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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Weekend Madman

Friday-Sunday, July 6-8, 2007


Taking a Stand, Sort Of

Having your cake and eating it, too. That's exactly what statements like the one Senator Pete "Fire that Federal Prosecutor" Domenici (REPUBLICAN-NM) is trying to accomplish with statements like the one he made this past week.

"I do not support an immediate withdrawal from Iraq or a reduction in funding for our troops, but I do support a new strategy that will move our troops out of combat operations and on the path to coming home."

Funny (as in ironic, not "ha-ha") how these guys can come out and say something without really saying nothing at all, isn't it?

"I have carefully studied the Iraq situation and believe we cannot continue asking our troops to sacrifice indefinitely while the Iraqi government is not making measurable progress to move its country forward,"

There is a growing number of GOP Waffles in the Senate, including Domenici, Richard Lugar (REPUBLICAN-IN), George Voinovich (REPUBLICAN-OH) and John Warner (REPUBLICAN-VA) joining in the chorus of "leave, but don't leave" Iraq. The problem is that they offer no solutions. Let's not forget that these same Senators were in the majority for the previous four years (much longer in the House) and did absolutely nothing to change the situation which their party's leader, President Bush, had put us into.

When people like Pete Domenici make statements like that, just what is he suggesting we do? In the same sentence he suggests that we can't stay AND we can't leave all at the same time. What's his plan? Listening to statements like this one from Sen. Domenici, one's reminded of the great dialogue from the movie "The Princess Bride" which sees Vizzini (Wallace Shawn) and The Dread Pirate Roberts (Cary Ewles) drinking "to the death":

Dread Pirate Roberts: All right. Where is the poison? The battle of wits has begun. It ends when you decide and we both drink, and find out who is right...and who is dead.
Vizzini: But it's so simple. All I have to do is divine from what I know of you: are you the sort of man who would put the poison into his own goblet or his enemy's? Now, a clever man would put the poison into his own goblet, because he would know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I am not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But you must have known I was not a great fool, you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.
Dread Pirate Roberts: You've made your decision then?
Vizzini: Not remotely. Because iocane comes from Australia, as everyone knows, and Australia is entirely peopled with criminals, and criminals are used to having people not trust them, as you are not trusted by me, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you.
Dread Pirate Roberts: Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.

Truly, Senator Domenici, you do have a dizzying intellect.

Now that the cat is out of the bag, so to speak, Domenici is endorsing the Iraq study Group's findings just a tad late. How's that saying go again? I believe its one thousand days late and $300 billion short.

One has to wonder if all of these Republicans are actually jumping the President's ship or merely hedging their bets. Judging by their past acts, I think the answer is obvious.

-Noah Greenberg

Fouad the Fraud

"Scooter Libby was a soldier in your--our--war in Iraq,"
-Fouad Ajami in an open letter to President Bush

You'd think that would be enough, wouldn't you? But Mr. Ajami, a NeoCon with a middle eastern name, went on to use words which most of use in describing our fallen soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"the man caught up in this storm,"
"the 'sin' of that devoted public servant,"
"In 'The Soldier's Creed,' there is a particularly compelling principle: 'I will never leave a fallen comrade,"... A process that yields up Scooter Libby to a zealous prosecutor,"

Makes you want to cry, doesn't it? The problem here is that Mr. Ajami speaks of Scooter Libby as the fallen comrade when it was his counsel to Vice President Dick Cheney which has directly spilled the blood of our troops' REAL fallen comrades. To place a politician whose actions helped disguise the involvement of the release of the name of a covert - yes, covert - CIA operative isn't merely incredible but it's also insulting to their memories.

"The Department of State and the CIA let it be known that they were on the side of the angels, that they harbored great doubts about this expedition into Iraq, that they were "multilateralists" at heart, but that they had lost the war to Vice President Dick Cheney and to the "hawks" around him. In the midst of this, Scooter Libby worked tirelessly and quietly to prosecute and explain and defend this war. He accepted the logic of the Iraq war, the great surprises we met in the course of this war."

These are the people whose counsel the President chose. And these are the people, upon realizing their mistakes in relation to the war in Iraq brought a new tact to their counsel. They decided, in a feeble attempt, to change a Commander-in-Chief's mind while the likes of Cheney and Libby fought against the obvious in an effort to keep a bloody status quo.

"He was never a triumphalist,"

He was one who sought triumph while blood flowed. He was one telling us all that we are winning an unwinnable situation while protecting those of the Bush "base" of "haves and have mores" get richer on the backs of our soldiers effort and the middle class' pocketbook. Saying "We won," is a heck of a lot different than actually winning, as evidenced by the banner on the Aircraft Carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, "Mission Accomplished".

