Political Critic Archives - November 2005

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                       November 2005

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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

White House Still Spinning the War

President Bush launched a huge PR campaign this morning to convince the country that the war in Iraq is going well. Unfortunately, this White House is still more concerned about the public relations side of things than the war itself.

Rather than give the country an exit strategy, a timeline, or any indication of when American troops would come home, Bush instead regurgitated the same 'stay the course' strategy that has been failing miserably for the past 2 1/2 years.  Bush actually addressed his 'stay the course' mantra (sort of).  He claimed that staying the course meant that we will not allow the terrorists to break our will.

Now that argument is just completely ridiculous.  Critics want the President to change tactics; to actually have a plan that differs from the last 2 1/2 years of complete incompetence.  Remember that only 700 Iraqi troops are fully combat ready.  Wanting to change the current strategy has nothing to do with the terrorists breaking the will of Americans.

Bush also took the opportunity to again lash out at critics who want a timetable for the troops to come home.  Heaven forbid you listen to people in this country who have a different strategy for getting out of Iraq.  I don't necessarily agree with setting a timetable, but it isn't a completely terrible idea.  You could argue that a timetable may reduce the power of the insurgency because the Iraqi citizens would know when the occupation will end.  At the very least, it is an issue up for debate.  For the White House to simply lash out at those making viable suggestions is just sad.

The problem continues to be that the White House is too busy spinning the war and not busy enough trying to find a solution that will bring our boys home.


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Problem of Illegal Immigration

It is estimated that there are at least 9 million illegal immigrants in the United States.  The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has estimated that an additional 500,000 new illegals enter the United States every year. As early as 1990, the population of illegal immigrants was only 3.5 million.  In the last 15 years, the population of illegal aliens has nearly tripled!

This is an enormous problem for the future of the United States.  If a country cannot control the flow of immigration, then that country's economy will eventually deteriorate.  With so many people entering the country, there are not enough jobs to go around.  This is actually worse than the outsourcing of American jobs.  These jobs are actually in America, but are being taken by illegal immigrants.

The other problem, in this case, is crime.  For better or worse, most of the illegals that enter the United States are coming from Mexico.  The country of Mexico has rampant crime, and much of it violent.  In fact, Mexico City has an average of 2,000 - 3,000 crimes per day.  Kidnapping is also a huge issue in the country.  The U.S. Department of State warns tourists in Mexico not to even use an ATM unless it is during the day at a "large protected facility".

Now when you have two countries with distinctly different crime rates and with porous borders, the level of crime will eventually even out.  That means that the crime in the United States (especially in border states) will start to resemble that of Mexico.  Now why would we want that to happen if we can prevent it?

This problem can be fixed relatively easily, but politicians have outright refused to do anything about it.  Why you ask? It's all about the money, of course!  Big businesses make lots of it by hiring cheap labor.  Look no further than Wal-Mart, who was caught hiring illegal aliens and paying them less than the minimum wage.  The politicians are always, always in bed with big business and they certainly don't want to infringe on large companies. 

All you really need to do is enforce the borders and deport the illegals that are already here. It's not a difficult concept. Unfortunately, many people in Washington are continuing to help out big business.  President Bush actually proposed an immigration law in 2004 that would make it easier for illegals to stay in the United States!

However, now that immigration has emerged as a vitally important issue to the American people, President Bush has a new plan to enforce the borders.  That flip-flop reminds me so much of Bill Clinton; the polls come out against your position, so you change your position.

It remains to be seen what will happen on immigration.  Talk is cheap and I've had enough of speeches telling us that the problem is being fixed.  What we need now is action.  Build a wall if you have to that protects the entire southern border.  Just keep out the illegals!


Monday, November 28, 2005

American Troop Level in Iraq Cannot be Sustained

The United States currently has about 159,000 troops on the ground in Iraq.  There is a huge debate about when the troops will be withdrawn, but the larger question is whether the United States can force them to stay.

Many of these soldiers joined the military at a time of peace. Now that we are at war, the military is not meeting their recruitment goals.  This all makes sense, of course.  Most people will not volunteer to join the military during a war. Some will, but the majority will not.  The same goes for the men and women that are enlisted.  Many will serve their time and retire or they will go back into the civilian world.

All of this creates a major problem of numbers.  The Pentagon cannot recruit more personnel and active duty soldiers are only committed for so long.  Now that we've has been in Iraq for nearly three years, these problems are becoming more apparent.

The politicians saw this problem early on and has decided to stick it to the active duty soldiers to make it more difficult for them to leave.  They drafted a law in early 2004 that prevents reserves and active duty troops that were sent to Iraq and Kuwait from leaving before they served 12 months on the ground and an additional three months once they return from their tours.  This law forces them to stay beyond their initial commitment.  And they wonder why their recruitment numbers are down.  How do you keep up enlistment in a (supposedly) all volunteer army when you're hurting the very people that are already enlisted???

That law to keep soldiers longer was set in place nearly two years ago.  However, Washington didn't expect to have 159,000 troops in theatre in late 2005.  Now we are approaching a crossroads.  Many American troops are near the end of their commitment and they are not about to re-enlist.

So while the politicians continue to argue about when American troops will withdraw from Iraq, the American military is dwindling before their eyes.  We've already had over 2,000 soldiers die and another 15,000 seriously injured.  These are not insignificant figures, even from a standpoint of overall troop strength.  If the Bush/Cheney regime can't figure out a way to significantly reduce the troop level in the next year, our all volunteer army will cease to exist!


Friday, November 25, 2005

Did the U.S. Use Chemical Weapons in Iraq?

When the United States launched a major offensive in Falluja in April of 2004, they used a weapon called white phosphorus (WP).  White phosphorus is an incendiary agent that can cause serious burns and death to those who are exposed.  It can burn continuously on humans until it reaches the bone.  It is derived from the chemical element phosphorus and has been used in the past by a few countries. 

