Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Bush New War Strategy Same Old Same Old

George Bush’s much-hyped first sales pitch speech today in a attempt to launch a new administration narrative as to why America should stay the course in Iraq offered nothing new. He spent most of the time before an approving and controllable audience of naval cadets trying to explain how many Iraqis had been trained and the make up of Iraqi security and armed forces. Most of it attempting to turn the same old sow’s ear into a silk purse that was meant to sound like progress on the march to a model democracy in the Middle East. He continues to use the old cliches but recited them with a desparately phony sounding new conviction.

I think the most important thing he did make clear was that as long as he is President we should expect the same ideological “god is on our side” bag of wind leadership that has been the hallmark of his conduct of the war so far. Which means that unless the Democrats control the Congress after the November 2006 elections it will be 2008 before we can begin to realize some sort of logical strategy in the conduct or the war and exit from Iraq. If we have a country left by then.

One commentator observed that Bush was almost religious in his commitment to not cut and run from Iraq. The truth is he is religious, not almost religious; he is communing with his god. Of course, that is a main part of the problem.

It always amazes me that somehow this President thinks that when we kill innocent civilians in Iraq with a wayword bomb or intentional bullet it is somehow different than when a terrorist does it directly. Both are in fact based on misguided religiously driven righteousness or patriotism. Another rather large elephant is the living room that no one seems to recognize here is how this war in Iraq has morphed into Bush’s center piece in his “global war on terror”. What I like to know is where the fuck is Osama Bin Laden and the other people who attacked this country on 9/11.

Bush has more or less single handedly created the problem that we find our nation in with Iraq today. We are suppose to overlook the mistake of entering this war and the total incompetent conduct of this war on all fronts from day one and now fully accept that something different will come from hacks like Rumsfeld, Rove and Cheney.

Another issue at play here is that Bush has failed to admit any mistake in pursuing the war in the first place, an observation that most Americans have begun to accept as fact. Two wrongs make a right philosophy apparently at play here. Why can’t Bush admit that his grand plan to liberate Iraq was a flawed policy from the beginning? That he’s made some rather large mistakes and at the very minimum is ask for the American people’s forgiveness.

Then fire Donald Rumsfeld and tell the Vice President to start spending his time cutting ribbons and presiding over the Senate. Finally, he should bring someone into his inter circle who is willing to tell him when the emperor has no clothes on and who may offer a realistic approach to dealing with the war. Someone who also can propose a strategy that reflects the realities of the situation in Iraq.

Having said that, I know it’s not going to happen. Not with this incompetent and detached zealot of a President who has so badly lost his way.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Bush Says Kyoto Protocols Not Needed Do To End of World

Once again the Bush Administration chooses to ignore world concerns about global warming by not sending a representative from the United States to a meeting of world leaders on the subject that is being held this week in Montreal. Instead he issued a statement addressed to Governors of the Gulf States telling them to begin immediate preparations for hurricane Omega. Which is expected to hit sometime next fall. He also indicated in the letter to the Governors that it looks like they'd have to "go it alone" and not to expect too much help from Washington.

It’s expected that the National Hurricane Service will quickly use up all the names for hurricanes based on the regular alphabet, as is the practice, and be all of the way through the Greek alphabet to Omega by Fall 2006.

In spite of lots of scientific evidence that the increased number and severity of hurricanes may be related to global warming, the Bush administration has determined that it just doesn’t matter. Any preparation would be a “waste of time” since the president and first lady Laura Bush have determined that the “end of the world” is just around the corner anyway.

In a controversial related move it is reported that Pat Robertson will soon be appointed to head the EPA. According to press reports the administration is leaning towards appointing Robertson over Bob Snaglefuss who, up until recently, had been the janitor in charge of cleaning the west wing of the White House. Vice President Cheney branded members of the media who recently claimed Snaglefuss lacked the qualifications to head the agency “irresponsible cowards and mommas boys”. The controversy has apparently created white house infighting between the end times faction and Cheney’s chief of Staff.

Here is the Bush administration record on global warming provided by the National Resources Defense Council starting with the most recent lack of action:

