Wednesday, November 29, 2006

POLITICS - Das Fuhrer's (aka Bush) Right-Hand Man

"Gingrich raises alarm at event honoring those who stand up for freedom of speech" by RILEY YATES, Union Leader

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich yesterday said the country will be forced to reexamine freedom of speech to meet the threat of terrorism.

Gingrich, speaking at a Manchester awards banquet, said a "different set of rules" may be needed to reduce terrorists' ability to use the Internet and free speech to recruit and get out their message.

Gingrich spoke to about 400 state and local power brokers last night at the annual Nackey S. Loeb First Amendment award dinner, which fêtes people and organizations that stand up for freedom of speech.

I had to look up "fêtes" to make sure the meaning, as I read it, in the context of the last paragraph above was correct.

French, from feste, n.:
- to honor (a person) or commemorate (an event) with a fête (feted) : ENTERTAIN when the circus came to town ... he would welcome the train in the railway yards, fête the performers

One has to wonder how this organization reacted to Gingrich's comments. He is defiantly not standing up for freedom of speech.

Gingrich is also affirming just how dumb the GOP is when it comes to understanding the Internet. They do not understand that any law or restriction under American law can apply only within the USA and not to the Internet as a whole. The Internet is global and not in the control of any one state.

Gingrich and the GOP also miss on another account......

I have always been among those who believed that the greatest freedom of speech was the greatest safety, because if a man is a fool, the best thing to do is to encourage him to advertise the fact by speaking. It cannot be so easily discovered if you allow him to remain silent and look wise, but if you let him speak, the secret is out and the world knows that he is a fool. So it is by the exposure of folly that it is defeated; not by the seclusion of folly, and in this free air of free speech men get into that sort of communication with one another which constitutes the basis of all common achievement.

WOODROW WILSON, “That Quick Comradeship of Letters,” address at the Institute of France, Paris, May 10, 1919

Freedom of speech provides the greatest protection against all evils, INTERNAL and external. If they are really concerned about terrorists' ability to use the Internet to "recruit and get out their message" they need to look in the mirror and ask why they cannot use the Internet to get out their message and counteract terrorists. I've got a oft used phrase that applies, "Dumb & Dumber."

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

WORLD - Says It All

POLITICS - HAY! Bush & the GOP, A Lesson For Ya

Here's a lesson you failed to learn....

One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programmes by their intentions rather than their results.

Milton Friedman

MEDIA: Ah, the "Liberal" Media Shows Its Chauvinistic Colors

Of course, I'm being sarcastic in the use of "Liberal Media." Today's media is anything but liberal.

"Pelosi labeled 'Wicked Witch of the West' by Kondracke, 'shrew' by Orin-Eilbeck" from Media Matters for America

On the November 16 edition of Fox News' Special Report, Roll Call executive editor Morton M. Kondracke called House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA), the incoming speaker of the House, "the Wicked Witch of the West." In a November 17 column, New York Post Washington bureau chief Deborah Orin-Eilbeck twice called Pelosi a "shrew."

In a discussion about Pelosi's handling of the Democratic leadership contest between Reps. Steny Hoyer (MD) and John P. Murtha (PA) for House majority leader, in which Pelosi backed Murtha but Hoyer emerged victorious, Kondrake stated: "[W]e had the 'Hammer' -- [former House Majority Leader] Tom DeLay [R-TX] -- and now, we have the 'Wicked Witch of the West' ... Nancy Pelosi, who's twisting arms and ... having her aides making threats." As Media Matters for America has noted, the media have highlighted recent disagreements among Democrats while downplaying divisions among Republicans.

In her New York Post column -- "Call Her 'Nancy Shrew'?" -- also addressing Pelosi's handling of the Hoyer/Murtha contest, Orin-Eilbeck wrote: "Forget 'The Devil Wears Prada['] the hot show in Washington is 'The Shrew Adores Armani.' In just a few short days, House Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi has turned into a caricature of the shrill, petty woman boss." Orin-Eilbeck added:

  • The stereotype of the woman boss as a self-centered witch on wheels who'll run over anyone in her path has plenty of roots in American culture -- "The Devil Wears Prada," zinging a fashion editor modeled on Vogue's [editor in chief] Anna Wintour, is just the latest incarnation.

