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Moderates For a Day.
October 31st, 2006


While George Bush travels the country screaming that Democrats are in league with terrorists, many of his fellow Republicans are feigning moderation in their tone. The same people who have been trying to shut down all women's clinics, lower taxes on giant corporations at a time of war, cheerleading for the failed war in Iraq, demanding that Bush and company be allowed to spy illegally on citizens, applauding permanent detention and torture, and talking about dismantling social security are now all of a sudden pretending to be moderates. Amazing what low poll numbers will do to arrogant ideologues.

The question is, will all that “discussion” of John Kerry’s supposed flip-flopping two years ago now stick to the Republican flip floppers. You can't call it anything else when just before an election a whole slew of Republicans all of a sudden starts changing their positions on key issues that they have held for the last six years. Their level of flip-flopping dwarfs anything John Kerry ever did during his run for the presidency.

It's hard to tell how this fleeting shift towards the center will play with the hard-core Republican base. They are already quite demoralized and this attempted coddling of moderates may just turn them off even more and drive down Republican turnout. Who knows? It's very hard to say what is going on in the minds of Republicans when they cheerlead for a government that is doing everything they hate, including increasing the size and scope of the federal government and drastically increasing the size of the national debt.

What is most obvious to me is that the Republicans will immediately revert to their old ways as soon as the election is over. This will especially be true if they retain control of the House and Senate. I predict that the voter suppression and voter roll purging that has already been accomplished by the Republican Party will probably ensure that there is no drastic shift in power. They may lose the House by a few seats, but I expect that the Senate may be much more evenly split, and still basically in Republican hands. This will embolden the Republicans to say that the Democrats couldn't even pull out a big victory when everything was in their favor. I expect that if Joe Lieberman beats Ned Lamont in Connecticut that will bode ill for Democrats in the Senate for the next two years.

The only thing that will put a screeching halt to this Republican agenda would be a massive turnout of Democrats. It will have to be one of the largest percentage turnouts in history in order to swamp all efforts at voter suppression. It can be done, but it will require excessive patience and diligence on the part of Democrats and upset independents. One thing that may help shift the balance of power away from Republicans is the fact that Christians are starting to feel that they have been used by this White House, and that the death and suffering perpetrated throughout the world is wrong and needs to stop. If there is even a 10% shift of religious voters from Republican to Democrat this election, it will be a landslide against the Republicans. We can only hope that the vast majority of people in America have finally come to their senses.

JRM


 

Why Everyone Should Vote For Democrats This Election.
October 27th, 2006
 


For Democrats the choice is easy. Lying us into a war, over 2800 dead, thousands maimed, a $500 billion debacle in Iraq spiraling rapidly toward civil war, a $9 trillion national debt, massive tax cuts for corporations, illegal spying on US citizens, torturing of prisoners, suspension of habeas corpus, secret trials without representation, dismantling FEMA, trashing international treaties, government-sponsored propaganda, and corruption as far as the eye can see in the Republican Congress.

Why should independents vote for Democrats this election? Simple: divided government. Independents know full well that when one party controls the entire government that things go very poorly for the country. A divided government worked well under Bill Clinton with a Democrat in the White House and the Republican Congress. Things were actually accomplished, and the deficit was turned into a surplus. We were actually paying down the national debt for the first time in a long time.

Why should Republicans vote for Democrats this election? I could go on about how the size of the federal government has never been larger, how the debt has never been larger, and how Republicans should be just as concerned about corruption in Congress as everyone else. But I will give Republicans an even better reason to turn the House and Senate over to Democrats. You will have somebody to scream and yell at again. Remember how much you loved cursing out Bill Clinton when he was president? Don't you miss having Democrats in some position of power so you can blame them for everything that goes wrong? Think about it, if Democrats take over the House and Senate you will have a field day insulting them, denigrating them, and blaming them for all of the country's problems. Plus, they might prevent Bush from wasting more lives and money while running up an even larger national debt.

The Republicans have gone ultra-negative on their ads this election for one simple reason. They know that negative ads turn off voters and keep them from turning out at the polls. The only hope that the Republicans have this time is a massive suppression of voter turnout. People like Ken Blackwell in Ohio have already purged the voter rolls of many eligible Democrats, and Republicans are working hard to demoralize Democrats in order to keep them from voting. They will even float rumors that nobody's vote counts anymore so there's no point in voting. Despite their attempts to dampen voting, Democrats need to turn out in huge numbers this year in order to swamp their efforts to suppress our vote. They may be able to shift a percentage point or two, but if Democrats win in landslides, no amount of vote tampering will save the day for the Republicans.

