Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The I word

“The degree to which this President continues to take steps to go to war against Iran without consulting with the full Congress is the degree to which he is increasingly putting himself in jeopardy of an impeachment proceeding,”

Congressman Dennis Kucinich.
Source: Old Tricks

If Mr. Kucinich is serious about impeaching the president, then I humbly offer to illustrate "The degree to which this President continues to take steps to go to war against Iran without consulting with the full Congress":

Presidential threat escalation

Vice presidential threat escalation

When you corner a fighter you must either knock them out or combat a desperate attack.

The time for action is short.

Monday, January 29, 2007

John Edwards '08

John Edwards spoke at Riverside Church on Martin Luther King Jr. day. He offers his way forward, interjected with the stunning line, "It's time for America to be patriotic about something other than war."

If he keeps speaking from the heart like this, rather than being manipulated by handlers into a zombie-like parody of himself, he may take Hillary to the woodshed.

John Edwards

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Root causes

Much of the trouble in America today can be boiled down to a few root causes.

America, like every nation on earth, is led by the rich and the powerful, or the elites. That is not surprising and it is not alarming. How could anybody be considered powerful unless they were in a position of leadership?

But, America's elites have heretofore ceded power to the judgement, or will, of the American people. They have willingly done this on the strength of two assumptions:

1. That the American people are generally decent, and if given access to honest information will do what is good and what is right.

2. That doing what is good and what is right leads to happiness and Justice for all.

Somehow these assumptions have lost their appeal and we are in a position where the elites, hungering for the spoils of war, have lied to the American people in order to encourage them to support an unjust war for ignoble reasons.

This explains why America is in it's last throes of international respectability, and why we have broken laws we promoted. It explains why we have tortured and renditioned.

Our elites must have lost their faith in strength through Goodness, influence through Goodness, and perhaps even happiness through Goodness.

At home they have robbed from the poor to give to the rich using trickle-up economics packaged as privatization. They are very likely not so stupid as to think their schemes will become a tide to rise all boats, yet they do not seem so smart as to realize their schemes will not secure liberty for themselves or happiness for their families.

Isn't it obvious to everyone that the Bush twins are unhappy? Isn't it obvious that Condi Rice is searching for happiness in shoe stores (as if Imelda Marcos were her guru)? Isn't it obvious that Dick Cheney suffers poor health and that a grimace is as close to a smile as he is likely to get?

When "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" was enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, it was about more that playing with a Wii console and watching Oprah on TV. It was a commitment to live for the Good, since experience taught that goodness and happiness were indivisible companions.

Money is a paltry dividend for an investment of happiness. You cannot buy-back one single life lost in Iraq with all the gold in the world.

When you have everything, and yet nothing, that is a life not worth living, and a way of life not worth holding onto.

I can see the suffering of the rich and know full well their response to it is to lash out bitterly at a world that rewarded all their hard work with emptiness.

They need only see their purpose, their talents, are not meant to be a tool to prey on the weak. They are meant as a source of hope, a helping hand towards enlightenment.

They are not, to speak in metaphor, drowning. They are fish.

Charlie Chaplin made a film called "The Great Dictator" to insult Hitler at a time when most of the world viewed him favorably. But, he did much more than insult. He put forward ideas for leading fish to water.

Excerpt from the final speech of The Great Dictator, which you can read here: Link

"The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men's souls; has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge as made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in man; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all."

I hope you do not swallow the hook, line, and sinker the next time some salesman comes along peddling privatization schemes and domination strategies. Look first at what is lost and what is gained.

Is your money that good?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Democratic response to State fo the Union 2007

Video of Jim Webb's response to State of the Union Address. Delivered on Jan. 23, 2007.

J.W. to G.W.

Here is a link to a transcript of Senator Jim Webb's response to George Bush's State of the Union Address (SOTU). It makes for good reading, I sez:

We will be showing him the way

I wouldn't hold your breath while waiting for a spirit of bipartisanship to overtake the president.

Here is Bill Sher's analysis of the SOTU and Jim's response:

Heartening Response

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Whenever I make something I try to visualize what the thing ought to be before I begin. This actually applies to more than the making of things, and I have come to use it in the making of myself.