  • So if 'Nancy Shrew' becomes the image of the highest-ranking woman ever in American politics - Pelosi will be second in line of succession to the presidency - it'll be a problem for all women politicos, including 2008 prospect Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

Media Matters has documented previous attacks on Pelosi. For example, on the November 13 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, host Chris Matthews asked political and social commentator Mike Barnicle if Pelosi was "going to castrate Steny Hoyer" if Hoyer was elected House majority leader. On the October 31 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Republican pollster Frank Luntz said of Pelosi, "I always use the line for Nancy Pelosi, 'You get one shot at a face-lift. If it doesn't work the first time, let it go.' " And on October 26, in his recurring weekly segment on Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, "comedian" and Fox News contributor Dennis Miller called Pelosi "intellectually ... not up to the task" of assuming the House speaker position. Miller further assailed Pelosi as a "nimrod," "a C-minus, D-plus applicant ... who no doubt would have been drummed out of the Mary Kay corps after an initial four-week evaluation period."

From the November 16 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:

  • KRAUTHAMMER: If you're going to -- to be the boss and appoint a henchman against a Hoyer, who has been there, and who has a big constituency, you got to make sure you're going to win. You don't want to lose on day one. And when you lose 2 to 1, which she has done with Hoyer, it's not only created a number two who's -- who now has a grievance -- by his -- the -- by the amount of his win, 2 to 1, he becomes a rival. She's going to have to look over her shoulder. If she stumbles in this term, he's going to end up inheriting her spot in the next Congress.

  • KONDRACKE: Yeah. Well, so, the history on House leadership is, we had the "Hammer" -- Tom DeLay -- and now, we have the "Wicked Witch of the West," you know, Nancy Pelosi, who's twisting arms and making, you know, having her aides making threats and stuff like that.

  • BRIT HUME (host): Was that -- was that really happening?

  • KONDRACKE: Supposedly. I mean, that's -- that's -- it got heavily reported, and I've heard no contradictions of that. And, you know, the fact is that, when Tom -- Tom DeLay in his day got his way and, in this case, her first outing, she -- as Charles said -- she lost by 2 to 1.

Nah, they're not chauvinistic, strong women are OK. They watched Roller Derby back when.

Friday, November 17, 2006

POLITICS - GOP, Conservatives, and Whatnot

"Good Riddance To The Gingrichites" by Dick Meyer, CBS News

This is a story I should have written 12 years ago when the "Contract with America" Republicans captured the House in 1994. I apologize.

Really, it's just a simple thesis: The men who ran the Republican Party in the House of Representatives for the past 12 years were a group of weirdos. Together, they comprised one of the oddest legislative power cliques in our history. And for 12 years, the media didn't call a duck a duck, because that's not something we're supposed to do.

I'm not talking about the policies of the Contract for America crowd, but the character. I'm confident that 99 percent of the population — if they could see these politicians up close, if they watched their speeches and looked at their biographies — would agree, no matter what their politics or predilections.

Politicians in this country get a bad rap. For the most part, they are like any high-achieving group in America, with roughly the same distribution of pathologies and virtues. But the leaders of the GOP House didn't fit the personality profile of American politicians, and they didn't deviate in a good way. It was the Chess Club on steroids.

The iconic figures of this era were Newt Gingrich, Richard Armey and Tom Delay. They were zealous advocates of free markets, low taxes and the pursuit of wealth; they were hawks and often bellicose; they were brutal critics of big government.

Yet none of these guys had success in capitalism. None made any real money before coming to Congress. None of them spent a day in uniform. And they all spent the bulk of their adult careers getting paychecks from the big government they claimed to despise. Two resigned in disgrace.

Having these guys in charge of a radical conservative agenda was like, well, putting Mark Foley in charge of the Missing and Exploited Children Caucus. Indeed, Foley was elected in the Class of '94 and is not an inappropriate symbol of their regime.

"Conservatives prove incapable of governing" by Bill Press, Progreso Weekly

Reading the tea leaves, there are several lessons to be learned from the Democrats' triumphant success on Nov 7.

