Notes on National Politics
1) get it right and 2) to be honest and eithical.
Consider the following quote:
`This is a very serious situation that looks eerily similar to what we saw in Iraq only three and a half years ago," Latas said. `We need to give diplomacy a chance. Any military action at this point will fan the flames of hatred across the Islamic world. World opinion has already shifted from viewing Americans with sympathy and respect to viewing us
as cavalier bullies.
Any military action against Iran could push us into the next World War. If a nuclear option is used, the United States will be viewed in similar light as 1930's Germany, and this nation will be facing a dismal future. I for one will not stand idle and watch this great nation be misled, once again, into a military fiasco. I deplore the thought of my country contributing to global instability, and I deplore the thought of Americans becoming the targets of further global hostility.
An attack on Iran, especially one that could be nuclear, will harm the United States more than we have ever seen. We are now in a new arms race, and the nuclear non-proliferation treaty is now threatened because the United States government is turning towards a course of extreme violence versus diplomacy."
Obviously this came from a bleeding heart unrealistic peace-nic (how do you spell "peace-nic" anyway?), right? Well, it came from a retired Air Force Officer,
Lt Col Jeff Latas, Congressional candidate for AZ-08 stated in a news release that we may be on the verge of World War if we attack Iran and we would be the villain. He states that he actually worked on the system currently being planned in the attack which is a small yield nuclear weapon. Col Latas is a retired USAF officer who spent 4 years in the pentagon and also had a son who was medically evacuated from Iraq after he relapsed with leukemia.
Thanks to "King Kong", who alerted the readers of the Daily Kos to this in his diary.
Another interesting comment came from Kos himself. He was talking about the IL-8 congressional race, in which Melissa Bean is trying to keep the seat she won in 2004 against a long time Republican incumbent.
Representative Bean is certainly a conservative by Democratic standards. And yes, she helped CAFTA pass. But, as Kos wisely points out:
Tue Apr 11, 2006 at 11:54:46 AM PDT
One of the key messages of Crashing the Gate is that the progressive movement's interest groups cannot work against imperfect Democrats if they expect a governing party friendly to its interests.
But that's exactly what the labor unions are doing in IL-08 as they lend support to an independent challenger to Melissa Bean. And Matt Stoller approves:
Key unions in the district--UNITE HERE, SEIU, the Teamsters and the Machinists (to point out the obvious, reps from both labor federations)--are actually lending a hand to Bill Scheurer, the independent who is running for the seat. Says one labor insider: "Scheurer could get at least 4 percent, maybe even ten percent, which would mean Bean is toast."
Good for them. I know there are arguments about a House majority, but it's extraordinarily rare for one seat to really matter in the House. The Democratic Party is the party of working people. Sometimes it's just that simple.
This is extraordinarily stupid. Mind-boggling so. It's rare for one seat to really matter in the House? Sure, but we're 15 seats away and we'll be making gains this November. Enough to take back the House? I'm still skeptical, but regardless, it'll be extraordinarily close. If that one seat costs us the majority and the subpoena power to investigate the Bush Administration's myriad abuses, will it have been worth it?
The unions don't have to support Bean. She hasn't earned that support. But to work to defeat her makes no political sense. Not if the unions want control of the House by the party of the people, rather than the ideologues currently running the country into the ground.
On another topic, President Bush was visiting a university. And, as has been his practice of late, he started to take unscripted questions from an audience which hadn't been prescreened. I am glad that he is finally doing that. A couple of days ago, a student asked him a question: basically, she wanted to know what laws applied to civilian contracters who were working for our military. Example: if a military person commits a crime, he/she can be tried under the UCMJ (uniform code of military justice). Not so with civilian contractors. So what laws apply to them? Of course, the President didn't know; evidently he hadn't thought about it. But what absolutely appalls me is that it seems ok with our public that not only our President doesn't know or know how to find out, THAT IS OK WITH THEM. Go to the link to see/hear the video.
This kind of reminds me of the point that a poster to my blog made: conservatives don't seem to care about the IQ of their candidates. I suppose they have the belief that "God will take care of us as HE is on our side" type of thing.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. It's an honor to have you here. I'm a first-year student in South Asia studies. My question is in regards to private military contractors. Uniform Code of Military Justice does not apply to these contractors in Iraq. I asked your Secretary of Defense a couple months ago what law governs their actions.
THE PRESIDENT: I was going to ask him. Go ahead. (Laughter.) Help. (Laughter.)