In 1991, the U.S. Department of Defense accused the Iraqi military of using WP as a chemical weapon after the first Gulf War.  The DoD stated that they believed Saddam's military had used the chemical weapon against the Kurds in northern Iraq.

It happened again in the offensive in Falluja by the United States in 2004.  The Pentagon at first admitted the use of WP, but only for the means of "illumination".  Unfortunately, numerous reports to the contrary have surfaced that WP was used as a weapon.  In Field Artillery, a journal produced by the Department of Defense, they describe in detail that WP was used as "an effective and versatile munition" and that it was used extensively in the battle for Falluja.  The DoD came out recently to admit that it was used, but now claim it was used as an "incendiary weapon" only.

The DoD is splitting hairs on how they classify this weapon.  Much like a POW is called an enemy combatant for the purposes of illegal detention, the term "incendiary weapon" is a nicer term that is being spun by high ranking officials. Basically, these high ranking officials have been using white phosphorus, but they don't consider it a chemical weapon.(even though the DoD considered it a chemical weapon back in 1995). 

Well let's consider the facts.  Phosphorous is a chemical.  This chemical is being used as a weapon.  Seems pretty clear to me.  If it looks like a chemical weapon, acts like a chemical weapon, and kills like a chemical weapon, then chances are, it is a chemical weapon.

Now we come back to Falluja.  There were a large number of civilians in the city at the time of the U.S. offensive.  Estimates from The Guardian newspaper of London were from 30,000 - 50,000.  However, US military protocol prohibits the use of the weapon in civilian areas unless receiving permission from "above the division level".  So it appears that the forces on the ground were only following orders from above. 

Hmmm, doesn't that sound a wee bit familiar?  Senior level officials directing the soldiers on the ground to carry out highly questionable acts.  I wish I could say that I am shocked.  Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld created the conditions for Abu Ghraib and I wouldn't be surprised if they were behind this one as well.  You don't just fire a lethal chemical weapon into a civilian area on a whim.  I'm quite sure the thugs in the White House were well aware of how it was being used.  They may not call it a chemical weapon (just like they don't call waterboarding torture), but that's what it is, pure and simple.


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Even if Acquitted, Bush May Still Imprison American Citizen

In the story I wrote about yesterday, Jose Padilla was indicted on terrorist conspiracy charges.  However, there is a new twist to the story.  Newsweek magazine is reporting that even if Padilla is acquitted, George Bush has indicated that he may continue to imprison him indefinitely!

This is another reason why the President of the United States is a complete disgrace!  An American citizen could be acquitted of a crime and the leader of the country ignores the rule of law and throws him back in prison.  It's bad enough that Bush has held this American for 3 1/2 years without ever charging him with a crime.  Now, he indicates that he will throw him back in the military brig no matter what the court says.

Apparently, Bush will slap the 'enemy combatant' label on Padilla and hold him for as long as he wants.  By the way, have I mentioned that Bush could do that to anyone in this country?  I'm sure he'd love to take all his detractors and label them as enemy combatants.  Then he could throw us in the brig and torture us until we tell him what he wants to hear.

As if that wasn't horrible enough, the Justice Department is attempting to influence the Supreme Court in this matter. They are afraid that the Supreme Court will rule Bush's actions as unconstitutional (um, because they are).  So the Justice Department is filing a motion urging the court not to even review the case.

Here's what needs to happen.  I'll probably sounds like a radical lefty, but George W. Bush needs to be led out of the White House in handcuffs and go directly to jail!  He is responsible for the torture of prisoners, for the invasion of a sovereign nation, and for stripping an American citizen of all of his rights.  These are real crimes and they should not go unpunished!


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

American Citizen Finally Charged After 3+ Years in Prison

Jose Padilla, an American citizen, was finally charged with a crime yesterday, after being held in prisons by the George Bush Administration.  Padilla was born in Brooklyn, New York and grew up as a gang member.  As a juvenile, he was involved in a gang murder and was sent to juvenile detention facility.  He also served time in Florida on weapons charges.

In May of 2002, the government picked him up and alleged that he was plotting to unleash a "dirty bomb" against the United States.  However, Padilla was never charged with a crime.  Instead, he was declared an "enemy combatant" by George Bush and was stripped of all his rights as an American citizen. 

Herein lies the problem.  Any American citizen can be picked up by the U.S. government (aka George Bush), declared an "enemy combatant" (whatever that is), and thrown in jail for years.  Oh, and they will be tortured, abused, and denied every and all rights that a citizen of the United States is entitled to.

Padilla was shipped off to Guantanamo Bay and has been held illegally for the last 3 1/2 years.  Up until yesterday, Padilla had never even been charged with a crime.  He is known as the "dirty bomb" suspect, but when the charges finally came down, he was not actually charged with plotting to attack the U.S. with a dirty bomb.  He was charged with conspiracy.

I have no doubt that Padilla is a terrible human being who has committed horrific crimes in his life.  However, even the worst criminals in our country deserve to have their day in court.  The burden of proof needs to be on the government in this case.  Prove that he is who you say he is.  Unfortunately, the only reason the Bush regime is even charging him now is because the Supreme Court may soon step in to declare it illegal for Bush to detain any American citizen.

It's a sad day when an American citizen can be held against his will for over 3 years without ever being charged with a crime or receive a trial.  If the case against him is so open and shut for the government, then why didn't they indict him after he was picked up in 2002?  Surely, they must have beaten all the information they wanted out of him within a couple of weeks.  So why keep him so long?  Is fear of another terrorist attack or is it because the government doesn't have a lot of evidence that he committed a crime?


