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Monday, August 21, 2006

Bush: America's "strained psyche"; Kerry: Bush "profoundly wrong" (as usual)

(Okay, the "as usual" in my headline is editorial...not directly from Kerry...but easily inferred if you've been listening to him for a while!)

Earlier today at a press conference, Bush made the claim that
[These are] challenging times and they're difficult times and they're straining the psyche of our country..." Bush said.

No shit these aren't joyous times. But why is that, George?

I remember in the Clinton years - as much as I winced over policies like NAFTA and a much too slow approach to the oncoming freight train of global environmental disaster - I woke up each day (mostly) thinking the world was, on the whole, becoming a better place for most people, little by little.

We're a far, far sight from that optimism now, and as much as the Bushies try to point the finger at Clinton, it's getting a little old - they've had five and a half years to turn the ship around - if indeed it was Clinton that set it on the wrong course, which I doubt - and they've proven themselves utterly incompetent to the task.

Meanwhile, the incompetence goes on, as Bush states with regard to withdrawal of forces from Iraq:
We're not leaving so long as I'm the president. That would be a huge mistake.

Mistake for who? The war profiteers?

As Kerry says in a statement I received in my email, which is also covered at Raw Story and The Democratic Daily:
“President Bush is profoundly wrong about Iraq, and profoundly wrong about the American people. Today President Bush said America’s “psyche” has been “strained” by “challenging times.” Americans are a strong people. The American psyche isn’t the problem. The problem is this Administration’s disastrous Iraq policy.

Bingo. That "stay the course" Iraq non-policy that Bush intends to stay on for another two and a half years. That policy that has resulted in an ineffective government in Iraq, unable to protect its citizenry at all, in a budding civil war. Whole towns where even under Saddam's repression, a woman was treated as a human being, have now been taken over by radical patriarchists who treat women as property. (You call that "freedom" George?? Freedom for whom?)

Kerry goes on, talking about what is really "strained" and why:
Our military has been strained by the Rumsfeld policy of going to war with too few troops, sending troops into battle with inadequate body armor, and overextending the National Guard. Faith in this Administration has been strained by exaggerations and miscalculations from the promise of “mission accomplished” to Vice President Cheney’s declaration of an insurgency “in its last throes.” Patience is strained because almost five years later, Osama Bin Laden is still on the loose, and gone is the promise of ‘wanted dead or alive.’ The Administration’s credibility is strained because the President’s mantra that “U.S. troops will stand down as Iraqis stand up” is another misleading myth, and “stay the course” is a recipe for disaster when the course is broken. Budgets are strained by record deficits, while critical needs, from homeland security to Katrina rebuilding go unaddressed while each week we spend two billion dollars in Iraq.

Well, I have to disagree with Kerry on one part of that - the Administration's credibility is not strained. It's nonexistent, and has been for awhile.

Otherwise, not bad. Kerry on...(now he calls a civil war a civil war. Good job. 'Bout time someone noticed.)
This Administration’s Iraq policy has been an unmitigated disaster and has set us back in the War on Terror. Iran is profiting because the United States is bogged down in Iraq. Our troops are stuck in a civil war. The violence is worse than ever. 100 Iraqi civilians are being killed every day in a brutal civil war that Administration still denies, and it’s getting worse every month. Over 9,000 Iraqis have died in the last three months alone. Since the bombing in Samarra, 182,000 Iraqis have fled their homes due to sectarian violence and intimidation. IED attacks against American troops have nearly doubled since January.

And finally Kerry reminds us, contrary to the right-wing and M$M spin, he doesn't just criticize the current policy, but has concrete proposals for an alternative course of action (aka a "plan", for those who like that word):
We must change course in Iraq. We need to set a date to force Iraqis to stand up for Iraq, force the Administration to finally do the diplomacy necessary to find the political solution our generals say is needed, move American troops to an over the horizon position, and refocus the United States on waging and winning an effective War on Terror.”

