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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Monday, December 11, 2006


The Rhetoric is Killing Us

"this administration wants to succeed in Iraq," -President Bush
"success in Iraq will help protect the United States in the long run," -Bush
"a new way forward in Iraq" -a statement from Democrats and Republicans after meeting with President Bush
"policy adjustments" -goals, as stated by the White House, pertaining to the State and Defense Departments
"need new tactics" -White House Press Secretary Tony Snow
"the goal (is) an Iraq that can govern itself" -Snow
"the goal (is) an Iraq that can sustain itself" -Snow
"the goal (is) an Iraq that can defend itself" -Snow
"I've been doing some deep thinking" -Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

The rhetoric is deafening.

There are no ideas from this administration. They know one thing and one thing only:


If you screw up in Iraq, blame the media for only showing that same guy carrying that same television he looted from that same electronics' store over and over again.
If you screw up the economy, blame, in no particular order:
A) The Clintons
B) The terrorist attacks of 9/11
C) The Democratic minority in congress
D) Bad Luck(?)
If you don't send any help to New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast, blame it on God!
Attack John Kerry's war record.
Attack John McCain as a Manchurian candidate who had a black child out of wedlock and whose wife is a druggie.
Hey, maybe it is all bad luck after all? I'd rather use that as an excuse than to tell us all that God isn't on our side.

And when the war gets even more out of hand, attack those who are bringing us the news. After all, who are you going to believe? Us or your own eyes?

From the moment that the ISG (Iraq Study... Survey... Whatever Group) released their paper, one could see that the lack of any ideas relating to Iraq is the predominate factor in DC.

It is my belief that the Powell Doctrine of overwhelming force was the right answer from the beginning and it still is. It's obvious that we're not just going to leave Iraq immediately. So a force of some half-million international troops in place patrolling Iraq makes more sense than ever. Offering our generals another 20,000 troops just gives the insurgents an additional 20,000 targets. When are these idiots in DC going to realize that its all in or all out. Period. There is no "gray area" in- or- outside of the "Green Zone".

Instead of leaving our sons and daughters as "advisors" on the ground to team up with Iraqi policemen, as the ISG has recommended, we should have small groups of Iraqi policemen patrolling with our soldiers. Assume that you're the parent of one of these "advisors" and ask yourself this one question: How safe do you think your child would be as the only American in the midst of an Iraqi patrol.

Include my son OUT!

A Large international force would do much in making Iraq safer. Of course, it would require our President to make a plea to the rest of the world, including our Arab nation friends and Muslim allies all across the world. It would also require us to dip into the huge armies of China and Russia for help. Think of an international force of some 500,000 trained soldiers patrolling Iraq. Egyptians, Jordanians and Saudis patrolling with Chinese, Russian, American and British troops to keep the peace. What could we do with a force of a million?

Of course, the other extreme option is getting out now. What would happen? If you believe the Bushies, anarchy, a safe haven for terrorists and evil spreading from mid-east nation to mid-east nation like water through the streets of New Orleans. I disagree.

Here's another scenario" After we leave Iraq, the tribal leaders could come forward and take control of their geographical areas. With financial help from the United States, they can pay their own people to police these areas and keep the peace. We all know that the people of Iraq, including those who are now a part of the insurgency and sectarian violence that IS a civil war, have more loyalty to their tribal and religious leaders than they do to Iraq as a nation, let alone some phony police department put force by the Bushies.

It's time to do something... NOW! If the Bushies want to prove that this wasn't just a war for their war profiteering buddies and stock portfolios, they'll stop faking concern and get on with some real solutions to get our troops out of Iraq and help the Iraqi people.

Or is rhetoric still the how we're "staying the course" today?

-Noah Greenberg

Does Bush Get It?

US President GW Bush's response to a reporter's query whether he understands the gravity of the situation in Iraq, demonstrates yet again, the President's shallow and politically charged comprehension of this conflict.

President Bush was willing to say of Iraq, "Yeah its bad." The President went on to offer examples of the burden that the war is placing upon him, such as meeting with surviving family members of American soldiers killed in combat in Iraq.

While poignant, the President's response remains political and one-sided. If a listener had nothing to go on but Mr. Bush's rendition of the story one would think that the American people were suffering from the invasion of a powerful yet clumsy invading army and that, as regrettable as the deaths of the soldiers are, that they had occurred in noble defense of the streets of America's cities rather than as operations in support of an unjustified invasion of a defenseless foreign nation.

