Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year...and a few random quips

The celebrity Ed McMahon...formerly Johnny Carson's sidekick...used to play up a reputation for being a heavy drinker, but he always insisted that New Year's Eve was the one night he would not go out drinking. Why? Because Ed called it "amateur night".

Think about it for a second.

People who are normally sober, responsible people contributing conscientiously to society for 364 days a year seem to get a sudden urge to go out, get drunk, tell off the boss, make a pass at their co-workers wife, tell the dirtiest stories they can find, urinate in anything convenient, xerox their face or "other" body parts on the office copy machine, sing kereoke version of "I am woman" even if you're a male, vomit in their best friends car, and...and this is the dumbest thing of all...try to drive home while they are too drunk to even walk.

Amateur night indeed.

If you're out party-ing tonight....please...please let somebody sober drive you home.

Is Wolfe Blitzer really that dumb? On Late Edition this morning he had a Republican Senator AND Joe Lieberman....isn't that TWO Republicans?
Digby (see whole post here) gives us a moment of cognitive dissonance as he recounts Vice President Cheney's tribute to President Gerald Ford where he repeats the theme of "civility". Cheney now values "civility". Really? Would that be the same VP Cheney who told Senator Patrick Leahy to "Go f*** yourself" on the Senate floor? Hmmmm...yeah that would be the same guy.
Christie over at firedoglake links us to The Washington Post for a guest editorial by Richard Clark entitled While You Were at War. Here's a snippet to give you the sense of the well-written article.
"...And with the nation involved in a messy war spiraling toward a bad conclusion, the key deputies and Cabinet members and advisers are all focusing on one issue, at the expense of all others: Iraq.
National Security Council veteran Rand Beers has called this the "7-year-old's soccer syndrome" -- just like little kids playing soccer, everyone forgets their particular positions and responsibilities and runs like a herd after the ball. in 2000 we had Soccer Moms and now we've got 7-year-old soccer Cabinet ministers? Probably true....why do I get the feeling we're screwed?
I've noticed the video of Saddam being prepared for the execution on TV and a few "You-tubes" of it. What would you want to bet that the full, unexpergated (with apologies to the late, great Benny Hill) version of the execution shows up on "the net" sometime within the next 30 days?
Is that what they call a sucker bet?
At any rate let me take this last opportunity to wish all of you a Happy New Year. In the words of the old English Toast (appropriate next ot a Benny Hill Picture, huh?)

My the New Year Bring You
And Good Fortune
on edit 6:00PM Dec 31, 2006
Surprise, surprise, surrrrrrpriiiiiiiiize
A video of Saddam's hanging has shown up and wouldn't you know it. It's linked on FOX NEWS....
No wonder nobody took me up on that wager.....

Ham-fisted, botched or just plain stupid?

As I was walking by the checkout counter of a local drug store yesterday, I happened to see a headline on our local newspaper which read, “Local Expert: “Saddam Execution will increase violence””. I paused briefly (holding up the line behind me) and proclaimed out loud, “Well Duh!” (It wasn’t what I wanted to say but it was the only publicly acceptable utterance available at the moment)

In all fairness, the article by a local 2-year College Professor was well researched and well-reasoned but I found it strange that the public needed to be educated to this level.

IÂ’ve already written some thoughts about the (then pending) execution but the more I read, the more astonished I become over the ham-fisted, or perhaps downright stupid manner in which the trial and subsequent, pre-ordained verdict and execution were carried out. The article today in Salon by Professor Juan Cole has a couple of paragraphs in it that tell us just how botched this process was/is. You can read the whole article here.
Here are a few snippets:

By the time of Saddam's trial, sectarian strife was widespread, and the trial simply made it worse. It was not just the inherent bias of a judicial system dominated by his political enemies. Even the crimes for which he was tried were a source of ethnic friction. Saddam Hussein had had many Sunni Arabs killed, and a trial on such a charge could have been politically savvy. Instead, he was accused of the execution of scores of Shiites in Dujail in 1982. This Shiite town had been a hotbed of activism by the Shiite fundamentalist Dawa (Islamic Call) Party, which was founded in the late 1950s and modeled on the Communist Party. In the wake of Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini's 1979 Islamic Revolution in neighboring Iran, Saddam conceived a profound fear of Dawa and similar parties, banning them and making membership a capital crime. Young Dawa leaders such as al-Maliki fled to Tehran, Iran, or Damascus, Syria.

When Saddam visited Dujail, Dawa agents attempted to assassinate him. In turn, he wrought a terrible revenge on the town's young men. Current Prime Minister al-Maliki is the leader of the Dawa Party and served for years in exile in its Damascus bureau. For a Dawa-led government to try Saddam, especially for this crackdown on a Dawa stronghold, makes it look to Sunni Arabs more like a sectarian reprisal than a dispassionate trial for crimes against humanity.

The tribunal also had a unique sense of timing when choosing the day for Saddam's hanging. It was a slap in the face to Sunni Arabs. This weekend marks Eid al-Adha, the Holy Day of Sacrifice, on which Muslims commemorate the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son for God. Shiites celebrate it Sunday. Sunnis celebrate it Saturday –- and Iraqi law forbids executing the condemned on a major holiday. Hanging Saddam on Saturday was perceived by Sunni Arabs as the act of a Shiite government that had accepted the Shiite ritual calendar.

