Friday, July 29, 2005

It's Fuck You Friday

Contribute to Paul Hackett's campaign   to take the Ohio 2nd District

A big Friday fuck-you to Republican shrew Jean Schmidt, candidate for Tuesday's special election in the Ohio 2nd for the US House of Representatives.

Schmidt is running against Democrat and Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett, and in true GOP form she and her surrogates have been smearing Hackett's service as a Marine reservist in Iraq, questioning if he was truly in combat there (he was) and dismissing his service as inconsequential to the race. As usual, Republicans love our Republican troops and swift boat the Democratic ones. Patriots, they are.

Despite the fact that this is one of the reddest congressional districts in the country, Hackett has been shooting up in the polls (the latest had him within 5 points) and the GOP is furiously dumping money into this race in a last-minute attempt to regain momentum.

This race will be a true test for the 2006 midterms and a test of Bush's true popularity amongst the Republican rank-and-file, since Hackett is openly running on an anti-Bush platform, publicly calling him a "chickenhawk". The New York Times profile on Hackett includes this nice tidbit:

Mr. Hackett has been bluntly dismissive of Mr. Bush, saying the United States should have focused on capturing Osama bin Laden instead of invading Iraq so quickly. In a public forum, he called Mr. Bush the biggest threat facing the United States, a remark that has infuriated voters, Republicans say.

It certainly would be satisfying in light of the skulduggery that occured in the general election last year in Ohio to pick up this seat. It would also be a major political blow for Bush and end the babbling about a "mandate".

If you can contribute anything, even a few bucks, to Hackett's campaign today it would help counter the flood of GOP money being dumped into advertising. This is the last weekend before the election, so a donation today might well help determine this race. You can click on the graphic above to spread a little Democratic love.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Bringing honor and dignity (and remarkable crudeness) back to the White House

Question: Where's the morality in a self-proclaimed "Christian" flipping the bird to a bank of cameras? If the obscene gesture was a response to a shouted question about Rove, doesn't this fall into the dread category of "situational ethics" that Bush and his drab little minions endlessly preach against?

What will we tell the children? Oh, the humanity!

Looks like our warlord is getting a bit testy about the wave of treason that's about to break over his entire administration. Duck and roll, world - he might be edgy enough to launch a few more invasions.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Triangulation is, like, so 1990's

Seems like Hillary laid a major stink bomb during her pandering speech to the warmongers and robber barons at the DLC this week.

Her appeal, nay, demand for 'unity' with the pro-war and pro-corporatist wing of the party backfired in a spectacular fashion, so much so that it evoked comment from the WaPo:

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's call for an ideological cease-fire in the Democratic Party drew an angry reaction yesterday from liberal bloggers and others on the left, who accused her of siding with the centrist Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) in a long-running dispute over the future of the party.

Long a revered figure by many in the party's liberal wing, Clinton (D-N.Y.) unexpectedly found herself under attack after calling Monday for a cease-fire among the party's quarreling factions and for agreeing to assume the leadership of a DLC-sponsored initiative aimed at developing a more positive policy agenda for the party.

... John D. Podesta, who was White House chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, said he interpreted Clinton's remarks as critical of those on both sides -- centrists as much as liberals -- who would devote more energy to internal party battles than to confronting the right . But he said Clinton may have underestimated the bad feelings within the party. "I think she was trying to push the DLC back a little bit, but she walked into a crossfire maybe she should have realized was out there," he said.

The DLC represents nothing more than a soothing, less troublesome form of Republicanism, one that preserves the domain of the corporate robber barons at the expense of working Americans while doing slightly less gay-bashing (only slightly; recall that Bill Clinton brought us DOMA and Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and that Bill Clinton advised John Kerry to come out against gay marriage in 2004). Abortion rights and separation of church and state are negotiable items to the DLC and their ilk, and they demand that this whole unsavory package be accepted by rank and file Democrats under the guise of a "positive agenda".

I'm tired of Hillary Clinton and her failed 1990's policies. She'll do nothing more than divide Democrats and unite Republicans if she runs in 2008, but the Clintons care little about the Democratic party or the country in their pursuit of political power - it was, after all, Bill Clinton who lost the Senate and the House for the Democrats, a failing that we've felt acutely in the Bush years. Hillary should just stay in New York, pander to the Republicans upstate, and leave the rest of us the hell alone.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

How to be a Democrat (according to Hillary)

This AP article makes for infuriating reading, as once more Hillary Clinton tries to dictate her "centrist" policies on the entire party. It's wrong on so many levels one hardly knows where to begin.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, a potential 2008 presidential candidate, on Monday pressed Democrats to adopt a tough stand on national security and urged the party to show a united front to counter ``the hard-right ideology in Washington.''

Speaking to the Democratic Leadership Council, the centrist group that helped her husband, Bill Clinton, secure the White House, the senator delivered a broad speech that touched on foreign policy, health care, education and fissures within her own party.

``It's high time for a ceasefire,'' Clinton said.

A ceasefire, eh? My, Hillary has a short memory. Let me remind her of a very recent ceasefire within the Democratic party with two short words: John Kerry.