So even if the lines are long, hang in there and vote! And just in case, bring identification with you in case Republicans challenge you at the polls.

JRM


 

All Politicians Are The Same, Right?
October 20th, 2006


Whenever Republicans are hit by multiple scandals of their own making, their invariant knee-jerk reaction is to say that Democrats are just as bad. If you listen to radio talk shows you will hear conservative callers make this point constantly. It's not that the callers thought this up themselves; they got those talking points by listening to shows like Limbaugh and O'Reilly.

Why do Republicans float this canard every time they are embroiled in scandal? It's a cheap attempt to dampen Democratic voter turnout. If you can convince a small percentage of wishy-washy Democrats that all politicians are corrupt, you might just tip the balance in favor of Republicans in some elections.

In case you hadn't noticed, conservatives have been foaming at the mouth at the thought of Nancy Pelosi taking control of the House of Representatives. According to Republicans, Ms. Pelosi is worse than Osama bin Laden, and far more dangerous. It is worth going over some of the reasons why rich Republicans are not looking forward to a Democratic controlled House of Representatives.

First, Republicans have become used to being able to ignore the majority of US citizen's wishes, and ram through bad bill after bad bill, from eliminating the right to a trial to more tax cuts for millionaires at a time when our troops are fighting overseas. This rubber stamp status quo will come to a screeching halt if the Democrats take control of the House.

Speaking of tax cuts, you can bet that Democrats will increase taxes on millionaires and billionaires in order to bring some fiscal responsibility back to the way government operates. Republicans will try to fight this by saying that Democrats are going to raise taxes on working people. It's always the same with Republicans; lie, lie, lie.

Also, Democrats will work hard to reverse Bush’s “detainee treatment” bill - outlawing torture, and bringing back the right of all accused to a trial.

Democrats will also work to raise the minimum wage, which will drive rich Republicans absolutely crazy.

Democrats will almost certainly revisit the issue of media consolidation, and may even work to bring back the fairness doctrine or something like it. This is why you will hear nothing but insults about Democrats on the TV news.

Democrats will work toward a national voting system that counts all votes the same exact way, and has a backup trail. If they are really energetic, they may even go for real campaign finance reform and lobbying reform.

If they are smart, Democrats will eliminate the Homeland security Department, and put the government back the way it was before Bush messed everything up so badly. They might even ban the use of the term “Homeland”, and insist that we call our country America again. As far as I know, I've never lived in "the Homeland", I've always lived in America.

Democrats will stop all illegal spying on US citizens that circumvents the FISA courts.

Democrats will actually start to perform their other major job function again - Congressional oversight. There has been no oversight by Congress in the last 6 years, so the President and Republicans have gotten away with just about anything they wanted to.

Democrats will start to reduce troop strength in Iraq, and will move troops to neighboring countries like Turkey and Saudi Arabia in order to reduce tensions. Keep in mind that the Democrats who warned against going to war in Iraq turned out to be 100% right, and chicken hawks in the Republican Party who talked about an easy victory and a new democracy in the Middle East were 100% wrong. The Republicans are now talking about redefining the word “victory” in order to save face. Pitiful.

The fact of the matter is, Republican’s and Democrat’s methods of governing are diametrically opposite. They couldn't be more different. That’s why Republicans are so worried. So the next time you hear Republicans say “all politicians are the same”, just call them out for the liars they are.

JRM


 

Bush sucker punching opponent in
Yale Rugby game.

Success Denied
October 13th, 2006


The Washington Post has an interesting article today on President Bush's increasing use of the term “unacceptable”. Bush is apparently finding more and more of his self-made problems to be unacceptable, and he is frustrated, as you would expect from a spoiled petulant child.

Before the Post article came out, I had been noticing in Bush's recent public rants an increasing use of the word “successful”, as in “my presidency will be successful”, or “the war in Iraq will be successful”. This got me to thinking about Bush’s life story, which seems to involve a string of failures from beginning to end. Bush's time at Yale, which was made possible by his father, was a failure, Bush’s stint in the air National Guard (made possible by his father) was a failure, Bush's attempt to run an oil and gas company (made possible by his father) was a failure, and now, his presidency (made possible by his father) is shaping up to be the most failed presidency in history.