The timing also allowed Saddam, in his farewell address to Iraq, to pose as a sacrifice for his nation, an explicit reference to Eid al-Adha. The tribunal had given the old secular nationalist the chance to use religious language to play on the sympathies of the whole Iraqi public.

The horrible aspect of all of this is that trying to suggest that the manner in which Saddam was tried, convicted and executed was in any way flawed, you leave yourself open to criticism that you are "defending Saddam Hussein". I haven't seen anyone defend him on any account and doubt seriously if anything I have written approaches a "defense" of him. Defending Saddam, however, is the newest and cheapest straw man used to attack any criticism of the handling of this whole "Tawdry" affair. Such criticism deflects from asking the hard questions about Iraq and our presence there. It throws sand in the eyes of both parties and keeps from giving an honest and "hard-nosed" assessment of what is and is not possible in that troubled part of the world. The great thing about Prof. Cole's article is that it is constructive criticism in defining not only what made things worse, but what could have made things better.

The execution probably will escalate the violence and once again, just make things worse.

In a sense, we can call the execution of Saddam a symbol of the foreign policy of the Bush Administration: Clumsy, ham-fisted, frought with missed opportunities and often, just plain wrong.

read the whole article....

I hope to put up another post before midnight, because, as we all know....I have no life.....


Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Rude Pundit isn't happy

...with the pending execution....

The Rude Pundit has his usual rude,and I do mean rude, take on the situation.

Warning! Warning! Warning!
Don't click on the link if you can't tolerate profanity!
Here's a sanitized snippet:
Saddam Hussein. Now that's a %$#^& tyrant, an old school mother$#@%^, bereft of nation, of sons, of rights, defiant and tough, ready to be hanged in the savage wasteland that was once his savage golden empire, even leaving a message of peace to the people of the country he ruled with madness and murder. The world has precious few vicious dictators left with the stones to have such a final act.
When the Rude Pundit gets mad, he doesn't hold much back.....

Friday, December 29, 2006

Don't turn on the television this weekend

I made the mistake of channel surfing this morning and stumbled across MSNBC where it was all about the death watch for Sadam fact, it seems that all the cable news channels are working themselves up into a frenzy waiting breathlessly for news of Saddams death, and, if they're really, really lucky..PICTURES...still is okay but video? It's NETWORK all over again. Paddy Chaefsky would be amazed.

I'm not going to defend the SOB. He was probably as evil as any dictator in modern times, (and that includes the SOB or all SOBs, PINOCHET, who escaped the hangman's noose only by old age and who is so revered by the right wing) but his execution brings out the worst in us as both a nation and as individuals.

As a nation, can we absolve ourselves of the responsibility for supporting Saddam and becoming his enabler during the Iran/Iraq wars? Can we absolve ourselves for selling him the weapons that he used to commit his crimes? Or, worst of all, can we conviently forget that we encouraged the Shiia to rebel against him in 1991 and then refused to intercede with the no-fly zone while Saddam's helicopters butchered them while we watched on our radar screens and satellite photos?

As individuals we can't seem to tear ourselves away from the morbid curiousity of the the old days of making public executions a civic's like Oprah gone bad or more likely, like the "ultimate Jerry Springer Show". I'm disappointed that there isn't a massive public uprising against the shallow, tawdry coverage of this event.

I also have to question the political/practical wisdom of executing Saddam. The man was a hero to a pretty large segment (20-25% or so) of the Iraqi population. Is making him a martyr a good idea?

I guess I'm not totally alone in these thoughts. Take a look at what Josh Marshall over at TALKING POINTS MEMO has to say:


This whole endeavor, from the very start, has been about taking tawdry, cheap acts and dressing them up in a papier-mache grandeur -- phony victory celebrations, ersatz democratization, reconstruction headed up by toadies, con artists and grifters. And this is no different. Hanging Saddam is easy. It's a job, for once, that these folks can actually see through to completion. So this execution, ironically and pathetically, becomes a stand-in for the failures, incompetence and general betrayal of country on every other front that President Bush has brought us.

and also another snip:

Marx might say that this was not tragedy but farce. But I think we need to get way beyond options one and two even to get close to this one -- claptrap justice meted out to the former dictator in some puffed-up act of self-justification as the country itself collapses in the hands of the occupying army.

Marty Peretz, with some sort of projection, calls any attempt to rain on this parade "prissy and finicky." Myself, I just find it embarrassing. This is what we're reduced to, what the president has reduced us to. This is the best we can do. Hang Saddam Hussein because there's nothing else this president can get right.

What do you figure this farce will look like 10, 30 or 50 years down the road? A signal of American power or weakness? (additional emphasis mine)

I wish I was that articulate. Josh echoes my disgust and gives it a much, much clearer voice that I have been able to do in this post. To prevent going into a rage and irritating everybody around me (only my long-suffering spouse at the moment) I will keep the television off or maybe only watch DVDs for the rest of the day....I'd stay with The Weather Channel but I'm afraid even they will break in with a report on the weather forcast for the execution..

