Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Is No Stranger To Writing Open Letters

I wonder if Mahmoud writes his own letters, or does he have the same kind of crack propagandists employed and paid for by his people like the W, Rove and Co.

Certainly, Mahmoud is no stranger to writing open letters. Today reveals another missive addressed to us, the American People. Shall we pay attention or not?

Here's a slice for you:

You have certainly heard the sad stories of the Guantanamo and Abu-Ghraib prisons. The US administration attempts to justify them through its proclaimed “war on terror.” But every one knows that such behavior, in fact, offends global public opinion, exacerbates resentment and thereby spreads terrorism, and tarnishes the US image and its credibility among nations.

The US administration's illegal and immoral behavior is not even confined to outside its borders. You are witnessing daily that under the pretext of “the war on terror,” civil liberties in the United States are being increasingly curtailed. Even the privacy of individuals is fast losing its meaning. Judicial due process and fundamental rights are trampled upon. Private phones are tapped, suspects are arbitrarily arrested, sometimes beaten in the streets, or even shot to death.

I have no doubt that the American people do not approve of this behavior and indeed deplore it.

The US administration does not accept accountability before any organization, institution or council. The US administration has undermined the credibility of international organizations, particularly the United Nations and its Security Council. But, I do not intend to address all the challenges and calamities in this message.

The legitimacy, power and influence of a government do not emanate from its arsenals of tanks, fighter aircrafts, missiles or nuclear weapons. Legitimacy and influence reside in sound logic, quest for justice and compassion and empathy for all humanity. The global position of the United States is in all probability weakened because the administration has continued to resort to force, to conceal the truth, and to mislead the American people about its policies and practices.

Undoubtedly, the American people are not satisfied with this behavior and they showed their discontent in the recent elections. I hope that in the wake of the mid-term elections, the administration of President Bush will have heard and will heed the message of the American people.

My questions are the following:

Is there not a better approach to governance?

Is it not possible to put wealth and power in the service of peace, stability, prosperity and the happiness of all peoples through a commitment to justice and respect for the rights of all nations, instead of aggression and war?

We all condemn terrorism, because its victims are the innocent.

But, can terrorism be contained and eradicated through war, destruction and the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocents?

If that were possible, then why has the problem not been resolved?

The sad experience of invading Iraq is before us all.
Yes, indeed, the sad experience of invading Iraq is laid out before us. The truth of the matter is, for Americans, the true nature of the calamity is not entirely real as it is on the whole other side of the globe - too far removed for those who don't have family fighting over there - too far removed to be considered above the din of the overbearing capitalistic push toward Christmas.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tight Lips Sink Loose Ships

Here's an interesting quote from Tuesday's press briefing:
Q I was just going to ask whether you can give a readout from the meeting the Vice President had with King Abdullah. We understood that King Abdullah had actually requested the Vice President's presence. And did he have a specific message, and did we carry a message through the Vice President to him about what's going on?

MR. HADLEY: Obviously that was a very confidential conversation. The Vice President has shared it with the President. And it would not be in the interest of our relations with Saudi for me to talk about that conversation here.
Helloooo...THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT OIL AND GIGANTIC PROFITS FOR THEIR FRIENDS! It's a no brainer, eh? Or am I saddly mistaken. Some one please correct me if I am wrong.

When Will The President Bite The Iraqi Civil War Bullet?

I love the euphemisms the W, Rove and Co have generated to cloak their very real problem that Civil War seems to be erupting in their little Iraqi freedom spreading Petri dish.

Let's see: there's "Sectarian Violence."

Or, how about another good modification of that tired phrase: "Foment sectarian violence."

Let's have a look at a very honest and concrete question posed Tuesday in the "Joint Press Availability" executed on foreign soil at great taxpayer expense. Does Deb get a good answer?

You be the judge:
Q Mr. President, thank you, sir. What is the difference between what we're seeing now in Iraq and civil war? And do you worry that calling it a civil war would make it difficult to argue that we're fighting the central front of the war on terror there?

PRESIDENT BUSH: You know, the plans of Mr. Zarqawi was to foment sectarian violence. That's what he said he wanted to do. The Samarra bombing that took place last winter was intended to create sectarian violence, and it has. The recent bombings were to perpetuate the sectarian violence. In other words, we've been in this phase for a while. And the fundamental objective is to work with the Iraqis to create conditions so that the vast majority of the people will be able to see that there's a peaceful way forward.

The bombings that took place recently was a part of a pattern that has been going on for about nine months. I'm going to bring this subject up, of course, with Prime Minister Maliki when I visit with him in Jordan on Thursday. My questions to him will be: What do we need to do to succeed? What is your strategy in dealing with the sectarian violence? I will assure him that we will continue to pursue al Qaeda to make sure that they do not establish a safe haven in Iraq.

I will ask him: What is required and what is your strategy to be a country which can govern itself and sustain itself? And it's going to be an important meeting, and I'm looking forward to it.

Q -- are saying that we're moving forward to full --

PRESIDENT BUSH: Deb, there's all kinds of speculation about what may be or not happening. What you're seeing on TV has started last February. It was an attempt by people to foment sectarian violence, and no -- no question it's dangerous there, and violent. And the Maliki government is going to have to deal with that violence, and we want to help them do so. It's in our interest that we succeed. A democracy in the heart of the Middle East is an important part of defeating the radicals and totalitarians that can't stand the emergence of a democracy.

One of the interesting things that's taking place -- and people have got to understand what's happening -- is when you see a young democracy beginning to emerge in the Middle East, the extremists try to defeat its emergence.

That's why you see violence in Lebanon. There's a young democracy in Lebanon, run by Prime Minister Siniora. And that government is being undermined, in my opinion, by extremist forces encouraged out of Syria and Iran. Why? Because a democracy will be a major defeat for those who articulate extremist points of view.

We're trying to help get a democracy started in the Palestinian Territory. Prime Minister Olmert has reached out at one point to Prime Minister Abbas -- President Abbas. And you know what happens as soon as he does that? Extremists attack, because they can't stand the thought of a democracy. And the same thing is happening in Iraq. And it's in our mutual interest that we help this government succeed.

And no question it's tough, Deb. No question about it. There's a lot of sectarian violence taking place, fomented, in my opinion, because of these attacks by al Qaeda, causing people to seek reprisal. And we will work with the Maliki government to defeat these elements.

By far, the vast majority of the people want to live in peace. Twelve million people voted. They said, we want to live under a constitution which we approved. And our objective must be to help them realize their dreams. This is the -- this is an important part of an ideological struggle that is taking place here in the beginning of the 21st century. And the interesting contribution that a country like Estonia is making is that, people shouldn't have to live under tyranny. We just did that; we don't like it. They understand that democracies yield peace. This President is a strong advocate for democracies, because he understands. He understands what it means to live under subjugation, and he understands the hope that democracy brings to regions of the world. And I appreciate your steadfast leadership.
Okay, as the W trots out the stock "twelve million people voted" rhetoric, we have to ask ourselves if the election matters all that much to all the newly dead Iraqis?

Any one out there care to discuss whether or not it matters how the W, Rove and Co chooses to define what is happening in Iraq?

Let's see how Steve Hadley amplifies the W, Rove Co confusion on the matter:

Q How can you say that we think the Maliki government is doing pretty well when, by all accounts, he would have no strength at all in parliament but for the bloc of votes that Sadr's party holds? It seems to be the majority view, in everything we read, that he has no power except the power which comes from his association with Sadr, who is inimical to U.S. interests.

MR. HADLEY: I don't think that's how it works. I think there are about 270 members, maybe 275 members in the legislature. Sadr has a block of 50. So this is a unity government, drawing from Kurds, Sunni and Shia. It has a broader base of support. Secondly, Sadr is in the government. Sadr has some ministers that are part of the government. And one of the things that Maliki has been very clear about is trying to keep Sadr in that government and get Sadr to recognize that he has a role as part of the government, he has a role as part of the government to ensure that the government is the exclusive source of authority and force within Iraq. And that means going after the extremes, whether Shia extremists or Sunni extremists, those elements that are standing outside the government and are willing to use force against the government. He is trying to unite moderates in Sunni, Shia and Kurd communities into his unity, and give them, through the training of security forces, the strength to go after those elements that refuse to become part of the political process. That's what he's trying to do.