Clearly, the American people have turned against George Bush's phony war in Iraq and want a change in direction. At the same time, they've lost any confidence in Bush himself. And they're disgusted with a corrupt, do-nothing, Republican-led Congress. All of which prompted voters to throw Republicans out, and invite Democrats back in.

But there's something more profound going on, too. The defeat of conservatives across-the-board, for everything from school board to U.S. senator, represents the rejection of the entire conservative governing philosophy. Starting with the Gingrich revolution of 1994, conservatives were given a chance to govern -- and they failed. They managed to capture all three branches of government. They controlled the White House, both houses of Congress and the Supreme Court. And everything they touched, they trashed.

On federal spending, they promised to balance the budget. Yet they racked up the biggest budget deficits in history, effectively burying America's future generations in a mountain of debt.

On personal liberty, they promised to get Big Government off our backs. Yet today -- with the federal government dipping into our phone, bank and library records, holding detainees without trial, torturing prisoners, controlling women's bodies, and prying into the bedrooms of gays and lesbians -- there's less personal privacy than ever before. Conservatives, who once derided the Nanny State, brought us the age of Big Brother instead.

On morality, they promised, again and again, to restore honesty and integrity to public life. Yet -- from Newt Gingrich to Duke Cunningham, Scooter Libby to Tom Delay, Don Sherwood to Mark Foley, Jack Abramoff to David Safavian, Claude Allen and Ralph Reed -- they have mired official Washington in the most widespread corruption since the days of Richard Nixon.

On international diplomacy, they promised to conduct a "humble" foreign policy. Yet, they've delivered the most arrogant and bellicose foreign policy of modern times. Treaties have been broken, old alliances have been destroyed, preemptive war has been adopted as the new way of doing business, acts of terror have multiplied, and nuclear bombs have spread into dangerous hands.

And that's just for starters. The conservative legacy to America is a government that is inefficient, inept, incompetent -- and broke.

...and whatnot.

None of these people are true conservatives. They put on the cloak of conservatism to hide their true nature, THEY ARE POWER HUNGRY. They believe in Davine Destiny and they are the implementers, and no one is to stand in their way. Barbarians at the gate, and they worship money.

They'll peek in your bedrooms; tell you what you can do, and not do, with your own body; DICTATE what moral beliefs you should practice and "burn you at the stake" if you don't; make laws to govern relationships between CONSENTING ADULTS.

You are "free" only to agree with them.

POLITICS - Mistrust of Electronic Voting

"Counting the Vote, Badly" New York Times Editorial 11/16/2006

Last week’s elections provided a lot of disturbing news about the reliability of electronic voting — starting, naturally, with Florida. In a Congressional race there between Vern Buchanan, a Republican, and Christine Jennings, a Democrat, the machines in Sarasota County reported that more than 18,000 people, or one in eight, did not choose either candidate. That “undervote” of nearly 13 percent is hard to believe, given that only about 2.5 percent of absentee voters did not vote in that race. If there was a glitch, it may have made all the difference. Ms. Jennings trails Mr. Buchanan by about 400 votes.

The serious questions about the Buchanan- Jennings race only add to the high level of mistrust that many people already feel about electronic voting. More than half of the states, including California, New York, Ohio and Illinois, now require that electronic voting machines produce voter-verified paper records, which help ensure that votes are properly recorded. But Congress has resisted all appeals to pass a law that would ensure that electronic voting is honest and accurate across the nation.

The problems with elections go well beyond electronic voting. Partisan secretaries of state continue to skew the rules to favor their parties and political allies. States are adopting harsh standards for voter registration drives to make it harder for people to register, as well as draconian voter identification laws to make casting a ballot harder for poor people, racial minorities, the elderly and students. Some states have adopted an indefensible rule that provisional ballots cast at the wrong table of the correct polling place must be thrown out.

Election reform has tended to be a partisan issue, with Democrats arguing for reform and Republicans resisting it. It shouldn’t be.