Thursday, December 28, 2006

It is with deepest regrets...

That I inform you that another local man has been killed in Iraq.

"As of Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Defense hadn't confirmed the death of Josh Schmitz, 21. But his aunt, Debra May, 53, of Wausau said the family learned of the death Tuesday. "He was a very gentle soul and loving," May said. "He loved to play the drums. He was in a band."

on edit: Friday December 29, 2006.....News-Herald reports that the death of Josh Schmitz has been confirmed.

Rest in Peace Josh

We've lost another son of Wiscsonsin.

Well, DUH!!!!

I thought about it, but never vocalized it.....when John Edwards made his announcement this morning (c'mon now, tell me you were surprised ;) ) he did a very clever thing....actually a couple of clever things

from KOS:

(pic at left, John Edwards in Stevens Point in '04)
Edwards explicitly condemned the "surge" plan for Iraq. But he didn't
call it the surge. "It is a mistake," he said, "for America to escalate the war in Iraq." That's the term the blogs have adopted as well, and its prominent placement, used before he mentioned the word "surge," struck me as a possible dog whistle to the left.

Get that? It isn't a surge, it's escalation....and the term escalation brings back horrible memories of another misbegotten war: Viet Nam. I guess I've seen the word used on other blogs but it never occurred to me that the word would have as much power....George Lakoff would be proud.....we should constantly remind the public that Bush's use of the term "SURGE" is a putting a Republican, happy, smiley-face on the truth. The truth is that this is ESCALATION of the war.

Well Duh, e! You should have figured that out before!

The other clever thing Edwards did was to set up the match between himself and (Saint) John McCain in a Presidential brohaha....he did it by calling the Escalation, THE MCCAIN PLAN by and by doing so, hung the war and every casualty thereafter right around McCain's neck!

I'm trying not to take sides in the upcoming primary battle for the Democratic nomination but I'll have to give John Edwards some props here....that was a clever announcement...he put the chess pieces in place beautifully...gotta admire that, eh?

on edit.....said McCain instead of Edwards doing "another" clever thing...since when did McCain do ANYTHING clever...sorry for the confusion....

(where did I put that bottle of Pinot Noir?)

What was that about BRIBERY?

I ran across this from Think Progress this morning:

Last night on NBC Nightly News, Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski said that many military officials are “suspicious” of President Bush’s announcement that he plans to increase the size of the armed forces. They believe that “he’s dangling that offer out there in an effort to buy the military support for the option to surge additional American troops into Iraq as if it’s some kind of tradeoff.”

This is a bit different hypothesizedhicized yesterday in that this is "wholesale" bribery as opposed to "retail". The only way I can see this as being effective is if the joint Chiefs are so ideologically committed to increasing the size of the military that they would agree to this bafoonery to get what they want. There may be more to it than what is being reported but I suppose it's possible.

The Think Progress article also documents Dubya's stringent opposition to increasing the size of the military in the past as well as his ridicule of John Kerry for suggesting such a move during the 2004 campaigns.

on edit: More and more it seems like Bush is behaving like The Sorcerer's Apprentice, hence the graphic...



Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Some more opinions and views to consider

This is the second attempt to reproduce the post that blogger ate this morning…..I’m playing it safe and printing it in “Word” first although if the tinfoilhat theory holds true, Bill Gates will conspire with Blogger to kill this one too…..

I posted a reference yesterday to all the myths being used to justify Bush's Surge Option as presented by professor Jaun Cole on his site. Today, Jane Smiley has a post on the no-so-rational reasons for Bush pursuing this hair-brained scheme.

If you have the chance, bop on over to The Huffington Post and take a look at the blog entry of Jane Smiley. She makes several points that we’ll discuss.

During the course of Bush’s presidency, he has often been characterized as stupid and stubborn. Face it: he hasn’t done much to disprove either point and many critics of the Surge Option are writing off his insistence on winning as either stupidity or stubbornness or, more pointedly a result of some psychological affliction. Jane Smiley has a different explanation: He SELFISH.


She actually makes a good case for it as you will see in this snippet:

I'm more interested in the "surge". I'm interested because the "surge" is a classic example of a loser's strategy, and it is about to be put in place by a bunch of
losers. The "surge" is about saving face rather than achieving an objective, and, let me say it right here, it's a guy thing. It's like "going down fighting", except that those who are going to be going down aren't going to be those who want to save face.


People always comment on how stubborn George W. Bush is, or how stupid he is, or how ignorant he is, but what they don't comment on is how selfish he is. Clearly, the face that is being saved in this probable "surge" is his face, and that's how he wants it. He is willing to sacrifice any number of troops (and we don't know what that number will be, but it could be high) and any number of Iraqis (certainly a higher number, because the American troops will throw off all restraint) in order to say that---Well, what?


Remember how the former British Ambassador was warned by Condi Rice as he went into a meeting with Bush, "Don't make him angry"?

(my extra emphasis added)

It's true, I think. I think he is so worried about his legacy that nothing else matters to him. Not even more dead Americans or most certainly more dead Iraqis. It's all about power. More specifically, its all about HIS power and sadly enough, it always has been.

