This week the General Accountability Office slipped an advance copy of its progress report on Iraq to the Washington Post. Their report was "strikingly negative." The GAO thinks that Iraq has failed to meet all but 3 of its 18 mandated benchmarks. But that's because the GAO is a bunch of girlie-men. Don't they know that we are all supposed to -- say it with me now -- "Wait to hear what General Petraeus has to say!"
Well General Petraeus is speaking, to The Australian, and guess what: The Surge Is Working!
"We say we have achieved progress, and we are obviously going to do everything we can to build on that progress and we believe al-Qa'ida is off balance at the very least," he said.
At the "very least," he says. Pshaw. I think the thing I love most about General Petraeus is his modesty. Let's face it. He is kicking insurgent ass, over there.
Here are a few things the terrorists didn't know about General Petraeus when they provoked his wrath:
But Curmudgette, you are saying, aren't these just warmed over Chuck Norris and Vin Diesel jokes? Yeah. What are you gonna do about it?
EVERYTHING is better with General Petraeus in it. The following video, for instance, is only good, if you close your eyes and imagine he's singing about General David Petraeus.
Friday, August 31, 2007
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In Parts One and Two, I discussed the support Kucinich has and the irrational fear also associated with electing Kucinich. In Part Three, I discussed Kucinich's time as Mayor of Cleveland and how the GOP slander machine stating "he drove Cleveland into bankruptcy" is an out right lie. Today we are moving on to the real important stuff - issues.
I have heard a lot of talk from the candidates stating "any Democrat running for President will be better than Bush." I believe that sentiment is true. But I also believe there are varying degrees of HOW MUCH BETTER they will be than Bush. In the comments in the previous parts of this series, there are claims that the changes we (The People) want to make to this country "can't be done." "The shift is too fast, these things will take time to change." Oh I hope not.
We have 50 million people in this nation without health care. The rest of us have health insurance that is precarious. My wife just got a letter from our policy holder, Blue Cross, asking whether her recent yearly physical was the result of a work related injury - she has been out of the workforce for over ten years, yet we had to go through the damn motions with these chuckle-heads to get the claim paid. If it was something serious like cancer, I can't imagine the red tape that would get thrown at our face. With Americans daily needing health care that either allows them to live or die, this is not a problem we can gradually ease our way out of. We need swift, decisive legislation and leadership to get us out of this mess. Kucinich is the lone candidate that has universal health care for all as part of his platform - everyone else is offering "insurance." I have enough of insurance. Haven't you?
Our jobs are being sucked out of this country at an alarming rate. A very alarming rate. When I was growing up in the real town of Dobson, NC, the town of 1,200 people was teeming with textile mills. They were everywhere. Even the gas station across from the court house had rented out one of the car repair bays to a guy who was making socks day and night. Jobs were plentiful, parents could send their kids to UNC or NC State and there was enough money to retire at 60. That was the horrible days of the Carter Administration in 1980. When Reagan got into office, the borders began to open for business and the jobs from my hometown were siphoned off and weren't replaced with new jobs. Now, the number one industry in North Carolina is logging. People in that Congressional District (NC-05) have had to go through "skill retraining" several times since then. You simply can't have a single career anymore in rural America. Hell, you can't even keep the same employer for more than four years - right about when you would receive matching funds for your 401K you find yourself out of work. Now, 27 years later, our economic base, the middle class has been pushed off a cliff and they (we) are tumbling toward a very nasty end. Our open border policies need to be clamped shut and not over the span of three decades. We need to exit NAFTA, CAFTA, GATT and the WTO today, now, 10 minutes ago. Which candidate has this as a policy? Take a guess. Kucinich. And oddly enough, this actually makes him appealing to conservatives.
This brings us to the mother-fucking war. BushCo wants another $50 billion on top of all the other requests. Hillary wants to keep troops there, Obama wants to take our time getting out of Iraq. Biden wants to split Iraq into three pieces and keep troops there (that means we will be fighting a six front civil war). No thanks. We need out, we need out now. Kucinich is the only one willing to state the obvious - the war was a failure and we need to get out. He was the only one in the race not snookered into voting for the damn thing to begin with. Hillary was for the war up until six months before the 2006 election. If it took her that long to figure out the war was an idiotic idea, then for me, she doesn't have the mental capabilities to get this nation out of the cesspool of despair we are in.
If you look at Kucinich's voting record and his anthology of submitted legislation over the past 10 years, they read as if written by someone with prescient abilities. I am not saying he is a soothsayer or a prophet from Ohio, I am saying he is one smart guy and we need more of people like him in Congress, not less.
