Note From a Madman

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Quote in the Lead

"I think the people want the president to be in a position to make good, crisp decisions and to stay healthy."

-President Bush, Justifying his five week vacation

Goodness, I can't imagine the decisions he would make if he wasn't well rested. Mr. Bush why don't you give us all a break and resign. That would be a "vacation" for all Americans.

-Robert Scardapane

In Case You Forgot

Let us not forget our "good friend" Tom Delay (D-TX). Last Thursday his political action committee Texans for a Republican Majority (TRMPAC) was indicted on five felony counts of using corporate money to influence state elections. Delay will have to step down as majority leader if indicted. What a bunch of crooks!

-Robert Scardapane

Let's Review

According to the Economic Policy Institute, inflation adjusted median household income is $1,700 (3.8%) below it's most recent peak in 1999. Yet, the economic growth as measured by GDP has expanded approximately 50% during this period! Meantime, productivity has increased over 15%. In short, Americans are working harder for less money.

So, what solutions do Republicans propose?

. Estate tax elimination for 20,000 wealthiest families.

. Permanent tax cuts for the top 5-10% of income earners.

. Social security privatization. Indeed, they are still trying to loot the trust fund. Jim Demint (R-North Carolina) has a bill to convert the social security surplus into private accounts.

. Cuts in Medicaid and additional out of pocket costs in both Medicaid and Medicare.

Keep in mind that the Republicans already looted the country for five years:

. Tax cuts that benefit the wealthy. They were suppose to be temporary. Sounds familiar right? Recall that the Patriot Act was also suppose to be temporary.

. Bankruptcy laws that benefit credit card companies and create a virtual debtor prison.

. The repugnant Jobs Creation Act of 2004 that allows corporations to repatriate billions from overseas tax shelters. So far, this tax break has not created jobs. Instead, the tax sheltered money went into stock buy-backs and bonuses for the top executives.

. The equally repugnant Energy Bill of 2005 that gave 10 billion in subsidies to oil and gas companies - as if they need the help!

. All manner of tort reform that reduce protections for the little guy against corporate malfeasance. Have you seen a reduction in prices or creation of jobs since these changes were enacted?

So, the Republicans wonder why people are so unhappy with the economy. I have a tip for them - put down your Wall Street Journals and go talk to ordinary Americans about their economic reality.

-Robert Scardapane

A "Brownfield" Does Not a Home Make

The largest emergency government shelter in Washington, D.C. is called the D.C. Village. Sounds charming right? Not exactly! This shelter is next to a junkyard and close to a sewage treatment facility. The air is foul and the ground is polluted - it's commonly called a "brownfield".

The facility itself is not toxic but certainly unhealthy - chock full of pinworm, spiders, roaches and bedbugs. I realize it's tough finding emergency housing for thousands of people but I think we can do better than this. I sure hope that the government will help these people find better homes soon.

-Robert Scardapane

Anything for the "Agenda"

Today, House Resolutions 375, 408 and 418 were debated in the international relations committee. I listened in disgust as the committee chairman Henry Hyde (R-IL) attempted to white wash each issue and urged his colleagues to terminate debate on the Downing Street Memos (DSM) and Traitorgate (outing of Valerie Plame Wilson).

I listened in further disgust as Dana Rohrbacker (R-CA) used Project for the New American Century (PNAC) (see below) arguments to justify the Iraq war. He even claimed that HR 375 (DSM) would in effect undermine the PNAC agenda. Oh yeah, that would be a shame!

Is there any doubt that Republicans have been pursuing the imperialist PNAC agenda?

Would Americans approve of overthrowing an Arab regime simply to instill fear in terrorists of our great power?

Would Americans have agreed to wage war because of oil?

I no longer doubt that the legitimate retaliation against Bin Laden for 9/11 was cynically transformed into the PNAC agenda. All of these resolutions should pass. But, Republicans control the House and they appear determined to cover up for the Bush administration.