We didn't listen closely enough to Pual O'Neill who was Bush's first Secretary of the Treasury who wrote the book, The Price of Loyalty after he left the administration. He wrote that during his time with the Bush Administration there was never, not even one so-called "White Paper" discussion. (White Paper is bureaucrat-speak for a paper that discusses or proposes policy or policy options) All discussions were in the context of politics.(Note: see some of the internal memos here) That is, specifically, how to parlay any issue to the political advantage of George W. Bush and his branch of the Republican Party. So in a sense, it ALWAYS has been about selfishness.

The underlying reason for this is truly best left to the psychologists but it is selfishness and I think on this point, Jane was right.

Jane was wrong though on her comparison of the Surge Option to Pickett's Charge in the Civil War Battle of Gettysburg. True. It was a huge tactical blunder on General Lee's part that resulted in the loss of General Pickett's entire Division but it was a mistake based on misapplication of military tactics NOT pure, unadulterated hubris. I'm equally certain that the Surge will result in the death of more of our troops but it will be a process of attrition, as opposed to the wholesale slaughter that took place at Gettysburg.

Her third point is similar to the one raised several times over the dinner table with family during the Christmas Holiday. Here's her take on it:

One thing I have always wondered about Bush, that I wonder even more now, is what is the source of his power over these people, that come hell (Iraq) or high water (Katrina), they do what he wants? Does he throw things? Does he hold his breath and turn red in the face, so that they worry he'll have a stroke? Does he hit people? Does he shout, "Off with his head!"? Does he send high level dissenters to Gitmo?

She raises the question but drops it into a shallow well and leaves it there. I have a different take on it.

Let's face it. Bush is the lamest of all lame ducks. He has the support of less than 30% of the American people and he was handed a resounding defeat at the polls in November. (even though he thinks the voters were "confused" about the issues so the defeat had nothing to do with him.) And yet, he has managed to jawbone the Joint Chiefs of Staff into going along with his pending misadventure of a misadventure in Iraq. How come?

I think Bush and his small remaining band of supporters are practicing retail as opposed to wholesale politics. That is, they are dealing with the interests and fears of individuals as opposed to groups. They have either bribed, promised, threatened or intimidated each of the decision makers (politically referred to as choke points) individually and whatever method they used on each individual was effective. Remember during the Cuban Missile Crisis when Bobby Kennedy told JFK that Khrushev was blackmailing him, JFK said, "Yes. And it's damned effective blackmail". That damned effective blackmail has been used effectively by the Bush administration since before he became Governor of Texas and, most likely even in his business dealings before that.

I can think of no other reasons.

Read the whole article if you have some time. It's great.


Blogger ate my post!

Wouldn't you know it? It WAS BRILLIANT!

Logic...and a little hypocrisy...

If you read Professor Jaun Cole's excellent work on the options in Iraq, you'll find some of the best logic and arguments against the so-called "Surge option" yet stated....and you'll also get another dose of the hypocrisy of George W. Bush.....

let's lead off with the hypocrisy first.

Remember Bush is telling the country that anybody who suggests that a "timetable" for withdrawal is a "bad idea"? Well, here's what GOVERNOR/PRESIDENTAL CANDIDATE George W. Bush had to say about Clinton's work in Bosnia in 1999:

Think Progress points out that in 1999, Governor George W. Bush criticized then President Clinton for declining to set a withdrawal timetable for Kosovo, saying "Victory means exit strategy, and it’s important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is."

The logical argument part of the post can be found here in Informed Comment, Professor Cole's blog.

In this edition, Professor Cole presents the top ten reasons (sounds sort of like Letterman, huh?) presented by the Administration for escalating or at least prolonging our presence in Iraq.....and shoots them all down, one-by-one with precision, research and facts. Here's one I particularly like (because he mixes in a little "snark" with facts:

4. "Iraq is not in a civil war," as Jurassic conservative Fox commentator Bill O'Reilly
. There is a well-established social science definition of
civil war put forward by Professor J. David Singer and his colleagues:
"Sustained military combat, primarily internal, resulting in at least 1,000
battle-deaths per year, pitting central government forces against an
insurgent force capable of effective resistance, determined by the latter's
ability to inflict upon the government forces at least 5 percent of the
fatalities that the insurgents sustain." (Errol A. Henderson and J. David
Singer, "Civil War in the Post-Colonial World, 1946-92," Journal of Peace
Research, Vol. 37, No. 3, May 2000.)" See my article on this
. By Singer's definition, Iraq has been in civil war since
the Iraqi government was reestablished in summer of 2004. When I have been
around political scientists, as at the ISA conference, I have found that
scholars in that field tend to accept Singer's definition.

Be sure to click on the Linky-thing and read the whole article. It's well worth your time.

Post script.....

In answer to an inquiry...Yes. Yes the grinch tie WAS my Son's Christmas Present to me....

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

I hope you and yours are enjoying the least we had something that resembled a white Christmas....

Had a special visitor last might recognize him...

I can't help to think that the green guy above is a Republican......

Hope you're enjoying your day......


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Grand Tour, white Christmas,

Okay so this is how my day went yesterday...

