Tuesday, November 28, 2006

7 Day Waiting Period for a 4 Day Cold

So, I am sick... yes, even superhero crime fighters get sick. I have been living the last couple of days off of Advil Cold & Sinus pills that I had left over from the last time I was sick. But this morning, still being in a drug induced stupor from the NyQuil I downed in mass quantities the night before, I forgot to take any of the Advil pills into work with me.

I figured that it would be no big deal. I would just pop into a CVS along the way to work and pick up some more and the day would go on as usual.

Unbeknownst to me, you can no longer just pop in to a CVS and buy the little buggers. Nooooooo!!! Now you have to go through a FBI background check to buy them.

I understand why. One of the ingredients in Advil Cold & Sinus is also used to make crystal meth. You have to take a little card from the shelf where the pills used to be, and take it back to the pharmacy where you have to wait in line behind all the little old ladies picking up their "water pills" and the middle age men picking up their little blue somethings that they cringe at when the clerk loudly exclaims, "Mr. Smith, your erectile dysfunction medication is now ready."

So, I finally get to the front of the line. I have to show ID, which they record. I have to sign my name. They then take a blood sample, urine sample, and run my fingerprints through IAFIS. I then have to recite a loyalty oath and tell me I can come back and pick up the Advil after a 7 day waiting period. I was waiting to the waterboarding to start.

Seriously, I think it is easier to buy a gun in North Carolina than to buy Advil Cold & Sinus in New York City.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Ethics Reform... Finally

While it is not a done deal, and I never hold my breath when it comes to politics and money in Washington, the Democrats are planning on actually doing what the Republicans promised, but never did... Ethics reform.

Early next year, the Democrats will roll out several bills that will ban meals, travel and other gifts from lobbyist.

Notably, the Democrats also plan on holding longer debates on each of the issues...

AND, get this, actually plan to allow the Republicans to take part of the floor debate and crafting of the legislation, something that Republicans never did when they had power.

Years of draconian rule by the majority party may be at an end, along with much of the money that spurs corruption.

But, like I said, I never hold my breath when it comes to politicians and money.

Democrats Plan Series of Votes on Ethics Reforms

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Rove Re-revisited

It looks like I am not the only one thinking about the effectiveness of Rove's campeign style in this last election.

...But many Republicans think Rove is off the mark this time. His critics say Rove based his 2006 strategy on what worked in the past--polarizing the electorate and attempting to rally the GOP base--and didn't pay enough attention to independents and swing voters. Adds a senior GOP strategist outside the White House: "The political world is always shifting and changing. We need to be flexible."


The 51% campeign can only work for so long. 6 years seems to be the maximum this time.

Rove Sells Election Spin; Some in GOP Aren't Buying

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Irony Is Not Just A River In Egypt

On the heels of Bush's cross country campaign against the "Cut and Run" democrats, Bush is now on a three nation tour of the far east.

One of those nation that Bush will be visiting is Vietnam. The irony of this trip could not be greater. Bush spent two solid months of crisscrossing this country, begging and pleading for people to return a Republican majority to the Congress. He bellowed over and over that a Democratically controlled congress will cut and run from Iraq and the world will come to a quick and decisive end, and now he is visiting Vietnam...

Vietnam is the last major conflict in which we cut and run. It was said that the whole of the far east would fall to communism. The American way of life would be jeopardized.

Now, 25 years later, Bush is attending a conference in Hanoi. Americans and Europeans flock as tourist to the same beaches that we "fled" from a generation earlier. The American way of life was preserved despite the pro-war faction's predictions. Post war analysis has pretty much definitively determined that the war in Vietnam would never have been winnable without 50,000 more American lives lost. 25 years since we cut and ran and the world didn't end.

The is because cut and run is not the end of the world. It wasn't then, and it is not now.

If Truman had cut and run in 1950 from the Korean war as soon as the status quo had been regained and the North Koreans had been pushed back to the 38th parallel, it would have saved 10,000 American lives. Instead, he decided to push the North Koreans all the way to China which ended up extending the war by three years. In the end, we ended up with the same result as we would have if we had just ended the war in 1950.