Monday, November 21, 2005

Cheney Still Whining About Critics of War

Dick "I received five deferments" Cheney is back on the stump thrashing critics of his illegal war.  Today, he again called critics "corrupt" and "shameless".  Perhaps he should look in the mirror if he is looking for someone corrupt and shameless.  Dick Cheney is the definition of corrupt.  He makes Richard Nixon look like a saint!

Mr. Deferment claimed that the critics are lying when they claim that Bush lied about the war.  That is just plain wrong.  Bush did lie (and still is).  It's not even a debate.  It's just a fact.  Now, if Cheney actually spent some time managing the war instead of slinging accusations at his detractors, maybe he would get more accomplished.  But that is just not the way of this White House.  They spin all day long, forgetting that they actually have a real job to do.

Mr. Deferment also stated that "any suggestion that pre-war intel was distorted, hyped, or fabricated" by George Bush is untrue.  Clearly, he should go back and look at the tapes of the BS rhetoric he was using to hype the war and distort the threat.  When you say that you know Saddam has nukes and when you talk of mushroom clouds, you are hyping and distorting.  It's that simple.  But Cheney believes that if he says it enough times, some moron will believe him.

Fortunately, after five years, the American people are catching on to this shady character and they know not to believe a single word that comes out of his mouth.  Cheney's approval rating is abysmal and many people (correctly) view him as dishonest and unethical.

Hopefully, Cheney will crawl back into the cave that he came out of and shut his pie-hole.  We really don't need another administration thug spewing more lies.


Sunday, November 20, 2005

When Will the Iraqi Troops be Ready?

There has been much debate about withdrawing the troops from Iraq, but very few people have discussed the readiness of the Iraqi troops.  The Bush/Cheney regime keeps spewing the spin of 'we'll stand down when they stand up'.  That sounds all nice and fluffy, but Bush never addresses the number of troops that are ready.  When he is forced to give a number, he inflates it exponentially.  Basically, he lies. (shocking, I know)

This morning on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Donald Rumsfeld claimed that 212,00 Iraqi troops are trained and ready.  That is simply not true and doesn't make any sense anyway.  If 212,000 Iraqi troops were ready, then there wouldn't be a need for American ground forces.  The U.S. has 159,000 troops in Iraq and to claim that the Iraqi's have 50,000 more troops than the U.S. is insane.  It is simply another lie.

So what is the real number?  There are two more accurate figures being thrown about.  Those figures are 700 and 20,000.  There seems to be only 700 Iraqi troops that are combat ready and capable to defend their own country!  The 20,000 figure is (supposedly) the number of Iraqi troops that are trained, but need vast amounts of support from American military.

Then how many Iraqi troops are needed?  Obviously, the 159,000 American troops in Iraq currently are not enough to control the security of the country.  Colin Powell and others have argued that closer to 300,000 American troops were necessary to secure the country.  Now if it takes 300,000 American troops, we can assume that at least as many Iraqi troops are required and that they will need air support and some American presence in the region.

Here is the real problem.  The U.S. took control of Iraq 2 1/2 years ago and have not been able to train anywhere near enough Iraqi troops; which means American forces can't leave yet.  If you are to believe the figure of only 700 trained Iraqi forces, then the U.S. will never be able to withdraw.  If you can only train 700 soldiers in 2 1/2 years, it would take centuries to train 300,000.  So let's use the 20,000 figure just for the sake of argument.  That is the number of Iraqi forces that are ready, but need American support.  Even if that number is accurate, which is up for debate, it has still taken 2 1/2 years to get to that level.  To extrapolate that out, it will take another 35 years to train enough Iraqis to secure their own country!

That is alarming to say the least!  Unless the United States starts training a lot more Iraqis, we will be there for the next two decades.

That is why Bush and his thugs are incompetent.  They've had 2 1/2 years to get the Iraqi forces up to speed and they are nowhere near the level that they need.  They're spending billions upon billions of our dollars, but how much is actually going to train Iraqis so we can get the hell out of there?  The answer is not nearly enough.  Bring them over to the States if there is no other place to go.  Send them to American military installations if you have to, but just train them and leave!


Saturday, November 19, 2005

Republicans Bashing John Murtha, Decorated Marine Veteran

Congressman John Murtha, a decorated war hero who served this country as a Marine for 37 years, called for American troops in Iraq to come home.  Murtha served in Vietnam and was awarded a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.  He is a Democrat, but is considered conservative and often votes with Republicans on military issues.

The response of the White House to his concerned statement was reprehensible and despicable.  Scott McClellan, the current stooge who spews spin, compared him to Michael Moore and to extreme liberals.  To compare him to a lunatic like Michael Moore is just ridiculous.  To compare him to extreme liberals is just another misleading statement. (although we should all be used to misleading statements by now from this administration)

On Friday night, the House argued about Murtha's resolution, which would bring the troops home immediately.  The 'swift boating' of Congressman Murtha was so appalling that a Congresswoman Jean Schmidt (R) from Ohio called him a coward.  That is an unbelievable statement!  She said he was cutting and running!  By the way, Jean Schmidt has never served in the military.  She pretty much hasn't done much of anything in comparison.  For her to call a Marine who served for 37 years a coward is one of the worst things I've ever heard!

It's funny how a bunch of people that have never served are so quick to condemn the opinions of those that have.  Vice President Dick Cheney, who is quick to call Democrats dishonest and reprehensible for daring to question the war, received five deferments to NOT serve in the military.  Cheney was a draft dodger not once, but FIVE times!  He loves sending soldiers off to die, but refused to fight when his number was called.

As Don Imus would say, I will not be happy until all of these thugs in the White House are led out of there in handcuffs with raincoats over their heads.


Friday, November 18, 2005

Woodward Withheld Evidence For Over 2 Years

I guess there really aren't any good guys left anymore.  You would think that the journalists are more ethical than the politicians, but apparently that is not the case.

