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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Wagging the Dog

President Bush's approval ratings now stand at 33 percent. If he were a first baseman in the Texas Rangers' farm system that would be great (a .333 batting average), but as a president it simply means that only your "hard-core constituents" are still with you. In baseball terms. GW is well below the Mendoza Line (that's a .200 hitter). The Iraqi parliament met to, among other things, select a speaker. Due to bickering and disagreement, they were unable to get anything done (this must be the Iraqi version of the GOP).

Hey, since nothing is getting done in Iraq, let's go and bomb something.

 

BOOM!

It's called "Wagging the Dog". (Or "How to Make Friends and Influence New Enemies.)

You all might remember the Bill Clinton years (those were the years when unemployment was down, consumer spending was up and almost everybody seemed to have something to look forward to) when the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party, in a "do anything" effort to get back complete control over the nation, snarled that if President Clinton were to bomb our enemies in a pre-emptive strike, it would simply be "the tail wagging the dog", due to the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Isn't that just what "G"lobal "W"arming Bush is doing now?

In a time when GW's approval ratings are lower than the New Orleans's ninth ward during a hurricane; when consumer spending is down due to no middle class disposable income; when tax cuts for the rich cause programs for the poor and middle class to be eliminated, GW needed a distraction.

Any distraction would have done for GW and his ultra-rich elitist cronies. Hugging an autistic basketball player, taking a "secret trip" to Afghanistan, blowing up anything that moves in Iraq... They're all good.

The new "Operation Swarmer" is going to clean out "a suspected insurgent operating area" in East-Central Iraq. It's being performed by both US troops and Iraqi forces.

"More than 1,500 Iraqi and Coalition troops, over 200 tactical vehicles, and more than 50 aircraft participated in the operation,"
-A military statement

I guess GW couldn't land on the USS Abraham Lincoln and make a speech under a banner that read "BOOM!", could he?

"After Fallujah and some of the operations carried out successfully in the Euphrates and Syrian border, many of the insurgents moved to areas nearer to Baghdad. They have to be pulled out by the roots."
-Interim Iraqi Foreign Minister, Hoshyar Zebari

Fallujah? Wasn't that the place where a few Iraqi insurgents kept our marines busy and in harm's way for a couple of months while the rest of the terrorists escaped, unharmed? Bush and Minister Zebari just don't get it. These insurgents aren't going to stand their ground in one section of Iraq to prove a point. they have demonstrated in the past their willingness to run away and fight another day. just like in Fallujah. When Bush and his cronies say that this isn't a war like we have fought before, they are right. This isn't an enemy that can be pinned down to a target area.

"We have to prove to the world that a civil war is not and will not take place among our people. The danger is still looming and the enemies are ready for us because they do not like to see a united, strong, stable Iraq."
-Adnan Pachachi, the semi-temporary Iraqi Speaker

Other than a few sacrificial lambs, the enemy has already left, Mr. Pachachi. And as far as Civil War goes, just what would you call it?

We know what this bombing raid really is: It's "Wag the Dog." But hasn't the whole Bush administration since 9/11 (and even before, some might argue) been just that: A distraction?

It seems that GW and his "Coalition of the Missing" have found their WMD's: "Weapons of Mass Distraction."

-Noah Greenberg



How Much You Got?

Wow... A nine trillion dollar debt ceiling (that's $9,000,000,000,000 - look at all those zero's) just to keep up the status quo. That's the new number that all of us Americans (dare I say born and unborn?) have to deal with thanks to the administration of "G"lobal "W"arming Bush.

Do you remember the 2000 campaign? GW standing up there, looking at that almost $300 billion budget surplus, left to him by the fiscally responsible Bill Clinton, telling us all that he is going to give it all back to us, the American People. Remember when GW said "It's your money"? I can remember when it was MY money. Now it belongs to China, Japan and a host of others that hold our nation's debt, and our financial future, in their hands.