This is why the, "What Would Jesus DO (WWJD)" mantra has appealed to me. For what is it other than thinking about how a thing should ideally be done, and then trying to live up to it?

Other ethical step-ladders along the same lines are, "Be a hero to yourself," or, "Above all to thine own self be true," or, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Well, when the founding fathers were making a nation and they sat down to declare their defiance to a king they wrote The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

I found that I could not reread that document without being ashamed of the United States' actions towards Iraq, since the list of grievances reads like a laundry list of Bush administration activities today.

But, the thrust of this post that I want to address is this: When the founding fathers wished to proclaim their Idea for America they formed a vision of it in their minds and described it in the greatest legal document of all time, The United States Constitution

It is the preamble which still burns with power when I read it even now:

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

When president Bush speaks tonight I ask you to ask yourself if he speaks like a man that wishes to...

Form a more perfect union or sow disharmony.

Establish Justice or feed injustice.

Insure domestic tranquility or divide Americans by class, by race, and by religion.

Promote the general welfare or promote minority (monied, neocon, corporate) interests.

Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves or grab power for himself.

The vision of what America has been and should remain exists for all to read and to appreciate. I hope everyone keeps it in mind when the president speaks tonight, then finally the bonds of a long night can be broken.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

"Impeach!", sez I

President George W. Bush deserves to be impeached and the reasons keep piling up.

Here is a new one:

The lawyer purge

Is aiding and abetting the destruction of the Constitution a new vote-getting strategy cooked up by democratic strategists in Washington D.C.?

What is the point of waiting to impeach?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Hands together

President Bush has issued his "New Way Forward" in Iraq. It is an idea that seeks more destruction, more killing, more debt, more inhumanity, and more of the same writ larger.

I hope humanity does not follow this apostle of violence, this decider of doom, this false prophet of the apocalypse.

There is an old Chinese proverb which says that if you do not change your direction you will go where you are headed.

Well, where are we headed in this moment?

Are we headed for a world of violent conflict or a world of peaceful coexistence?

Are we headed for a world of economic justice or economic injustice?

Are we headed for a world that meets the needs of the least among us, or a world that is blind to suffering?

Are we headed for a world that seeks gold or the golden rule?

Where are we headed?

On this Martin Luther King, Jr. day of remembrance let us not simply recall his past accomplishments out of habit, but rather revive his live dream for humanity out of hope. Let us revive his work and his philosophy and his dream.

The person in our time which most closely resembles Dr. King in spirit is a white Congressman from Ohio named Dennis Kucinich. If you wish to see how far we are from Martin's dream, watch this speech by Dennis and feel just how many obstacles to his message are erected in your own heart and your own mind to his way forward:

A new dreamer

Where are we headed when such a dreamer with such a message is marginalized by cynicism in our own hearts?

Is it towards that mountaintop that Martin saw?

Go see and hear Dennis speak if you get the chance. You've got to feel his presence to recognize the truth of this, that Martin's dream is not dead and neither is the dreamer.

But a dream needs believers to become reality.

Good music

I think that music is the language of emotion. You cannot describe what it means to be "happy" or "sad" or "in love" to someone that hasn't experienced them, can you?

However, you can get a person to experience happiness simply by playing the right music. At least I know that is true for myself.

Well, for some reason I found a lot of really good music this year, albums I can listen to again and again. Here are a few of my favorites:

If you like folk/bluegrass music and you don't have O.C.M.S. by Old Crow Medicine Show, then you are missing out on string-band music that is energetic and joyful. They can sing about cocaine killing their honey dead and make it fun. I can't think of a better way to follow up the Bush shenanigans than a song from O.C.M.S.

Take 'em Away

Another folk music gem in my opinion is We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions by Bruce Springstein. He takes songs that have been done for decades and reinvigorates them with forceful performances that maintain their dignity. One of my personal favorites is Pay Me My Money Down, which Bruce updates to include a verse for Bill Gates.

How Can I Keep From Singing?