He has said that the government needs to do better. We've said that the situation in Iraq is not proceeding well enough, fast enough. This is not -- I'm trying to give you a very candid assessment. But the question I got was, why isn't he doing better? And all I wanted to do was to remind everybody the situation which this unity government was presented, and the challenges with which they're having to deal. It is something one has to keep in mind when you evaluate what's going on in Iraq. That's my only point.


Q Pretty well is relative, isn't it?

MR. HADLEY: Pardon me?

Q Pretty well, as you said, is pretty relative, isn't it?

MR. HADLEY: It's very relevant, and my point --

Q Relative.

MR. HADLEY: -- was not to -- I hope you don't sort of encapsulize what I've said by saying, Hadley says they're doing pretty well, because I think it would be unfair to what I've just described as a situation which is -- we're very concerned about, high levels of violence, sectarian violence that is a challenge for this new government, things proceeding not well enough or fast enough. All I'm saying is, they are not making the progress we would like, they are not making the progress they would like, and there's some reasons for that, because they face a very challenging situation. That's the best I can do, in terms of describing the challenge they face and where they are in that process.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Good News?

Here is an interesting headline: Iran says will do all it can to help Iraq

I have three questions for you:
  1. Is this good news for the W, Rove and Co?

  2. Is this good news for Iraq?

  3. Is this good news for America?

And one more for fun: Does it look like the W, Rove and Co cares that the democratically elected government of Iraq is going to deal directly with Iran and Syria?
Q Is President Bush going to bring up the idea of embracing talks with Iran and Syria, with Maliki?

MR. HADLEY: I think you're going to find that Prime Minister Maliki is going to bring that up with the President. He has some strong views on that subject. As you know, the Iraqis have been talking to the Syrians, the Iraqis have been talking to the Iranians. Their view is that the future of Iraq, if it is a subject of conversation with Syrian and Iran, ought to be a conversation by Iraqis, not by others on the outside.

So this is a discussion that Iraqis have taken the lead on with both Iran and Syria, and want to take the lead on. And so I think it's a subject, actually, that Prime Minister Maliki is likely to bring up with the President.

Q So he'll say, basically, let us do this, don't you convene direct talks?

MR. HADLEY: I've said what he has said, I think, publicly. We'll see what else he says when the President and he get together.

Q Are you holding out --

Q But his point is he doesn't want the U.S. meddling in --

MR. HADLEY: I said what I said, which is what he said. And he's talked publicly about this, and I'll let his words speak for themselves.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Still Decidin' After All These Years...

Here's another fun Mark Fiore Vid. Enjoy.

I've Been Wondering This For A Long While

To borrow a phrase I learned in property law class: Is donating money to a law or business school really the "highest and best" use of one's charitable contributions? And, more generally, are income tax deductions for such donations leading to some perverse results, like subsidizing "endowment races"?
Really, the subtext of this questions is why is it that very wealthy people donate at all? Is it self-serving, afterall?

Juxtaposed Thanksgivings

Did you finally brush the crumbs off your belly, click off the remote on yet another football game, roll of the couch and click on the computer for a little bit of active blogging?

Perhaps you are dog tired from Friday's trek to the local mall to duke it out with your neighbors for some fine capitalistic hedonism, doing your part to churn the economy making more pennies per purchase for your favorite credit company?

Both fine exercises, no?

If you come out of the fog of your capitalistic induced frenzy, no doubt, you will notice that there seems to be two different types of Thanksgivings perpetrated this year; both of our making. The first is the one the president would wish us to have:
We're grateful to live in a land of plenty and during a time of great prosperity. And we're grateful to Almighty God for the freedom to enjoy all these gifts.
Perhaps it's the last bit of this phrase that is most troublesome: "the freedom to enjoy ALL these gifts." I thought Christianity taught charity, not excess, but I digress.

The message I get from the President is that it's our god given right to consume gigantic quantities of every thing. To hell with the hell we have propagated in other parts of the globe. Ignore Iraq, and spend, spend, spend. It's the best antidote to what's wrong with the world, no?

For blogging purposes, let's juxtapose these two Thanksgivings. Then, I'll step out of the way for folks to discuss in the comments. If you are appalled, I'm with you. If not, why not?

Here's one thanksgiving, commonplace across America this past weekend:
But bargain hunters competing for scarce quantities of “doorbuster” discounts have given this day an increasingly sharp-elbowed, close-fisted and purse-swinging edge.

Shortly after midnight yesterday, an estimated 15,000 shoppers pushed and shoved their way into the Fashion Place mall in Murray, Utah. Police soon joined them, responding to reports of nine skirmishes.

Once inside, shoppers ransacked stores, overturning piles of clothes as they looked for bargains. A retailer’s dream — too many customers! — quickly turned into a nightmare, forcing store clerks to shut their doors, and only let people in after others left. The mall even briefly closed its outside doors to avoid a fire hazard.

It’s like a mosh pit,” said Lexie Dewegel, 19. “You get pushed everywhere.
Now, let's turn to Iraq - a place that wouldn't be the way it is today if we never went there in the first place. Certainly, it is rather pointless to discuss the worthiness of the invasion at this time. What would be better is to discuss the present, and how we fix it.
BAGHDAD, Nov. 24 — Defying a government curfew, Shiite militiamen stormed Sunni mosques in Baghdad and a nearby city on Friday, shooting guards and burning down buildings in apparent retaliation for the devastating bombings that killed more than 200 people the day before in the capital’s largest Shiite district, residents and police officials said.

Militia fighters drove through neighborhoods in Baghdad and the provincial capital of Baquba, firing at mosques with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades on the Muslim day of prayer.
In juxtaposition with the mall scene presented above, I think it gives us a grave reminder of what is wrong with America. In one Thanksgiving, you are liable to be shot for your Playstation 3. In the other, you are liable to be shot for just being you. How nice.

Blog on friends, blog on all.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving By The Numbers

Did my usual pre-feasting AM run and got caught as usual counting. I ran through two city parks and found 27 homeless, one of which I had to nearly jump over on a particular trail as he was busy rolling up his sleeping bag. Two of these folks were high up in a tree, not unlike Snoopy in vulture mode. I didn't see any forty ouncers being hoisted unlike last year, but I did have four of these homeless folk wish me happy Thanksgiving, and I reciprocated.

I got to wondering, if we were not perpetrating some useless war in Iraq how many homes we could have erected and put some of these folk in instead. Sure, we'd have to provide drug treatment for some, counseling for others, but I don't think it would amount to the total cash the W, Rove and Co has put our stars and stripes into hock for over their illegitimate Iraq conflagration.

At breakfast I was reading the local rag to discover that there were nearly 1500 civilian deaths in Iraq this month. That was something like 120 killings per day. Moreover, nearly 2 million people have fled Iraq for places like Syria. Then I got to some more thinking that perhaps the "stay the course" strategy wouldn't be so bad. Sooner than later, there would be nothing but terrorists and military living in Iraq. We could then pull out our troops and nuke the place solving the problem once and for all. Now that's a pretty sober and somber thought on this Thanksgiving.

I do apologize, but I am sure you can find a few thousand blogs posting what they are thankful for and if that's what you are game for, I'd encourage you click some where else.

In the words of one famous Ebenezer Scrooge..."Bah, Humbug."

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Which One Is the Turkey?

Calling All Bloggers, CQ Bloggers: I need a little help here. Which one of these is the turkey in dire need of a presidential pardon?

Picture grabbed from your taxpayer dollar sponsored Whitehouse web location

"It'sThe Economy," Stupid?