Never in any of his remarks, has the President referred to the destruction, the suffering or the horrendous and unjustifiable loss of life that his policies have inflicted upon the broad masses of the Iraqi people.

In contrast, Saddam Hussein and presumably his minions in tyranny have spent the days since the invasion contemplating the Koran, reading poetry and cultivating gardens protected by the overwhelming force of the Coalition's soldiery. Even if Saddam ends this interlude dancing at the end of rope on the gibbet, his experience of the war has been far more peaceful and tranquil than that of his citizenry.

In a final thought, the President carefully avoided mention of the death squads composed of Coalition trained and equipped members of the Iraqi security forces. While the Coalition leaders wax eloquent about the achievements of constitution and an elected legislative assembly, the security organs of this same government engages in an orgy of reprisal and terror that overshadowed Saddam's most psychotic fantasies.

Can Bush and Blair adopt to the new LANGUAGE of Iraq.... the pertinent question seems to be whether they can recognize the REALITY of the situation they have created in Iraq.

-Robert Chapman

by Victoria A. Brownworth
copyright c Journal-Register Newspapers, Inc.

While the nation and Washington have been pre-occupied with the report from the Iraq Study Group and attempts to delineate a new and less bloody strategy for Iraq, the President has been waging a different, covert war here at home as well as oversees: The war on women.

While the Senate was approving the President’s appointment of Robert Gates as the new Secretary of Defense replacing Donald Rumsfeld, who was forced to resign the day after the Democratic landslide victory in the November elections, President Bush made another appointment behind the scenes.

Bush has made numerous “stealth” appointments throughout his presidency–like that of resigning head of the U.N., John Bolton. These appointments have had one thing in common: they have been uniformly denounced by Democrats and would have faced severe opprobrium.

While the election was a clear referendum in which voters resoundingly objected to the extremist policies of the Bush Administration, the clarity of that vote has yet to be comprehended by the President, who is continuing to cater to the extremist and fundamentalist right wing. This latest stealth appointment is indicative of that.

South Dakota voters–hardly a liberal crowd–resoundingly voted down a legislative effort to ban all abortions in the state. The abortion law would have been the most restrictive in the nation, making all abortions illegal, even those in cases of rape, incest or where the life of the mother was at risk. The President and other members of the Bush Administration had hoped that the South Dakota law would become a litmus for the overturning of Roe v. Wade. But when the legislation went before the voters in a referendum, the voters were clear: this was too restrictive and too dangerous for women.

Not to be outdone with that vote, Bush has found yet another way to restrict abortion–and contraception.

Bush has appointed Dr. Erik Keroack to head the Office of Family Planning, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, where Keroack will be Deputy Assistant Secretary to Michael Leavitt, Secretary of HHS.

This is yet another troubling appointment by the President, who continues to promote a radical right-wing agenda over the overwhelmingly centrist views of the nation.

Keroack is not even qualified for the position. (He didn’t even meet the minimum requirements for the post, as Keroack doesn’t have a valid license to practice medicine. He never bothered to get his license renewed, which strikes me as indicative of a lack of seriousness about the importance of the position as well as an echo of the anti-science bias of the Bush Administration as a whole.) Keroack is no longer a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist–a main requirement for the job.

Yet the President asserts that Keroack is extremely well-qualified in other ways. Those ways appear to be solely that Keroack’s extremist views mirror those of the President. Aside from the fact that someone heading a medical office for the Administration isn’t currently allowed to practice medicine, the way that Keroack practices medicine may give you pause. As will the reasons Bush thinks he’s perfect for the job. The President cited Keroack’s experience as the reason for the appointment.

However, Kerouack’s experience is not what one would expect in an appointee to this position.

Readers know that I am pro-life and would like to see an end to unnecessary abortions. As a consequence I am a vehement supporter of contraceptive education and use of Plan B to prevent as many unwanted pregnancies as possible. That, in my perception, is the only way to reduce the number of abortions.

That said, my anti-abortion stance is my personal conviction. I don’t foist it on others. Keroack is anti-abortion, which, in a Bush appointee is not surprising. However, Keroack is also a proponent of extremist perspectives that the far right phalanx of the Republican Party has begun to express more and more frequently: Keroack is against contraception. He believes the 1962 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Griswold v. Connecticut, making contraception legal should be overturned. Keroack has also expressed another commonly held–and shockingly, spoken–attitude among this group: that white women are not reproducing enough. The inference is clear: women of color are out-producing white women.

