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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

 

Half-Empty, Half-Full & Full of Spin

Today, President Bush stated that we aren't winning the war in Iraq. That's the bad news. He also said we aren't losing, either. That must be the good news. One wonders if he even knows what a war is.

Last week, as he was leaving the Pentagon for good, Donald Rumsfeld intimated that when you fly over Iraq, you don't even see the fires and sectarian violence that has engulfed much of her land. He told all who would listen that we (the US citizenry, I assume) never hear about the parts of Iraq where there is no sectarian violence; we never hear about those areas where bombing and killing and sectarian cleansing aren't business as usual. Rummy brought back the old White house defense that the war in Iraq must simply be a media phenomena.

And, of course, as Rummy was telling us all of this, Vice President "Shotgun to the Face" Dick "Go <F---> Yourself" Cheney was touting the career of his friend, and former mentor, Rumsfeld, by calling him the greatest Secretary of Defense of all time. I wonder why Robert Gates too the job, taking into consideration this hard act to follow?

Oh, wait... I forgot.... Cheney lives in Bizarro-World. Rumsfeld must be the worst Secretary of Defense ever.

As I awoke this morning to one of the many news programs on TV, the first thing I saw was Gates getting off a plane in what I assumed was Iraq, thus making his promise of meeting with the Generals on the ground there fulfilled. My hope is that this guy doesn't turn into Rummy-II and will do what he said he will do: Give the Generals what they need and ask for. But this crap about an additional 15,000 to 30,000 troops just gives the insurgents broader and more accessible targets and puts even more of our young men and women in the line of fire. If more troops are needed for the short haul in order to help the people of Iraq, it had better come in the form of an overwhelming international force, including Arab neighbors; and it better come in fast. otherwise, we just need to get our boys and girls out of there.

"We're not winning, we're not losing,"
"You take a step back and look at progress in Iraq, you say, well, it's amazing - constitutional democracy in the heart of the Middle East, which is a remarkable development in itself,"
-Bush, The Spinner

I wonder how many people have to die in this new Democracy for Bush to realize that purple fingers and people voting along religious lines is not the great Democratic panacea he was told to believe?

The spin of telling us that we are not winning the war, but we aren't losing it, either, the President is saying the status quo is the correct course in Iraq. In other words, it's just a new way of telling that same old "Stay the course" nonsense that has cost, and will keep costing the lives of American troops and Iraqi civilians alike. Staying the course in Iraq means the loss of thousands more American lives and tens of thousands more Iraqis. it's unacceptable.

Maybe it's just a refusal to see what is really going on, or maybe it's an inability to see it. In either respect, only a fool wouldn't realize that our persistent presence there is a major part of the problem. Without an international, overwhelming force, there is no winning in Iraq.

And it's time to leave.

-Noah Greenberg



The "W" Legacy - Not Winning, Not Losing

With his remarkable statement that the US is neither winning nor losing the War in Iraq, US President GW Bush has relinquished all claim that continuing the war is morally justifiable.

Judeo-Christian culture has probably always recognized the necessity of warfare. Many modern Christians and Jews believe that soldiers make a noble sacrifice in confronting enemies who threaten defenseless and inoffensive people.

This sentiment has been simplified in four understandable rules that any person can use to measure whether a national war effort is morally justified or is the result of national chauvinism.

The rules are simply:
1- the use of military force, i.e. killing combatants and subjecting civilians to the danger of war, is justified by the objectives;
2- the peaceful methods of resolving the conflict have all been tried and exhausted;
3- the war aims are understandable and attainable;
4- the war can be successfully prosecuted.

The fourth rule, that the war can be won is the one that President Bush's latest statement violates and that I would like to examine a moment here.

At first sight many people will reject this rule, that the war must be winnable, with an eye role and a knowing smirk. Isn't it typical that the testosteroni's would demand winning as part of their morality.

But this rule has an important moral component: it forbids us from fighting just because we are too stubborn to surrender.

In other words, we cannot threaten a war or fight just to make an enemy think twice about attacking us.

Now many people may feel that this gives away a bargaining chip in international relations.

But when one considers the consequences of war: the mass destruction of property and the profligate loss of human life, it must be clear that no responsible, moral person would use force as a bargaining chip.

For a democratic leader, a potentate advocating a system of government in which every person is valued and every voice is to be heard to reduce a population's well being to the status of bargaining chips is clearly immoral.

For the US to continue to fight a stalemated and endless war is merely another demonstration that the Bush Administration is morally weak and have succumbed to the character corroding temptation of power.

