November 30, 2006

Great post by Desert Beacon

I tried to leave a comment, but the internets were acting up (or the tubes were clogged). Anyhoo, DB posted a fabulous piece about the Bush Adminstration and governance vs gamesmanship. DB nails it.

David Sirota rocks

"But here's the deal, folks - just because you read sociopathic claims on your op-ed pages from the Washington opinionmaking machine about how violence is supposedly "therapeutic," how we should supposedly bring Saddam Hussein back to power, how voters suppposedly shouldn't be able to make choices in America and how new Senators have no right to tell the President they want the troops home - remember, that doesn't make these claims truthful or acceptable out here in the real world, and it doesn't make you crazy for thinking that the people who make these claims ARE crazy."
This is classic. Go. Read it. (Hat tip to profmarcus)

Tidbits

This is really good news: Clinton’s Foundation Brokers AIDS Deal (NYT)

So is this: 3 who starved kids get maximum prison terms (RGJ). I have no words or pity for these people. Spare me the crocodile tears you bastards. Of course, a better punishment would have been to chain and lock them inside bathrooms, starve and beat THEM for the duration of their sentences, but that would probably be considered "cruel and inhuman" treatment.

And just what the hell is wrong with some people? Lyon sheriff seeks Fernley vandals

Something to keep our eye on: Leukemia-cluster children share gene variation (Appeal)

Tom Vilsack (IA) has announced his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. He is doing a five state tour, including Nevada. Small problem and one that I hope isn't repeated: He's going to Las Vegas (on Sunday). Omigosh...color me surprised (not)! Attention Democratic hopefuls, please, help build our party statewide, and your credibility as well, by paying attention to ALL of Nevada. You might be surprised by what you find outside of Vegas.

Harry's Agenda

Minimum Wage...good. Stem cell research...good. Ethics reform...also good. I just know there has to be room in there for Iraq. Of course, first they have to take care of the budget that the Republicans appear to have left undone.

"They're just leaving town, it appears," Reid said from his office in the Capitol. "We hope that's not the case, but it appears that's what they are going to do. And so we're going to have to find a way to fund the government for the next year."

The must-pass legislation totals more than $460 billion and promises to divert time and energy from other items on the Democratic agenda.
I do like this:
"We're going to put in some hours here that haven't been put in in a long time," Reid said. That means "being here more days in the week and we start off this year with seven weeks without a break. That hasn't been done in many, many years here."
Of course, all of Bush's talk of bipartisanship is, as I knew it would be, just so much smoke blown up our collective hind-end.
Reid said he hopes that President Bush is willing to work with the Democratic congressional leadership, but the early signs have not been encouraging. He said the White House has not reached out to him since his meeting with Bush in the Oval Office on Nov. 10. "Sorry to say," Reid said.
I am positive that young George W. Bush's report card read, "Does not play well with others."

November 29, 2006

I heart Mark Morford

Oh yes, sometimes he is a bit much. But he's had a vacation and is back in fine style taking on BushCo's newest abstinence program. This column had me laughing out loud.

Sex Will Make You Go Blind Single? Under 30? You are in grave danger. Your government says so. Please, stop laughing

"In the deadliest attack . . ."

Will we ever stop hearing these words? From the photo caption to the accompanying story (AP):

"Smoke rises from damaged vehicles after a car bombing in the Sadr City area of Baghdad in this image taken from TV Thursday Nov. 23, 2006. In the deadliest attack on a sectarian enclave since the beginning of the Iraq war, suspected Sunni-Arab militants used five car bombs and two mortar rounds on the capital's Shiite Sadr City slum to kill at least 157 people and wound 257 on Thursday, police said. (AP Photo/AP Television) "
Doesn't it seem like every attack these days is "the deadliest" one?

And in the meantime, America loses influence in Iraq

Damn. Pick a group. They all hate us, or at the least, feel betrayed by us.

Deeper Crisis, Less U.S. Sway in Iraq (NYT)

“Politically, their position is weaker in all aspects,” Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish leader, said of the Americans. “They just got weaker and weaker, and many more people who were supporting them are supporting them less.”