Our nation is in serious trouble and we have long since passed the point where half-measures would make any difference. Unless we get a President that is willing to actually take, Honest-To-God bold steps, we may be seeing the last days of Jefferson's America.
Hillary, Obama and Edwards would be an improvement to what we currently have in the White House, but their histories show they are ill-equipped to handle the challenges ahead of us.
Only Dennis Kucinich has risked ridicule and even his political career to do the right thing. His political past has been nothing BUT a series of career-ending decisions, but every decision has been for the benefit for the citizens, never corporate interests. That is why he keeps getting re-elected.
He is the only one that has ever gone out on a limb for We The People. Now, I wonder how many VOTERS will join him? How many will join the Second American Revolution?
Thursday, August 30, 2007
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When I was in high school, I was well educated in Soviet geography. Vladivostok, Novosibirsk and of course Moscow were all familiar places on the world map. Sadly, Americans seem to get the bulk of the geographic education when we go to war (fake or otherwise). Mosul? That is in Northern Iraq and Highway 2 goes right through it. Basra? Oh that is the seaport on the Gulf. Minnesota? What the Hell are you talking about?
Despite our highest hopes of electing a Democratic Congress, they seem to have no intent of removing a war criminal from power. Nor does it appear they will make any serious moves to prevent nuclear war with Iran... yet ANOTHER nation that has done nothing us. (OK, the hostages were an issue 3 decades ago, but we did open diplomatic channels with them again - oh, my bad, that was back when we practiced DIPLOMACY. Back to our nightmare at hand.)
BushCo has reneged on every nuclear arms control treaty this nation has ever signed plus he has not lifted a finger to negotiate new ones. On top of that he started building NEW nukes. The idiot never met a law he didn't want to break.
Now we have this recent history of invading countries that hasn't attacked us (and avoiding those who have - ahem... Saudi Arabia) is it any wonder the United States is seen as the biggest threat to peace and stability on the planet?
If we drop ANY kind of nuclear device on Iran, it will open up a Pandora's Box of sorrow that we have managed to keep shut for more than 60 years. Even if it is a bunker buster, America will then become the world's NUMBER ONE rogue nation without a doubt.
When the only global friend you have is Communist China, it speaks volumes of how far we will have fallen.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
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From Satan's Temple of Deceit:
And Iran's active pursuit of technology that could lead to nuclear weapons threatens to put a region already known for instability and violence under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust.
One thing I will say about Reagan (and Carter, Ford, Nixon, Johnson and JFK), if that quote above was uttered by one of them, I would have thought the threat was real because back in the good old days of the Cold War (can't believe I wrote that) it would have been an accurate portrayal. Leave it to Bush Junior to create the threat of nuclear annihilation where there isn't one.
I am MORE worried about what Bush will do with nuclear weapons than I am Iran. Bush has broken every nuclear treaty we have ever signed, avoided new nuclear arms control agreements at every turn and has even ramped up American production of NEW nuclear weapons. I guess the weapons we had on hand weren't enough, you know, the ones where we could destroy the planet hundreds of times over.
Has anyone in the Bush Administration EVER set down at a table for peace talks? Has he ever just chatted about peace at the White House water cooler? Has BushCo ever taken a break from thinking about TOTAL UTTER DESTRUCTION for one single minute since they took control?
Let me go back to my tired-assed Africa analogy, before we invaded Iraq over WMD I stated you could have thrown a dart at Africa and chances were you would find someone worse than Saddam Hussein. Well, Iran is even farther from WMD development than Iraq was and the rogue nations that have REAL nuclear programs far out number Iran. So why Iran? I hope everyone ASKS that question NOW before Bush goes off and nukes Iran.
And will someone please tell Pelosi to stop this madman? Please?
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
I'm on dozens of Email lists, everybody from the New York Times to Victoria's Secret (great articles over there) sends me Email and I spend way too much time scanning and deleting most of it daily. I subscribe to Email lists from news organizations, campaign committees, government watchdog groups and all kinds of public service organizations. I also get stuff addressing me as Dear One, with great investment opportunities in Nigeria and missives that promise to make me larger, but I delete them all summarily as I have nothing to invest and..., never mind.
In this morning's Email from Heritage was a featured article written by "Senior Fellow" (please pause to genuflect) Robert Rector (Photo at right) at the National Review Online and titled "Poor Politics" in which he offers the following nuggets of conservative think tank wisdom regarding persons in this country who are classified as poor. From Mr. oops, "Senior Fellow" Rector:
Posted by Bob Higgins at 11:38 AM
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One full year later, I was able to go to bed with the lights off.