Yeah, diplomacy especially. I know that in November 2004, 60 million or so Americans (plus or minus a few mil black box voting extras) actually thought they could continue to ignore diplomacy and "stay the course" with a fake cowboy who can hardly stand to say the word, let alone actually try to do it.

I'm hoping a good chunk of those voters are starting to catch on that diplomacy is not such a bad idea, and maybe we ought to hire someone for the job who is actually qualified and interested in doing it.

Russell Shaw (HuffPo): "Ohio Was Stolen" Crowd, Pay Heed To Tom Hayden


By now, large swaths of the progressive blogosphere are convinced beyond counterpersuasion that "Ohio was stolen," and John Kerry was actually elected President in 2004.

While objective, politically progressive outlets and thinkers without books to sell have countered these notions with hard facts, the "Ohio was stolen" crowd continues to exhibit confirmational bias by sticking to their beliefs.

"And to the bloggers, I say stick to standards of evidence that will convince the mainstream voters. Sometimes we stray from what we know, and what can be proven to the public, into the world of, well, conjecture. We cannot fight against a faith-based crusade with one that sometimes appears to be fantasy-based. We cannot fight the conservative model with a conspiracy model. The facts are staggering enough to cause deep public questioning and, in time, a radical public awakening. We should see ourselves as the questioning conscience of the nation, the prod to deeper digging by the media, the force that pushes politicians to address all the "inconvenient truths", every last one of them."

What Tom is saying is, when you take your "fantasy-based," "Ohio was stolen" opinions to the public square, and demonize anyone who asks for confirmational clarity, you run the risk that millions of voters who we all need to come down on our side this time will tune you out. Why? Because, frankly, the most shrill of you who are absolutely convinced that Ohio was stolen sound like sore losers, pundits with agendas, wack jobs, or some sort of combination of all of the above.

Then he makes his real point,

But given this obsession with Ohio, Diebold, Ken Blackwell, and other objectionable types, those who have not voted in the past and who we progressives really need this cycle will go "what's the use."

And even some progressives who do vote will be unmotivated because they will assume their votes don't matter.

We can't allow this to happen. The stakes are too high.

I for one pretty much agree with him. I think Ohio was stolen - but not by the "machines". It was stolen by voter suppression. And what we need to do is convince people that they need to FIGHT - they need to give a resounding FUCK YOU to the people who would try to suppress their vote, by registering, verifying their registration, making sure they know where their polling place is, and basically not taking ANY SHIT about being allowed to excersize their RIGHT TO VOTE.

(okay I know their is a fantasy-land aspect to all that but the rant did feel good. Now if we can only figure out how to stop the games the republicans - and sadly in some cases, Democrats - will play with id cards and machine allocation and opening the polls late and every other shitty thing they will try...)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Even George Will has buyer's remorse

I didn't see it, but I'm told that on ABC's Sunday pundit show, This Week, George Will said that "John Kerry had a point" when he said during the 2004 campaign that defeating terrorism was more a matter for intelligence and law enforcement than military action.

Not only did Will say it on This Week, he reiterated it in his column in the Washington Post:

Cooperation between Pakistani and British law enforcement (the British draw upon useful experience combating IRA terrorism) has validated John Kerry's belief (as paraphrased by the New York Times Magazine of Oct. 10, 2004) that "many of the interdiction tactics that cripple drug lords, including governments working jointly to share intelligence, patrol borders and force banks to identify suspicious customers, can also be some of the most useful tools in the war on terror." In a candidates' debate in South Carolina (Jan. 29, 2004), Kerry said that although the war on terror will be "occasionally military," it is "primarily an intelligence and law enforcement operation that requires cooperation around the world."

Immediately after the London plot was disrupted, a "senior administration official," insisting on anonymity for his or her splenetic words, denied the obvious, that Kerry had a point. The official told The Weekly Standard:

"The idea that the jihadists would all be peaceful, warm, lovable, God-fearing people if it weren't for U.S. policies strikes me as not a valid idea. [Democrats] do not have the understanding or the commitment to take on these forces. It's like John Kerry. The law enforcement approach doesn't work."

