Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Reaction: Bush, Iraq, the Economy, and the death of Democrats

Who Are Americans to Think That Freedom Is Theirs to Spread?

This is possibly the first truly non-partisan analysis of the current situation in Iraq. It offers no religious or political reasoning, nor does it decide that either side was wrong in the debate. It raises interesting points and, though I personally do not agree with the conclusion the author reaches, I wholeheartedly recommend it to any disillusioned person who is tired of the short noise bursts from partisan hacks *ahem* Ann Coulter *cough* and wants to simply be informed.

Notable quote: "when American presidents speak of liberty as God's plan for mankind, even God-fearing Canadians wonder when God began disclosing his plan to presidents."
Notable quote 2: "If democracy plants itself in Iraq and spreads throughout the Middle East, Bush will be remembered as a plain-speaking visionary. If Iraq fails, it will be his Vietnam, and nothing else will matter much about his time in office."

And now to the news:

I realize my past few posts have defined what I think about Bush. However, they give the wrong impression. Let me address this:

I do not think Bush is an inherently bad man. I think he has misguided Christian ideals, has a wrong interpretation of how to use them, and is idealist to a fault. He is obstinate in his beliefs, and he has very little appreciation of the impossibility or reality of his beliefs. He is lucky that much of the country is both Christian and, if not hate-filled, then at least willing to spread violence for a greater cause. I disagree with him on most of his policies and his agenda, especially those that are faith-based, and his complete unwillingness to compromise with any of his opponents is generally infuriating. That said, I would also like to say that I fully believe his administration is corrupt. They "disassemble" (oh!!! Bush-ism for dissemble) whenever they feel something would cause them to lose favor with their dwindling fan base. Karl Rove is absolutely horrible at this. No man spins worse than him. Cheney spouts off things that are highly questionable if not completely false. And Scott McLellan seems all too eager to answer questions from the conservative reporters. Any questions that would require admittance to fault or a straight answer to something contrary to the administration's stance are answered unsatisfyingly and often-times falsely. Point of fact:

Political Cartoon: Mission Accomplished

Basically everyone in the press (except FOXNews and the more conservative papers) are blasting Bush for wasting an opportunity to be honest with the American people. In his speech Tuesday night, according to the press releases leading up to the event, Bush was supposed to reassure the nation of the success in Iraq as well as give a new take on the war. Most of the speech was, sadly, a re-hash of all the press releases and speeches from the past months, and the new topics he did address were both devious and short-sighted. He asked that the American people "stay the course," to offer support and be patient as the war winds down. Unfortunately, there are few signs of the insurgents slowing down. If nothing else, this admission that the US will stay as long as it takes, contrary to Bush's original promise that we would leave once Iraq had established a self-rule, will encourage and infuriate the insurgents even more. He likens them, as Rove, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice have so often before, to the terrorists that attacked us September 11th. The last pillar of truth in Bush's campaign in Iraq, the link he never tried to make between the Taliban's attack on the WTC and Saddam's regime, was finally addressed. Now he is being labeled as a hypocrite, as he can be quoted late September, 2003 saying, "We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the September 11th." There was a poll months ago, I cannot remember who organized it, but Americans were asked about the war in Iraq. Over 50% believed that Saddam Hussein had a connection with the 9/11 crisis, a sad number and misinformation that the administration has done nothing to combat. So this obvious lie has now been thrust upon us by our leader, combined with another lie; the insurgents are not religious crusaders, nor are they Saddam's supporters. They are free Iraqis who object to American presence and feel it is both invasive and dominating. By leaving Iraq, we could save bloodshed now for both our soldiers and the innocent Iraqis.
The Republican supporters in the White House and Congress aren't much help either. They criticize those who are asking for our troops to return home, saying that we don't need to send a "filtered" message of non-support to them. Basically what they say is shut up and lie so our soldiers don't lose their morale. This weak gag order is terrible, especially when they try to play off our sympathies for the soldiers overseas. I wish no harm on our soldiers, though as a liberal the conservative pundits may try to lead you to believe otherwise, but I think the best way to save them and the Iraqis is to bring them back. If you don't think this would help, read this article:

