Bill Kristol Begs Obama to Become a Republican

Nov 14 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party, White House

Bill Kristol's Willie Wonka Dreams

Bill Kristol Urges Obama to Become a Republican

For a faction that spends so much of its time dissing Obama, the Right never stops trying to co-opt his inherent popularity and the general trust the American people have in his character. To that end, this morning Bill Kristol is begging Obama to become a Republican. Wouldn’t that give their faux populist bent some super cred that Michael Steele somehow never managed to pull off?

Oh, you think it’s unfair of me to assume that they’re just looking for some color cred and you’re right. Why, the diversity in the oxymoronic modern day Republican Party takes my breath away. Especially I love how they kept their promises to the Mama Grizzles, who are now running the world from what only appear to be powerless positions, but we all know that the kitchen rules the roost.

Here’s Bill on the November 14 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday, finally figuring out how to solve the national crisis his party created. His solution? The President should bang his head against the same brick wall of failed ideas that the Republicans refuse to give up, regardless of reality! Who can say Bill doesn’t love America?

Video courtesy of Media Matters. http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201011140002

As a way to deflect from the glaringly obvious upcoming civil war among Teapublicans (starring Mitch McConnell against tea paper dragon Jim DeMint) over earmarks and other awkward promises of fiscal conservatism they are already walking back (in their own districts, much as anti-choices are against abortion unless they need one), Kristol tossed out that Obama will join the Republican agenda, and things will be blissful:

“Republicans will be against earmarks, President Obama will be against earmarks and we’re going to have a wonderful moment of blessed bipartisan bliss. We’re gonna have agreement on extending current tax rates for three or four years, an agreement we shouldn’t have earmarks, agreement on spending cuts, agreement on prosecuting war in Afghanistan. We’re gonna have the Obama, Boehner, DeMint agenda for the next three or four months and it’s gonna be good for the country.”

You can hear Bill’s shaky breath on the exhale after he utters this most absurd Willie Wonka version of how government works when his Party only has one branch of government locked up. But don’t get mad, you know Republicans don’t do reality. Props to Bill, though, for daring to explain on Fox News that Obama doesn’t have totalitarian control of discretionary funding as some in his party are suggesting. Even these small drops of knowledge regarding how government actually works can be viewed as betrayal by the base, so good on ya’, Bill!

Thinkin’ on Bill’s plan, if you leave reality at the door, I have to agree. I mean what says I love my country more than signing on to continue policies that have brought your country to her knees, conceived of by men who brought down every sector of the economy during an 8 year dry drunk binge, who are still refusing recovery?

The only problem I see with this plan, Bill, is that the Republicans have no agenda. Remember? Ya’ll have a Contract on America that was slick and cute and oh so energizing, but it had no…. plan. Where’s the beef, Bill? Oh…that’s right. Bill probably wants Obama to just become a Republican so as to minimize this entire losing the 2008 election thing by a landslide because so far, what he’s proposing is extending unpaid for tax cuts for the wealthy and cutting spending…now, that would be fine and dandy if Republicans ever cut spending, but we all know they have a problem with their own sense of entitlement to our tax dollars. So, it’s kinda more of the same, Bill. More of the same ideas that drove us into this dark, dank ditch of despair.

Someone should tell Bill that winning the House of Representatives in the midterms against the incumbent presidential party during a recession isn’t exactly a mandate from the people, so the “Obama, Boehner DeMint agenda” is quite simply a pipe dream. Bill seems to forget that they didn’t win the Senate. Will someone please tap him gently when he wakes from his delusional stupor of entitlement and denial and remind him of the election results and maybe a quick Civics 101 refresher?

No, I think the President might do best to steer clear of Bill’s GOPPER Titanic jihad against America Contract. These “ideas” didn’t work for the last 40 years and I dunno, call me a cynic, but something tells me they’re not gonna work now. We were hoping for a real recovery, Bill. Not more failure. And since we only have another 6 years to balance the budget and get the economy moving before you clowns take over again, we’d really appreciate it if you would just sorta stay on the fringe where ya’ll live. You know, with your party leader, Ms Palin.

Smirking must be contagious in the GOP, because even after epic failure, they all still walk around with those impervious to reality, plastic Bachmann smiles. Only the crazy eyes give it all away. Thank goodness our President isn’t foolish enough to cater to Bill Krazy Kristol. Hey Bill, you do know that the President is just being courteous and hopeful when he asks what your ideas are? Because, you know, we all know that when he tries to implement your ideas, y’all vote against your own ideas just to prove that you’re still the man. And with leadership like that, it’s a wonder the American public refused you the Senate.

Have fun with your House o’ Crazy for the next two years, Bill. I’m afraid that’s all you’re likely to get. America is still waiting for the GOP to actually own up to even one of its failures. Until then, it’s sorta hard to trust you.

8 responses so far

What do the Midterms Mean to Congressional Women?

Nov 12 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Sarah Palin’s Mama Grizzlies were extinctified in the recent midterms (can I use that expression, Sarah? I made it up myself!).

What the heck happened to all those Republican women? Those strong-hearted Mama Grizzlies like Angle and O’Donnell and Fiorina? Women didn’t do so well. Women got elected, sure, but there will be no more women in Congress as a result of those elections than there were before.

CNN reports some basic facts about women in American government, and they’re sobering:

  • Record number of new GOP faces in Congress in 2011 will be women
  • Overall number of women in Congress will not increase, however
  • Women make up 17 percent of Congress
  • U.S. ranks 90th in the world when it comes to number of women in national legislatures.