While traveling in the south, specifically in Clarksdale Mississippi at Cat Head, they had a blues artist I hadn't heard of named Precious Bryant from somewhere in Georgia. They had a listening station and I put in the CD and I couldn't believe how good she was. She reminded me of Memphis Minnie and sings just a bit behind the beat in an easy style, which is refreshing after hearing too many female blues artists forced to mimic Mellisa Ethridge and/or Koko Taylor.

Her album is called "The Truth" and I think you should buy it if you want cotton-country blues in an elecro-gadget world.

Timeless and terrific

Another blues artist I listened to and had to have while at Cat Head was Robert Belfour. He had an album there called Pushin' My Luck that was about as simple and honest as blues music gets. Mr. Belfour takes his time and tells us his troubles, mostly involving women and alcohol or a combination of the two, and brings to life the experience of blues.

I Got My Eyes On You

When I first started this blog I wanted to help you face the curtain with a bow, and I hope this is a payment on that debt.

Peace and Love,


Friday, January 12, 2007


Steven C. Clemons of The Washington Note writes:

Washington intelligence, military and foreign policy circles are abuzz today with speculation that the President, yesterday or in recent days, sent a secret Executive Order to the Secretary of Defense and to the Director of the CIA to launch military operations against Syria and Iran.

Full story

And Joshua Micah Marshall writes:

More story

And I continue to write, "If president Bush were a traitor or a spy you'd have to admire his competence."

Now do you understand?

While I commend the objectives of Nancy Pelosi in her first 100 hours, as a political strategy I'd say it is an abject failure.

How can I say such a thing?

So far the new Congress has:

A. Reinstated Pay-As-You-Go.
B. Passed corruption legislation.
C. Passed the 911 Commission recommendations.
D. Increased the minimum wage.

Now, as promised, they are forwarding a Stem Cell research bill.

Here is legislation that is going to improve people's lives, which is what good politics is all about.

Here is a story in which a politician makes a promise to voters and then immediately acts to uphold it.

Yet, a perusal of the news indicates that Posh and Beck get more attention.

It is Iraq war withdrawal and opposition to president Bush that the American people want. Until you deliver on that your activity is invisible, no matter how praiseworthy.

To put it metaphorically, it is nice to have a clean bathroom, even on the Titanic. It would be more useful, however, to change the friggin' course and maybe even bring a new captain on board.


As Apple computer unveils it's newest offering, iPhone, I feel like a short rant.

You know what I want in a cell phone?

One that has a high quality antenna and a bare-bones interface to make a call. Nothing else.

I don't need no camera on my phone.
I don't need no video on my phone.
I don't need no pictures on my phone.
I don't want to surf the web on my phone.
I don't want to play games on my phone.
I don't want to listen to music on my phone.

I want a phone that is simple to operate and stays connected because all those gimmicks have been replaced by a high-quality antenna. It can sound like an egg-timer when it wrings for all I care. And hell, the battery might even last longer that way.

And I want a bill that is honest and easy to understand. No more crooked confusion-minutes.

And if I want to surf the web, then the phone ought to have a USB cable I can plug into my laptop and provide DSL-like speeds.

Maybe it could be called the RetroCell.

Maybe DieHard should make it, or a tool company like DeWalt.

Am I alone?

Are people really excited over a phone that runs an operating system?

Can't somebody make a cell phone for ol' Moe?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Humble Bumble

"I don't need nobody telling me what the president is going to say before a speech, nor nobody telling me what he did say after a speech," I sez.

In these times, however, I can't watch a presidential pontification. It is too much to bear that our soldiers lives are in the hands of a man that can hardly speak, is self contradictory, and impressed with himself to the point of smirking.

So, I have taken to reading full transcripts which are available on-line. Here is a link provided by the New York Times:

Surge the Loss

I think the worst thing about the president's speech is hearing president Bush repeat what many analysts said would happen as if he were offering us all insight. He doesn't seem to realize he is the only one in the room still 4 years behind in his development.