So, if it's all about economics, how's the W, Rove and Co Version of a "booming" economy workin' for you?

Image grabbed from here

Here's a slice from the article:
“The problem is that there’s all this wealth at this new strata that feels unrelated to merit or achievement,” Mr. Miller says. “When a C.E.O. whose leadership has caused a company’s stock price to fall gets a $100 million golden parachute, or when a guy’s running so much money that his commission — even if his picks are only getting an 8 or 10 percent return on his client’s money — is $100 million, that’s crazy.” He says that such compensation “goes against the notion of a meritocracy.”

Or maybe not. “A meritocracy increases inequality — by its very nature, it has to,” says Nicholas Lemann, whose book “The Big Test” explored the history of the SAT and the American meritocracy. “The goal was equality of opportunity, not equality of result.”

Monday, November 20, 2006

It Takes One To Know One: Lessons From The Vietnam Era

When folks like Henry Kissinger make comments like:
If you mean by 'military victory' an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don't believe that is possible
It strikes me that because Kissinger was a principal architect of the Vietnam strategy that he would know what failure in the military category looks like. Really, if people who have been through similar catastrophes are saying it's a catastrophe, then maybe Iraq is a catastrophe.

Friday, November 17, 2006

W Finally Makes It To Vietnam

For those of you paying attention to the latest PR junket, otherwise know as W's global farewell tour, by the W, Rove and Co designed to distract us from Iraq, you won't be the first to note that this is the first time the President has actually been to Vietnam. In fact, he spent a good deal of energy avoiding Vietnam long about 1972, didn't he? Is there irony there?

But this post is really about Iraq. I don't think we should fall prey to more diversionary treks as tricks sponsored by our tax dollars, particularly given how badly things are still going in Iraq.

A commentator in a prior post provide this link indicating the following: "You can't give people that which they do not want."

"A republic, if you can keep it."

-- Benjamin Franklin, upon leaving the Constitutional Convention, in answer to "What have we got?"

We have given the Iraqis a republic, and they do not appear able to keep it.

Americans flatter themselves that they are the root of all planetary evil. Nukes in North Korea? Poverty in Bolivia? Sectarian violence in Iraq? Breasts are beaten and fingers pointed as we try to somehow locate the root cause in America.

Our discourse on Iraq has followed the same pattern. Where did we go wrong? Too few troops? Too arrogant an occupation? Or too soft? Take your pick.

I have my own theories. In retrospect, I think we made several serious mistakes -- not shooting looters, not installing an Iraqi exile government right away, and not taking out Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army in its infancy in 2004 -- that greatly compromised the occupation. Nonetheless, the root problem lies with Iraqis and their political culture.

Our objectives in Iraq were twofold and always simple: Depose Saddam Hussein and replace his murderous regime with a self-sustaining, democratic government.

The first was relatively easy. But Iraq's first truly democratic government turned out to be hopelessly feeble and fractured, little more than a collection of ministries handed over to various parties, militias and strongmen.

The problem is not, as we endlessly argue about, the number of American troops. Or of Iraqi troops. The problem is the allegiance of the Iraqi troops. Some serve the abstraction called Iraq. But many swear fealty to political parties, religious sects or militia leaders.

Are the Arabs intrinsically incapable of democracy, as the "realists" imply? True, there are political, historical, even religious reasons why Arabs are less prepared for democracy than, say, East Asians and Latin Americans who successfully democratized over the past several decades. But the problem here is Iraq's particular political culture, raped and ruined by 30 years of Hussein's totalitarianism...

...Is this America's fault? No. It is a result of Iraq's first democratic election. The United States was not going to replace Saddam Hussein with another tyrant. We were trying to plant democracy in the heart of the Middle East as the one conceivable antidote to extremism and terror -- and, in a country that is nearly two-thirds Shiite, that inevitably meant Shiite domination. It was never certain whether the long-oppressed Shiites would have enough sense of nation and sense of compromise to govern rather than rule. The answer is now clear: United in a dominating coalition, they do not.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Lame Duck Walking

When the US Taxpayers are paying for diplomatic ventures by various dignitaries, we expect some kind of action of varying degrees of import to be executed on our behalf. The President is no exception.

However, if you examine what he is actually doing on his trek to Singapore and the like, it looks a lot like the Lame Duck farewell tour where he is setting about to glad hand every one of his pals and have one last round of fetes on our dime.

If you ask me, it's a bit early for the president to begin his adios tour of the globe, but that sure is what it looks like.

Q Does Steve want to readout the meeting in Moscow?

MR. HADLEY: The President and Mrs. Bush met with President Putin and Mrs. Putina. It was a social meeting, as we said it would be. This was a refueling stop. The President and President Putin will have an opportunity to meet on the margins of the APEC meeting. So this was -- the Russians were kind enough to allow us to refuel here. Once they knew we were going to do that, President Putin decided he and Mrs. Putina wanted to come out and greet their friends, the Bushes, and they did. So it was a social meeting between the two, and there will be an opportunity for them to talk business when they meet together on the margins of the APEC meeting.

Q Did they get into any substantive issues?

MR. HADLEY: I don't think so. They talked a little bit about, sort of, proliferation, generally, as you might expect them to, with things about Iran and South Korea. But it really wasn't about business -- it was about social, it was about personal, and that was the subject of much of their conversation.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Proud To Be Repulican, and...

A friend of mine sent this snap of a friend with a creative mind. The front of the shirt says, "I'm proud to be Republican!"

Monday, November 13, 2006

There's Nothing "Willy-Nilly" About It

If you think that the W, Rove and Co looks remarkably like his father's administration you wouldn't be wrong. As to whether these folk are being recruited like knights on white horses to save the king's son, it's debatable.

Certainly, we have to agree with Tony the Snow Job here: there's nothing "willy-nilly" about it. It's quite intentional that we have some one vying for the Secretary of State gig that was wrapped up with Reagan and the Iran Contra affair all the way up to Ollie North's eyeballs.

Have a look at this interesting exchange from today's White house press briefing.

Q Next question for you. I saw a Newsweek cover story -- you see it all over the place -- that somehow all these veterans of Bush 41 are coming in and rescuing Bush 43.

MR. SNOW: As a veteran of Bush 41, I don't think that's the proper way to look at this. I mean, look, I know that it's one of these things where people think that the President -- let me just -- rather than trying even to get into characterizing it, no.

Q Has he directly or indirectly -- President Bush 41 --

Q What's "no"? What do you mean, "no"?

MR. SNOW: No, this is not a -- this is not bringing in people willy-nilly from the President's administration "to save him." Wrong.

Q And has the President -- 41 -- either directly or indirectly offered his advice to his son that perhaps people like Eagleburger or Secretary Baker or anybody else be involved and should be listened to?

MR. SNOW: I have absolutely no idea. But keep in mind, you just mentioned Secretary Baker and Secretary Eagleburger -- they are part of a congressionally-appointed committee.

Q Gates -- Dr. Gates?

MR. SNOW: The President picked Bob Gates because he figured that he would be an effective Secretary of Defense, a sentiment that's been echoed by people at the Pentagon and in both parties on Capitol Hill. He picked a guy that he thought would be able to do the job.

No Brainer Quote Of The Day

Q But you still think your strategy for victory is working?

MR. SNOW: The strategy for victory is working, but the strategy for victory also, as the President said and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, we're not -- it's not getting better fast enough. And so you need to find ways, militarily and otherwise, to try to improve the situation.
It's not getting better fast enough? Gee, ya think? My goodness, how many bodies need to pile up in the streets of Iraq before they admit it's getting worse, not better?

Did Tuesday's Vote Mean Most People Want Our Troops To Be Effectively Extracted From Iraq?

In the days before an election, politicians are aflame with rhetorical arguments that suggest the outcome will be a mandate from the people for action by their government. But the W, Rove and Co has always been about doing what it wants to do regardless of what a majority of the people think.

