Friday, 25 May 2007


Unfortunately there is nothing else to call it.

It's being said a million times in a million ways - and hopefully the media and the Democratic leadership will wake up to the fact that it's not just the "loony left" who want to see Congress stand up to this Administration and insist that we begin exiting from their insane and failed military boondoggle in Iraq.

An accidental similarity in title of one of my posts of a year ago with a recent opinion piece by Mark Buchanan published by the New York Times, has led me to that article which seeks to explain the disconnect between the media's "conventional wisdom" about the feelings of the American people and the breadth and depth of what they really feel. It's an interesting read, but with the Times odd policy of making opinion available only by subscription, I can point you instead to this reproduction of it.

I try to regularly watch Washington Week in Review, largely because it keeps me in touch with the DC pundits' "conventional wisdoms", but I frequently bristle at what they choose to cover or ignore, and at the characterizations of perfectly reasonable beliefs as being "fringe". Dan Balz is particularly nauseating - but I digress. Of course if you pay attention to the sponsors of this "public television" offering, one quickly sees big oil, big agribusiness, and military contractors. Who are we kidding? Brancaccio's NOW and anything Bill Moyers does in contrast is funded solely by foundations or socially conscious businesses.

So I sit here heartsick and dismayed that the Democratic leadership was so gutless that it could not come back with a bill that mandated a sane exit as a contingency to funding. It's even more sickening that so many Democrats voted for this capitulation - both in the House and the Senate.

Certainly I called both my Senators (Murray and Cantwell) to express my dismay, and my Congressman (Inslee) to applaud his courage.

Still, I think it is important not to come unhinged. By all means, let us point out that people are dying due to these decisions, but let us be aware that this is but one vote, and our continued engagement can still play a role in subsequent votes. I am not abandoning the Democrats over this, nor will I drop out. The voice of dissent is growing. To use it effectively we must continue to be involved - not drop out in disgust.

The Democratic leadership has sadly ceded the Republican talking point that a vote against an unreasonable funding resolution is a vote against the troops - we must not cede the talking point that only the leftwing fringe would do otherwise. That is provably not the case, but the more of us who come unhinged, the easier it will be for the opposition to paint us as such.

Choose hope - stay resolute - adopt a calm anger

We are here to stay.

Friday, 4 May 2007

Recycling Thugs & Ideologues

John Fife's interview on Democracy Now a couple of weeks ago got to the crux of the criminality and inhumanity of the Bush administration. It's a simple reflection of the criminality and inhumanity of the Reagan administration. Reagan was Commander-in-Chief for eight years and is now largely celebrated, while being reviled only by a few of us. If Reagan could get away with it and be so honored, Bush figured he should be able to do the same. It is really at the heart of why I'm so saddened and perplexed at what is accepted behavior by our leaders in this country which celebrates values of liberty and opportunity for all.

The ideologues and thugs from the Reagan era are just being recycled by Bush. Fife brings up the prime examples of John Negroponte and Elliott Abrams. When will we ever learn.

Fife's interview was preceded by a report on the arrests and charges being brought against members of the humanitarian aid group, No More Deaths. I highly recommend both the report and the interview.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Democrats: Don't Be Timid!

The veto on the war spending bill is now official, and the ball is in the Democrats' court.

Now is the time to pressure our Democratic lawmakers not only to hold their ground but to be even more assertive. Bush has already refused your compromise: take something away.

When a petulant child misbehaves, no one advises the parents to compromise with him. That would reward the bad behavior and encourage more mischief. Bush may not be a child, but he certainly acts like one. Frankly I'm happy for this veto. The embedded timelines in the bill gave Bush far too much latitude to simply ignore them. The American people are fed up. If the Democrats can get a tougher bill to pass, it will be the President who is then up against the wall. As time is running out his veto would become the thing that denies support for the troops.

It has always been this president and his administration who is most guilty of not supporting our troops:

Insufficient body armor(Just one of many reports)
Stop-loss extensions of tours of duty(example of a mother's protest)
Recalling soldiers for third redeployments(current search of Google news for sample stories)
Insufficient training for national guard sent for service
Not taking care of our returning veterans(Fox News, no less)

If the Dems can't get sufficient support for making the redeployment out of Iraq mandatory, then they should add more conditions IN SUPPORT OF THE TROOPS based on the foregoing. They should not remove language calling for redeployment out of Iraq, also IN SUPPORT OF THE TROOPS, in order to make Bush's signing more likely.

The conventional wisdom says the timetable will be removed in favor of more solid benchmarks. That is based on the reality that the vote on the last bill was close, and some Senators seem unlikely to be willing to hold their ground. The conventional wisdom can change if enough of those Senators and Congresspeople hear from their constituents demanding that they not cave in to a president intent on defying the will of the people. If the Democrats stay tough, the charge that they are not supporting the troops will not have sticking power.

It has become quite evident that it is Bush who will not support the very troops who he is asking to risk their lives for his misadventure. Support our troops. Demand that they be brought home!