[...]

Meanwhile, the political process has almost completely ground to a halt. Mr. Maliki’s “national reconciliation plan,” intended to reduce violence through dialogue and an amnesty program for militia fighters and insurgents, has stalled.

Political leaders have also made little progress on promises to review the new Constitution, a document resented by Sunnis, and a plan to draft a new law that will set terms for the divisions of oil revenues that account for 90 percent of Iraq’s economy.

Saleh Mutlak, a Sunni legislator, was blunt in his assessment of the government: “Do you not recognize that it’s going backwards?”

Sectarian rifts between the nation’s political leaders have deepened. During a session of Parliament last week, prominent Sunni and Shiite legislators bitterly accused each other of sectarianism and promoting violence. President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, has warned fellow leaders about the possible collapse of the state. And even the Shiite leaders who control the government have taken to conspiring among themselves, with open jockeying for the succession if Mr. Maliki should fall.

What a mess. Even more at link.

NYT: NSA memo about Maliki doubts his ability to quell violence in Iraq

This is quite interesting. One has to wonder why the memo got released/leaked the day of Maliki and Bush's meeting in Jordan.

My thought is that they have been laying the groundwork for sometime to blame the Iraqi leadership for its failure to quell the violence. This memo seems to cement that. I mean, it couldn't be related at all to our invasion and occupation. As always, the blame can NEVER be laid at the feet of this administration. They are perfect, doncha know.

Most troubling, it appears Mr. Maliki's Shia heritage may be holding him back on being even-handed in dealing with the participants in the civil war.

In describing the Oct. 30 meeting between Mr. Hadley and Mr. Maliki, it says: “Maliki reiterated a vision of Shia, Sunni and Kurdish partnership, and in my one-on-one meeting with him, he impressed me as a leader who wanted to be strong but was having difficulty figuring out how to do so.” It said the Iraqi leader’s assurances seemed to have been contradicted by developments on the ground, including the Iraqi government’s approach to the Mahdi Army, a Shiite militia known in Arabic as Jaish al-Mahdi and headed by Moktada al-Sadr.

“Reports of nondelivery of services to Sunni areas, intervention by the prime minister’s office to stop military action against Shia targets and to encourage them against Sunni ones, removal of Iraq’s most effective commanders on a sectarian basis and efforts to ensure Shia majorities in all ministries — when combined with the escalation of Jaish al-Mahdi (JAM) killings — all suggest a campaign to consolidate Shia power in Baghdad. ..."

Among the concerns voiced in the memo was that Mr. Maliki was surrounded by a small group of advisers from the Shiite Dawa Party, a narrow circle that American officials worry may skew the information he receives.
Oy. Pot meet kettle. On the other hand, the memo doesn't say anything about us getting out, instead it suggests sending more troops while at the same time, we assist Maliki in a bit of a coup.
. . . But the memo’s authors also contemplate the possibility that Mr. Maliki’s position may be too tenuous for him to take the steps needed to curb the power of Shiite militias, to establish a more diverse and representative personal staff and to arrest the escalating sectarian strife.

In that case, the memo suggests, it may ultimately be necessary for Mr. Maliki to recast his parliamentary bloc, a step the United States could support by pressing moderates to align themselves with the Iraqi leader and providing them with monetary support.
So, let me see if I have this. That election that Mr. Bush crows about all the time can be wiped out. Maliki dissolves the parliament, and they have a new election? With candidates backed by the U.S.? Am I reading this right? And one wonders, are there any moderates left in Iraq?

Full text of memo here.

On Edit: After reading the full text of the memo, it indicates that there would be no need to have a new election, just persuasion of moderate blocs within the current parliament. So then the question has to be, are there enough moderates for Maliki to get a majority if he turns his back on the more extreme elements of the legislative body? An even better question: What happens if Maliki isn't up to Bush's muster? Do we stage a coup and install our own guy? Someone who can knock a few heads together and make the Iraqi's behave? You know, sort of a strong man.

