Political Critic Archives - October 2006


                   October 2006


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Tuesday, October 31, 2006 - 9:45pm


John Kerry was making some jokes at the expense of President Bush in a speech yesterday, but that didn't stop the Republicans from splicing his speech and making him sound like he doesn't support the troops.  Kerry made reference to President Bush being dumb and that if you didn't study hard and get a good education, you'd make the same mistakes Bush has made in Iraq.  A simple comment, right?  Oh no!


Republicans came out swinging, proclaiming that Kerry had called the troops dumb. George Bush, proving the point Kerry was making about his stupidity, neglected to actually watch what John Kerry said, but felt free to criticize nonetheless.  What was even more disappointing was that John McCain, once a friend to Kerry, called on him to apologize to the troops.


Huh?  How idiotic are these people?  Kerry may be guilty of telling a bad joke, but he did not insult the troops.  He was insulting the President.  This simply wreaks of desperation on the part of the GOP, which may show us all how much trouble they are in.  They are attacking a guy they already beat two years ago.


For his part, Kerry came back fighting.  If he had done that two years ago, he'd probably be President right now.


Monday, October 30, 2006 - 7:35pm

James Webb +5 in Latest Rasmussen Poll

A stunning Rasmussen poll has just been released that shows Democrat James Webb with a 5% lead over Senator George 'Macaca' Allen in Virginia.  In a poll conducted over the weekend, James Webb leads 51-46% with 2% undecided.  This is a significant trend upward for Webb with only eight days left until the election.  Allen was once considered a presidential hopeful for 2008, but now he is struggling to hold his own status as Senator.


If the Democrats take this seat, that would give them a likely pickup of five.  They need six.  If they win Virginia, they would still need Harold Ford Jr. to win in Tennessee or Claire McCaskill to win in Missouri.


Saturday, October 28, 2006 - 8:00pm

Shut Up and Advertise!

A new movie called "Shut Up and Sing"  chronicles the backlash against the Dixie Chicks, after lead singer Natalie Maines said that the group was ashamed that the President was from their home state of Texas.  Well, NBC has decided that they want to censor a movie about censorship and freedom of speech.  NBC has refused to air the ad, with a rationale that it is "disparaging to the President".


 The CW has also decided to ban this movie trailer.  So much for freedom of speech.  Apparently freedom of speech only exists in America if you agree with what conservatives have to say.  If not, consider yourself censored.  Luckily, the mainstream media thugs are no longer the only outlet to get ads out.  Thanks to the bloggers and YouTube, we are able to bring you the trailer, despite the ban by the networks.  The film has already been released in New York and LA, but will not released across the country until November 10th.


Whether you agree with what the Dixie Chicks have to say or not is irrelevant.  What you can't argue with is their right to say it.  Freedom of speech has always been a hallmark of American society and it is being destroyed before our very eyes.  Hundreds of thousands of Americans have died in order for us to be able to speak freely.  NBC doesn't care.  They are more interested in caving to political pressure.


NBC and The CW have absolutely no problem running political smear ads in Tennessee, Virginia, and elsewhere, but they inexplicably have a problem with this movie trailer?!?!?  It boggles the mind.  The entire story is a factual documentary of what happened to the Dixie Chicks since their controversial comment.  There is no way in hell that a national network should be able to ban the ad.


Friday, October 27, 2006 - 12:00am

Three Part Solution to Solve the Problem in Iraq

It's really a shame that we cannot have an honest debate in this country about what to do in Iraq. If you cut through the politics, you realize that both the left and the right have legitimate arguments about Iraq and both sides are interested in protecting the lives of Americans and American soldiers.  They simply have different ways of wanting to solve the problem.  Conservatives believe we need to stay or Iraq will be much worse in years to come.  Liberals, in general, want to leave now to prevent the deaths of soldiers and civilians.


The unfortunate reality is that Iraq will become a larger version of the pre-9/11 Afghanistan if our forces leave now.  I firmly believe Bush should be impeached for getting us into this mess and having no clue how to solve it, but we need to stay.  If the military leaves, there will be complete and total anarchy in Iraq.  Terrorists, who were not in Iraq before, would be able to operate and thrive in a lawless nation.


There is a way to win in Iraq, but I'm afraid it will never come to pass.  The administration continues to make mistake after mistake and is more interested in winning elections than fixing their mess.  Creating a stable Iraq is not difficult, but it does requires making difficult decisions that are not popular politically.