I have never advocated an immediate pullout of American troops. But lets stop the idiotic propaganda war of saying that cut and run is un-patriotic. Sometimes, cut and run is the best and most viable option. If you are down $20,000 at the poker table, is it really manly to keep on betting and lose the house as well? If we stop the name calling and the fake patriotic machismo, maybe we can finally have an honest discussion about how to best conduct the war in Iraq and the war on terror. From a purely global strategic position, cut and run might be the very best thing for the American people, the Iraqi people, and the War on Terror.

Bush's War On America Continues

Despite being thoroughly rejected in the polls last week, King George's war on America continues. Bush has declared that the recent law that allows him to hold detainees indefinitely in Cuba also applies to all immigrants, legal or illegal residing or visiting the United States. Any person that the Bush Administration declares to be an enemy combatant can be rounded up and detained forever with no right to a trial or to legal counsel of any sort. This means Mexican immigrants who came over the border yesterday, as well as your grandmother who came here from the old country 50 years ago.

The wing nuts out there will be saying, "but it only applies to the bad guys." Well, how the hell do we know it only applies to the bad guys if there is no way for the imprisoned person to ever confront the accusers and present evidence in court of their innocence.

Once a person is rounded up, the government does not have to present a single shred of evidence that the person being detained is or ever was a threat to the United States. If the person is ever tired, they would be tried in front of a military tribunal where the government cannot be forced to ever disclose the evidence against the accused.

What kind of fascist state is he trying to turn this country into? This is obscene in every aspect and is a slap in the face of our founding fathers. This country is based on the rule of law. If was based on principles of order and justice. Bush is throwing that all out the window. How do we say that we are spreading democracy and freedom around the world when we are turning this country into a police state.

US: Immigrants may be held indefinitely
By MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writer
Tue Nov 14, 6:39 AM ET

WASHINGTON - Immigrants arrested in the United States may be held indefinitely on suspicion of terrorism and may not challenge their imprisonment in civilian courts, the Bush administration said Monday, opening a new legal front in the fight over the rights of detainees.

In court documents filed with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., the Justice Department said a new anti-terrorism law being used to hold detainees in Guantanamo Bay also applies to foreigners captured and held in the United States.

Ali Saleh Kahlah Al-Marri, a citizen of Qatar, was arrested in 2001 while studying in the United States. He has been labeled an "enemy combatant," a designation that, under a law signed last month, strips foreigners of the right to challenge their detention in federal courts.

That law is being used to argue the Guantanamo Bay cases, but Al-Marri represents the first detainee inside the United States to come under the new law. Aliens normally have the right to contest their imprisonment, such as when they are arrested on immigration violations or for other crimes.

"It's pretty stunning that any alien living in the United States can be denied this right," said Jonathan Hafetz, an attorney for Al-Marri. "It means any non-citizen, and there are millions of them, can be whisked off at night and be put in detention."

(Full Story)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Rove Revisited

There has been a lot made out of the results of this election and the reputation and legacy of Karl Rove. His critics are saying that this shows that Rove is anything but a boy genius.

Rove has most often used the 51% strategy in his campaigns. That means, you try to get 51% of the electorate, but no more. You do this by creating a divided electorate and playing one side off the other.

It is true that Roves 51% strategy failed in this election. That is the problem with the 51% strategy. It is not a long term strategy. You can only hold together the coalition as long as you don't alienate anyone group. That, of course, is impossible.

Roves strategy worked great for 6 years. Now, with too many people tired of partisanship and too many people alienated from the Republican party, the power has shifted hands.

Whether or not Rove is a campaign prodigy is irrelevant. If he is a genius or a buffoon, is besides the point as to what is his current effectiveness? Rove plays his cards by dividing people, not in uniting them. If Bush was eligible to seek yet another term, this might be a viable option now that there is an opposition party in power. But, Bush is not eligible for another term, and Bush legacy is hanging in the balance.

If Bush follows the traditional Rove strategy of confrontation and division, the presidents last two years in office are doomed to be of inaction and greater resentment by the American populace.