“In fact,” CNN goes on to reveal, “this election year will mark the first time in nearly three decades that women have not increased their ranks in Congress.” There is something that must be pointed out, however, with regards to America’s ranking in the world: other countries have quotas that ensure enough women serve.

Still, 17 percent is not too impressive and it doesn’t sound like we took step forward, which is no surprise considering we’re talking about a Republican victory.

Before you start saying the Democrats are afraid of strong Republican women, think about this:

Sure, 113 GOP women challenged incumbents compared to 80 Democrats but the Democrats had a 46 percent success rate compared to only 28 for the Republicans. And Democrat women still far outnumber Republican women in Congress.

Sarah Palin can try to co-opt feminism for her own non-feminist purposes but the numbers don’t lie.

And leadership roles? Fuhgeddaboudit!

The Democrats had a female Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. She will likely remain minority leader.

Three women, all Democrats, will be losing their committee chairs:

  • Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) Chair, House Rules Committee;
  • Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) Chair, Small Business Committee, and
  • Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) Chair, House Ethics Committee.

If you’re keeping track, that’s three Democratic women out of leadership positions, four if you count Pelosi. CNN reports that only one woman is likely to assume a committee chair position:

The only woman expected to take over a House committee is [Ileana] Ros-Lehtinen, who is likely to become chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The new Republican Speaker of the House is a male. And not one single member of his leadership team is a woman. All men. Boehner’s Boys they’re already calling them. Crazy Michele Bachman tried to break into that Good Old Boys club but failed. She dropped out of the running on Wednesday.

The highest ranked Republican woman will be ranked fifth from the top, counting the Speaker. This will be Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, who it is believed will retain her vice chair of the House GOP Conference.

I guess Republicans don’t mind women in the House, they just want them in the kitchen.

So what is it with Republicans and women? You can say in defense of the GOP that there are too few Republican women with seniority to assume leadership roles but whose fault is that? It’s not the fault of Democrats that there have been few GOP women; after all, we elect plenty of our own. The blame points squarely where it belongs: at the GOP Good Old Boys club.

The accusation of misogyny has been laid before their door already, and it’s still on the table. The recent elections featured many female Republican candidates but few were elected and none of them were given leadership roles. This doesn’t sound like a female-friendly bunch.

And let’s face it, where the general elections were concerned and Democrats played a part, you can’t pretend that Angle, O’Donnell and Fiorina were candidates who could be or should be taken seriously. It was a joke, right? Had to be. It wasn’t sexism that defeated the Three Amigas but “stupidism,” the tendency of voters to reject outrageously, catastrophically incompetent candidates.

I mean it was a joke, right? Tell me it was a joke.

But Republicans have a difficult time coming to grips with their racism and they have a difficult time coming to grips with their misogyny. They like to throw both back at liberals and make the claim that liberals are racists and misogynists but the facts just don’t bear this out. The GOP is its own worst enemy, so anti-everything that it’s created a tent too small for anyone but a few rich white men and their sycophants.

Why a woman would even want to join this group is beyond me but to each his own. The point is that the Republicans are not interested in advancing a feminist agenda; they don’t believe in feminism because deep down in their heart of hearts they don’t believe women are as good as men. Look at the bimbos in push-up bras they line up to sell their propaganda on FOX News. If they took women seriously, you wouldn’t be seeing that.

But they don’t, and I think that says it all.

12 responses so far

President Obama Screwed You. Wait, No He Didn’t

Nov 11 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party, White House

Here's the man we can't stop talking about

Obama Screwed You – Wait, No He Didn’t

All the rage, all the buzz, is how Obama screwed us all and no one, and I mean no one, likes him anymore! Hey, Obama, you suck! Give us the permanent tax cuts or else, and do not give them to anyone else. We mean it! Cut to the quiet clarification in the afternoon that all of the hysteria was for naught. No need to kill ourselves yet. Oh, is it too late? Gee, sorry. It was for a good cause; the “Republican come back” and also too some extra clicks.

At 4:31 this afternoon, the National Journal is reporting:

“Michael Steel, spokesman for the putative next House speaker, John Boehner, didn’t miss the chance to take a shot at the White House: He sent out an e-mail celebrating that Axelrod was finally seeing things the Right way.
But in comments to National Journal later in the morning, Axelrod clarified his statement and said the White House is not caving in.
“We’re willing to discuss how we move forward,” Axelrod said in an e-mail to National Journal, “but we believe that it’s imperative to extend the tax cuts for the middle class, and don’t believe we can afford a permanent extension of tax cuts for the wealthy.” It’s a notion that the president raised as far back as his interview with National Journal in October.”

The article further explains, however, “If you polled all American economists and gave the median thinker plenipotentiary powers, he or she would likely say its best to leave tax rates where they are for the next year or two and then raise them.”

So the National Journal is setting the stage for a possible two year extension given that economists apparently suggest this. However, neither the National Journal, the Huffington Post nor John Boehner are your President. In other words, they are all guessing what he’s going to do, and jacking you up righteously in the mean time.

And Washington Post explains, “The question remains, though, whether the White House will hold fast to Obama’s demand last week that the extension of the tax cuts for the middle class remain permanent while extending the high end ones temporarily. The main sticking point is that Republicans won’t allow the two categories to be extended for different durations, because that would force them to push for just an extension of the cuts for the rich later.”

