  Now that we can see the unending violence between these groups of people, I see no other choice.

I'm all for diversity and keeping groups together that get along and all that, but sometimes reality just doesn't allow for that.  Part of the problem in Iraq is that these factions must work together to form a central government.  They are all part of the same country after all.  But what if they weren't part of the same country?  What would happen if the Kurds carved out an area in the north, and the Sunnis and Shias dividing up the rest of the country?  Iraq could be split into three separate and distinct nations.  They could all form their own governments and make their own decisions.

The hardest part about doing this would be where to draw the lines.  The lines would need to be drawn to represent the vast majority of the three populations.  There are some areas of the country where the ethnicity is mixed and even some families that are both Sunni and Shia.  You can see from the picture that there are clearly some areas of the country that are mixed.  It will not be easy.  When drawing the borders, there will be some people displaced and/or in the "wrong" country relative to their ethnicity.  Those people may choose to move, depending on the hostility of the area.  Some mixed areas are not nearly as hostile as others.  Despite these challenges, I believe it still could be done to encompass the majority of citizens and create a much safer environment.

The other main aspect of this is the oil.  The oil fields are not evenly distributed around the country.  If you were to divide up the country into three, one group is going to have more oil than the others.  So how do you remedy this?  You could draw the boundaries to attempt to even it out, but that would only get you so far.  However, if the three groups could agree to pool the oil revenues and disperse them evenly, it could work.  The United States or the UN could oversee that it is an equitable distribution and the three groups would be happy.  Plus, if that is the only thing they have to agree on, it would be a whole lot easier.

Maybe in the distant future, when the United States has left and tensions have eased, there could be more of a free flow of people and commerce between the three countries.  For now, though, I believe this is the best exit strategy for the United States and the best way to stop Iraqis from killing each other.

Civil war itself may lead to the breakup of the country.  Why not break it up now and save years of battle and the hundreds of thousands of deaths that will surely take place?


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