Inside the Mind of a Suicide Bomber

Within is the voluntary account of a man who has offered his life as a suicide bomber. He says that his goal is not to do harm to America, but to have freedom for his country from the oppressive American occupancy. Those who choose to ignore the Guantanamo accusations of prisoners there will probably dismiss this as well, but please consider it... he was not forced to say this, and his message has been endorsed by several insurgent leaders. They have no grudge against our country; they wish only to be left alone. I do not admire them or condone their actions, but if we leave, they have no reason left to fight. And that is what we're trying to accomplish, right?
So from this point, we have two real choices to calm the insurgency: leave completely, or send more soldiers to kill them all. Bush chooses the middle road, a misguided opinion that counters both his military advice and his constituents' call. He can only pray for a miracle, but for those of us who need something more, we're just out of luck.
--- Democrats critcize Bush Iraq speech, US press says "wasted" opportunity to be honest
--- Bush's No-News Iraq Speech
--- Bush Critics Call for More Troops in Iraq
--- The Big Lie

Political Cartoon: Condoleeza Rice
I know I've mentioned how much I cannot stand Condoleeza Rice. I call her the harpy... her message of freedom and democracy in the Mid-East is being undermined by her own agenda... she has criticized more or less every non-democratic country in the world, yet she refused to offer a stance on the lack of women's rights in Saudi Arabia. Critics believe she doesn't want to attack the fundamental belief that women are inferior in Saudi Arabia, thus losing the country as an ally. But Egypt and Pakistan, the latter whom she recently dealt with to give a passport back to a high-profile rape victim turned women's rights champion, feel that her support of democratic reform and unwillingness to support gender equality are at odds, and they are letting the world know they aren't intimidated. She was quoted as saying, "It's just a line I've never wanted to cross ... The United States has to recognize that even after democratic processes have taken place, places are not going to look like the United States." This is a mixed message that she is sending out: we demand equality for only some of your citizens. By respecting the religious beliefs of the Koran, you must also understand that those beliefs may not lend themselves to a democratic atmosphere. Marrying the two in government is unthinkable. After all, if you want to override religious government in other countries, and this is a problem much of the world sees in America, then why is there a constant struggle by conservatives to infuse Christian beliefs in our own secular government?
---Rice doesn't stand up for Saudi women

Lawmakers voted to close a loophole in laws addressing college loans that allowed federal lenders to take up to 9.5% of the loans and pocket them, taking billions of dollars over the years that should have gone to students. Still, only 42 Republicans in the house voted to close it... the rest voted against the measure. One can only wonder what stake they had in it... I'm kind hoping this had nothing to do with my loss of financial aid... otherwise I'm going to have to add this to my reasons for hating the Republican party at the moment...
--- Ending the College Loan Giveaway

Quick thought: Ethanol 85 is the greatest idea to ever come out of the midwest. Now if only my car would run on it...

Congress is getting a $3100 cost of living raise next year. Cost of living where?

Bill Cosby recently struck out at lower-class black families for having their priorities in the wrong place. I'm not going to summarize or paraphrase, but I will say this: I have to drive through the "black" part of town, with the small, shitty houses and all that, and I see the parents driving around in brand new Cadillacs and the kids walking around in brand new brand name athletic clothing and 300 dollar shoes. Yet most of these kids are dropouts and gang members. Cosby may be a bit harsh, but he has a point when he says the money's not going to the right place...

So the Tobacco Industry is getting off without punishment once again. Originally the Attorney General decided that 130 billion dollars would be fair for them to repay for the marketing to children, lies about health issues, and general conspiracy for maximum profit. Then, inexplicably, the AG dropped the fines down to 14 billion. A few more complaints from the industry and now it seems the charges are going to be dismissed completely. The Justice Department is launching an inquiry as to why the charges were reduced, but chances are they'll be puppeted by interest groups just like the AG was...
--- Tobacco Industry: Drop Case