The first requirement in stabilizing Iraq is more troops.  Nobody wants to hear that, but it is clear that additional troops are needed to hold down areas.  American troops have relatively little trouble securing a particular neighborhood and quelling the violence for a period of time, but they are never able to stay.  They are forced to move to another neighborhood to secure the peace and the one they leave becomes violent again.  It is a continuous circle that exists because of too few troops.


The second requirement is the training of Iraqi troops in other countries.  Many nations have offered their help to train Iraqi police and soldiers, but the administration has refused.  In nearly four years in Iraq, the U.S. has trained very few Iraqi military personnel.  By accepting help, these men will be trained quicker.  Training these guys outside Iraq will also prevent them from getting killed.  In addition, coalition forces could better weed out any insurgents among them.


The third need is to separate the country into three sovereign nations.  If centuries of warfare has taught us anything, it is that people of different religious and ethnic backgrounds do not get along overnight.  The Sunnis, Shia, and Kurds should all have their own country.  They will continue to kill each other if they are not separated.  They also would be much more willing to fight for a country that is truly their own.


This will work, but it will not be done.  The administration will not add a significant number of troops because it is politically damaging.  For some reason, they also have not allowed other countries to help.  The third part about splitting the nation into three may eventually happen, but they are not ready to come around to that notion.


Whatever changes in strategy they make in Iraq, it won't be done until after the elections.  Power and holding onto power is far more important to them than the lives of American soldiers.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006 - 12:00am

Things Getting Nasty in Tennessee

The Senate race in Tennessee is getting extremely ugly as Republican and Democratic operatives move in to battle it out.  A recent negative ad from the Republican camp is being aired and is laced with sexual and racial overtones against Democrat Harold Ford Jr., an African-American candidate.  Republican Bob Corker has denounced the ad, but has refused to take it off the air.


 Bob Corker is using a tactic that is reminiscent of 2000, when then Governor Bush's campaign spread racial lies about John McCain in South Carolina. He is using his allies like the RNC to destroy his opponent by spreading false statements, then pretending to stand on the high moral ground and criticize the ad.


Unfortunately, the media has not called him on this any more than they did when Bush's thugs ripped McCain.  George Bush got away with the unethical conduct by saying he wasn't doing it and now Bob Corker will too. 


Neither the media nor the Democratic Party has any stones to stand up to these dirty tricks.  The media is so afraid of appearing liberal that they don't do their jobs and the Democrats just don't know how to fight in the sewer with the conservatives.  As a result, it could be the beginning of the end of the left in Tennessee.  Bob Corker has taken a slight lead in the polls with only two weeks to go and Ford continues to get dragged through the mud.


 What may help Ford is that Bob Corker is just not a good candidate.  He even lies to the cameras.  He was adamant in a recent debate that he never, ever used the term 'stay the course' in Iraq when discussing strategy.  Turns out, that was exactly what he said only three months ago.  Corker is simply regurgitating Bush talking points and has no clue what he's doing.  Let's see if Ford and the national Democrats that are now down in Tennessee can do something about it.


Monday, October 23, 2006 - 12:00am

It Will Come Down to Tennessee and Missouri

The mid-term elections are now only 15 days away and it appears that the most significant battleground states will be Tennessee and Missouri.  The Democrats need to pick up six seats to regain control of the Senate and all indications are that they will definitely win four.  Montana, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Ohio are all leaning left.  In Virginia, the race is tight, but George 'Macaca' Allen looks like he'll hold on. 


 The video shown here is a very powerful ad from Missouri Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill.  In it, Michael J. Fox speaks about stem cell research and you can see that he literally needs it to keep living.  Ads like these could tip the balance to McCaskill's favor.  She is currently ahead in the polls, but only by 1.4%.  Both candidates are very strong and we may not know who won until the wee hours of the morning on November 8th.


The race in Tennessee is even closer.  Harold Ford Jr. has surged in recent months to hold the narrowest of leads at 0.8%.  Ford is an extremely good politician, especially considering his relative youth.  He was running a nearly flawless campaign against Bob Corker until he decided to crash Corker's press conference on Friday.  Corker has been disparaging Ford's family, so Ford decided to confront him about it.  I saw the exchange and thought it was rather amusing and harmless, but it could make a difference to some undecided voters.


Missouri and Tennessee to decide the fate of the Democrats.  Let's hope that it's a fair election without the questionable outcomes of Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004.