This following paragraph particularly rankles the hackles because it is a point-for-point warning rejected pre-invasion. It was the verbatim case against invasion! Of course, anyone that offered it as advice to the president was evicted from their office and ridiculed by the likes of vice president "we will be welcomed as liberators" Cheney and Paul "we won't have to spend any of our own money" Wolfowitz:

"The consequences of failure are clear: Radical Islamic extremists would grow — would — would grow in strength and gain new recruits. They would be in a better position to topple moderate governments, create chaos in the region and use oil revenues to fund their ambitions. Iran would be emboldened in its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Our enemies would have a safe haven from which to plan and launch attacks on the American people. On Sept. 11, 2001, we saw what a refuge for extremists [Afghanistan - which we left to the Taliban!] on the other side of the world could bring to the streets of our own cities. For the safety of our people, America must succeed in Iraq."

Another paragraph reflects the advice of general Eric Shinseki:

"Iraqi and American forces cleared many neighborhoods of terrorists and insurgents, but when our forces moved on to other targets, the killers returned."

It is worth noting that general Shinseki predicted we'd need 300,000 more troops which makes our surge of 22,000 look inadequate to me.

One thing the president said seems downright foolish. He said those extra troops will "...work alongside Iraqi units and be embedded in their formations." I wonder if they will have targets painted on their backs for the embedded insurgents. No wonder general Casey wouldn't stay on.

2007 looks to me like it will unfurl the same tragedy as 2006 unless Congress asserts it's authority.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

When first we practice to deceive

On June 28, 2005 president Bush said that sending more troops to Iraq would “undermine our strategy of encouraging Iraqis to take the lead” and “suggest that we intend to stay forever.”

Watch it here

Today the president is widely expected to recommend sending more troops to Iraq.

If he does so, are we to assume that president Bush wishes to undermine Iraqi leadership and imply we intend to stay forever?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Dennis Kucinich is running for president in 2008. He is someone I would love to see elected but he seems to garner no press cred.

So, I thought, maybe a place like this blog ought to amplify his message as best as it can. If I tell two people, and you tell two people, and they tell two people, and so on...

Here, then, are the elements of the Kucinich Plan. I have added highlighting to the bits that I want to draw your attention particularly to:

1. The US announces it will end the occupation, close military bases and withdraw. The insurgency has been fueled by the occupation and the prospect of a long-term presence as indicated by the building of permanent bases. A US declaration of an intention to withdraw troops and close bases will help dampen the insurgency which has been inspired to resist colonization and fight invaders and those who have supported US policy. Furthermore this will provide an opening where parties within Iraq and in the region can set the stage for negotiations towards peaceful settlement.

2. US announces that it will use existing funds to bring the troops and necessary equipment home. Congress appropriated $70 billion in bridge funds on October 1st for the war. Money from this and other DOD accounts can be used to fund the troops in the field over the next few months, and to pay for the cost of the return of the troops, (which has been estimated at between $5 and $7 billion dollars) while a political settlement is being negotiated and preparations are made for a transition to an international security and peacekeeping force.

3. Order a simultaneous return of all US contractors to the United States and turn over all contracting work to the Iraqi government. The contracting process has been rife with world-class corruption, with contractors stealing from the US Government and cheating the Iraqi people, taking large contracts and giving 5% or so to Iraqi subcontractors.

Reconstruction activities must be reorganized and closely monitored in Iraq by the Iraqi government, with the assistance of the international community. The massive corruption as it relates to US contractors, should be investigated by congressional committees and federal grand juries. The lack of tangible benefits, the lack of accountability for billions of dollars, while millions of Iraqis do not have a means of financial support, nor substantive employment, cries out for justice.

It is noteworthy that after the first Gulf War, Iraqis reestablished electricity within three months, despite sanctions. Four years into the US occupation there is no water, nor reliable electricity in Baghdad, despite massive funding from the US and from the Madrid conference. The greatest mystery involves the activities of private security companies who function as mercenaries. Reports of false flag operations must be investigated by an international tribunal.

4. Convene a regional conference for the purpose of developing a security and stabilization force for Iraq. The focus should be on a process which solves the problems of Iraq. The US has told the international community, "This is our policy and we want you to come and help us implement it." The international community may have an interest in helping Iraq, but has no interest in participating in the implementation of failed US policy.