Q I was hoping your answer might be a little more specific. (Laughter.) Mr. Rumsfeld answered that Iraq has its own domestic laws which he assumed applied to those private military contractors. However, Iraq is clearly not currently capable of enforcing its laws, much less against -- over our American military contractors. I would submit to you that in this case, this is one case that privatization is not a solution. And, Mr. President, how do you propose to bring private military contractors under a system of law?
THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate that very much. I wasn't kidding -- (laughter.) I was going to -- I pick up the phone and say, Mr. Secretary, I've got an interesting question. (Laughter.) This is what delegation -- I don't mean to be dodging the question, although it's kind of convenient in this case, but never -- (laughter.) I really will -- I'm going to call the Secretary and say you brought up a very valid question, and what are we doing about it? That's how I work. I'm -- thanks. (Laughter.)
Remember this video? "A "trophy" video appearing to show security guards in Baghdad randomly shooting Iraqi civilians has sparked two investigations after it was posted on the internet, the Sunday Telegraph can reveal.
What are the odds this clip shows up on The Daily Show?---------------------------------------------
Finally, from Crooks and Liars: Vice President Cheney showed up at a Washington Nationals game to toss out the first pitch. He was loudly booed.
Of course the media downplayed this. Back to Kos again:
Tue Apr 11, 2006 at 10:20:46 PM PDT
Man, this is painful.
The first pitch of the Washington Nationals' second season at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium was low and away, bouncing in the dirt before being scooped up by catcher Brian Schneider. For that, Vice President Cheney received a round of boos from the home crowd this afternoon.
You see? The booing happened because Cheney missed the strike zone.
The vice president, whose popularity is slumping along with that of President George W. Bush, walked out on the field to cheering and booing from the near-sellout crowd. The boos appeared to be little louder than the cheers at RFK Memorial Stadium.
Now go see video at the Washington Post's own site and see how many "cheers" you can hear. It's not even close. It sounds like a riot is about to break out.
Here is an answer to Kos's question: the "truth" is hard for our media because they are mostly a "for profit" operation. They are in business to make money, and for them that means viewership or circulation. And those things will go down if they anger their customers.Of course, that applies to the so-called alternative media as well: I subscribe to The Nation, The New Republic and to The American Conservative. All have a readership to appeal to.
And, you know which magazine, in my opinion, does the best job of attempting to "get it right" as far as being truthful? Yes, the American Conservative! Then again they are new; we'll see how they evolve over time.
The Nation appeals to me the most, of course, but I wonder how much of that is simply by design.
But, finally from the Nation, a funny article and a comment on John Kerry:
[posted online on April 10, 2006]
The Easter Bunny has been misbehaving this year. The Paschal Rabbit has been laying a series of stinky eggs inside churches across the country. They are not bright colored, nor do they have chocolate insides.
The first rotten egg to be discovered by angry clergypersons is the publication of the Gospel According to Judas. This document, lost from sight for a millennium and a half, reveals that Jesus, like George Bush, was a leaker. George did Valerie Plame; Jesus leaked a phony story about his demise.
Traditional scripture has it that the Romans and the Jews entered into a vast right-wing conspiracy to execute Jesus after Judas betrayed him, thereby turning Judas into a name few parents give their children. Now we learn nothing like that happened.
According to the newly found Gnostic gospel, it was a put-up job. Put up by Jesus, who got Judas to pretend to betray him. Thus it is revealed that Judas was the Scooter Libby of his time and that Jesus was guilty of a serious misrepresentation or two.
We next learn that one of his biggest miracles was no miracle at all. He did not walk on water. This is no Easter Rodent story. It is a Washington Post story:
"Combining evidence of a cold snap 2,000 years ago with sophisticated mapping of the Sea of Galilee, Israeli and US scientists have come up with a scientific explanation of how Jesus could have walked on water. Their answer: It was actually floating ice...the Sea of Galilee, in what is now northern Israel, has never frozen in modern times. But they say geological core samples suggest that average temperatures were lower in Jesus's day, and that there were at least two protracted cold spells in the region 1,500 to 2,500 years ago."
So what's going on here with all these late developments? Obviously, scientists, with a little help from Bugs Bunny and the Easter Chicks, are counterattacking against the Fundies. They have also come up with scientific evidence, random statistics and double-blind studies to prove that prayer, like speed behind the wheel and methamphetamines, kills.
According to the Chicago Tribune, in a mammoth prayer study which cost $2.4 million and enrolled 1,802 patients who had bypass surgery...researchers from Harvard Medical School and five other US medical centers found that coronary bypass patients who knew strangers were praying for them fared significantly worse than people who got no prayers."