And, More specifically, on Henry Hyde

His performance today debating HR 375 was absolutely awful. Instead of agreeing to investigate the meaning of the Downing Street Memos, Mr. Hyde attempted to terminate all debate. The Republican dominated Congress failed to do it's job and Mr. Hyde is simply covering it up. He should stop conflating the Iraq war with 9/11, stop using quotes from Democrats about the Hussein regime. All of that is simply irrelevant. The Downing Street Memos ARE new information. They do imply that intelligence was warped.

They do say that there was no post war planning. This is NOT new information to an ordinary citizen of this country but is a major embarrassment.

Mr. Hyde should start doing his job and stop shilling for President Bush.

-Robert Scardapane

As If they Had any "Principles"

Although madman does not usually publish previously works verbatim, in light of Robert Scardapane's article (above). I thought it appropriate to give this "Statement of Principles" a few lines in tonight's Madman:

PNAC - Statement of Principles

June 3, 1997

American foreign and defense policy is adrift. Conservatives have criticized the incoherent policies of the Clinton Administration. They have also resisted isolationist impulses from within their own ranks. But conservatives have not confidently advanced a strategic vision of America's role in the world. They have not set forth guiding principles for American foreign policy. They have allowed differences over tactics to obscure potential agreement on strategic objectives. And they have not fought for a defense budget that would maintain American security and advance American interests in the new century.

We aim to change this. We aim to make the case and rally support for American global leadership.

As the 20th century draws to a close, the United States stands as the world's preeminent power. Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does the United States have the vision to build upon the achievements of past decades? Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests?

We are in danger of squandering the opportunity and failing the challenge. We are living off the capital -- both the military investments and the foreign policy achievements -- built up by past administrations. Cuts in foreign affairs and defense spending, inattention to the tools of statecraft, and inconstant leadership are making it increasingly difficult to sustain American influence around the world. And the promise of short-term commercial benefits threatens to override strategic considerations. As a consequence, we are jeopardizing the nation's ability to meet present threats and to deal with potentially greater challenges that lie ahead.

We seem to have forgotten the essential elements of the Reagan Administration's success: a military that is strong and ready to meet both present and future challenges; a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad; and national leadership that accepts the United States' global responsibilities.

Of course, the United States must be prudent in how it exercises its power. But we cannot safely avoid the responsibilities of global leadership or the costs that are associated with its exercise. America has a vital role in maintaining peace and security in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. If we shirk our responsibilities, we invite challenges to our fundamental interests. The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire. The history of this century should have taught us to embrace the cause of American leadership.

Our aim is to remind Americans of these lessons and to draw their consequences for today. Here are four consequences:

we need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global
responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future;

we need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values;

we need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad;

we need to accept responsibility for America's unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.

Such a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity may not be fashionable today. But it is necessary if the United States is to build on the successes of this past century and to ensure our security and our greatness in the next.