Marshfield to Appleton ...depart 8:20AM
10:05 Call from son's cell phone...last leg of flight, Chicago to Appleton cancelled, will call back with alternatives
10:15 Pull off to McDonalds in Waupaca to wait for phone call ...drink coffee...drink more coffee
10:55 Son calls ...will be BUSSED to Madison ..bus will leave at 1PM ..expect them in Madison at 3:30 or so..we decide to go back to Marshfield and wait it out.
11:05AM Phone call from son...HE'S ON THE 11 O'CLOCK bus for Madison...will arrive at Madison at left turn in Stevens Point, onto I-39....just enough tome to make it... from son...late ...140 maybe...bad news..luggage is STILL GOING TO APPLETON will have to go there to pick it up after 5PM
2:05 Meet son and daughter-in -law in Madison...go grab a quck lunch...head up 151 to Fond du Lac...
4:20 SNOW! and lots of it on US 41 between Fond du lac and Oshkosh
5:10 Arrive Appleton airport....guess what? NO BAGGAGE! They will ship it to us....
5:25 Depart Appleton on Hwy 10...traffic forms single lane convoy...passing lane covered with snow...visibility limited to tail lights in front.... four-wheel drive is very helpful...listening to radio; some #$%^& is saying how wonderful it is that we're going to have a "white Christmas"....obviously the moron isn't driving in his "white Christmas".
7:5o (or so) Smartass son says we should have a "one-horse open sleigh" so we could simply "dash" through the snow...I actually DID laugh!
8:35 Pm Arrive Marshfield...time to cook dinner.

So my daughter-in-law got to:

1. Finally see Wisconsin
2. See her first snowfall
3. See her father-in-law turn into a raving maniac....

Thursday, December 21, 2006


I just talked to Dave a few minutes ago and he's going to cancel tonight's meeting. There's a lot of ice out there right now and it's only going to get worse.
If you know anybody who doesn't read email or the blogs who is planning on meeting in Pittsville tonight, please call them....spread the word....we don't want anybody risking life and limb on ice-covered roads tonight.
Because I won't see you before the celebration of Christmas, I wish all of you
Peace on Earth
Good will to men (and Women, of course)


Surge or Double-down..

After listening (with a large measure of disbelief ) to the President's news conference yesterday, it was clear, absolutely, pathetically, crystal, heartbreakenly, disgustingly ...clear... that Bush is going to find some way, some how to defy the advice of his Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Abazaid (who resigned in disgust) and every other rational, sentient being on this planet (which excludes the 21% or so who still support Bush) and send more troops into the Civil War in Iraq.

He calls is the "Surge Option".

The idea is that we will send additional (not overwhelming, just additional) troops to Iraq to secure Baghdad itself and then...and then... What? Iraq will turn into a flowering Democracy? The Shiia, Sunni and Kurds will join hands and sing Kubahya? Maybe we'll kill a whole bunch of militia, declare victory and pull out?

Others have referred to this strategy with a gambling term: Double Down.

Double down is a way of saying "it's all or nothing".

It implies risk.

So get this straight:

The Surge Option is a huge risk.

Per Colin Powell, we don't have enough troops to make this work without extending tours of the folks who are all ready there AND shortening the rotation time of troops who have been rotated out. Generals have referred to this option as having the potential to BREAK the Army and Marines who are stretched thin as we speak. That alone is dangerous. Too dangerous to risk.

If we commit our military to an "all or nothing" strategy in Iraq, we invite disaster in another way. We invite disaster because we leave ourselves vulnerable to any adventurism or mischief that any of our enemies may want to pursue elsewhere.....say Al Queda may want to start a small "insurrection" in the Phillipines or Indonesia...say Russia wanted to start a little trouble for us in the Balkans...say Iran wanted to "up the ante" in Southern Iraq...say the Taliban (remember them? they're baaaaaaaaccckk and getting stronger) wanted to make a major initiative in Afghanistan...

Say any of those things happened. Would we have the troops to respond to it?

And here's a snarky little question, what allies would come to our aid?

Better yet what allies do we still have?

The "Surge Option" is stupid. We've squandered our military might on a poorly conceived and worse executed personal vendetta (let's not get into the Freudian aspect of Bus 43 vs Bush 41) or perhaps some misguided Neocon utopian wet-dream. Not only can we NOT implement it without risking the demise of our military but it's incredibly dangerous if we do....


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

This is getting serious...

So many blogs have written about Bush being "out of touch" that I can't even keep count of them all.

Likewise, there is a recurring theme which appears not only in Left and Right Blogsylvania but also in traditional print media which claims that Bush is completely incapable of taking responsibility for anything. He rufuses to stand accountable ..for anything.

Our friends over at The Left Coaster have the latest example. Here are a few choice snippets.

Bush feels that the November election wasn’t a referendum on him, of course.

While Bush said that voters clearly indicated they wanted more bipartisan cooperation, he did not characterize last month's election as a repudiation of his leadership. Instead, he said, the lack of progress in the war in Iraq and ethical lapses among Republican members of Congress soured voters on the GOP and created an opening for the Democrats' victory.
"There's a sense that people's votes were being taken for granted, in a way," Bush said. ". . . Look, you've got a guy using earmarks to enrich himself; there was sex and all kinds of issues that sent the signal that perhaps it was time to give another group a chance to lead."

