Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A FORTNIGHT TO REMEMBER

Two weeks.

Two weeks remain until Election Day. And, as reported by A.P., the White House doesn't plan to accede to lawmakers' requests to alter US strategy in Iraq. Apparently, the current plan of sending American soldiers daily into the meat-grinder known as Every Square Foot Of Iraq Not Called The Green Zone is a-ok for the Administration. Dead soldiers (aka, Ready-Made Martyrs), utter chaos, a constant flow of projects for contractors, whether rebuilding, destroying, feeding, clothing, or housing. Perhaps it's all going as planned.

You'll recall Bush's sneering statement, in the wake of the November 2 Debacle of two years ago, that the American people gave him a mandate:

I earned capital in this campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it. It is my style. When you win, there is . . . a feeling that the people have spoken and embraced your point of view. And that's what I intend to tell Congress, that I made it clear what I intend to do as the president; now let's work.

Well, unless that mandate called for a quagmire in Iraq, an incompetent response to a national disaster, wiretapping of citizens, the potential suspension of the writ of habeus corpus in the absence of insurrection or invasion, a constant and nearly humorous flow of lies and dissembling, not to mention an economic "recovery" propped up on debt and monetary feeding of equity and housing markets, then I'm gonna declare his performance for what it is:

A Complete Fucking Failure. And since nearly all Republicans and many Democrats on Capitol Hill were complicit in this failure, we need to hold them to standards representing the American Way: if you fail, you get fired. If you succeed, you get promoted. That's market capitalism, as I understand it. Merit, results, accountability. The consumer doesn't like your product? Well let me introduce you to business failure. Your boss doesn't like your work-product? Have you met the unemployment line? The shareholders don't like your annual earnings? Here's your golden parachute, watch out for the tree tops on your way down.

That's what the mainstream leadership has been peddling for a decade or two now. And it's not necessarily a bad thing. But we need to apply the same standard to the leadership. For six years the Administration and its allies in Congress have promised a simple plan: low taxes to promote the economy, and security for Americans.

Income taxes have remained low, but spending and monetary policy have been profligate, liberal, loose, irresponsible, pick your adjective. And while no domestic attacks have gone down on American soil (at least not since the first one, which occurred on this Adminstration's watch), Afghanistan is as anarchic and dangerous as it was on September 10, 2001, and nearly 3,000 Americans have died in Iraq, under the direction of the Commander-in-Chief. And Iraq is no more secure than it was the day Bush took office. 3,000 lives, uncountable billions, and Iraq's more dangerous, more ungovernable than it was six years ago.

And, to keep this in context of the midterm elections, Congress gave Bush the pre-signed check to prosecute these wars. The Constitution makes clear that the Legislature, not the Executive, declares war. Capitol Hill passed the buck. The Constitution makes clear that Congress, not the Executive, controls the purse strings, which obviously includes financing war and all defense-related spending, including military and quasi-military projects. Congress also renewed the Patriot Act, rubber-stamped all of Bush's appointments including Rice, Bolten, Alito and Roberts, and has remained in a collective state of silence as the Executive branch aggrandized power through a series of ever-bolder executive decrees, signing statements, and unilateral orders in the guise of Commander-in-Chief during wartime.

Enough is enough. The Constitution -- the overarching law of the land that's been trod upon, ignored, and defaced so dramatically the last 5 years it's a wonder it's still intact -- mandates the election of representatives every two years. Every single representative. And, since we amended it in 1913, it also sets up the election of about 1/3 of the Senate every two years. If the American people do the right thing and hold their leaders accountable for the results of the past few years, the balance of power on Capitol Hill will change. And if these new leaders respect and obey the Constitutional system, and take advantage of its perks, then at very least the bastard that sits in the White House will be crippled, as a politician and as a leader, for the remaining 2 years of his reign.

And if the American people don't do so, then we're obviously too far gone for it to matter anyway.

20 Comments:

Blogger Thrillhous said...

You make a convincing case, Mike, but I still need to hear from Osama before I can vote. If he mocks the republicans for their weakness and stupidity, I'll have no choice but to vote for them to prove him wrong. Or right. Or something.

10:18 AM  
Blogger DED said...

Thrill: If you saw Countdown last night, you'd have seen the ad that the GOP is using to promote their candidates. In it, they show Osama & co. giving their messages of hate and destruction. 1984 writ large.

Mike: Despite Congress' sub-Cheney approval ratings (somewhere between 13-16%) most people don't believe that it's their rep that's the problem. It's always that guy from across the country, hence the typical 96% incumbency rate. I know that I'm guilty of it, though I've finally come to the conclusion that I can't vote for my incumbent because of her unerring support for W on issues of my freedom. It's a shame too because she's normally a moderate Republican.