  • Bush fails to send US representative to meeting in Montreal to discuss global warming progress Novemer 28, 2005:
  • Bush admits humans cause global warming, but rebuffs action July 06, 2005:
  • EPA scuttled global warming videos to avoid White House wrath July 01, 2005:
  • White House whitewashes global warming data June 08, 2005:
  • Bush points to technology as key to climate change fix February 17, 2005:
  • EPA environmental report to include global warming data February 03, 2005:
  • Bush administration impedes progress at international global warming talks
  • December 18, 2004:
  • Bush administration accepts global warming science but balks at solutions November 24, 2004:
  • Bush administration agrees to capture methane gas November 16, 2004:
  • Bush administration ignoring scientific evidence on global warming November 08, 2004:
  • Top EPA air official tells industries it will need to reduce greenhouse gases October 12, 2004:
  • Bush administration slashes funding for global warming research June 03, 2004:
  • EPA will cover climate change, for a change June 02, 2004:
  • Bush administration claims it's misunderstood on global warming May 10, 2004:
  • Secret Pentagon report details global warming threat February 22, 2004:
  • Scientists accuse White House of distorting science on global warming for political gains February 18, 2004:
  • Court upholds stronger energy-efficiency standards January 13, 2004:
  • Bush's global warming plan produces negligible results January 01, 2004:
  • Bush administration seeks increase in use of ozone-depleting pesticide November 14, 2003:
  • White House plays down global warming evidence September 21, 2003:
  • EPA passes the buck on regulating global warming pollution from cars August 28, 2003:
  • EPA on global warming gases: Bring 'em on! August 28, 2003:
  • Bush climate plan all study, no action July 24, 2003:
  • White House whitewashes EPA environment report June 23, 2003:
  • Scientists debunk Bush's global warming plan February 25, 2003:
  • White House ordered to reveal climate change documents February 21, 2003:
  • White House gets industry support for voluntary pollution cuts February 12, 2003:
  • Bush administration fosters policy of delay on global warming December 04, 2002:
  • EPA omits global warming section from pollution report September 15, 2002:
  • Bush administration stalls on global warming solution July 10, 2002:
  • Bush and Whitman distance themselves from EPA global warming report June 12, 2002:
  • Bush administration finally admits big trouble from global warming June 03, 2002:
  • Bush administration ousts top global warming scientist April 19, 2002:
  • Bush clean air plan would boost coal use April 17, 2002:
  • Bush administration trying to dump global warming scientist April 02, 2002:
  • White House global warming plan "cooks the books" February 14, 2002:
  • Bush unlikely to offer alternative global warming plan July 26, 2001:
  • NRDC praises global warming agreement; calls on Bush to reconsider July 23, 2001:
  • Bush outlines an 'all talk, no action' approach to global warming July 13, 2001:
  • Bush budget cuts for international global warming programs more significant than reported July 12, 2001:
  • NRDC to President Bush: Get serious about global warming June 11, 2001:
  • Bush administration rejects Kyoto Protocol March 28, 2001:
  • Bush retreats from campaign promise to reduce carbon pollution March 13, 2001

Friday, November 25, 2005

Opposing American Military Hegemony

Why has American political leadership failed to control rampant American militarism and failed to protect America’s homeland from terrorist attack? I think the two are closely related. If political leadership of this generation became willing to change the fundamental way we protected America with our military we could of perhaps saved America billions of dollars and perhaps even stopped the terrorist attacks on 9/11. The billions saved in wasteful military spending could have fostered social and other programs that ultimately would have strengthen our democracy, lowered our federal deficits and improved the lives of millions in the United States.

Unfortunately there is enough blame to go around for this fundamental failure of vision on how to use of our military, which started with those who have been in power since at least 1990. This is further exacerbated, I think, by the failure to use our military properly in an even more pronounced and deadly way today under the present Bush/Cheney administration political ideology and their war on terror. Vividly demonstrated by the failing war and quagmire in Iraq.

Our founding fathers warned us that involvement in foreign wars would lead to all sorts of potential catastrophe for the American democracy. Jefferson spoke of "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none." Washington warned, “Act for ourselves and not for others," by forming an "American character wholly free of foreign attachments." Now no one is na├»ve enough to say that America should become isolationist in the modern age, but we should begin to realize that our real mission is to protect or own borders and homeland first and then win the hearts and minds of the people of other nations of the world by our example rather then our military might. It is a mistake to think that stationing our troops in ever corner of the world better protects America.

Since the end of World War II America has involved itself in several wars. The motivation and need for participation in foreign wars in Vietnam and presently in Iraq remain highly questionable. Americans must begin to ask themselves, and begin to take responsibility for, what appears to be a long and mistaken misuse of our military to extend our political will on other nations and people when it leads to the waste of the lives of young Americans and ends up being self destructive, wasteful and morally wrong in the end.

In 1989 America was presented with a rare historic opportunity to racially change the way America projected it’s military power and better protect itself from the new menace, global terrorism. The moment in time took place with the downfall and subsequent reform of governments in the Soviet Union and countries that were considered to be under Soviet control and influence. This of course, was the end of the cold war.

Today it appears that America has not taken advantage of the opportunity presented at the end of the cold war to remake the American military or begin to use it’s military might in a way that really defended the homeland. It can be argued that attacks on America like 9/11 could have been preventable if American political leaders had the foresight to redefine the mission of the military back then to one of mainly protecting the homeland.

Instead American political leaders continued to use the American military power worldwide by stationing troops in far-flung places at great expense and where it could be of little use in directly protecting America. Focusing instead on what it determined as “rogue states” rather then individual terrorists cells who were actively plotting to penetrate our defenses.