That’s right, Bush sees himself as blameless for the GOP’s November losses. It was all Congress’s fault. And his people, who looked the other way when they and the GOP Congress spent the country into the poorhouse, now think it is the Democrats who pose the greatest risk to the economy if they make the wealthy pay their fair share.

p.s. Things have finally slowed down for me locally so I can devote time to some more serious blog posts...I've just tried to keep the posts fresh so comments could be made for the last few days. Hope you didn't mind the frivolity.

the horror.....the horror

.....I stopped by to visit a friend and she gave me a christmas letter....a greeting...wonderful, friendly thoughts...but the letter was bordered by....



Christmas penguins....

the horror

the horror....


Monday, December 18, 2006

Edited: some reflections on the season.....

Peace on Earth, Good will toward men?
And if you've been out Christmas shopping recently,
I know that there are some among us who are not Christian and, in fact, some of our membership are agnostic or atheist. I don't mean to be disrespectful of your beliefs or lack thereof, but I have been of the opinion for quite some time that even if somebody discovered a scroll that revealed the entire Christmas Story to be a giant hoax, that Christmas has become such an economic necessity that our society would quickly "redisconver" a "true meaning" of Chirstmas. I think that each year the veneer of a religious holiday gets stripped away a little bit more to expose the economic underpinnings that are propping it up.
For example:
Since when, exactly, did PENGUINS become part of Christmas (or for that matter CHRISTIAN)lore?
Where in the gospel of Luke did they mention PENGUINS?
They didn't.
Penguins are just the latest "must have" for contemporary Christmas decorations. They are the newest marketing ploy. They are the latest entry in the "planned obsolescence" of American mainstream marketing which will be as obsolete as fins on a '58 Cadillac in a very short time.
In a neighborhood not far from where I live, a man has a sign out in his front yard that says simply:
Keep Christ
Shinning on it is one, simple spotlight to keep it visible during the dark hours.....I think he's one of the few who is practicing what he preaches. He has no quady display of lights, snowmen, reindeer, santa claus or (gag) Penguins. Even if you don't agree with his belief, you have to hand it to him for standing up for them.
To that man, I offer the tiding: Peace to you my friend.
And the same to all of you.
note on editing....I was trying hard to do two things at once this morning and as a result, the post came out....muddled....
so through the miracles of EDITING I think I've made it a little less muddled....sorry for the confusion.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Friday, December 15, 2006

All I want for Christmas....

..... ....sigh.....Celtic Woman...if you haven't seen the performance, you're really missing the link...

Slow news day...

It sounds like the blogosphere is slowing down for the Christmas Season.....not too much outrage on the net right now....There's a little "carping" about Rumsfeld's going away party....Cheney calling him the "best Secretary of Defense," ...EVAH! The free republic types seem to be echoing the same. I haven't had the nerve to tune in to Pammy over at Atlas Shrugs....The angst might be more than I could take since she's lost both of her heroes (John Bolton AND the Rumster) insert barfing icon here......

I've been working on some thoughts about where the party is heading and how I think we should get to that place but I warn you, it's long and if you're not "into" political philosophy it could be quite boring. As always, the tricky part of political philosophy is translating it into meaningful, practical steps to implement the thoughts and intentions. That is, of course, where the "politics" comes in. It is politics that gets people to "buy in" to the thoughts and intentions and to join forces to work toward them.

I'll stop before I bore you to tears......

Of course, I know that all of us in Wood County Dems are praying for the health and full recovery of Senator Johnson of South Dakota. Some might call that cynical or self-serving but as Dems we've always been a compassionate lot and will continue to be such even if our Republican Brethern (sic) accuse us of being self-serving.

Don't forget that the December 21 meeting is our annual Christmas get-together....bring a dish or snack to pass. I'm informed that Dave may not make it to the party because of a family commitment....we'll just "muddle on" without him. (More snacks for us) Big John will be at the helm again......

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Where the best of the best gather....

Among my favorite bloggers (and blog sites) are The Last Chance Democracy Cafe, written beautifully by Stephen C. Day, and Mark Morford who also writes beautifully at the San Francisco Chronicle (Online version). The "blogosphere" being what it is (sort of a wild and wooley, last stand of the individual kind of atmosphere) it's unusual for one blogger to be openly complimentary of another but that's exactly what has happened in Last Chance Democracy Cafe this morning. I suppose it's perfectly natural, however, for like minds as well as minds of equal brilliance like Morford and Day to gravitate to each other. It's an excellent post and I encourage you to take a few minutes to read it but first, here are some "snippets" of Morford's most recent post to give you some idea of what we're talking about.


What we don't have is, well, any idea what the hell we're doing, not anymore, not on the global stage. We lost this "war" and we lost it before we even began because we went in for all the wrong reasons and with all the wrong planning and with all the wrong leadership who had all the wrong motives based on all the wrong greedy self-serving insular faux-cowboy BS that your kids and your grandkids will be paying for until about the year 2056.


