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This is What Democracy Looks Like
Today's Note From a Madman
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Circumstances to Support Bush
After the Supreme Court had appointed "G"lobal "W"arming Bush the new president of the United States in 2000 a good friend asked me what my thoughts were. At the time I was open to the idea that maybe, just maybe, we were all wrong about GW. Maybe he would end up being a great president. Talk about wishful thinking.
I told my friend that two things had to happen in order for me to say that Bush (43) is doing a good job and that I would vote for him in 2004:
1- Stopping the rising tide of jobs that were just beginning to leave our shores - In order to do this, I thought that this Republican would have to put together deals that would help small businesses hire more employees and be able to provide health care for those employees
2- Resolve the Israel-Arab conflict - Yeah, I know that this was no easy task, but it would be a straight path to my heart. At the time of GW's selection by the "Four Justices of the Apocalypse" plus one to become our 43rd president, I had thought that some real strides were made by then-President bill Clinton. At the eleventh hour of Clinton's term there looked as if there was going to be a deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, then led by Yasser Arafat. With Israel willing to return 95 percent of the land gained during their nation's invasions by mostly surrounding Arab nations, just about everyone thought that Arafat was going to take the deal. He didn't. I was hopeful that "Junior" was going to make peace a priority and try to show up Clinton by completing the deal he couldn't
My 1st Disappointment
The jobs never stopped leaving the nation. During earlier times in our nation's history, conservatives were thought be protectionists, wanting to keep jobs in America while keeping the means of production in the hands of the wealthy few. So much has changed and yet remained the same. Today, Bush (43) still wants to keep the means of production in the hands of the few, but the jobs that used to "trickle down just aren't here any longer. Small businesses close down in the shadows of "Big Box Giants" like Wal-Mart; good paying jobs are lost to overseas manufacturers who can pay their workers pennies to our dollars, and still get to sell their wares, tax-free in our consumer nation; and health care costs, for those lucky enough to have health care, have skyrocketed or been minimized in an effort for small businesses to save money. In other words, my first condition wasn't only not met (I know... a double negative), but even the status quo was lost. Bush and his "base" of "haves and have mores" made things worse for us ordinary Americans while making their rich selves even richer. There hasn't been this huge a separation from the ultra rich to the rest of us since the days of JP Morgan (both of them) and Dale Carnegie.
My 2nd Disappointment
Take a look at the world today and answer this question: Are the relations between the Israelis and the Palestinians better or worse than they were in 2000? The answer is obviously "No" and the path to an unnecessary war in Iraq is partly to blame. Militant Islamic Extremists feed a hate of Israel and "Zionists" to other Muslims in Madrases and elsewhere. Iran, which appeared to be heading toward a more western-tolerant way of life has recently been more inclined to their Muslin religious right Mullahs. The Taliban is back in Afghanistan and terrorists, who weren't present in Iraq are there now. The hate for America spills into Israel from the Arab world and the resentment boils over. We had the world on our side as we entered Afghanistan in retaliation for 9/11, including many Arab nations. We needed to finish the job there and help make Afghanistan, the place which Osama bin-Laden called home, and then escaped from while under our noses, a better and more Democratic place to live. Today Israel appears on the verge of a two-front war that they don't want and the middle east certainly doesn't need.
Good jobs are lost, never to return. Diversionary issues take precedence over real issues in our nation's capital. And while some say that Bush supports Israel, his actions, more indirectly than direct, prove otherwise.
Many Right Wingers point to the "bad luck" experienced by, and during the administration of President Bush. At the same time, they point to the good fortune the Clintons enjoyed during their time in office. It's the "Right-Place, Right-Time, Wrong-Place, Wrong-Time" theory they enjoy throwing around. I think back to 1979 when then-President Jimmy Carter (possibly the most moral man ever to inhabit 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue) faced the kidnapping of Americans in Iran. Was he a bad president or just in the "Wrong-Place" at the "Wrong-Time"? I bet his opponent, and eventual President Ronald Reagan didn't tell him, "Bad luck, Jimmy," during Carter's concession phone call to "The Gipper". And what about GW, who was born with that silver spoon in his mouth? While cheering for his rich-only-need-apply prep school alma-mater and attaining that "Low-C" average at Yale, just how many times did he offer his sympathy to those less fortunate or even say "Bad Luck there fella" to the guy who lost his job after the factory closed?
Conservatives claim that Liberals are weak. Yet, conservatives are so afraid of terrorists that they are willing to give up their civil liberties and blindly follow a leader that has no credibility. Who is the really weak? I believe that the person who isn't willing to stand up for their rights is weak despite all of their gun-ho, warmongering bravado.
In the days, look for more framing on conservatism. It is long past time that Liberals punch back and frame Conservatives as what they are - namely, moral cowards, failures at governing and greedy to the core.
Conservatives act as if it is an article of religious dogma that cutting taxes is always good and raising taxes is always bad. Yet, the reality is that the economy under both Reagan and Clinton had it's best period of growth after tax increases. Conservatives seem to suffer from selective amnesia - they forget that in his second term Reagan raised taxes twice!