I hope that the individual investment accounts that Bush is pushing never come into place. People with lesser incomes and levels of education and seniors are the strongest opponents, aside from party-line Democrats, suggesting that they feel they will either not have the knowledge, the ability, or the capital to risk in investments in stocks and such. I for one would like to have a simple guarantee of living money in the future. The government has already been taking social security from me for years. I want that money back. And it's a good system, if only the administration could keep their grubby little hands out of my savings. Don't spend it... save it! What happened to the 5 trillion dollar budget surplus? Oh... right... you turned it into a deficit... jackasses. Hey, Bush! More than half the country still opposes your plans after shoving it down their throats. They don't want any! Sell to the next house...
Not that democrats are doing much better. They haven't yet offered a plan for how to save the economy... either that or they have, and the conservative majority is just silencing them... 47% of Americans believe the Democrats can do better, now they just have to prove it. more than 70% thinks that Bush and the Republicans in Congress haven't been clear enough about his plans, while over 80% say the same about Democrats. It's time to take a stance, fellas... this blocking of the Republican agenda is all well and good, but if you don't offer anything up, we're not going to get anywhere.

Tax cuts are bad. Tax cuts cause recessions. The only way to produce steady revenue for new government programs is to raise taxes. By all means! I'm just going to spend it on fast food or a video game... let the government put it to good use IN OUR OWN COUNTRY! Fix social security with it, raise health-care beneifts, or fix some of our infrastructure. I don't want my money to fund another terrorist hunt.
Quick facts (Paraphrased from "Let good sense trump ideology" by Mario M. Cuomo): Reagan produced the largest tax cut in history in 1981 while spending a lot more on the military. Sound familiar? The recession of 1982 was directly caused by this, economists say. After digging himself into that hole, he then raised taxes mostly on the wealthy, bringing the economy back up to it's original status. George H.W. Bush raised another $100 billion in tax increases, as did Bill Clinton. The tax increases led to the 4 best years the stock market has ever seen, 22 million new jobs, the aforementioned 5 trillion dollar surplus, a larger middle class, fewer poors, and more millionaires and billionaires.
Sounds good for everyone, right? Then Bush comes in, cuts taxes, and tells everyone to go buy stuff. The economy plummets. Sorry for all that, he needs to say, and stop cutting taxes for the wealthy. Trickle-down theory is crap. Absolute crap. They're going to hoard their money and we won't see a dime.

To end the ranting on a humorous note: I neglected to mention the Supreme Court's decision to allow condemning and posession of private property if it could serve a public function... aka new jobs and revenue for a community. They don't rule out taking the land and giving it to another private party. The case that they ruled on siezed private property and turned it over to a company creating a hotel and convention center... another example of the abuse that took place under these rules: a city official took an independent used-car lot and gave the land and building to the car dealership next door after the car dealership was unable to buy the other out. Justice? Anyways, after this ruling, concerned citizens are petitioning the town officials of Weare, New Hampshire, asking to seize Justice David Souter's farmhouse and constructing a hotel there instead. They argue that it would create jobs and revenue for the small town. The code enforcement officer of Weare said "If it is their right to persue this type of end, then by all means let the process begin." They may allow it merely to spite Souter's decision to join the 4 others in support of eminent domain. I myself can't wait to visit the Lost Liberty Hotel when it's finally constructed... he'll get exactly what he deserved. Now about those other four justices...

I would like to end with a political cartoon that I at least found hilarious...
Political Cartoon: Flag-Burning

Until next time!


Anonymous Anonymous said...


12:39 AM, July 01, 2005  
Anonymous KENDALL said...

hey look, i can leave a comment with my name.

absolutely marvelous. i love how most of this stuff is common sense.. but america does not seem to possess such a thing.

it's depressing, and it makes me wonder what the world is coming to. maybe we should all just give up. fuck the environment, fuck kids trying to go to school, fuck the rest of the world. fuck everything.

i just really hope that once we get the liberals back in the white house, we can actually turn things around.

you flaming left-winged tree-hugging atheist hippie douche. um. keep writing. this is the closest i get to actually reading the news myself. so it's important.

12:44 AM, July 01, 2005  
Anonymous Blue Cross of California said...

Great blog I hope we can work to build a better health care system as we are in a major crisis and health insurance is a major aspect to many.

5:58 PM, January 20, 2006  

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