Have a look at this exchange in today's Whitehouse press briefing where Tony the Snow job lays it out clearly for us.
Q We hear a lot about the fact that the President believes we're not succeeding quickly enough. He has replaced the Defense Secretary, he is now awaiting not only ideas from Democrats, but from an Iraq Study Group, he's chosen a new Defense Secretary from this group. Is this not an acknowledgment -- and some straight talk here -- that the policy in Iraq is broken?

MR. SNOW: No, it's an acknowledgment that you've got a tough situation. What you've just -- what's interesting is that you tried to insinuate that Bob Gates was brought in by virtue of his membership in the Iraq Study Group, which isn't true. Furthermore, as we have -- furthermore --
So, basically, do you get the feeling that the W, Rove and Co is stalling on moving forward on a plan to withdrawal troops until it is actually recommended by people they appointed to tell them that rather than the Dems?
Q -- and all we hear is that we're not succeeding quickly enough. The question is, the American people spoke on this point about the war. Isn't, in fact, the policy broken? Is that not the concession?

MR. SNOW: You know what's interesting -- no. I think what it is -- no. What it is a concession of is, the war is hard. The war is very hard. And that the people who spend morning, noon, and night thinking about this, constantly do what they can to adjust and to get it right. The policy is to create an Iraq where the Iraqis have the ability to sustain, govern, and defend themselves so that they can stand up, so that they will have a democracy that can stand on its own two legs, can defend itself, will have the support of its public, will have an economy that offers opportunity, will have security, will have the ability to demonstrate to terrorists once and for all that despite all their best shots, it just wasn't going to work.
Yup, it looks like it to me. This idea for troop withdrawal has more legs on it than Tony suggests. But hey, what about the rationale they keep insisting was the real reason to invade Iraq expose facto?
Q You concede that we didn't go into Iraq for those reasons, don't you? And do you think the election had anything to do with us wanting to get out?

MR. SNOW: You know, it's interesting, Helen, if -- there are some polls that I've seen referred to, but I haven't seen today. I think -- well, let me back up. If you ask Americans, do you want to win, my guess is, the answer is going to be yes.

Q No, it isn't the point.

MR. SNOW: No, it is the point.

Q We went in for weapons --

MR. SNOW: No, you just asked -- you just asked if we want to get out. The answer is yes, we want to get out when we win. That's when we want to get out.
What's the prize when we win? How do we know we've won?

Q When we win -- but what do we win? I mean, you're going to have to --

MR. SNOW: What we win -- well, I'll tell you --

Q And how much slaughter? Every day we have slaughter.

MR. SNOW: Are you trying to place us in a morally equivalent position to the al Qaeda terrorists who deliberately are --

Q That's not an argument.

MR. SNOW: Sure it is. No --

Q I'm not saying --

MR. SNOW: No, you're accusing -- are you accusing the Americans of slaughter? Who are you accusing of slaughter?

Q I'm not accusing -- the best defense is offense. We understand your tactic here.

MR. SNOW: No, I'm just asking the question because you talked about slaughter, and it gave the impression that we're engaged in slaughter.

Q Well, how many people are dying every day?

MR. SNOW: It depends on what the -- does it not depend on -- well, let me put it this way, Helen, when people are dying because of car bombs it illustrates the difficulty of the situation and the nature of the people we are fighting.
Well, I don't know if we are the ones doing the slaughter, but you have to concede that there is a great deal of carnage going on in Iraq that wasn't happening before we got there.

Q But isn't our presence the cause of that?

MR. SNOW: No, no. As the President has pointed out many times, this stuff began long before September 11th. And, furthermore, it had been practiced throughout the Middle East long before September 11th. But these tactics --

Q In Iran?

MR. SNOW: And furthermore -- no, in Iraq. That's right. They're trying -- in Iraq you had a situation where you had a dictator who was contributing to the terror network, and who in the process was murdering hundreds of thousands of his own people.

Q But the President said there was no tie-in with the terrorists.

MR. SNOW: No, he said there was no tie-in with September 11th. There's a difference.
Well, a little bit later we find ourselves getting lost in the rhetorical sauce. Have a look:
Q Tony, back on Iraq, a couple of questions. First, in an interview yesterday, Carl Levin said, "The point of this is to signal to the Iraqis that the open-ended commitment is over, and that they are going to have to solve their own problems." Does the President believe that the United States needs to send a signal to the Iraqi government that the open-ended commitment is over?

MR. SNOW: No, because we've never had an open-ended commitment.

Q Our commitment now is not open-ended?

MR. SNOW: No, our commitment is to get to the point where we achieve victory.
Sounds open ended to me with the war mongering machinery set to become more and more profitable a business opportunity. Time to invest anew in Halliburton et al?

But let's leave you with the final analysis from Tony as to whether we are winning the war in Iraq or not:
Q Tony, with all the changes going on right now, and the President admitting that he's not happy with the situation in Iraq, can this White House still stand by the statement that we are winning in Iraq?

MR. SNOW: The fact is, April, we would like progress to be moving more quickly. That's obvious. But on the other hand, when you see what has been going on with the Prime Minister stepping up and assuming more responsibility, working now, shaking up the government, because he also wants to get better results, the fact is, yes, you're moving forward on this. And in the failure narrative that quite often gets written is one that, as you know, has been deeply distressing to many of the men and women who are fighting over there because they at least have a different picture. Some of it has been portrayed in recent days in press reports.

But this is hard. It's a war. And there are going to be time when you have a great deal of motion in the direction of victory, and there are going to be times when you have setbacks. And there's just no way to get around it.

Q You're not saying victory just for the sake of keeping morale up? You're saying victory because we are winning?

MR. SNOW: We're saying victory because we are -- we are winning, but on the other hand, we have not won.

Q Is it still the President's policy, though, that a democratic outcome in Iraq is the only acceptable outcome? Is that correct?

MR. SNOW: Yes.
Sounds open ended to me. Too bad we issued them a blank check to execute this monstrosity.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

What Will History Show?

The trouble with history is that you can't control the spin on how it will judge you. Nevertheless, that won't stop the president from trying, now will it.
Bob replaces the longest serving member of my Cabinet, Don Rumsfeld. History will record that on Secretary Rumsfeld's watch, the men and women of our military overthrew two terrorist regimes, brought justice to scores of senior al Qaeda operatives, and helped stop new terrorist attacks on our people. America is safer, and the world is more secure because of the leadership of Don Rumsfeld, and I am deeply grateful for his service.
I don't know about you, but if you ask me there is a reason why the people voted for Dems on 7 November, and one of those was because they are not nearly as impressed with Rummy as the W is.

But what about his possible successor? On the surface, it already looks like Gates is substantially better than Rummy ever was. Should we believe the president? It's not like we will have much of a choice given that we still must endure the congress we have for the next month or so.
In the meantime, I have made an important change to my national security team. On Wednesday, I accepted Don Rumsfeld's resignation as Secretary of Defense, and announced my intent to nominate Bob Gates to replace him. Bob is a proven leader who has served six Presidents -- four Republicans and two Democrats. As a former CIA Director and the current President of Texas A&M University, he has experience leading large and complex organizations, and he has shown that he is an agent of change. As Secretary of Defense, he will provide a fresh outlook on our strategy in Iraq, and what we need to do to prevail.

Friday, November 10, 2006

So The Dems Win, But All They're Going To Get Is Sloppy Seconds

Sure, the title for this post is a little racy, but the Dems must know that their turn dealing with Iraq is going to be the worst case of sloppy seconds a political party could ask for. There's a lot to fix that the W, Rove and Co has mucked up in the last nearly six years. Moreover, the last Congress really hasn't been all that productive, sidetracked by scandals and the like.

I've already heard at least one fright winger projecting blame saying, "Now they [meaning Dems] won't have any excuses for Iraq." But the fact of the matter is that W is still the Commander-in-Chief, and we have had nearly four full years of the W, Rove and Co. "war" in Iraq.