Alternatively, if Bush wants to finish out his presidential career and a positive note, and have any hope of his name being remembered fondly in the history books, he needs to reject partisanship and embrace bipartisanship.

Can this happen with Rove as a top advisor? Can Rove overcome his own tendencies to go for the jugular? Can the Democrats in power trust anything coming out of the White House that appears to be cooperation, but coming from Rove's office?

I think that the answer for all of this is no. Rove is a ilability and has become as ineffective as Rumsfeld when it comes to political play. He is the political equivalent to the hockey goon who's job is to fight, not to score goals. The president needs a goal scorer if he is to leave an even marginal legacy from 8 years of office. Rove should be replaced with a new advisor that can be seen as less divisive. Otherwise, Bush really is a lame duck... and historically speaking, a dead duck.

Rove Remains Steadfast in the Face of Criticism

Friday, November 10, 2006

Quagmire

Can't Keep Quiet has a great little clip of Dick Cheney saying during the 1991 Gulf War that removal of Saddam from power and the occupation of Iraq could be nothing other than a quagmire. Go figure...

No New Tail to Tell

It has been a couple of days now since the American people swept Republicans out of power and swept a bunch of new Democrats into power.

To ease their woes, I see all over the right-sided blogosphere that the Democrats elected to oust the Republicans are "conservative" and that the American people actually didn't move the political spectrum towards the left.

Hmmm... Aren't these "conservative" Democrats just elected the same people that were "way too liberal" only days before the election?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Rumsfeld Resigns

It is officially a very very good day. The bum is out on his ass. I don't feel bad for him. I am sure that he will land a very lucrative job with Haliburton in about 45 seconds.

I am quite shocked that Rumsfeld is gone. Bush is so damn stubborn that I thought he would hold on to him until the bitter end. Afterall, it was only a week ago that Bush said he would keep Rumsfeld regardless of what people thought of the failing war in Iraq. Is this just another Bush flip-flop? I guess Bush was for Rumsfled before he was against him.

There are two possible reasons for his resignation.

The first is because of the election results. The message sent by the American people was that they have no confidence in the Republican leadership of the country. Bush can be stubborn for only so long. Sooner or later he must wake up and smell the grime. He (or should I say his advisers know) that it will be very difficult for the Bush Administration to deal with the Democratically controlled congress with Rumsfeld in office.

The second, is that it will give the Bush administration some breathing room on the war in Iraq. With a new person coming in, the democrats are almost obliged to let the new person have a shot at it before putting more pressure on the Administration to pull out troops.

It was clear that Rumsfeld was ineffectual as DOD Secretary and the democratic victory made him even more irrelevant. Either way, this is a victory for the American people, and most of all, the troops fighting in Iraq.

GOP says Rumsfeld is stepping down

It Sucks To be the King

It has got to be a sad day for King George. For all intensive purposes, he got a vote of no confidence from the American people yesterday during the mid term election. An anti-mandate was issued for his policies on domestic and foreign affairs. In the end, there will be about a 32 seat pick up in the House of Representatives for the Democrats. In the Senate, where no one thought that the Dems would pick up the six needed seats, the Dems took control. There is no other way to describe this than a massive blow out for the Republicans. The GOP pundits are trying to spin this anyway they can, but even the die-hard Freepers know what this was all about.

For me, the birds are chirping... the air is fresher... although, the latter could be due to the Clean Air Act being enforced again.

The American people sent a clear message. They are tired of the corruption, they are tired of the lies, they are tired of right wing extremist trying to impose their will on the rest of us, they are tired of incompetence, and the are really tired of George "stay the course" Bush. The message was so clear and convincing that as I writer this, Rusfled is getting canned (GOP says Rumsfeld is stepping down).

Karl Rove's belief that you could build a permanent majority by running a 51% divide and conquer style campaign has finally come to an end. First of all, no majority is ever permanent. Second, a majority built on 51% tactics is even more fragile.

I am guessing that Bush is ruing the fact that he claimed that a vote for a democrat is a vote for terrorist. He now has to deal with the democrats who control the legislative agenda.

I am also guessing that the Republicans who still have jobs are second guessing the way that they treated democrats over the past 6 years. Republicans who were in the majority blocked democrats from participating in the legislative process in all aspects other than the actual voting on bills.