It couldn't be that the GOP are a bunch of crooks that have no problem with stealing elections, nah. It's not GOP worshipers who work phone-jamming schemes, nah. It's not the GOP attitude of win at all costs, ethical or not, nah. The GOP just firmly believes that everything having to do with the vote is just fine as long as they win.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

POLITICS - All the King's Horses, Iraq

"All the King's Horses…" by Michael Hirsh, Newsweek

It's too late for Jim Baker, Nancy Pelosi or anyone else to put this Humpty Dumpty back together again. But if Iraq is hopeless, there’s still time for Afghanistan.

This is a tale of two headlines. One comes from the marble hallways of self-satisfied Washington, where a newly humbled George W. Bush is recommending drapes to a newly cocky Nancy Pelosi, and the town anxiously waits for the sage Jim Baker to fix the mess made by the Bush family’s black sheep, who also happens to be president of the United States. The headline is: "Will Bush Talk to Iran and Syria about Iraq?" Apparently that's a big part of the Baker plan, judging from the long, convivial dinner he had the other week with Iran's ambassador to the U.N., Javad Zarif, which according to an informed source was all about Iraq.

The other headline is from Baghdad, where at least 100 people are dying each day from out-of-control sectarian hatred. "National Catastrophe," the headline reads. That's the description given today by the head of the Iraqi parliament's education committee to the latest outrage in downtown Baghdad, which is coming to resemble Mogadishu. Masked gunman wearing Iraqi police commando uniforms abducted up to 150 staff members of a government research institute, deepening the reign of terror that has led a good part of Iraq's educated elite to flee the country. This is when states fail of course: when everyone with a brain runs away.

The U.S. response to Iraq reminds me of those TV ads about the comically slow suitor who, after his girlfriend asks him if he loves her, waits long minutes until she has stalked out of the restaurant before answering "yes" to the empty chair across the table. Bush and Tony Blair are now arguing about whether to talk to Iran and Syria? Two or three years ago it might have made a difference, before the Sunni insurgency that was supplied and supported from outside the country spiraled into sectarian warfare. Back then, had you engaged Syria fully, you might have stopped the cross-border depots and training centers that kept a flow of jihadis and weapons to Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, one of the chief authors of the sectarian hatred, and the other original insurgent leaders. Back then, had you dealt with Iran as it must be—as a major regional power—you might have been able to curb the Shiite militias and their death squads, which were just getting started. But now? The sectarian killing has its own dynamic. What's happening is an internal Iraqi affair, and Iran and Syria have become, for the most part, bystanders.

It is the story of this administration, of course: the inability to adjust prefixed ideas to reality, embodied in an incurious president who is unable to get on top of a problem because he doesn’t follow up on details. Four years ago U.S. officials disbanded the Iraqi army, then sat stunned in their Green Zone bubble while the looting raged and the incipient insurgents began to poke their heads out of the rubble. Slowly the Bush administration began to rebuild the army. Too late, it came to realize it needed Iraqi police as well. Indeed, as army training faltered, U.S. officials labeled 2006 "the year of the police." But again, it was a year or two too late. And now that the police have become tools of the empowered sectarian militias, the Bush team is talking about relying on the Iraqi army again.

There's more.....

Too little, too late. Then there is Afghanistan which we have let languish and now the Taliban is back and NATO needs help. This is a chance for our government to do the correct thing in time to actually save a nation that we helped to build.

But, frankly, I believe Bush is incapable of really learning anything. He cannot learn from his mistakes because, deep at heart, he believes he did not make any mistakes.

IRAQ - War Profiteering

"Bechtel Bails on Iraq" by Antonia Juhasz, AlterNet


Last month, the Bechtel Corp. became the first major U.S. contractor to announce that it was pulling out of Iraq. Bechtel's departure marks yet another significant failure for Bush's economic invasion of Iraq. It does not mark, however, the end of Bechtel's adventures in the Middle East as the company looks to take advantage of the Bush administration's expanding U.S.-Middle East Free Trade Area.

Bechtel received a quiet "request for proposals" from the Bush administration more than a month before the war began, which ultimately yielded the company $2.4 billion for work on electricity, water, sewage treatment, bridges, highways, airports, hospitals, schools and more.