But, unless we can put an end to this conflict and somehow compensate the Arabs for the damage and suffering that we have inflicted upon them, we will have demonstrated that democracy itself is not a vehicle for moral behavior.

This demonstration of democracy's perversion to immoral behavior will be GW Bush's most enduring historical legacy.

-Robert Chapman



Finally Getting It
A Health Care/ Jobs Creation Idea


As Carol F. Yost pointed out, Mort Zuckerman, in the New York Daily News (and as I noted, in the US News and World Report, as well) is calling for Universal Health Care. Zuckerman noted that although the economy is booming, it's only booming for the already very rich and the middle class is being left behind.

Duh.

Anyway, here is madman's idea on why Universal Health Care is so important (besides the obvious that everyone should have a right to see a doctor when sick), published almost three years ago: on www.nationalview.org:

Health Insurance and Jobs
If 70 percent of all jobs created are by small businesses, shouldn't we help small businesses start, develop and grow?

If there is a would-be entrepreneur who is willing to invest the time and money necessary to start a business, shouldn't we find a way to help that person start that business?

If the only thing holding that person back is the cost of health insurance, shouldn't we attempt to do something about that as well?

Q: Why are health insurance costs are so high, and growing higher?
A: Fear is an easy way to keep the American worker in line.

In the immortal words of Bugs Bunny... "Could be"

A Scary Scenario
Two candidates are up for the same job. Candidate 1 is a 35 year-old white male. He graduated from a state college. He has 2 small children and a stay-at-home wife. He has been out of work for 7 months. He has exhausted his unemployment benefits. Candidate 1 REALLY needs this job.

Candidate 2 is a 35 year-old white male. He graduated from a state college. He is single. He has no children.

The company they are interviewing with offers a modest pension plan, 2 weeks vacation and an employee participation health care plan, 75 percent of which is paid for by the employer. Each married employee costs the company $600 per month ($7,200 per year). Each non-married employee costs the employer $200 per month ($1,200 per year).

Two questions arise:
1) Who needs the job more?
2) Who is going to get the job?

Health insurance for everybody creates jobs.
Scenario 1: A white-collar professional (network engineer; software engineer; middle manager; etc) and main breadwinner of a family loses his job. After exhausting 26 weeks of unemployment insurance, COBRA payments and part of the family savings, he decides that drastic measures are needed. The house is sold and the money is used for every day expenses. The former professional is now mired in a meaningless position (meaningless to him), lacks self-respect and is frequently depressed. Worst of all, as time goes by, there is a feeling of surrender that overtakes him. He gives up on finding a new position and the deteriorate. The hole just gets deeper and deeper until all light disappears.

Scenario 2: A white-collar professional (network engineer; software engineer; middle manager; etc) and main breadwinner of a family loses her job. While collecting unemployment insurance, less 10% for health care insurance, this head-of-the-family decides to strike out on her own (network consulting; software services; management consulting; etc) while still looking for a new position. She discovers the ability to communicate with business decision-makers. One of these decision-makers likes what he sees in the consultant and offers her a position. JOB CREATED.

Scenario 3: A white-collar professional network engineer; software engineer; middle manager; etc) and main breadwinner of a family loses his job. While collecting unemployment insurance, less 10% for health care insurance, this head-of-the-family decides to strike out on their own (network consulting; software services; management consulting; etc) while still looking for a new position. He discovers the ability to communicate with business decision-makers. One of these decision-makers likes what she sees and contracts the consultant to improve business. The consultant discovers a new market for the company’s existing product line and advises the decision-maker to hire sales people to address this new market. JOBS CREATED. By word-of-mouth, the consultant attracts more and more business. He finds it necessary to hire a salesperson and a receptionist. EVEN MORE JOBS CREATED.

 

-Noah Greenberg



Right Wingers Wrong Again

One of the worst right wing media pundits is Rich Lowry of the National Review. Lowry writes:

"Most of the pessimistic warnings from the mainstream media have turned out to be right — that the initial invasion would be the easy part, that seeming turning points (the capture of Saddam, the elections, the killing of Zarqawi) were illusory, that the country was dissolving into a civil war."

Just swell! Enough of the right wing nonsense, it's time to get out. Cut off all funding except what's needed for redeployment in one year's time.

-Robert Scardapane



In response to,: "How do you tell a soldier he will be the last soldier to die for a 'mistake'?" Robert Scardapane writes:

In the case of Iraq, the appropriate question is:

How do you tell a soldier he will be the last soldier to die for a "lie"?


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-Noah Greenberg