Category Archives: Iraq War

Bush Approval Among Military Families Down 50% Since 2004

iraqmarinescoffinflag.jpg

Reprinted from RawStory.com 

Support for President Bush and his Iraq war policy is nearly as anemic among US military families as it is in the general population, according to a new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll.

The survey finds that almost 60 percent of the military community — which was defined as active and former service personnel as well as their families — disapprove of the president’s handling of the war. The same percentage of the group disapprove of Bush’s overall performance as president. Meanwhile, only 37 percent of the family members approve of Bush. Among civilians polled, the war garnered support from 32 percent of respondents.

Families that include veterans of wars presided over by the president were found to be just as critical of the war in Iraq as other Americans, with a full 60 percent saying the war was not worth the cost.

“Patience with the war, which has now lasted longer than the U.S. involvement in World War II, is wearing thin — particularly among families who have sent a service member to the conflict,” reports the Los Angeles Times‘ Faye Fiore. “One-quarter say American troops should stay ‘as long as it takes to win.’ Nearly seven in 10 favor a withdrawal within the coming year or ‘right away.'”

The new numbers stand in stark contrast to a poll of military families conducted by the University of Pennsylvania three years ago, in which twice as many individuals approved of the president’s performance.

The poll also finds more support for Democrats than Republicans when it comes to “treatment” of active-duty military personnel, indicating that a “plurality of military-family members, 39 percent, say they believe Democrats are likely to do a better job handling those issues, compared with 35 percent for Republicans,” according to Bloomberg news.

A military sociologist told the Los Angeles Times that flagging support for a president from servicemembers’ families in a time of war wasn’t typical. “You generally expect to see support for the president as commander in chief and for the war, but this is a different kind of war than those we’ve fought in the past, particularly for families,” he said.

One Army mother responding to the poll, whose son was wounded in Iraq, told the Times that she feared casualties in the conflict were for naught.

“I don’t see gains for the people of Iraq…and, oh, my God, so many wonderful young people, and these are the ones who felt they were really doing something, that’s why they signed up,” she said. “I pray to God that they did not die in vain, but I don’t think our president is even sensitive at all to what it’s like to have a child serving over there.”

Complete polling results are available here.

Quick! Who’s Position is This…Bush or Giuliani???

images.jpg images1.jpg

 

Okay, time for a little fun. Can you guess who said the following regarding various issues??? 

U.S. Policy toward Africa

He said the United States should focus its policy toward Africa on increases in trade. “U.S. government aid is important, but aid not linked to reform perpetuates bad policies and poverty.”

In May 2007, he was informed that he held between $500,000 and $1 million in investments in companies that work in Sudan.

U.S. Policy toward India

He views India’s rapidly growing economy as a potentially lucrative market, saying the United States should “take advantage” (CNBC) of the “large number of consumers that are emerging in India.” In particular, he said, the U.S. stands to “make a lot of money in India” in new energy technology.

Military Tribunals and Guantanamo Bay

He said he supports the detention camp at Guantanamo. He said in a June 2007 interview with the Wall Street Journal that he believes the allegations of prisoner mistreatment at Guantanamo have “been grossly exaggerated, and many of the reports that I see are that it’s not terribly different from any other prisons.”

Domestic Intelligence

He defended the domestic spying initiatives, saying “he did it to protect our national security and to try to find out information about people that might attack us and might be preparing an attack on us, in order to secure us, in order to protect us.” He said in September 2007 that electronic surveillance should not be “unrealistically” limited.

War on Terror

He responded to John Edwards’ criticism of the war on terror, saying in June 2007, “This is not a bumper sticker; this war is a real war.” He generally refers to “the terrorist war against us,” lately, rather than the “war on terror,” he told TIME.

Democracy Promotion in the Arab World

He believes in a larger goal of a democratic (AFP) Iraq and Middle East. But, he says, stability takes precedence over democracy. “Democracy can’t flourish unless people are safe. You can’t have democracy when people are being killed,” he said in January 2007.

Energy Policy

He has ties to various energy companies, many of which are fossil fuel-oriented including Duke Energy Corp., the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association, Valero Energy Corp, and FPL Energy. He has supported increased use of nuclear power.

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

He has held up Israel as “the only outpost of freedom and democracy in the Middle East and the only absolutely reliable friend of the United States.” (Haaretz) In a 2002 speech, he stressed that Jerusalem must “remain the undivided capital” of Israel. He also said at that time that the Palestinian Authority is not a “moral equivalent” to the Israeli government, because “there is a difference between a nation based on law and democracy and one that harbors terrorism.” He called on the Palestinian Authority to create “institutions of political and economic freedom and religious toleration.” More recently, he said that in his view it “makes no difference” whether the Palestinian Authority is run by Hamas or Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas. At a March 2007 fundraiser, he also said that the United States should “not push any peace process” until the Palestinian Authority recognizes Israel’s right to exist and condemns terrorism.

North Korea Policy

He supports the policy of China placing pressure on Pyongyang. “I think the strategy has produced enough results so far that you have to stick with it,” he said. He indicated it remains unclear whether Iran or North Korea is further along in developing a nuclear weapons program.

Cuba Policy

He is critical of Castro, which he made clear recently in a speech over whether or not to return Cuban child Elian Gonzales to Cuba in 2000 (He was an outspoken voice for keeping the boy in the United States).

He also attacked Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for following Castro’s “model.” (AP) Speaking to a group in Florida, he said the United States must build an alliance with Mexico and Colombia to counteract the shift to the left of Latin American governments.

U.S. Policy toward China

He has not made many public statements on his views of China. However, he said in an CNBC interview that limiting China ’s ownership of U.S. debt is “generally a bad idea and generally self-defeating.” He said that the U.S. should build industries that we can sell” in China.

Defense Policy

He has called for an “offense-as-a-defense” (Journal-Register)strategy towards al-Qaeda, backing the U.S. troop surge and continued presence in Iraq.

He fully advocates the addition of thirty-five thousand troops to the army’s current level of 512,000 (AP).

In September 2007, he said the United States should pursue a nuclear missile defense system, as “America can no longer rely on Cold War doctrines such as ‘mutual assured destruction’ in the face of threats from hostile, unstable regimes.”

Iraq

He says we need a plan by which to measure progress but that does not include troop withdrawals. “You need statistics,” (FOX) he said in January 2007. “You need to be able to determine whether or not you’ve brought the violence down. If it doesn’t work, then you got to put more people in.”

He opposes any “artificial timeline” for troop withdrawal from Iraq, which he says would be tantamount to giving America’s enemies “a printed-out list of how it’s going to retreat (ChiTrib) to its enemy.” He is steadfast in his support for the war, which he considers part of the larger global war on terror.

Trade

In October 2007 he spoke in support of the pending Free Trade Agreements with Peru, Colombia, Panama, and South Korea, saying they “would be good deals for the United States.”

Homeland Security

In a September 2006 he stressed the need for a nuclear material detection system in the United States.

Iran

He has the United States should proceed diplomatically with Iran, but that “we will use a military option if we have to.” He said a military strike would be “very dangerous”but nuclear arms in the control of “an irrational person” like President Ahmadinejad was more dangerous.

His supporters are vocal advocates for bombing Iran preemptively in order to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons. 

Climate Change

He said he believes climate change exists (SFChron) and that something must be done to reduce pollution. However, he has not said outright that he believes climate change is caused by human activity. His statements with regard to policy on the issue have been rather vague.

Immigration

He supports some type of path (NYT) to citizenship for illegal immigrants. “If you have twelve million people, to thirteen to fourteen to fifteen million that are here illegally, it is much easier for terrorists and drug dealers to hide,” he said recently. He also said that he is in favor of a border fence and a database with which to keep track of all immigrants. 