And by the way everyone – the Deficit Commission making all of these recommendations has NO power. They are only recommending things. This won’t be finalized until December. Even if the tax cuts for the rich stay in place to appease the economic recovery, they will only be extended for two years. Yes, I know this hurts us all to see that rich people will not be suffering, but you might feel better once you remember that rich people rarely pay taxes at all, so their “rate” is rather irrelevant. Now, if we were talking about changing tax dodges for corporations, that would be another story.

As for Republicans nattering on about tax cuts and permanency, first of all, there are NO permanent tax cuts and second of all, when did the Republicans last tell you the truth? They are the ones who jumped on this and claimed Obama was “coming around”. Now why would anyone believe John Boehner over President Obama? Hello????

I marvel at the American public who still hasn’t learned to double-check what they read and are still so eager to fall out of love with their own President that they jump on any excuse, regardless of how flimsy it is and how little they know about the issue, to express their superiority and disgust. Oh, and to make matters worse, the talking point of outrage usually begins with a nugget from a Republican whose agenda it is to get you all riled up.

My, my people. I thought we all knew better than to listen to Republicans by now.

Comfort yourselves with this: If Obama does screw you, you will know about it from a verified source and you won’t be wasting all of this energy hyperventilating over something that isn’t even real courtesy of the weeping elephant you’ve invited into your mind for permanent residence. Please stop smoking the GOPPER crack and stop reacting to every half-baked piece of “news” designed to enrage you.

Do you really care what happens with the Bush tax cuts? Or is this about not letting the Republicans think they control things, because it looks to me like they control the liberal Democrats just fine without any help from President Obama, since ya’ll can’t stop sucking on the stale ends of their sound bites.

Hey, they found WMD in Iraq, too.

Reject the liars. If you are going to get screwed (and I don’t see where letting the rich continue to not pay taxes screws anyone but the federal deficit and hence the Republicans) you will know it soon enough, but wouldn’t you rather hear it from a trusted source than a trickle down Republican talking point? Man up, my hearty liberals. This fight has just begun and this is no way to start it.

18 responses so far

Going Rogue: The Bush Doctrine and American Exceptionalism

Nov 09 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Fruits of the Bush Doctrine

What is a pre-emptive or preventative war? A pre-emptive war is one you initiate if you think somebody is going to attack you, and you want to get the first blow in; in other words, pre-empt their attack. Obviously, having the initiative is a good thing in warfare, something you never want to lose. In the First World War, Germany adopted a pre-emptive strategy to attack France. Everybody in Europe was upset about Austria going after Serbia; Russia was mobilizing. France was not. No one but Austria and Serbia were actively at war. But the German plan called for taking France out first and then focusing on Russia. Russia was a potential threat. France was a potential threat.

The German Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg asked General Moltke:  “Is the Fatherland in danger?”

Moltke said, “Yes”.

It was as easy as that. Germany declared war on Russia on August 1 and France on August 3, 1914. But it wasn’t as simple or quick as anyone thought; it guided the history of Europe for half a century. There might still be a few people who do not realize that the Second World War was a continuation of the First.

Many excuses have been used to declare war over the many centuries of human existence. Humans love to make excuses; it makes them feel better about things, even when there is no real excuse.

Rome, for example, used a flimsy pretext to take out what was left of hated Carthage in 146 B.C.E. Of course, Carthage after losing the first two wars was no threat at all to Rome. It had been disarmed and in the words of Senator Lindsey Graham, “neutered.” But Carthage had grain. Rome needed grain. This excuse would come up less than a century later when Rome began to become involved with Ptolemaic Egypt. Keep that excuse in the back of your mind as we go along here.

Great Britain felt it had the right to interfere in European affairs and build coalition after coalition to defeat Napoleon, not because Napoleon, becoming emperor had attacked Britain (he had fought them as a general of the First Republic) but because they saw Napoleon as a threat. His rise to the rule of France had upset the Old Order of kings. It did not matter in the end if Napoleon wanted peace or not (and he has shouldered an unfair proportion of blame since 1815 since the victors wrote the history books), Britain was going to take him out. And they did.

Iraq: The Bush Doctrine at Work

There is a parallel here with Saddam Hussein. It didn’t matter if Saddam behaved or not. George W. Bush was going to take him out. He was talking about it as early as 1999, whatever lies he is telling in his recent autobiography. And it was really just an excuse. Bush knew as well as anyone that Saddam was no threat to the U.S. Bush’s father had stomped him (can we say “neutered”?) in the first Gulf War and the Iraqi dictator had been more or less behaving since then.

Bush said, “He has weapons of mass destruction!”

Of course, this was not true, and Bush knew it was not true. But it was a handy excuse.

Bush said, “Saddam was behind 9/11!”

Of course, this was not true, and Bush knew it was not true. Saddam didn’t let al Qaeda operate in Iraq. He knew that al Qaeda was at war with the rest of Islam and that it was a threat to his regime.

But it was a handy excuse.

Besides, and shades of Rome and Carthage here, America needed oil and Iraq had oil.

Excuses, it is important to remember, are not the same thing as reasons. The United States had an excuse to attack Iraq, albeit, a manufactured excuse, but it had no legitimate reason. Iraq had no WMDs, it had no way to effectively attack the U.S.  even if it had wanted.

In the end, Bush got his war, took our eyes off his inept handling of domestic issues, and profited hugely in economic terms while thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died, many of them innocent civilians. Iraq was literally ruined and is still recovering. Fifty-thousand American troops will remain there probably for years to come to bolster the new democratic regime.