With two years left of what is commonly referred to as a "lame duck" congress and presidency, we will see as history unfolds before us if we end up better off then than we are now. Interestingly, every so often we get a waft of bi-partisanship that percolates hope that we may actually get a change of course. But, then again, maybe not.

Let's have a look at some fun snips from the last two days of press briefings and see what direction we, the people, are going to be lead around by the nose ring toward:

First, you have a cowboy for president who only believes that there is a mandate from the people when it supports his team:
Q Also, why does he think this mandate from the voters doesn't mean to pull out?

MR. SNOW: Because I don't think that's a majority opinion. But furthermore --

Q You don't think so.

MR. SNOW: -- you know what, Helen, what he sees is, he was hired to be Commander-in-Chief, and it's his job to tend to national security. And he's willing -- and he's willing to take whatever political hits come if it means doing -- if he has to choose between doing his job properly and being popular, he's going to do the job properly to save American lives not only now, but for future generations, and also to make the Middle East a safer region and a more secure region, and one that is going to be more reliable, especially in terms of the ongoing battle and the conversation there about what is the proper way to proceed -- democracy or terror. And as you know --
Secondly, we have become a magnet to draw more terrorists to Iraq than were their in the first place:
Q Is every Iraqi a terrorist?

MR. SNOW: No, absolutely not. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of Iraqis are people who want to breathe free.

Q Who brought the terrorists in, so called, and why wouldn't the Iraqis protect themselves against terrorists?

MR. SNOW: Well, Iraqis -- there are a number of things going on, Helen, and some people are terrorists, and you also have sectarian factions within Iraq. But one thing is clear, al Qaeda had made it its known desire to try to foment friction between factions within Iraq, and Prime Minister Maliki is doing his very best to work on creating peace and shared interest, economic and otherwise, in the political system and economic system, between all different groups in Iraq. That is the challenge of democracy, and it's one we're going to meet.
And, we have an interesting development now that Rummy is toast. Did you know that by hiring Gates, the President has effectively compromised independence of the Baker driven Iraq Study Group:
Q Can I follow one more on that? Is there anything to be made of the fact that a member of the Iraq Study Group is now the nominee to be the Secretary of Defense?


Q Any coordination there at all?

MR. SNOW: No, and I'm glad you asked it. No. That's an important thing to note, because -- and I am told -- I was not party to the discussions -- that there was no conversation about conclusions or what the Iraq Study Group was going to come up with, this in the conversations with Bob Gates. The members of the Iraq Study Group --

Q He's never asked Bob Gates, so, what have you all been talking about?

MR. SNOW: I don't think so, and I'll tell you why. He's been very clear about the importance that that -- those deliberations and that advice remain confidential and independent. We've had this conversation before with regard to Jim Baker.
We still have a "Commander-in-Chief" who is an ideolog not much unlike the fanatics leading the charge against us. Is he in denial that there is another, better way?
Don Rumsfeld is one of the most extraordinary Defense Secretaries in American history. He not only worked on the tough business of transformation within the Pentagon, he did so during a time of war, and did so with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was in that office for six years, which may be six of the most trying years that any Defense Secretary has ever faced. And he did an exemplary job, and the President respects him and thanks him for the service...

Q What changed? What clicked, what changed? How did he get to this point from what seemed to be a very different point a couple months ago?

MR. SNOW: Well, again, I think the President has great confidence in Don Rumsfeld, but also, again, it's Don Rumsfeld and the President talking about the need for fresh eyes. If you want me to give you interior deliberations, A, we don't do that, and, B, even if we did, I don't have the insights you want.

And what about John Bolton?
Q Do you consider the John Bolton nomination dead?

MR. SNOW: No. Think of it this way: I know a lot of people had positions and old views about John Bolton, but in the spirit of trying to take a fresh look at things and trying to be fair-minded, it's probably worth reviewing his record as United Nations Ambassador, which has been highly successful.

John Bolton, in his tenure at the United Nations, has shepherded through two U.N. Security Council resolutions with regard to North Korea. He has been working aggressively and actively with our allies on the issue of Iran. He has put together a U.N. Security Council resolution on Lebanon. And I think he has demonstrated an ability to work effectively with other members and other U.N. delegations to move forward and show a leadership role in important business.

So, again, the President believes that John Bolton has done an exemplary job, and if people fairly will examine his record -- his real accomplishments, his record at the United Nations -- that he not only will have earned confirmation, but will receive it.

But should we gather a glimmer of hope when Tony the Snow job says things like this?
Q Okay. And then my second question, in this new, sort of, spirit of bipartisanship, how will the President react if Democrats during the lame duck session try to block or do succeed in blocking the Bolton confirmation, or legislation, for instance, on the domestic wiretapping?

MR. SNOW: Well, again, I just think -- I think you owe it to everybody to see what happens in the lame duck. Rather than my giving you a reaction to something that hasn't happened, I will tell you what we hope happens, not only that John Bolton is confirmed, but -- look, what the President wants with the terrorist surveillance program is the ability, in a swift and effective manner, to be able to monitor conversations or communications between al Qaeda terror masters and al Qaeda members in the United States, or terrorists in the United States, especially fearing that if you have an ongoing operation, you're going to need the ability to move swiftly and effectively to get information and to move it into the hands of law enforcement or proper authorities. And --

Q Does the --

MR. SNOW: Well, I'll finish. And we believe the Democrats certainly would share that interest.

And, again, one of the things now is the Democrats are going to be sharing responsibility and they'll be able to share credit for getting these things done in the right way. So let's see what happens.

Of course, the GOP is going to try and ramrod whatever extreme legislation they can manage between now and Jan...
Q Back to the lame duck for a second, there are six weeks -- five weeks, or so, more that Republicans are still in the majority on the Hill. Does the President see this period as a time when he should be pushing things like the surveillance measure and the Bolton nomination --

MR. SNOW: Yes.

But on the other hand, if you can restore a sense of mutual respect, that's a good thing. And I think it's overdue.
You first, Tony. You first.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Any Guesses As To If The President Is Lying About The Big Dick Cheney's Status As Well?

Before Tuesday, the president has said he was keeping Rummy on and we know now that he was fibbing in that case. Do you believe W when he says this:
Q This is a very competitive environment. No, but we asked you about the fate of Secretary Rumsfeld and Vice President Cheney. Vice President Cheney, of course, has made -- takes many of the same positions that Secretary Rumsfeld did on the war. Does he still have your complete confidence?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, he does.

Q Do you expect him to stay --

THE PRESIDENT: The campaign is over. Yes, he does.

Q And he'll be here for the remainder of your term?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, he will. Thank you.
Any one taking bets as to when the Big Dick Cheney is asked to take the walk off the Whitehouse plank?

Honesty: Presidential Style

  1. So, when you are lecturing your children about being honest and truthful, can you hold up the President as a positive role model?

  2. Is it right to let the ends justify the means?

  3. When it comes to integrity, does the presidency require that individuals slip past the ethical line so they can operate?

  4. Perhaps it the following kind of logic that got the GOP such a giant kick in the ass on Tuesday:
    Q Tony, on the Secretary Rumsfeld resignation, can you talk about the conversation the President had on November 1st, with various reporters. He told one of them, he was asked, "So you're expecting Rumsfeld -- Secretary Rumsfeld to stay on for the rest of your time here?" President Bush replied, "Yes, I am." Was that an honest statement?

    MR. SNOW: Well, let me put it this way: At that point, although there had been conversations about how to proceed at the Pentagon, there had been no job offer to Bob Gates, there was no clear sense that there would be a resignation pending, and therefore, would you expect the President to say, don't know, let me get back to you, trying to think that one through. The fact is, at that point, that reflected his thinking. But on the other hand, there were conversations going on.

    You need to understand that at a time of war, and also on the political -- I mean, it was a very good question for which there was not a simple and easy answer. And let me just continue, because the President made the determination that he simply was not going to let anybody get the impression that he was going to swap a decision for votes. And therefore, at that point, he had not talked with Bob Gates, he had not had a letter of resignation from Don Rumsfeld, had absolutely no confirmation about what was going to happen in the future. That is the answer he gave.