Saturday, October 21, 2006 - 7:00pm

Three Years Late For Iraq Strategy

President Bush has decided that now he wants to sit down with his generals and discuss the failing strategy in Iraq.  Nearly 3,000 American soldiers have died, but not until he is danger of losing the House and Senate does he try to do something.  Democrats are poised to take over Congress in large part because of the disaster that Bush created in Iraq.  Now that the administration realizes that, they are trying to do everything they can to hold onto power.


Power and politics is what its all about, not changing tactics in Iraq.  Bush could care less about the men and women fighting over there.  What he does care about is keeping and growing his power.  General John Abizaid has been begging for changes for a long, long time and has been ignored up until this point.  Now Bush has invited the general to Washington to discuss which tactics should be changed to achieve victory...whatever that means.


General Abizaid is being used to win an election.  He is the most prominent military man in Iraq, so Bush and company are trotting him out to pretend they care about the war.  Why else would you bring in video cameras to cover the conference.  It makes it look like Bush is taking charge and doing something about the bloodshed in Iraq.  Nothing could be further from the truth.


October is shaping up to be one of the worst months ever in terms of U.S. military deaths.  Almost 80 soldiers have died this month and it is only the 21st.  Three and a half years have passed and the situation has only become worse.  American soldiers do not even know who they are fighting.  The guy walking down the street could be just a guy going to work or he could be an insurgent preparing to kill.  It is impossible to tell the difference.


So don't expect Bush to change course in Iraq and turn things around.  He's not smart enough to listen to his generals and the people that know what they're doing.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006 - 8:30am (updated 10/19)

Goodbye Habeas Corpus

It is now legal for the American government to take any citizen off the street, lock them up in prison, and deny them a trial.  President Bush signed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 yesterday, which gives him authority to throw you in jail for nothing.  All he has to do is declare you an enemy combatant and off you go.


   Habeas Corpus is the legal instrument that had protected American citizens from unlawful imprisonment.  It no longer exists in the United States.  Anyone, including political enemies, activists, journalists, and bloggers can all be jailed without committing a crime.  It is a sad day in America when our freedoms are being eliminated.  What is even sadder is the apathy on display from the public.  Nobody seems to care that the worst president in the history of our great nation just moved the country one step closer to a dictatorship.


Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) was one of the very few Democrats to put up any protest whatsoever.  Most Democrats do not have the spine to stand up for what they believe in. Feingold said it much better than I could, so I will use his words to show the danger of this law.

"It allows the government to seize individuals on American soil and detain them indefinitely with no opportunity to challenge their detention in court.  And the law would permit an individual to be convicted on the basis of coerced testimony and even allow someone convicted under these rules to be put to death."

Unfortunately, none of the other Democrats have any cajones to stand up to this president and his tyrannical regime.  Rather than fight, they quiver up and go home with their tail between their legs.  They are far too concerned with their own political future than protecting the rights of Americans.  These rights have been fought for hundreds of years by brave men and women.  Now it is being thrown away in order to increase the government's power.


Perhaps the Democrats will win back Congress and overturn this law next year, but I wouldn't hold my breath.  With the exception of Feingold and few others, there is no leadership on the left.


Monday, October 16, 2006 - 7:30pm

Another Day, Another Republican Congressman Under Investigation

Say hello to Congressman Curt Weldon (R-PA), the latest corrupt politician to be investigated by federal agents.  Mr. Weldon has been a very bad boy.  He used his power and influence to win big money contracts for his lobbyist daughter, Karen Weldon.  These are not your nickel and dime contracts that he threw her way.  These are multi-million dollar consulting contracts with large, foreign firms.


Congressman Weldon is one of the highest ranking Republicans in the House of Representatives.  He is second in command of the Armed Services Committee and a very powerful member on the Hill.  Unfortunately, he couldn't play by the rules and behave himself, which is pretty sad considering that he used to be an elementary school teacher.


Federal agents raided six different places today, including Karen Weldon's home.  It is unknown what they found, but the raids were conducted, in part because the FBI didn't want any evidence destroyed.  Nice.


What this all means for the elections is that yet another House seat is up for grabs.  Congressman Weldon has served 10 terms and won with 59% of the vote in 2004, but he faces a battle against Democratic challenger Joe Sestak.  Weldon would've been in a tough fight regardless, but this investigation now puts Joe Sestak in favor of winning this seat.


The Republicans have already conceded a number of seats and the Democrats only have to win 15 of them to take control of the House.  They just got a little closer.