As mayor of New York City, Giuliani opposed a law (NYT) that would have prevented illegal immigrants from receiving Social Security, food stamps and health care benefits.

United Nations

He has been extremely critical of the United Nations, which, he said, “proved irrelevant to the resolution of almost every major dispute of the last 50 years.” He says the institution’s primary capabilities are in humanitarian and peacekeeping missions, but “we should not expect much more of it.”

Specifically, he said the United Nations must hold accountable states that support or condone terrorism. “Otherwise, you will fail in your primary mission as peacekeeper,” he said. “It must ostracize any nation that supports terrorism. It must isolate any nation that remains neutral in the fight against terrorism.”

U.S. Policy toward Russia

He advocates commercial engagement with Russia, but has also expressed support for the planned missile defense shield in Eastern Europe. In October 2007 he called for an increase in military spending to “send a heck of a signal” to Russia.

Recently he traveled to Moscow to promote U.S.-Russian business relations.

And the answer is [dramatic pause…]

Rudi Giuliani

So if you vote for him, you clearly vote for more of the same neo-con nonsense. 

Petraeus Says Things are Getting Better in Iraq, but are They?

pet.jpg

David Petraeus, Bush’s top American general in Iraq, has expressed his satisfaction on the progress made in Iraq, but said the military was still far from any victory.

“Nobody in uniform is doing victory dances in the end zone,” Petraeus told reporters. Gates said on Wednesday that the violence in Iraq had dropped to levels not seen since the bombing of a Shiite shrine in the central town of Samarra that unleashed brutal Shiite and Sunni conflict nearly two years ago. He said the reduction in violence meant the “goal of a secure, stable and democratic Iraq is within reach”.

But is it?

Petraeus, who in September announced to Congress the first possible elements of an American troop drawdown in Iraq, was more cautious on Thursday when he said, “We work hard to build up on the progress made” but “we have to be careful not to feel too successful.” He went on to add, “Certain days we certainly feel very good but there are still attacks. We have seen continued improvements,” he said, adding that there was “much hard work still to be done and issues to be addressed”.

iCausualities.org, a website dedicated to tracking Iraq casualties, puts the death toll of American troops for November 2007 at 37, down one from 38 in October. However there have been months with lower death totals. January of 2003, August of 2003, September of 2003, February of 2004, March of 2005, and March of 2006, all saw lower troop casualties. Furthermore, the data clearly shows consistent peaks and valleys in troop casualties and violence throughout the last four years. Furthermore, there has been no period of more than six months that shows a consistent downward trend, before violence increased again. As of now, we appear to be in one of the ‘valleys.’ This is to say, the data supports no conclusions regarding violence trends. Maybe this is why Petraeus isn’t counting his chickens just yet.

Just yesterday, there were a series of bombings that rocked several major cities.

Iraqi civilian deaths are pegged at 800,00 to 1,200,000 depending on what source you reference.

ibcsurgeanalysis.jpg

The chart above displays civilian casualty numbers from this year.Although casualties from shootings and bombings is down in the ‘Green Zone’, they appear to be flat or trending up outside of Bagdad. What conclusions can we draw?

Here is some ICCC data…

iccccivcas.jpg

No one can say if al Qaeda has been quashed. For all we know, there may be another surtge in violence around the corner or worse. What we can conclude from the data I believe is that petraeus is painting a rosie picture for the American people and the administration. The troop surge has resulted in a reduction in casualties overall in Iraq, but this reduction is far from the knockout blow Bush is looking for. I do think that all Americans sincerely hope that the declining casualty trends continue, as I do, but I would not jump to any conclusions right now. Al Qaeda, as demonstrated in Afghanistan, is alive and well. In that country, violence and casualties are on the rise, poppy production is at an all time high, and the civilian landscape is in chaos.

Could it be that Al Qaeda has shifted fronts and is helping the Taliban, knowing we can’t effectively fight this “war  on terror” on both fronts?

It makes for interesting conversation.

Democrats Ready to Fold Once Again on War Funding…

logo.jpg

A quick spine check of the Democratic Party has revealed Jell-O once again…

Reprinted fron the Washington Post

By Jonathan Weisman

Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 5, 2007; Page A03  

Facing increasing evidence of military progress in Iraq, some Democratic congressional leaders are eyeing a shift in legislative strategy that would abandon a link between $50 billion in additional war funding sought by President Bush to a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops. Instead, they would tie the measure to political advances by the Iraqi government.

For nearly a year, Democrats have tried unsuccessfully to use war funds to push timelines for troop withdrawals, troop-training requirements, and prescribed periods of rest for weary soldiers and Marines.

Now, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) is examining a new approach, releasing war funds in small increments, with further installments tied to specific performance measures for Iraq’s politicians. House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) also is searching for a new approach and has been briefed on the idea of more explicitly tying funds to political progress.

The new thrust has divided Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill, some of whom say they will never approve additional funding for the Iraq war without troop-withdrawal timelines. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) remains skeptical, House Democratic leadership sources said, and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) has vacillated between seeking compromise with Republicans and holding firmly to troop-withdrawal language.

“We’ve been through all that,” Reid said yesterday of the new approach, suggesting the war-funding issue will wait until January. “I just think we need to figure out some way to fund a government and move on to next year.”

The new approach contains considerable political risks for Democrats. If they choose to adopt realistic measurements of political progress, they would be signaling a willingness to leave U.S. combat troops in Iraq far longer than Democratic voters want, said Michael O’Hanlon, a Democratic defense analyst at the Brookings Institution.

None of the leading contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination is likely to embrace that, said O’Hanlon, who suspended his ties to the campaign of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) after he wrote that Bush’s troop buildup was yielding positive results.

On the other hand, the year-long struggle to mandate troop withdrawals shows no sign of progress. War funding will begin running dry by mid-February, leaving Democrats with the choice of withholding money for the war, providing the money without strings attached, or finding a new approach that can win bipartisan support.

The House approved a $50 billion war spending bill last month that would have tied additional funding to a goal of removing all combat troops from Iraq by December 2008, but it fell to a Republican filibuster in the Senate. Bush had promised to veto it anyway.

A separate war funding bill approved in the spring laid out political benchmarks for the Iraqis and demanded that the Bush administration return to Congress in September with an update on progress toward them. It showed that the Iraqi government was woefully short of meeting those goals.

The new approach will get an airing today when USA Todaypublishes an opinion piece by O’Hanlon. He argues that Democrats should receive more credit for the positive changes in Iraq and lays out a fresh set of benchmarks linked to the provision of funds.

O’Hanlon shook up the Iraq debate earlier this year when he co-wrote an opinion piece hailing the progress that has resulted from Bush’s troop buildup. It also suggested that Gen. David H. Petraeus‘s counterinsurgency strategy could stabilize Iraq.

He suggests, for instance, that Congress should judge political progress by how much money the central government in Baghdadis sharing with Iraq’s provinces, and should recognize the ongoing de facto amnesty that Iraq’s government is offering political opponents with the hiring of former insurgents as police officers and soldiers.

Emanuel suggested yesterday that the Bush administration’s diplomatic outreach to Syria, its engagement in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the new intelligence estimate on Iran‘s nuclear capabilities stem in part from the changing political climate brought on by the Democratic Congress.

“Our troops at every step of the way have done an incredible job,” he told reporters. “And at every step of the way, the people that are responsible for a political strategy for Iraq have failed to deliver one. And our views on the funding is that what we need and what we’ve asked for from Day One is a set of benchmarks the Iraqis have to meet for Iraq.”

Business as usual huh? The Democrat’s position and strategy on the war in Iraq has been a disgrace. I am finished with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.  