So here we are, ten months into the so-called Democratic Revolution and Pelosi and Reid have accomplished damn near nothing. The only thing they can chalk up is the pitifully small increase in the minimum wage. We are still in Iraq, a war criminal is still running the country and we haven't regained our civil rights. I have heard the hand-wringing apologists for the Dems - the excuses about a one vote majority in the Senate, the Blue Dog Democrats that are infesting the House of Representatives and the biggest whopper, "impeachment wouldn't be good for the nation."
Last Summer and Fall, I ran all around the district telling people the Dems were going to act on their agenda and by electing Dems we would get our country back. Sadly, what I didn't realize, we would also need to get rid of the Dems that are IN Congress to get our PARTY back.
Gonzales is off the table and gone. Now can we get back to the war crimes at hand? Can we get out of Iraq? Can we maybe get our rights back?
I have no inkling as to why the Dems are continuing to fund the war and most recently, agreed to let Bush continue to abuse the FISA courts. Who is even letting these bills come to the damn floor? If I knew this crap was going on, I would NOT have been knocking on doors for months and months last year in an effort to get these sorry individuals in power.
The Dems got voted into power about 10 months ago. When will they come out from under the bed? When will they overcome their fear? When will they begin to govern?
It took me a year to conquer my fear of the flying monkeys and I was three years old. I hope the Democrats get their act together soon, our soldiers are dying on the battlefield while Pelosi cries under her bed.
Monday, August 27, 2007
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Embattled U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has resigned, senior administration officials told CNN Monday.
Now maybe, just maybe, we can go back to impeaching the President?
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Government Lies About the Drug War: A Podcast Interview With Criminal Justice Professor Matthew Robinson
The topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal as well as The Peace Tree and Worldwide Sawdust.
“This is crack cocaine seized a few days ago in a park across the street from the White House . . . It could easily have been heroin or PCP.”For Bush this speech was public relations homage to an issue that dominated the media and politics during the 1980s. It also impacted Bush’s 1988 presidential election campaign. The near hysteria about the “crack” epidemic in particular resulted in the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. This act established The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). According to their website,
“The principal purpose of ONDCP is to establish policies, priorities, and objectives for the Nation's drug control program. The goals of the program are to reduce illicit drug use, manufacturing, and trafficking, drug-related crime and violence, and drug-related health consequences. To achieve these goals, the Director of ONDCP is charged with producing the National Drug Control Strategy. The Strategy directs the Nation's anti-drug efforts and establishes a program, a budget, and guidelines for cooperation among Federal, State, and local entities.”The General Accounting Office reported that as of 2000, ONDCP’s annual budget was almost $20 billion. Depending on whether one factors local incarcerations and law enforcement costs we continue to spend billions annually. So as tax payers, how are we to assess the ONDCP’s performance? Are they having any success at achieving their goals? Do they have the right goals? Is ONDCP accomplishing anything useful or simply justifying its own existence and sustaining the prison industrial complex?
Understandably, we have other things on our minds these days. The “war on terror” has dwarfed the “war on drugs” in recent years and unlike 1988, receiving little attention from presidential candidates this time around. However, given the health repercussions of drugs on society as well as the impact on our justice system, foreign policy, and economy, a thorough analysis of the ONDCP’s efforts are in order.
One interesting cost-benefit analysis of the drug war was posted online by Brian C. Bennett, who in 2005 concluded that,
“trying to stop people from using drugs is still costing us more than three times as much as the drug abuse itself.”Two Appalachian State University professors provide another sobering analysis: Matthew B. Robinson, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Renee G. Scherlen, Associate Professor of Political Science. Their book, Lies, Damned Lies, and Drug War Statistics: A Critical Analysis of Claims Made by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (State University of New York Press) primarily focuses on data published by the ONDCP from 2000-2006. They also provide an instructive historical overview about America’s war on drugs dating back to 1875 and illustrate the common themes of racism, media hyperbole and bureaucratic self-interest that have helped define this country’s drug policies.
Robinson, an author of six books, including most recently, Death Nation: The Experts Explain Capital Punishment, agreed to a podcast interview with me about his book and the war on drugs. Please refer to the media player below. This interview is just over thirty minutes and can also be accessed at no cost via the Itunes Store by searching for "Intrepid Liberal Journal."