"He was a man of great depth. He knew moral complexity (his remarkably lyrical novel, "The Apprentice," bears witness to an eye for human folly and disappointment)..."

One wonders if Mr. Ajami actually read the novel which features the rape of a young girl.

"It should be recalled, that you, Mr. President, said that any of your staff caught up in that case "would no longer work in my administration." And it was then that the Justice Department stepped out of the way to let a special prosecutor launch an investigation that would, by necessity, have to vindicate itself. The better part of wisdom was to see the matter for what it was--a policy difference over the war, a matter that should never have been criminalized.
"The prosecutor, and the jury and the judge, had before them a case that purported to stand alone, a trial of one man's memory and recollections."

But what Mr. Ajami fails to recognize is that Scooter Libby did actually commit a crime, one he had ample time to correct. he was given every chance by the prosecutor, Republican appointee Patrick Fitzgerald, to tell the truth. And as evidenced by the evidence, the judge and the jury's final decision, scooter Libby did, in fact, take one for the team. And it's one that shouldn't have been taken because it betrayed our nation and our Constitution.

Scooter Libby deserves to be in jail. It's just too bad that he isn't.

-Noah Greenberg

On Health Care

Health care is shaping up as the number two issue of the 2008 Presidential campaign (Iraq is the number one issue). The Republicans, true to form, are pushing an even more oppressive role for the private insurance companies that failed us. A typical comment from the Republican front runner Giuliani is that Democrats are edging toward the slippery slope of "government-controlled health insurance" . Giuliani promotes the "innovation and choice offered by private insurers".

To that I say, Mr. Giuliani are you nuts! What innovation have insurance companies ever provided? What choice? Do you find good in the ability to select the company that will fleece you? The Republican party has no ideas on health care (and anything else for that matter).

I do not fear the "slippery slope" of government-controlled health care. I do fear people such as Giuliani who in the face of utter failure want to dig an even deeper hole by pressuring citizens into purchasing private health care insurance. This will not do anything to reduce the cost. Single Payer Universal health care is a just system that returns the most bang for the buck.

-Robert Scardapane

Ignorance is Bliss
(and Required in the Bush White House)

So the White House is going to tell Harriet Miers to ignore a Senate subpoena. What should Congress do?

So? Congress can arrest and jail her for contempt of Congress. Yep, Medieval kings tried to get away with flaunting the law, too--but in England, Flanders, parts of Italy & elsewhere, Parliaments and courts asserted their authority. Kings sometimes sent their flunkies into a secure royal castle, or out of the country "on special assignment," to dodge their appearance for testimony or on charges, but when the court or Parliament could get their hands on a henchman with an unanswered summons, he got tossed into a baron's dungeon until he complied. The "contempt of Parliament" sentence was applied so often in the 13th & 14th centuries that, after it was rediscovered in the 17th century, it became an important source of our liberties today.

But perhaps our Congress is in the Dark Ages. Or, more accurately, the Roman Empire. ("Heil, Caesar"?) We'll soon see.

-Jenny Hanniver

On Michael Moore's "Sicko"

This is a great scene from the movie SICKO. Backdrop, Mike Moore is talking to a middle class couple in a Canadian diner. He asks them "you expect your fellow Canadians, who don't have your problem, why should they, through their tax dollars, have to pay for a problem you have?". Here's how it went from there:

Canadian: "Because we would do the same for them. It's just the way it's always been, and it's the way we hope it will always be.
Moore: Right, but if you just had to pay for your problem, and don't pay for everyone else's problem, just take care of yourself--
Canadian: "Well, there are a lot of people who aren't in a position to be able to do that. And somebody has to look after them"

The punch line is that he says to them that surely you must be a couple of liberals. They both laugh and tell him that belong to the Canadian conservative party!

In the nutshell, Mike Moore has touched on the moral dilemma in America. Do we only care about ourselves or all of our fellow citizens? To care only about ourselves is incredibly short sighted in that what isn't an issue for a person today may be in the future. Also, this is how the corporate powers divide us. As long as we assert it's about me, "we the people" are weak and can be divided by well-connected and financed forces.

-Robert Scardapane

In response to, "If President Bush has made this world a worse place to live, then it was Dick Cheney who designed it. Cheney is a blight on us all. His departure from government, alone, will make our nation and the world a better place to live immediately," Robert Scardapane writes:

There is a solution to Cheney blight; it's called HRES 333. This is a House Resolution sponsored by Dennis Kucinich to begin impeachment hearing on Shotgun Cheney. I think the events of this past week prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Cheney is out of control; he now thinks he's a fourth branch of government. Please contact your Congressional Representative and ask them to sponsor HRES 333.

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-Noah Greenberg