Tuesday, June 05, 2007

CNN And The Republican Debate

First I noticed that CNN held the Republican debate in the same format as the Democratic debate, asking each candidate to give their names first and to say a little something about themselves.

So you could tell the Democrats were caught off guard with the simple question, so all most of them manage to get out is "I'm Senator so and so from such a place". They were not able to craft a charismatic introduction because they had no prior warning that such an trivial exercise was coming.

But the Republicans were able to go second, as they were able to do during the MSNBC debate so they had plenty of time to craft a charismatic introduction. I'm not implying a conspiracy was afoot, I just see now that going second in the debate can have it's advantages.

This debate is inescapably boring and it's like listening to my grandfather tell me why his outdated beliefs make him qualified to be President of the United States.

Not only is the debate boring and grandfatherly - Wolf Blitzer is a terrible moderator and is so stiff I think he might crack if he smiles. I would have mentioned this the other night when the Democrats debated but I didn't want to sound like I was stating this "just because..."

So, Mitt Romney reminds me of a used car salesman, a good looking one who is smooth enough that you just might purchase that fairly rusty pinto because he sounds like he genuinely cares about getting you into an affordable vehicle.

Rudy Giuliani, this is the guy everyone knows wouldn't even be in the room had it not been for the terrible events on 9/11 and the media's willingness to portray Giuliani as "America's Mayor".

But here Giuliani is and he licks his lips constantly and squints his eyes too much, it reminds me of a snake. When he does that it looks like he is trying to give the appearance of thinking but it actually just looks like a grimace. The man is also very excitable and jerky in movement and I don't like that either.

John McCain, how do I count the ways I loath thee? I used to love you so much, back when you seemed honest, but you blew that long ago and I have moved onto new lovers...

At one point during the debate Johnny boy goes on and on and on and on and on about immigration, as if he believes he is the only one there to discuss it. The other candidates begin to grow impatient, I just grow bored.

Tancredo comes off as a little xenophobic when he stated that he thinks that the United States should limit legal immigration even more.

There was a guy named Tommy Thompson who had interesting hair but didn't seem to have anything interesting to say.

Senator Brownback didn't say anything that caught my ear but his loud pea green tie caught my eye in a not so good way.

Ron Paul sounds like a Democrat when he talks about the Iraq War, but don't be fooled - he is an enemy to Liberals.

Oh, and my favorite ~ Mike Huckabee shows he knows more about you than you do by stating that there are only two types of people : Those who believe God created us and those who believe it was "an accident". In other words Huckabee is saying that if you believe in evolution that you can't believe in God and vice versa. Huckabee is a perfect example of a person who cannot reconcile faith and logic, God and science.

Huckabee's broad generalization : You don't believe in God if you believe in evolution - anger intelligent people, because there are many of us who have reconciled faith and logic and find it very easy and quite comfortable to believe in God and understand evolution at the same time.

It was ironic that when Giuliani spoke about abortion lightning struck, but it is the season of spring in New Hampshire and the coming storm had been well anticipated. So the incident is nothing more than an ironic coincidence. But I am quite sure that isn't stopping some Conservatives from claiming the lighting was "divine intervention". Snort.

With all that said I didn't feel any of the candidates offered any kind of solutions to the multiple problems they kept bringing up, furthermore I don't want my country being ruled by anyone who thinks creationism should be taught in public schools.

If you want your kid believing the world is flat and that every time something bad happens God is "punishing" them then that is your choice, but don't try brainwashing my kid and take away his/her potential for truth and knowledge...

I don't think any of the Republican candidates even live in the same reality as the average American and that's quite a disadvantage in a world disenchanted with conservatism.

Most of the candidates were asked how they would feel about the war if in the magic month of September General Petraeus did not deliver a gleaming report proclaiming progress in Iraq.

Naturally the candidates tried to dodge this question and start rambling on about security threats and yes even 9/11. Umm, but the question was... Ah, never mind...

At this point in the debate I don't understand why the Republican candidates don't just go on stage and blurt this out :

"9/11 was bad.

Commie Liberals suck and they hope that terrorist blow you up.


Did I mention that Democrats hate America? Well, they do, they hate America like you wouldn't believe..

The terrorist will likely kill your children if we don't stay in Iraq forever.


Democrats are baby killers.


If elected I promise to do something about all the Muslims, flag burners and gays who are destroying America.


Since we can't believe in evolution and God I say the best decision would be to totally do away with science.


Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has a terror dome that is hidden in the Potomac River and he is plotting to kill the Jews...with Hitler! So I say, bomb the hell out of Iran!


We should give more tax cuts to the rich because we all know the one thing rich people need is more money.


I hate social programs, I don't like helping poor people. I think if God loves you then you are born power or the money to buy power.


I don't believe big oil should be regulated and kept from robbing you at the pump, they just need to build more refineries!!

I hate campaign finance reform. Politicians should be able to take as much money and gifts as they want to and no one should question their integrity or allegiance. We can't live on $150,000 a year! Who will shine our shoes?!?


But I hate welfare and don't feel people who make less than $10,000 a year should be helped.


It doesn't bother me to reduce or eliminate funding for programs that inoculate children or put them threw preschool. It does bother me to increase spending for prescription drugs for seniors though.


Now my last few paragraphs may sound like an extreme generalization of Republicans, but if you look between the lines this is really what many of them are saying, they just find an eloquent way to describe it so it doesn't sound offensive but in fact sounds reasonable.

Yawn. These guys suck, for lack of better words...

I sure hope America can see that.

One thing I can say is : after the Democratic Debate there was a lot of buzz around it, today there is not much about what the Republicans had to say, I almost feel like I am the only one who watched the Republicans Debate, and I even went to (tortured scream) Townhall.Com.

No one on the Left or in the Middle seem to really care about what the Republicans had to say, and even the Right seems to be focusing their giddy hopes on Fred Thompson, the guy who doesn't like to work hard, hehe.

Well, if things continue on this path I would say the path to a Democratic White House is definitely looking good for the Democrats.

But the Democrats can still screw it up for themselves. I don't think the Republicans can destroy it for the Democrats, but I think the Democrats could destroy it for themselves if they don't maintain the correct balance.

Attorney General Scandal Update

- Bradley Schlozman 101: How To Politicize The Justice Department
- Leahy To Schlozman: ‘You’re Trying To Break Gonzales’ Record’ Of Saying ‘I Don’t Recall’
- Gonzales Contradicts His Sworn Testimony About Bush’s Warrantless Spying Program
- Schlozman’s Inadvertent Confession: Any Group That Works With Minorities Is ‘Liberal’
- Schlozman Admits To ‘Boasting’ About The Number Of Republicans He Hired

"We'll Leave When The Iraqi's Ask Us To Leave"

So has been the mantra of the Bush Administration since at least 2004 : that if the Iraqi Government wanted the United States to leave Iraq the United States would comply. Or so the statement suggest. Even Colin Powell claimed America would leave Iraq if asked by the new leadership.

The most recent occurrence I can find of the Bush Administration "we'll leave if the Iraqi's want us to leave" myth is May 24, 2007, when President Bush again repeated the empty slogan when addressing reporters when he was still battling Congress about “arbitrary timetables” in the Iraq spending bill.

"We are there at the invitation of the Iraqi government. This is a sovereign nation. Twelve million people went to the polls to approve a constitution. It’s their government’s choice. If they were to say, leave, we would leave." Bush claimed.

Invitation huh? Did the invitation go something like "Hey you! American guys!! Come over here! Come occupy us, we invite you!! Please, steal our oil while your here!" I must have missed the press conference in which the Iraqi government that didn't exist yet invited us to occupy Iraq.

But in all seriousness here is what happened...

According to IraqSlogger :

"Iraqi Parliament voted on Tuesday to approve a decision that gives it the upper hand in deciding any future extension of the presence of foreign troops in Iraq, according to Sadrist MP Nassar Al-Rubai'i.

Al-Rubai'i said that 85 legislators, out of 144 present, voted in support of the bill. "The vote came after a bill submitted by the Sadrist Bloc to the parliament, which stated that all decisions to extend the presence of the occupying forces in Iraq should be referred to the parliament," al-Rubaie told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).

Some Iraqi parliamentarians, most notably Kurdish MP Mahmoud Othman, had stated weeks ago that the vote would be regarded as a non-binding petition rather than a law that would require withdrawal." (Emphasis is mine)

So in other words, over half the Iraqi government that voted wants us to leave YET the Iraqi government is unwilling to pass a law saying so, they can only manage a non-binding petition. Sounds like they have about as much spine as some of the politicians I know ... However, it is a statement so is Bush listening?

I wouldn't bet on it.