Roman Catholic monks or believers belonging to other Christian denominations were used to do the praying. We don't know what the results might be if Jews, Hindus, Buddhists or Muslims had been aiming their orisons skyward. All we know is that if a Christian tells you that he or she is praying for you, be prepared to meet your Maker.
It is believed that high-level strategists at the Pentagon are exploring the data to determine if prayer can be used in the "war on terror." If prayer can be used in Iraq to assassinate key terrorists, the military may have found a way of eliminating the enemy without inflicting the collateral damage that has tended to strain relations between the visiting Americans and their Iraqi hosts.
In the meantime, if you hear George Bush say he's going to pray for you, scoop up your bunny and run.
And now about John Kerry:
With his op-ed piece in the New York Times on Wednesday; his remarks on Meet the Press this past Sunday; and his e-mail and online petition calling for a withdrawal from Iraq today--John Kerry has broken ranks with a silent Democratic leadership and joined the likes of Russ Feingold and John Murtha in taking a strong position against the war.
In addition to his new stance, it is good to hear that the man who wasn't known for punchiness on the campaign trail is striving for, in his own words, "pretty simple messages" such as, "Tell the truth. Fire the incompetents. Get out of Iraq. Have health care for all Americans."
And while Kerry didn't say he will run again in 2008 there are sure signs he is back on the trail: his non-answer on Meet the Press and reports by Washington insiders that he is planning to set up a national security think tank in the nation's capital (just what the city needs--the heck with voting rights, how about another think tank?) in an effort to bolster his "strong on defense" image.
But there are still signs of lessons not yet learned. On Meet the Press, Kerry said his campaign's biggest mistake was to not spend more money on commercials to combat the Swift Boat lies. But it wasn't about money or more commercials--it was about his own will and guts and fighting instinct.
Nevertheless, this has been a good week for Kerry when it comes to will and guts. Let's hope he builds on it--and that his Democratic colleagues do the same.
This is what the above article is refering to:
"Tell the truth. Fire the incompetents. Get out of Iraq. Have health care for all Americans. These are pretty simple messages, and they're worth fighting for today."
That's what I said yesterday when I appeared on "Meet the Press" to push our call for two deadlines and an exit from Iraq.
You and I both know it will take a massive citizen effort to force a President bogged down in this war to change his course - but doing so is our moral responsibility.
I urge you to join me today in calling for the withdrawal of American combat troops by the end of 2006 - and sooner than that if Iraqi politicians allow the civil war to grow and continue to delay, squabble and jockey for their own political turf while our brave soldiers sacrifice life and limb every day to create the conditions for democracy.
Fortunately, more and more people are stepping forward to join in our call to bring our troops home by the end of this year. Political leaders like Russ Feingold, Max Cleland, and Gary Hart have endorsed our plan -- and grassroots support for our call to action is growing.
Still, the President and his administration remain frozen in place, boxed in by George W. Bush's stubborn refusal to admit that he has America on the wrong course in Iraq. The President seems content to endlessly wait for various political factions in Iraq to get their act together.
That's totally unacceptable. And you and I have a moral responsibility to do everything in our power to make George W. Bush do what he likes to do the least - and that's confront reality head-on.
I'm not suggesting that this will be easy. The fact is, it would be far easier to challenge the President on other topics if all we were interested in is scoring political points.
But, no one in 2006 -- Democratic or Republican, liberal or conservative -- can refuse to step forward and offer clear ideas on Iraq. And, with 133,000 courageous American men and women putting their lives on the line for democracy in Iraq, it is essential for you and other members of our three-million person johnkerry.com community to take action.
I need you to join me in leading an all-out effort to turn this President's wrong-headed policy on Iraq around. And ask your friends and family to do the same by forwarding this email to them.
Our soldiers have done their jobs. They can't resolve political differences between Iraqis in an escalating civil war. It can't be done militarily; it can't be done from a Humvee or a helicopter. It can only be accomplished by a dramatic change of course, turning away from George W. Bush's aimless "stay for as long as it takes" approach. You and I have to try to make this administration change their approach before it's too late.
I urge you not to wait another day before signing onto this profoundly important fight for a better way.
P.S. Late Saturday night I went to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. The Wall is a powerful reminder of our moral obligation to tell the truth. As you walk down the ramp, you find yourself literally engulfed as the Wall, tens of thousands of names etched on it, gets higher and higher.
There are far too many people whose names are on the Wall who died after leaders in Washington knew that our policy wasn't working. We need to get Iraq right for our soldiers today before we let history repeat itself.