If fact, in many cases, American military presence became the main grievances of Islamic radicals including Osama Bin Laden who saw American presence on the Arabian Peninsula as a major affront to Islam. Much like Americans would hate the presence of a foreign army occupying or surrounding this country.

America became the world’s only superpower in 1989 and there was much discussion at the time and shortly after about what this would mean to America. There were a number of military, social and economic experts who wrote long essay on the “peace benefit”. The general narrative was that America would now have more money to spend on domestically centered educational, social programs and infrastructure with the end of the cold war. We had no enemy that could challenge our military might and therefore no longer needed the robust military that faced up to the communists.

Instead of taking advantage of this historic opportunity, America continues to this day to be guided, for the most part, by the hegemonic military bureaucracies and the powerful forces within the defense industry and the now age-old military industrial complex. We continue to spend a disproportionate amount of our national wealth and the lives of our young people pursuing political aims with our military. It can also be convincingly argued that we are more susceptible today, not less, to the focus of terrorist hatred and attacks because of our policies and misuse of military power. To many people in the world we have become the predominant source of war and evil in the world. A fact that is often overlooked by the mainstream media in this country and most Americans have a hard time getting their heads around. Even in the minds of people who in the past have traditionally supported American foreign policy. With many citizens of the European Union and countries like Japan wondering about a mostly dysfunctional and dangerous American foreign policy.

Colin Powell, who was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall, help formulated much of the policy that has come to dominate the scope and projection of American military power in the post cold war. This is true at least until the entry into preemptive war in Iraq by the Bush two in 2003 and the ascension of the Department of Defense under the leadership of Donald Rumsfeld. Who’s new approach to modernizing the American military is called “transformation” and offers little in the way of reductions in spending or troop levels being more concerned with the military processes and projecting military power worldwide then real change.

After a comprehensive review in 1990 at the end of the cold war called “Base Force”, Powell advocated a smaller military by 25% in manpower and money and this was generally accepted by Bush one administration. Powell's Base Force needed to be capable of performing four basic missions: first, it needed to be able to fight across the Atlantic; second, it needed to be capable of fighting across the Pacific; third, it needed to have a contingency force in the U.S. that could be deployed rapidly to hot spots, as we did in Panama in 1989; and finally, it needed to possess a nuclear force of sufficient size to deter our nuclear adversaries. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs further argued that the U.S. military should be sent into battle only when three conditions were met: first, our political objectives were clear and measurable; second, the country was prepared to use overwhelming force quickly and decisively to advance that objective; and third, military forces would be withdrawn when that objective was accomplished, that is, the political leaders have an exit strategy. Powell and his military colleagues did not wish to see the U.S. military become involved in more Vietnams (1960 - 1972) or Lebanon's (1982 - 1983) where the objectives were not clear and the military fought, in the Chief's view, with "one hand tied behind its back." This approach to the use of military force became known as the Powell Doctrine.

A doctrine that the present Bush administration seems to have ignored today and in doing so has apparently ignored the hard earned lessons of the quagmire that was the war in Vietnam.

During Bush one America involved itself in the first gulf war. A war where Bush one successfully asked for and received military and financial support from the international community, a fundamental difference missing in the second Iraq war under son of Bush. Son of Bush went to war in spite of wide spread opposition from the international community and the warnings of many high up military professionals nurtured on the Powell Doctrine. The first gulf war did much to reinforce the Powell Doctrine and the need for then accepted manpower levels and military spending. Perhaps, I argue here, a false premise because of the points I attempt to make here, that we can, with a much smaller military and one focus mainly on protecting the actual homeland do a better job.

Later under Bill Clinton there was a proposal to once again revamp the military promoted by Representative Les Aspin of Wisconsin called the “bottom up” review, which offered that even more money could be saved. Clinton took office in 1993 and Aspin became defense secretary. The Aspin proposal in effect really changed little. One example was it offered slightly larger cuts in spending that were to be gained by being more efficiency in things like military procurement. Clinton was reluctant to do battle with the military having been hampered on “don’t ask and don’t tell” gays in the military policy and his own lack of military service. So little ended up being done.

Why does America have more than 100,000 troops in Europe 60 years after the end of WW II or 100,000 troops in Asia 50 years after the Korean War? America needs a fundamental review of military spending and the way we use our military. We need to begin to use our military to protect the homeland first. We need to stop involving ourselves in foreign wars that are morally wrong, preemptive or ideologically motivated. We need to bring the troops home from not only Iraq, but from Europe and other parts of the world so that they can protect the homeland first. We need to keep our nose out of the rest of the world’s business. We need to rebuild America not Iraq. We need to be a nation equal among other nations. We need to be a better member and supporter of the United Nations and world community efforts as a vehicle in support of our international political agenda.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Torture The New American Holocaust

One day sometime in the future I can see several high level officials of the Bush administration before a international tribunal charged with war crimes. Something that most Americans would think of as an impossibility just a short time ago. It doesn’t seem that improbable anymore.