Saturday, October 14, 2006 - 4:00pm

GOP Ground Game Superior to Democrats

In six of the seven competitive senate seats, the Democrats are leading their Republican challengers.  However, in many of those races, the Republican candidate is within one or two percent.  That could be close enough for the Republicans simply because their ground game in turning out the vote is far better than the left.  We could be heading into election night thinking the Democrats will win, but could be shocked when the actual votes are counted.


   There are a number of reasons the Republicans are better at getting the public to vote.  For starters, they have a lot more money than the Democrats.  This has allowed them to employ more people for canvassing, cold calling, etc.  It also has allowed them to put high-tech touch screen balloting machines in areas that are heavily conservative.  The Republicans also recognized this need a long time ago and now are experts at what is effective and what isn't.


The lack of state-of-the-art voting machines in major cities are a huge disadvantage to the Democrats.  The cities are where the Democrats have their base of support, but many voting locations still have paper ballots.  The problem with paper ballots is that a large percentage of them are never counted, thus hurting the Democrats.  Electronic voting counts nearly all of the votes cast.  Electronic voting should clearly have a paper trail to avoid corruption, but it is a better system.


The Democrats are more prepared than they were in the 2002 and 2004 elections, but it is still inferior to the conservatives.  There are two Senate races that look to come right down to the wire.  In Missouri and Tennessee, the polls show the candidates separated by no more than 1.4%. 


The GOP has an intense, 72-hour get out the vote program that could be worth a couple percent and could mean the difference between them losing control of the Senate and holding onto it.  If the Democrats want control, they better make sure they are comfortably ahead.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006 - 12:00am

How to Handle the North Korea Problem

The Clinton and Bush administrations have failed miserably in controlling the rogue nation of North Korea in the past ten years.  Under President Clinton, North Korea was enticed to give up their nuclear ambitions.  The administration sent Madeleine Albright to Pyongyang and schmoozed with wacko Kim Jong Il.  The U.S. provided all sorts of incentives to North Korea, but that strategy appears to be a disaster.  You don't reward people for bad behavior.  It simply encourages more.


   The Bush administration has taken a harder line by not talking to the North Koreans directly or providing many incentives to them, but that tactic hasn't worked either.  In the last five years, North Korea has created a number of nuclear weapons.  In their test of the nuke yesterday, North Korea basically dared the United States to do something about it.


Unfortunately, there are no great options for the United States right now.  Many people are calling on the Bush administration to hold bilateral talks with Kim Jong Il.  The problem with that strategy is that it ignores all the other players in the region, most notably China and Russia.  That would be a bad idea.


Military options are limited to be sure.  Iraq has bogged down the U.S. military, so the options would be limited to air and sea weaponry.  Plus, North Korea has a million man army that could invade South Korea at a moment's notice if provoked.  That would also endanger the 36,000 American troops that are in South Korea helping them protect their northern border.


Economic sanctions don't work either.  They take far too long and the effect is usually to the detriment of the poor, not the elite. 


The only current solution is to pressure China and Russia into action.  Russia and China have a much greater stake in this than the United States.  Thus far, they have been reluctant to do anything.  However, they may step up now that Kim Jong Il has tested nukes.  The U.S. can provide economic incentives to Russia and China and they can, in turn, force North Korea to suspend their nuclear program.


Monday, October 9, 2006 - 12:00am

Monday Morning Political Roundup

The Mark Foley scandal is not going away anytime soon.  Here are a few reasons it will dominate the news for the entire week.

  • The L.A. Times is reporting that a former page had sex with Mark Foley after he left the program.  Foley started emailing him immediately after he left the page program while he was still in high school.  He was 21 years old when they actually had sex.


  • Another Republican Congressman knew about Mark Foley's conduct six years ago.  Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) was notified in 2000 by his own page that Mark Foley was sending sexually explicit to him.  Kolbe's office has confirmed the account to the Washington Post.


  • In 2002 or 2003, Mark Foley showed up drunk at the page's dorm.  That prompted a meeting between Kirk Fordham and Scott Palmer, the Chief of Staff to House Speaker Dennis Hastert.  Palmer later confirmed to Fordham that he had spoken to Foley and his boss, Dennis Hastert about the problem.


  • It is now clear that the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, has known for years about the Mark Foley problem and has been lying for the past ten days about his knowledge of the issue.  It is time for him to resign immediately.  My prediction is that he won't make it through the week.  Pack your backs Cardinal Law, uh I mean Mr. Hastert.