November 25, 2006

Couple of tidbits

Thanks to Desert Beacon for this piece by David Halberstam who talks about the similarities and differences being a reporter during the Viet Nam war and the current debacle in Iraq.

Tom Englehart prints in full a stunning article from the December 21st issue of the New York Review of Books. It's a long read, but well worth it.

There are 16,000 single mothers in Iraq. This Washington Post story chronicles the deployment and home-coming of one of them.

“To dismiss this as a technical correction is to overlook the structural reasons why the U.S. dollar is having a very hard time these days,”

It's really easy to ignore this sort of stuff...but we do so at our peril.

Dollar Falls Sharply Against Euro and Pound

The dollar dropped sharply yesterday against a range of major currencies, with the euro breaking through $1.30 for the first time in a year and a half. The fall highlighted concerns about softness in the American economy as economies abroad continue to expand.

The currency sell-off came as investors weighed a number of issues that complicate the prospects of the United States in the coming months, including a huge trade imbalance with China and a slowing domestic housing market. On top of that, economic growth in some European countries is gaining momentum, threatening to siphon investment away from the dollar.

[...]

“To dismiss this as a technical correction is to overlook the structural reasons why the U.S. dollar is having a very hard time these days,” said Hans Redeker, global head of currency strategy at BNP Paribas in London.

Economists say the United States is in a vulnerable position compared with its global competitors. While the most recent data show that the trade imbalance tightened in September, the decline was largely a result of falling oil prices. The deficit between what Americans import and export was a negative $586.2 billion for the first nine months of the year, and it remains on track to break last year’s record of a negative $716.7 billion. The biggest chunk by far represents imports from China.

[...]

Analysts said that the dollar’s drop yesterday, which was accelerated by orders from traders to sell automatically once it fell past $1.30 against the euro, reflected a growing anxiety over Chinese economic policy. China’s central bank holds a large amount of American currency, and speculation has intensified recently that it could begin selling off dollars to avoid being burned if the dollar collapses.

Also lurking behind the dollar’s depreciation is the rising probability, in the view of some economists and currency investors, that a slowing American economy will force the Federal Reserve to begin cutting borrowing costs next year.

Against the backdrop of a European Central Bank that seems determined to tighten rates further next year, the appeal of dollar-denominated assets is falling as the prospect of higher returns in Europe rises.

More at link.

November 17, 2006

Where are the stories about the fractured Republicans?

As I suspected, the MSM just won't let go of this "Democrats are Divided" meme of theirs.

Today's NYT reports that John Boehner has been "overwhelmingly" elected Minority Leader in the House of Representatives and the Republicans elected "their leaders in less dramatic fashion than Democrats ..."

Oh really? As I recall, Nancy Pelosi was elected unanimously. I guess you could call that dramatic. Yes, there was a contest for Majority Leader. Yes, pressure was brought to bear and debts called in on both sides. But in the end, it was an election. All parties accepted the result, unity was shown by all. The Dems moved on.

On the other hand, John Boehner was challenged by Mike Spence and was elected by 168 to 27. If we were to follow the MSM logic, that should mean that the Republicans are fractured, that
Boehner doesn't really have the support of the Republican caucus. In addition, there was a contest for Minority Whip (Roy Blunt vs John Shadegg - vote: 137 to 57) so surely there must be some hand wringing by the reporter about splits within the Republican party and how John Boehner had been publicly humiliated by the vote. Right? Right?

Sigh...

The worst part? In a story that is ostensibly about the election of John Boehner and the Republican leadership, the reporter gives seven paragraphs to the subject of the headline and twenty-nine paragraphs to the "Democrats are Divided" storyline.

Arrgh!!! (Banging head against keyboard)

(On Edit) - Glenn Greenwald has something to say about this phenomenon. (Thanks to DKos)

The Bush administration has spent six years completely obsessed with personal loyalty to the President and intolerant of the slightest independence. The entire Congress was kept strictly in line for the last five years. Every official who showed the slightest independence was replaced by obedient Bush loyalists. Yet Pelosi does nothing other than support an ally rather than an opponent for the position immediately underneath her, and that makes her some out-of-control egomaniac consumed by personal vanity and emotional impulses.

