April 27, 2007

Be Strong, Congress - Tell Bush To "Take It Or Leave It!"

Here we go again.

Bush, Cheney, and their neo-con shills are out on the campaign trails trashing the evil Democratic Congress for following the will of the American people. How dare they "put strings" on the $100b+ 'Emergency' appropriations bill to force the Bushies to come up with an exit strategy to the worst debacle in American history! How dare they "undercut the troops" by putting the wheels in motion to get them out of harm's way! How dare they even think about bringing this occupation of Iraq to closure and threatening the profits of Halliburton, Blackwater, and all of those other neo-con revenue centers!

Don't buy it, America. I know that Darth & Dubya have the loudest microphones, but don't buy their snake oil. Don't ever forget about how they lied us into this conflict, with fabricated intelligence, manipulated to fit the policy. Don't ever forget how they outed an undercover CIA operative, whose mission was non-proliferation in the Middle East, in order to punish a dissenter. Don't ever forget how they trampled our constitution, tortured prisoners, lied about EVERYTHING, and continue to do so!

The Bushies have NO INTENTION of ending this conflict in Iraq. Even though the people in both countries overwhelmingly want to end it, they have every intention on continuing the U.S. presence. By virtue of the 'enduring bases', they have every intention of staying in Iraq long after the occupation has ended, if it ever does end. Make no mistake - the Bushies have no exit strategy and want an open-ended blank check to keep feeding the military-industrial-complex.

The Standoff

So now we're at a stand off. The Congress and the Executive branches of government pointing their fingers at each other. The Bushies are claiming that the Democrats are undercutting the troops by putting strings (i.e. demands for a withdrawl plan) on the 'emergency' funding. The Democrats are reluctant, but willing to fund the conflict for another year or so, as long as there's SOME light at the end of the tunnel to end this debacle. Who to believe? Who to support?

Here's my take

Although I'm personally in the camp of pulling the troops out immediately and setting in motion parallel processes to ensure order (i.e. United Nations peacekeepers), I do respect the Democratically-controlled congress for the bills they've passed. They've funded the conflict for one more year, but with obligations on the President to end the occupation. It was the only thing they could do. The move essentially sends the message that they support the troops, but not the open-ended, no-exit-strategy occupation.

Why did Bush ask for so much money in an 'Emergency Appropriations' bill? Why didn't he just account for fighting his wars in his regular budget? Did he not know that he was going to need this money when he submitted his annual budget? Of course he did. But then he wouldn't have been able to submit his 'regular' budget with phony rhetoric to prop up a phony perception that he was addressing the deficit. Suuuuuure... aren't the Bushies just the epitome of fiscal responsibility?

What would happen if the stalemate continued? This is what I'm trying to conceptualize. If neither the Congress nor the Bushies capitulate and give in on the withdrawl timetable issue, then the bill doesn't get signed into law, and the funding doesn't go to the war effort in Iraq. Seems to me the only option at that point is for the Pentagon to find funding in their existing budget and bring the troops home. They certainly wouldn't be able to prolong this senseless debacle.

Does that mean defeat? Not in my book. We already declared victory when we toppled Sadaam Hussein and brought democracy to Iraq. Since then we've just been foreign occupiers of this nation. If we left now, in my opinion the worst that could happen is the Shiia and Sunnis would continue to battle each other for territory and power. The only difference would be they'd have one less thing to complain about - being occupied by a foreign government.

So stand strong Harry & Nancy! Don't back down. Don't let the lying, scheming, conniving, back-stabbing, deceitful, evil, war-mongering, money-grubbing, neo-con Bushies get the best of you. The American people are behind you. YOU MAKE THE LAWS, HE EXECUTES THEM! If he chooses to veto your handout to him, so be it. He'll have no choice but to bring the troops home. And if he still chooses not to, if he continues to defy the Congress and the Constitution of The United States of America that he swore to uphold and protect, then it's time to put impeachment back on the table!

April 19, 2007

John McCain Just Doesn't Get It - II

As much as I wanted to spread my "... just doesn't get it" series around, for the first time I'm doing a repeat. After what I just read this morning, I truly believe that John McCain just doesn't get it on so many levels.