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Don't sweat it, Thrill, it's all cool. I checked with Osama this morning before I posted, and he gave me the green light.

You see, he's heard so many times that anyone but hard-line, pro-Administration GOPers will be weak on terror, he figures it's to his advantage to let someone else win. Here's what he said:

"Allah willing, in all his grace, benevolence, and hatred of the Great Satan, will allow me to better destroy your home country, source of all that is evil in the world, praise be Allah, if The Mighty One, George Bush, is prevented from implimenting his flawless plan, all praise due to he that I serve, Allah, which can best be accomplished through the election of America-hating Democrats and moderate Republicans, thus sayeth the Prophet."

Of course now that I've admitted that I speak to OBL, it's off to Gitmo, due proces be damned, for me.

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

I hear you, Ded. And I know you may be right.

And if you are, woe be us.

10:29 AM  
Anonymous waitingforthealiens said...

Here, here, Councilor. Trow da bums out.

Just think, Congress impeached Bill Clinton for lying about what any reasonable married man would, in fact should, lie about.

Ever the masters of persuasive subtleties, the administration has dropped “stay the course” from the presidential lexicon because it might create the impression that the decider is not flexible. I say he is a cut-and-run Retreatican.

On the slightly serious side, while I seem to grow more contemptuous of religion with each passing year, it is a disservice to Islam to portray Osama as a pious Muslim. Tying religion to terrorism and equating the so-called war on terror with a clash of cultures are part and parcel of Team W’s big lie.

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

WFTA-

I'm neither an expert of Islam nor of terror (and in fact, I know shit, basically), but what I do understand, Osama is a deeply religious man.

If his message is an "incorrect" reflection of Islam's tenets, it's due to his overly-rigid readings of Koranic texts and various Imam's interpretations, rather than due to some cynical or greedy play.

He may be power-hungry, but he wants to use his power to restore the Caliphate, not to advance any secular vision that includes money or Western notions of power.

11:01 AM  
Blogger Weaseldog said...

Yes, we've lost 3,000 US soldiers in Iraq, but some back door military reports are saying that we've lost 4,000-5,000 more, due to injuries sustained in Iraq.

Once a wounded soldier is put in an airplane, he's no longer in Iraq. So whenever possible they fly the mortally wounded to Germany, so they don't count as statistics in the Iraq war.

I wonder how many die needlessly because of the stress of the flight?

11:58 AM  
Anonymous waitingforthealiens said...

You don't think Osama is capable of being as cynical as Karl Rove?

4:37 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Capable? Sure. Without a doubt.

I also think, however, that OBL directs his formidable energies in the pursuit of something he believes in. Deeply.

Rove, on the other hand, merely focuses his amoral actions towards the accession of power in his own fat fingers, and those with whom he's affiliated.

OBL's an ideologue, and a damn dangerous one at that. Rove, for example, is greedy for power and admiration more than for any true "goal."

But that's just my take. What the hell do I know?

4:43 PM  
Anonymous waitingforthealiens said...

Well, is Dubya as ideologically pure as Osama or just pandering to the evangelicals? If so it must be the clash of cultures that I have been denying. There really are Islamo-fascists and they hate us for our freedom to drink alcohol in topless bars.

I haven’t seen any evidence that Osama is devout. He wants to overthrow the Al-Sauds, the Al-Sabahs and all the other Als of the Arabian Peninsula and probably hasn’t thought much about what to do afterwards. The “insh’Allah’s” and “Allah akbars” and piety are window dressing. So he espouses establishment of Islamic law. No problem if you’re the boss—one system is a good as the next.

5:41 PM  
Anonymous Donna said...

Why don't guys like you run for office, Mike? Damn. We are so, so screwed. I'm not at all convinced a new crop in Congress will make a bit of difference, except if they're heavy on the Dems, it'll be harder for Bushbrat to get what he wants. Other than that--the Dems won't impeach if they have a majority, sez Nancy Pelosi, and if they won't impeach, =what the hell is fucking wrong with them=???????

The only people who act like they have a pair are people trying to get elected and those who are out of office.

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Donna-

except if they're heavy on the Dems, it'll be harder for Bushbrat to get what he wants.

That's about the extent of it at this point. I'm for Bush & Cheney's impeachment, but only if it results in conviction & removal from office. Because I want them unable to lead our country. I'm not intersted in a show trial or mere "punishment."