And that's to say nothing of the fact that the Hoyer-Murtha race is being depicted as some sort of sign of hateful Democratic in-fighting that shows Pelosi has lost control, even though Republicans are mauling each other for every single House leadership position, all of which are hotly contested. Trent Lott beat Lamar Alexander by a vote of 25-24 in the Senate for the position of Minority Whip. There's nothing wrong with various factions competing for leadership positions. That's called an "election," and only those to whom Eric Alterman refers as the "smart boys" at TNR and Slate would view a simple election for House Majority Leader as some apocalyptic sign that Democrats are lame, idiotic and hopelessly divided.

November 16, 2006

Checking out the new digs, Blogger and in DC

I just made the shift today to the new Blogger. I haven't yet explored all the new bells and whistles, but I already like the "New Post" feature on the dashboard.

In the meantime, Grandma Nancy is elected Speaker of the House and Steny Hoyer is elected Majority Leader. I am happy on both counts. I appreciate him for his principled turn-about on Iraq and I know he will continue to be a strong voice for our military and veterans, but Majority Leader? No. I love Jack Murtha, but on this one I will agree with Al Franken ... we need to be as squeaky clean as we can, and Abscam aside, CREW's listing of Jack Murtha as a Congress-critter that has some ethical issues...well, electing him Majority Leader would have been a lousy message to send.

Oh, and this guy needs to go.

In the meantime, the press will play this up as the usual, "Democrats Divided!! Pelosi handed her first defeat!! Weakened Democrats limp into Congress!!"

Whatever. Obviously, none of these pundits have ever attended a state or county Democratic meeting (or even visited a Democratic household!). This is normal! Lots of views, lots of ideas. Gotta love it. It can make us crazy, but it also keeps us coming back.

November 15, 2006

A Liberal's Pledge to Disheartened Conservatives

This appeared in my email this morning from Michael Moore. You can sign the pledge here.

To: Conservatives and Republicans

I, and my fellow signatories, hereby make these promises to you:

1. We will always respect you for your conservative beliefs. We will never, ever, call you "unpatriotic" simply because you disagree with us. In fact, we encourage you to dissent and disagree with us.

2. We will let you marry whomever you want, even when some of us consider your behavior to be "different" or "immoral." Who you marry is none of our business. Love and be in love -- it's a wonderful gift.

3. We will not spend your grandchildren's money on our personal whims or to enrich our friends. It's your checkbook, too, and we will balance it for you.

4. When we soon bring our sons and daughters home from Iraq, we will bring your sons and daughters home, too. They deserve to live. We promise never to send your kids off to war based on either a mistake or a lie.

5. When we make America the last Western democracy to have universal health coverage, and all Americans are able to get help when they fall ill, we promise that you, too, will be able to see a doctor, regardless of your ability to pay. And when stem cell research delivers treatments and cures for diseases that affect you and your loved ones, we'll make sure those advances are available to you and your family, too.

6. Even though you have opposed environmental regulation, when we clean up our air and water, we, the Democratic majority, will let you, too, breathe the cleaner air and drink the purer water.

7. Should a mass murderer ever kill 3,000 people on our soil, we will devote every single resource to tracking him down and bringing him to justice. Immediately. We will protect you.

8. We will never stick our nose in your bedroom or your womb. What you do there as consenting adults is your business. We will continue to count your age from the moment you were born, not the moment you were conceived.

9. We will not take away your hunting guns. If you need an automatic weapon or a handgun to kill a bird or a deer, then you really aren't much of a hunter and you should, perhaps, pick up another sport. We will make our streets and schools as free as we can from these weapons and we will protect your children just as we would protect ours.

10. When we raise the minimum wage, we will pay you -- and your employees -- that new wage, too. When women are finally paid what men make, we will pay conservative women that wage, too.