    And in so doing, what he did is he made it impossible for people to try to turn that into a political football, and also the President simply is not going to allow his operation, his decisions as Commander-in-Chief, to be used in a political manner because it sends the wrong message, primarily to soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marine, National Guards, and Reserves, because they need to know that the Commander-in-Chief is doing his job, not on the basis of polls, but on the basis of what is best in terms of national security.

    Q Yesterday he cited political concerns. He didn't want to inject that -- I understand all --

    MR. SNOW: That's what I just said.

    Q But you mentioned the troops on the ground. I don't think he mentioned the troops in the answer.

    MR. SNOW: Well, he has mentioned it. And at least -- let me put it this way, Greg, because the conversations he's had with us is, it's an important signal to Capitol Hill, to the government of Iraq, to our military forces, and also to the terrorists, that you can't jerk the President around on the basis of politics, period.

    Q Cut and dried answer -- I mean cut and dried question, Was it an honest statement?

    MR. SNOW: It was an honest statement.
    Those of us who have been following the W, Rove and Co realize that truthfulness is not W's forte and are not surprised by this answer.

  5. Should we demand more from a sitting president?

Here's how W reconciled his lying to the American people in his statment yesterday:
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Last week you told us that Secretary Rumsfeld will be staying on. Why is the timing right now for this, and how much does it have to do with the election results?

THE PRESIDENT: Right. No, you and Hunt and Keil came in the Oval Office, and Hunt asked me the question one week before the campaign, and basically it was, are you going to do something about Rumsfeld and the Vice President? And my answer was, they're going to stay on. And the reason why is I didn't want to inject a major decision about this war in the final days of a campaign. And so the only way to answer that question and to get you on to another question was to give you that answer.

The truth of the matter is, as well -- I mean, that's one reason I gave the answer, but the other reason why is I hadn't had a chance to visit with Bob Gates yet, and I hadn't had my final conversation with Don Rumsfeld yet at that point.

I had been talking with Don Rumsfeld over a period of time about fresh perspective. He likes to call it fresh eyes. He, himself, understands that Iraq is not working well enough, fast enough. And he and I are constantly assessing. And I'm assessing, as well, all the time, by myself, about, do we have the right people in the right place, or do we -- got the right strategy? As you know, we're constantly changing tactics. And that requires constant assessment.

And so he and I both agreed in our meeting yesterday that it was appropriate that I accept his resignation. And so the decision was made -- actually, I thought we were going to do fine yesterday. Shows what I know. But I thought we were going to be fine in the election. My point to you is, is that, win or lose, Bob Gates was going to become the nominee.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Rummy Humpty Dumpty

Looks like Rummy got pushed off the wall quicker than I thought he would.
WASHINGTON - President Bush said Wednesday Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is stepping down and former CIA Director Robert Gates will take over at the Pentagon and in prosecuting the war in Iraq.
Let the Scapegoating begin!

...And What Is The First Thing The President Posts On His Web Location?

In the odd event you cared to take a look at the first official order of business conducted on the Whitehouse web location today.

On the odd idea that perhaps the president would make some kind of step toward advancing the mandate from the American people...

What's the first order of business for a President that got his party shot over the elections should post on the web location?

Yes, you guessed it...
President Bush Announces 2006 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal Recipients
Ah, that makes sense. Sounds like a solid non-political thing to do to deflect attention from his sound spanking at the polls yesterday. That will do the trick eh?

As Goes Iraq, So Too Shall Rummy

I've been saying this for a long while, but the W, Rove and Co is going to need a high level scapegoat for all things wrong with Iraq and Rummy is going to be it. It's just a matter of time before they cut their losses there. Any one taking bets as to how much longer Rummy is allowed to serve with the "full confidence of the president?"
Whatever this election accomplished, it did nothing to end the rancor and distrust that define current American politics. Yet, as the campaign went on (and on) there was one issue on which people from both parties appeared to be finding common ground: Donald Rumsfeld has to go.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

San Francisco Values

Judging by the preliminary results of Tuesday's election, it looks like a little bit of the good, old fashioned, San Francisco values are going to be seeping in between a serious crack in the veneer that is the GOP moral ethic.

P.S. Looks like the W, Rove and Co has to scratch another "hypothetical" off the list of hypotheticals they aren't willing to discuss and start thinking seriously about what to do next.
Q Tony, if the Democrats do take the House control --

MR. SNOW: We don't answer "if control" questions.

Q There would be a phone call from the President, presumably, is that right?

MR. SNOW: The President makes phone calls on election night. I'm just not going to get into hypotheticals, but --

Q Can you quantify how many calls, to how many candidates?

MR. SNOW: No. I think it's -- I think this is something that you sort of play by ear. There is no "to do list" on calls. I'm sure the President is going to talk to a lot of people for whom and with whom he's campaigned. He'll be talking with House leaders. But, no, I don't have any real sense.

Q Will there be any opportunity to see him watching results tonight?

MR. SNOW: I doubt it. No plans for that, no.

Q -- from Karl at all, have they talked anything, numbers wise, what they're hearing, latest news?

MR. SNOW: Karl has sort of briefed him, but, look, you've got -- at this point, it's all up to voters. And the President, I'm sure -- well, I know I'm going to be doing some radio interviews; I know Ken Mehlman is doing some interviews. So there's going to be an effort to keep Republican voters motivated and excited about Election Day.
And would you say the voters have spoken?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Do You Think The Veep And The Prez Talk Much?

Based on today's interview of the Big Dick Cheney by ABC news, you would think that the Veep doesn't talk much to the President's crack team of Presidential Propaganda Catapult fodder makers.
Q Paul Harvey this week said that Iraq had gone sour. And he made the observation of what he calls a "mishandled war in Iraq" has gone on almost as long as World War II right now. Do you think if it hadn't been mishandled, if there hadn't been mistakes, more American troops would be home right now?

VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: Well, George, I think the analogy to World War II is just not a valid analogy.
Let's have a nice slice of the President making just such an analogy, for fun. There are many, many examples of this. This is just one example where we see the rhetorical slap of hypocrisy across the face of the W, Rove and Co. Trouble is the American public may not put two and two together, and the Veep is, of course, banking on that:
You know, people ask me all the time -- people ask me all the time, you know -- they say, what do you mean, when democracy takes hold? Do you think -- really think people in the Middle East want to be free? And the answer is, absolutely. We believe in the United States and the universality of freedom. I personally believe there's an Almighty, and I think a great gift from that Almighty is the desire in everybody's soul to be free. (Applause.) I'm not talking about just American Methodists. I believe in everybody's soul is the desire to be free. And I know that when you look at history, liberty has got the capacity to defeat resentment and ideologies of hate.

You know, one of the stories I like to share with people is my experience with the Prime Minister of Japan, Prime Minister Koizumi. You might remember, I had an interesting -- interesting trip. (Laughter.) He and I went down to Elvis' place. (Laughter.) Went down there for a couple of reasons: One, I had never been to Elvis' place, and I'd like to go, you know. I thought it would be kind of fun. (Laughter.) More importantly, he wanted to go. (Laughter.) He loves Elvis. (Laughter.) He can sing all the songs, you know. (Laughter.) Collects the memorabilia.

But I also wanted to send a signal to the American people about what's possible when liberty takes hold. A fellow came through the line recently here, and he said, "My grandfather served on the USS San Jacinto with your dad." They were in the Pacific Ocean, young guys who had been called into action because the Japanese had attacked us, and we were in a brutal war with Japan -- a really tough war.

The hatred for -- of America for Japan was intense, and so intense you can imagine how people would react if somebody had stood up and said, I predict some day an American President and the Japanese Prime Minister would be going to, you know, a singer's house. (Laughter.) They would have run him out of town, probably, you know. (Laughter.)