It is virtually impossible to assess the performance of any one company working in Iraq. Only one independent monitoring agency exists, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction (SIGIR), a congressionally mandated office tasked with oversight of all U.S. spending on Iraq reconstruction. Of the 13,578 projects planned and paid for by the U.S. government for work in Iraq, SIGIR has assessed just 65.

But even this limited oversight allows us to debunk claims made by Bechtel. For example, the company reports that it rebuilt "war-damaged bridges on key highways." But SIGIR's October report to Congress finds that "no bridge or expressway projects have been completed" in Iraq.

Bechtel also claims that it failed to build a key maternal and children's hospital in Basra because of "security concerns." While SIGIR, on the other hand, makes clear that it ordered Bechtel to be dropped from the $50 million project after the company misreported its progress and went $90 million over budget and a year and a half behind schedule.

SIGIR's October report also allows us to clearly assess the overall failure of U.S. reconstruction in Iraq. In the electricity sector, less than half of all planned projects in Iraq have been completed, while 21 percent have yet to even begin. The term "complete," however, can be misleading as, for example, SIGIR finds that the electricity sector has been hampered by the failure of contractors to build transmission and distribution lines to connect new generators to homes and businesses. Thus, nationally, Iraqis have just 11 hours on average of electricity a day, and in Baghdad, the heart of instability in Iraq, there are between four and eight hours on average per day.

What went wrong? U.S. Air Force Col. Sam Gardiner, author of a U.S. government study of the likely effect that U.S. bombardment would have on Iraq's power system in 2003, answered the question well when he said, "Frankly, if we had just given the Iraqis some baling wire and a little bit of space to keep things running, it would have been better. But instead we've let big U.S. companies go in with plans for major overhauls."

Companies like Bechtel entered Iraq with hopes of cashing in on much more than reconstruction contracts. As Cliff Mumm, head of Bechtel's Iraq operation, said in December 2003, Iraq "has two rivers, it's fertile, it's sitting on an ocean of oil. Iraq ought to be a major player in the world. And we want to be working for them long term."

Bechtel's vision was part of a larger Bush administration plan to transform Iraq from a state- to a market-controlled economy virtually overnight and by U.S. fiat. The administration implemented new laws in Iraq (virtually all of which remain in place today) allowing for, among other things, the privatization of Iraq's state-owned enterprises and for American companies to receive preferential treatment over Iraqis in the awarding of contracts.

So, Bechtel was hired instead of the Iraqi companies who had successfully rebuilt their country after the previous U.S. invasion. And, since Bechtel's contract guaranteed that all of its costs would be covered, plus a set rate of profit, it took its time, spending its first five months in Iraq doing a countrywide assessment rather than rebuilding. Bechtel then worked on expensive new facilities that showcased its skills and would serve its needs were it to run the systems itself one day (and which have proven far too expensive for Iraqis to run). The Iraqis, meanwhile, knew that the Americans had received billions of dollars for reconstruction, that Iraqi companies had been rejected, and that the country was still without basic services. The result was increasing hostility, acts of sabotage targeted directly at foreign contractors and their work, and a rising insurgency.

I ran into this article as referenced on the Usenet, alt.politics.bush. The poster's closing comment was:

Iraq is a greedy war profiteer's pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The rainbow, in this case, is made up of dead bodies.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

RELIGION: "Good" Christians

"Good Christians" by Dr. Forbush, Bring it On!

On Sunday all “good” Christians go to church. I don’t know if I would be so bold to declare myself a “good” Christian, but going to church on Sunday continues to be something our family rarely misses. As I have said before, I am Catholic, so the guilt of weekly attendance has been worked deeply into my psyche.

The mixture of politics with religion has always troubled me. Politics always seemed to be man’s business, while religion always seemed to be God’s business. The main problem tends to be that collecting God’s answers on every perceivable issue is mostly impossible. Jesus tells us to take care of the poor and sick, but he doesn’t tell us how we should do that. Man has created many ways to take care of the poor and sick, but it isn’t always clear that giving handouts to people is always the most effective way to persuade someone to contribute to society. And, when power comes to the battle, individuals will push their own ideas over the most effective ideas for society. And, worst of all, when someone declares that their own personal idea is the “Christian” solution or God’s solution there is no possible way to know if that is true or not, because man can not ever know what is in God’s mind.