It's still our most favorite idea, the thing our own childlike president loves to talk most about, burned into our national consciousness like a bad tattoo: We always win. We're the good guys. We're the chosen ones. We're the goddamn cavalry, flying the flag of truth, wrapped in strip malls and Ford pickups and McDonald's franchises. Right?

And Steve's take on it? Equally lyric and cogent.

When I read his work, I’m often reminded of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” the stream-of-conscious beat novel that made me want to hitchhike the country. Perhaps it’s been too long since I’ve read Kerouac’s wonderful work, but Morford’s wordsmithing fills that space in my mind for a style of writing found in few places these days.

Each column is a poetry slam for the mind (but, I imagine, would read aloud better than even
The Rude Pundit — although I’m partial to his work, too). It’s always progressive and liberal, if not always political. He has no love for Bush, but his issues aren’t with the man, so much as what he stands for and supports.
(note: Is it surprising that Steve reads The Rude Pundit too? )

I wish all punditry (blogospheric, television and radio) were all as eloquent as these two (or three if you count "the rude one") and capable of thinking out of the box also. Good Thursday morning read....


and comment please.....

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Funny, but.....

definitely not for the ....ahhhh....ummmm.....delicate?

I suppose we could call this "Strippers Save Christmas"?


"Faux News Joins Strippers Crusade"

If you don't mind profanity, go ahead and read the post and give me your version of the "headline". I've been AWOL for a couple of days...

On Monday, every time I sat down at the keyboard, the phone rang and I hustled off to "take care of business" somewhere else. Unbelieveable.

I've been absorbed in local issues for a few days but now things are slowing down enough where I can look at the bigger, national picture.

I got home last night in time to catch John Stewart on The Daily Show and I have to agree with him concerning Rummy's departure. Briefly it was "Holy Sh*t"! It was sort of a rude awakening to realize that those platitudes and snotty little comments that Rummy was making on his way out were a sign that he (and quite possibly the whole administration) are completely BONKERS!

Ready for some more insanity?

How 'bout the fact that Bush has gone on his cockamamey "listening tour" and has now decided not to respond to the Baker Report until sometime in January because, "...this is a complicated issue..." See the link here

So let's see. NOW Bush thinks it's a complicated issue....I would have preferred that he thought it to be complicated BEFORE he pulled the trigger.

Oh yeah, in case it's not obvious, while Dubya is making up his mind about what to do about Iraq, MORE OF OUR TROOPS WILL DIE....that's quite alright George, take your time. I'm sure the wives, children, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters of those soldiers and marines will appreciate (or as you say, 'pre-shate) that you need to take a holiday from these weighty decisions.

Scarier still.....

It is said that the White House (Bush) is considering the McCain Option....putting about 25,000 more troops into Baghdad in a "surge" to stop the insurgency once and for all. And now, even the pentagon is taking this option seriously, calling it a "double down" option....a gambling term for putting everything on the line. Here's the link.,0,3912940.story?coll=la-headlines-frontpage


Sheer madness....

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Blood for Oil?

(notes on photo: this is actually a photo of the first producing oil well in the United States in Titusville, Pennsylvania in 1859 or so)

How many times have we heard that?


how many have secretly wondered if it is indeed what we're doing in the Middle East?

I'm sure that most of us when we pondered the question, responded immediately and strongly in the negative...and then reflected deeply about what IS the legitimate use of American military force to protect our interests...especially when those interests are ECONOMIC....

Jesus General has pondered that question and come up with some answers...simplistic maybe... but at least he's addressed it more openly and honestly than most have...

Here are a few snippets but I think you should click on the link and read the whole essay.

First, let’s address those aspects which may run against to how people might think about this: it’s not inherently wrong to use the military to defend America’s economic interests. On the contrary, if anything justifies the use of America’s military, defending the health of the economy has to qualify. Perhaps the very first use of American military power overseas was precisely for that reason: we sent ships, part of a new navy created for exactly this purpose, against the Barbary Pirates in the Mediterranean (notice the geographic proximity to current international trouble).

So at what point, and at what level should military force be used to protect our "standard of living"? Should military force be used at all to protect the precious standard of living? Are we actually talking about situational ethics?

I think in the whole discussion he avoided an obvious question. That question is how come the leadership of this nation, not just the current leadership but leadership since WWII, has not identified America's vulnerabilities to economic blackmail or ruin from other nations and acted responsibly and pro-actively to eliminate that vulnerability? Wouldn't that be what leadership is all about? And to take it a step further, would it be more productive for us to be arguing among ourselves about new and creative uses of energy and energy conservation, than who sleeps with whom?

I can't help but feel we're being duped. I suspect somewhere there are men and women who are debating these exact issues but also keep leadership (if we can call it that) in place that keeps us distracted so we won't think too deeply about these things. And in the meantime, we worry about who will occupy what deck chair on the Titanic.

Remember the movie Three Days of the Condor? In the climax of that Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway thriller, the CIA Chief, played by Cliff Robertson asks, Redford, "...what do you think will happen when a country that has never known hunger starts to go hungry? They won't ask questions about "how" we get the oil, they'll just want us to get it." Redford, the idealist, actually pauses to think about it and I venture to say that no matter how idealistic you are my dear friends, you will probably also hesitate.

