Monday, July 31, 2006

Why Republican Joe Has To Go.

I was reading an interesting piece by John Nichols of The Nation, about the fight for the Democratic Party's soul going on right now in Connecticut. He made mention of something that had previously been pointed out in The Huffington Post's blog, which is that incumbent senator Joe Lieberman "votes with his own party when it doesn't matter, and sides with the GOP to savage progressive causes when it does."

Nichols wrote that Lieberman "sided with Senate Republicans to block attempts to filibuster Samuel Alito's Supreme Court nomination, to explore Social Security privatization, to back free trade and corporate bailouts, to intercede in the Terri Schiavo right-to-die case and, of course, to engage in tiresome moralizing about Bill Clinton's extramarital shenanigans."

And therein lies the biggest reason (among many) that voters in Connecticut have to reject Republican Joe Lieberman in the upcoming Senate primary: the incumbent's willingness to fight his own party and side with Republicans on the most important issues facing our nation. What good did Lieberman's vote against confirming that fascist prick Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court do, when he voted to kill what was perhaps the best hope Democrats had of preventing his confirmation in the first place?

None. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Are you sensing a pattern to these answers yet? Or, for that matter, in Joey-boy's record overall?

Lieberman can spin his own record all he wants, claiming (falsely) that he has voted with his party "90% of the time." But as was pointed out, that 90% is what matters least to Americans. Here is what does matter to us: We do not want Social Security gutted in favor of privatized savings accounts that would only benefit those who can afford them. We do not want fascists on the Supreme Court, who believe the president of his choice is above the law and has the power to do whatever he wants and get away with it, and who supports illegal strip searches of ten-year-old girls by police. We do not want our soldiers kept in Iraq, which wants us to leave and that has descended into a hellish replay of the Vietnam War--with little more than the geographic location and sectarian violence marking the difference.

Yet on all these issues, Joe Lieberman has sided not with his constituents, but with the evil monsters responsible for these and other crimes against American society. Small wonder the vaunted New York Times, which carries a lot of weight well outside the Big Apple, endorsed Lamont. Their main point: the incumbent seems to have become so obsessed with appearing moderate, that he has become the most prominent defender of George W. Bush and the Republican Party--and their warped policies--in the Senate. Truly, if this battle for the Democratic senate seat in Connecticut has become a fight for the soul of the Democratic Party, it looks as if Lieberman sold his long ago for the sake of personal job security.

When even one of the nation's most trusted newspapers has examined a long time incumbent and found him lacking, it's an undeniable sign that the opposition to Lieberman isn't just coming from the fringes; it's coming from the mainstream as well, and for good reason. That indicates the problem in Connecticut's senate race really is just Joe Lieberman.

And if you needed any further proof, voters of Connecticut, why Lieberman needs to be sent packing to the unemployment office, look no further than his selfish announcement that he will not abide by the will of voters in his own party if he loses the primary. Think about it: Lamont has said if he loses the primary, he will back Lieberman. But Republican Joe? "Screw the voters," his position in essence argues. "If they tell me they don't want me I'll run anyway and try to split the vote to win. And I really don't care that it could result in a Republican getting into office and costing me the race anyway!" If Joe Lieberman can so casually dismiss the will of voters in his own party, choosing his own self-interest over their wishes, what reason does anyone have to believe he will represent anyone else but himself?

For Lieberman, it's all about his own pride, interests, and ambitions. Actually listening to his constituents' concerns and abiding by their wishes doesn't even enter into his mind.

Senators, being elected represetatives of their states in Congress, are (or should be) bound by one thing above all else: the needs and wishes of their constituents come before their own. It isn't enough to side with them on matters that do not hurt one's own career; one must be willing to fight when issues affecting all of us--such as the occupation of Iraq, high crimes by the executive branch and the gutting of Social Security--dictate standing with those a senator represents.

If Republican Joe Lieberman will not do his job, if he refuses to listen to and represent his constituents on the things that really matter, then he is no longer fit to be a senator. And voters should tell him so in August and November, with their votes.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

More Middle East Angst

A couple of updates on the crises in the Middle East, neither of which should be surprising to anyone with a fully functioning brain.

1.) Iran rejected the terms of a U.N. edict demanding it give up its nuclear program.

