Friday, January 27, 2006

Middle East Road Map—Time To Ask For Directions?

Bush: "The people are demanding honest government. The people want services. They want to be able to raise their children in an environment in which they can get a decent education and they can find health care. It's a wake-up call to the leadership "

No, he wasn’t talking about Americans and the Congress. He was talking about the Palestinians who just voted overwhelmingly for Hamas to form their new government.

Back in 2004 at the RNC Convention in New York Bush said:
"As the citizens of Afghanistan and Iraq seize the moment, their example will send a message of hope throughout a vital region. Palestinians will hear the message that democracy and reform are within their reach, and so is peace with our good friend, Israel"

And when he says Israel, he means the country that the newly elected Palestinian Hamas government officially wants to destroy. Neither Bush nor the Israelis will "negotiate with terrorists".


The Taliban are resurgent in Afghanistan, Iraq is mired in an internecine war and now in Palestine "freedom is on the march" with a vengeance (and a lot of guns).

Call me crazy but this "spreading freedom and democracy in the Middle East" isn’t working out too well. And call me insane but this situation isn’t actually Bush’s fault.

But it is his problem.

The check-engine light on the dashboard of the SUV of U.S. Middle East policy is blinking, the "Road Map" is now stuck to the floor with chewing gum and melted Snickers bars, we aren’t in Kansas anymore and there’s a spooky house up ahead.

Time to smack the kids whining "are we there yet?" and ask for directions.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Years of Living Dangerously

This year every single congressional seat is up for election or re-election.

With the public expressing significant dissatisfaction with Congress as a whole both incumbents and challengers have plenty to worry about.

The Republicans’ prospects are blighted with a lousy economy, an unpopular war, failed domestic programs, the incompetence of appointees, an arrogant President, the infringement of civil liberties and rampant corruption.

Given such liabilities a dead hamster should be able to win handily against a Republican incumbent, let alone a Democrat. By all rights the Democrats need only relax and watch the Republicans drown in their own crapulence before waltzing back into power.

But that seemed to be the case back in 2004, yet Bush and the Republicans stayed in power!
How, you may ask? Well, I know you know, but I’ll tell you anyway:

Bush and the Republicans owned the mass media thereby controlling public debate and quashing criticism and opposition.
They owned all the chairs and majorities on committees and ignored Democrats, thereby denying Democrats the ability to represent their constituents (approx 50% of the voting public) and denying them the opportunity to write and pass laws.
And finally they owned the organization of elections and the machines used by voters, thereby allowing them to manipulate the election in general and the votes in particular.

Now in 2006 with yet more scandals piling up the White House and the Republicans have even more reason to use the power and tactics that have worked for them in the past.
If the Democrats gain a majority, however slight in just the House of Representatives the Republicans will not just lose their dominance, they risk being investigated, subpoenaed and exposed both individually and collectively.

As politically damaging as the Abramoff scandal appears to be it is but one bone from a single skeleton amongst the many in Republican closets.
Rather than shy away from it the Republicans will actually play the issue for all its worth by declaring themselves "born-again" reformers, not just for individual expediency but because it will distract the voting public from the biggest issue of all—the Republicans' intent to utterly destroy democracy.

Having gained complete power of all "checks and balances" (the Executive, the Congress, the Judiciary and the "Fourth Estate") the Republicans have everything to lose, so they won’t be going down without a vicious and dirty fight.
Beyond the support of the MSM in suppressing opposition, defining the debate and manipulating the issues in the Republicans’ favor, the most vital tool at their disposal to maintain power is their control over the election process and the voting machines.

If the Democrats ignore this fact, against all odds the Republicans will once again steal the elections and seal the fate of democracy once and for all.
It is imperative that in every single speech and public utterance in the upcoming election campaigns Democrats must raise the issue of voting verification and transparency. Indeed the issue has to be raised now and kept in the public arena throughout.

Only by incessant reference to voting verification in every public utterance will the Democrats be able to overcome the MSM’s endemic bias and force it to eventually report on the issue.
Otherwise contrary to all expectations, logic and probability the Republican’s will "miraculously" emerge victorious in the very last election we will ever see.

If that happens be assured that two years later America’s first ever king will be anointed to rule over us all, courtesy of "unitary executive power" supported by a "Republican" court.

The Constitution, the Bill of Rights and democracy itself is in grave danger.
The countdown begins now. This year and the next two years will be critical in determining whether the grand experiment of democracy succeeds or fails. These years are the years of living dangerously.