11. We will respect your religious beliefs, even when you don't put those beliefs into practice. In fact, we will actively seek to promote your most radical religious beliefs ("Blessed are the poor," "Blessed are the peacemakers," "Love your enemies," "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God," and "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."). We will let people in other countries know that God doesn't just bless America, he blesses everyone. We will discourage religious intolerance and fanaticism -- starting with the fanaticism here at home, thus setting a good example for the rest of the world.

12. We will not tolerate politicians who are corrupt and who are bought and paid for by the rich. We will go after any elected leader who puts him or herself ahead of the people. And we promise you we will go after the corrupt politicians on our side FIRST. If we fail to do this, we need you to call us on it. Simply because we are in power does not give us the right to turn our heads the other way when our party goes astray. Please perform this important duty as the loyal opposition.

I promise all of the above to you because this is your country, too. You are every bit as American as we are. We are all in this together. We sink or swim as one. Thank you for your years of service to this country and for giving us the opportunity to see if we can make things a bit better for our 300 million fellow Americans -- and for the rest of the world.

November 13, 2006

Rahm is a God!

Oh my. A follow-up to my post below. This post by Chris Bowers over at MyDD is a hoot.

Rahm Won Everything

Rahm won the House of Representatives for Democrats, but it didn't stop there.

Rahm also won the four Republican-held House seats where the DCCC candidate lost the primary, but where the primary winner went on to take the seat anyway.

Rahm raised all the money for the DNC, and was actually every small donor who contributed to the DNC.

Rahm was every donor to Act Blue.

Carol Shea Porter is actually Rahm.

Rahm won us back six Governorships. Hell, he had groomed Deval Patrick from birth for the 2006 elections.

Rahm defeated the gay marriage ban in Arizona.

Rahm took back nine state legislative Houses.

Rahm not only runs MoveOn.org, but he is all 3.3 million people on their email list.

Rahm rigged voting machines so my write-in for Democratic state committee was a certain success.

Bill Clinton learned everything he knows from Rahm.

It gets better. More at link.

November 11, 2006

Credit where credit is due

The NYT and the Washington Post are quick to label Chuck Schumer and Rahm Emmanuel as the "architects" of Tuesday's victories. But there was someone else's leadership and vision that was critical to victories in parts of the country that we had not seen a victory in for a long, long time. Howard Dean's 50-State Strategy put organizers on the ground, long before these candidates were viable, and helped to put in place an infrastructure that would assist these long shots. Cartoonist Steve Kelly gets it:



Thrilled as I was at Tuesday night's victory parties, I was appalled that I did not see Howard Dean standing alongside Schumer, Emmanuel, Pelosi, Reid, et al. Geez! Was he just not invited?

And every interview I have seen, Howard Dean has graciously shared this victory with Schumer and Emmanuel. Unfortunately, any acknowledgement by Schumer or Emmanuel that Howard's crazy idea that having a national party operating in all fifty states year round MIGHT have contributed to our win, has to be literally dragged out of them and seems grudging at best. Sad. Yes, there was a wave that swept across this nation on Tuesday. And yes, the DSCC and the DCCC provided great surfers. But Howard...he provided the boards and the wax.

November 9, 2006

I feel like I am breathing fresher air...

Sure I am disappointed with the results in Lyon County and CD2. But overall, I am happy. Statewide we snagged four of the six Constitutional offices. Color me happy that our Secretary of State going into the 2008 election is a Democrat. (Ross...could you please get cracking on that statewide voter database that Heller was supposed to have had operational in January?...oh, and voter verifiable paper trails on ALL machines by Election Day 2008, please!!!)

On a national level I am ecstatic that we have both houses of Congress. I am thrilled that the MSM is actually starting to talk about the Democratic Plan to raise the minimum wage, institute all the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, to work toward health care for all Americans, re-tool the horrendous Medicare D prescription drug plan, middle class tax relief and to get America working for the common good again, not just the privileged few. Yeah, I know, the plan was there before the election, they were just too busy talking about how the Democrats didn't have a plan to notice that we did.