Barack Obama Star Rising, Especially Against Conservatives in Head to Head Race…

barack.jpg

A closer look inside the numbers reveals that Barack Obama is quite legitimate when put head to head versus any Republican candidate in a national election.

This must have the Clinton camp at least mildly concerned as her almost daily recurrences of foot-in-mouth syndrome, coupled with her enormous unpopularity among male voters, could spell disaster for her campaign as the race grinds forward into 2008.

Obama has the personality, charm, as most importantly…cash, to go the distance. But more important than all of that is the one crucial question. Can he beat the Republicans, no matter who they throw at him. As of now, the answer appears to be yes.

Here is some recent poll data:

Head to Head 2007 Summary Aug Sep Oct Nov
Barack Obama 43.7 44.3 44.4 45.0
Rudy Giuliani 42.7 44.0 42.0 42.0
Margin 1.0 0.3 2.4 3.0
Head to Head 2007 Summary Sep Oct Nov
Barack Obama 48.5 45.3 49.0
Mitt Romney 38.5 35.7 37.7
Margin 10.0 9.7 11.3
Head to Head 2007 Summary Aug Sep Nov
Barack Obama 48.0 47.0 49.0
Mike Huckabee 39.0 38.0 38.0
Margin 9.0 9.0 11.0
Head to Head 2007 Summary Aug Sep Oct Nov
Barack Obama 44.5 43.0 43.7 46.0
John McCain 39.5 39.5 41.3 43.0
Margin 5.0 3.5 2.3 3.0
Head to Head 2007 Summary Aug Sep Oct Nov
Barack Obama 45.7 47.6 46.2 52.0
Fred Thompson 38.3 39.0 38.0 39.0
Margin 7.3 8.6 8.2 13.0

And what does Hillary have to say?

Hillary Rodham Clinton maintained Sunday that she’s the best candidate to win against Republicans, saying she has more experience battling the GOP than any other candidate in the Democratic field.

“I believe that I have a very good argument that I know more about beating Republicans than anybody else running. They’ve been after me for 15 years, and much to their dismay, I’m still standing,” she said in answer to a woman’s question about her electability. “I’m leading in all the polls, I’m beating them in state after state after state.”

“I think they have looked at the field and figured out who can best beat the Republicans,” Clinton said.

Barack Obama’s campaign weighed in, claiming he is the strongest candidate in the field.

“Throughout his career, Senator Obama has succeeded in bringing Democrats, Republicans and independents together to solve important problems like providing health care to families,” Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll showed Obama had 30 percent support among likely Iowa Democratic caucus-goers and Clinton had 26 percent. 

When asked about Obama’s lead in Iowa, Clinton, in typical Clinton style, completely reversed an earlier statement saying that she doesn’t pay much attention to polls, and acknowledged that it’s a competitive race.

“There have been a lot of polls, and frankly, I don’t pay much attention to any of them,” she said. Later, she acknowledged, “It is a much more competitive race (in Iowa) than it is in other parts of the country.”

When you’re looking in from the outside, it’s right there for anyone to see.

Obama may be a bit irregular and unpolished at times, but he is consistent. He’s candid, comes off as honest and tells you what is on his mind. (i.e. Yeah I inhaled, that was the point.)

If nothing else, Obama could move us over the hurdle of a White House that has been monopolized by recent Presidents who could lead but weren’t very good at controlling their collateral behavior, and others who simply couldn’t lead at all.

Ask five voters about Barack Obama, and you’re likely to get five different opinions: America’s not ready for a black president; America can’t afford not to have a black president; Barack Obama isn’t really black; Obama is fresh and honest, etc., etc. But no one can deny that he inspires comparisons, favorable or not, to John Kennedy, and has had significant primary fundraising success against the Hillary campaign finance machine. (When you have Oprah in your camp how can you lose?)

Obama is the only electable candidate running his campaign on universal health care, getting out of Iraq (the only electable candidate who didn’t want to get in), and as his bestselling book put it, embracing the “audacity of hope.” 

I have commented on the Shadow Democracy Radio Show and this blog in the past, and I will maintain, that Barack Obama is for real and if Hillary Clinton sits on her national poll numbers, she may very well find herself in second place come next Spring.

Wounded Warriors Still Can’t Get Help from VA…

art_ty_ziegel_before_after.jpg

Ty Ziegel once was a bright eyed young man with his whole life in front of him. His once boyish face is now burned beyond recognition by a suicide bomber’s attack in Iraq around Christmas 2004.

He lost part of his skull in the blast and part of his brain was damaged. Half of his left arm was amputated and some of the fingers were blown off his right hand.

Sounds like a no-brainer for VA benefits right?

Wrong. 

His next battle would be with the VA when he returned home as a wounded warrior. 

In an inteview with CNN he said, “Sometimes, you get lost in the system.”

“I feel like a Social Security number. I don’t feel like Tyler Ziegel.”

His story is in many that exemplifies how the VA is simply ignoring wounded vets from Iraq. Many wounded veterans return home feeling that the VA has abandoned them. 

“The VA system is not ready, and they simply don’t have time to catch up,” said Tammy Duckworth, a wounded veteran who heads up the Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs. 

VA Acting Secretary Gordon Mansfield said cases like Ziegel’s are rare. The majority of veterans are moving through the process and “being taken care of.” 

But are they?

More than 28,500 troops have been wounded in Operation Iraqi Freedom, including about 8,500 that have needed air transport, according to the U.S. military. A recent Harvard study found that the cost of caring for those wounded over the course of their lifetime could ultimately cost more than $660 billion.

In Ziegel’s case, he spent nearly two years recovering at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas. Once he got out of the hospital, he was unable to hold a job. He anticipated receiving a monthly VA disability check sufficient to cover his small-town lifestyle in Washington, Illinois, but the check was much less than expected.

After many inquiries, Ziegel finally received a letter from the VA that rated his injuries: 80 percent for facial disfigurement, 60 percent for left arm amputation, a mere 10 percent for head trauma and nothing for his left lobe brain injury, right eye blindness and jaw fracture.

“I’m not expecting to live in the lap of luxury,” he added. “But I am asking them to make it comfortable to raise a family and not have to struggle.”

Miraculously, within 48 hours of telling his story to CNN this summer, the Office of then-VA Secretary Jim Nicholson acted on Ziegel’s case. The VA changed his head trauma injury, once rated at 10 percent, to traumatic brain injury rated at 100 percent, substantially increasing his monthly disability check.

My question is, why does it take bad publicity on CNN for our government to take proper care of our war veterans?

You have to wonder about the fact that maybe this country won’t remember in five years that there are war wounded that need to be helped, and that their president and the VA don’t seem to be advocates for substantial change in the benefit system for vets.

Garrett Anderson with the Illinois National Guard, for example, has been fighting the VA since October 15, 2005. Shrapnel tore through his head and body after a roadside bomb blew up the truck he was driving. He lost his right arm.

The VA initially rejected his claim, saying his severe shrapnel wounds were “not service connected.”

“Who would want to tell an Iraqi or Afghanistan soldier who was blown up by an IED that his wounds were not caused by his service over there?” said Anderson’s wife, Sam.

After pressure from Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the VA acted on Anderson’s case. He has since been awarded compensation for a traumatic brain injury.

It is an outrage that that the VA system operates in a way that it takes people of power to get proper care to vets. 

In July, President Bush and a commission appointed to review the care of veterans returning from war announced the need for a complete overhaul of the disability ratings system, which dates back to World War II. The VA is now considering action on the commission’s recommendations.

However, no real change is happening.

We feed the war machine at the drop of a hat, but we never consider that the war machine comes home and that it also needs feeding there. 