This farrago of caricature and non sequitur makes the administration seem eager to repel all but the delusional. But perhaps such rhetoric reflects the intellectual contortions required to sustain the illusion that the war in Iraq is central to the war on terrorism, and that the war, unlike "the law enforcement approach," does "work."

Thanks, George.

I have one small request though, to you (George), your pundit pals, and the rest of the American electorate; For the next US Presidential election (maybe even the mid-terms - but I don't want to be too demanding here), could you please try paying attention to facts and rationality before the election?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Cal Thomas, Unraveled.

Cal Thomas, in an editorial that equates Democratic voters with a terrorist organization (Taliban Democrats are Voting to 'Kill' Their Own), has decided what's best for Connecticut Democratic primary voters, calling Democratic Senate nominee Ned Lamont's supporters the party's 'kook fringe'.
Just a few problems with Mr Thomas' characterization.
First, Mr. Thomas makes an assumption that the Iraq war is an effective response to terrorism. In fact, it is the opposite. The fact is that Bush has us bogged down in an ill planned war based on lies and misdirection that has made us less safe at home and less respected in the world. Bush's war has not reduced anti-American sentiment, it's fueled it. It has not reduced the risk of terrorism, it's inflamed it. It has limited our freedoms and stripped us of our rights.
As to the 'kook fringe' voters of Connecticut, 'fringe' is defined by Webster's as the 'peripheral' or 'extreme'.
The fact is that a recent AP-Ipsos poll has shown only 33 percent of Americans approve of Bush's handling of the Iraq war. Despite this fact, somehow 52%, or 146,587 Connecticut Democratic primary voters are labeled the 'kook fringe' by Mr. Thomas because they voted for Ned Lamont based in large part on his opposition to Bush and his handling of the Iraq war.
Now, how can that be? Most of America opposes Bush's policies. His approval rating is 33%. Yet somehow, we're the 'extreme' of the Democratic party.
Isn't Bush's 33% a bit more fringe-y than Lamont's 52?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bush has failed.

I know that's more than obvious to most of us, but today was such a clear reminder of Bush's total and complete failure, it just has to be repeated until everyone understands.
Five years since 9-11, and still bush hasn't made us safer. He hasn't captured bin Laden, he's wasted billions of our tax dollars on his debacle in Iraq, and if it weren't for the Brits, we'd have nine planes blown up over the Atlantic for the fifth anniversary of the attack.
Bush has failed.
He didn't react to the warnings pre-911. He lied us into a disasterous war in the Middle East that has made us less safe. He fiddled as New Orleans drowned, the first president in history to vacation as a major US city was destroyed.
And where was Mr. Bush today, when he knew the country would be presented with the latest terror attack?
Vacation. Again.
Oh, he took a few minutes to pose for the cameras and attempt to pronounce fas-cists. Isn't it a little odd that he's never around in times of crisis? It's as though he stole that nice big house in DC for nothing. He's never there.
Truly, the incompetence is startling. Incomprehensible. Almost. But it's true.
Terrorism, Mr. Bush, is a crime. And the secret to containing it is sustained diplomatic efforts, law enforcement and effective intelligence. Exctly as Sen Kerry has been telling us for years.
The Iraq war has done NOTHING to reduce the risk posed by terrorists. There was no chance that it would. To terrorists, Bush's war is not a deterrent, it's a rallying cry. But Bush doesn't see it. He thinks he can 'win' a war on terror by bombing countries and confiscating my hair gel. He thinks that by killing people, the terrorists will give up and disappear.
He's failed. Totally, miserably and unquestionably.
Is there any doubt that Americans are MORE fearful of terror now than in 2001? Is there any doubt that the war in Iraq is complete and utter failure, and is only fueling anti-American sentiment and rallying terrorists?
Americans are reduced to abandoning liberty to fear. George Bush and his supporters and the compliant media are fueling the hysteria.