None of this would be as relevant today if Republicans (and America’s belligerent ally, Israel) were not advocating attacking Iran, which, they claim, is a threat.

But it could equally and justly be argued that Israel and the U.S. are threats to Iran, couldn’t it? By this rationale doesn’t Iran have the right to attack us now, before we can attack them? And if they do, would we have a right to complain?

Who isn’t a threat to somebody else? If we all acted on potential threats the world be in a state of perpetual war. Does this line of reasoning make any sense at all?

The real problem lay in the assumption that if somebody is a threat to you that you have to attack them first. But you don’t. There is a thing called diplomacy. Clausewitz understood this if Bush did not: “War is not merely a political act, but also a political instrument, a continuation of political relations, a carrying out of the same by other means.”

Bush skipped the first part as irrelevant – political actions – diplomacy. For Bush, war became THE political instrument. No longer does war pick up where politics leave off; war becomes a substitution for politics.

Sarah Palin infamously did not know what the Bush Doctrine was, but we do, don’t we?

It was Dick Cheney who said it, of course:

“If there’s a 1% chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al-Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response. It’s not about our analysis … It’s about our response.”

This is, in a nutshell, the Bush Doctrine, also known as the One Percent Doctrine. But of course, the Bush Doctrine also enshrined such concepts as,

  1. Preventative (pre-emptive) war
  2. Deposing foreign regimes who might be a potential or perceived threat to U.S.  security
  3. Spreading democracy, especially in Middle East
  4. Unilateral pursuit of U.S. military interests

And all this packaged with an unhealthy dose of American Exceptionalism, the new term for extreme nationalism, the evils of which led to WWI and thus to WWII and thus to the Cold War.

In the end, it all boils down to “Might makes right.”

We modern folks look back on Empires like Rome and shake our heads at their naked imperialist ambitions (all too often not realizing or understanding the complexities of Rome’s relations with its neighbors) but apparently are willing to re-elect a political party in our own supposedly enlightened time that embraces a species of naked imperialism even Rome never suffered from. For example, Rome attacked Macedonia because Macedonia had sided with Hannibal and Carthage. But Saddam had not sided with al Qaeda and it was al Qaeda which attacked the United States, not Iraq.

The Roman Republic, with no court of world opinion, moved more reluctantly to war than the United States.

Essentially, Bush and Republicans like Lindsey Graham today seem to think that the One Percent Doctrine should be a permanent  part of substitute for American diplomacy. Anyone is a threat, might be a threat, or might be perceived as a threat: attack and destroy.

No, even empires like Rome did not operate like that. And no empire, including Rome, enjoyed the preponderance of force enjoyed by the United States today.

It is time to consider what would come of Republican victories in 2012. We can be reasonably certain that President Obama will not attack Iran. But a Republican president, like Bush fully backed (one might say owned by) profiteers and oil companies? It is time to be reducing an appeal to war, to making war less an instrument of policy and understand that for war should be a last, not a first resort.

11 responses so far

The Tale of the Weepy Orangeman

Nov 08 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

The Orangeman's Two Emotions

What’s up with the weepy Orangeman in the House? You know who I’m talking about: the orange guy with wet eyes. He’s from Ohio I guess, though I haven’t asked to see his birth certificate, and maybe we should. I mean, people aren’t naturally that color, are they?

The Weepy Orangeman. Sounds like a disenchanted college football fan; or maybe a sad Irish Protestant. But no, it’s our very own All-American John Boehner whose name looks more fitting the way you’d think it’s pronounced than the way he pronounces it. And can you blame him? I mean, the guy really is a walking Boehner.

John Boehner (R) Ohio. Yep. Him.  We should get to know the weepy Orangeman better. After all, he is likely going to be the next Speaker of the House to replace Nancy Pelosi (maybe he won’t cry as much now). It will be interesting to see whether he can make himself as unpopular as she. But let’s get to the issues:

  • Women’s Reproductive Rights:  The Republican Party should maintain full control of a Woman’s body through federal legislation.
  • Budget & Economy:  Stimulus = bad. Government should not spend money! Oh, and I don’t understand any of this economy stuff.
  • Civil Rights: Gays and Lesbians have NO rights. Only heterosexuals are real people.
  • Corporations: He’s a Republican. What do you think?
  • Crime: It should be legal to beat up gays, more death penalties and fewer appeals.
  • Education: No money to schools but lots of prayer.
  • Energy and Oil: More CO2, less renewable energy and drill baby drill!
  • Environment: What environment? (Rated 5% by the LCV, indicating anti-environment votes. (Dec 2003)).
  • Families & Children: This says it all: Rated 91% by the Christian Coalition: a pro-family voting record. (Dec 2003). See any correlation between this and his environmental record? I think you smell what I’m cooking.
  • Foreign Policy:  Doesn’t like democracy for Pakistan, likes nukes in India.
  • Free Trade: Screw you slackers who lost your jobs to globalization. Hates the WTO.
  • Government Reform: Government is too big and too intrusive except when it comes to women’s bodies in which case it can’t be intrusive enough. What goes on in a woman’s body is tantamount to a national security crisis. Government spends too much money. We told you he was a Republican.
  • Gun Control: Sigh. We told you he was a Republican, right? (Rated A by the NRA, indicating a pro-gun rights voting record. (Dec 2003)). Ya happy?
  • Health Care: Tobacco is NOT a drug, children don’t need more insurance and more kids don’t need insurance, and oh by the way, the government is too intrusive but like with women’s bodies we’re afraid we’re going to have to regulate suicides by saying, NO. Picking up a trend here?
  • Homeland Security: Not more federal regulation! Say it ain’t so, Orangeman! (Voted YES on federalizing rules for driver licenses to hinder terrorists. (Feb 2005). I thought we wanted the Feds out of our lives? What’s going on? And more defense spending? What about budget cuts, government spending and all that?
  • Immigration: Build Great Wall of USA and English as official language. Gotta wonder how we’re going to pay for that wall if the federal government shouldn’t spend money and we can’t raise taxes…Oh that’s right, Johnny Boy doesn’t understand economics (See Budget & Economy above).
  • Jobs: You don’t need a higher minimum wage; you think I’m really going to turn on my corporate masters? We did mention the Republican thing, right?
  • First Amendment: What First Amendment? (Rated 0% by the AU, indicating opposition to church-state separation. (Dec 2006)).
  • Social Security: Okay, his is really getting old. Hello! Republican! (Rated 0% by the ARA, indicating an anti-senior voting record. (Dec 2003))
  • Taxes: Rich people good, poor people bad (Limit welfare to 2 years & cut welfare spending. (Sep 1994). Anti-tax. How you going to pay for that increased defense spending, Orangeman?
  • Net Neutrality: Remember: Republican=Corporate (Voted NO on establishing “network neutrality” (non-tiered Internet). (Jun 2006)

