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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Weekend Madman

Friday-Sunday, June 8-10, 2007


A Strange Dream

I had a dream last night. Now bear in mind that I rarely remember any of my dreams (and with the way my mind works, that's a good thing). Here's how it looked: From near the front row of a large, packed and noisy auditorium , I was looking up at the stage where a political event was taking place. Behind the podium, but out of sight, of course, was a political candidate who had apparently just won his party's nomination. His arm was raised in triumph and, raised high along with his and being held by the wrist was an arm attached to the body of Colin Powell.

Bearing in mind that I believe any GOP nominee will be pressed hard by the Bush administration to select Jeb Bush as his Vice Presidential running mate, I wondered as to who might have been the man behind the podium. In my dream I struggled to get a better look to no avail.

This morning I awoke to an Associated Press headline which read "Powell gives Obama foreign policy advice". The article quoted Powell as saying he did not want to run for public office, but he did offer this caveat.

"I would not rule it out. I am not at all interested in political life if you mean elected political life. That is unchanged. But I always keep my eyes open and my ears open to requests for service,"

Could it be that Powell might get the number two spot behind Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama, and that the hand holding up his arm was none other than that of the Junior Senator from Illinois?

It was then I realized that it wasn't a dream I awoke from at all. It was a nightmare! No wonder I woke up in a cold sweat.

-Noah Greenberg

Taking the "Pace" Out of Washington

Take your gold watch and your Medal of Freedom and get outta here! General Peter Pace, the Chairman of the joint Chiefs of Staff will not be re-appointed by the Bush administration as the president's top military advisor. The decision was a political one made by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made because Rummy's replacement felt that Pace couldn't make it past his next Senate confirmation hearing.

“I have decided that at this moment in our history, the nation, our men and women in uniform, and General Pace himself would not be well-served by a divisive ordeal in selecting the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,”

Fancy words which simply meant "This guy isn't worth the fight."

The Bush administration has used Pace much the same way in which they use all of their people: As pawns. And much in the same way they have used these people previously, they sacrifice them regardless of whether they are good soldiers or not. They did it to former New jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman; they did it to former CIA Director George Tenet; and now they're doing it to Pace.

Bearing in mind that Pace, a Marine General, had turned into nothing more than another Bush yes-man, willing to do or say anything to keep his position, it is surprising that they would let him go without a fight. Perhaps it's his ties to the Rumsfeld pentagon which had done him in. Maybe it's just that he was too much of a lackey. We may never know.

"The defense secretary stood alone at a Pentagon podium in making the announcement, and he spoke in somber tones in describing how he fully had intended to recommend General Pace be offered a second two-year term as chairman, only to change his mind over the last few weeks after consulting with senior senators of both parties."
-From the Associated Press article "Chairman of Joint Chiefs Will Not Be Reappointed"

I'm surprised he didn't shed some crocodile tears. By the way, did you notice that Pace's non-affirmation (nice wording, huh?) was presented to us late on a Friday afternoon?

Pace circle is now complete. Seemingly resented (is "hated" to strong a word?) by the Commanding Generals on the ground, he had been viewed by them as someone a little too eager to please the President and Rumsfeld. In fact, when one thinks of Pace's tenure as Vice-Chairman, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs the term "lap-dog" comes to mind. He had become the uniformed go-to guy and is now realizing his fate as someone who hitched his cart to the wrong horse. If his thinking was that being in the Bush administration was protection against supporting bad policies; or if his thinking was that his loyalty somehow put him into Bush's inner circle, he was sorely mistaken.

And don't think that this guy was the next Eric Shinseki, the Former Army Chief of Staff who told us all that it would take a much larger force to keep the peace in Iraq after the invasion. Although their fates were similar, Shinseki had the courage to speak for what he believed without getting permission from the Bushies first. I'm sure that General Shinseki sleeps well at night.

Just how well will Peter Pace sleep knowing that even after all of his cow-towing to the Bushies ways, he is still now on the outside looking in?

-Noah Greenberg

On Lieberman

VOTE ALERT: Chamber of Commerce Pushes Lieberman Bill to Gut Sanders H-1B Bill

As an update to my last post, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s top lobbyist has sent a letter to all U.S. Senators urging them to vote against the bipartisan Sanders-Grassley bill that would bar companies that are engaging in mass layoffs of American workers from using the H-1B visa program to hire lower-paid foreign workers. They are specifically asking Senators to vote for a “secondary amendment” by Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut that would gut the Sanders-Grassley proposal.

Here are a few excerpts of the letter:

“On behalf of the United States Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation of more than three million businesses of every size, sector, and region, I urge you to oppose the Sanders-Grassley amendment to S. 1348, the ‘Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Reform Act of 2007.’ This amendment would prohibit companies from obtaining any H-1B workers if there has been a notice or a “mass layoff” under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act in the past year, or if there will be a layoff in the next six months. Also, the Chamber urges you to support a side-by-side offered by Senator Lieberman. The Sanders-Grassley amendment is unnecessary…Further, this amendment sweeps too broadly, and is completely unworkable, as it would effectively bar an employer from using H-1B workers if it had a ‘mass layoff’ in the past year or anticipated one in the near future.”

It’s really unbelievable how shameless people are in Washington - it is a city where its just AOK to oppose legislation that would prevent abuse of the H-1B program by corporate executives who want to use it to lay off American workers and hire lower-paid foreign workers. And I’m still amazed (though I know I shouldn’t be) that Lieberman is carrying the bill to gut this commonsense proposal. His corruption is now just so out there for everyone to see, bringing him down to a new level of shamelessness. He’s pushing the poison pill as a pretty clear payback to the Chamber for the massive ad buy the organization did for him during his tough-fought re-election race. Here’s the New Haven Register’s details on that from 9/9/06:

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce ran an ad from Sept. 1-7 for Lieberman, part of a $10 million national campaign to back candidates responsive to business interests who are in competitive races…Geoff O’Hara, executive director for the Eastern Region of the chamber, cited the senator’s votes on free trade legislation, transportation funding, bankruptcy reform and class-action legal reform as particularly important to them.”

I’ll update folks on the bill’s progress as I get more information.


Lots more wrong with Lieberman than just Iraq!

-Forwarded and commented by Robert Scardapane

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-Noah Greenberg