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Factinista Archives, February 2006

What would it take?
February 28th, 2006

The Bush administration promulgates one disaster after another in both foreign and domestic policy, and yet their poll numbers rarely drop below 40% popularity. This indicates that the Republican base in America is solidly behind George Bush & Co., regardless of their failure rate, or the number of serious political scandals they are involved in.

Let's take a look at some of the disasters, scandals, and deceptions foisted on the US public by the Bush administration, and then decide how much of a scandal the same offense would have been perceived by Republicans if a Democrat were involved.

We can start with the relatively trivial hunting accident PR debacle where Dick Cheney shot a friend and fellow hunter in the face and neck and chest rather than shooting the quail he was aiming at. Now imagine if this had happened to John Kerry during the last election. The media frenzy would have been far worse, and the accusations coming from the Republicans would have been vicious. They would've talked about how Kerry knew nothing about hunting or proper hunting safety techniques, how he was incompetent, couldn't shoot straight, and if he didn't reveal it to the press for 24 hours there would be constant talk of an attempted cover-up. How do you think Republicans who forgive five-deferment Dick Cheney would have felt about John Kerry if he had accidentally shot a hunting buddy?

Then there is the warrant-less spying on Americans by the Bush administration, which is a clear violation of existing law by bypassing the FISA court system set up for just such surveillance oversight. Considering how berserk Republicans went over the FBI files that were reviewed by the Clinton administration, mostly files of White House personnel such as groundskeepers, doesn't it seem a little bit surprising that Republicans are all for spying on Americans as long as Republicans are in charge?

How about lying America into an unnecessary war? Remember how the Republicans responded when Bill Clinton wanted to intervene in Serbia or go after Osama bin Laden? The Republicans said “no war for Monica”. Republican senators said that it wasn't worth losing a single life to stop the bloodshed in the ex-Yugoslavia, and in the end, not a single US soldier was lost due to enemy fire in that conflict. Compare that with the death toll and injury toll in Iraq. And yet many Republicans still feel that we are fighting the good fight in Iraq.

What if the Republicans had caught the Clinton administration torturing prisoners, and setting up secret detention centers around the world? Can you imagine the level of outrage? And how about if Bill Clinton or Hillary Clinton were accused of purposefully outing a covert CIA agent for political purposes? What a media frenzy that would have been. And what if Clinton had told the American people that the war in Serbia would cost $1 billion, but then it ended up costing $300 billion? Think about how big a scandal it would have been if Bill Clinton had dismantled FEMA and allowed over a thousand people to die in New Orleans after the hurricane.

So my question is, what would it take for Republicans to finally come around to the idea that the Bush administration is not defending the Constitution, but is rather shredding it day by day? What would it take for Republicans to realize that it is ludicrous to fight for freedom in Iraq while simultaneously eroding our freedoms at home? I think it will take a complete change of mindset because currently many Republicans seem to treat politics as a contact sport rather than the means by which we govern our country. To them it is win or lose, and where sports are involved, winning is everything. I believe that much of this mindset has to do with the split in our news media where we now have hard-core right wing news, mainstream wishy-washy news, and a smattering of hard-core left wing news. The population is split into two sides that get their information from different sources. This fuels a sports mentality view of politics. Until the vast majority of the US population recognizes the fact that politics are not sports, and that the outcome of elections really matter, there will not be sufficient public pressure to change the status quo. I have to wonder after all that has happened, what will it take to run the bums out of town, and reunite America?

Dr John

The gang that couldn't shoot straight
February 15th, 2006

Getting shot in the face neck and chest with a shotgun blast is no laughing matter. If you're in doubt about that, try it sometime. It is somewhat astounding to me that everyone seems to be making light of the fact that the vice president shot someone in his hunting party. The victim, Mr. Whittington, is 78 years old and I don't care how good shape he's in, he is going to have a long hard road to recovery, that is if he does fully recover.

The levity that has been associated with this hunting accident is misplaced, and the trademark secrecy that has surrounded the incident is emblematic of the Cheney White House’s disdain for disclosing information that should be public. Both the levity and secrecy emanate from Cheney's office itself.

Perhaps the most disturbing part of the entire incident is the fact that like all other disastrous mistakes he has made, Dick Cheney blames the victim. This is a quintessential Dick Cheney trait: it's always someone else's fault. Dick Cheney is flawless, of course. So when Dick Cheney ignores the basic rules of a hunting, including making absolutely certain you have identified your target, he still has the gall to claim that the accident was the victim's fault. When the vice president is hunting, the rules change and everybody better just get out of the way.

My guess is that Mr. Whittington will get worse before he gets better, that is if he does actually get better. Reports are that he has between 100 and 200 lead pellets embedded in his body, and that they are shifting position. One has lodged in his heart muscle causing a minor heart attack, and we can only assume that his condition will worsen over the next few days as more pellets migrate.

To me, this incident is telling of the way the Cheney White House operates in general. “The hell with the rules, the hell with public opinion, the hell with the evidence - we are going to do what we want to do and damn the consequences.” Cheney couldn't shoot straight on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Cheney couldn't shoot straight when it came to disclosing the identity of a covert CIA agent for political purposes, and Cheney couldn't shoot straight in the response to the worst natural disaster in recent US history. In short, Cheney can't shoot straight and everybody else is the worse for the wear.

But of course, the gang that couldn't shoot straight is going to keep the wall so safe from terrorists and natural disasters, so you can all put on your orange hunting jackets and relax.