It seems that almost daily we learn some new shocking piece of news about the abuse of military and other detainees by American directed military personnel or operatives. Place like Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and CIA black sites in Afghanistan and elsewhere have become a nightmarish sidelight of the Bush Administration unfolding Iraq and terror war debacle. With each piece of news we begin to see the picture more clearly. The truth is that an American President and many of the highest members of his administration authorized and condoned and promoted a despicable course of subhuman treatment of other human beings. All done in the name of America an the ideologically driven misguided patriotic scheme they felt was justified as a prong of their so-called war on terror.

The problem here is that they took on the traits of, and became the very people that they supposedly were trying to destroy. Driven by their overzealousness and self-center fear they have now lowered our country’s standard and moral authority into a morally bankrupted and detestable sewer that we find ourselves in today. They have created more terrorists with more of a reason to want to destroy America and what they now think it represents. They have put our soldiers at risk of being tortured if captured or compromised.

Sure some of the people we have captured in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere are ruthless killers. But as Americans we MUST stand on the higher moral ground when it comes to dealing with them. No matter how long it takes or tedious it may seem to be. Only in this way can we maintain any moral authority as a nation amongst other free nations. Torture does not work, nor is it neccesary to win the war against terror. It is the course of action of fear filled men without imagination or vision.

Their banality and lack of vision and understanding of history only exceed their incompetence. They act like used car salesman at a car auction with the morality and traditions of this nation. Their hucksterism and phony posturing is as transparent as a phony preacher passing the collection basket at a Saturday night tent service.

If you believe that “a few bad apples on the night shift” are responsible for the entire mess at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq you should be certified as an idiot. The recent PBS Frontline report “The Torture Question” is shocking. The recent book by the former commander at Abu Ghraib Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, who was forced into retirement and used as a scapegoat by the administration, attempts to set straight the facts.

As an American I am heartsick about these revelations of widespread torture and myhem. I imagine that most freethinking American people know in their hearts that this type of behavior by or leaders is un-American and just plain wrong. When the truth is fully known, and it will be known someday, those responsible should face their day in court and be punished accordingly and, must I say, humanly. That same day in court they did not allow to those they accused and tortured in the name of America.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Senate Hearing on Record Oil Profits and High Gas Prices Accomplishes Zilch

Yesterday’s Senate Energy Committee hearings on the obscene cost of a gallon of gas and what appears to be price gauging by oil companies who coincidently are reporting record profits accomplished little. Committee member Washington Senator Maria Cantwell has spend the last few weeks in the run up to the hearings moving from one gas station photo opportunity to another attempting to show her concern about the effects of high gas prices on her working class constituents. But all the posturing somehow didn’t translated into any actionable results or plausible explanations yesterday.

The problem is that her posturing and postulations about her concern over gas prices and the effect upon our economy doesn’t lead to the truth being told by the oil men about how oil companies manipulate the markets to run the price of gas through the roof unabated by government control or concern. Or how the cost of gas relates to record profits they reported.

“Since announcing record quarterly profits last month, oil companies have been under growing pressure to justify such rewards. The five companies Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Conoco-Phillips, BP and Royal Dutch/Shell reported total earnings last quarter of nearly $33 billion.”

I caught part of the hearings yesterday on a CPAN Internet feed and heard Cantwell address the issue later in the afternoon on KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross show. Cantwell was foggy about what she thinks are the root causes of high oil prices and seems even more in the dark about how to explain it in a way that appeared that she was playing tough with the big oil big shots.

Doesn’t look like Cantwell or anyone else can connected the dots on the problem establishing who’s on first or just who's operating the big smoke and mirror machine behind the curtain in the land of Oz that the big oil companies occupy. Cantwell played Dorothy’s part with lots of oh gee whizzes and gush darn its. She spent most of the radio interview rhetorically asking herself why two gas stations across the street from each other in Bellevue, WA could be charging such widely different prices for a gallon of gas.

One of the more interesting aspects of the hearing is that Committee Chairman Ted Stevens of Alaska chose not to put the oil billionaires under oath. Probably because later they be subject to charges of perjury. He also conducted the hearings in such a way as to assure that the blood sucking, baby starving oil magnets were thrown lots of softball questions that they answered with the usual oil company mumble jumble responses that we are accustom to, along the lines, of "it just to complicated for us to explain it here and now, or we can 't possibly give you a YES or NO on that question."

Senator Barbara Boxer of California seemed the feistiest of the lot, at one point saying, "Working people struggle with high gas prices, And your sacrifice, gentlemen, appears to be nothing", stating the obvious. Upon questioning by Cantwell one monkey-suited to the "T" oil executive replied "There are no easy yes-or-no answers in this business."