Bob Woodward of The Washington Post withheld valuable evidence from the grand jury and the special prosecutor for more than two years!  He even went on television the night before the Libby indictment was handed down to say that he did not have any bombshell; that he didn't even have a "firecracker".  Lies, lies, lies!  Woodward was at the center of the leak investigation, yet lacked the morals to speak up.

What's even more startling is that Woodward has been critical of Fitzgerald throughout the process.  He has appeared on television shows to bash Fitzgerald, knowing all along that he was holding information that was extremely important to the investigation.  All this led to Lewis Libby being indicted, which may have been avoided.

First Judy Miller and now the legendary Bob Woodward!  What is the world coming to?  Perhaps Bob should get the same jail cell that Judy received.  Maybe if he spent a good 85 days in jail for suppressing evidence, he might think better of it next time.

As if that weren't bad enough, Woodward is being selective with the information he is revealing.  He proclaimed that Libby was not his source for the leak, but then refused to say who it was!  What a jerk!  Bob Woodward is a journalist who needs to report the news, not withhold it.  He is a disgrace to the profession.


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Oil Executives Lied Before Congress

Rich oil executives from Exxon Mobil, ChevronTexaco, ConocoPhilips, BP America, and Shell Oil all came before Congress last week and were asked a number of questions regarding the price of gasoline and their industry in general. One of the questions was whether or not these executives met with Vice President Dick Cheney (thug) in 2001 as part of his energy task force.  This so-called energy task force was very controversial at the time because Cheney refuse to release the names of the participants and environmental groups were not represented at all.  All of these executives, with the exception of the BP exec who wasn't there at the time, denied participating in the meeting.

Well, only seven days after their testimony, it has been revealed that all of these companies (except Chevron) were present at the secret meetings with Dick Cheney.  Chevron wasn't at the meeting, but gave detailed recommendations.

Surprisingly, none of these executives were under oath.  Now you may ask yourself why people would testify before Congress and not be put under oath.  Well, that is because the Republican Congressman from Alaska, Ted Stevens, would not allow the oil boys to testify under oath.  When the Democrats protested, Stevens basically told them to shut up.  Now we know why Stevens (in on it) would not let them be sworn in.  He knew they would lie.

Now in case you're wondering why this is important, look no further than the gas station.  Ever since that secret meeting, consumers have been getting raped at the pump.  Essentially, this one-sided, secret meeting with the oil boys created an energy policy that funneled enormous amounts of money into their pockets.  The oil execs got their good buddy Dick Cheney to create a policy that would make them incredibly rich; richer than they already were.

Here you can see power and corruption at its finest!  Dick Cheney wanted to make himself and his friends rich, so he devised an energy policy that would help them, and only them.  He stuck it to the American people at the pumps and made his buddies hundreds of millions of dollars in the process.  Way to go!


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I'll Take a Beating!

There has been much debate about the torture of prisoners recently and Senator John McCain (R) has written an article in Newsweek magazine detailing abusive interrogation tactics.  You could say that Senator McCain, who was tortured as a young man in a North Vietnamese prison during the Vietnam war, is an expert on this subject.  McCain was held in captivity for five years in the early 1970's.

In this article, McCain states that he would prefer to get beaten rather than be subjected to a tactic called waterboarding.  Waterboarding is a torture tactic that has been approved by the Bush/Cheney regime.  In this tactic, a prisoner is restrained and blindfolded and the torturer, uh, I mean interrogator, pours water in his mouth and over his head to make him believe that he is being drowned.  McCain equates this torture tactic to putting a gun to your head and firing a blank.  Did I mention that George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld approve of this?  And that is one of the more minor methods of interrogation used.

McCain also makes the point that the abuse of prisoners is hurting the image of America.  This is true, but it is also hurting, um, the prisoners.  Not that I have any sympathy for terrorists, but then again, we don't really know if they are terrorists.  I suppose we could trust our government and our president, but that's just not going to happen.

McCain states that what helped him and his comrades get through their own experience of being tortured in Vietnam was the belief that he was better than them.  By that, he meant that if the roles were reversed, the Americans would treat their prisoners humanely.  Unfortunately for him and his comrades, the events of the past two years are proving him to be incorrect.  The roles are reversed and the American government is treating their prisoners no better than their enemy.

The funny, but telling part about McCain's experience in captivity is the information he provided to his Vietnamese captors.  When asked for the names of the men in his flight squadron, he gave them the names of the Green Bay Packers' offensive line.  While amusing, that tells a very important lesson about the value of the intelligence information the U.S. government receives.  The information they get is often wrong!  If you know that you're going to be beaten, abused, and tortured, you're going to tell your captors something, whether it's the truth or not.  That is why torture is not even an effective method of gathering intelligence.  It provides a lot of information, but most of it is false and misleading.

So we now have a Republican Senator that is claiming that the Unites States government is torturing people.  President George Bush and his minions have been claiming over and over again that they do not torture.  Clearly, someone is lying.  Anyone wanna guess which guy is lying?


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Liberals Fixated on Alito's Abortion Record

When the Bush regime nominated Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, many people on the left were upset, and rightfully so.  Alito has a very conservative record and Democrats wanted someone more in the mold of John Roberts.  Alito has written on a number of cases that demonstrate his very conservative opinion.

However, when a Republican president nominates a Supreme Court justice, you have to assume that the nominee is pro-life.  Democrats nominate pro-choice justices and Republicans nominate pro-life justices.  That's just the way it is.  So when the liberals focus solely on Alito's stance on abortion, they are not helping themselves.  No matter what happens, Sandra O'Conner will be replaced by a pro-life justice.

The liberals need to focus on the rest of Alito's record.  The idea behind the nomination process is to get someone who is a moderate.  Samuel Alito has ruled on a number of cases not related to abortion that show his extremely conservative leanings.  His rulings on civil rights, police searches, employment discrimination, and affirmative action cases appear to be very troubling.