So what do you think of our weepy Orangeman now? Yeah, he’s a Republican. He hates…well, pretty much everything. He favors lists of don’ts over lists of do’s, which is very Catholic of him, I suppose.

Obviously, given that we live in a modern liberal democracy founded on the principles of the European Enlightenment, there are some concerns with Boehner’s very old-fashioned, shall we say…conservative…positions. One might say ULTRA conservative.

Women and minorities have a right to be concerned, as should any who are concerned with world peace and international cooperation. What’s truly frightening is that Congress controls the purse strings and our probable future Speaker of the House has no grasp of economics. The idea that the government should not spend, that taxes are bad, do not jibe well with all the spending projects (Great Walls, huge militaries, wars, etc that Republicans traditionally embrace). This is, of course, why with Boehner’s economic plan we end up $3+ trillion in debt.

We should be very thankful that Democrats retain control of the Senate and that President Obama retains a veto and that Republicans lack enough seats to override that veto. The Republicans drove the car into the ditch once before and we all know they will try to do so again. It’s in their nature, after all. Fortunately, we still have one hand on the steering wheel ourselves and there is some small hope that further disaster can be averted, despite the Weepy Orangeman’s best efforts.

In the end, John Boehner is happy again, but America should not share his joy. Of course it could be worse. Michelle Bachman could always be Speaker of the House.

Yeah, you hear me.

7 responses so far

Emboldened by Victories, Republicans Back to Warmongering

Nov 06 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, White House

Mark Udall, Norm Ornstein, and Lindsey Graham

Emboldened by their midterm victories, Republicans are already back to warmongering. Having invaded and conquered Iraq (where 50,000 U.S. troops remain to buttress the new government) and mired down in an endless war in Afghanistan, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) now wants to attack Iran.

Because attacking Iraq and Afghanistan was such a good idea, right Lindsey?

Speaking at a forum in Halifax, Nova Scotia, he said we need to “neuter” them:

“Instead of a surgical strike on their nuclear infrastructure, I think we’re to the point now that you have to really neuter the regime’s ability to wage war against us and our allies. And that’s a different military scenario. It’s not a ground invasion but it certainly destroys the ability of the regime to strike back.”

You know, leaders have become war criminals for neutering their neighbors, so what makes Lindsey Graham any different?

He’s afraid of Iran’s possible future nuclear capability. Apparently he thinks that because a country that has never attacked us and never threatened to attack us might somebody be a threat, that we should attack them first.

Because this is legal under international law, right Lindsey?

No, it isn’t. It isn’t moral and it isn’t legal.

What Lindsey Graham is suggesting is that the United States become a rogue nation, like other nations who have run around attacking people on a whim. Remember when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Lindsey, because they saw the United States as a future possible threat?  We didn’t like that much did we, Lindsey? We roundly condemned them for it, didn’t we Lindsey? We called it a “Day of Infamy.”

Is illegally attacking Iraq not good enough for you? Then invading Afghanistan? You want a trifecta of infamy? And if some other country might someday pose a threat to the U.S., do you want to attack them to? Where does it end, Lindsey? Is Syria next? Who else is on your list of potential enemies?

Of course, Lindsey says he recognizes the risks: Yes, Iran might retaliate, he says, in Afghanistan or through terrorist attacks, but

“You can expect that. You can expect, for a period of time, all hell to break loose. You must have to almost plan for that. And weigh that against the idea of a nuclear-armed Iran and what that means to the future of the world.”

And it doesn’t hardly enter into it that the United States will see its stock drop still further in the international fraternity of nations.

Is this what you Republicans mean when you say President Obama is apologizing for the U.S.? That if we’re not attacking somebody we’re apologizing? Is that your rationale?

Lindsey thinks President Obama isn’t bold enough because of course, Post-Bush Republicans don’t recognize such a thing as international diplomacy?

Such a policy is at best reckless and at worst, catastrophic. But Lindsey is in a hurry. He wants action now because, he says, “Every day that goes by and we’re indifferent. … then that’s a day lost.”