2.) An Israeli air strike killed sixty civilians in Lebanon.

A couple of quick opinions on these events:

Why would anyone feeling threatened by the U.S. and/or Israel just give up its nuclear ambitions, peaceful or not? Wow, if we ask really nicely do you think North Korea might stop its boasted weapons program? A great big "DUH" moment if ever I saw one.

Next time some asshat trying to justify murder by the IDF says Israel goes out of its way to avoid killing civilians, point to the article linked to above and tell him he's full of shit. Is it just me, or is launching an all-out war over a few soldiers who knew full well what they were getting themselves into when they signed up for the can I put it...INSANE? And all the while Bush & Co. drag their feet trying to look like they're doing something when in fact they are actually trying very hard not to do anything.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

House Republicans Extort Wage Increase

I have to give the worthless little stains on humanity's backside, otherwise known as the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, credit on one thing: they sure know how to engage in extortion and face-saving political ploys designed to embarrass Democrats.

In one of their usual late-night sessions in which GOPers pass legislation they know would never survive a full vote by the House, Republicans managed to do what their counterparts in the U.S. Senate refused to do: raise the minimum wage--on the condition that the estate tax gets cut, big time.

Republicans passed this bill knowing it will probably fail in the Senate; that body shot down a minimum wage increase last month. So why did they do it?

Simply put, the Republicans by tying the wage increase to a huge cut in the inheritance tax--which affects only the wealthy--put Democrats in the uncomfortable position of going against one of the party's core issues in the midterm elections. Their plan, a desperate bid to convince voters that Democrats lack the courage of their convictions, is to appear like they're the ones really looking out for the interests of low-wage workers. By passing this bill, they reason, they stand a better chance of keeping control of the House of Representatives (which they've ruled with an iron fist for over a decade, and where any impeachment proceedings against George W. Bush and Dick Cheney must start).

Look for more of this kind of extortionist tactic the closer we get to November.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Titan has lakes!

I bet you didn't know the moon of Saturn has lakes, did you? Neither did I until today.

Just a bit of non-political observation today, while we wait to see if Bush & Co. actually bother to get off their lazy asses and do something substantial about Israel going pit-bull insane on Lebanon. You know, besides giving more than empty lip service without anything to really back it up.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A First for Bush, Another Fucking Over for Americans

George W. Bush was crowned America's first officially un-elected dictator in January 2001. In all the time between then and now, he never once vetoed a bill. That was because he never really had to, given a Republican-controlled Congress that had yet to pass legislation the Shrub truly didn't like.

Until today.

Even though Congress had managed to pass a bill providing federal funding for the use of embryonic stem cells that are discarded by the thousands annually by fertility clinics across the country, Bush finally issuded his first ever veto.

In doing so, he has once again fucked over every single American whose debilitating illness could be cured or treated through the use of embryonic stem cells. The bill passed by Congress, which passed the House of Representatives a year ago and passed the Senate this Tuesday, contained no known provision that would have allowed for aborted fetuses as a source of embryonic stem cells. Instead, embryos discarded by fertility clinics would have been the source. There would have been no new wave of abortions to supply researchers with fresh cell clusters.

The type of embryo in question, a sort of hollow "bubble" of undifferentiated cells called a blastocyst, is more desirable because unlike adult stem cells--which cannot be used for general research and are widely considered unusable--its cells have not yet gone through the process that switches on and off the gemes that decide what the cells will become: arms, legs, bones, blood, etc. Virtually no stem cells exist in the human brain, which is one of the reasons it cannot regenerate. It is also why it is impossible to harvest adult stem cells that can be used to heal spinal injuries and defects.

The same day he told Americans crippled by debilitating spinal injuries and neural illnesses to fuck off, he wasn't providing funding for research that could cure them, the Shrub signed into law a bill that--in tandmen with the stem cell reseach bill he vetoed--would have alleviated the concerns of people who hysterically think stem cell research will lead to abortions solely for the purposes of harvesting stem cells. So what we have now is a ban on using aborted fetuses for stem cell research, and a denial of the very research the ban was intended to help.