I guess Americans just continue to pursue the path of least resistance…it’s easier to destroy than it is to repair, and when the destruction is in Iraq and the things that need repair aren’t in your living room, we can conveniently ignore them.

Iran and the coming of World War III… Huh?

fareed-thumb7.jpg Reprinted from Newsweek Written by Fareed Zakaria

At a meeting with reporters last week, President Bush said that “if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing [Iran] from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.” These were not the barbs of some neoconservative crank or sidelined politician looking for publicity. This was the president of the United States, invoking the specter of World War III if Iran gained even the knowledge needed to make a nuclear weapon.

The American discussion about Iran has lost all connection to reality. Norman Podhoretz, the neoconservative ideologist whom Bush has consulted on this topic, has written that Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is “like Hitler … a revolutionary whose objective is to overturn the going international system and to replace it in the fullness of time with a new order dominated by Iran and ruled by the religio-political culture of Islamofascism.” For this staggering proposition Podhoretz provides not a scintilla of evidence.

Here is the reality. Iran has an economy the size of Finland’s and an annual defense budget of around $4.8 billion. It has not invaded a country since the late 18th century. The United States has a GDP that is 68 times larger and defense expenditures that are 110 times greater. Israel and every Arab country (except Syria and Iraq) are quietly or actively allied against Iran. And yet we are to believe that Tehran is about to overturn the international system and replace it with an Islamo-fascist order? What planet are we on?

When the relatively moderate Mohammed Khatami was elected president in Iran, American conservatives pointed out that he was just a figurehead. Real power, they said (correctly), especially control of the military and police, was wielded by the unelected “Supreme Leader,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Now that Ahmadinejad is president, they claim his finger is on the button. (Oh wait, Iran doesn’t have a nuclear button yet and won’t for at least three to eight years, according to the CIA, by which point Ahmadinejad may not be president anymore. But these are just facts.)

In a speech last week, Rudy Giuliani said that while the Soviet Union and China could be deterred during the cold war, Iran can’t be. The Soviet and Chinese regimes had a “residual rationality,” he explained. Hmm. Stalin and Mao—who casually ordered the deaths of millions of their own people, fomented insurgencies and revolutions, and starved whole regions that opposed them—were rational folk. But not Ahmadinejad, who has done what that compares? One of the bizarre twists of the current Iran hysteria is that conservatives have become surprisingly charitable about two of history’s greatest mass murderers.

If I had to choose whom to describe as a madman, North Korea’s Kim Jong Il or Ahmadinejad, I do not think there is really any contest. A decade ago Kim Jong Il allowed a famine to kill 2 million of his own people, forcing the others to survive by eating grass, while he imported gallons of expensive French wine. He has sold nuclear technology to other rogue states and threatened his neighbors with test-firings of rockets and missiles. Yet the United States will be participating in international relief efforts to Pyongyang worth billions of dollar.

We’re on a path to irreversible confrontation with a country we know almost nothing about. The United States government has had no diplomats in Iran for almost 30 years. American officials have barely met with any senior Iranian politicians or officials. We have no contact with the country’s vibrant civil society. Iran is a black hole to us—just as Iraq had become in 2003.

The one time we seriously negotiated with Tehran was in the closing days of the war in Afghanistan, in order to create a new political order in the country. Bush’s representative to the Bonn conference, James Dobbins, says that “the Iranians were very professional, straightforward, reliable and helpful. They were also critical to our success. They persuaded the Northern Alliance to make the final concessions that we asked for.” Dobbins says the Iranians made overtures to have better relations with the United States through him and others in 2001 and later, but got no reply. Even after the Axis of Evil speech, he recalls, they offered to cooperate in Afghanistan. Dobbins took the proposal to a principals meeting in Washington only to have it met with dead silence. The then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, he says, “looked down and rustled his papers.” No reply was ever sent back to the Iranians. Why bother? They’re mad.

Last year, the Princeton scholar, Bernard Lewis, a close adviser to Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal predicting that on Aug. 22, 2006, President Ahmadinejad was going to end the world. The date, he explained, “is the night when many Muslims commemorate the night flight of the Prophet Muhammad on the winged horse Buraq, first to ‘the farthest mosque,’ usually identified with Jerusalem, and then to heaven and back. This might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel and if necessary of the world” (my emphasis). This would all be funny if it weren’t so dangerous.

© Newsweek, Inc.

 

Commentary from MJ “revoltingpawn”…

I had to post this article since felt there has been a lack of common sense and reporting of facts from the media in regards to Iran. Fareed Zakaria you are breath of fresh air on the Iranian situation and I am hoping more people will read this article. My questions are… Are the American people gullible enough to believe another set of lies from the Bush administration as we beat the war drum once again? Will the mainstream media again be a willing accomplice for another possible Bush manufactured war? Let’s hope we have different outcome with Iran then what happened in Iraq.

Lenders Collude with Appraisers to Push Overpriced Homes Fueling Sub Prime Mess…

home.jpg

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo recented initiated a lawsuit against a real estate appraisal unit of the Fortune 500 company First American Corp.He says the appraiser colluded with Washington Mutual, one of the largest savings and loan companies, to inflate home values. According to Cuomo, the practice is widespread and has contributed to the sub-prime mortgage crisis.

I’ve known that for 15 years Andrew…thanks for the update.

It is no secret that Realtors, appraisers, and lenders have been colluding for years to drive an over-inflated housing market, by selling over-valued homes to people who couldn’t afford them. Result? A giant crap sandwich.

Cuomo claims that during the housing boom, mortgage companies started leaning harder on appraisers to basically lie about home values. “We believe this is a problem all across the industry,” he says. “We believe the federal government has not been effective at regulating it. We believe it has serious consequences long-term.”

As usual, your governing bodies are behind the learning curve. All they needed to do was pick up a newspaper at any point over the past ten years or so and begin reading the classified section in large cities like Atlanta, Dallas, New York, and L.A. To their collective amazement, they would have found hundreds of ‘small’ three bedroom ranch homes selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars beyond their fair-market-value.

Who pays $890,000 for a two bedroom condo? Who pays over $1 million for a three bedroom ranch with no garage at a whopping 2300 square feet?

The foolishness was as plain as day, but no one flinched…not Realtors, not the banks, not the government…no one. Why? The reason is simple. We are living a valueless debt driven economy that is only being precariously propped up by a few vital sectors – over inflated health-care, over inflated housing, and over inflated energy commodities…that’s it.

If any of these cogs few out of the U.S. economy, we would be looking depression right in the face. The sad part is that at the core of this nonsense is the gullible American consumer. As a nation, we are starry eyed and foolish when it comes to consumption. We spend beyond our means and the sky is the limit. As long as we can put hot dogs on the table and keep the cable on, we’ll spend…no matter what. Even if it means abandoning that home you couldn’t afford in cities like Phoenix, where 10,00 homes stand vacant – too embarrassed to face family and friends with your failure…willing to eat your mistake and take the debt to your grave. We’ve been programmed and it’s pathetic. 

Predatory lenders simply identified the stupidity and took advantage of it. Their practices made it easier for people to overpay for a home, or to borrow too much against their current house, or even to borrow on a second and even third mortgage! And now, with home prices falling, homeowners are getting creamed. Some homeowners are taking losses as high as 30%, as they are unable to refinance out of their high-interest sucker loans, that they were fully aware of at closing time. 

I’ve been a landlord for 10 years and I’ve seen more criminal activity at the hands of shady Realtors and lenders in the last five or six years than I’ve ever seen before. These people should be punished and I applaud Cuomo for pursuing them, however, in the end, I believe that a good portion of these homeowners should be left to burn if only to set an example to other sheep in the herd. They knew full well what they could afford or not afford and they knew of the potential consequences. Time to be grown ups, face the music, and learn that the land of milk and honey can turn sour if you buy more than you need.