That it, hearing over let’s all go home now that we got to the bottom of that!

There's little hope the high gas prices/record oil profits mystery will get solved until a Democrat controlled House or Senate regains the Congress and the power to really investigate the issue and put the oil company good old boy’s feet to the fire.

The only exception being if price gauging or oil profits become such a political liability to Republicans that it jeopardizes their chance to retain control of congress in November 2006. Then the oil companies will probably find a way to take the pressure off the GOP by stabilizing or reducing the price per gallon in the run up to the 2006 election.

Democrats and Liberals Need to Begin to Think Outside the Box

It maybe necessary for you to set aside political labels and think open-mindedly if this piece is to make any sense. Political labels are perhaps one of the most difficult problems sometimes when attempting to make political progress. We often dismiss an idea if it is labeled as conservative or liberal based on our personal political barometer. Even if it is a good idea that has demonstrated it will work to improve the common good. Being closed minded, we are often reluctant to judge the value of a tree by the fruit it actually has or may bare.

Nothing is more frustrating then having to listen to liberals who continue to think that irrelevant themes, philosophy and programs should continue to play a part in the future make-up of the party. The party of the people must do some serious self-examination and be open minded, innovative, and bold. We must be willing to think outside the box if we expect to lead this nation in the future or continue to be a viable majority party able to elect people to lead our nation.

We must be willing to jettisoning themes, programs and attitudes that won’t work in modern America or make us a brand X version of the Republican Party. We must be honest with ourselves about what we want the party to represent in the future and not be afraid to talk about it openly even if it is controversial.

It’s frustrating to listen to Air America’s hyperbolical sophomoric rhetoric sometimes that seems so pervasive these days and which many liberals have taken up as an acceptable form of “liberal speak” when talking about how much they “hate” conservative and Republican ideas or personalities.

It is important that we demonstrate a variety of new ideas and a vision of those ideas in play that American voters can support at the ballot box. We must chart a course to higher ground.

Here is a laundry list of attitudes and ideas that may need to be considered. I realize I may get in trouble with some of these ideas but think that they need to be placed out in the open. I see them as ideas or tendencies that "good" Democrats are often afraid to admit or even think aloud about.

  • Demonstrating tolerance and respect of conservatives ideas if they work
  • Stop putting down conservatives because we think they lack intelligent. Forever, referring to Bush and other republican leaders as stupid rather then incompetent or simply misguided.
  • Acting like snobs by thinking we, as democrats or liberals, are somehow better then and more intelligent than conservatives just because we think liberally.
  • Not being tolerant of conservative Christians or other organized religion
  • Being condesending to people who believe in God
  • Thinking big government programs will solve all our problems
  • Not supporting realistic tax breaks for business that will stimulate economic growth and create jobs
  • Not promoting personal responsibility or a willingness to see that people ultimately must be responsible for their actions
  • Be willing to cut waste in government when needed
  • Cutting bureaucracy and red tape
  • Isolationist foreign policies
  • Opposing free trade even if it protects working conditions, worker rights and the environment.
  • Supporting a strong military
  • Thinking government can solve all personal and social problems
  • Thinking the government owes us a living
  • Patronizing ethnic minorities
  • Overlooking union corruption and cronyism
  • Political correctness
  • Pandering to gay rights or abortion rights groups by overemphasizing their struggles at the expense of more relevant issues that affect a wider majority of the people. Thus becoming a one or two issue political party in the minds of potential voters who are neither gay or will every need or consider having an abortion.
  • Being condescending and/or patronizing towards working class people

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Initiative 912 Defeat Due To Leadership and Voter Common Sense

The defeat of Initiative 912 by Washington State voters on Tuesday is a hopeful sign that the State is moving back to common sense politics and trusting the judgment of our elected representatives. The endorsement by the majority of people of the transportation gas tax by their no vote on Initiative 912 stands as wonderful example of bi-partisan compromising and the timely application of leadership.

At the same time it a hopeful sign that we are moving away from government by rightwing radio wing nuts and novelty salesman “just say no to everything” initiatives. And back to trusting the judgment of representatives we elect to lead us exercising their judgment to reject or pass laws through our legislature that make Washington a better place to live. The Tim Eyman’s of the world should take notice that perhaps a new day is dawning in state politics. I like many others certainly hope so.

Governor Christine Gregoire must be given credit for her last minute arm-twisting during the last session of the state legislature to get the transportation package through a mined field of reluctant legislators who are extremely hesitant to lead on the controversial tax increase legislation. Most state lawmakers are more concerned about how their constituents will vote in the next election than demonstrating chutzpah and taking a stand on a tough issue.

