Thursday, November 30, 2006

Rethinking Iraq

Bill Scher over at Liberal Oasis has a lot of good insight, and when it comes to Iraq he advocates a new direction for America. I agree with his position and promote it here for your consideration:

Change the course, stupid!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

How bad is Iraq?

How bad is it in Iraq?

This bad

Things might be "bad" in Iraq when we leave, but that is not the same as arguing things are "good" in Iraq if we stay.

What makes sense to me is renouncing our permanent bases in Iraq, giving a deadline for troop withdrawal, and apologizing to the world community for over-reaching in the aftermath of 911.

If Iraqis fought this hard against Sadam then they might be a freer people, but as Bill Parcells likes to say, "If if's and but's were candies and nuts we'd all have a Merry Christmas."

Friday, November 24, 2006

My message to democrats

I thought I should articulate a message to democrats myself, having liked Bill in Portland Maine's message so much.

Americans elected you to lead us out of the Iraq mess. To that aim, here is the lesson you need to grasp. We are not in control and have no authority to dictate what happens in Iraq. Furthermore, the current administration is so skillfully incompetent that objectives hardly matter. Bring our people home.

When Americans find themselves unable to afford their medical insurance deductibles because their money was spent on medical insurance premiums, then it is time to make health care for all a priority. Even if you can't address it now, at least talk about it and hold hearings on the state of our health care system. Do this to set the stage for 2008, when hopefully spending will be under control.

Try to keep your in-party sniping, at least that originating from those in leadership roles, behind closed doors. Airing your dirty laundry in public makes you look bad. If you doubt me then read this article.

The price of oil is dropping but don't allow enthusiasm for renewable energy drop with it. Renewable energy strengthens America and simplifies our foreign policy in the middle east. Global warming will be a bigger problem than Iraq and the time for effective action is this next decade.

"It's the economy stupid", still applies. Balance America's checkbook.

The final piece of advice is pay no attention to that man behind the curtain making all that smoke and noise. The great Oz, he ain't.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

How and why to get out

Lieutenant General William E. Odom (Retired) recently penned an editorial to the Los Angeles Times and he called it, "How to Cut and Run".

I suggest you read it because I believe it is the Truth we must all face before things will get better in Iraq.

I think there is a great lesson in our Iraq war, provincially expressed as ill-gotten is ill-gained. These wars of conquest, these rhetorical wars, these ideological wars, are a problem.

We can avoid these types of wars when we avoid the types of leaders motivated by destruction, rather than a desire to rebuild. You don't, for instance, "Shock and Awe" a populace into stability.

It is pitiful to see politicians unable to admit their failures, clinging with mad insistence that we're just not patient enough, free-spending enough, or informed enough to follow them anymore.

Speaking metaphorically, one shouldn't let a friend shit on one's carpet because it might someday turn up roses. Some returns just aren't worth the investment.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Kissinger's advice

It looks like ol' Henry Kissinger is still dispensing the same type of advice that got us stuck in Viet Nam. In one breath he says this:

"If you mean, by ‘military victory,’ an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don’t believe that is possible"

And in the next he says this:

"...that a hasty withdrawal from Iraq would have “disastrous consequences,” leaving not only Iraq but neighboring countries with large Shiite populations destabilized for years"

Source: Henry Says

If you analyze these statements together you'll see that "quagmire" is the word that binds them coherently.

What should one do in a quagmire?

Bottle up and go. I like a timed withdrawal because it gives Iraqis a better chance of "standing up".

The lessons that people should learn from this are embodied in a document Colin Powell authored called The Powell Doctrine.

Maybe next time?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Site logo

I thought I would post the site logo in a somewhat legible size. I like it, naturally, and thought you might like to see it clearly for once.


Bill in Portland Maine has been posting over at DailyKos for a while and I generally read his posts. I thought today's post, "A Message to the Democratic Leadership", was better than most and better than good.

I also think that if the soon-to-be democratic Congress takes his suggestions seriously then America will get back on track. I particularly enjoy his inclusion of troop support. I think they should put the thing together as one bill and get it done.