It feels like the winds of change are clearing out the smog of the last six years. It feels like we are at last awakening from our long national nightmare.

But we are just at the beginning. I hope and pray that first and foremost, this Congress will meaningfully reform elections in this country. That it become federal law any vote cast on an electronic voting machine MUST have a voter verifiable paper trail, and that random audits by non-partisan boards must be done, regardless of margins of victory.

I believe our Democratic House and Senate can walk and chew gum at the same time. So while they are busy implementing their agenda for improving the lives of average Americans, I expect to see meaningful investigations to uncover the truth about the run-up to the war, to conduct oversight of no-bid contracts, to find out why billions of dollars has gone missing in Iraq, find out who Bush and Co are spying on with their warrantless wire-tapping program (and ahem, enforce the FISA laws with regards to wiretaps), torture allegations and secret prisons, etc, etc, etc. No, this will be no witchhunt. Democrats won't be insisting on getting Bush's Christmas card list, or how much postage he is spending (that's what Republicans do to Democrats).

We've got some serious problems. And we need some serious solutions. Now that the Dems are in charge, the Republicans say they want to work across the aisle. Heh. All those rules that they put in place to shut out the Democrats may very well come back to bite them in the ass. But...probably not. You see, Dems really do believe in finding common ground and coming up with common sense solutions that will benefit the greatest good. So let's just wait and see if the Republicans are able to do it. If their actions over the past twelve years is any indication, I wouldn't hold my breath.

November 7, 2006

It's not too late to volunteer

After you have voted (and dragged everyone YOU know to the polls), you can still help out with your local GOTV efforts.

In Lyon County call (775) 575-1133 or stop by the Dem office at 15 E Main, Suite 5 in Fernley. They'll find something for you to do. If you are from outside the Fernley area and want to help, there are efforts in Yerington and Dayton. Call the office and you will be directed to the proper place.

VOTE

From my email box:

Today most people will simply vote and go home.

That's not enough. Whether you're voting today or you've voted early or absentee already, what you do today could determine the outcome of this election The power is in your hands -- by getting as many people to vote as you can, you'll bring a change to our country and end Republican rule.

The conversations you have today, the extra few minutes you take to bring someone who might not otherwise vote with you to the polls, the follow-up with your friends, family and neighbors to make sure they have voted -- all of it will multiply the power of your single vote.

We've also put together the resources you need to spread the Democratic message and reach as many people as possible. Here are just a few a couple of those resources:

Last-Minute Volunteers

The best way to volunteer at the last minute is to call your local Democratic Party: http://www.democrats.org/volunteer/call

Print Your Own Flyers

The Democratic Agenda: http://www.democrats.org/agendaVoter Protection Info: http://www.democrats.org/voterprotection

There's another thing I want you to be aware of as your and your neighbors head to the polls today.

There have already been widespread reports of voter suppression by Republican operatives, ranging from apparently legal harassment of Democratic voters to potentially illegal efforts to keep voters away from the voting booth.

This isn't new for Republicans. It's a cynical art that the Republican machine has refined for years, and each election brings new variations on oldtactics that target minorities and minority-heavy areas.

Here's what you need to know:

1) If you're a registered voter, do not leave your polling location without voting. Every registered voter is entitled to cast a provisional ballot.
2) If you're in line before the poll's closing time, you are entitled to vote.
3) You're entitled to view a sample ballot at the polling place before voting.
4) If you experience any problems voting or observe any irregularities, immediately call the Nevada Hotline at 1-866-737-3367 to report the incident. In addition to providing your polling place information, by calling 1-866-737-3367 you can record a complaint or speak with an election protection monitor.

You can also report any voting irregularities or problems online:
http://www.democrats.org/voterprotection/report
Democrats are committed to ensuring that every rightful voter has the freedom to cast his or her ballot free from intimidation or undue burden, and we've deployed voter protection teams across the country to make sure that's possible today.

There's one more thing I want to tell you.

Today is not the end of anything. All the Democrats we elect, from city council to Congress to governor, will still have a lot of work to do after they take the oath of office in January.

