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This is What Democracy Looks Like
Today's Note From a Madman
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Due to an impromptu trip tomorrow evening, there may be no Note From a Madman tomorrow evening and there will be no Note From a Madman on Thursday. -NG
A Short Note About 2008
Is it me, or does anybody else hope that the list of 2008 GOP hopefuls grow in the direction in which it seemed to be growing?
Today we learned that Rep. Tom Tancredo (REPUBLICAN-CO) is organizing an exploratory committee to ascertain his legitimacy as a presidential candidate.
Tancredo is the guy who wants to arrest immigrants for being immigrants. he offers no solution on how to pay for such a program which, if 100 percent successful, would imprison at least 11 million Mexican and South Americans. The "conservative" estimate on what it would cost in money and time to rid our nation of what people like Tancredo consider to be a blight, is in the billions of dollars and years in time.
I believe he already has the Minute-Man vote.
The problem the GOP faces in the year 2008 is their religious right fanatics: They might just come out and vote in the primary. What this could mean is that the eventual nominee will either be someone from the far Right or will be someone who has moved so from their more moderate stances that they couldn't possibly be comfortable with their new positions.
Think former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Arizona Senator John McCain, the front-runners, for example. Giuliani, the guy who first cleaned up new York City (it was a surface clean only), then oversaw the aftermath of 911, is a pro-choice, Catholic, pro stem-cell research Republican who also cheated on his wife while still in office. How far will he have to move to get those far Right votes he will need to get the nomination? How far back would he have to come to get elected?
Then there's McCain, the self-described independent thinker who has taken up Bush position after Bush position in order to brown-nose his way to the nomination. Recently, he has hitched himself to the policies of the Bush administration, probably hoping that the thirty percent of those who still (somehow) support The President will back him. How will his shape-shifting flip-flopping end up in the general election?
While the GOP field gets filled with the Tancredo's and Sam Brownbacks of the world moderate Republicans must be wincing. They see their party moving so far to the right that they must not even feel welcome anymore. Their choices will be such in 2008 that, come November, their choice won't be between Democrat or Republican but Democrat or staying home.
People "believe that there is a void in this race that none of the other candidates are willing or able to fill,"
And people like Tancredo are there to fill it with hate, suspicion and policies that will bankrupt our nation both financially and morally.
I believe that there is a solution to illegal immigration, but throwing 11 million people in jail isn't the answer, no matter what someone like Tancredo says.
So you want to fix Iraq, huh? Well here's some ideas:
How about an International force of some half-a million or so troops. Make most of them from places like Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Combined, those nations have over 600,000 active duty forces at their disposal. The French and Germans should contribute to the cause of Peace as well.
Let's face it, the US, under the guidance of President Bush, has really blown this. Why, it's almost like the Bushies planned it this way, or something. All one has to do is look at who's getting rich off of this war to validate that argument. Dick Cheney's Halliburton and George H.W. Bush's Carlyle group (the Senior Bush and the bin-Ladens sit on the board of Carlyle together) just to name two.
It makes sense to ask the international community for help, especially our mid-eastern friends. After all, a peaceful Iraq right square in their own backyards would seem to be a no-brainer. Of course this would require a Bush mea-culpa to our "friends" and real contrition, along with the words, "You guys were right and I was wrong."
While all of this negotiating is going on, we should also be strengthening our positions along the borders which we consider "porous". A repositioning of our troops along both the Syrian and Iranian borders, with increased air patrols and infrared scans (I assume they really do exist) to make sure the shenanigans are left to a minimum in those areas. We should use our armed, unmanned drones to be regularly patrolling as well.
At that same time, we ought to create demilitarized zones - a sort of no-man's land where no one would be able to travel, except for guarded paths. Think of the DMZ between North and South Korea. That sort of thing. This would solve two problems: (1) Protecting the borders between a fragile nation and its "Axis of Evil" neighbors; and (2) Getting our troops out of harm's way.
While we were protecting the borders (especially that big one to the east with Iran), we could be protecting the most important resource the Iraqi people have: THEIR oil fields. That's right, I said "THEIR oil fields. After all, no matter how much Halliburton and the other "where's the oil money" war profiteers think that black stuff under the sand really belongs to them it doesn't. the oil from the second largest (behind Saudi Arabia) oil producer in the world is the only thing that can get the nation of Iraq back on their feet again, economically speaking, of course.
This all brings up the fact that there needs to be a real oil-sharing program amongst the three semi-autonomous (eventually speaking, of course) regions in Iraq: The Sunni area, Kurdistan and the rest of the nation which is controlled by the Shi'ite majority. A third party, agreeable to all three groups, must be charged with leading these negotiations that will solve a major stumbling block which stand in the way of peace. True, it isn't the only obstacle, but to deny its influence is underestimating the power of money.
Whereas most who read this newsletter seem to agree that there should be no permanent military base anywhere in Iraq (maybe the entire mid-east, for that matter), I think that a large, fully manned military base would be a good idea. But I feel that a base such as this would be placed in the northern Kurdish territory. The Kurds appear to be our allies and they also appear to be experiencing a much easier peace than the rest of the nation has. The problem of the contested oil-rich city of Kirkuk (contested by the Kurds and the Arabs placed there by Saddam Hussein) is going to have to be resolved as well.
The military base in this territory will allow the US the option of keeping an eye on the nation which we almost destroyed. it will also allow us the ability of coming back into Iraq as the situation in the ground might dictate. More importantly, our getting out of the fight in Iraq, while still staying in proximity, will force the Iraqi government, police and army forces to take their rightful place at the head of the struggle.
Keep the Stock Market
The right wingers brag about the stock market being up and 401k being back. First off, that doesn't help people who were slammed in the 2000 market crash. Many people bailed out of the market for good so it's become irrelevant to them. Now, people have less money to invest with falling wages.
With all that said, what has the rising stock market cost our society?
1) Outsourced jobs.
2) Regulations have been gutted on water, air, etc...
3) Safety regulations are not being enforced.
4) Mergers have reduced choice for consumers.
5) Benefits have been taken away.
6) Wages have stagnated or even fallen.
7) Workers are under constant threat of losing their jobs.
Is this really worth it for the average person? I don't think so. Keep the stock market and reward work instead.
In response to President Bush's "Sometimes you're the Commander-in-Chief - sometimes you're the Educator-in-Chief," Robert Scardapane writes:
Clearly, time for Bush to catapult the propaganda.
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