As soon as a newborn leaves the womb, he or she will be handed a bill for $30,000, which is every American's share. No wonder why GW's supporters want to include inception as the moment a life starts. They want to reduce their share of the national debt!

As the things that middle class Americans care about go by the wayside, we are seeing our dollars going to offshore global corporations and contributors to the "G"reed "O"ver "P"eople party in barrels while our piggy banks are boing broken into for the pennies that we have managed to scrounge together.

 

The only thing that "trickles down" has a funny smell and a yellowish tint.

I have worked in New York City for most of my adult life. Come to think of it, I worked there a lot as a kid, too. I remember when they put up the "Debt Clock" on Avenue of the Americas (A.K.A. Sixth avenue) and about 44th street in the 1980's. I remember those numbers rising so fast that the right side of the clock couldn't seem to keep up. Then, something in the mid- 1990's happened. The "Debt Clock" just stopped, and finally it blacked-out, like someone pulled the plug.

 

It was our Democratic President Bill Clinton.

It isn't just bad luck that makes the last GOP administrations fiscally criminal, its bad foresight. When the time came for Bill Clinton to choose between a tax cut and the future of our nation, he chose the wisely. When the time came for George W. Bush to choose between our future and his buddies, he chose poorly.

Fiscally speaking, a president needs to first do no harm... to be a good steward for our nation's economy, not to use our treasury as their personal war chest and frat party fund.

Nine trillion dollars... maybe they should just plead insanity. Please George H.W. Bush, please, please tell "Junior" that you love him already so he can stop trying to buy your love with our money.

Remember, there is only one reason that we need to raise the debt ceiling, and it can be summed up in one, hyphenated word: Ill-advised. An ill-advised war in Iraq to stuff the pockets of GW's corporate cronies and ill-advised tax cuts to the already rich "core constituents" of GW during a time of war.

-Noah Greenberg



The "Good" Religious Right Vs. The "Bush" Religious Right

A large percentage of Christian Evangelicals voted liberal in 2000 and 2004--to be expected, since opposition to lying, separation of church & state, women's rights, Christian stewardship of the planet and compassion for one's fellow human beings are essential elements of the historical Evangelical tradition. Evangelicals should not be confused with Fundamentalists.

And as Jimmy Carter points out in his Evangelical-oriented book of 2005, OUR ENDANGERED VALUES--which I recommend--, Fundies are far from puritanical!! Adultery is extremely popular and regularly indulged in among Red State Fundamentalists, who statistically seem to be the most licentious of all Americans. Some genuinely Christian Evangelicals are, too, especially Southern Baptists. On average, the Southern Baptists are the nation's most active sinners. I remember NATION magazine analyzing Bill Clinton's wandering eye and concluding that as a Southern Baptist, he probably fell into an early habit of taking adultery pretty casually. Which may explain why the Neo-Southern Baptist faithful, who--after all those centuries of freedom of conscience--are now required by their infallible Popes to be Fundie, have the highest percentage of divorce in the nation. According to Carter, it's astonishingly high, compared to other parts of the nation. He, who resigned from the Southern Baptists for many reasons, prefers the puritan tradition.

An email got circulated shortly after the 2004 election, about the many kinds of character deformities and sins that statistics show to be overwhelmingly products of the states that went for Bush--adultery, murder, alcoholism, robbery, gross political corruption, etc. As I recall, New England, with its liberals and old-fashioned puritanical conservatives, both Protestant and Catholic, tallied the lowest percentage of sin. If anyone still has that email, please send it around again.

-Jenny Hanniver



... on Hating Bush

Although I think I've heard some hatred of Bush expressed, and sometimes, personally, I get so angry that I steam up with righteous indignation (which is not the same), although it's often directed at Bush's puppet masters like Rove, and at those Americans who prefer to live in denial. I would absolutely not want Bush to be assassinated, which I think a real "hater" would probably daydream about. So "hatred of Bush" is mostly a right-wing myth.