The article I read this morning, following the worst massacre in American history, was picked up by The Huffington Post from the AP wire. In this article John McCain reiterates how he supports the Second Amendment and remains against gun control:

"I strongly support the Second Amendment and I believe the Second Amendment ought to be preserved _ which means no gun control," McCain said.
The right-wing of this country have been quoting the Second Amendment verbatim and insisting that there be no infringement on the right to bear arms. After all, that's what the amendment says:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

A Conflicted Constitution

Here's the problem. While the Constitution spells out the crux of our laws in so many words, in so many cases there are variances to the interpretations of the law's intent. And, in so many cases there are implicit or explicit conflicts in the laws and precedents. The founders & framers knew this would happen and thus created the Judicial branch of government. Their charge is solely to interpret the laws and resolve these conflicts.

That said, I want to bring your attention to the preamble of the Constitution, which in this case I believe is quite significant:

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.
The key phrases here are "... insure domestic Tranquility..." and "... promote the general Welfare...". In my opinion these two phrases, directly out of the preamble of the Constitution, are a significant conflict to the phrase "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed".

Clearly we cannot allow ALL of the people in this country to bear arms, and anyone who thinks as much is diluting themselves. Would you truly believe that a 12-year-old gang member from inner-city USA should be entitled (has the right) to purchase any gun he can afford to purchase? Obviously not. So clearly, a line has to be drawn somewhere. And once again, as I've said so many times before, it becomes a matter of "Where do you draw the line?". In my opinion, the only significant difference between gun control OPponents and gun control PROponents is where to draw that line.

Here's my premise

Since I'm not an expert on gun laws or even guns in general, I wouldn't begin to debate the intricacies of said regulations. However, as an American citizen concerned with the sanctity of our domestic tranquility and general welfare, I have my opinions:
  • The right to bear arms MUST be reserved (i.e. regulated) to responsible people, not all the people.
  • Responsible hunters should be able to enjoy their sport. However, although there's a gray-area regarding the dimensions and specifications of the rifles, I think there needs to be some control on these weapons. We have to draw the line somewhere between rifles used for sport, and assault weapons used for high-volume killing of people. Let's face it - you don't need an Uzi to hunt quail.
  • Given that only responsible people should be allowed to bear arms, it follows that said right should entail a license, a background check, and a short waiting period.

So, if you're a responsible adult, without a criminal record, you should be able to apply for a gun license, shop for a gun, and receive it after waiting for 7 days. And, if you're a hunter, you should be able to purchase a rifle appropriate for hunting.... the prey you're trying to hunt, that is. I believe that's a fair compromise between the "right to bear arms" and "insuring domestic Tranquility/promoting the general welfare".

And Senator McCain, stop pandering to the right-wing base and hiding behind the verbatim of the Second Amendment. If you were any kind of serious presidential candidate, you'd be looking out for "the general welfare" of the American people.

April 06, 2007

Don't Let The Neo-cons Frame "The Message"

I believe that one of the inherent problems for the Democratic party is that they all too often allow the Republicans/Conservatives/Neo-cons to frame "the message".

Case in point - Congress' bills between the House and the Senate to pass the 'emergency' funding legislation for the "wars" in Iraq & Afghanistan. Even the Democrats and the media continue to refer to the debacle in Iraq as "the war".


We are NOT at war in, with, or against Iraq! That conflict happened in 2003 and Mr. Bush stood on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln and proclaimed that we won that war.
We're not at war. IF we were at war, THEN we'd be able to truly have a dialogue about victory & defeat, success & failure, winning & losing. But we are NOT at war and those concepts do NOT apply.

What we have now is an occupation of a foreign country. The United States is occupying the country of Iraq as the Iraqi people are in the midst of a civil war between and within themselves. We should not even allow the White House and the Republican shills to frame the message in terms of winning or losing the war. Instead, the real message 'frame' is whether we continue to occupy this foreign country or do we work to give Iraq back to the Iraqis?

Not just an occupation

Pulling combat troops out of Iraq is only a portion of the problem. There are hundreds of thousands of contractors in Iraq who are simply taking jobs away from the Iraqi people. There are military bases we've established to retain a permanent presence which should also be dismantled. And, there are efforts underway to undermine the control of Iraq's oil industry and literally steal the revenues away from the Iraqi country & people.

These production sharing agreements are a clear example of the rich, multi-national oil companies raping the Iraqi people. It flies in the face of every argument the Bushies made to counter the claim that we were going into war with Iraq to steal their oil. Make no mistake about it - this whole conquest of Bush's was blood-for-oil. Put another way, it was the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent people... for profit. The Bushies aren't interested in 'winning' the war. They're interested in prolonging the occupation. In doing so the Military-Industrial-Complex (Bush's friends) continues to rake in the profits.

So from now on, don't call this a war. It can't be won or lost. There is no victory or defeat. There can be no success or failure. This is an occupation, and it needs to end.