Last year, every wing of the party came together with one clear objective in mind - throw George W. Bush to the curb. Supporting a pro-war candidate was unsavory to me, but I threw my lot in with Kerry. Never, never again will I put aside my moral beliefs to support a pro-war candidate such as Hillary Clinton.

``Let's start by uniting against the hard-right ideology in Washington,'' Clinton said. ``All too often we have allowed ourselves to be split between left, right and center.''

Hillary is clearly demanding the same unified party that Kerry had, and it's won't happen in 2008. If, during the next presidential cycle the occupation is still dragging on - and every indication is that it will be - the party nominates a hawk such as Clinton she will completely and utterly shear off the left wing of the party, which she will need to have if she has any prayer of winning. She can pander to the gutless and de-nutted DLC, but she has absolutely no legs with the progressives in the party.

Kerry was a much stronger candidate in 2004 than Hillary would be in 2008, and he didn't win on a pro-war platform. It's time to give the voters a real choice in 2008 between war and peace, and Hillary is more of the same shit.

The only leading Democrat who has come out strongly in opposition to this war is Gore, and it's doubtful he'll run in 2008. Perhaps it's time for Edwards to reconsider his position on Iraq and become his own man. I believe that Americans will be so weary of this bloodshed (as the majority now are) in 2008 that a pro-occupation policy will be poison for any Democrat, but a rapid turnaround on the issue will appear insincere and pandering. If Edwards came out now against the occupation, he'd be a lock in 2008. He'd then get the "unity" Clinton preaches for, and not destroy the party (as she will).

Monday, July 25, 2005

Winning Hearts and Minds...

Kudos to the generally conservative Los Angeles Times for offering a glimpse into a subject that most Americans don't care about or choose to ignore - the reckless slaughter of Iraqi civilians by US troops, committed at will and without penalty.

Bush can provide daily lip service about "freedom" and "democracy" in Iraq, but what actually exists is a US-run police state where American soldiers and mercenaries are given free license to kill. There are some who compare our occupation of Iraq to the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, but the Israelis tend to be more public relations minded when it comes to shooting children and even Sharon doesn't make the bizarre and outrageous claim that their occupation is providing "freedom" and "democracy" to the Palestinians.

The Times story is a bit of a long read, but important in helping to understand the current dynamics in Iraq and the growth of the insurgency. Americans don't like to face unpleasant facts that might harm their self-image as beacons of freedom, but they need to realize that these atrocities are being committed in their names using their taxpayer dollars. Here are a few excerpts from the story:

BAGHDAD — Three men in an unmarked sedan pulled up near the headquarters of the national police major crimes unit. The two passengers, wearing traditional Arab dishdasha gowns, stepped from the car.

At the same moment, a U.S. military convoy emerged from an underpass. Apparently believing the men were staging an ambush, the Americans fired, killing one passenger and wounding the other. The sedan's driver was hit in the head by two bullet fragments.

The soldiers drove on without stopping.

This kind of shooting is far from rare in Baghdad, but the driver of the car was no ordinary casualty. He was Iraqi police Brig. Gen. Majeed Farraji, chief of the major crimes unit. His passengers were unarmed hitchhikers whom he was dropping off on his way to work.

"The reason they shot us is just because the Americans are reckless," the general said from his hospital bed hours after the July 6 shooting, his head wrapped in a white bandage. "Nobody punishes them or blames them."

... The continued shooting of civilians is fueling a growing dislike of the United States and undermining efforts to convince the public that American soldiers are here to help. The victims have included doctors, journalists, a professor — the kind of people the U.S. is counting on to help build an open and democratic society.

"Of course the shootings will increase support for the opposition," said Farraji, 49, who was named a police general with U.S. approval. "The hatred of the Americans has increased. I myself hate them."

... Abdul-Jabbar said he and his family had supported the U.S. troops when they first invaded Iraq, but no longer.

"This kind of incident makes people hate the Americans more and more," he said. "They don't care about the lives of the people. Each day they make new enemies."

... Salihee's widow, Raghad al Wazzan, said she accepted the American soldiers' presence when they first arrived in Iraq because "they came and liberated us." She sometimes helped them at the hospital where she works as a doctor. But not anymore.

"Now, after they killed my husband, I hate them," she said. "I want to blow them all up."

The Iraqi people didn't ask for Shock and Awe; they didn't invite American troops into their country so they could spray bullets into their husbands and wives and sons and daughters; they didn't ask for us to destroy their infrastucture and leave them without a reliable water or electrical supply in the dead of summer; they didn't ask anything of us. But still we came, in a blaze of freedom, democracy, God and flag-waving, shooting to kill.

The only thing the Iraqis are now asking of us is to remove our presense - to leave a place where we never belonged. Yet some Americans - now a minority, unless you're a Democrat with presidential aspirations like Biden or Hillary - still see this dance of death as some kind of political imperative, that we have the need to "stay the course" as though the future holds anything more than the kind of hatred and random bloodshed described in the article. Stay the course - for what? To what end?