It bothers me when any religion expends an enormous amount of energy fighting for an issue that isn’t even a critical issue. Abortion and homosexuality come to mind quickly. These two issues have very little support in the Bible, and it is clear that religious people that have opinions on these issues use bizarre Biblical readings to support the conclusion they have already decided in advance. The proof of this is in the lack of such a strong response to issues that are out rightly declared in the Bible. For example, divorce, war and the care for the poor and sick are declared as critical issues many more times in the Bible than the “evils” of homosexuality and abortion. But, religious groups have used abortion and homosexuality as litmus tests to determine whether someone is a “good” Christian. Does this even make any sense?

...there's more.

He is correct. These people believe themselves to be "good" Christians but support the Iraq war? They are "good" Christians but allow and support a law that prevents Medicare from negotiating drug pricing? They are "good" Christians but don't fight to raise the minimum wage, for years?

You are correct, Dr. Forbush, it does not make sense. It is a self-righteous facade.

POLITICS - "Neocons" = "Dead-Enders"

"Neocons dissolve into chaos after GOP defeat" by CHARLOTTE RAAB, Capitol Hill Blue

Neo-conservatives, who laid out the intellectual underpinnings for US President George W. Bush's foreign policy, are in disarray following the Republicans' midterm election defeat.

Already battling with each other over continuing US military setbacks in Iraq, "neocons" are now more divided than ever following Tuesday's election nightmare which saw Republicans lose control of both houses of Congress.

Neo-conservatives essentially believe in America's ability to shape the world in its own image, and see the United States as a "benevolent hegemony" with the power to compel other nations to adopt liberal democracy.

That ideology was extended to Iraq which was supposed to become ultimately a bastion of democracy in the Middle East.

"Huge mistakes were made, and I want to be very clear on this -- they were not made by neoconservatives, who had almost no voice in what happened, and certainly almost no voice in what happened after the downfall of the regime in Baghdad," said noted neocon Richard Perle in an interview with Vanity Fair magazine.

Another top neocon, Ken Adelman, had assured the administration in February 2002 that "liberating" Iraq would be a "cakewalk," but today disavows all responsibility with how the venture has turned out.

"I just presumed that what I considered to be the most competent national security team since (president Harry) Truman was indeed going to be competent. They turned out to be among the most incompetent teams in the post-war era," he laments in the same Vanity Fair piece.

Joshua Muravchik, a leading conservative scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, agreed that the neocon role has been overstated.

"In reality, of course, we don't wield any of the power that contemporary legend attributes to us. Most of us don't rise at the crack of dawn to report to powerful jobs in government," he said in an article in Foreign Policy magazine.

"But it is true that our ideas have influenced the policies of President George W. Bush, as they did those of President Ronald Reagan. That does feel good. Our intellectual contributions helped to defeat Communism in the last century and, God willing, they will help to defeat jihadism in this one."

Even well-known proponents are beginning to back away from the neocon label, most notably Francis Fukuyama in his recently published book "America at the Crossroads, Democracy, Power and the Neoconservative Legacy."

"I have concluded," he writes, "that neoconservatism, as both a political symbol and a body of thought, has evolved into something that I can no longer support."

"Neo-conservatism has now become irreversibly identified with the policies of the administration of George W. Bush in his first term and any effort to reclaim the label at this point is likely to be futile."

Bold emphasis above is mine

Ah, Neo-conservatives, another group in denial. They will not admit that their philosophy is just wrong. No "one image" can be forced on the world, no matter how "powerful" a nation thinks it is. Dictators and conquerors have tired for centuries, and in the end, always have failed. The Roman Empire no longer exists, this is the history lesson on world domination.

Now it is the Islamic Extremists that need to relearn this.

Monday, November 13, 2006

HORROR SHOW - Radical Islam

Below is a link to a article with a 12min clip of, frankly, a horror movie. I highly suggest viewing this clip is a must for ALL Western nations, it is a warning.

"Obsession: Radical Islams's War Against The West" by Marlo, Marlo's Musings

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

POLITICS - Election 2006

The following article was published on 11/20/2006 but I held off quoting it until after the elections. I wanted to see just how predictive of voter sentiment it was.

