Tuesday, November 14, 2006

First Things First

Glory! There, I celebrated. Now there is serious work to do, the first of which is to block the President's lame duck Congressional initiatives left over from the bad-old days of one party rule. Then in January, when the new Congress is seated, take Speaker Pelosi's advice and don't overly concern yourself with righteous outrage and tie up the government in committees and investigations about cronyism and waste. There are soldiers' lives on the line and the American public voted for the Democrats to find a resolution to the Iraq War. First, find the way to extricate us from the morass of violence that Rumsfeld and his fellow architects of destruction have placed us in. There will be time enough for investigations when this nation gets off the dime and stops with this ridiculous "stay the course" bullshit. Oh, I forgot. They're retiring that slogan with Rumsfeld.

I am pleased to see the British agree with my recommendations, (See "My Exit Strategy;4/7/06) to send Islamic peacekeepers to the streets of Baghdad and remove the bulls eyes from the backs of our volunteers. I am especially pleased that the power to wage war without oversight has been wrested from the Bush/Cheney team by the voters and placed back into the hands of Congress. Thanks to Jim Baker's Iraq Study Group, Bush the Lesser may still salvage a dignified retreat from his self-inflicted, shock-and-awe, cesspool. Although it must be a humiliation for the Bush Power Rangers and discredited neocons to see their power usurped by Poppy's men, and returned to the realists who knew all along that occupying Iraq was a bad idea. Everybody knew but Chucklehead, Cheney, Rove, Rice, Rumsfeld, Wolfe, et. al, who were the true believers in this Faith Based Presidency. As far as our generational Presidential culture wars are going, it's Hippies-1, Jesus Freaks-0. And it will be sweater weather in Hades when another self-confessed Evangelical Conservative Christian is elected.

The new Congress is not yet seated, however, and I am already tired of windbag Joe Biden, and Charlie "Mississippi" Rangel's tough talk about the retribution they intend to deliver. Not that I don't believe that retribution is richly deserved, but let us address the matters of life and death first, starting with replacing our soldiers in Iraq with peacekeepers, either from the region, or from the United Nations. If their troops can stand between Israel and Hezbollah, they can stand between the Sunni and the Shia. An equal priority should be the reconstruction of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Although it wasn't funny, it was heartening to see Comic Relief use their donations to build and rent affordable housing in New Orleans areas where city services have not returned. The Dutch built their system of dikes and seawalls for seven billion dollars. We spend that in Iraq in a week.

And let us recognize that Hillary Clinton was right about our broken and corrupted health management industry, but we thought it was presumptuous of her to delve into policy as an unelected official. At least Hillary was trying to bring help to ordinary people. We've seen the Karl Rove attempts at policy making and it makes Hillary look like Joan of Arc. It is an ongoing crime of the deregulation-crazed Republicans since Reagan, that Canada and other nations can provide affordable medicine and health care to its' citizens, and the United States outsources its' public health policies to the HMOs and the pharmaceutical industry. Call it Socialism or whatever you wish, but our present health care system is killing us.

Finally, let the investigations begin. I recall the lazy summer of '73, when I spent nights singing in an airport bar and days watching the Sam Ervin Watergate hearings. They remain the best reality television I have ever seen. So if John Conyers or John Murtha want to open investigations with the power to subpoena people to testify about the crimes of this administration, have at it. I'm sure they will make great entertainment. Seeing an evil liar get his comeuppance is always gratifying. But don't be in a hurry to impeach the President. First, remember any impeachment must be in tandem with all the co-conspirators who have infested government with their greed and lies. No one wants a President Cheney, in title if not in fact. Rather, allow the accumulation of the evidence impeach the President and all of his cronies. This election has rendered Bush irrelevant for the remainder of his two years. But he is an unpredictable radical who is capable of Nixonian insanity.