Bush Comparing Iraq to Nazi Germany?

images.jpg

President Bush compared Congress’ Democratic leaders to people who ignored the rise of Hitler early in the last century. He’s quoted as saying, “the world paid a terrible price.” He also pointed out that the risks similar consequences for inaction today. Bush accused Congress of stalling important pieces of the fight to prevent new terrorist attacks by stalling on the confirmation of Michael Mukasey as attorney general, failing to act on a bill governing eavesdropping on terrorist suspects; and moving too slowly to approve spending measures for the Iraq war. 

“Unfortunately, on too many issues, some in Congress are behaving as if America is not at war,” Bush said during a speech at the Heritage Foundation, “This is no time for Congress to weaken the Department of Justice by denying it a strong and effective leader. 

If I am not mistaken, this is the same president who has left numerous positions open in the Department of Justice and threatened not to fill them at all unless his nominee is confirmed, while creating his own delays via incompetent nominations to office (i.e Alberto Gonzales, Harriet Miers, etc.)

The only thing we need to worry about in my opinion, is Bush’s similarities to Hitler and the potential consequences of his hubris. 

As the the destruction of the Reich-stag did for Hitler, the destruction of the Twin Towers gave George Bush the chance of a lifetime. Coming off of the narrowest electoral victory in US presidential elections since 1876, Bush turned this disaster into the best historical opportunity for a liar, with the goal of imposing a U.S. order on the world. Hitler had similar ideas.

As in Hitler’s case, the first thing Bush did was to surround himself with a clique of common minded ideologues. Hitler’s entourage as is the case with Bush’s cronies, was made up of men obsessed with the intimidating power of force and violence. Like Goering, Goebbels, Himmler, Mengele, and Eichmann, Bush has searched for a buffer of people who are war-like as himself – all sharing a common goal…war profit from oil. In Hitler’s case, the goal was the extermination of the Jewish race coupled with world domination.

Fiddle – e – Dee.

Dick Cheney, came from Halliburton Oil, the chief of the Pentagon, Donald Rumsfeld, from Occidental, another oil company, the National Security Advisor, Condoleeza Rice, was on Chevron’s board of directors and has oil tankers named after her. Then there’s the Secretary of the Interior, Gale Norton, who is also linked to the oil industry, as is Bush Sr. with the Carlyle oil group, and the current president, Bush Jr. with Harkins Oil.

Bush, like Hitler, has sought to intimidate the populous, spy on his enemies internally, do away with civil rights and restrict domestic freedoms. Both made a habit of misinformation and lying to their respective citizens, both used pre-emptive strikes to invade countries that engaged in no aggressive actions against their countries, both monopolized the media (or at least tried to), both ignored the rule of law, both tortured, and both believed that their mission was thrust upon them by God himself.

Even the language Bush uses, as was the case with Hitler, is authoritarian and intimidating in tone and constantly used to pervert the end to justify the means. The core purpose of Bush’s Republican talking points, much like Hitler’s Nazi rhetoric, is simplification, reduction and intimidation with the goal of controlling the American people. They both purposefully loaded their speeches with prejudices that inflame people’s latent beliefs, while serving to coax the maximum ugliness from the population, causing more chaos and fear – thus the cycle is perpetuated and power is held. 

The only tangible difference between the two is that Hitler could actually speak his native tongue and be understood…Bush struggles with that whole grammar thing.

Americans do not need to fear Democrats who are ignoring alleged dangers surrounding us, they need to fear the dangers, in the form of national leaders with dictatorial ambitions, who are right here among us.

Bush’s comments, as usual, are foolish nonsense. He is the only danger to the security of this nation…no one else.

  

Did Bush Offer to Bomb the Kurds to Ease Oil Prices???

crw_4678_rj_2.jpg 

In another example of George Bush’s complete disregard for human life in the name of oil profit, he has announced to Turkish President Abdullah Gul via phone, his willingness to bomb the Kurds in Northern Iraq. The move would be an attempt to stave off an impending Turkish invasion of that country to fight the rebels.

The logic for yet another disastrous decision by an insane was put forth by Prime Minister John Howard, who said the tensions on the Turkey-Iraq border will not help the west’s battle for democracy in Iraq and cited evidence that the US was making headway in their battle against al-Qaeda in Iraq following the US troop surge. 

In response Iraq said it would shut down Kurdish operations based on its soil. “The PKK is a terrorist organisation and we have taken a decision to shut down their offices and not allow them to operate on Iraqi soil,” Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said. “We will also work on limiting their terrorist activities which are threatening Iraq and Turkey,” Maliki said after crisis talks in Baghdad with Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan.

Yesterday, the U.S. also warned Turkey not to attack Northern Iraq.

On the surface, all of this might seem like an attempt by Bush and others to stabilize Northern Iraq for political and military reasons. But…could it just be about oil prices?

The price of oil per barrel has spiked recently and peaked at record high levels. The easing in invasion rhetoric by Turkey has helped bring global oil prices down from those record highs. 

The Kurds have their own plans in the Iraq oil debate as outlined by Nechirvan Barzani, prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed over the weekend.

This August, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of Iraq passed an oil and gas law to regulate the oil sector in our region. So far, we have signed eight production-sharing contracts with international oil and gas companies. We expect to sign another two in the near future. …
We hope our friends and supporters in the U.S. will understand that this is not an attempt to usurp the nation’s oil resources, but rather our best effort to move the process forward, leading by example to make these valuable resources work for the people of Iraq.

What does the referendum say?

It decides who controls the oil-rich region of Kirkuk. Companies like Shell, BP, and Exxon mobil will export a combined 5 million barrels from Kirkuk as reported by Reuters.

Once again, Bush is using the U.S. military to police corrupt inside oil deals as he plays chess with people’s lives. His complete disregard for human rights is criminal. Again I ask…when are people in this country going to stand up and hold these war profiteers accountable?

We Need Protesters Like Code Pink More Than Ever…

capt_1466b126d643468ebfab2c97e09e90a6_correction_addition_rice_us_middle_east_dccd203.jpg 

An aggressive protester confronted Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at close quarters today as she got set to testify before the House Foreign Relations Committee on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A protester with blood-colored paint on her hands rushed toward Rice as she entered the hearing room, yelling repeatedly that Rice was a “war criminal”, as she waved her blood covered hands in front of Rice. The anti-war protester was later identified as Desiree Anita Ali-Fairooz.

Fairooz is a member of the anti-war group Code Pink, and got within inches of Rice’s face before security officials removed her from the hearing room. Chair Tom Lantos ordered all other members of Code Pink to be removed from the hearing room as well.

Of course conservatives have been bashing Ali-Fairooz on the blogs, labeling her a ‘wierdo’ and another ‘idiot protester.’ Some conservatives are also questioning why the Democrats would allow these people into hearings in the first place. The answer would be REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT. Remember Abe Lincoln talked about it in the Gettysburg Address – government of the people, by the people and for the people? Thank God we have protesters like this that will stand up and confront war criminals like Bush, Rice and Cheney, while fighting to protect the innocent who have no voice at all, and ensure full disclosure, instead of the secretive meetings behind closed doors that have come to define a corrupt Republican party – a party increasingly out of touch with middle America.

If groups like Code Pink, MoveOn.org, and Media Matters don’t keep people like Rice accountable, who will? The main stream media sure as hell won’t do it. Most main stream media outlets just broadcast the latest government propaganda at the behest of their conservative boards of directors, as soldiers and innocent Iraqi civilians die by the bushel, while their country is systematically devastated.