Thus, in addition to being extreme on reproductive rights, he’s also undeniably racist.

So: the President has chosen as the head of his Office of Family Planning a fake gynecologist who wants to outlaw abortion and birth control and ensure that white women make more babies than women of color.

There’s a joke in there somewhere, but no women of any color are laughing.

Did I miss something? Isn’t family planning predicated on birth control? Shouldn’t women be allowed to have–or not have–as many children as they feel they can love and care for?

Conservative politicians like recently defeated Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) have agitated for restrictions and bans on contraception. But now the President’s “base” of extremist conservatives wants to ban not just abortion, but contraception. Not for kids, but for adults. For everyone. For you.

This seems like a reprise of Bush letting oil company executives make the nation’s energy policies. How can Keoack do the job he’s been hired for—running family planning programs here and abroad with the hefty budget of $283 million–when he’s anti-contraception? The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) stipulates that the budget is "designed to provide access to contraceptive supplies and information to all who want and need them with priority given to low-income persons."

That’s about as black and white as one can get. So how could Bush choose Keroack for the post? (Democratic senators led by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA), demanded that the President withdraw the nomination. He didn’t.)

As if Keroack’s anti-contraception stance were not enough, the good (former) doctor has a conflict of interest. Keroack runs A Woman’s Concern, a chain of crisis pregnancy centers. He serves as supervising physician for the five crisis-pregnancy centers in Massachusetts, where he currently lives. The mission of A Woman’s Concern, says Keroack, is to urge what he terms "abortion-vulnerable women" to refuse abortion and continue their pregnancies.

No matter what.

Good luck with preventing those pregnancies in the first place, however. Keroack is a Christian conservative, like Rev.. Ted Haggard, the recently disgraced spiritual advisor to President Bush and evangelical leader who was found to have been having a long affair with a male prostitute and who was also using crystal meth. An extremist like Haggard, Keroack “regards the distribution of condoms as demeaning to women” and “degrading to human sexuality.” He continually promotes the falsehood that condoms do not protect against HIV/AIDS. That agenda is certainly antithetical to what family planning clinics are trying to promote both in the U.S. and abroad to help stem the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Through A Woman’s Concern, Keroack supports abstinence until marriage. (The centers have a cute slogan: “women should consider the A word”–abstinence, that is, not abortion.)

Keroack’s position at HHS will be far-ranging. As deputy assistant secretary, Keroack will advise Secretary Michael Leavitt "on a wide range of health topics, including adolescent pregnancy, family planning, and other population issues," according to a department job description. In the U.S. and in foreign countries.

One of the techniques that Keroack has pioneered is the use of ultrasound in his crisis clinics. He has stated that when women see the fetus in utero, they are forced to acknowledge the pregnancy and have the baby. Keroack prides himself on keeping women and girls from having abortions.

Family planning advocates like Planned Parenthood and NARAL have decried Keroack’s tactics, saying he bullies women into staying pregnant when they really want an abortion. They have called his methods “dangerous” and “extreme.”

According to a letter delivered to the HHS Secretary Leavitt and to the President from the Democratic senators led by Kennedy, “This appointment is another example of the administration allowing ideology to trump science and it could jeopardize vital services in which large numbers of women and families depend.”

The Keroack appointment dovetails nicely with another of his appointments in November, that of Mary Beth Buchanan.

In 1994, passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA, which as reauthorized in 2000 and 2006), established funding of $3.9 billion for survivors of spousal abuse, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking–the most common crimes against women in the U.S.

Bush has found his own way to undercut VAWA with his newest appointment, which came just days after Keroack, of Mary Beth Buchanan. Buchanan, currently U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, is slated to become Acting Director of the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW).

Buchanan is not a big fan of civil liberties, a key issue in crimes against women. An enthusiastic proponent of the controversial Patriot Act, her previous focus has been ill-fated–and expensive–drug busts. According to sources, as a U.S. Attorney, Buchanan spent $12 million on a sting called “Operation Pipe Dreams,” which ultimately resulted in the arrests of a total of 55 people for selling bongs. (Among them, the Latino actor Tommy Chong.) In addition, Buchanan’s hero was John Ashcroft–like Bush’s ill-fated former Attorney General, she is obsessed with pornography. So much so, in fact, that the legal director of Pittsburgh’s ACLU said Buchanan was "the vanguard of [former U.S. Attorney General John] Ashcroft’s attempt to impose his morality on others." Buchanan has nearly $4 billion at her disposal. With $12 million all she managed to do was have 55 people arrested for bongs. (Bongs!) Will VAWA funds be diverted by Buchanan to fund her conservative anti-pornography obsession? Will she use the conservative rhetoric that Keroack employs about condoms to use her funding inappropriately under the guise of protecting women?