Dr John

The Ostrich Effect
February 11th, 2006

Every time I watch the news I am amazed at the level of denial amongst Republicans. No matter how many egregious Bush administration crimes are reported, Republicans stick their heads in a hole and pretend nothing happened. There was no CIA leak. There were weapons of mass construction. There were connections between Iraq and Al Qaeda. They couldn't have anticipated the levees would break. They didn't know the levees broke until the next day. There was no other choice but to go to war in Iraq.

All contentions completely false, but you hear them repeated by Republicans day in and day out all over the news. Now clearly many of these pundits know that they are spewing falsehoods publicly, and they are doing it on purpose to confuse the issue. However, when I here Republican citizens calling in to talk shows and repeating the same erroneous talking points I have to think that many of them believe what they are saying is true.

In order to facilitate this self-deception, it requires that most Republican Americans forego reading what I consider to be conservative newspapers such as the New York Times or the Washington Post. These papers have supported the Bush administration in the run-up to the war and in many other circumstances, and yet they still continue to run stories that punch tractor-trailers sized holes in the Republican talking points on an almost daily basis.

For example, in the Washington Post today a top-tier official from the CIA says that the Bush administration kept pushing for the information they wanted, and ignored all the information that contradicted their plans for attacking Iraq. The CIA intelligence reports clearly indicated that Saddam Hussein was “in a box”, and that the best way to keep him contain was to maintain the status quo and increase the inspection schedules. Instead Bush and Cheney took us to war under the false assumption that we would be greeted as liberators.

So as dozens of scandals play out ranging from the indictment of a top White House official to the Abramoff lobbying scandal to the warrant-less spying on American citizens, Republicans must shove their heads deeper and deeper into the hole while chanting the Battle hymn of the Republic to drown out the disturbing news. But they will never turn on the Republicans because that is their team, and you always have two root for your team in America. My team right or wrong, my party right or wrong. The hell with the truth.

The ostrich effect is in full swing throughout the Red States of America.

Dr John

Who You Gonna Call?
February 10th, 2006

George Bush & Co. want you to be very afraid that the bogeyman is going to get you. This is a Dick Cheney-modified version of the Cold War, and it is meant to trample civil rights, civil liberties, freedoms, and dissent against the administration and its policies. Bush and Cheney will chant their mantra of “we are a nation at war” over and over until they feel confident that you are paralyzed with fear, and they can get away with anything.

As we head in to another election year they will use this trick over and over to try and fool the American people into thinking they are all about to die, and that only Republicans can save them. Childish? Yes, but in America it seems to work very well.

You are going to hear all lot from the Republicans about how the Democrats are soft on terrorists, and soft on protecting America from threats. They will tell you that the Republicans are really mean and a really tough, and they will get the job done.

This of course assumes that you haven't paid any attention over the last five years at how poorly Bush and Cheney have protected the American people and our troops from harm. Pulling our troops out of Afghanistan and sending them to Iraq did not make America safer, it squandered over 2000 lives and hundreds of billions of dollars with the result of an inflamed and enraged Middle East rather than a pacified one.

When it came time to protect Americans during one of the worst natural disasters in American history, the Bush administration set around playing guitars and talking about how wonderful it was that New Orleans “dodged the bullet”. Tough talk from incompetent and irresponsible draft dodgers.

A month before September 11, 2001 George Bush was on a month-long vacation. He received a daily brief that said Osama bin Laden was going to attack the United States sometime soon. George Bush, the guy who wants you to think he will protect you, pretty much remained on vacation until after the terrorist attacks had occurred. Does that sound like someone who is going to protect you?

In every single case, George Bush and Dick Cheney, with the incompetent help of Donald Rumsfeld have made our military and our civilian populace much less safe rather than more safe. So when the next election comes, and the incompetent fools in the White House ask you “who you gonna call?” to protect you from terrorists, the answer is clear. If you're smart, you're not going to call the king of cronies who has failed to protect America against enemies or natural disasters for over five years.

We have found the enemy, and he is in the White House.

Dr John

Everything going wrong? The Democrats did it!
February 2nd. 2006

In case you hadn't noticed, the president and the Republicans are now employing a typical kindergarten tactic; when you mess up real bad, blame it on innocent little Billy who is sitting quietly next to you.

Just about everything that president Bush and the Republicans have done for the last five years has been a debacle, ranging from there unwarranted and ill-advised attack on Iraq, to torturing detainees, to their handling of the massive Katrina disaster in New Orleans, to warrant-less spying on the American public.

But rather than take responsibility for their reckless policies and the enduring negative consequences, they instead are trying to shift the blame to the party that has been out of power for years. The Democrats did it!

According to George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld, the only way we could possibly lose in Iraq is if Democrats continue to criticize the war effort. That will give aid and comfort to the enemy, and our mighty army will be defeated simply by a few critics in the United States.

Typical Republican hogwash. We already won the war in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was captured. If we had really intended to turn the country over to the Iraqi people we could have phased our troops out and then and turned security issues over to the Iraqis themselves. But we pressed on with ineffective hit and run tactics, with troops that were spread too thin and improperly equipped.

Now our heavy-handed tactics have fueled a countrywide insurgency that may last for years, and leaving now would certainly lead to civil war. So they have turned victory into defeat and want to blame it on the Democrats. What sniveling cowards they truly are.

Dr John

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