In light of this administration’s latest rhetoric regarding Iran, we need to rely on secondary news sources more than ever, as well as grass root protesters who are actually digging up facts and making their voices heard. The media never asks any hard questions or even attempts to expose the insanity behind the Neoconservative movement and their insatiable appetite to wage a bloody campaign with the purpose of forcefully instituting their inherently faulty ideology on the people of Iraq. The media has been utterly useless since 9/11 in my opinion. Couple this with recent hearings as well as a vote on further media consolidation and market monopolization by the FCC, and it becomes brutally clear that organizations like Code Pink need our support. 

Democrats Must Stand Up to Bush on New War Funding Request for Many Reasons…

story.jpg 

The White House sent Congress a $189.3 billion request for funding for military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the broader war on terrorism in 2008. The request adds $42.3 billion to the administration’s original request of $141.7 billion to cover 2008 war costs. It also includes 5.3 billion dollars that had been previously approved for mine-resistant armored vehicles known as MRAPS.US defense secretary, Robert Gates, outlined the rational for the additional war funding in congressional testimony on September 26. Monday’s action by the White House marks the formal request with all of the documentation to justify it the numbers. Gates said the request would include $6 billion to maintain US “surge” forces in Iraq through July.Gates and the Bush administration may have justified the increase in funding regarding the necessary costs of a war of their making, but they have not justified the human cost. After the veto of the SCHIP legislation last week the Democrats, as I have mentioned in prior posts, need to press this president on his priorities. The Democrats, in good conscious, cannot approve additional war funding until Bush concedes on SCHIP. The health and well-beings of children in this country is at least as important as the lives of the troops. Moreover, if the Democrats approve this request, they will have ultimately proved once and for all that they are more concerned with politics than principle. Bush already has the blood of hundreds of thousands of innocent people on his hands and has shown a blatant disregard for human life. Do the Democrats want to be his willing accomplices?It is time to take a stand. Bushes approval rating is down to 25% and continues to plummet. Congresses approval rating stands at 27%. Most Americans want war funding cut specifically. What are Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and the rest of these Democrats afraid of? Practically speaking, they have absolutely nothing to lose. They have talked the talk but nothing more. There is no way this country punishes the Democrats next Fall for pulling the war funding. The only thing they really need to be concerned about is how the right-wing spin machine will try to demonize them for the move. If they prepare for that predictable eventuality (which has already started really if you’re paying attention), then they should be able to do the right thing by the American people and still retain their political capital.

The Democrats were elected on a wave of anti-war sentiment. It is time to cash in the chips and deliver on what was promised…an end to this senseless war. But more importantly, Bush and the Republicans must understand that their arrogance and hubris can be restricted – if only to breath some life back into our system of checks-and-balances.     

Bush vs. Jackson…The Similarities are Striking…

 gmdn14l.jpg

Andrew Jackson to George Bush – do they represent bookends of a centuries old ideology? Can the history of Native Americans in the United States offer any ideological understanding to the occupation of Iraq? Have we simply butchered other cultures in the name of ‘what we need or what we want?’To answer this question, one must define the framework and motives of American Imperialism.

The basic foundation of what I call ‘Resource Imperialism’ is comprised of capitalism, imperialism, and Christian fundamentalism. These three socio-cultural forces have slowly shaped American into a state that has greatly modified it’s political ideology over the past 100 years in order to preserve a way of life, often by eliminating whole cultures of people through war. The catalysts are quite apparent really. Capitalism constantly requires new markets and resources to survive, imperialism is present to secure those markets and resources via land grabs, and Christian fundamentalism provides a convenient veil for the true selfish reasons behind the violence – that is, the conquered must be made to understand that they are ignorant and thus must convert to a more culturally pure ideal in order to save themselves from damnation – Christianity.     

Since Gorbachev began dismantling the Soviet Union, the U.S. has engaged in a variety of military interventions including attacks against Bosnia, Sudan, Haiti, Yugoslavia, the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, the pillage of Palestine and now threats of new wars with Iran and Syria, as well as the attempted destabilization of Turkey which has resulted in recent Congressional debate regarding the Armenians. Throughout the 20th century, there have also been actions against Cuba, Vietnam, Korea – the list is long. George Bush’s current dominant political ideology of American Power is complex and aggressive. It covers up motives for war with abstract slogans and rationales such as building civil societies, opening free markets, instituting human rights, spreading democracy and freedom, national interests, security, and terrorism – much like the founding fathers did during the settlement of the West. In fact, one could argue that American violence directed at others cultures and nations surpassed more notorious regimes like Nazi Germany simply because the violence has taken place over a longer period of time. 

In 1830 the Congress of the United States passed the “Indian Removal Act.” Many Americans were against the act, including Davy Crockett – his non-support of the act would cost him his career. The bill passed and President Jackson quickly signed it into law. The Cherokees attempted to fight removal legally by challenging the removal laws in the Supreme Court and by establishing an independent Cherokee Nation. The court ruled against the Indians. In Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, the Court refused to hear a case extending Georgia’s laws on the Cherokee because they did not represent a sovereign nation. Native Americans were simply shut out in the name of land lotteries, rumored gold on Indian lands, and natural resources.   The Bush administration is simply applying the aforementioned ideology to modern times. 

The U.S is not interested in uplifting the Iraqi people from oppression. We invaded Iraq to secure scarce resources and entrench ourselves in Iraqi culture with the purpose of regional monopolization of power. Much like the Native Americans, the Iraqi government is not recognized as ‘legitimate’ in the strictest sense of the word. The United States, much the same way we took over all Indian territories in this country by imposing our culture and will on them, has done the same in Iraq. We are only interested in manipulating Iraq for position and power. In 250 years, nothing has changed.   Another equally important fact is that the U.S. virtually immune from international prosecution, that is to say that, the U.S. is unaccountable for all crimes it has committed since the time of the founding fathers. The U.S. has exterminated or killed Native American Indians, Africans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Nicaraguans, Filipinos, Koreans, Vietnamese, Panamanians, Serbians, Afghans, and Iraqis, or anyone else unwilling, afraid, or incapable of making the United States pay for its crimes or force it to change its policy of perpetual violence. As long as this dynamic is in place, this phenomenon will continue.

It begs the question…are the terrorists the first group in history willing to fight this continued exploitation, while being fueled by the current negative international sentiment regarding U.S. foreign policy? 

 

Bush Slaps Children in the Face with Heartless Child Healthcare Veto…

tzmos_bush_penn_ap.jpg 

President Bush on Wednesday vetoed legislation that would expand a children’s health insurance program by $35 billion over five years. The program called, State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), was designed to fill the gap between families who made too much to qualify for Medicaid and too little to provide health care for their kids – the key word being kids. Bush said he vetoed the bill because it was a step toward “federalizing” medicine and inappropriately expanded the program “beyond its focus on helping poor children. I believe in private medicine, not the federal government running the health care system.”

Inappropriate? Wasn’t the point of all this to make expanded health coverage for children appropriate? 

What’s not appropriate for old George, is that the program would cut into insurance companies’ profit pie. The government’s policy should be “to help people find private insurance” Bush said.

Ahh! Now that makes more sense! The corporate pay-masters think it’s a bad idea to cover all kids who need it under a federal program, so they just let their puppet president wield the veto sword. I’ve got it now.

The disgusting part is that the bill enjoyed wide bipartisan support in the Senate and House of Representatives. “I think that this is probably the most inexplicable veto in the history of the country. It is incomprehensible. It is intolerable. It’s unacceptable,” said Sen. Edward Kennedy. I’m with you Ted. No matter what faces these heartless Republican bastards, they simply will not throw the middle class a crumb – not even to kids. The Senate voted 67-29 last week to expand the program and has the required 2/3 for a veto.