Gregoire definitely demonstrated a different approach then what we were used to when in the dying days of the last legislative session she went to the floor of the capitol and began twisting the arms of members of both political caucuses, the business lobby and labor. I think it’s widely perceived that her predecessor in the Governor’s mansion, Gary Locke, would be more restrained in a similar situation during his time as governor and generally reluctant to knock heads with Republicans when it came to controversial legislation. Especially legislation that involved raising taxes. This often led to political constipation and malaise in state government during his time as governor. It also often frustrated Democrats.

It would be correct to argue that the needs of transportation would not of been address if the Democrats had not most recently gained control of the House and Senate in Olympia. For many years the legislature was split House against Senate or oddly split down the middle in the House. This made for a general lack of action on transportation and other tax heavy legislation. Republicans just saying no to any tax and Democrats reluctant to give the Republicans the right to blame them at election time for raising taxes if they should be able to maneuver a bill through Republican control committees or caucus roadblocks.

I must admit I had my doubts about Gregoire ability to lead prior to her election. But I think that she has demonstrated guts and leadership since she has been in office. Last nights election should stand historically as the end of her probationary period as Washington’s Governor.

The corporations that comprise the “enlighten” business community also need to be given credit for signing on from the beginning to defeat Initiative 912. Part of the deal struck in Olympia when the tax passed the legislature was that they would oppose any initiative to repeal it. This promise convinced a necessary number of moderate Westside Republicans to support the bill’s ultimate passage with their vote.

Corporations like Microsoft and Boeing acted responsibly and in their own interested by bankrolling the no on 912 campaigns. Labor unions also understood that the modernizing of the states transportation system was important to their member’s well being because it would create high paying jobs.

Finally something has to be said for the great number of liberal and Democrat activists and/or bloggers out there who continued to hammer home the message. BlatherWatch,, Washington Defense, Washington State Political Report, Better Donkey Pacific Northwest Portal all deserve to feel good about this victory for common sense politics.

Of course, the voters deserve most of the credit for demonstrating their common sense in the face of a barrage of rightwing BS.

Now lets build some infrastructure!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Bush and Cheney Continue to Torture America's Soul

I was dumpfounded and angry after watching Senator Kit Bond of Missouri attempt to defend the confusing postion of the Bush Administration on torture of military prisioners airing on PBS newshour tonight.

Bond is the one of the nine Senators who voted against a Senate bill introduced by Senator John McCain of Arizona to outlaw torture of military combatant prisioners. The bill eventually passed the Senate on a 9o to 9 vote.

The main opponent to the bill is apparently Vice President Cheney. Bush when question about his position on the bill during his trip to South America last week stated that "we do not torture". Which seem to be at odds with Cheney's position. That torture by the CIA of military prisoners under certain circumstances should be allowed to continue. He continues to lobby the congress to not pass any laws that would restrict the torture.

I sent the following email to Senator Bond after seeing the PBS report:

Dear Senator Bond,

After seeing you on PBS this evening condoning torture I was compelled to write. In fact I'm discussed.

I'd like you to know that MOST Americans are not as stupid as you seem to think we are when it comes to this issue. You seem to be saying torture is somehow not really torture?

I think you and Vice President Cheney are apparently morally bankrupt. Just like the Bush administration for which you often play the lap dog. I wonder if we'll have a country left in three years after you people get done with it.

I presume you're a Christian person? Would Jesus condone torture? It’s very unlikely. Nor would anyone else who considers themselves ethical or moral.

By taking the position you do, supporting the CIA use of torture, you only lower the moral authority of this country into the cesspool in which our enemies dwell? Is it really worth it in the long run? What does it say to the rest of the world? Does it put our soldiers at risk of being tortured should they be captured?

You say that the methods of torture we use are sort of “like those used in a military boot camp”. You're a bigger fool than I think you are if you try to sell that BS to the American public.

I don't want to be a citizen of a country that uses torture. You should look at the constitution. It happens to say something about cruel and unusual punishment. Something our founding fathers found cruel, repugnant and uncivilized.

Daniel O'Brien
Vashon, WA

P.S. You should probably take that ethics class their giving over at the White House. See if your can get Cheney to go with you!

Senator Cantwell Selling Out to Big Shipping Companies?

Today’s Seattle PI published a story about how Senator Cantwell is sponsoring a bill in the Senate that will allow shipping companies to discharge toxic ballast wastes into the marine environment.

The original Environmental Protection Act of 1972 banned the release of untreated ballast water from ships into estuaries and bays. Unfortunately, the EPA subsequently also allowed such dumping by exempting shipping companies from this part of the law.

For the last six years environmental activists have been trying to reverse this action by filing a number of lawsuits against the EPA. Their concerns are based on recent studies that prove that the dumping has been causing severe damage to the marine environment of bays and estuaries, especially shrimp beds like those here in Washington State. To quote the PI story:

“Considering this threat, it's difficult to understand why Cantwell is promoting a bill in Congress, S 363, to eliminate Clean Water Act coverage of ballast water just as the EPA is being forced to require permits for ships. In fact, Cantwell's bill was specifically drafted in response to a federal court decision in March holding that EPA's exempting ships from permits was illegal. In other words, S 363 is a pure giveaway to the shipping industry.”