All I can say is that it is a good thing for America and Iran – and for the world – that Lindsey Graham is not president. We don’t need any more wars right now, thank you, Lindsey. We have oh so many troops to spare.

Senator Mark Udall (D -Colorado) disagreed; pointing out that Lindsey’s plan would have “worldwide repercussions.”

“I’m not willing to put my support behind that step here in a theoretical context, but I think you’ve got to keep every option on the table and let the Iranian regime know that we’re deadly serious, not just as the United States of America, but as a world community.”

And paying for it, Lindsey? If you’re not going to consider the repercussions or the immorality of your proposal, consider the cost. How does balancing the budget and being fiscally responsible and not raising taxes pay for a war? Do you realize what we are still paying everyday for our presence in Iraq, for our war in Afghanistan?

Are you going to jump in a tank or a plane and personally lead the attack, Lindsey? No, you’re going to expect innocent young men and women to die for your irrational and reckless behavior. No surprise; I didn’t notice the Republican leadership or their children jumping at the chance to go overseas and fight and die for their country.

Every day there is no war is another day we can work for peace, and not the peace of the grave. It’s called diplomacy, Lindsey. It’s worked in the past. It can work again.

Give peace a chance.

22 responses so far

Sarah Palin’s New Twitter Moment

Nov 06 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Mama Grizzly Winks at Reality

Sarah Palin has had another of those “I didn’t say that!” moments. Twitter seems to be the woman’s worst enemy. It’s ironic really, that she is the star of a reality show but reality is not a friend to her. She seems to be saying to reality (shrieking really), “Reality, you’re not the boss of me!”

You go grrrrl.

There must be a lot of fluff in the rarified air she breaths.

Atlah Church Sign

Her Tweet? It was actually a re-tweet of an Ann Coulter Tweet, which showed a photo of a church sign which reads:

“Blood of Jesus Against Obama/History made 4 Nov 2008, a Taliban Muslim illegally elected president USA Hussein”

Ann Coulter had Tweeted: “This is my new church!”

Ms. Reality Star re-tweeted it as one of her favorites. Gawker has a screen-capture, because of course you can’t see it anymore; Palin, in a rare moment of an intersection with reality said ‘Ooop!” and took it down and then denied any independent recollection of the incident.

By the way, the church is that of Pastor James David Manning, who ”once held a trial declaring Obama ineligible to be president because he says he wasn’t born in the US and who refers to him as a “pimp” and “long-legged mack daddy” in sermons.”

Palin threw an unknown staffer under the bus. She told ABC News:

“Jake, I’ve never purposefully ‘favorited’ any Tweet. I had to go back to my BlackBerry to even see if such a function was possible. I was traveling to Alaska that day…it was an obvious accidental ‘favoriting,’ but no one can mistake that Ann Coulter was obviously being tongue in cheek with that Tweet. Shall I correct this with whichever wonderful media outlet ran with this (an obviously bored reporter…since there must be nothing going on in the world today, like, um, ramifications of a shake up of power in the U.S. House of Representatives?).”

I think she is right on one score, that of her increasing irrelevancy to the American political scene. Her candidates lost. Ms. King Maker Mama Grizzly Reality Star Politician Wannabe will have a difficult time remaining at center stage. A showdown will come between Wall Street Republicans and Tea Party Republicans. They have already been throwing dirt at each other and either Rove or Palin will remain standing. The GOP cannot go both ways and it does not seem there is any happy middle ground for two groups who insist on ideological purity.

I will leave you with this thought: Sarah Palin is out there, and reality is out there, and sometimes, the two actually intersect.

We live in interesting times.

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New Republican Strategy: Shoot Selves in Foot

Nov 06 2010 Published by under Featured News, Issues, Republican Party

Planned High Speed Rail Station in Wisconsin

It’s no secret that the Republicans hated the economic stimulus. They voiced opposition in all sorts of ways (mostly hysterical) to all sorts of projects (mostly beneficial) that would have brought money and employment to their states. They especially voiced opposition to high speed rail, while in February 2009, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the Democratically-controlled Congress allocated $8 billion to be granted to states for intercity rail projects, with “priority to projects that support the development of intercity high speed rail service.”.

Plan for High Speed Rail in U.S.

This isn’t a bad plan. I’ve driven from New York to Minneapolis before and it’s a long drive (some 20 hours from the vicinity of Binghamton Upstate). But ideologically, the Republicans couldn’t buy into it. Now they will reap what they sowed. Money that could have stimulated local economies will go elsewhere – where it’s wanted.

  • In Wisconsin, incoming Republican Governor Scott Walker vowed on Wednesday to fulfill a pledge he made during his campaign to kill a high-speed rail project that would have linked Milwaukee and Madison, which itself was to be part of a larger project which would have created a high-speed rail corridor across the upper Midwest, spanning the scenic but rather long (about 6 hour) drive between Minneapolis and Chicago (see map above). The clincher: the project was going to cost Wisconsin NOTHING. The entire $810 million price tag was being covered by federal stimulus funds. Wisconsin could only profit from the plan, putting thousands to work, not to mention helping the environment. But Walker is a Republican. He doesn’t care about the environment. He doesn’t care about putting Wisconsinites back to work. He says he wants to spend the money on roads instead, but there’s a catch: he can’t, because alternate use of the funds is prohibited. Ironically, the line was a proposal from the former Republican governor, Tommy Thompson, who for his temerity is now former-Wisconsin governor.
  • In Ohio, another new Republican governor, John Kasich, pledged to kill a $400 million stimulus-funded rail project. “Passenger rail is not in Ohio’s future.” Yes, because it’s so much fun to drive across Ohio. It’s marginally less exciting than Wisconsin. “That train is dead,” he announced.  He said it was the “dumbest idea” he had ever heard and that his state could not afford to operate it. He wanted to spend it on roads too. Guess what? That money goes back into federal coffers too, and Wisconsin and Ohio pay the price for electing Republicans to be governor.  If Ted Strickland, the Democrat, had been re-elected, we can imagine Ohio would have its high speed rail and an economic boost and the flowers and trees would have smiled.