If the Democrats focused more on the other aspects of Alito's record, they would stand a far greater chance of defeating this nominee.  They would force Bush to select someone who is a moderate conservative.  If they continue to focus on abortion rights, they simply will divide the country even further than it already is.  In the end, Alito may get through because nobody is analyzing the rest of his record.


Monday, November 14, 2005

Go Away Jesse Jackson!

Jesse Jackson, a political and civil rights activist who always gets involved in situations that are none of his business, decided to put his two cents in on the Terrell Owens situation.  Unfortunately, Jesse Jackson (media whore) has no idea what he is talking about.

Not to stray too far from politics, buy let us review the situation.  Terrell Owens of the Philadelphia Eagles was suspended last week for conduct detrimental to the team.  He made comments that belittled his organization, his team, and his quarterback.  Now, if you've been paying attention, which Jesse Jackson clearly is not, you would know that T.O. has been a virus on his team for a long time.  This last incident was simply his final chance.  In addition to his comments, T.O. has been in a fight with the ambassador of the Eagles, told his head coach to shut up, and told another one of his coaches not to speak to him unless spoken to.

In response to Terrell's latest outburst, the Eagles suspended him for four games without pay for conduct detrimental. After the four game suspension, the Eagles will deactivate him for the final five games WITH pay.  So in summation, Owens has played about half the year and will be paid for all but four games of the season.

Now for Jesse Jackson's comments. Jackson claims that T.O.'s recent comments do not "warrant a one-year ban from the game."  Jackson is ignorant to the fact that T.O's ban is not for one year and that he will be paid for the majority of the season.  He also ignores all the prior infraction that T.O. has made in the past.

Now this is the problem with Jesse Jackson.  He is clueless.  He is constantly putting himself in front of the camera to discuss situations that have nothing to do with him and is not even knowledgeable about the subject matter.  As recently as a few months ago, he showed up in Florida to insert himself in the Terry Schiavo case.

This is a man who cheated on his wife with another woman and fathered a child with her.  He then paid her "hush money" to keep the story quiet.  This is a man who freely admitted to spitting into the soups and salads of white customers when he worked as a waiter in a restaurant.  This is a man who referred to Jews as "hymies", an ethnic slur.

If this is the best spokesperson for civil rights movement in the 21st century, then it is a sad era in America.  I personally blame the braindead mainstream media for giving this guy the time of day.


Sunday, November 13, 2005

Bush Approval Numbers Not Low Enough!

President Bush now has the lowest job approval numbers of his presidency.  Even Fox (his own thug network), has him at an all time low.  Only 36% of Americans approve of the job he is doing according to Fox.  If you don't believe Fox (who can), look no further than the AP Poll (37%), NBC/WSJ (38%), Newsweek (36%), and ARG (38%).  The average of all of them is 37%.

What is astounding is that while 37% is low, it is nowhere near the lows for his father, Jimmy Carter, or Richard Nixon.  His own dad hit a low of 32% in 1992.  Jimmy Carter was in the 28-29% range during his presidency, and the lovable Richard M. Nixon was down to 24% at one point in 1974. 

Surely, Bush 43 is far worse than all of them!  The worst Bush 41 did was lie about raising taxes and being out of touch with Americans.  He couldn't lead us out of a recession, but a lot of that was timing.  Jimmy Carter wasn't as bad as Bush 43 either.  The worst he did was preside over economic stagflation and the Iranian hostage crisis.  And Richard Nixon, well, I would argue that even he was not as bad as Bush 43.  Nixon was definitely a crook, but Bush 43 has brought us into an illegal war which has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.  He's lied to the American people and continues to torture prisoners of war.  Which is worse?

So, although Bush 43 is down to a 36% approval rating, he still has a way to go before he officially becomes the most worst president in the history of our great nation.  I, for one, am rooting for that number to keep dropping.  The more people that wake up, the better.  Perhaps the neocons on the right are still clinging to the misguided belief that he is a competent and good man.  Eventually, even they will see the light.  Bush 43 still has three years for his approval rating to drop, and I firmly believe he will be in Nixon territory before it's all said and done.


Saturday, November 12, 2005

Bush Exploits Veteran's Day to Lash Out at Critics

President Bush gave a speech yesterday in Pennsylvania and rather than honor the service of veterans on Veteran's Day, he ripped into people who think he misled the country into war.

The problem is that he did mislead the country into war.  It was Bush who sent his people out to talk about mushroom clouds and scare the American people into thinking that Iraq had the capability to nuke us.  They didn't.  It was Bush who made the claim that Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks.  They weren't.

Bush used the same political spin that his regime has been using for years.  He essentially claims that anyone who questions him is unpatriotic and is sending the wrong signal to the troops.  That argument is absolutely ludicrous.

You see, we live in a democracy and in a democracy, it is the right and the obligation of the people to question the leaders of our country.  To NOT question Bush's decisions would be unpatriotic.  To NOT question his judgment would send the wrong signal to the troops.  Bush doesn't like to be questioned by anyone about why he (mis)led the country into war, so his old standby is to claim that you're unpatriotic if you do.  So I guess we can just go to war with any country we want because the leadership will never be questioned about it?!?!?  What a horrible argument he makes.

President Bush also made a statement yesterday that over 100 Democratic Senators and Congressman had access to the same intelligence that he did.  That is simply a blatant lie.  The White House and the President have and had far more access to intelligence information than Congress.  Many Democrats have already hit the airwaves to spell out what intel they did receive, and it was not much.  You can fault the Democrats here as well for voting for the resolution without having all the information, but for Bush to say they all had access to the same information is insane.  Bush claims that critics are rewriting history.  That is not the case at all.  We are simply uncovering the truth behind his illegal war.

