Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Traitor, Coward, Treasonous Dog

Iraq has ceased to exist, drowned in a sea of sectarian violence. Uncounted Iraqis have died. More than a million of it's citizens have left, gone for refugees to countries likely to prove only marginally more safe, in the long run. It's a sure bet that hundreds of thousands more will leave in the months to come, as the blood runs and the bodies rot in the streets. The coalition government and their families and friends may survive, but if they do so, it will be in the United States, along with the survivors of South Vietnam, Nigeragua, Cuba, and the Peacock Throne of Persia. If they have not yet stolen enough money to make a new start, in a new world, never fear, we will give them more.

George W. Bush, the Commander in Chief, says we will stay the course, until victory is won. There is no course to stay, no victory to be won. We still have money, lives and international respect to lose. He is determined to lose all he can. The American people have no one to blame but themselves for this failed adventurism. They delivered to George Bush and his evil cronies the baton of power and the keys to the treasury. Nothing short of impeachment will stop this madman from running our country onto the rocks and shoals of ignomy.

I do not gloat over these events. Iraq bleeds. My countrymen die to no purpose. My country is disgraced. It's resources squandered. I despair. I look for leadership that is not there.

I curse George Bush. I call him traitor. I call him coward. I call him a treasonous dog.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Can Do, Can Do. The Guy Says the Horse Can Do.

With the '08 elections staring us in the face, it would seem like a good time to make sure that we don't elect another President that falls into the Evil Robot category.

The Democrats don't seem to have much available to put into the race. It's been pretty well established that nobody is going to vote for Hillary and nobody really trusts her to be President. Edwards looks and acts the part, but he has very little experience, and the guy is, when all is said and done, an ambulance chaser. Barak Obama is the dark horse but nobody knows anything about him. They may go with him if he doesn't self destruct during primary season. The likelihood is that they will wheel out some old warhorse. I'd recommend Sam Nunn, myself, but there are a bunch of them out there and being President is every pol's secret dream.

The Republicans have a bunch of guys who could win easily but the base won't go for them. In a general election, Rudy could easily prevail, but his social liberalism is the kiss of death. Colin Powell has always had a big Democratic following and probably could win on either ticket. I have no idea how he'd play in the Republican primaries but it would be worth a shot. Lindsey Graham is a Red State dream but his repeated principled stands against the Bush administration and his ability to work in a bipartisan manner doom his primary prospects.

Who do you like and why?

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Jobs Not Finished Until The Paperwork's Done

In the aftermath of the midterm elections, we have been barraged by the media, internet gurus, and the politicians on both sides of the political fence with interpretations of the significance of the Democratic takeover of the House and Senate. These interpretations are often extremely complicated, not very comprehensible and clearly wrong. These guys weren't right before the election, why would they be right afterward? Let's start out by defining what the election was not about.

It was not about social issues. People feel the same way about race, sexual preference, immigration, reproductive rights, Social Security, healthcare, and all the other myriad social dilemmas our society faces, as they did when they elected Bush and the Republicans, two and six years ago.

It's not about corruption in government. Nobody really cares about corporate lobbyists with deep pockets or government contracts awarded to companies that take the money and give blue sky and bull shit in return. Nobody begrudges a congressman, or any other politician a Swiss bank account or a beach house in the Bahamas. It's as American as apple pie.

It's not about a mandate for Liberal government. Many of the most high profile Democratic candidates were as conservative, or more so, than their Republican opponents. Nancy Pelosi's battlecry is "Rule from the Center". I didn't notice anyone out there campaigning with Cindy Sheehan, Jane Fonda or Micheal Moore at their side.

It's not about the War in Iraq. Hillary Clinton and Joe Lieberman are still standing tall amidst the ruble of the American political landscape. What does that tell ya?

This election was all about George W. Bush. A Nero, who fiddled while New Orleans lost half it's population. A Josef Stalin, who instituted a system of secret prisons, torture, warrantless wiretapping, and indefinite imprisonment without criminal charges or trial. The man who invented the signing statement, whereby he may ignore any law he doesn't like. A Commander in Chief who spends the lives and resources of our military establishment, like a drunken sailor squanders his paycheck on a Hotel Street parlor girl. He is a liar, a cheat, a degenerate, a scoundrel. We have suffered bad Presidents, partisan Presidents, more than our share in the last half century. We have never had a President who worked so actively to subvert the very foundations of the Republic. He thinks now, that by scapegoating various members of his administration, he can buy time to continue his evil predations on the people of America. This must not be allowed.