"GOP Must Go" from The American Conservative

The meaning of this election will be interpreted in one of two ways: the American people endorsed the Bush presidency or they did what they could to repudiate it. Such an interpretation will be simplistic, even unfairly so. Nevertheless, the fact that will matter is the raw number of Republicans and Democrats elected to the House and Senate.

It should surprise few readers that we think a vote that is seen—in America and the world at large—as a decisive “No” vote on the Bush presidency is the best outcome. We need not dwell on George W. Bush’s failed effort to jam a poorly disguised amnesty for illegal aliens through Congress or the assaults on the Constitution carried out under the pretext of fighting terrorism or his administration’s endorsement of torture. Faced on Sept. 11, 2001 with a great challenge, President Bush made little effort to understand who had attacked us and why—thus ignoring the prerequisite for crafting an effective response. He seemingly did not want to find out, and he had staffed his national-security team with people who either did not want to know or were committed to a prefabricated answer.

As a consequence, he rushed America into a war against Iraq, a war we are now losing and cannot win, one that has done far more to strengthen Islamist terrorists than anything they could possibly have done for themselves. Bush’s decision to seize Iraq will almost surely leave behind a broken state divided into warring ethnic enclaves, with hundreds of thousands killed and maimed and thousands more thirsting for revenge against the country that crossed the ocean to attack them. The invasion failed at every level: if securing Israel was part of the administration’s calculation—as the record suggests it was for several of his top aides—the result is also clear: the strengthening of Iran’s hand in the Persian Gulf, with a reach up to Israel’s northern border, and the elimination of the most powerful Arab state that might stem Iranian regional hegemony.

The war will continue as long as Bush is in office, for no other reason than the feckless president can’t face the embarrassment of admitting defeat. The chain of events is not complete: Bush, having learned little from his mistakes, may yet seek to embroil America in new wars against Iran and Syria.

Meanwhile, America’s image in the world, its capacity to persuade others that its interests are common interests, is lower than it has been in memory. All over the world people look at Bush and yearn for this country—which once symbolized hope and justice—to be humbled. The professionals in the Bush administration (and there are some) realize the damage his presidency has done to American prestige and diplomacy. But there is not much they can do.

Note, this is from a conservative magazine.

Well, as I type the results are:
  • House = +27 seats for Democrats, they now have control

  • Senate = 49 Republican to 47 Democrats, too close to call and this does not include 2 "Other"

Remember, for the House, Democrats needed only 15 seat win, they got 27!

In the Senate races, there is still a possibility the Democrats could squeak-out a win and get control. Even then, depending on how the 2 "Other" vote, the GOP may have a hard time pushing the OLD agenda.

The final statement by voters is, in my words, "time for a change" and "congress, get with it and do something." The GOP arrogant dictatorship of the federal agenda is ended. Both parties will have to cooperate to get anything done, which is what voters have mandated.

If EITHER party fails in this, they will pay in 2008.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

POLITICS - Media's Total Failure to Protect America

I could not believe the comments in the following article. Our media no longer thinks it has an obligation to act as watchdogs on the body politic. Our media has become totally an entertainment industry because the media corporations are concerned only with profit.

"Midterms and the Media" from FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting)

Appearing on CNN's Reliable Sources (11/5/06), CBS reporter Jim Axelrod explained that reporting valuable information about candidates is not the media's top priority—and voters can get all that stuff someplace else anyway:

  • "In this Internet age, there's no shortage of places to go if you want to read position papers or hear what candidate are holding forth about the economy, education, the environment, anything like that. But our job, especially in the last four or five days, is to take everything that's coming in and crystallize it through a filter of what is popping, what seems to be the most--I guess, what you'd call man biting dog, what's out of the ordinary."

Fox News Channel anchor and managing editor Brit Hume explained (Broadcasting & Cable, 11/6/06) why journalists shouldn't evaluate political advertising for accuracy:

  • "I don't like the reporters that try to police them, tell you what's true and what's not. Most political ads are arguably true and arguably false. It you start trying to get into issues of truth and falsity, you end up doing what the candidates do, which is arguing. My view is, let 'em play. The truth is, negative ads work."