“It’s very sad that the president has chosen to veto a bill that would provide health care to 10 million American children for the next five years. It is a value that is shared by the American people across the board,” Nancy Pelosi said. House Democrats also were quick to compare the bill’s $7 billion annual cost to the money spent each month on the Iraq war. Where were these ‘fiscal conservatives when we went to war in Iraq? There was plenty of money then. Maybe we should ask the Chinese for the money again? Hell, they already own us like a pet dog anyways, so lets just finance this too! 

Of course there are just enough narrow minded House Republicans that agree with our moron president to quash any override. “The public can see that we’re playing more political ‘gotcha’ than we are at really solving problems,” said Rep. Todd Akin, R-Missouri, who said the legislation contained “all of these little hidden gizmos, among other things that we’re going to provide health care to the children of illegal immigrants.”

Okay, what if the illegal immigration coverage gets dropped?

Akin also said the bill would have led to “a massive expansion of, basically, ‘Hillary’ socialized medicine,” a reference to Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York and her unsuccessful health care efforts in the 1990’s. Gee, I guess you’re right Senator Akin. We are playing ‘Political Gotcha.’ If Hillary is for it, it must be bad – and we can’t give her any momentum for 2008 now can we?

In response, Democrats denied the bill would provide coverage to illegal immigrants and denied Akin’s charge.

I checked the language – the Democrats are right – so that makes Akin and every other Senator who voted against this bill an petty obstructionist and a liar.

What these anti-American middle class Republicans do not grasp is that healthcare is simply out of reach for many people in this country and that situation is only getting worse. Under this legislation, 4 million to 8 million more children will be covered.  It would only cost a maximum of $12 billion for the next five years. We’re spending over $2 billion a week in Iraq.

Sen. Orrin Hatch is as conservative as it gets, and he split from the president. “It’s very difficult for me to be against a man I care so much for,” he told his colleagues on the Senate floor before the vote. “It’s unfortunate that the president has chosen to be on what, to me, is clearly the wrong side of this issue.”

A Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted September 27-30 found over 70% surveyed favor the program. 

Critics have said their concern is that parents might be prompted to drop private coverage for their children to get cheaper coverage under the bill. Can’t these knuckleheads get it through their thick skulls that the people who would be helped by this bill HAVE NO DAMN INSURANCE BECAUSE THEY CAN”T AFFORD IT!!!!! There is no switching to be done! We’re talking about the working poor here! They’re among us all and they just want to help their kids! What do we have to do with Bush and the rest of these jackasses who simply cannot wrap their simpleton heads around this issue – whip it into them with a stethoscope until they finally get it?  

…of course given the sexual behavior of some of these guys as of late…they might enjoy that.

An Original Bush-Related Poem I Think is Relevant…

 

The President’s War                                             

 George the Third ,the appointed one        

Who thinks he’s the anointed son,

Decided that he should start a war        

Many wonder what its for 

To the victor belongs the spoil,      

Beneath Iraq there’s much oil,

So many will die for the rich man’s sake,

The very thought should make one shake. 

This “Land of Liberty” I once was told         

Where freedom’s worth was more than gold,

Has no meaning anymore,         

When Bush can start a needless war. 

Many soldiers Bush has sent       

To take away the choice of government.

That this is done in Freedom’s name,        

Should make him hang his head in shame. 

                                                            – Ken Bellet

Giuliani Blasts MoveOn.org and Hillary over Iraq Report…

t1home_giuliani_ap.jpg

Rudy Giuliani, sharply criticized MoveOn.org for attacking Gen. David Petraeus in the New York Times as they effectively labeled him a liar. Giuliani also said Hillary Clinton was spewing political venom during her recent questioning of the general.

During an appearance on the “Randy and Spiff Radio Show” in Atlanta, Georgia, Giuliani refered to the ad as “one of the more disgusting things that has happened in American politics,” and said “it’s unfortunate” more Democratic candidates haven’t spoken out against the liberal advocacy group’s ad. He also added, “I think the failure of the Democratic candidates to really condemn that, given how much money Moveon.org spends on behalf of Democratic candidates, which is millions if not hundreds of millions, is really, I really think it’s very, very unfortunate.”

Giuliani went on to scold Clinton directly for her comments during Petraeus’ testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday when she said his progress report required “a willing suspension of disbelief.” “I really do think to accuse a general of the ‘willing suspension of disbelief,’ — particularly in the atmosphere that Moveon.org has created with these terrible attacks — I think that’s not the way in a responsible way to go about forging the foreign policy of the United States and the military policy of the United States,” Giuliani said.

Giuliani thinks MoveOn.org is disgusting? He thinks it’s unfortunate that the Democrats didn’t speak out against them? He’s kidding right? I guess someone needs to refresh Giuliani’s memory and dust off some ‘disgusting’ Republican political tactics.

How about we start with Bush vs. McCain in the 2000 presidential campaign. Bush accused McCain, a legitimate war hero, of everything leaving the toilet seat up to anal raping young boys. The depths that Bush’s campaign sunk to was shameful to say the least – yet it all makes sense in hindsight as Bush has shown himself to be the most dishonest and unscrupulous president we have ever endured.

Then there are the Swift Boat ads depicting Kerry as anything but a hero – nevermind his three purple hearts. Was that ad appropriate? Did Giuliani forget that right-wing dominated talk radio slandered Kerry until his war record was torn to pieces? It appears not, but someone should remind him I suppose.

What Giuliani failed to reinforce is that his Commander-in-Chief is an idiot and that no matter how many times he says to the American people that things are getting better in Iraq, it doesn’t make it true. Iraq and the surrounding area has been in a constant state of war since the time of Christ. Does Giuliani really believe that some asshole from Texas and his messenger boy four star general are going to keep the Sunni and Shia from tearing each other to pieces? If he does, I have a bridge to sell him.

Political ads only have as much power as people assign to them. What Giuliani fails to realize is that the MoveOn.org article isn’t that far from the truth. Petraeous’ report smacked of a faithful messenger boy delivering the mail for his corrupt master. The only way MoveOn.org went wrong was to unsuspectingly give hypocrites like Giuliani and other long-term memory challenged Republicans a rallying cry. The integrity of Petraeus the soldier should never come into question. The willingness of Petraeus to lay himself at George Bush’s feet as a propaganda tool of this regime should absolutely be questioned – and MoveOn.org did exactly that.

It’s not about the man, but it is about the man’s decision to set aside his principles in the name of career advancement and politics. Someone needs to remind Giuliani that you don’t grease the wheels of history with American blood – and if someone says they want to, it is perfectly legitimate to question their motives and honesty. I would hope for nothing less.    

Petraeous Iraq War Report, Betrays Us…

 0816_07.jpg

Its business as usual from the Bush administration as mouthpiece David Patraeous flatly announced that no troops will be drawn down until 2008, reinforced by ambassador Crocker, who emphasized leaving is defeat. Nothing progressive – nothing new, no regret over the dead, no remorse or reflection. What was delivered was more of the same shortsighted lip service that has come to define the Bush administration and his blind loyalists who are apparently willing to trade American blood for career advancement and war profit.

On a day that saw 7 Americans killed as the total American death toll flirts with 3800, it begs the question – what is victory defined as? Petraeous, obviously in an effort to avoid going the way of General Casey, who opposed troop build-up and was quickly given his walking papers, predictably was all too willing to bend to Bush’s public relations demands that call for the mindless continuation of an unwinnable war.  