These ideologically-motivated refusals are perhaps not such a bright idea when you stop to think about it. The problem being of course, that not many people stopped to do much thinking leading up to these midterms and Republicans seem to be doing less thinking than most. It all became about rage and ideology. Nobody was thinking in practical terms. So they all decided to have a group foot shoot instead.

Republicans say they are against earmarks but it is earmarks that have until now functioned as infrastructure funding. Obama tried to change that by allocating federal funds to various projects. It is difficult to imagine how Republicans plan to manage our infrastructure if they a) don’t want government spending and, b) don’t want earmarks.

Now this is just a symptom of course, but it’s one that is likely to be played out across America in areas where Republicans remain or are newly dominant.  Fortunately, the governor of Indiana, Mitch Daniels, was wise enough not to turn down stimulus money for wind-farms. This might be why some people are talking about Daniels as possible presidential material. He may not be the best and brightest, but it isn’t difficult to look like Einstein next to the average Republican rocket scientist.

So in all likelihood, their loss will be our gain – sometimes our loss. Think about it. The New York Times reports that “Representative John Mica of Florida, the senior Republican in line to take the reins of the House Transportation Committee in January, is unhappy with the way the Obama administration awarded $10 billion in federal stimulus funds for high-speed rail projects.”

Mr. Mica figured these were trains to “nowhere,” a sentiment that will no doubt do much to endear him to the citizens of places like Milwaukee and Chicago, not to mention the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul).

Guess where Mr. Mica wants to spend the money? Yeah, not in your neighborhood. No, he wants to spend it in the Northeast corridor, “which he described as possibly the only place in the country with enough population density to financially support high-speed train service.”

Europe has lots of high speed rail:

High Speed Rail in Europe

The USA? Not so much:

High-speed rail in the United States currently consists of one rail line described by the US Department of Transportation as a high-speed line: Amtrak’s Acela Express service, which runs the Northeast Corridor—from Boston via New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, to Washington, D.C.—at speeds averaging 68 mph (109 km/h) for the entire distance but briefly reaching 150 mph (240 km/h) at times.

So yeah, the Northeast corridor is the only place in the U.S. with high speed rail, and now it’s going to get some more while others go without. No money and no jobs and no environmental boost for Wisconsin and Ohio, but the people in the Northeast corridor will benefit. This is the sort of short-sightedness we can expect for the next two years.

Folks will be able, in that time, to reflect on what this all means for them. One hopes that in those states which elected Republicans as governor the voters will come to the conclusion by 2012 that perhaps the Party of Raging No’s might not be the best choice. They will have to live with their mistake for awhile though since governors in all states save Vermont and New Hampshire serve four year terms. Meanwhile, the governors can enjoy their annual state of the state addresses explaining to those voters why they screwed them over.

My guess is that by 2012, not many voters will be reminiscing along the lines of “Yeah…good times…”

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MSNBC is Not Fox News: Keith Olbermann Suspended for Political Donations

Nov 05 2010 Published by under Featured News

MSNBC announced today that Countdown host Keith Olbermann has been indefinitely suspended by the network for making political donations to three Democratic congressional candidates. Olbermann said that he didn’t encourage other to donate, but the network suspended him for violating their policy against political donations. This once again proves that MSNBC is not Fox News where the money flows freely to the GOP.

In a statement msnbc TV President Phil Griffin announced, “I became aware of Keith’s political contributions late last night. Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay.” Politico first reported this morning that the donations were $2,400 max donations to Democrats Jack Conway, Raul Grijalva, and Gabrielle Giffords.

Olbermann acknowledged the donations and said, “I did not privately or publicly encourage anyone else to donate to these campaigns, nor to any others in this election or any previous ones, nor have I previously donated to any political campaign at any level.” If he had never done it before, why did he donate to this one? Olbermann had to have known NBC News’ policy against employees making political donations. He also had to have known that due to candidate disclosure and reporting requirements, he would get caught.

The contrast between MSNBC and Fox News is striking. News Corp and Fox News openly raise and donate funds to the Republican Party. Fox News lets their contributors, like Dick Morris solicit donations on the air. This isn’t including how Sean Hannity acts an on air ATM for Republican candidates and Glenn Beck holding fundraisers for Republican candidates.

The difference between the two networks could not be clearer. MSNBC is a legitimate news organization. When one of their employees crossed the line, he was suspended. Over at Fox News crossing the line in encouraged, and is considered being a team player and helping the Republican cause. It is no surprise that Olbermann was the MSNBC on air talent to cross the line. No one can say that his objectivity was compromised by making the donations, because he was never objective in the first place.