Elliott Abrams: Two-time confessed Iran-Contra liar, who was given an eleventh-hour pardon and Christmas present on Christmas night 1992
Gary Bauer: A "religious" man who had to hold a press conference to tell everyone he was NOT having an affair with a 26-year-old staffer; A "Chicken-Hawk" that "opted out of the Vietnam War, but has no problem sending our sons and daughters off to Iraq; A "Good Christian" who had no problems taking money from Washington Times owner, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon
William J. Bennett: Another "Religious man" who lost millions of dollars in Las Vegas gambling. Bennett claimed that since he was breaking no law, it was no big deal. I wonder if he feels the same about hookers in the Las Vegas desert.
Jeb Bush: Not a draft dodger or Pilot in an Air National Guard unit in Alabama where there were no planes, the governor of Florida was simply lucky enough to not have his number come up in the draft (whew!). I guess the US Armed Services weren't accepting volunteers at that time.
Dick Cheney: Do I really have to say it? The man of five-Vietnam War deferments and the "I had better things to do" attitude, he is also the only man who had the word <F--> recorded on the floor of the senate. Another "Chicken-Hawk" who would rather send others to die for his Halliburton profits.
Eliot A. Cohen: A self-described "military historian, a commentator on current events", he wrote in a Washington Post editorial, "Iraq was a policy problem that we could evade in words but not escape in reality. But what I did not know then that I do know now is just how incompetent we would be at carrying out that task." Cohen's eldest son serves in Iraq.
Midge Decter: Among other things, she is Donald Rumsfeld's biographer. 'Nuff said.
Paula Dobriansky: "Development cannot flourish where people cannot make their voices heard, human rights are not respected, information does not flow, and civil society and the judiciary are weak," said the Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs. Does that include Americans too, Ms. Dobriansky?
Steve Forbes: Mr. Flat Tax. More for him is better for... well.... him. Another lucky son of a rich guy.
Aaron Friedberg: Just another rich neocon member on Cheney's staff.
Francis Fukuyama: A member of Bush's Council on Bioethics (it sends a shiver down my spine).
Frank Gaffney: Founder of Americans for Victory Over Terrorism (AVOT), a well-connected group of Republicans that equates opposition to the Bush administration with terrorism. (Nice)
Fred C. Ikle: Commissioner on the National Commission on Terrorism, which produced the Report of the National Commission on Terrorism in June 2000 for President Bill Clinton. I guess GW never got a chance to read it.
Donald Kagan: I say nothing bad about another Brooklyn College guy.
Zalmay Khalilzad: The most senior Muslim in the Bush administration (or the only one) he was accused of trying to "influence" the Afghanistan elections in 2004.
I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby: Another Traitorous leaker of Valerie Plame's name, he is also a VP Cheney's Chief of Staff. That'll make for a good lobbyist job someday, after his indictment and pardon, that is.
Norman Podhoretz: He wrote the book, "How to win World War IV". I wonder if GW read that one, too.
Dan Quayle: You say "potato", I say "potato"e". George H.W. Bush's VP and mirror image of GW Bush. Rich parents; avoided combat in Vietnam; you know the rest.
Peter W. Rodman: Another Neocon and Rumsfeld lackey.
Stephen P. Rosen: One of the guys who signed the open letter asking the Republican leaders in congress to "increase the size of the military." I bet his kids are safe. Can anyone say "draft?"
Henry S. Rowen: Another one of those "economic experts" with an extensive resume who never actually ran a company.
Donald Rumsfeld: Duh! FREEDOM WALK. Recently had an intimate concert for him and his friends performed by Clint Black.
Vin Weber: Former Republican Representative from Minnesota, he now runs a "management consulting firm", Clark & Weinstock. management Consulting... is that what lobbyists are calling themselves today?
George Weigel: A "conservative Roman Catholic social ethicist," Weigel believes that the "war on terror" is a "just war." I wonder if he feels that creating terrorists (like in Iraq) is a "good thing?"
Paul Wolfowitz: That war-thing in Iraq will pay for itself. This guy now leads the World Bank. Talk about throwing good money after bad. "Wolfie" used to be a mathematician!

Why did I take the time to look into these guys and gals? To show the feeling of superiority these neocon academics and theologians feel they have over US regular folk. The "Do as we say, not as we do" attitude these people have is not only disheartening, but disturbing. They talk about running the world as a business when they never even ran a business of their own; they talk about war, but they hide in the corner, cowering. If these are the "new leaders" of our planet, then we truly are in trouble.

-Noah Greenberg

A Joke

Q: What is George W. Bush's position on Roe v. Wade?

A: He really doesn't care how people get out of New Orleans


Today's Quote

"NEXT SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 there will be a series of anti-war rallies in Washington, D.C. and other American cities. If we cannot assemble hundreds of thousands of citizens on that day, then our silence will have established that the American people have the government that they want and even deserve. For the sake of the nearly 1,900 lives that have been lost in Iraq and the untold thousands that have died on the Gulf Coast, it is time for the American people to speak with the only voice left to tell truth to power."
- Mel Goodman, a former CIA analyst is a co-author of Bush League Diplomacy: How the Neoconservatives Are Putting the World at Risk, and is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy.

-Forwarded by Kelly Taylor

Another Good, But Sad Quote

"Sometimes it takes a natural disaster to reveal a social disaster."
-Jim Wallis, editor of Sojourner's journal, speaking about hurricane Katrina's impact on the poor


-Forwarded by Robert Scardapane

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-Noah Greenberg