The Sadrist Bloc only holds 30 seats in the 275 member Iraqi parliament and doesn't even make up the majority of the votes cast in support of the petition, blowing the whole "only the extremists want us to leave" line right out of the water.

We have also known for quite some time that the majority of the Iraqi people want us gone and feel their lives are worse now than under Saddam Hussein. I don't think anyone needs to remind anyone else that the majority of this country is opposed to the war as well.

The petition is non-binding but is a clear indication that the Iraqi government is going to ask us to leave for real sooner than latter. What will George Bush do when the Iraqi government asks the United States to leave? Will he respect the wishes of a sovereign government?

Again, I wouldn't bet on it.

Republicans To Debate On CNN Tonight

Tonight the Republicans will face off in their debate on CNN, having two days to brush up on their talking points and to create rebuttals from statements made by the Democrats the Republicans should be ready for battle.

The actor who wants to be President, Fred Thompson has decided to skip out on the event. This is not a surprising development considering a former colleague of Thompson indicated that "he didn't like to work real hard" and a veteran lobbyist said "He was viewed as a lazy son of gun who would say at two in the afternoon, 'I'm done.' Can you name one major piece of legislation he authored? I can't." Sounds like Fred Thomspon is too lazy to be President.

However tonight the spotlight will be on Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney, three choices the GOP base is not exactly thrilled with, so watching the sport of Conservatives try to out-Reagan Ronald Reagan ought to be interesting.

So, the other day I prepared some questions for the Democrats, today I prepare some questions for the Republicans.

Question for Mitt Romney :
What kind of terrible person names their child "Tag"? Hahaha, no, here's the real question :

Who is Mitt Romney, really? Explain to me how you reconcile your very Liberal past in which you claimed you were "far left" of Kennedy to social Conservatives. One can say they "saw the light" but how do you plan on convincing Conservative voters you will not just flip back to the other side when it becomes convenient to do so?

Question for Rudolf Giuliani :

As mayor of New York you witnessed the terrorist attacks of 9/11. You built on your role as a savior of the city and as "America's mayor." Your now campaigning as a hero in the aftermath of 9/11 - yet the firefighters union has spoken out publicly against you, saying you hampered search and rescue efforts. Why should Americans continue to see you as a hero in the aftermath of 9/11 when the real hero's of that day claim you hurt their efforts?

Question for John McCain :

Months ago you took a trip to Baghdad in which you claimed real progress was being made and that westerners could walk freely on the streets of Baghdad. To illustrate your point you went to a Baghdad marketplace surrounded by 100 soldiers and four helicopters. Your marketplace trip drew a lot of criticism, many said if Baghdad was as safe as you were claiming it was that there would be no need for such kind of protection.

Although you have been a big supporter of President Bush's policy in Iraq you have stated that you do not see a "Plan B" if the troop buildup in Iraq does not succeed.

Why should the voters trust you to lead their country when you have given inaccurate descriptions of security in Iraq and admitted openly that you had no "Plan B" for Iraq?

My next question for McCain would be "how do you go from calling Jerry Falwell an extremist to being a close friend of his?"

Will I watch the Republican debate? Maybe. I know if I don't I will miss out on a lot of "gotcha" moments that the media is too blind or complicit to notice.

One final question : 600 journalist converged on New Hampshire to cover the Democratic debate, how many journalist will be covering the Republican debate? Also, I wonder who, the Democrats or the Republicans, will have the larger viewing audience?

Lazy Links

- Military Judges Dismiss The Charges Against Two Gitmo Detainees
- Judge's ruling casts doubt on Guantanamo trials
- White House disagrees with Gitmo trial ruling
- ‘Staying here is like committing suicide.’
- Most of Baghdad 'not controlled'
- Baghdad security push falls short, assessment finds
- Iraq police shoot female bomber in foiled attack
- UN Warns of Effects of Global Thaw
- Forty years on, Palestinians recall Israeli victory
- Rallies oppose Israeli occupation
- 1967 Middle East War
- Mid-East marks start of 1967 War
- Hundreds arrested in crackdown on Pakistani opposition
- Sentencing Day For Scooter Libby
- Libby Gets Two And A Half Years In Prison
- Why is Jefferson still in the House?

What The Cheney Did He Just Say?

ThinkProgress is reporting that during a speech to Wyoming High School Vice President Dick Cheney "Lies To High Schoolers About Debunked Iraq/al Qaeda Connection" and also claimed that the United States was making significant progress in Iraq.