I hope one of the outcomes will be that MSNBC will rethink having Olbermann anchor their election night coverage. Olbermann, Matthews, Maddow etc. are not journalists. They are opinion based hosts. MSNBC should feature all of the analysis that their on air talent can provide, but the coverage itself should be anchored by a journalist. The fact that MSNBC’s Election Night anchor was caught donating to Democrats makes the situation appear even worse.

Unless they want to go down the Fox News route of zero credibility, journalists should not donate to political candidate. Keith Olbermann should have been suspended. It is unethical for him to donate, when he is also an opinion maker. For all the people who claim that MSNBC is just like Fox News, their handling of Keith Olbermann should serve as the biggest reminder yet that the two networks have nothing in common.

Update:: On her show tonight, Rachel Maddow explained why Keith Olbermann was suspended.

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Analyzing What November 2nd Means

We’ve all seen the graphs, the raw voter data. But what does it all mean beyond Republicans up and Democrats down? I have been wondering about this myself, and on the advice of a Canadian friend, I turned to the conservative (by Canadian standards) National Post. In a wonderfully titled article, “What the #!%*?: The U.S. mid-term elections?” the National Post’s Peter Goodspeed asks and answers some very important questions about the midterms.

It is a useful and interesting analysis of the disastrous turnaround in the American political landscape and helpful for being a view from the outside looking in.

Mr. Goodspeed makes some interesting points (my comments in italics):

  • “Democrats have been driven from office in…every one of the 11 states of the old Confederacy.” We knew there was something to the waving of Confederate flags at those Tea Party rallies.
  • “This is the third election in a row in which U.S. voters kicked out the party in power.” (the others being 2006 and 2008). This was not unexpected. Voters have short memories. As Paul Krugman has predicted, the Republicans will probably be out on their backsides in 2012.
  • “Exit polls show the Democrats lost the votes of women, middle-income workers, whites, seniors and independent voters.” Most important was the loss of the independent voters who put Obama in office in the first place. This is ironic as most of these people voted against their own interests the other day. They will likely regret it before too long. Evan Bayh has some ideas about what the Democrats can do to recover in an op-ed piece in the New York Times.
  • “Voters are disenchanted with both parties… When Marco Rubio, Florida’s Republican senator-elect, took his victory bow, he made a point of warning his party to be cautious. “We make a great mistake, if we believe that tonight, these results are somehow an embrace of the Republican Party,” he said. “What they are is a second chance — a second chance for Republicans to be what they said they were going to be, not so long ago.” Rubio is right. This is neither a sweeping indictment of the Democratic Party nor a sweeping embrace of the Republican. The voters blamed the most handy target – the party currently in power. For an analysis of Rubio, see the New York Times bio.
  • “Democrats lost a generation of powerful centrist leaders.” I find this interesting given that Obama governed as a centrist. Is this yet another slap against centrist politics, diktat vs. compromise?
  • The Tea Party shouldn’t celebrate. Not only are they not popular with “Wall Street Republicans” but “According to the CBS television network’s exit polls, 58% of Tea Party supporters identify themselves as Republican, 33%  as independent, and 9% as Democrats. However, 80% are white, 55% are male and 56% are aged 50 and older. Not exactly a growing demographic.” No, indeed. The Tea Party is neither a grass-roots nor a populist movement. It has a very narrow focus and a very narrow support base and it really offers nothing new or dramatic outside of new levels of hate and bigotry. And “Tea Party candidates” have already demonstrated a willingness to compromise their principles to get elected. The lesson of Scott Brown should not be lost on anyone.
  • “Obama still has a veto and can scrap any Republican legislation.” So true. No doubt he will have cause to use it. We might note the importance too of continued Democratic control of the Senate.
  • “It’s unlikely [Obama will] have a chance to advance his domestic agenda. “ This does seem unlikely. He will be struggling to maintain the changes he brought about from 2006-08.
  • Obama may be vulnerable in 2012, particularly if he “concedes too much to the Republicans.” This will clearly be a problem as many of us felt Obama has already done this, catering too much to Republican concerns despite ongoing evidence that the Republicans had no interest in joining the Democrats in governing the nation.
  • The events of 1952 (and its aftermath) provide precedent for what took place on November 2 and this suggests that Republican gains will be ephemeral, at least in the short term.

I think many of these points are valid and bear further investigation and discussion. Clearly the next two years will be rocky not only for the administration and for Democrats, but for the country as a whole. The Republicans are far from united. The Tea Party is a divisive force and who knows, we may see some of those Old School “Wall Street” Republicans reaching across the aisle in exasperation. Two years of gridlock is unconscionable and it is difficult to see how, if Obama could be hurt in 2012, the Republicans could not also be if they spend the next two years bringing government to a complete halt.

Of course, there is more to it than this. We are mired in a war seemingly without end. The Republicans have attempted to assign blame for Bush’s Afghanistan War to Obama, and they have even tried to present 9/11 as somehow being Obama’s fault; the same goes for the economic crash of ’08, which took place while Bush was in the White House. Other important issues are corporate money and foreign money and the ways in which these impact American democracy. Republicans, who despise the already existing Constitutional amendments, are unlikely to support an amendment to correct the Supreme Court’s heinous betrayal. And the war on the First Amendment will no doubt gain strength.

There will no doubt be collateral damage from this election. If the election was about the economy, there will also be attacks, as I noted above on the First Amendment, but also on women’s reproductive rights, LGBT rights and environmental regulation, to name just a few. What is essential is somehow keeping our government and our country going for two years until we can correct the mistakes of November 2nd, when it is to be hoped voters will wake up to what they wrought.

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