Sadly enough, “W” has dug up yet another ‘yes man.’ Why are the Democrats not holding an all night session as they dissect this wholly artificial report? With only casual research, here are some relevant questions that were colored or went altogether unanswered…

Fact: Under Petreaous’s command, training of the Iraqi military has continued to founder, and any subsequent training program will simply be a ‘do-over’ in an effort to band-aid his incompetent efforts under his leadership. Fact: There have been repeated disappearances, of weapons that were grossly mismanaged under Petreaous’s and his predecessor’s commands. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that those weapons are ultimately falling in to the hands of insurgents as the chaos in the streets persists.Fact: Shortly before the 2004 presidential election Petraeous wrote an op-ed piece for The Washington Post as a favor to the Bush campaign, in which he applauded what he referred to as “major progress” by the Iraqi military, Iraqi police and Iraqi leadership, when the opposite was clearly the case by all independent accounts.Fact: Iraqi civilian and U.S. and Iraqi military and police deaths are up under Petraeous and continue to riseFact: The Iraqi Government continues to flounder, unable to achieve political reconciliation among warring factions on a national level, only able to foster loose knit local governing bodiesFact: The Iraqi people, are still living without regular electricity or water, fearing for their lives whenever they go out to buy groceries or by chance talk to the wrong person – which is usually a death sentenceFact: Forty percent of the middle class in Iraq has fled the country while Iran looms as the largest regional threatAmericans deserve an even-handed assessment of conditions in Iraq. However what we got was a propaganda snapshot from the same fools who told us “Mission accomplished” and “The insurgency is in the last throws…” Bush’s messenger boy Petraeous has sold out the American people and his good name as a straight shooter to appease our clown-like president.

“We know that the surge has to come to an end,” Petraeous said, according to the Associated Press. “I think everyone understands that, by about a year or so from now, we’ve got to be a good bit smaller than we are right now. The question is how do you do that . . . so that you can retain the gains we have fought so hard to achieve and so you can keep going.”

Translation – Here’s another excuse America, while we figure out what to do, if a solution even exists. There’s no doubt the country will swallow it because the only people we can rally behind to fight Bush’s folly and foolishness are the Democrats…and what have they done to counter Bush lately?  

Coming Up on Shadow Democracy Radio September 9th…

radio11.gif

Join Matthew Podoba, Michael Jason, and Jack York – after football of course – as they talk politics, culture, the news, or anything else that comes up…and usually does. Don’t miss Shadow Democracy Radio  this Sunday evening from 7-9:00 p.m. EST on WNYMedia.net (just click the online player). This week’s talk topic will be the much anticipated Iraq progress report to Congress. Has the Bush administration altered factual data in the report as Senator Dick Durbin suggested? This will be the focus of discussion and much more. Join in by visiting the Shadow Democracy Chat room during the show or call in studio at 716-886-9696. 

Wait wait…Don’t tell me…Things are going well in Iraq!

t1home_durbin_gi.jpg 

Personally, I knew things were going well in Iraq back in May, because I knew (through some cognitive extra-sensory miracle)  that Bush’s September report on Iraq would be nothing but roses and strawberry wine. How you ask? Because our president is a liar of epidemic proportion and possesses no morals whatsoever. He treats the American people like so many sheep as he trys to distract us from the cold brutal fact that we are failing in Iraq. And now, senator Durbin has called him on it.

Days before Gen. David Petraeus testifies before Congress on the progress of the troop “surge” in Iraq, the Senate’s number two Democrat is accusing the administration of manipulating information in the highly anticipated Iraq report due out next week. “By carefully manipulating the statistics, the Bush-Petraeus report will try to persuade us that violence in Iraq is decreasing and thus the surge is working,” Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said at a Washington think tank. Durbin, a war critic, said that he has exchanged e-mail with civilian employees who were being prodded by the administation into ‘sunshining’ the report drafts. “Some of them I correspond with almost on a daily basis. And when they sent a discouraging report about things that were happening in Baghdad, they were reminded by their superiors that’s unacceptable; we need a positive report. They were sent back for editing changes. Now that’s a fact,” Durbin said.

Its about time the Democrats, or at least one of them, is willings to go all chips in to expose this horse shit of a president for what he really is – an incompetent fool who does not understand the intricate nature of foreign policy and ramifications of that policy, who resorts to deception and bravado to cover up his lack of intelligence. Make no mistake, the decision to manipulate this data and the upcoming report was made the moment Democrats wilted on war funding earlier this year. Petraeus’ credibility should be questioned simply based on the fact he is willing to cow-tow to Bush. This report will not be General Petraeus’s report, it will be President Bush’s report. However, Petraeus’ approval rating is about four times higher than the Democrat Congresses right now so the American people will probably swallow it and the Republicans will get what they wanted from the start, more war and a brief election year reprieve. This is what happens when you can’t find your spine and vote to cut war funding.

How ridiculous is the manipulation? The report contains methodology outlines for classifying murders as criminal or sectarian reprisals in nature. In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Friday, David Walker, the head of the non-partisan Government Accountability Office, raised questions about how those statistics were compiled. He said he is “not comfortable” with the methodology used to count the death toll. Specifically, he highlighted the fact that if a body is found with a gunshot wound in the front of the head it is classified as an ordinary crime but if the wound is in the back of the head it is considered sectarian violence.

This is the level of desparation Bush has sunk to in order to force feed us this illegal war. It is sickening.

Bush ‘We’re Kicking Ass’ Comment Reinforces his Arrogance and Stupidity…

t1home_petraus_bush.jpg

“The security situation is changing,” Bush told reporters during a recent surprise visit to Iraq. “There’s more work to be done. But reconciliation is taking place.”

But according to the Sydney Morning Herald of Australia, the president was a bit more crude in his assessment to Australia Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile.

“We’re kicking ass,” Bush said to Vaile Tuesday, according the Herald, after the deputy prime minister inquired about his trip to Iraq.

On Thursday, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino would not confirm or deny the reported comment. Too bad Tony is gone, he would have spun the comment into a biblical chant.

For those of us paying attention, this isn’t the first blunt comment Bush was overheard making to a world leader. At last year’s G8 summit, a live microphone picked up the president telling then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair that the United Nations needs to “get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit.”

You can take Bush away from the cowboys, but you just can’t take the cowboy out of Bush.

Our troops certainly have had successes in Iraq, however Bush’s draconian and short-sighted policies are directly to blame for the thousands of dead and wounded that were sent there because of chronic stupidity on the part of his entire administration. And let’s not forgot the Iraq citizens–who Bush seems to conveniently overlook – hundreds of thousands dead and wounded, millions displaced, sectarian violence that is reminiscent of the fall of Rome, etc. If shattered childhoods, chaos, and murder are “kicking ass” then Bush is doing a spendid job by all accounts.

Maybe we could use another measuring stick…Bin Laden killed 2,752 Americans, and Sadaam Hussein killed 122 Americans from the first Iraq invasion.

Bush killed 3,734 Americans and still isn’t done. Doing more to kill Americans than bin Laden and Hussein together must make Bush proud. Pity he isn’t as good at killing bin Laden. But then again, he knew he wasn’t in Iraq for Bin Laden when he decided to crush the will of the Iraqi people. Was it all to see how exciting it would be to get to play commander-in-chief of a fully unleashed American military campaign Mr. Bush? Or was it to prove that soft-in-the-middle Republicans, who have never wanted for anything in their lives, can fake being John Wayne as good as the next knucklehead? I’m not sure and at this point it really doesn’t matter.

To see this weasel-like coward, who never so much as served one second in uniform in a combat zone, arrogantly take credit for the hard sacrifices of U.S. troops and their families, makes me want to kick his ass or maybe a kick to the balls would be more to the point. He’s not fit to tie the combat boots of the common soldier much less comment on.

It astonishes me what a misguided simpleton we have as president. His pool hall comment frames his lack of intelligence and underscores why the entire globe can’t stand us as a culture. He is a disgrace and an embarassment to the oval office. I’m counting the days until he disappears into the polluted Texas sunset.