Why republican leadership never took this seriously is beyond me. It may be one reason why they lost so much trust from Americans.

I would add that I think democratic members should insure that prospective replacements for Rumsfled understand these will be high priorities with zero tolerance for excuse-making.

On another front there is a bit of a race for House Majority leader shaping up between John Murtha and Steny Hoyer. While I think they both seem like good candidates to me I have to side with John Murtha since he led when it mattered on an issue of great importance. In other words, he proved his leadership qualities to me.

What John doesn't have going for him is that he doesn't seem very diplomatic. He will need to guard against being overly combative, particularly within the ranks of his own party. It is an impulse that can be self-defeating in the long run, whereas coalition-building gets more done. Luckily for us, Nancy Pelosi will be there to guide him. They'll make a good team, I think.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Selfish Joe

Joe Lieberman always seems to act in a generously self-centered manner. When voters in his party rejected him, he put his agenda ahead of his party's and ran as an independent. I admit I thought he would lose, but he failed to lose the support of crucial democrats and further held his powerful seats in the Senate.

Pundits refer to Joe as a moderate, but that is quite an insult to centrists that support the positions he often rejects. His strong support of the president (at 33% in the polls) and for the Iraq war (about 40%) can only be described as doggedly right-of-center.

I fail to understand why top-tier democrats kissed his ring and failed to support Ned Lamont, but now they are stuck with what they deserve, a politician whose agenda is first-and-foremost self-serving.

Joe recently said:

...he will caucus with Senate Democrats in the new Congress, but he would not rule out switching to the Republican caucus if he starts to feel uncomfortable among Democrats.

Source: Traitor Joe

He is essentially staking out the high moral territory of blackmail and will no doubt be a constant thorn in the side of what a majority of Americans want.

Thanks a lot Connecticut.

Monday, November 13, 2006


I have often stated that I think democratic candidates are best when they fight for Justice. So, I am troubled by many early signals from both Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean that they are not interested in impeaching president Bush, which practically assures they are not interested in investigating his law-breaking activities (which have already been declared illegal on several counts - see details here).

As troubling as that is to me, what is more troubling to me is that we're not hearing calls to repeal the torture legislation, or the Patriot Act, or the NSA spying program. We're also not hearing calls to investigate Guantanamo and make it conform to standards that were good enough for detaining Nazis and fascists.

Shouldn't democratic candidates be saying that they understand this election was a mandate for rejection of the Bush administration policies? Shouldn't democrats every other word be repeal?

Are democrats seriously going to pretend nothing is wrong and that America is on the right course?

If so, that seems like a catastrophic miscalculation with consequences that are already well understood. It is a comfort to me that I have not heard Harry Reid utter these kinds of absolving statements, but I also haven't heard him use the repeal word either.

Maybe I am just impatient. Maybe democrats are holding back until they have real power?

ADDENDUM: Patrick Leahy takes up the good fight, details here

Friday, November 10, 2006

A big fat "You're Welcome"

The UK Guardian just published an editorial thanking America for rejecting the policies of George W. Bush, and more broadly for rejecting Conservative zealotry. I am trying not to gloat, because the time for gloating will be when democrats make a difference, but it is a challenge with in-your-face arrogant types - those end-zone dancers if you will entertain a football metaphor.

So, I can't claim this Guardian article is an aid to me on the road to self-improvement. It might even be a set-back for me because I obviously enjoyed reading it (to my great shame of course).

I particularly enjoyed this paragraph:

"In US domestic terms, the 2006 midterms bring to an end the 12 intensely divisive years of Republican House rule that began under Newt Gingrich in 1994. These have been years of zealously and confrontational conservative politics that have shocked the world and, under Mr Bush, have sent America's global standing plummeting. That long political hurricane has now at last blown itself out for a while, but not before leaving America with a terrible legacy that includes climate-change denial, the end of biological stem-cell research, an aid programme tied to abortion bans, a shockingly permissive gun culture, an embrace of capital punishment equalled only by some of the world's worst tyrannies, the impeachment of Bill Clinton and his replacement by a president who does not believe in Darwin's theory of evolution. The approval by voters in at least five more states of same-sex marriage bans - on top of 13 similar votes in 2004 - shows that culture-war politics are far from over."