The election was a mandate for change–to a less extreme, less intrusive government. Bush didn’t like the outcome. So just as he made clear that he will likely ignore the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group on the war, he’s also making it clear that he intends to ignore the vast majority of Americans who voted against his repressive forced morality and government-in-the-bedroom politics. The appointments of Keroack and Buchanan are just more examples of how little this President respects the American people. And how his agenda just gets more and more extreme. For Americans, 2008 cannot come soon enough.

In response to Lew Warden's, "But of course you Democrats, being such learned intellectuals, understood this would be the consequence when you started your propaganda campaign against Bush when he was first elected. So in your mad pursuit of vengeance for the way the Republicans trashed Clinton, you will have managed to sell Western civilization down the river. Bon appetite!" Robert Scardapane writes:

This is absurd diatribe. Bush failed because he invaded a country without justification. To add insult to injury, he had no post war plan. He chose to dismantle the Iraqi army thus creating 500,000 recruits for the insurgency. He got rid of every person who understood how Iraq ran. Read Woodward's book State of Denial before you accusing the Democrats for the Republicans blunders. In fact, I think Mr. Warden is in denial himself and taken to blaming Democrats for the Republicans miserable failures. I thought Republicans believe in personal responsibility.

In response to, "And getting the Iraqi people back on their feet is job-one.," Rhian writes:

All your ideas are excellent, however, they are informed, from an educated mind.
As distasteful as profiling is, it must be done to restore peace in Iraq.
The people are not the same. The culture is so completely different from ours, that it is very likely that no American can even imagine a true solution.
Our thought process does not compute in the Iraqi, or any other Middle East Muslim mind.
Add this to the fact that they truly detest Americans. Add also that fact that their infrastructure was completely thrashed and over 30 years old when American troops went in.

I don't think there are more stupid people alive that Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice.
Again add to that the fact that they are as arrogant as it is possible to be.
Iraq was invaded with zero intel.
Iraq was invaded with insufficient troop numbers.
Iraq was invaded with zero funding for a stabilization program and subsequent redeployment of troops.
Iraq was invaded without justification.

Wait. There are two more persons more stupid and arrogant than our DC thugs.
Kissinger, the architect of Viet Nam and Prince Bandar, a Saudi fixer for the Bush family, completely immersed in 'wag the dog' thinking, middle east style. According to Woodward, both have been the primary war advisors to the Bush administration.

Retired General Powell may have saddled the American tax paying public with more than they could handle when he insisted before the invasion that 'we break it we own it' mentality.

And the kids keep on dying, while old men race to meetings in their suits and ties, clucking like hens, in a flap about 'what to do'

How about, this thinking. Pull troops out to redeployment positions, cut the country off, and then wonder about 'what to do' Why should more Americans die for the foolish decisions of cranky old men?

True strategists and logistics personnel, from every war ever fought, are rolling in their graves as we speak, and I'm sure I can hear Sam Houston's guffaws, at what is going on right now.

If we don't care about the slaughter in Darfur, do we really care about the slaughter in Iraq?
If we do care, can we afford to do anything about it in either place, without trotting out the classified weaponry no one is supposed to know about yet? Probably not.

If we fear an Islamic take-over of 1/3 of the nations of the world on two continents, should we do something far more effective about a real enemy, if Islam is that, than continue to swat ineffectually against an ideology called terrorism? Or is the real war against the American people waged carefully to destabilize the US, till globalists can establish the North American Region complete with superhighway, paving the breadbasket farmland of the US? Define 'domestic enemy.'

Whatever it is, Iraq is not going to be solved until Iraqis solve it. It's time the American people faced that fact, and face the truth. We allowed our elected leaders to run with this ball and they did break it and we can't own it. Everything else is lala land thinking. Our culture, at age 250+ cannot change over 2000 years of tradition in a foreign nation, no matter how much we want to.

We can however, fix us, our lack of leadership problems, our border and illegal problems, our total lack of allegiance on a corporate level to our own economy, our own aging infrastructure, and our dependence on foreign oil.

Once upon a time, statement/women, ran governments in the US. What we have now are liars called politicians who serve nothing but their own interests. Would the true statesmen and women please step up to the plate to run governments again?

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-Noah Greenberg