And so will we, the committed Democrats who have promised to build a new kind of political party that doesn't evaporate after each election.

For the first time in our party's history, we're prepared to take the investments we made to win an election and turn them into permanent investments in our party.

We've spent millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours to turn a year and a half of work on our 50-state strategy into an unprecedented 50-State Turnout operation.

We've seen in the last few weeks the dramatic impact we can have when we fight in places the Republicans take for granted. We've made a demonstrable difference in this election and laid the groundwork for future gains in even the most "red" parts of the country. When the final results are in, we'll report to you on the impact it's impact.

But right now you still have the opportunity to do something about this election.
Please take that opportunity while you can.

Thank you.

Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

P.S. -- If anyone who hasn't been paying attention to this election until today asks you what Democrats stand for, point them right here: http://www.democrats.org/agenda

November 3, 2006

Friedman - Insulting our troops, and our intelligence

Whoa. Thomas Friedman lays it to the Bush administration in today's NYT. From behind the firewall:

George Bush, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld think you’re stupid. Yes, they do.

They think they can take a mangled quip about President Bush and Iraq by John Kerry — a man who is not even running for office but who, unlike Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, never ran away from combat service — and get you to vote against all Democrats in this election.

Every time you hear Mr. Bush or Mr. Cheney lash out against Mr. Kerry, I hope you will say to yourself, “They must think I’m stupid.” Because they surely do.

They think that they can get you to overlook all of the Bush team’s real and deadly insults to the U.S. military over the past six years by hyping and exaggerating Mr. Kerry’s mangled gibe at the president.

What could possibly be more injurious and insulting to the U.S. military than to send it into combat in Iraq without enough men — to launch an invasion of a foreign country not by the Powell Doctrine of overwhelming force, but by the Rumsfeld Doctrine of just enough troops to lose? What could be a bigger insult than that?

What could possibly be more injurious and insulting to our men and women in uniform than sending them off to war without the proper equipment, so that some soldiers in the field were left to buy their own body armor and to retrofit their own jeeps with scrap metal so that roadside bombs in Iraq would only maim them for life and not kill them? And what could be more injurious and insulting than Don Rumsfeld’s response to criticism that he sent our troops off in haste and unprepared: Hey, you go to war with the army you’ve got — get over it.

What could possibly be more injurious and insulting to our men and women in uniform than to send them off to war in Iraq without any coherent postwar plan for political reconstruction there, so that the U.S. military has had to assume not only security responsibilities for all of Iraq but the political rebuilding as well? The Bush team has created a veritable library of military histories — from “Cobra II” to “Fiasco” to “State of Denial” — all of which contain the same damning conclusion offered by the very soldiers and officers who fought this war: This administration never had a plan for the morning after, and we’ve been making it up — and paying the price — ever since.

And what could possibly be more injurious and insulting to our men and women in Iraq than to send them off to war and then go out and finance the very people they’re fighting against with our gluttonous consumption of oil? Sure, George Bush told us we’re addicted to oil, but he has not done one single significant thing — demanded higher mileage standards from Detroit, imposed a gasoline tax or even used the bully pulpit of the White House to drive conservation — to end that addiction. So we continue to finance the U.S. military with our tax dollars, while we finance Iran, Syria, Wahhabi mosques and Al Qaeda madrassas with our energy purchases.

Everyone says that Karl Rove is a genius. Yeah, right. So are cigarette companies. They get you to buy cigarettes even though we know they cause cancer. That is the kind of genius Karl Rove is. He is not a man who has designed a strategy to reunite our country around an agenda of renewal for the 21st century — to bring out the best in us. His “genius” is taking some irrelevant aside by John Kerry and twisting it to bring out the worst in us, so you will ignore the mess that the Bush team has visited on this country.

And Karl Rove has succeeded at that in the past because he was sure that he could sell just enough Bush cigarettes, even though people knew they caused cancer. Please, please, for our country’s health, prove him wrong this time.