But that's, in fact, what happened. And when we were on the airplane going down from Washington to Memphis, we were talking about keeping the peace. The Prime Minister of a country with which we were at war, a brutal war -- young kids went off and never came home; unbelievable devastation and destruction in that war, a war ended by massive bombing -- the Prime Minister of that country and the President of the United States were talking about peace. We were talking about North Korea, what we could do together to keep the peace. We were talking about the need to help this young democracy in the heart of the Middle East succeed so it could defeat an ideology of hatred. We were talking about how democracy has got the capacity to defeat the conditions that create resentment and hopelessness that cause young men to decide to become suicide bombers.

It's an amazing lesson of history, isn't it? It strikes me as so ironic, in a way, that my dad fought the Japanese, and his son sits down with the Prime Minister of the same country to keep the peace. What happened was Japan adopted a Japanese-style democracy. Liberty has got the unbelievable capacity to convert enemies into allies, to change nations from hopelessness to hope. Some day an American President will be sitting down talking to duly-elected leaders of the Middle East about how to keep the peace, and a generation of American children will be better off for it. (Applause.)

When Republicans Think Iraq Is Going Poorly, What's A Vice President To Do?

In the lead up to the W, Rove and Co full court press to try and not lose their Congressional "majority," they will say anything to be sure that people think electing Democrats is the wrong way to go. What's the Big Dick Cheney to do when GOP heavy weights suggest his administration is incompetent?

Ah, I know. We see that when even stalwart supporters of the administration are turning on them, the Big Dick Cheney will try to pin the problem on the Dems.

Have a look at this interview exchange posted today at the Whitehouse web location. Ask yourselves two questions when you read through this: 1) Does the Veep answer the questions adequately? 2) Why do Republicans who used to support the war in Iraq no longer support it?
Q But you've had a lot of Republican defections on Iraq, as well. Just today, just a few minutes ago, Vanity Fair magazine reported that Richard Perle and Ken Adelman, two of the strongest early supporters of the war, say that now they would not have supported the invasion if they knew how incompetent the administration would be in handling it.

Listen to Ken Adelman. He called your administration "among the most incompetent administrations in the post-war era. Individually, each team member has serious flaws. Together they were deadly dysfunctional."

VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: Well, I haven't seen the piece. I'm not going to comment on it, George.

Q But Richard Perle and Ken Adelman were two of the strongest supporters in the administration.

VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: Well, I think there's no question but what it's a tough war, but it's also the right thing to do. And it's very important we complete the mission. I just fundamentally disagree.

Q You also have a lot of Republican candidates for Senate out there right now; six, by my count, who are calling either for a change of course in the war, or a change of leadership.

VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: George, the primary opposition to the war is coming from the Democratic Party. They haven't offered up a plan, but they've got several different positions: withdraw, withdraw at some future date, cut off funding -- there's been legislation introduced in the House now by House Democrats to do that.

The fact of the matter is, this is the right thing for us to be doing. We need to succeed here. It has a direct bearing on how we do around the world in the global war on terror. If, in fact, Karzai in Afghanistan, and Musharraf in Pakistan, who've been great allies in the war on terror where we've had major success, were to see us suddenly decide we're going to depart from Iraq and decide that it's gotten too tough, it would seriously undermine our efforts in all those other places.

So to suggest that somehow there's a solution here to walk away from Iraq and still aggressively pursue the global war on terror, is just wrong. It's just not --

Q Yet you're seeing that come from your own candidates right now.

VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: George, it's tough. This is hard to do, no question about it. But it's the right thing to do, and that's why the President is out there, as aggressively as he is, and so am I. We don't make decisions based on the polls. We don't make decisions based on pundits on television or whether or not it's popular. It's the right thing to do and that's why we're doing it.

Q So will the vote on Tuesday have any affect on the President's Iraq policy?

VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: I think it will have some effect, perhaps, in the Congress, but the President has made clear what his objective is, it's victory in Iraq. And full speed ahead on that basis, and that's exactly what we're going to do.

Q So even those Republican candidates calling for a change of course are not going to get that on Wednesday?

VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: No, you can't make policy -- national security policy on the basis of that. These are people running for Congress, they're entitled to their own views, on both sides of the aisle. But I think there's no question but what when we get into the global war on terror, when we get into the measures that are needed to go on offense and take the fight to the enemy, if you will, that the support that we've had and continue to have is primarily on the Republican side, and I think the Democrats have come up weak on it.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Does The Bible Have Any Guidance For This Election?

I had a small business venture in Anaheim over night Friday. I love hotels because it’s the only time I have where it’s quiet (when not traveling with the whole family) where I can read the Bible – provided faithfully by local Gideons.

Sure enough, this hotel was no exception. After slipping between the sheets, I reached around into the end table and found the usual small book tucked in the otherwise barren drawer: Old and New Testaments, of course. I found a few verses that apply to the political climate in America today.

Have a look and see what you think:
Woe to those who decree unrighteous decrees, who write misfortune, which they have prescribed. Isaiah 10:1.
For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Romans 1:18.
Therefore you are inexcusable O man, who ever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. Romans 2:1.

Don't You Wish The W, Rove And Co Followed Their Own Political Slogans

Sure wish they were following this slogan before going into Iraq:
MR. SNOW: A number of things. I mean, observation number one is everybody is entitled to their own opinions, but not to their own facts.

Friday, November 03, 2006

And The "Boooo" Rings Hollow

If you pay any attention to the W, Rove and Co Presidential Propaganda Catapult, you will notice a trend. W speaks only to vetted audiences. He chants the usual rhetorical spew, focusing on reducing complex geopolitical and domestic social issues into two dualistic options.

One of those options usually gets the cheer - that's what they want you to believe to be the good they have done. The other option gets the boo - that's the one they want you to think the Democrats support.

Let's have a look at today's rhetorical refuse spewed by the W, Rove and Co's Cheerleader-in-Chief:

Example 1:
Let me start with taxes. (Laughter.) We have a philosophy: We believe you can spend your money far better than the federal government can. (Applause.) Democrats want to raise your taxes because they believe they can spend your money better than you can.


THE PRESIDENT: We believe that when you have more money to save, spend, or invest, the whole economy benefits. (Applause.)
But what about astronomical debt that we are hocking our stars and strips to pay for the war in Iraq? Doesn't that translate to substantially higher taxes at exponentially greater cost to future generations?

Let's have a look at example 2:
I decided to institute another program. If al Qaeda or an al Qaeda affiliate is making a phone call into the United States from outside the United States, it seems like it makes sense to know why. (Applause.) They hadn't voted on this bill in the Senate, but they did in the House, and by far, the overwhelming majority of House Democrats voted against the program.


THE PRESIDENT: We have got to understand what the enemy is thinking in order to be able to protect you. And that's why I authorized the program through the Central Intelligence Agency that would allow us to detain and question people we picked up off the battlefield.
I don't think it is fair to characterize the Dems as voting down a legit tactic to fighting terrorists. Might we not bill it as the Dems protecting our civil liberties and constitutional right to not be illegally searched and surveilled? I think so.

Let's look at example 3:
Seventy percent of the Senate Democrats voted against that bill.


THE PRESIDENT: We're at war. It's a different kind of war, but is, in fact, a war. That war came home on September the 11th, 2001.
Okay, if it's a different kind of war, why are we fighting it quite traditionally in Iraq? And, why is he continuing to flog the Nine Eleven Monkey?

Let's look at example 4:
See, Osama bin Laden calls the fight we're in in Iraq the third world war. He says that victory for the terrorists in Iraq will mean America's defeat and disgrace forever. Now there's a difference of opinion. I want you to listen to the words of a senior Democrat in Washington who -- she said this: "The President says that fighting them there makes it less likely we will fight them here." Yes, that's precisely what I said, and I strongly believe it's right. (Applause.) She went on to say -- hold on for a minute -- she went on to say, "The opposite is true; because we are fighting them there, it may become more likely that we will have to fight them here."