The three GOP senators that I wanted to see lose the most all lost. That is Santorum of Pennsylvania, Burns of Montana, and Allen of Virginia. I think I wanted to see Allen lose the most out of all three of them. He is such a slimy guy. I feel that I need to take a shower after just watching him on TV.

I hope that the Dems hold up their end of the bargin and deliver on what they promised. I also hope that they treat the republicans with the respect that they failed to treat us. Just because we won does not mean we should play down to their level.

A Voter Rebuke For Bush, the War And the Right

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

How to Win as a Republican?

Pretend to be a Democrat.

Today, the Republican candidates for Governor and Senate bused in homeless people from Pennsylvania to had out literature in predominately black precincts.

There is only on catch... the pamphlets (sample ballots) that the hired hands were handing out labeled the Republican candidates as Democrats and not Republicans.

That's right, the only way for a Republican to win these days is to pretend to be a Democrat.

These actions, along with all the other crap that has been going on to mislead, confuse and trick voters is disgusting. Right or Left, let people vote on the issues.

Sample Ballots in Pr. George's Misidentify Candidates
By Ernesto Londo?o
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 7, 2006; 4:18 PM

Inaccurate sample ballots describing Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Senate candidate Michael S. Steele as Democrats were handed out to voters in at least four polling sites in Prince George's County this morning.

The ballots were distributed by people who said they arrived by buses this morning from Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Erik Markle, one of the people handing out literature for Ehrlich, who is seeking reelection, and Steele, the current lieutenant governor who is campaigning to replace retiring Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D), said he was recruited at a homeless shelter in Philadelphia.

After a two-hour bus ride to Maryland, Markle said the workers were greeted early this morning by first lady Kendel Ehrlich, who thanked them as they were outfitted in T-shirts and hats with the logo for Ehrlich's reelection campaign. Nearly all of those recruited, Markle said, are poor and black. Workers traveled to Maryland in at least seven large buses.

(Full Story)

I Voted

It is done.

Regardless of how this election day ends up, I cast my vote against the status quo and for change. I cast my vote for success and against failure. I cast my vote as a referendum on the Bush administration and to tell him, in the only way I can, that he is not right, all knowing, and omnipowerful. I cast my vote for people who believe that we must progress and not regress. I cast my vote for people who believe all Americans are equal and not just those who fit the pre-ordained mold. I cast my vote for family values... real family values, not just the pretend ones that the right has been pushing. I cast my vote for cures for disease, a raise in the minimum wage and for holding our elected officials accountable.

In the grand scheme of things, my vote counts for little, but it counts a whole lot to me.

Update: Looks like there are plenty of problems with the electronic voting machines across the country. Several jurisdictions have already had to file motions with the courts to keep their polling station open for an extended period. In MO, there are electronic machines tabulating votes the Republican when the Democrat has been selected. In PA, it is reported that there are at least 2 precincts with no working machines. Similar issues in OH.

It is reported that even Ken Mehlman, the head of the Republican National Committee decided to vote with a paper ballot instead of an electronic voting machine when given the choice. That says a lot.

It is going to be a long day.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Bush Blames Republican Congress

Bush today blamed the Republican congress for posting the Iraqi blueprints for a nuclear weapon on the web. He claims that he was pressured by congress to post the seized documents on the web so conservatives could peruse the documents in hopes that they still might find a smoking gun.

So, Bush is willing to use signing statements to allow torture and numerous other "programs" in the name of national security, regardless of congress laws, but he is willing to post nuclear material because the GOP threatened to propose a bill that would require him to post the documents.

Yeah, that ain't fly'n. Does he have "presidential powers" to protect us or not. I thought congress couldn't "tell him noth'n." I am confused.

U.S. shuts Web site said to reveal nuclear guide: report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government has shut down a Web site it set up in March containing documents captured during the Iraq war after experts raised concerns it offered a guide to building an atom bomb, the New York Times reported.

It said the Bush administration started the site under pressure from congressional Republicans who hoped to use the Internet to find new evidence of dangers posed by former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.