Thursday, October 5, 2006 - 11:00pm

Not Your Father's Republican Party

It occurred to me that right-wing conservatives do not vote for Republicans simply because they are Republicans.  They vote for Republicans because Republicans stand for traditional and family values.  So what happens when that belief is shattered?  Evangelicals and religious conservatives stay home and don't vote.  They stay home not because they want the Democrats to control Congress, but because the Republicans no longer stand for the same principles that they do.


   This is what we are seeing today with the Mark Foley sex scandal and other missteps by the Republican Party.  As one reader on MSNBC.com put it, the party has "become a collection of thugs, power-mongers, and, sadly now, online sex predators."  The Republicans hold themselves up as the party of values, yet they are no better than Democrats in the morals department.


Now we come to soon-to-be former House Speaker Dennis Hastert.  A week ago, I would've told you that Hastert was a good guy.  Now I equate him to Cardinal Bernard Law of the Archdiocese of Boston, who covered for priests that were sexually molesting young boys.


Unfortunately, Denny Hastert is no different.  He's lying his ass off every time he opens his mouth.  I have no physical proof, but common sense tells us that Hastert knew all along what Mark Foley was doing and chose to look the other way for the sake of saving one Republican seat.  One measly seat in exchange for putting teenage boys at risk of sexual molestation.  He let a 52-year old sexual predator continuously come after 16-year old boys.  It's sick.


No, this is not your father's Republican Party.  These people brought us an unjust war in Iraq. They failed to win a just war in Afghanistan because they largely ignored it.  They advocated for torture and now, they have covered for a sexual predator.  The Democrats may not be the answer, but for now they are the only alternative.


Wednesday, October 4, 2006 - 12:00am

Mark Foley - The Gift that Keeps On Giving

  • Not only did Mark Foley resign, but he may take the Republican leadership down with him. President Bush's poll numbers are already sliding back under 40% and the bible thumpers on the far right are calling for Denny Hastert's resignation.  Other Republican House members may also be in trouble.

  • Bush's approval peaked last week at 42%, but is now down to 39% and could get worse.  If he declines to 35% or below by election night, the Democrats will take control of both the House and Senate.  Write that down!


  • I love it when Republicans fight with each other.  They get on TV and claim to be moral and ethical, and two seconds later they are bashing gays.  Hypocrites!  One idiot on MSNBC's Hardball claimed that gay men are more likely to be pedophiles than straight men.  What a bigot!


  • The Democrats have been given a gift here.  Ok, they probably leaked the story themselves, but nobody is focused on that right now.  They leaked it too early, but it looks like the media will run with it for weeks.  The Democrats just have to keep the GOP fighting itself for five more weeks and they are home free.  Just stoke the fire a little bit, then get out of the way.


Monday, October 2, 2006 - 12:00am

Did Republicans Cover for a Sexual Predator?

Congressman Mark Foley (R-FL) resigned a few days ago amid revelations that he wrote sexually explicit messages to 16-year old boys that were working as Congressional pages.  He only resigned when ABC uncovered the details and confronted Mr. Foley.  One 16-year old who received these emailed messages described them as sick, sick, sick, sick. 


   The email messages were written over a year ago in August, 2005.  Leaders in the House have already confirmed that they were aware of the issue months ago, but did nothing.  Knowing that a colleague in a position of power was sending sexual emails to boys under the age of 18 and not doing anything about is unacceptable.  Are these the kind of people we want leading our country?


In order to avoid the appearance that they're trying to cover for a sexual predator, Republican leaders in the House now are pushing vehemently for a full scale investigation.  It shows a complete contradiction from their prior actions, which was to ignore the problem and hope that it went away.  An election is upcoming and they didn't want it to interfere.


Once again, we find more phonies in Congress.  The three Republicans in the House that acknowledged they were aware of Foley's behavior were Rodney Alexander (R-LA), Thomas Reynolds (R-NY), and John Shimkus (R-IL).  These three men did very little about the situation. You can be sure that if these three men knew about Foley's misconduct, then many more knew as well.  Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was said to be aware of it months ago.  In fact, it was considered an open secret in Congressional circles.


Now that they're all trying to save their own hide, the House voted 409-0 to pursue an investigation into the matter.  Unfortunately, the unanimous vote came when everyone was watching.  When nobody was watching, not one Congressman tried to stop Mark Foley from exploiting children.


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