A shift in US policy away from unilateralism and toward cooperation will provide new opportunities for exploring common concerns about the plight of Iraq. The UN is the appropriate place to convene, through the office of the Secretary General, all countries that have interests, concerns and influence, including the five permanent members of the Security Council and the European community, and all Arab nations.

The end of the US occupation and the closing of military bases are necessary preconditions for such a conference. When the US creates a shift of policy and announces it will focus on the concerns of the people of Iraq, it will provide a powerful incentive for nations to participate.

It is well known that while some nations may see the instability in Iraq as an opportunity, there is also an even-present danger that the civil war in Iraq threatens the stability of nations throughout the region. The impending end of the occupation will provide a breakthrough for the cooperation between the US and the UN and the UN and countries of the region. The regional conference must include Iran, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

5. Prepare an international security and peacekeeping force to move in, replacing US troops who then return home. The UN has an indispensable role to play here, but cannot do it as long as the US is committed to an occupation. The UN is the only international organization with the ability to mobilize and the legitimacy to authorize troops.

The UN is the place to develop the process, to build the political consensus, to craft a political agreement, to prepare the ground for the peacekeeping mission, to implement the basis of an agreement that will end the occupation and begin the transition to international peacekeepers. This process will take at least three months from the time the US announces the intention to end the occupation.

The US will necessarily have to fund a peacekeeping mission, which, by definition will not require as many troops. Fifty percent of the peacekeeping troops must come from nations with large Muslim populations. The international security force, under UN direction, will remain in place until the Iraqi government is capable of handling its own security. The UN can field an international security and peacekeeping mission, but such an initiative will not take shape unless there is a peace to keep, and that will be dependent upon a political process which reaches agreement between all the Iraqi parties. Such an agreement means fewer troops will be needed.

According to UN sources, the UN the peacekeeping mission in the Congo, which is four times larger in area than Iraq, required about twenty thousand troops. Finally the UN does not mobilize quickly because they depend upon governments to supply the troops, and governments are slow. The ambition of the UN is to deploy in less than ninety days. However, without an agreement of parties the UN is not likely to approve a mission to Iraq, because countries will not give them troops.

6. Develop and fund a process of national reconciliation. The process of reconciliation must begin with a national conference, organized with the assistance of the UN and with the participation of parties who can create, participate in and affect the process of reconciliation, defined as an airing of all grievances and the creation of pathways toward open, transparent talks producing truth and resolution of grievances. The Iraqi government has indicated a desire for the process of reconciliation to take place around it, and that those who were opposed to the government should give up and join the government. Reconciliation must not be confused with capitulation, nor with realignments for the purposes of protecting power relationships.

For example, Kurds need to be assured that their own autonomy will be regarded and therefore obviate the need for the Kurds to align with religious Shia for the purposes of self-protection. The problem in Iraq is that every community is living in fear. The Shia, who are the majority fear they will not be allowed to government even though they are a majority. The Kurds are afraid they will lose the autonomy they have gained. The Sunnis think they will continue to be made to pay for the sins of Saddam.

A reconciliation process which brings people together is the only way to overcome their fears and reconcile their differences. It is essential to create a minimum of understanding and mutual confidence between the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds.

But how can a reconciliation process be constructed in Iraq when there is such mistrust: Ethnic cleansing is rampant. The police get their money from the US and their ideas from Tehran. They function as religious militia, fighting for supremacy, while the Interior Ministry collaborates. Two or three million people have been displaced. When someone loses a family member, a loved one, a friend, the first response is likely to be that there is no reconciliation.

It is also difficult to move toward reconciliation when one or several parties engaged in the conflict think they can win outright. The Shia, some of whom are out for revenge, think they can win because they have the defacto support of the US. The end of the US occupation will enhance the opportunity for the Shia to come to an accommodation with the Sunnis. They have the oil, the weapons, and support from Iran. They have little interest in reconciling with those who are seen as Baathists.