President Bush did a complete disservice to all veterans yesterday by playing politics.  You don't honor their memory and service by lashing out at others.


Friday, November 11, 2005

Democrats Still Have No Unified Position on Iraq War

Despite the fact that Republicans are in disarray, the Democrats are not faring much better.  For more than two years, the Democrats have not been able to articulate any unified position on the Iraq War.  Now, it seems to be getting worse. While John Edwards is now admitting that he made a mistake in voting for the Iraq resolution (which is not voting for the war...it is voting to allow the President to go to war if necessary), Hillary Clinton's stance is to send more troops in to finish what we started.  Still others like Russ Feingold believe we should set a concrete deadline for withdrawal of troops (bad idea).

Now most Democrats won't even take the stance that Clinton, Edwards, and Feingold have. Most of them get on TV and don't know how to articulate their position (see Kerry, John) because they don't actually have one.  When asked how they can criticize when they voted for the war, Democrats begin making nonsensical remarks.  Democrat Charles Schumer is case in point.  He links the war on terror to Iraq, which is the complete opposite of the truth.  He does this because he voted for the resolution and can't admit his error for fear he may be considered soft.

Whichever of these arguments you prefer about the Iraq War, the problem is that the left can't get their story straight. How can the American people follow a political party that has five different positions on the war itself?  The Bush regime got us into this mess, but there doesn't seem to be any leadership on the left to help get us out.  If the Democrats have any hope of winning back the House and Senate in 2006, they MUST come to a consensus on what to do in Iraq.

Currently (and it could change tomorrow), John Edwards seems to have the best position.  He believes he made a mistake with his vote and that we should develop a plan to bring troops home, but not declare a deadline for the whole world to know.  However, the leadership needs to articulate a unified position to the public.  Until they do that, nobody will follow this party.


Thursday, November 10, 2005 at 2:00pm EST

Condoleezza Rice Lies Before the American Bar Association

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke before the American Bar Association International Rule of Law Symposium and claimed, with a straight face, that the United States always abides by international rules.  She made these comments yesterday in Washington ahead of her trip to the Middle East.

The Bush regime has been sending out their underlings in full force to make false statements such as these.  But just wishing it to be true doesn't make it so.  There are documented cases from many different sources that prove the U.S. (under this regime) is clearly not playing by international rules.

Rice's first trip is to Bahrain, a country that America considers an ally.  Unfortunately, the United States had been holding six Bahrainis (that we know of) in prison without allowing for them to have an attorney or a trial.  The U.S. just freed three of them who had been held for four years.  None of the three were ever charged with a crime.  Maybe that's why they couldn't get a trial.  It's hard to have a trial if they're never charged with a crime.  Despite the release, three Bahraini men remain imprisoned by the U.S. government.

It's hard to believe that Condoleezza Rice is going to stand before the leaders of Bahrain and other countries and claim that the U.S. is abiding by the law, when her government is holding Bahrainis illegally.  How much credibility do you think she will have?  "Hi, I'm Condi.  I'm torturing your citizens, not charging them with anything, and denying them counsel, but, oh yeah, our country follows all international rules."  Somehow I don't think that's going to work.  Do we really have to wonder why the rest of the world hates the United States when the Bush/Cheney regime acts like this?


Wednesday, November 9, 2005 at 1:25pm EST

Democrats Sweep!  Schwarzenegger Gets Crushed!

The Democrats won the elections for Governor in New Jersey and Virginia and defeated Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger on all eight ballot initiatives in California.  To be fair, the Democrats didn't win anything that they didn't already hold.  The Governors of New Jersey and Virginia were already Democrats, but they were able to maintain their seats. 

In California, Arnold Schwarzenegger was looking to broaden the power of the Governor.  He failed miserably.  He was strongly backing Propositions 74, 75, 76, and 77 and all were soundly defeated.  The closest race was with Proposition 75, which would have limited unions in the way they spent their money.  But that was defeated by a full 7%. (see below for details)

Although there were just a few races, the outcomes bode well for the Democrats going into the mid-term elections next year.  There is a strong possibility that they will take back the House and the Senate from the Republicans.  A lot can change in a year, but if President Bush's approval ratings stay under 40%, you will see a lot of Republican candidates running away from him in hopes of winning their own election.  However, the White House is a sinking ship right now and unless they can turn it around in a hurry, there is nothing stopping the Dems.


Wednesday, November 9, 2005 at 8:55am EST

California Ballot Initiatives - Arnold Loses All Propositions!

99.5% of precincts reporting

Proposition 74:  Make it more difficult for teachers to receive tenure

Yes:  44.9%

No:  55.1%      * proposition did not pass

Proposition 75:  Limits how unions spend their money

Yes:  46.5%

No:  53.5%      * proposition did not pass

Proposition 76:  Cap on state spending

Yes:  37.9%

No:  62.1%      * proposition did not pass

Proposition 77:  Redistricting

Yes:  40.5%

No:  59.5%      * proposition did not pass

All of Arnold Schwarzenegger's ballot initiatives have failed.  Propositions 64, 75, 76 and 77 will not pass.  Proposition 75 had been close all night, but the 'No's' pulled it out in the end and won by a comfortable 7%.  In the end, none of the questions were close.  This is a huge defeat for Arnold Schwarzenegger, as he put all his effort behind achieving a 'Yes' vote.


Tuesday, November 8, 2005 at 9:37pm

Virginia Governor Results - Kaine Wins!!!

99.1% of precincts reporting

Kaine (D):  51.8%

Kilgore (R):  45.9%

 

The AP has declared Democrat Tim Kaine the new Governor of Virginia!!!

 

New Jersey Governor Results - Corzine Wins!!!

97.2% of precincts reporting

Corzine (D):  53.0%

Forrester (R):  43.6%

 

The AP has declared Democrat Jon Corzine the new Governor of New Jersey!!!