Yup. You guessed it, the VP is coming to a high school near you soon to lie to your children personally...

Never mind that all indicators show that ground is being lost in Iraq and that according to a new military assessment less than one third of Baghdad neighborhoods are under control three months into the so called "surge".

The Vice President also brings up Abu Musab al- Zarqawi and follows with the baseless claim that during fighting in Afganistan Zarqawi was wounded and fled into Baghdad for medical treatment, no one ever bothered to ask why Zarqawi would travel across borders and miles to seek medical treatment when there were cities much closer.

The Bush Administration has used the "Zarqawi was treated by Saddam" card as one of their lies in attempting to connect Iraq to al-Qaeda, claiming that Zarqawi had lost a leg in Afghanistan and traveled to Baghdad to get medical treatment and a prosthetic leg, possibly a gift from Saddam himself...

But let's examine this debunked claim a moment. Zarqawi would have had to have made it over the Afghanistan border into Iran without being detected, then he would have had to sneak across Iran and make it across the Iraqi border undetected. Seems like quite a feat for a supposedly injured man who should have been bleeding all over the place.

Again, no one asks how a bleeding and injured man, supposedly missing a leg makes it all the way to Baghdad from Afghanistan.

Look at it this way; in miles - (let's not even discuss the difficulties of navigating the harsh mountainous terrain in Afghanistan and Iran and desert conditions in Iran and Iraq)) this would be about the equivalent of going from Kansas to Washington D.C to get medical treatment and going directly over the Appalachians to do it. Do you think you could make it with one missing leg, in which the bleeding must be profuse? Didn't think so.

But what does it matter? We know know Zarqawi never sought medical treatment in Baghdad and it is unlikely he was ever injured in Afghanistan. Why? Because almost a year ago we killed Zarqawi, and the man had both his legs.

Going back even further we see that prior to the Iraq War, Zarqawi and Bin Laden were competitors not allies. This helps prove the United States preemptive war in Iraq has not diminished terrorism, but helped unite some extremist groups who used to be opposed to each other.

But hey, that doesn't stop the Vice President from strolling into a local high school of young, impressionable teens and filling their heads with fairy tales, now does it?


As Think Progress Reports :

"The implication that Zarqawi helped justify the war was thoroughly debunked last year by the Senate Intelligence Committee, then chaired by Bush loyalist Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS.)

It found:

Saddam Hussein attempted, unsuccessfully, to locate and capture al-Zarqawi and…the regime did not have a relationship with, harbor, or turn a blind eye toward Zarqawi. [p. 109]"

Dick Cheney proves that there are some people who will refuse to deal in the the truth and insist on dolling out lies even when contradictory evidence has been stapled to their foreheads repeatedly.

Sorry Dick, but history will never vindicate your lies, in fact history may be a crueler judge than we.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Democrats Debate On CNN, It Starts To Get Interesting

Tonight CNN hosted a Democratic debate in New Hampshire, and Democrats got a little more defensive than in the past, some of the cordial niceties of the last debate abandoned.

Number three in the Democratic polls John Edwards confronted Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on their late "No" vote for Iraq spending bill, claiming they showed a lack of leadership by waiting until the last minute to cast their vote.

Edwards appears ready to fight with Democrats to prove his "worth", which may or may not be good decision this early in the race.

Perhaps John Edwards energy would have been better spent confronting Biden for not only his "Yes" vote on the spending bill but also on Biden agreeing to attend a FOX/CBC debate.

But that's silly because John Edwards knows Biden is not a threat, but Hillary and Obama are and that's why he confronted them.

I thought Barack Obama came off very well, his answers seemed well thought out and insightful, showing that his lack of experience is not an indicator of a lack of intelligence or competence.

Even Hillary Clinton gained a few points with me tonight. Not only did she look smashing she stayed on point and appeared much more relaxed than she did in the MSNBC debate.

However, Clinton did come off as a little presumptuous to me when she said "When I become President" rather than "if America elects/chooses me as the next President". But as pointed out to me by a commenter on DailyKos, that is confidence and it is important for candidates to appear certain that they are the next best candidate.

CNN was wise to start the debate on Iraq, security and the War on Terror because these are the issues that Americans are most concerned about today.

"Everybody supports the troops." Obama said, "The best way to support the troops is not to impose a military solution to a political problem in Iraq."