THE PRESIDENT: See, that's the kind of mentality that you're voting on on November the 7th. You do not create terrorists by fighting the terrorists. (Applause.)
Now, this has to be complete and utter bullshit if I have ever seen it. For a man who suggest that he should not be about predicting the future, there is no way for him to know the outcome of a war he started should the Dems get control of congress. And, might I add, even if the Dems win control of congress, he is still leading the War as commander in chief. Does this mean that he doubts his own abilities to lead? Maybe.

Moreover, there is a legitimate argument to be made that the war in Iraq is boosting recruitment for the terrorist organizations that they claim to be extinguishing. In fact, they can't prove this point wrong - that the war in Iraq has done more to agitate and grow terrorists rather than reduce them.

Let's look at example 5:
Here we are in the middle of a national campaign that will determine our future, and one of Jim Talent's Democrat colleagues put it this way -- she said, "We haven't coalesced around a single plan. But we're in general agreement on the basic principles." She's right. The principle they agree on is, get out before the job is done.


THE PRESIDENT: Look, I'm not saying these people are unpatriotic. I'm just saying they're wrong. (Applause.)
I don't think it is fair to say that we will leave Iraq before the job is done. We are most certainly going to be stuck there for the next two years even if the Dems win the majority in Congress. Again, the implication is that W will abdicate all authority if the GOP loses on the 7th. I certainly don't think that he has demonstrated over time that his strategy is a winning one. Forget that the Dems don't have one for now, let's ask him how soon he thinks we will be able to declare victory? Oh, no wait, he's already done so...prematurely.

Any one else tired of having their policy concerns digested and regurgitated in that manner? Time to vote the bastards out I say.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

"What's The President's Relvance Right Now?" Subtitle: Something Wicked This Way Comes: Things Get Fishy Aboard Air Force One

Given that the Presidential Propaganda Catapult is jetting about America slinging rocks and stones at wide swaths of Democrats in only republican red-style states in front of vetted audiences, this one reporter has a very good question:
Q What's the President's relevance right now? He's going to Republican states, all 10 states that he carried. So he's got a pretty narrow mission here, doesn't he, in the final days?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, we're focusing his energy on places where he can best turn out the vote for Republican candidates. These are all races that are close. These are all races that are likely going to come down to turnout. And so that's the nature of all these visits.
Any guesses as to who the "SENIOR ADMINSTRATION OFFICIAL" is? Uncle Karl is my bet.

I suppose they don't want you to know what wicked people ride with the president aboard Air Force One. Usually the Whitehouse lists who the official administration speaker is in almost every press gaggle and briefing. I say usually because I have only been following these things for a couple of years and I have never seen anyone referred to as SENIOR ADMININITRATION OFFICIAL, but it doesn't mean that they have never done this public cloaking of an official spokesmodel before.

No doubt, Uncle Karl want's to keep his finger prints off every thing that the W, Rove and Co gets itself into. But the fact that they have to hide who this person is is really disconcerting to me; troublesome even.

What are the reasons for it? Are they crossing some kind of ethical line that is bleeding into some kind of amoral and unethical situation that they don't want some one officially and overtly associated with official statements from the Whitehouse aboard Air Force One? If you ask me, there is something very fishy going on aboard Air Force One.

In the prior press gaggle from today, we see why I think with high probability that it was Uncle Karl speaking anonymously:
Q Tony, is there a chance Karl Rove could come back and talk to us about those races, maybe?

MR. FRATTO: I could check with Karl.
Why do you suppose they cloaked the identity of their "SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL?" Are they so embarrassed by Karl Rove that they can't let him pony up to his own statements?

Bush Must Think The Average American Voter Is Stupid

Today, GWB is in Montana flogging his agenda and suggesting Democrats are bad for America. I don't know about you, but there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of uniting going on by the supposed and self proclaimed "uniter, not a divider."

The W, Rove and Co must really think that the average American Voter is downright stupid. Otherwise, why would they feel the need to break down the very complex geopolitical climate and substantially challenging issues that he and his party have created (e.g. Iraq) in to two very straight forward concerns that are followed up by the usual dualistic rhetorical prop where one side is always wrong and their’s is the only “right” way?

Is any one else offended by how stupid they must think we are?

There's a lot of big issues facing the voters around the country. The two biggest issues are these: Which party is going to keep your taxes low and keep this economy growing; and which party is going to take the necessary steps to protect you in this war on terror. (Applause.)

First, let me talk about taxes. See, we have a philosophy -- Conrad and Denny and I have a philosophy -- we believe that you know how to spend your money far better than the federal government does. (Applause.) That stands in stark contrast to the Democrats, who want to take more of your own money because they think they can spend it better than you can spend it.

Gobbling up the rhetoric is a specialty of the GOP faithful - like eating chips and dip at a Superbowl party - They can't stop themselves. After gorging yourself, your stomach hurts for days and you are not healthier for having consumed such tripe.

By the way, when the President says "we believe that you know how to spend your money far better than the federal government does," does he include himslef in that derogatory category? If he doesn't, perhaps we should hold him to his beliefs. I can think of about 1000 better ways to have spent the near trillion dollars that he has borrowed to pay for his Iraq conflagration.

Well, here's another fun dose of the tripe the GOP faithful are eating for lunch today. Enjoy:
THE PRESIDENT: On all these vital measures -- measures necessary to fight and win the war on terror -- the Democrats in Washington have followed a simple philosophy: Just say no. When it comes to listening on to the terrorist -- listening to the terrorists, what's the Democrats' answer? Just say no. When it comes to detaining terrorists, what's the Democrats' answer?

AUDIENCE: Just say no.

THE PRESIDENT: When it came time to renew the Patriot Act, what was the Democrats' answer?

AUDIENCE: Just say no.

THE PRESIDENT: When it comes time to questioning the terrorists, what's the Democrats' answer?

AUDIENCE: Just say no.

THE PRESIDENT: So, when the Democrats ask for your vote on November the 7th, what's your answer?

AUDIENCE: No! (Applause.)
W may not make a good president, but he appears to be a good cheerleader.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

When Is Financial Aid Not Financial Aid?

Ronald Reagan did us a great disservice, round about 1984, by shrinking the amount of true financial aid and funneling needy students into the wild and woolly world of the loan industry. Sure, student loans tend to be at lower rates and are backed by the government, but it's not really financial aid.

When you suggest that student loans are financial aid, you are really tricking the students to feed the loan servicing industry. As students make decisions about how they pay for college, when they decide to accept a loan they are betting on themselves (usually a safe bet).

But, in doing so amplifying the cost of their education dramatically; not unlike how the W, Rove and Co is paying for their much loved war in Iraq. Sooner or later, the pay back bites back.

As government aid has declined, loans from banks and other private lenders have soared, climbing to 20 percent of all education borrowing last year, up from 12 percent five years earlier.

The result is towering debt. The same bachelor’s degree will cost a student borrower far more than a student who can afford to pay. That’s not a path to greater equality.

Policy: Kill All The Cockroaches, And Other Interesting Comments From Anon

Here's a comment from an anonymous person delivered in a prior post worth elevating to the front page:
Terror is not a problem that can be eliminated, it must lived with. The world will never be safe from cockroaches.
And another from another:
When pigs fly

''[A]s General Casey said last week, there is not a single military engagement that we have not won ...''

An ingenuous quote. Most of the deaths in Iraq are from IEDs, roadside bombs. How many engagements with IEDs have we won?

We never lost a military engagement in Vietnam. Unfortunately for the military, war is only politics by other means. Until the politics change and we start winning hearts and minds if that is even possible at this late date, the war can't be won.
And another:
No attachment to reality

If George Bush labels everyone who opposes our occupation in every country he invades, a 'terrorist,' how is he going to find allies among local nationalists to build or rebuild the country?
And one more for fun:
Payback's a beach

"Deficits don't matter" - Dick Cheney.

Every borrower knows that there's no problem in the borrowing, it's the payback. Republicans expect that it isn't they who will have to repay the borrowing.