After reading the story I sent an e-mail to Cantwell’s office requesting a explanation. I recommend you do the same. The link is here.

Dear Senator Cantwell, Today's story in the Seattle PI troubles me. Why are you supporting a bill that allows shipping companies to release toxic materials into OUR marine environment?

It's troubling that it appears that you are "selling out" to the shipping companies. Aren’t you interested in fighting for the common man and protection of our environment? Do the corporations so easily compromise you? Show some backbone for god's sake.

Is your office so incompetent that it's doesn't realize it's taking a position that is in opposition to many environmentalist who appear to be well informed on this issue and been fighting to stop the very thing your bill would allow.

I expect this type of behavior from a Republican, Not from a Democrat. Haven't the working people been hurt enough already by the incompetence of Bush and the republican congress.

I'd like a explanation!

Daniel O'Brien

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Washington State Republicans Stoop to New Low By Violating Your Sacred Right to Vote

The Washington State Republican Party, still smarting from the loss of a close election for Governor last year, has now stooped to a new low.

These Republican wing nuts recently challenged the voting rights of more than 1900 King County residents based on their mistaken belief that addresses recorded in county records by these citizens were phony. This election-eve ploy I suspect is really intended to create the appearance that there is something wrong with the way King County conducts elections. An issue that republicans still smart from after losing the gubernatorial election last year and that the Republicans have continued to whine about endlessly. Now carrying these frivolous and old hat charges into this election season.

The main motivation seems to be the need for the republicans to create the perception in the minds of voters that the election problems of last fall have not been corrected, or that someone is playing fast and loose with the ballots. The issue is also one of the main topics in a tight election for King County Executive. If voters do buy into the lie it maybe enough to swing the election for the executive in the favor of these right wing kooks.

In this case the only ones playing fast and loose are the republicans. The timing and brazen nature of this action by the Washington State Republicans hits at the very core of a citizen’s right to vote. That’s the sacred right to vote that these “red necks ” would soil their pants over if it were THIER right to vote being challenged.

The timing of the challenge gives those challenged little time to correct the mistakes prior to the election and little time for officials to respond to the substance of the challenges. Which I presume will, much like other recent republican challenges, turn out to be baseless or a tempest in a teapot.

The disgusting part of this republican ploy is that the GOP now appear to be ready to go to any lengths to actually restrict the rights of legal voters in King County if it is politically expedient. Not a whole hell of a lot different then the “Jim Crows” in the old South putting down the black vote is my way of looking at it.

I say a curse on all these incompetent fascists houses. I further recommended to any person who’s right to vote was challenged that you should be looking into suing the republican party for damages related to a violation of your civil rights and/or voting rights. I’m sure there are good lawyers out there who be more that happy to take up your case.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

So Far Main Stream Media Unable to Get to Bottom of Story Behind CIA Leak...Why, for God's Sake, Do They Call Him "Scooter"?

“a vehicle typically ridden as a recreation, consisting of a footboard mounted on two wheels and a long steering handle, propelled by resting one foot on the footboard and pushing the other against the ground.”

I've been watching MSNBC Hardball with Chris Matthews and Countdown with Keith Olbermann and flipping through O’Reilly’s no spin zone frantically, but have yet to have any of these, know it all, talking heads tell me yet why they call indicted White House aide Irve Lewis Libby “scooter”?

Couldn’t someone just ask some White House press spinner what the fuck the nick name is suppose to mean? You’d think that Dick Cheney himself would of come up with a talking point on how nick named people are less likely to be guilty of leaking CIA secrets, and far less likely to grandstand or hijack the US Senate then a democrat.

Indeed there are a couple of rumors in the blogosphere that his dad either thought he moved around the crib like he was on a scooter or reminded him of the New York Yankee hall of fame shortstop Phil “scooter” Rizzuto. But, why can’t the press get to the bottom of this? It’s a question I’ve had since I first hear him called “scooter”.

I think unless you’re professional athletic, a boxer or the Mayor of New York City prior to 1933, or a hip hop artist with a criminal record, you should immediately drop the nickname you’ve picked up when you turn 18. Plus “scooter” is a rather lame nickname anyway. It has that frat boy smell to it or may indicate sexual dysfunction.

How about something more manly like Lewis “Air” Libby or “ the Candy man” Libby as a nickname? Perhaps something more political sounding like “Boss” or “Kingfish” Libby. Or in honor of his buddy Tom “the hammer” Delay maybe he could be “the nails”, “reciprocal saw” or “the drill” Libby.