So if we get a situation where Bush is the lamest of lame ducks, I can't say it'll make me "happy," but I think it'll stop further bleeding.

Plus, with the spending of the past 6 years, some gridlock might not be a bad thing.

WFTA-

You make it seem like I think it's a good thing that OBL is a "pure" ideologue, rather than a cynical politician.

Let me assure you that I've no admiration for religious ideologues, whether Muslim or otherwise!

As to this -- He wants to overthrow the Al-Sauds, the Al-Sabahs and all the other Als of the Arabian Peninsula and probably hasn’t thought much about what to do afterwards -- that not really correct. He's made it very clear since 1991 that he wants to reestablish the Caliphate, a pan-Arab & pan-Muslim religious "state" encompassing the entire Middle East, if not the entire Muslim world.

His objections to the Saudi leadership stem from his belief that they're not devout enough. The fact that they allowed American troops on Saudi soil was a major turning point for his elations with the Saudi government.

6:19 AM  
Anonymous waitingforthealiens said...

Mike,
I’m pretty sure we are generally on the same team. I am suggesting that you MIGHT have accepted a CONVENTIONAL view of Osama which I think plays into the hand of the PNAC, neo-con, Cheney/Bush and the rest of the let’s-really-fuck-the-world-up crowd.

One of the big advantages that the political manipulators (AKA. leaders, dictators, etc.) have is that even the most thoughtful in the audience cannot really believe that the manipulators are as cynical (or delusional) as they in fact are.

In short, I don’t believe anything Dick Cheney says. Why would I believe anything Osama says?

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

We are mostly in agreement. BUt the fun comes from trying to hammer out the differences (or at least, hammering on those with whom you disagree!)

Most of my info comes from "conventional" sources, but hardly those of the right or center-right. Nearly all of what I know about OBL comes from what I'd call the "mainstream liberal media or academia."

And I'm not focusing on what OBL says (mostly "All Praise To Allah" bullshit), but on what he does.

Bin Laden's a worse creature than Cheney (though in the right situation, Buckshot Dick'd be just as bad), but he's not in the VP's league when it comes to rank dishonesty.

10:45 AM  
Anonymous waitingforthealiens said...

Maybe we should establish a new thread since we are veering wide your initial article. My point, I think, is that I will no longer underestimate OBL’s capacity for cynicism. It is a cold and calculating mother who can send his disciples out to suicide. He wants a war of ideologies; to paint Islam as insane and repulsive to the west and the west as morally bankrupt and repulsive to Islam. It is the politics of division writ large.

Just like GWB, OBL has an audience to play to. And a significant part of that audience has experienced personal poverty and exploitation, juxtaposed with colossal corruption and the squander of “national” wealth. And all the while being fed steady diet of political/religious teaching that says all injustice is spawned by the Great Satan and/or His handmaiden Israel. The Caliphate sounds pretty good to these guys. Particularly in light of what the West has offered for alternatives, or more correctly, has failed to offer.

Accepting OBL as a madman bent on destroying the USA and establishing an Islamic utopia gives credence to the administration’s grand illusion that Americans are in tremendous danger and can only be protected by surrendering our civil liberties to the CNC. I decline to accept any premise that does that.

And of course it is always good to exercise one’s logic and rhetoric.

2:27 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Everything you say in undoubtedly true. And I wouldn't deny he understands opportunism, self-promotion, or the politics of power.

We merely disagree on the ratio of cynicism/demogoguery-to-Actual Religious Fundamentalism. You see the ratio as 1.239 and I see it as 0.853406.

But otherwise, I don't think we disagree. I'd say we both hate him equally, and we fear the way he allows the powerful in the US to leverage his image into fear, which is then leveraged into political power.

2:35 PM  
Anonymous waitingforthealiens said...

Agreed.
I obviously have not been busy enough this week. And the love affair with the sound of my own voice continues.

So, what do you think? Detroit in 7 or St. Louis in 6?

4:58 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

I've watched zero minutes of the series so far, and I don't plan on changing it.

If it's not Mets in 6, I ain't playing.

I'm not bitter or anything.

{Sound of head slamming against wall . . .}

10:42 AM  
Anonymous waitingforthealiens said...

The only MLB player whose career I follow is Frank Thomas, dh for the A's, but I'm philosophically opposed to baseball having a dh. That makes me a National League guy I guess.

I am certainly not among the baseball illuminati, but I think this kid Pujols may rewrite the record books.

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

philosophically opposed to baseball having a dh.

Philosophically opposed, huh? Any thoughts on aluminum bats, oversized mitts, batting gloves, or lead-off men who don't walk often?

2:43 PM  

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