John Edwards touched base on the recent perceived weakness of the newly Democratic Congress when he proclaimed that it is "critical for Congress to stand firm" and that Congress has a "mandate" from the American people to end the war. Indeed.

Hillary didn't speak for all but she spoke for me when she stated "This is George Bush's war, he is responsible for it."

Although Democrats failed to stop George Bush from launching a war on Iraq there is no doubt in my mind that this is George Bush's war, and it is most likely a continuation of his fathers war. It is through and through George Bush's war.

"We are trying to end the war" stated Clinton, even though she plans for troops in Iraq for years to come. Clinton said the United States needs to "put pressure on the Iraqi government" and take away aid when the Iraqi's don't follow threw.

Senator Chris Dodd from Connecticut states that Iraq is civil war and that America is "less secure, more vulnerable".

Wolf Blitzer moves on over to New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who is outspoken about the genocide in Darfur and asks Richardson what if an Iraq pullout leads to genocide.

Richardson states that he believed that there is a civil war in Iraq, reminding the audience that seven Americans died in Iraq today.

Richardson claims he would deauthorize the war, and leave no residual forces, but lets it slip that he would keep troops in Kuwait.

Kucinich steps in saying that the Iraq war has been based on lies and that "no money would end the war, stop the funding. Let's end the war."

Boisterous Joe Biden stated "Your going to end the war when you have a Democratic president." He also claimed that "The only one who has emboldened the enemy is the President."

Hillary later noted that President Bush had no intention of letting the UN inspectors finish looking for Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq and that she believed that the troops did their job, they searched for WMD, and took down Saddam.

Perhaps trying to balance his earlier confrontation Edwards stated that "Obama deserves credit for being right about war from the beginning"

Edwards could not have been more right when he noted that "We have to reestablish trust between the American people and the President."

But which of these candidates to trust the most? All the top tier candidates seem very desirable and competent to do the job and after six years of Bush rule hearing the Democrats and their common sense was a breath of fresh air.

Though I am pleased with the debate I believe Progressives need to keep putting pressure on the Democrats to do the right thing.

Keep On Rockin' In The Free World

Don't give up friends.

My Questions For The Democrats

Tonight is the Democratic Debate on CNN, which promises to be the first debate to "take questions from the voters".

Well, I am a voter and I have some questions.

1) Some people feel the United States image and popularity has been damaged by not only the wars in the Middle East but also by the United States close and one sided relationship with Israel. Do you agree or disagree with this assertion?

2) What is your opinion about lobbying groups and how much influence do you feel they should have on our government?

3) Democrats have campaigned primarily on an antiwar platform but have Democrats reached any consensus on how to end the Iraq War? [To this question I know the answer is "no" so I follow up with the next question]

4) How do Democrats plan on getting the United States out of Iraq if there is no agreement among them on how or when to do it?

5) Democratic candidates have identified themselves to be against the Iraq War, but when push came to shove the majority of Democrats caved in and allowed the president to have his way on the Iraq spending bill. How are voters to be sure if Democratic candidates have true intentions of ending the war, or if it is just the Democratic candidates intentions of using antiwar sentiments to get elected?

6) If indeed your plan is to draw down the Iraq War when would this draw down begin and when could Americans and Iraqi's expect to see all US troops gone by?

7) What are your feelings about permanent bases in Iraq and the Middle East?

8) If elected what are your plans regarding torture and Guantanamo Bay?

9) What do you plan to do about Democrats who endorse torture, like Senator Bill Nelson from Florida?

10) If the Democrats are not strong enough to take on the GOP and hold George W. Bush accountable then why should Americans be convinced the Democrats are strong enough to take on our enemies?

11) If elected, what step would you take to repair America's image and relationships around the world?

12) Illegal immigration and a bill that resembles amnesty. How is this good for the American people?

13) During George W. Bush's presidency America built up a huge debt with China. What would you plan be to reduce and eliminate this debt?

14) Millions of Americans are uninsured and under-insured, how would you address this growing problem?

15) Young people are worried about the future, they see a world sinking deeper into disparity and violence. College education becomes more expensive every year, making it impossible for many young Americans to get an education. They are then told that the social security they have paid into their whole lives may not even be there when they need it. Jobs for under-trained and undereducated people are often given to illegal immigrants, making it seem impossible to get ahead in many situations. America is facing serious problems, it's young people are becoming disenfranchised with the entire system. What makes you feel you are capable not only to address these problems, but fix these problems?