Tuesday, November 8, 2005 at 1:15am EST

Election Day 2005!!!

It is not a big election day for the country, but it is in a few key states.  Virginia and New Jersey hold elections for Governor and there are a number of ballot initiatives in California.  The voting that we see today may give us some insight into what happens in the mid-term elections next year.  By all rights, the Democrats should sweep, considering how much negative press the Republicans have been receiving the last few months.

In New Jersey, which leans left to begin with, Democrat Jon Corzine holds a fairly comfortable lead in the polls over the Republican Doug Forrester.  All of the recent polls have Corzine ahead by 5-9%.  Corzine has been a Senator in New Jersey for the past five years, but decided to attempt the switch to Governor.

In Virginia, the race for Governor is much tighter.  Recent polls have Tim Kaine (D) with a small lead of anywhere from 1-5%.  However, his Republican challenger Jerry Kilgore has been ahead in some polls as recently as October 20th.  Kaine's advantages are that he is currently the Lieutenant Governor and has Governor Mark Warner on his side campaigning for him.  Kilgore's main advantage is that Virginia is more conservative than liberal.  The key to this race will be the turnout.  Warner had great turnout when he ran for the position and Kaine is hoping to duplicate that result.

In California, it is all about Arnold.  Governor Schwarzenegger has essentially staked his job on four of the eight ballot initiatives.  The four he is backing are a cap on spending, a new method of congressional redistricting, restricting unions on how they spend dues, and a proposition to make it more difficult for teachers to get tenure.  Of the four initiatives, it looks like two of them are going right down to the wire.  It appears that Proposition 77, which focuses on the redistricting, will be defeated as will Proposition 76, which would limit state spending.  The latest polls show a 11-20% advantage for the 'No' vote on Prop 77 and a 16-32% advantage for the 'No' vote on Prop 76.

The two other ballot initiatives could go either way, so let's focus on Props 74 and 75.  Left-wing groups, especially unions, have been spending mad money in the state trying to get 'No' votes on Arnold's ideas.  That makes sense, as Proposition 75 would greatly limit the way unions spend their money.  In theory, the union initiative seems like a great idea; force them into getting approval from their members as to how to spend their money.  Unfortunately, saying 'Yes' to this would give more power to Schwarzenegger, and do we really want an actor who can't act or govern to have more power?  I'm going to go with a no on that one. 

I personally believe unions are a necessary evil.  They need to exist to protect employees against management, but their power should not get out of hand, or they become as corrupt as the other side.  However, unless you limit both the thugs on the left and the ones on the right, you cannot yield too much power to one side.  What we have here in Proposition 75 is a Republican who wants to diminish the power and influence of the Democrats.  So unless Arnold proposes the same thing for say, the NRA, (which he won't) then vote 'No' on Proposition 75.

Proposition 74 is much less juicy, but Arnold is still backing it vociferously.  Voting 'Yes' would essentially make it more difficult for teachers to receive tenure and make it easier for school boards to dismiss a teacher.  Voting 'No' would keep things the same.  Teachers are fighting Schwarzenegger on this one and I can't find a reason to argue against them.  It seems to me that it's difficult enough to attract quality teachers and to make their jobs less appealing doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

We should find out sometime tonight the outcome of these races.  My prediction is that the Democrats win both Governor races and that Arnold's initiatives be defeated.  I believe, for better or worse, that it will be a good night to be a Democrat.  I say this only because Republicans are getting hammered in the media of late.  Yes, the media is liberal, but this time, there are so many Republicans breaking laws, it's hard to avoid the guilt by association.


Monday, November 7, 2005

Cheney Pushes For Torture

Senator John McCain recently introduced a simple amendment that would prohibit inhumane treatment and torture of prisoners.  The amendment has the backing of 90 U.S. Senators from both sides of the political aisle.  However, the one person who is fighting McCain on this amendment is Vice President Cheney.  Yes, that's right.  Dick Cheney doesn't think treating prisoners humanely is something the United States should do.

Originally, Dick was trying to stop the amendment altogether.  When he realized that McCain was supported by most Senators and some White House officials, Cheney began lobbying for an "exemption" to the amendment.  The "exemption" would be for the (not so) secret prisons being run by the CIA.  The Vice President believes, at the very least, that the prisoners held in these sites should be abused and tortured for information.

Despite advocating the torture of prisoners, Cheney's people claim that the United States does no such thing.  This is another BS tactic that Cheney uses.  He is essentially lying (again) to the American people, figuring that they're too dumb to realize that he is doing the exact opposite of what comes out of his mouth.  Well, the American people have caught on, as his 19% approval rating is one of the lowest in history.

But it's not just the American people that believe Dick Cheney is a lunatic.  Many officials inside the administration are distancing themselves from the Vice President.  President Bush himself is trying to distance himself from the man who helped bring the country to war in Iraq.  It also doesn't help that Cheney's former Chief of Staff is under indictment.

I don't know who I want out of the White House more, Karl Rove of Richard Cheney.  Both are evil people who deserve to be in prison.  Rove is still under investigation and the only reason that Cheney hasn't been indicted yet is because Scooter Libby is protecting him.


Friday, November 4, 2005

Bush Greeted by Protesters in Argentina

President Bush has left the country! (insert applause here).  He is gone on a long tour of other countries to, among other things, promote free trade.  Don't you feel safer already knowing that he is no longer in the United States?

First up on the agenda is Argentina, where Bush and leaders of North and South America are gathering at an incredibly expensive and luxurious resort by the sea.  Nothing beats spending taxpayer dollars on yourself.  Argentina, for it's part, has seen it's economy collapse due to (surprise, surprise) government corruption and heavy borrowing!  Does this sound familiar to anyone?