It reminds me of the unjust mass media campaigns against those of us who protested the Vietnam War--about how we "hated" our guys in military uniform. There may have been a few isolated nuts who said such things--most likely after the few episodes of military panic-button slayings, like Jackson State & Kent State--but I never met one. It wasn't just us veterans but also young baby-boomers, students deeply concerned about the draft, who brought donuts, danish, coffee & cola to the Army troopers and National Guardsmen lining the streets during marches and rallies, blasted by the summer sun or chilled to the bone. The kids talked to them in a nonconfrontational way, listened to their experiences and found out that most of the troops, wishing to stay alive, wanted out of Vietnam as badly as we protesters did. Some of those active duty troops (some cops, too) flashed grins and V-finger peace signs to us and even painted peace symbols on their helmets. We admired the ones who dared to protest on-camera, and we admired those who'd served in Vietnam who had been placed in harm's way for no reason but Johnson's and Nixon's egomania. I never heard any protestor express "hatred" of our soldiers or anything close to it, although some naive ones grew impatient and complained that there should be a mass military mutiny--and why hadn't there been? We who were a little more experienced told them, "That won't happen" because, sadly, most Americans have long been addicted to materialism. To get their electronic and infernal combustion toys, most let themselves become conditioned to obey, not to demand their birthright of freedom. Expecting a mutiny was callow, but far from hatred.

After the debacle in Vietnam ended, TV journalists on the nightly news blatted scornful reports that the young "hippies" (real hippies were at most about 5% of all antiwar young people), the same ones who'd been protesting the war, were now scorning and bad-mouthing the returning soldiers, spitting at them and getting into shouting matches, while the Middle American "moral majority" types were their true-blue champions. Just as now, in the Iraq war, I think it was closer to the opposite. I heard plenty of damfool conservatives rail against bad military leadership that refused to "nuke" North Vietnam, all those black inner city draftees who were ruining the Army, the worthless drugged-out soldiers. They were furious that we'd lost the war, although (you wouldn't know it from the TV news or from U.S. schoolbooks) Vietnam was not the first war we'd lost. Since the Babbits were the political bosses of suburbia and the small towns, there's no wonder that the returning soldiers received few parades or honors outside major cities, and that was truly shameful. The war protestors, including young people, may have been the only significant segment of the public who actually honored the returning Vietnam vets--in a quiet way. A large percentage of them joined social agencies or volunteered to help the veterans with lost limbs, PTS, etc., and many made a career of it.

The myth that really disturbs me is today's right-wing baloney about the "liberal press". What a chamberpot of poop. There hasn't been any truly LIBERAL mass journalism--by which I mean TV and radio--since I was a kid. After Elmer Davis and Edward R. Murrow I can recall only cautious Cold Warrior "liberals" sucking up White House propaganda and spewing it out as gospel, or timidly voicing controversial opinions--now and then. (Cronkite was one of them until he had a change of heart on Vietnam, then realized that religious fanatics were trying to take over government, and by then he was pretty old.) The 50s were the period in which the American eagle got its left wing chopped off. Our beautiful bird has been flapping around ever since, unable to fly, an endangered species.

-Jenny Hanniver



Regarding Robert Chapman's mention of censuring Bush: here is a way to automatically connect directly to those Congress-people about censure!

Censuring the president is a reasonable first step in condemning the president's actions. Now it's up to us to show broad public support for Senator Feingold's resolution. Can you sign this petition asking Congress to join the call for censure? CLICK ON LINK...

http://political.moveon.org/censure/

-Kelly Taylor



Today's Obvious Quote of the Day

"I'm not convinced that providing more money for Iraq will cure the problems in that country,"
-Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY)

We're not throwing our money at Iraq, Rep. Lowey... We're giving it to Halliburton. The Iraq war (for those war profiteers like Cheney's KBR and Halliburton) is the gift that keeps on giving... to them.

-Noah Greenberg


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-Noah Greenberg