I hope I haven't corrupted your own efforts at self-improvement.

Full article here

Ou est James H. Peck?

Yesterday I posted about the democrats senate race in Virginia and there was a response by "Causal" that was interesting enough to promote to this more visible location.

Causal writes...

Well, it only takes a moment to help convince Nancy Pelosi to Impeach..

The day the nation demands impeachment is upon us. Sacks and sacks of mail are about to arrive in Nancy Pelosi's office initiating impeachment via the House of Representative's own rules. This legal document is as binding as if a State or if the House itself passed the impeachment resolution (H.R. 635).

There's a little known and rarely used clause of the "Jefferson Manual" in the rules for the House of Representatives which sets forth the various ways in which a president can be impeached. Only the House Judiciary Committee puts together the Articles of Impeachment, but before that happens, someone has to initiate the process.

That's where we come in. In addition to a House Resolution (635), or the State-by-State method, one of the ways to get impeachment going is for individual citizens like you and me to submit a memorial. has created a new memorial based on one which was successful in impeaching a federal official in the past. You can find it on their website as a PDF.

You can initiate the impeachment process and simultaneously help to convince Pelosi to follow through with the process. Do-It-Yourself by downloading the memorial, filling in the relevant information in the blanks (your name, state, etc.), and sending it in. Be a part of history.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The fat lady is doing voice exercises

The race in Virginia appears won by democratic candidate Jim Webb. With a 7,000+ vote lead and half of the counties finished canvassing there isn't much solace to be had in statistics for republican George Allen.

Details here

Many democrats are hoping there will be a challenge so that Karl Rove's nasty tactics can be exposed to more attention. I am not one of them. Karl Rove has been publicly pounded and has lost his genius gloss, his Midas momentum, and his invincibility.

I prefer to look ahead to Senate Majority leader Harry Reid. I prefer to pine for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. I prefer to reflect upon the fact that Americans demanded a change of course in Iraq and that
democrats are going to deliver on it.

President Bush may use his veto power to obstruct as much as he can, but democrats have plenty of ammunition to impeach him if he insists on being petulant. He appears to realize it too, since he is already singing conciliatory tunes.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Realist Republicans

When Ronald Reagan won the presidency the credit was widely attributed to "Reagan Democrats".

In spite of president Bush's many costly mistakes and America-harming decisions I was beginning to think there was no such republican equivalent. Conservatives don't like change, after all, and modern republicans have hidden their agenda behind religious tactics (faith without works might be dead, but it sure as hell wins elections).

But, the 2006 mid-term election showed that there are indeed republicans capable of putting America first and their party second.

I salute you if you are one of them. It takes Humility and Courage to admit you are wrong and a sense of Justice to make things right.

Nancy's priorities

If democrats take the House then these will be Nancy Pelosi's priorities:

1. Restore pay-as-you-go
2. Implement all recommendations of the 9/11 commission.
3. Raise the minimum wage.
4. Fix medicare prescription drug program
5. Cut interest rates for college loans in half
6. Roll back subsidies for big oil.
7. Fight attempts to privatize social security.

Details here

Not bad, I sez. That goes double for #2.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Vote ye merry men

James Carville was the political consultant somewhat behind the scenes of Bill Clinton's success. I say somewhat because he isn't the flower-on-the-wall type.

He has some interesting input on democratic candidates chances based upon the polling data:

James Says

Here's hoping that Americans stay the course and sweep Republicans out of office. Under republican leadership this Congress has worked less than the famous "do-nothing Congress" and when they have worked they have bungled badly.

How much failure is too much?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Instant Runoff Voting

Every once in a while I like to state that I feel the US ought to use instant runoff voting. This would prevent third party candidates from having a negative impact on our preferences.

Details here

I would also like to state that I feel democrats should get the ball rolling by using this system to select it's presidential candidate. After all, if the system really is best, then why not take advantage of it to put your best candidate forward?

Foot Quotes

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge"

Charles Darwin