The Sunnis think they have experience, as the former army of Saddam, boasting half a million people insurgents. The Sunnis have so much more experience and motivation that as soon as the Americans leave they believe they can defeat the Shia government. Any Sunni revenge impulses can be held in check by international peacekeepers. The only sure path toward reconciliation is through the political process. All factions and all insurgents not with al Queda must be brought together in a relentless process which involves Saudis, Turks and Iranians.

7. Reconstruction and Jobs. Restart the failed reconstruction program in Iraq. Rebuild roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, and other public facilities, houses, and factories with jobs and job training going to local Iraqis.

8. Reparations. The US and Great Britain have a high moral obligation to enable a peace process by beginning a program of significant reparations to the people of Iraq for the loss of lives, physical and emotional injuries, and damage to property. There should be special programs to rescue the tens of thousands of Iraqi orphans from lives of destitution. This is essential to enable reconciliation.

9. Political Sovereignty. Put an end to suspicions that the US invasion and occupation was influenced by a desire to gain control of Iraq's oil assets by A) setting aside initiatives to privatize Iraqi oil interests or other national assets, and B) by abandoning efforts to change Iraqi national law to facilitate privatization.

Any attempt to sell Iraqi oil assets during the US occupation will be a significant stumbling block to peaceful resolution. The current Iraqi constitution gives oil proceeds to the regions and the central government gets nothing. There must be fairness in the distribution of oil resources in Iraq. An Iraqi National Oil Trust should be established to guarantee the oil assets will be used to create a fully functioning infrastructure with financial mechanisms established protect the oil wealth for the use of the people of Iraq.

10. Iraq Economy. Set forth a plan to stabilize Iraq's cost for food and energy, on par to what the prices were before the US invasion and occupation. This would block efforts underway to raise the price of food and energy at a time when most Iraqis do not have the means to meet their own needs.

11. Economic Sovereignty. Work with the world community to restore Iraq's fiscal integrity without structural readjustment measures of the IMF or the World Bank.

12. International Truth and Reconciliation. Establish a policy of truth and reconciliation between the people of the United States and the people of Iraq. In 2002, I led the effort in the House of Representatives challenging the Bush Administration's plans to go to war in Iraq. I organized 125 Democrats to vote against the Iraq war resolution. The analysis I offered at that time stands out in bold relief for its foresight when compared to the assessments of many who today aspire to national leadership. Just as the caution I urged four years ago was well-placed, so the plan I am presenting today is workable, and it responds to the will of the American people, expressed this past November. This is a moment for clarity and foresight. This is a moment to take a new direction in Iraq. One with honor and dignity. One which protects our troops and rescues Iraqi civilians. One which repairs our relationship with Iraqis and with the world.

I don't know about you, but I like that plan a lot better than more of the same.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Worthy of salute

The Democratic leadership sent a letter to president Bush advising he not deploy additional troops to Iraq.

I want you to pay attention to the names of the generals you encounter in the letter...

President George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

The start of the new Congress brings us opportunities to work together on the critical issues confronting our country. No issue is more important than finding an end to the war in Iraq. December was the deadliest month of the war in over two years, pushing U.S. fatality figures over the 3,000 mark.

The American people demonstrated in the November elections that they do not believe your current Iraq policy will lead to success and that we need a change in direction for the sake of our troops and the Iraqi people. We understand that you are completing your post-election consultations on Iraq and are preparing to make a major address on your Iraq strategy to the American people next week.

Clearly this address presents you with another opportunity to make a long overdue course correction. Despite the fact that our troops have been pushed to the breaking point and, in many cases, have already served multiple tours in Iraq, news reports suggest that you believe the solution to the civil war in Iraq is to require additional sacrifices from our troops and are therefore prepared to proceed with a substantial U.S. troop increase.

Surging forces is a strategy that you have already tried and that has already failed. Like many current and former military leaders, we believe that trying again would be a serious mistake. They, like us, believe there is no purely military solution in Iraq. There is only a political solution. Adding more combat troops will only endanger more Americans and stretch our military to the breaking point for no strategic gain. And it would undermine our efforts to get the Iraqis to take responsibility for their own future. We are well past the point of more troops for Iraq.