I can just hear the conservatives muttering - how ridiculous to think that raising taxes creates growth. It's only ridiculous if you accept their supply side economic frame. Government investment in research and infrastructure is a time proven method of stimulating the economy. Demand side economics sometimes requires an increases in taxation. If the money is put back into research and infrastructure, the net effect is money well spent. From a personal perspective, if you pay an additional 100 dollars in taxes but make 1000 more in salary, aren't you better off? Sometimes you must spend money, to make more money.
I won't go as far as to say that raising taxes is always the right answer. It is plausible that there are situations where lowering taxes is justified - generally, during economic booms. When we do cut taxes, it
must be targeted at the right places. In general, there is no bigger waste than cutting taxes for the wealthy.
"Killing terrorists during a conflict isn't barbaric or immoral - or even illegal."
"Traditionally, those who masquerade as civilians in order to kill legal combatants have been executed promptly, without trial."
"The oft-cited, seldom-read Geneva and Hague Conventions define legal combatants as those who visibly identify themselves by wearing uniforms or distinguishing insignia... Those who wear civilian clothes to ambush soldiers or collect intelligence are assassins and spies - beyond the pale of law."
"Our policy toward terrorists and insurgents" should be "once you've pulled a trigger, thrown a grenade or detonated a bomb, you will be killed... on the spot,"
-Ralph Peters, a Far Right-Winger who writes for Rupert Murdoch's New York Post
Sounds as if Peters is looking toward a "no due process" solution to the Iraqi insurgency, doesn't it? In the editorial, Peters blasts the media as the terrorists' champion, stepping in to make sure captured terroists and insurgents are treated fairly. He even seems to be giving it to the Bushies, saying the following:
"Integrity and courage have fled Washington. Nobody will state bluntly that we're in a fight for our lives, that war is hell, and that we must do what it takes to win."
Of course he fails to mention that Washington is a Republican place. whereas its true that integrity and courage surely have fled Washington, it's wings are red.
The problem I have with Peters' "brilliant idea" (which is the way I'm sure he looks at it) is that, inevitably, it will require wiping out those who our troops are merely suspicious of. It will make the rape and killing of a ten-year-old girl justified in a soldier's mind because her father might be a terrorist. It dehumanizes anyone who "looks like a terrorist". And it will make our nation's children, who are working as soldiers in Iraq that mich harder.
How about this for an idea instead: Shoot anyone with a gun. No questions, just that action. No one in a war zone, other than soldiers and police ought to be walking around with a gun. If they are, they're probably up to no good, so BOOM! Make anyone who owns a gun register that gun. If someone has an unregistered gun, BOOM!
And anyone with a bomb, well, just kill them right away as well. BOOM! is the answer.
What do you think?
Terror, Terror, Terror
Jennifer van Bergen writes on tompaine.com:
Last weekend's report that the FBI foiled a plot to bomb a New York City tunnel once again raises questions about the methods and manners of investigation and prosecution of terrorist suspects.
Officials admit the plot was “largely aspirational” and, according to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, “was never a concern . . . would actually be executed.” While the tunnel bomb plot will not be prosecuted in the United States, it is not the first case where the Justice Department has gone after those suspected of nothing more than talk.
Prosecutions based on talk are but one tactic in an alarming pattern of law enforcement activity in the post-9/11 era. America’s integrity as a nation based on the rule of law is being threatened by three factors: (1) the willingness of law enforcement agencies to arrest and charge those who have engaged in no substantive criminal act combined with (2) prosecutorial overzealousness and (3) bad laws.
Perhaps more than in any other period in American legal history, investigations and prosecutions since 9/11 suffer from a prosecutorial overzealousness that seems to parallel increases in law enforcement improprieties and bad laws. This odd synchronicity creates a “house of cards” effect which unfortunately undermines the Constitution, the rule of law, and ultimately, democracy itself.
As several Madman writers have noted, when election season comes around, the Rethuglicans quack away about terror, terror, terror. The only problem is that less people believe them and even fewer think the Rethuglicans are good at protecting the nation anyway.
Wilson Responds to Novak
Joe Wilson responds to the Prince of Darkness Robert Novak:
"Robert Novak, some other commentators and the Administration continue to try to completely distort the role that Valerie Wilson played with respect to Ambassador Wilson's trip to Niger. The facts are beyond dispute. The Office of the Vice President requested that the CIA investigate reports of alleged uranium purchases by Iraq from Niger."
-Susan Hu's diary.
"The CIA set up a meeting to respond to the Vice President's inquiry. Another CIA official, not Valerie Wilson, suggested to Valerie Wilson's supervisor that the Ambassador attend that meeting. That other CIA official made the recommendation because that official was familiar with the Ambassador's vast experience in Niger and knew of a previous trip to Africa concerning uranium matters that had been undertaken by the Ambassador on behalf of the CIA in 1999.
"Valerie Wilson's supervisor subsequently asked her to relay a request from him to the Ambassador that he would like the Ambassador to attend the meeting at the CIA. Valerie Wilson did not participate in the meeting."
-Forwarded by Robert Scardapane
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