In signing the ban, Bush said, "Human beings are not a raw material to be exploited, or a commodity to be bought or sold." That's a sick joke coming from George W. Bush, who thought absolutely nothing of using American soldiers and Iraqi civilians as fodder for his pointless, fucked up war of aggression against Iraq. Hypocrisy is speaking out against exploiting human beings as commodities, while using human beings as commodities.

And so the Shrub marks a first in his twisted reign of terror; he issued his first ever veto. But it was just another in a long line of exercises in fucking over Americans desperate for medical treatment. And in that regard, it is just business as usual in Bush's dictatorship.

Rescue You? Pay Up, First!

I don't know what is sicker: the escalating violence in the Middle East between Israel and Lebanon, or the fact the Pentagon tried to charge evacuees for rescuing them.

You read correctly, ladies and gentlemen.
Americans have been told to wait for a telephone call that could come in hours — or days. They've also been told they can't board a ship unless they've signed a contract agreeing to repay the U.S. government for the price of their evacuation.
Last I heard, the decision to demand reimbursement for the evacuation was reversed after heavy criticism. But the decision should never have been made in the first place.

Think what you will, but this never would have happened under a Democratic administration. Instead, we have a Republican dictatorship that has abandoned all decency and obligation to American citizens in general, preferring instead to cater primarily to the very wealthy.

The current escalating war between Israel and its neighbors stands to become the Hurricane Katrina of 2006 if the Bush regime continues to treat American citizens trapped over there as nothing more than an inconvenience to be ignored--or worse, taken advantage of in their time of need.

I keep asking myself this, whenever I read things like this in the news: how much more will Americans put up with before they finally realize it's time to clean house?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

More Proof Iraq Occupation Is a Bad Replay of Vietnam

As Reuters reports on the videotape from alleged al-Qaeda members in Iraq showing the corpses of two U.S. soldiers perportedly killed in June, in retaliation for the rape and murder of an Iraqi girl and her family by G.I.s, one finds fewer and fewer arguments against likening this clusterfuck in Iraq to the one in Vietnam.

U.S. commanders can decry the video as barbaric all they want, but that denunciation is meaningless in the face of charges that more than five American soldiers brutally raped and murdered a teenaged girl in Iraq, burned her corpse and murdered her family to cover it up.

The crimes, which are reported to have taken place in March, are the stated reason in the video for the killings of American soldiers Kristian Menchaca and Thomas Tucker--who were from the same unit as the five who have been charged with the rape and murders.

The frightening parallels between Iraq and Vietnam grow with each passing day: lies told to get us mired in a war of choice; soldiers sent into conditions with insufficient training and equipment; an enemy of our own making that has blended into and become indistinguishable from the civilian populace; our troops, barraged daily with surprise attacks and boobytraps designed to maim and kill, snapping from the stress and taking it out on people who had nothing to do with what happened to their buddies; politicians who despite never having seen actual combat themselves overriding the advice and decisions of military commanders to prolong the conflict; war profiteering by those same politicians.

The list goes on, seemingly without end.

The only differences are the time and the location, and the lack of a draft causing your average American to share in the burden of sending a child off to die in a pointless war. These are minor details, the last made significant only in its implications; as long as average Americans don't have to face the possibility of losing a loved one to this farce, with only the families of an all-volunteer military suffering the losses, public outcry against the war in Iraq will remain muted.

Our soldiers have been sent into a clusterfuck from which they cannot escape, and in which they are forced to stay even after the trauma of war has caused many to become unstable and prone to the sort of crimes that can only really be gotten away with in a time of war. The troops accused of the rape and murder of Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi, aged fourteen, and her family (which included a six-year old sister), have plead not guilty and if history repeats itself as it tends to do, they'll likely get off with a slap on the wrist or convicted while the politicians who sent them into that hell go free and unpunished for their own crimes.

And let's face it, the Bush regime--George W. and Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleeza Rice, Paul Wolfowitz and John Bolten, etc. killed that girl and her family as surely as if they had physically done it themselves. It was their lies that got our soldiers stuck in Iraq, and that led to the atrocities of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Haditha and now this. It was their greed and their dishonesty that are responsible for the nightmare scenario being replayed in front of an outraged national community.

The Bush regime got our soldiers into this mess, it is their fault and their responsibility for every evil thing that happens in Iraq from beginning to sad, sick end. The question is, when will America grow outraged enough at these traitors to do something about it?