In a recent appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee, General John Abizaid, our top commander for Iraq and the region, said the following when asked about whether he thought more troops would contribute to our chances for success in Iraq:

"I met with every divisional commander, General Casey, the Corps commander, General Dempsey. We all talked together. And I said, in your professional opinion, if we were to bring in more American troops now, does it add considerably to our ability to achieve success in Iraq? And they all said no. And the reason is, because we want the Iraqis to do more. It's easy for the Iraqis to rely upon to us do this work. I believe that more American forces prevent the Iraqis from doing more, from taking more responsibility for their own future. "

Rather than deploy additional forces to Iraq, we believe the way forward is to begin t he phased redeployment of our forces in the next four to six months, while shifting the principal mission of our forces there from combat to training, logistics, force protection and counter-terror. A renewed diplomatic strategy, both within the region and beyond, is also required to help the Iraqis agree to a sustainable political settlement. In short, it is time to begin to move our forces out of Iraq and make the Iraqi political leadership aware that our commitment is not open ended, that we cannot resolve their sectarian problems, and that only they can find the political resolution required to stabilize Iraq.

Our troops and the American people have already sacrificed a great deal for the future of Iraq. After nearly four years of combat, tens of thousands of U.S. casualties, and over $300 billion dollars, it is time to bring the war to a close. We, therefore, strongly encourage you to reject any plans that call for our getting our troops any deeper into Iraq. We want to do everything we can to help Iraq succeed in the future but, like many of our senior military leaders, we do not believe that adding more U.S. combat troops contributes to success.

We appreciate you taking these views into consideration.


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Now, guess how many of the following military people the Bush administration wants to retire early?

1. General John Abizaid
2. General Casey
3. General Martin Dempsey

Check your answer here...

I believe it has gotten to the point where military brass must choose either to serve president Bush or to serve with honor. Our soldiers need an exit strategy or a better reason to fight than protecting the president's ego.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Motive and means

Here is yet another motive to see to it that president George W. Bush gets impeached:

Reading your mail

Here are the means to see to it that president George W. Bush gets impeached:

Citizens Impeachment

If the president opens my mail it will be to read a petition for his impeachment addressed to Nancy Pelosi.

What will he read in your mail?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Surge the Loss

One little.
Two little.
Three little General Eric Shinsekis.

Four little.
Five little
Six little General Eric Shinsekis.

Seven little.
Eight little
Nine little General Eric Shinsekis.

Ten little General Eric Shinseki boys.


Eleven little.
Twelve little.
Thirteen little General Eric Shinsekis.

Fourteen little.
Fifteen little
Sixteen little General Eric Shinsekis.

Seventeen little.
Eightteen little
Nineteen little General Eric Shinsekis.

Twenty little General Eric Shinseki boys.

May Brent Budowsky forgive my lack of gravity introducing readers to what I sincerely consider a potent must-read.

I have long felt that the biggest lie in the surge/stay the course rhetoric is that there is of course no course. And...what president Bush is considering now is more akin to stranding additional people on rooftops in rising flood waters. Operation Surge the Loss if you will.

Our military men, it appears, see this. James Baker and his associates, it appears, see this. The American people, it appears, see this.

I hope newly-elected democratic lawmakers see this.

It is a time to lead and not follow.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

In the first 100 hours

Democrats have a lot of goals for the first 100 hours (or 4.16666 days) of their leadership. Here are a few others they might consider:

1. Get rid of the ban on photos of coffins coming home from Iraq.

2. Pass a law making it illegal for a governor to change the balance of power in Washington should a legislator die. Convention and tradition and honoring the will of the electorate has upheld this in practice, but modern politicians are not known for their restraint when it comes to clutching power.

3. Pass a new G.I. bill and give our men and women something they deserve, like a free education for themselves and their children.

4. Raise the cafe standards for automobiles.

In the 101st hour it is my hope something will be done to derail Surge the Course.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Was Paulson arrested?

Has U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson been arrested in Germany?

Who Wanta What?

I doubt it, but that seems to be a growing rumor.

Foot Quotes

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge"

Charles Darwin