Obviously, Bush has failed.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Kerry Rides in Pan-Mass Challenge

Something, it seems, other than the dearth of diplomacy in the Bush administration, the do-nothing Republican congress, global warming, the lack of adequate healthcare for all Americans and Donald Rumsfeld is pissing off the good Senator these days. And he's doing something about it.


The Globe reports:
As he prepares to bicycle 111 miles Saturday to raise money for cancer, Senator John Kerry reflected this week on his own battle with the disease, saying prostate cancer changed his life profoundly -- from his relationships with friends, family, and constituents to his political battles for better health care for poor people.

"It doesn't scare me as much as cancer just pisses me off," said Kerry, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer during his presidential primary campaign in 2002. ``Too many incredible people weren't as lucky as I was, some because they had a cancer we can't yet cure, and others because they didn't get screening or care in time or couldn't afford great health care. Every American should have the same health care that senators and congressmen get."


This year, for the first time, he sent a charitable pledge plea to his database of 3 million supporters. The e-mailed request bears the heading ``Because I was lucky" and a link to ``help John Kerry support the Jimmy Fund." He writes that he'll be among the 200 or so riders who are cancer survivors. ``At the fund-raising training sessions for the event, they tell you to e-mail your friends for their help. But I don't suppose they realized I had 3 million friends in my e-mail address book," he wrote. The five people who come closest to guessing his riding time will win Pan-Mass Challenge jerseys autographed by Kerry.


And if you haven't received his most recent e-mail, you really do need to sign up. Here's the latest from http://www.johnkerry.com/ :

Dear GV,

Saturday, I'm going on a long bike ride -- with 4,500 other riders from 36 states. Following my 2003 bout with prostate cancer, I will be among the 200 or so riders who are cancer survivors.

Each of us will be sponsored by the donations of friends and family. And 99 cents out of every dollar we riders raise during the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge will go directly to the Jimmy Fund, which supports the life-saving cancer research of the Dana-Farber Institute.

At the fundraising training sessions for the event, they tell you to email your friends and ask for their help. But, I don't suppose they realized I had three million friends in my email address book. Will you consider joining me in support of this very special charity?

I want to help John Kerry support the Jimmy Fund.

All I can tell you is that this ride means a great deal to me. If you've ever participated in a walk, run or ride for a cause you believe in, you know what a powerful and rewarding personal experience it can be. The Pan-Massachusetts Challenge is especially so.

It started out in 1980 when 36 riders took part and the event raised $10,200. Last year, those figures were 4,000 riders and $23 million. And this year, with your help, we expect to crush the goal of $24 million raised. The funds generated by this race now represent 50% of all money raised annually for the Jimmy Fund. Pretty remarkable, isn't it?

I can hardly wait until early Saturday morning when I join thousands of fellow riders at the starting line in Sturbridge. There are several different routes, and the one I'll be riding travels 111 miles to Bourne.

Because I care so much about this event and about the unbelievably important work that Dana-Farber does, I'm hoping you'll sponsor me on my ride on Saturday by pledging either a total dollar amount or an amount per mile.

I want to help John Kerry support the Jimmy Fund.

Those of us who grew up in New England know all about the Jimmy Fund -- a wonderful charity that has been long supported by people all across the region. My own memories go back to Ted Williams urging Red Sox fans to rally round children struggling with cancer.

I've helped the Jimmy Fund out by taking part in the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge twice before. Now, in a few days I will ride again as a cancer survivor, one who knows that others -- including friends and family -- weren't so lucky. That makes this year's Challenge even more special and anything you can do to help will be especially meaningful. Thanks for considering this invitation to join me in support of the Jimmy Fund.


John Kerry

P.S. The 5 people who come closest to guessing my time will win a free, autographed Pan-Massachusetts Challenge jersey. Click here to guess my time.

You may win the shirt off his back.

Donate today.

Iraq on the Record: The Bush Administration's public statements on Iraq
The Bush Administration's
public statements on Iraq
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