ABC political director Mark Halperin, on the other hand, seems to think that fact-checking the candidates and tracking stealth campaign techniques is simply too difficult (Slate, 10/30/06):

  • "The networks don't spend anything like they used to on covering elections, but we still have as many resources as anyone else devoted to trying to hold the candidates and campaigns accountable to the public interest. But it isn't easy. Even with all the modern technology out there, tracking new television ads is merely really, really hard, while tracking radio ads, church fliers, and those robo-calls that come at the very end is nearly impossible. And once you get a hold of the content, figuring out how to truth-squad the item, and then report it in context, is among the toughest tasks in daily journalism."

Judging media coverage of elections is often reduced to asking whether the press was fair to this candidate or that. The better question, though, is whether the press was fair to the American voters.

The old media is dead, killed by profit motivated corporate owners of our media outlets. Gone are the days of Woods & Bernstein and media as the "5th estate," there to be a watchdog for the American people. If we had today's media back then, Nixon would never had to resign.

Sad, very sad.

Monday, November 06, 2006

POLITICS - California Style, Jerry Brown

"Jerry Brown Is At It Again" by Daniel B. Wood, Christian Science Monitor

Jerry Brown calls himself "the most durable politician in the Western hemisphere next to Fidel Castro." And he doesn't even smoke a cigar.

Outside the state, he is perhaps best remembered as the Jesuit seminarian who, in 1974, became California's youngest governor at age 36. While in office he dated singer Linda Ronstadt and lobbied for state use of communications satellites back when cell phones were the size of canned hams.

Here in California, Mr. Brown is known as one of the most visionary and uncategorizable politicians in state history. Now mayor of Oakland, Brown has served two terms as governor, run for president three times, and now at age 68 appears poised to become the state's attorney general, the second-most powerful politician in America's most populous state.

A Democrat, Brown was 24 points ahead of his Republican rival, state Sen. Charles Poochigian, in an Oct. 19-27 Hoover Institution poll.

"Jerry Brown is the most unusual politician I've come across in 50 years of politics," says Joe Cerrell, a veteran national and California Democratic strategy analyst. "If elected, he will be the most critical and visible attorney general the state has ever had."

Boy! Is that last paragraph an understatement. Like him or not, it's true.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

POLITICS - Becoming a Human

From an article, "The Emergence of Intelligence" by William H. Calvin, Scientific American 2006

"The first sign that a baby is going to be a human being, and not a noisy pet, comes when he begins naming the world and demanding the stories that connect its parts."

"Once he knows the first of these he will instruct his teddy bear, enforce his worldview on victims in the sandlot, tell himself stories of what he is doing as he plays and forecast stories of what he will do when he grows up."

"He will keep track of the actions of others and relate deviations to the person in charge."

"He will want a story at bedtime."

- Kathryn Morton, writer

"Our abilities to plan gradually develop from childhood narratives and are a major foundation for ethical choices, as we imagine a course of action, imagine its effects on others and decide whether or not to do it."

Humm.... Did G.W. Bush ever learn this lesson?

If not, is he a human?


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

POLITICS - A Fine Example of Believing in Free Speech, NOT!

Tue, Oct 31, 2006 1:07pm EST

ABC memo reveals Air America advertiser blacklist An internal ABC Radio Networks memo obtained by Media Matters for America, originally from a listener to The Peter B. Collins Show, indicates that nearly 100 ABC advertisers insist that their commercials be blacked out on Air America Radio affiliates. According to the memo, the advertisers insist that "NONE of their commercials air during AIR AMERICA programming."

Among the advertisers listed are Bank of America, Exxon Mobil, Federal Express, General Electric, McDonald's, Microsoft, Wal-Mart, and the U.S. Navy.

The memo appears below, and an enlarged version can be viewed HERE


Nice guys, eh? The United States of America, eh?

Harry Hope, alt.politics.bush

Of course any company has the right to say what their advertising is associated with, but if these companies really believe in the principle of free speech embodied in our Constitution, you have to wonder why they don't support it with their actions.