The protesters blame the United States for prolonging poverty and death in South America.  Apparently, the United States is responsible for fixing everyone else's problems.  The protesters must have missed the whole "we're not your country" thing.  But, I guess you have to blame someone when you're too useless to fend for yourself.

In attendance today is the incomparable Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who absolutely despises President Bush.  Chavez regularly claims that Bush is trying to overthrow his government.  He apparently doesn't read the news.  If he did, he'd know that Bush has almost all his troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and is picking fights with Syria and Iran.  Nonetheless, Chavez still spews his propaganda to his people in order to make himself look better.  He will use the summit to denounce the United States.  Fortunately, his good friend, Fidel Castro was not invited.


Wednesday, November 2, 2005

The Torture of Prisoners

The Washington Post reported this morning that terrorist suspects are being held in secret prisons by the United States government without counsel or trial.  Apparently, within the agency, they are just now debating the moral and legal questions that surround this issue.  So allow me to clear it up for them.  There is no debate; it is illegal AND immoral!  Anyone civilized person with a little common sense would know this.  If it wasn't illegal, do you really think they would be secret prisons?

So what goes on in these secret prisons run by the CIA?  Well, according to The Washington Post (along with many other human rights organizations), the CIA and the American government are torturing the hell out of these prisoners to gather as much information as possible from them.  Some of the tactics that the Americans are using are so brutal that they have resulted in the death of these prisoners.  To be specific, in November of 2002, a CIA officer forced a prisoner to strip naked and then chained him to the cold, concrete floor.  The CIA officer left him there overnight with no clothes and the prisoner was dead by morning.  You may think that this is an isolated incident, but it is not.  It is a systematic policy of abuse and torture.  There are reports of up to 36 prisoners that have been killed by the American military or CIA.  Many more have been tortured to within inches of their lives.

It is painful to admit that our government is responsible for the murder of prisoners of war, but it is undeniably true.  Now there are many that will rationalize these murders and say that these prisoners are terrorists.  Unfortunately, we don't know that they are terrorists.  They have never been to trial and have never seen a lawyer.  Some, undoubtedly are terrorists, but many are not.  When human rights organizations took a closer look at the prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, they estimated that 70% of them had nothing to do with anything and were just picked up by American forces because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Yes, that's 70% that were not terrorists.  But that doesn't stop them from being tortured or imprisoned.

Now how has this great nation come to this?  It started after 9/11, as fear and panic spread throughout the country and  throughout this White House.  President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and others decided that abusing and torturing prisoners was necessary to prevent another attack.  Their fear and irrational thoughts took over their sense of right and wrong and they set out to torture prisoners that they captured.  Except, they wouldn't call them prisoners of war.  To do that, they wouldn't legally be allowed to torture.  So they told the American public and the world that these prisoners were enemy combatants and/or terrorists. 

This would allow them to escape The Geneva Conventions on a technicality.  However, when you say that The Geneva Conventions do not apply, all you are really saying is that we will torture these people.  The Geneva Conventions exist solely to provide humane treatment to prisoners of war.  The law was signed by the United States and nearly every other country in 1949 expressly to stop the mistreatment of prisoners.  Violations of this law are a punishable criminal offense.

The Geneva Conventions prohibited Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and anyone else from abusing people held in captivity.  So they turned to some lawyers, namely John Yoo and Alberto Gonzales, to write the memo that outlined how to circumvent international law and rough up these prisoners.  From there, the CIA and military were given free reign to employ these disgusting and hard-line tactics.  Four years later, these are the stories you have coming to light.  Prisoners have been killed, beat-up, tortured, abused, and left to die.  They have been tricked into thinking they were going to be drowned (water-boarding), and they have been left naked on the concrete floor.

The question is what to do about it?  It seems abundantly clear that the Bush Administration has no plans to stop these tactics.  It also seems clear that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans in Congress are doing anything to prevent it.  The closest they have come has been the McCain Amendment, which lays out what is allowed in an interrogation room.  It passed the Senate last month overwhelmingly by a vote of 90-9, but President Bush has threatened to veto it.  Bush continues to want the ability to abuse prisoners for fear he won't get enough intelligence.

You see, what the administration doesn't understand is that this is a reflection on who we are as a people.  We cannot become are enemy.  We must maintain the values that have set this country apart from others for the last 200+ years.  If we cannot maintain the highest moral and ethical standards, then we will fail as a country.


Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Senate Democrats Call Rare Closed-Door Session

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid has invoked Rule 21 to call a closed door meeting of Senators to discuss pre-war intelligence and the Libby indictment.  This rarely used rule allows the Democrats to lock the doors, throw out all the staff, and take everyone's cell phones, Blackberry's away.  Democrats believe (as do I) that Republicans manipulated the intelligence to make the case to go to war in Iraq.

The fact is that we were led to war on false pretenses.  Iraq did not have any nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. Even if they did, it does not give the United Stated the right to invade their country.  When Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, and George Bush spoke about mushroom clouds and millions of potential deaths, all they were doing was scaring and manipulating the American public to justify the need to go to war.

Majority Leader Bill Frist (R), who is already being investigated by the SEC, cried and moaned that he had been "stabbed in the back" by Harry Reid. Frist claims that he cannot trust Harry Reid.  As if anyone can trust Frist, who was illegally trading stocks to line his own pocket and then lied about it afterward.

Are Democrats finally waking up and willing to fight??? It looks right now that they are.  They are on the floor in a contentious argument with Republicans.

The larger problem is that the Democrats do not have a consensus opinion on the war.  Some Democrats who voted to allow the president to go to war if necessary, are afraid to say that they made a mistake.  These Senators need to publicly admit their mistake and then come after the neocons that brought our country to war.  The American public will not crucify them for admitting a mistake.  Short of that, the Dems will not be able to unify their party.


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