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4/11/2005

The Party of Personal Responsibility, Just Not Their Own

Remember when the Republicans used to be the party of small government, fiscal responsibility and personal responsibility? Now their government has gotten so big they think they can tell you how to live and when you can die, they have run up the biggest deficit in history and now none of them seem interested in taking personal responsibility for their actions.

First George Bush was absolved of any wrong doing in the run-up to the war in Iraq when a presidential commission found that the intelligence leading up to war was "Dead Wrong."

Of course Bush couldn't take any blame for that. It's never his fault. I mean he won the election so he's never made a mistake. Except, as Eric Margolis points out in a brilliant article,

"The report made no mention of President Bush's claims about Iraqi drones of death, VP Dick Cheney's incessant pressure on CIA to declare Iraq a nuclear menace, or Condoleeza Rice's terrorizing Americans with talk of nuclear mushrooms clouds.

It ignored evidence from senior Bush aides Paul O'Neill and Richard Clarke the president obsessively pushed for war with Iraq soon after taking office.

There was no mention of Doug Feith's Office of Special Plans, a covert Pentagon intelligence shop set up to funnel fake claims about Iraq to the White House and US media produced by a cabal of pro-war neoconservatives and a special Israeli disinformation unit.

No mention of patriotic CIA officers fired or demoted for refusing to join this giant fraud. No mention of how national security was gravely corrupted, manipulated and distorted for partisan political gain.

The report called Iraq 'one of the most damaging intelligence failures in recent American history.' But, amazingly, the whitewash committee found no one responsible for this disaster.

There was no mention of the more than 1,549 US soldiers killed, and the 17,184 American casualties caused by the war. Nor Iraqi dead, possibly as high as 100,000, nor the destruction of parts of Iraq, nor the $6 billion a month cost of this imperial war. And certainly no reference to the view advanced by Bush's own Mideast envoy, Marine general Anthony Zinni, that the war was really about oil and benefiting Israel.

Victory has a hundred fathers; defeat is an orphan.Iraq just happened. Bad mogambo. A no-fault war started for either dead wrong or utterly false reasons for which no one was responsible. This is the third preposterous whitewash foisted on credulous Americans.

Whitewash One was the 9/11 investigation. That commission found no one responsible for allowing the worst attack on the US since Pearl Harbor, though Bush and Rice were bombarded with warnings an assault was imminent.

The awkward fact that America's little Savanarola, then attorney general John Ashcroft, actually cut spending on terrorism right before 9/11 was conveniently ignored.

Whitewash Two: torture scandals at Abu Ghraib and other camps in the US secret gulag. Seven senior military investigations found only a few cases of 'minor misconduct' and 'isolated abuse' by low-ranking personnel.

The tortures by electricity, freezing, drowning, sleep and sensory deprivation, beatings, dog attacks, and sexual humiliation were, claimed the Pentagon, all the fault of a few trailer-trash sadists, like Pvt. Lyndie England and her boyfriend, though the chain of responsibility for these war crimes clearly ran right up to the Secretary of Defense.

Three whitewashes later we are assured no one was guilty of anything. In fact, many Bush Administration officials guilty of monumental blundering or even possible criminal acts have been richly rewarded for their bungling and misdeeds.

Rumsfeld, violator of the Geneva Conventions, was renamed Pentagon chief. National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice, asleep on guard duty at 9/11, became Secretary of State. Iraq War architect, neocon Paul Wolfowitz, was forced on the World Bank as its new chief. Loud-mouth neocon buffoon John Bolton nominated UN ambassador. Faithful aparatchick John Negroponte made intelligence czar. Only CIA's handkissing chief, George Tenet, lost his job, albeit with the Medal of Freedom.

White House Counsel Alberto Gonzalez, who wrote briefs justifying torture, was named Attorney General instead of being disbarred. Poor, bumbling Colin Powell went into to deserved obscurity.

Never, never have so many senior American officials been so wrong about a major question of foreign policy. Never has the US government made such a fool of itself before world opinion, or so besmirched America's reputation.The commander-in-chief of the whole Iraq fiasco, Abu Ghraib, and the outrageous dereliction of duty on 9/11, George W. Bush, was triumphantly re-elected by a grateful American people, proving that nothing succeeds like failure provided you wave the flag hard enough and keep the whitewash coming."


Then there is our new best friend Tom Delay who just didn't know anything about his $64,000 trip to Russia so he can't possibly be held responsible for the fact that it broke all ethical rules of the house, which he actively ignores anyway.

And now that wacky Mel Martinez, Freshman Senator from the formerly great state of Florida just can't keep a handle on his own staff (makes you wonder how he can possibly represent the people of Florida when he can't even manage his own staff).