(Full Story)

Let the Fat Lady Sing

The negative ads have been run. The president has done his best to scare us. The push polls and the robo calls have been made. The voter suppression has been conducted. The political pundits have stuck to their talking points.

The only thing left is to let the fat lady sing and vote tomorrow.

Even if the Dems don't take back the Senate, I will be happy if Allen, Santorum and Burns all get shot down.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

With the Writing on the Wall... Bush Looks at His Feet

Things are really really bad for the Bush Iraq policy when the most ardent of supporters, the king of the Neo-cons, Richard Pearle, is saying that the presidents policy is failed and he is completely incompetent.

Iraq war proponents decry administration
By BARRY SCHWEID, AP Diplomatic Writer
Sat Nov 4, 5:39 PM ET

WASHINGTON - A leading conservative proponent of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq now says dysfunction within the Bush administration has turned U.S. policy there into a disaster.

Even worse is when the Military Times, et al, the news papers dedicated to the military branches and their issues, are calling for the removal of Donald Rumsfeld. None the less, Dick Cheney was on the Sunday morning Talking Heads saying that the Iraq policy will continue full steam ahead without change.

Time for Rumsfeld to go

“So long as our government requires the backing of an aroused and informed public opinion ... it is necessary to tell the hard bruising truth.”
That statement was written by Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Marguerite Higgins more than a half-century ago during the Korean War.
But until recently, the “hard bruising” truth about the Iraq war has been difficult to come by from leaders in Washington.
One rosy reassurance after another has been handed down by President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: “mission accomplished,” the insurgency is “in its last throes,” and “back off,” we know what we’re doing, are a few choice examples.
Military leaders generally toed the line, although a few retired generals eventually spoke out from the safety of the sidelines, inciting criticism equally from anti-war types, who thought they should have spoken out while still in uniform, and pro-war foes, who thought the generals should have kept their critiques behind closed doors.
Now, however, a new chorus of criticism is beginning to resonate. Active-duty military leaders are starting to voice misgivings about the war’s planning, execution and dimming prospects for success.
Army Gen. John Abizaid, chief of U.S. Central Command, told a Senate Armed Services Committee in September: “I believe that the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I’ve seen it ... and that if not stopped, it is possible that Iraq could move towards civil war.”
Last week, someone leaked to The New York Times a Central Command briefing slide showing an assessment that the civil conflict in Iraq now borders on “critical” and has been sliding toward “chaos” for most of the past year. The strategy in Iraq has been to train an Iraqi army and police force that could gradually take over for U.S. troops in providing for the security of their new government and their nation.
But despite the best efforts of American trainers, the problem of molding a viciously sectarian population into anything resembling a force for national unity has become a losing proposition.
For two years, American sergeants, captains and majors training the Iraqis have told their bosses that Iraqi troops have no sense of national identity, are only in it for the money, don’t show up for duty and cannot sustain themselves.
Meanwhile, colonels and generals have asked their bosses for more troops. Service chiefs have asked for more money.
And all along, Rumsfeld has assured us that things are well in hand.
Now, the president says he’ll stick with Rumsfeld for the balance of his term in the White House.
This is a mistake. It is one thing for the majority of Americans to think Rumsfeld has failed. But when the nation’s current military leaders start to break publicly with their defense secretary, then it is clear that he is losing control of the institution he ostensibly leads.
These officers have been loyal public promoters of a war policy many privately feared would fail. They have kept their counsel private, adhering to more than two centuries of American tradition of subordination of the military to civilian authority.
And although that tradition, and the officers’ deep sense of honor, prevent them from saying this publicly, more and more of them believe it.
Rumsfeld has lost credibility with the uniformed leadership, with the troops, with Congress and with the public at large. His strategy has failed, and his ability to lead is compromised. And although the blame for our failures in Iraq rests with the secretary, it will be the troops who bear its brunt.
This is not about the midterm elections. Regardless of which party wins Nov. 7, the time has come, Mr. President, to face the hard bruising truth:
Donald Rumsfeld must go.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Mistress Ann Caught in Possible Voter Fraud

Mistress of the dark, Ann Coulter, is finding herself in a little legal trouble over possible voting fraud. Funny that...