Let Karl know that you’re not stupid. Let him know that you know that the most patriotic thing to do in this election is to vote against an administration that has — through sheer incompetence — brought us to a point in Iraq that was not inevitable but is now unwinnable.

Let Karl know that you think this is a critical election, because you know as a citizen that if the Bush team can behave with the level of deadly incompetence it has exhibited in Iraq — and then get away with it by holding on to the House and the Senate — it means our country has become a banana republic. It means our democracy is in tatters because it is so gerrymandered, so polluted by money, and so divided by professional political hacks that we can no longer hold the ruling party to account.

It means we’re as stupid as Karl thinks we are.

I, for one, don’t think we’re that stupid. Next Tuesday we’ll see.
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes)

This seems to have gotten lost in the hoopla

For the record, this is what Kerry was supposed to say before he tried to wing it, subsequently giving an opening to the right-wing hounds of hell. (paragraph 8)

"I can't overstress the importance of a great education. Do you know where you end up if you don't study, if you aren't smart, if you're intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush."

November 1, 2006

Gibbons and Women

I haven't been getting a lot of campaign literature in the mail, except for a few from Nevada State Democratic Party and local (Assembly, State Senate and local Lyon County races), so I was getting curious as to what pieces were showing up in other people's mail boxes. Ever the enterprising blogger, I took a swipe through the junk mail bin at our local post office. I didn't find a lot. A couple of pieces from Jill Derby, Kate Marshall, and a very belated absent ballot request form from John Ensign. Lots of stuff from the deuling ministers John Emerson and Maurice Washington. But finally, aha! There was a piece from Jim Gibbons. Nice glossy, 8 1/2 x 11 four page slick...

The front page is filled with some sort of endorsement letter (with Jim Gibbons for Governor blazoned across the top) with two columns of names beneath it. Most of the names were unfamiliar to me, a few were. I fipped open the flyer expecting to find information on Jim Gibbons' vision, the issues, anything. Um, not so much.

Inside the front page, in nice big font we get a history of his birth, education, and military service. (Large font, by the way, a trick well known by college paper writers: when you don't have much to say and have to write a four page paper, use larger font) Inside the back page, more large fonted biography, one paragraph on Education First, and finally two sentences on the Hawthorne BRAC base salvation.

Back page, a happy picture of his family, again with nice big font identifying everyone in the picture, above it: "Jim is proud to call Nevada home!" and a nice big quote underneath the picture: "I am asking for your vote" - Jim Gibbons

Why, Congressman? Please point to anything in this flyer that tells me anything that you plan to do for Nevada.

Education First? That ballot measure will probably pass on November 7th. So...what next? Once it passes, what will be your priorities for allocating those first-funded monies? What are your plans to address our high dropout rate? Teacher shortage? Class size?

What are your plans to help all Nevadans have access to affordable health care?

What are your plans for developing an energy plan in a state with some of the most abundant sources of alternative energy (wind, solar, geo-thermal)?

Looking a bit closer at the flyer I finally understood what this piece was about. Appeasing women. I read more carefully the endorsement letter on the front page. It reads:

To All the Citizens of the Great State of Nevada:

We the undersigned women have known and greatly admired Congressman Jim Gibbons for many years throughout his political career. Jim is unequivocally a man of tremendous integrity and impeccable character who possesses compassion and respect for women. He was raised by a very strong mother. Her moral and eithical principles have guided Jim in every facet of his life.

We urge you to vote for Jim Gibbons for Governor.
Well, Congressman, if you really wanted to assure me that you actually do give a damn about the things that affect my life, you wouldn't have wasted your money on a flyer that has you hiding behind the skirts of some loyal Republican women and you would actually address the issues facing them and the rest of us.

Frankly, if I had received this piece, I would have been insulted. It's lack of solid information tells me all I need to know about Jim Gibbons "respect" for women. Jim Gibbons assumes that all we wimmen need is to see pictures of his family and of himself in uniform and we will all swoon and pull the lever for him. He must think we are all as empty-headed as he is.

The clincher? The flyer I pulled out of the junk mail bin was sent to a man.