First during the Republican senate primary the Martinez campaign ran some nasty TV ads implying that his chief rival for the GOP nomination, US Rep. Bill McCollum was somehow part a radical gay movement simply because he supported hate crime legislation (I think we can all agree that those gays deserve whatever they get...right?). Martinez, of course, didn't take responsibility for the ads, but instead blamed his "renegade campaign staff."

Now, it turns out Martinez was behind the "Terri Schiavo as a political football" memo that the rightwing blogosphere and talk radio just couldn't believe existed. Only Martinez, again, had nothing to do with it (wink, wink). Nope, it turns out it was yet another over zealous staff member who then lost his job.

As if all this wasn't repugnant enough, then we have to listen to Martinez spout this pack of lies,

"This type of behavior and sentiment will not be tolerated in my office," "Unless I can get away with it" is the way that quote should end.

Under the Republicans watch government is bigger than ever, the deficit is bigger than ever, personal responsibility is out the window. Instead of the majority feeling a duty to preserve the rights of the minority the majority simply feels a duty to impose it's will on the minority. Instead of the well off feeling a duty to help those not so fortunate, the well off simply feel a duty to find ways out paying their fair share. Instead of all Americans making sacrifices and sharing in the burdens of a country at war, the rich get richer and poor go off to fight and die in a war that was dead wrong but that nobody his held accountable for. Welcome to George W Bush's America.

4/05/2005

Hannity and Levin Lose It

While driving home from work this afternoon I nearly drove off the the road laughing at Sean Hannity and Mark Levin. The right is completely losing their collective minds in the wake of the Schiavo case, but these two where in rare form today.

After years of telling us that liberals are anti-American for questioning the President they are now getting a dose of their own medicine and they are handling it like a couple of spoiled three-year-olds.

The conversation was about Tom Delays unfortunate comments last week after Terri Schaivo passed away and Sen. Frank Lautenberg's response.

To refresh your memory, Delay said
this,

"This loss happened because our legal system did not protect the people who need protection most, and that will change," the Texas Republican said. "The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior"

Sen. Lautenberg responded to this veiled threat by sending a letter to Delay which read in part,

"I was stunned to read the threatening comments you made yesterday against Federal judges and our nation's courts of law in general. In reference to certain Federal judges, you stated: 'The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior.'"

Then comes the good part,

"You should be aware that your comments yesterday may violate a Federal criminal statute, 18 U.S.C. §115 (a)(1)(B). That law states:

'Whoever threatens to assault. or murder, a United States judge with intent to retaliate against such judge. on account of the performance of official duties, shall be punished [by up to six years in prison]'

Threats against specific Federal judges are not only a serious crime, but also beneath a Member of Congress. In my view, the true measure of democracy is how it dispenses justice. Your attempt to intimidate judges in America not only threatens our courts, but our fundamental democracy as well"

Levin and Hannity kept going back and forth getting each other more and more worked up. Saying things like "since when is it a threat to question the decision of a judge?" And "Are we going to stifle debate about rulings made by out of control judges who are accountable to no one?"

After years of accusing liberals of being anti-American for wanting to debate policy differences and calling Democrats whiners for pointing out the fact that Bush and his cronies have no desire to hear another point of view, now they want to have a big debate.

Levin almost cried at one point. These two are symptomatic of a right wing that can clearly sense it is losing it's grip on America. I say enjoy the ride down boys.

America Has Finally Had Enough of GOP "Morality"

Apparently the American people have finally had their fill of the Bush administration and Republican party's morality play. Ironically it seems to have taken Terri Schiavo to show us the way.

From USA Today:

"The controversy over Terri Schiavo has raised concerns among many Americans about the moral agenda of the Republican party and the power of conservative Christians, a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll finds. (Related:
Poll results)

In the survey, most Americans disapprove of the efforts by President Bush and Congress to draw federal courts into the dispute over treatment of the brain-damaged Florida woman. She died last week.

The emotional issue apparently has helped reverse some old stereotypes about the two parties:
• By 55%-40%, respondents say Republicans, traditionally the party of limited government, are 'trying to use the federal government to interfere with the private lives of most Americans' when it comes to moral values.

• By 53%-40%, they say Democrats, sometimes castigated as the party of big government, aren't trying to interfere on moral issues."

Here are some more interesting findings:

"In the poll taken Friday and Saturday, Bush's job-approval rating is 48%, 3 percentage points higher than in mid-March. But on personal characteristics, such as trustworthiness, Bush is supported by a majority of Americans.


Americans by 53%-34% say they disapprove of Bush's handling of the Schiavo case. Congress' rating on Schiavo is worse: 76%-20%.


By more than two-to-one, 39%-18%, Americans say the 'religious right' has too much influence, rather than too little, in the Bush administration. That's a change from when the question was asked in CBS News/New York Times polls taken from 2001 to 2003. Then, approximately equal numbers said conservative Christians had too much and too little"

Maybe people are finally asking the question I've been asking. When are you going to stop campaigning and start governing?

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