It is surprising that someone with so much distaste for democracy would even vote.

Columnist Coulter in hot water over voting
POSTED: 5:44 p.m. EST, November 1, 2006

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida (AP) -- Conservative columnist Ann Coulter has refused to cooperate in an investigation into whether she voted in the wrong precinct, so the case will probably be turned over to prosecutors, Palm Beach County's elections chief said Wednesday.

Elections Supervisor Arthur Anderson said his office has been looking into the matter for nearly nine months, and he would turn over the case to the state attorney's office by Friday.

Coulter's attorney did not immediately return a call Wednesday. Nor did her publicist at her publisher, Crown Publishing.

Knowingly voting in the wrong precinct is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Anderson's office received a complaint in February that Coulter voted in the wrong precinct during a February 7 Palm Beach town council election.


(Full Story)

Boehner: Iraq is the Troops Fault

So, a top GOP House Leader insults the troops and blames the mess in Iraq all on them... I am guessing you won't get outrage from the right-wing blogs on this one. I know I haven't seen any yet. It will just go to prove how insincere they were about Kerry's comments.

In an interview Wednesday on CNN, Boehner said, "Let's not blame what's happening in Iraq on Rumsfeld."

CNN's Wolf Blitzer replied, "But he's in charge of the military."

"The fact is, the generals on the ground are in charge, and he works closely with them and the president," Boehner, an Ohio Republican, said.


Boehner: Let's not blame Iraq woes on Rumsfeld

Wingnuts politicians keep saying that liberals hate the military. So, if Republican lawmakers love the military so much, compared to Democrats in office, why did so few of them ever serve in uniform?

Update: Still no outrage from the right... Go figure. As suspected, it was all political.

Boehner refuses to apologize for faulting generals

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Enough Already

Enough with he righteous indignation coming from the right wing already over Kerry's comments. Yes, what he said was extremely stupid and probably did offend some people.

But enough with the righteous indignation. Anyone who grew up during Viet Nam and either severed solely due to the draft or received a deferment due to being in school knows exactly what he he was talking about and know that he was right on point.

We should all be proud of the soldiers who are fighting in Iraq. And they should all be proud to serve in an all volunteer army. But anyone who tries to make the claim that the bulk of the armed forces in the direct line of fire throughout the history of warfare is not made up primarily of the lesser educated and low to lower-middle class either lying or living in an alternate reality.

For millennia, the armies of the world have been made up of those who have fewer alternatives for a prosperous future than those with an education or wealth. During Viet Nam, the war that Bush opted out of, it was the uneducated that were drafted. The rich who could pull strings and those who were in college were the ones who had a choice. Bush had a choice not to fight... Cheney had a choice not to fight... Limbaugh had a choice not to fight. The average high school grad working in the steel mill had no choice. He had to fight.

Yes, there are plenty of educated men and women who are serving in Iraq right now. But, I read the names of those soldiers who have fallen in Iraq every night. You don't see General and Majors in the titles. You see PFC and Sgt's. Lets face it. Even if you do volunteer for the army. If you have a college degree or higher, the chances of you being killed in Iraq is substantially lower.

This is an all volunteer army, but which high schools do the military recruiters target? The ones where 90% of the grads have been accepted to college or those which the kids are lucky if they go on to one semester at the local community college? There is a reason that the military targets the lesser educated. Because they know that they have fewer options.

When Edwards mentioned that Cheney's daughter was gay, there was the same outrage given by the right. Two days ago, Bush publicly declared gay Americans are less equal and less deserving of equal protection of the law than heterosexual Americans. Where was the outrage over that? Hmmm?

So spare me the sanctimonious crap. Kerry was speaking the truth. And you all know it. You are just looking for any excuse to be able to lay your anger over the botched "American Democracy Experiment" on anyone other that the people who deserve it. Was Kerry's comment stupid? Yes, but what is really insulting to the troops is the way that Bush has waged this war.

Bush Calls Kerry Remarks Insulting to U.S. Troops

Kerry Apologizes, Calls Remarks a 'Botched Joke'