In January of 2007, when the new Congress convenes, a carefully chosen, bipartisan, Speaker of the House must be appointed. Someone within the ranks of Congress with the respect of both sides. The President and Vice President must then be forced, under threat of impeachment and imprisonment, if necessary, to summarily resign their offices. The Speaker will then assume the Presidency for the next two years. It is an unprecedented move, but necessary. If it is not done, the cancer that is eating away at the guts of the American body politic, will continue, and more damage will be done.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

No, it's not Mary Poppins.

The four or five regular readers of this blog will know that I have weighed in on Donald Rumsfeld before. He is one of the only members of the Bush cabinet with the intelligence and experience to play in the big leagues. That he has been able to hold the efforts of our armed forces in Iraq together this long, is a feat right up there with the loaves and fishes. He has been a responsible adult presence in an administration that has not been governing, as much as they have been dressing up in their mother's old gowns and playing tea party.

The new nanny has arrived, to take the children in hand. Her name is Nancy.

Old Donald has been asked to leave. It's probably the best thing, for him. For us? We'll soon see.

Farewell, old Donald. That crofter's cottage on the wintry moor awaits. I'm sure you will soon have it in good repair.

Friday, November 03, 2006

How big is that tent, really?

What, exactly, is the significance of Ted Haggard, founder of an evangelical megachurch in Colorado, snorting methamphetamine and purchasing the services of a gay prostitute? None, really, but it might be a good time to talk a little about the state of evangelical religion in this country.

These high profile evangelists, often leading huge, cult of personality, organizations, should not be confused with what they are not. They are not theologians, despite the fact that Doctor often appears before their name. They are not charitable, despite the fact that they are always asking for charitable donations. They are not good role models for people seeking to lead a better life, although they often present themselves as such. It is doubtful that many of them are even Christians at all. These people are salesman. It is apparent from their carefully crafted images, tailored to appeal to their target audiences. It is apparent from the structure of their organizations, and the way all available resources are directed to public relations and media exposure. It is apparent by the constant quest for new members, and the emphasis on donation of money, as the means to join and maintain status, within the group. It is apparent by the material rewards they reserve for themselves.

They are not selling religion. Religion is free. You can borrow it from friends or family. Try it out, keep it if you want. Modify it in any way you like or combine it with other religions. If all else fails, you can just make up your own religion. What these guys are selling is community. A place where people share beliefs and values. A place of comfort and security. A place where they help you up, if you fall down and help you along, if you fall behind. A place where you belong and where you're proud to belong. This is the product they sell. In a world where families and societies are increasingly diverse, it is a valuable commodity to have on offer. If this is what you want, put your money down and seal the deal. Just don't confuse it with religion.

When evaluating the intrusion of these evangelical Christian organizations, into the political system, it may behoove all of us to evaluate whether it has occurred because the members of these organizations really feel it is appropriate to imprint their particular beliefs into the law of the land and the actions of our national leaders, or whether the salesman who run these organizations, feel that combining their product with political power make it more salable, to larger numbers of people. I don't think there is any question that it does but is it the right thing to do? The concerns of the evangelical Christian community in America are populist. Getting into bed with the corporate interests that really control the Republican party may not be that good of an idea.

There should be no constraint on religious freedom in this country. There should be no constraint on personal freedom in this country by religious institutions that disagree with the political, moral or lifestyle decisions of citizens. I'm not saying it's easy but it is what we should all strive for. The key is mutual respect or at least acceptance.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Emperor Has New Clothes

A troubling turn of events in Blogland. Anybody surfing around the internet is familiar with the phenomena of military blogs. Members of the Armed Forces, often stationed far from home, are able to communicate with family and friends, in real time, at low cost. They also use blogs as sounding boards to relate their experiences and to voice their opinions on a wide range of issues. Now comes word that the upper reaches of the military establishment is keeping tabs on these instruments, citing concerns of National Security.

It turns out that each of the branches of the service have agencies that monitor blogs. There is also a DOD agency which does this. Service members are now required to register their blogs with their commanding officer. Commanding officers are required to evaluate these blogs quarterly. There are apparently guidelines that the service member must adhere to, facing disciplinary action if these guidelines are violated. Anybody that knows anything about military rules and regs, knows that there is inevitably a catch all rule that translates as, " anything we don't like is prohibited".

There are already complaints from service members that they have been required to remove their blogs from the internet, that they have been disciplined or even reduced in rank, over publication of blogs. Anyone contemplating a career in the military knows how seriously these kinds of actions can effect the recipient.

The fact of the matter is that military bloggers take their responsibility to protect National Security very seriously. I have not seen anything that even approaches the inappropriate on a Milblog. Another sad fact is, that someone who wants to purposefully release sensitive material can all to easily find an effective and anonymous way to do it.

Nitpicky censorship of Milblogs stifles a much needed outlet for personal expression by the troops. It deprives the American public of a valuable source of information about the military. It makes the high command appear petty and mean. It does no good, for anyone.