The filing of charges of war crimes against Donald Rumsfeld by attorneys in Germany whose clients were inmates at Abu Ghraib, proves that no one is immune from prosecution for their actions. If the information revealed by congressional investigation shows that there was a conspiracy to mislead the American people into a ghastly war and it's consequent casualties, the charges may well outlive this administration, but the administration will not outlive the charges. Terrible wrong had been done in the name of the American people, and there must be consequences.
Meanwhile, let no man harm a hair on my president's head. May he and his cabinet stay healthy and hearty for the trials yet to come. Democracy is a beautiful thing when it works. The Hindus believe that it is not only man who possesses karma, but nations, too. I believe we are watching national karma in action. Accountability has returned to government like a snarling, junkyard dog and a whole lot of folks are fixin' to get bit. Secure our nation, protect our military from fool's errands, and rebuild our treasured cities, and there will still be enough time to give Junior the spanking he so richly deserves.

Monday, November 06, 2006

It's the Stupid, War

Well, less than a day now and we'll see if this government rights its course or continues on the expressway to hell. Will you vote for more war, or endless war, or put the grown-ups back in charge? By now, no one is persuadable about who they will vote for and no words from me will make any difference. Who I wish to directly address are the 50% of eligible voters that just can't be bothered. They leave comments on this page all the time about how voting is a waste of time, each party is equally corrupt, the vote is rigged anyway, and one vote doesn't make a difference. There have been suggestions to drop out, start communes, or begin to drink heavily.

I have never understood this reasoning, although George Carlin, among others, professes non-participation. I have voted in every election that I was able because of the one time it would have mattered most, I was unable to vote. This was 1968 and I wanted to vote for Hubert Humphrey against Richard Nixon, but I didn't turn 21 until after Nixon won. I always found it ironic that the vote was granted to 18 year olds under Nixon, because if we had had the vote while attending college, Nixon would never have been elected. Imagine that. The difference between the candidates was only a few 100,000 votes. Voting students might have stopped Nixon and saved the additional 20,000 lives that were lost in Vietnam on his watch. If only.

This go-round, if you are registered to vote but don't bother, you're a fool and don't know it. But I'm here to tell you. This time the election is about peace and war, and life and death. If you're an Evangelical Christian who expects to be "Raptured Up" in the next few years, you already have a dream government and I'd like for you to leave me your car. The confrontation with Iran that I discussed in a previous post did not materialize, but it wasn't because the government wasn't trying. We conducted military maneuvers in dangerous waters only a week before an important election. The Iranians just shot off some intermediate range missiles in return rather than rise to the provocation. But these boys are just itching to do some "shock and awe" in Iran. Bush repeated yesterday that Rumsfeld and Cheney were doing "fantastic jobs," and he wants them on until the end. When the end is, will depend on the independent voter.

It's simple for me. A vote for a Democrat means the policy in Iraq will be reviewed and revised. A vote for a Republican means you're a collaborator. This wasteful war has taken so much more than is shown on TV or the Internet. Here are the most accurate figures to date that aren't discussed. On top of the 2,800 U.S. troops who have died in Iraq, there are an additional 48,000 non-fatal casualties serious enough to disqualify a soldier from further service. That's a whole football stadium full of our soldiers, friends. An astounding 650,000 to 800,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the American invasion. This study was done by Johns Hopkins University and the most startling thing is how non-plussed we are as a nation about this hideous number of "collateral" deaths. A further 1.5 million people have fled the violence in Iraq for elsewhere in the world, and because these were people who could afford to get out, they were the professionals and technicians needed to construct a viable nation out of the rubble we have created. In addition, there are as many American private contractors in Iraq as there are soldiers, often doing the same work for twice the money. This obscenity must end.

If you are able to vote and sit this election out, you deserve exactly what you get. The Republicans, for the last four election cycles, have demonstrated great ability in getting their voters to the polls. This election, too, is all about mobilization. Non-voters may not realize that the right wing and Christian conservatives have discovered the way to motivate their supporters and get them to the polls in great numbers. They are counting on you to stay home because the political season was the nastiest in memory. That's why they run those hideous ads; they work. But Karl Rove is not Superman and is not invulnerable. He will once again get the conservatives out en masse, and the only way to counter this is with equal determination from people wanting change. My hope is that every lethargic, cynical, and turned-off voter will wake up and realize this election is different from the rest. This government is using your children to die for a discredited ideology and only you can stop it. Will you? Tomorrow, you have the chance.