With regard to Bush’s need to live up to his father's reputation, brother Jeb Bush once remarked “A lot of people who have fathers like this feel a sense that they have failed.” Indeed, it is probably a combination of Bush's desperate need to succeed coupled with his complete lack of intellectual curiosity or knowledge that will ensure that his presidency is a total failure. As this possibility looms ever larger in his own mind, Bush will almost certainly use the term “successful” ever more desperately.

What Bush has apparently never figured out is that success requires lots of hard work. George Bush doesn't know what hard work is. He has put in more vacation time than any American president in history, and even on supposed working days he spends as much time bike riding as anything else. To be a successful president of the United States also requires a thorough knowledge of government, history, and international relations. Bush has no knowledge in any of these areas, and has no curiosity about them. He is arrogant enough to think that you can be a “successful” president without knowing anything.

He's finding out that the world doesn't work that way, and all of us are so much the worse for wear.

JRM


 

Republican responsibility?
Never heard of it.
October 11th, 2006


The Republicans tout themselves as the party of responsibility, but as with all other things Republican, responsibility is a vaporous slogan rather than a cherished ethic. As we listen to Bush and McCain blaming President Clinton for WMD development in North Korea, and Dennis Hastert blaming everybody but himself for the pedophile in the Republican's midst in Congress, I would think even staunch Republicans would begin to wonder what happened to personal responsibility.

It was astonishing to watch Dennis Hastert on the TV declare that he was taking responsibility for the page-pedophile scandal in Congress, only to turn around in the same sentence and blame his staffers and the Democrats and the news media for the problem. I've never seen a case of such blatant self-serving denial in my life. I wonder how such buckpassing works with the Republican base.

Especially fascinating is the recent attempt to re-vilify Bill Clinton, blaming him for the attacks on 9/11, and the development of nuclear weapons in North Korea. Those things couldn't possibly be George Bush's fault just because he was president when both happened. After all, we know George Bush never makes any mistakes. He didn't make any mistakes in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in New Orleans, or in North Korea, did he? When asked about mistakes he may have made, Bush invariably says he can't think of any. The "Clinton did it" defense is astonishing because it is such an obvious and childish attempt to rekindle perennial Clinton-hatred among the Republican base. It will be interesting to see if their base is that gullible, and that desperate to avoid dealing with the lack of Republican responsibility.

So as with all other things the Republicans do, they say one thing but they do another. They say they are the party of responsibility and pulling oneself up by their bootstraps, but they never take responsibility for any of their blunders, and reflexively point fingers at everybody else when something they have done goes horribly awry.

As the evidence points towards a surprise airstrike against Iran before the November elections (they have oil, but North Korea doesn’t), I can't help but wonder who Bush will blame for the resulting debacle when oil prices spike and Muslims throughout the world take up arms against the United States and its interests. More than likely, Bush will say it is Clinton's fault, simply because he won't be able to think of a better scapegoat. One thing you will never hear is Bush, or the Republicans in Congress taking responsibility for any of their malfeasance or their blunders.

JRM


 

Not So Surprising October Surprise
October 2nd, 2006


As the Republicans are slowly consumed by their own malfeasance and corruption, and we hear more and more about how dysfunctional the White House actually is, it seems prudent for the country to prepare for their inevitable Republican “October surprise”.

The rapid passage of the detainee treatment bill without serious debate was clearly meant to give Republicans something to yell about as they go into the upcoming election. The passage of the bill to install 700 miles of fence along the Mexican border was another attempt at an October surprise, and another opportunity to try bashing Democrats, this time over immigration reform.

Time magazine quotes Navy officials commenting that minesweeper ships and other assets have been moved to the vicinity of the Straits of Hormuz near the coast of Iran, suggesting possible military actions against that country. That would be a typical Karl Rove plan to try and keep the public onboard as we go to war in another Middle Eastern country. If their political ambitions have made them that reckless, even after their abysmal failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, then this country is in full-blown self-destruct mode. The resulting increases in terrorism and reductions in oil supply are reasons enough to end all thoughts about military action in Iran. But George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Karl Rove are not concerned about the country; they are concerned about their failing plans to dominate the Middle East. Their political desperation is likely to make them even more reckless than they have been to date. Expect something very disturbing, and a very polarizing, and expect it very soon. They only have four weeks left before the election that will hopefully turn control of at least one branch of Congress back to the Democrats. They will do anything in their power to prevent that.

JRM


 

 

 
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