Alas he’s just “scooter”. Here are my guesses why they call him scooter.
  • He was very adept at “scooting” out of the house before her husband showed up.
  • He worked for the drain cleaning company Roto Rooter while in college and his actual nickname is “Roto Scooter”.
  • He liked to pound down shooters at Yale fraternity parties and sanitized the nickname when he went into politics.
  • He worked as a meter maid while in college.
  • He scoots over so much while sleeping he always end up on the floor.
  • He rode a Vespa in College because his dad wouldn’t let him buy anything above 100 cc’s.
  • He liked to go to “hooters” and when he was introduced to Bush the president thought he said “scooters”. Everyone in the White House was afraid to correct Bush on the mistake after that and started calling him "scooter" to cover up the mistake.

Healthcare Crisis an American Disgrace..10 Reasons for Universal Healthcare Now!

When will politicians have the guts to do the right thing about the healthcare crisis in this country? Who will speak for the common people to right this glaring wrong?

The state of healthcare coverage in America is a tragic national disgrace. We remain the only country among modern industrialized Western democracies that does not offer some form of universal healthcare coverage for its people. The Republican indifference and band-aid approaches to a comprehensive solution to the problem, and need for universal health care coverage for all Americans is disgusting and Neanderthal. The Bush administration continues to do little or nothing. Acting at the whim of the insurance industry, drug, and powerful hegemony of the medical industrial complex to stonewall progress.

Recently ABC News reported that infant mortality, widely held to be an important barometer of a nation’s health, have risen in the United States for the first time since 1958. We now have more infants dying then Croatia, Lithuania, Taiwan, or even Cuba. The US currently ranks 28th in the world, which is far behind other modern industrialized nations like Sweden, France, Japan, and Germany. This is sort of the canary in the coalmine statistic that should motivate voters to look at the political choices they make and how they effect their healthcare.

By not having a universal form of healthcare we remain backward and out of step with the rest of the modern industrialized world and the times.

* We limit our ability to be a healthy and more productive as people.
* We impair out ability to be competitive in the global economy.
* We stifle creation of small businesses.
* We subject the children, the poor, and elderly to misery, suffering and fear.
* We fail to control skyrocketing healthcare and hospital costs.
* We fail to practice common sense and prevent illness before it becomes an emergency.
* We bankrupt and rob the savings of many in the middle and working class who must spend their life savings on medical care if a major illness strikes them or a member of their family.
* We fail to control the cost and the availability of life saving medications.
* We allow medical professionals, the insurance industry and hospitals to earn obscene profits at the expense of children, the sick, the weak, the disenfranchised and the poor.
* We fail to make insurance industry, hospital, drug companies and medical professionals business operations and profits transparent for all to see.

When will enough Americans see that it would be a tremendous benefit to us to not waste time any longer and as soon as possible elect candidates who will bring America into the new century in terms of how we treat illnesses that afflicts all our citizens.

Many in the US business community are beginning to understand the simple economics of universal healthcare as a way to stay competitive in the global economy. The often-used example is that it cost $1500 more to produce an automobile in the United States as compared to Canada. This is due to the health care insurance cost that the automaker passes on to the consumer in the US.

More the 11 million children in this country are not covered. Because of this many parents are reluctant get treatment for their children until their illness have reached the emergency stage. When the illness is more difficult to treat, cost more to treat and is more likely to cause death or permanent injury.

In 2005 the cost of medical insurance for the average family topped $10,000 per year. It shouldn’t be hard to understand that if the amount of insurance payments could be reduced or eliminated it would potentially mean billions of dollars of disposable income that would become available to Americans to spend directly. This would stimulate economic growth and jobs.

The lack of universal healthcare also means there are lots of sick individuals who don’t practice preventive medicine. This makes them more likely to become sick, and in the case of infectious decease, make them a threat to infect others. It also makes it more costly in the end because they end up in emergency rooms in the terminal stage of their medical problem where it is more expensive to treat them.

A comprehensive and universal healthcare program would control deficit spending by the federal government and the states by controlling the overall costs that the government spends on entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid and other government sponsored health and drug programs. It would reduce business sector medical insurance cost for retired employees and therefore stimulate industry. It would actually pay for itself eventually when healthcare cost are better controlled and citizens, through practicing preventive medicine, become healthier and less likely to become sick.

Americans must WAKE UP and take action. We must see and understanding the shortsightedness we suffer from concerning universal healthcare. We must stop letting politicians politicize the basic right and need for quality healthcare for all our citizens NOW.

Finally Good News.. Senate Hijacked by Democrats

Bill Frist Senate inside trader and majority leader claims that the US Senate has been "hijacked" by Democrats. Well I say, thank God. It could be a great Democrat campaign slogan for 2006.

Hijack control of the US Senate in November 2006!

Latest KING TV polls shows Initiative 912 failing. Initiative 901 smoking ban winning big and perforance audit 900 to close to call!