Like it or not, we've all been raised with the concept of American "exceptionalism". That is, America is an exception to all other nations because we're (take your pick) more moral, smarter, better, stronger, faster etc., etc. . We derserve to consume the lion's share of the world's natural resources because, well, by golly, just because we're America. (insert cheer: USA! USA! USA!)

So you see, The General has opened up a debate that is much bigger than I think he intended. I think the debate is about what America's role on the planet should be and how we should fulfill it for long term survival of ourselves and the planet.


On Saturday night

because I have no life........

The hills and valleys of Left Blogsylvania have been quiet tonight....patiently awaiting the seating of the new Congress.....

NPR carried the recording of the adjournment of the 109th Congress today....I heard Dennis Hastert declare "by previous order..." the "...109th Congress was hereby adjourned, sine die." (Sine Die ....literally dead and good riddance....)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

i needed to be reminded

I guess I didn't pay as much attention as I should have to the words of French Ambassador to the UN in the '03 debate, but being reminded by poputopian over at Digby's place was good... here's what he said then:

There may be some who believe that these problems can be resolved by
force, thereby creating a new order. But this is not what [we] believe. On the
contrary, we believe that the use of force can arouse resentment and hatred,
fuel a clash of identities and of cultures, something that our generation has a
prime responsibility to avoid.…

To those who believe that war would be the quickest way of disarming
Iraq, I can reply that it will drive wedges and create wounds that will be long
in healing. And how many victims will it cause? How many families will

In other words Villepin was another one of those who "got it right".

I know this doesn't answer the question of how do we fix this mess, but it surely says something about the state of our country.

I'll go back to worrying about how to keep the next Lance Corporal Tillery alive now.....

Friday, December 08, 2006

Some got it right....

The Conservative Magazine National Review and their bloggie counterpart National Review Online (NRO aka The Corner)wrote a rather snarky article in March of 03 where they mocked anybody...journalist, politician, pundit...ANYBODY who had predicted that the war in Iraq would not go well.

Paul Krugman wrote a great article about it and our friend Attaturk added to it. Read the post, it links to Krugman's article.

This one quote which NR mocked was particularly telling. Can you guess (without reading the post) who wrote it?

"Visions of cheering throngs welcoming them as liberators have vanished in the wake of a bloody engagement whose full casualties are still unknown. . . . Welcome to hell. Many of us lived it in another era. And don't expect it to get any better for a while."

Give up?

NR identified the author as simply, "A war novelist". His name is James Webb but now we Democrats call him SENATOR JAME WEBB of Virginia!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Thursday thread to open up discussion

Never before has a sitting President been so thoroughly excoriated by a commission of any kind as George W. Bush was by the Baker Commission report which was released yesterday. Not only did that report refute almost everything Bush has told us about Iraq, it had an appendix on "Intelligence" that pointed out that the Administration and Defense Department have been filtering the news out of Iraq in the manner that it is classified so that it diminished the bad news. So much for the media "awfulizing" the news out of Iraq.

Bush and Blair gave a press conference earlier today. According to the blogs, it was one of Dubya's worst performances EVER... a few snippets:

Bush was asked whether the study group's report didn't suggest that he, in fact, did not appreciate the extent of the violence coursing through Iraqi streets.

"It's bad in Iraq. That help?" retorted Bush..(note: he "chuckled " to himself after this remark...the press did not)

"You know, in all due respect, I've been saying it a lot," Bush continued. "I understand how tough it is and have been telling the American people how tough it is. And they know how tough it is."

"Countries that participate in talks must not fund terrorism, must help the young democracy survive, must help with the economics of the country," Bush said. "If people are not committed, if Syria and Iran is(sic) not committed to that concept, then they shouldn't bother to show up."

ed note: doesn't that sound a lot like a REJECTION of the Baker Commission recommendation?


"I've visited the families that died."

If I'm not mistaken, today is the last day of the Republican Controlled Congress. Good riddance.

The only positive note is that the house OVERWHELMINGLY passed the Autism Bill this afternoon. I think the Repubs just gave up the fight and that's totally okay with me.

After Christmas, the new, Democratic Controlled Congress takes over....won't that be a relief....

BTW: the "Impeach Bush" is meeting at the Marshfield Library this afternoon at 4.

I've decided, after a long debate with myself, that I can't support that effort. And the reason is simple: It's too late. By this time next year we will be up to our necks in Democratic Primary Battles and busy choosing which candidate we want to support. In addition, Bush will be gone by the time the momentum is achieved. Impeachment will be a dim memory by that time....If this had started two years ago, well, maybe it could have succeeded but now is too late. Opinions?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I'm still not over it....

The death of that young Marine from Vesper really got to me yesterday...and continues to do so....

I went to the send-off of our local National Guard Unit a year or so ago and I saw some of the "kids" in Battery B about to go off to the Middle East....some of those "kids" were at my house for pasta feeds before Cross-Country meets and they were there for Saturday Morning breakfasts (pancakes and bacon and orange juice) after early morning "fun runs". They are the same age as my son. They were his contemporaries. And there they were: about to go into harm's way.

I never "did" acid or any other drug for that matter, but what happened to me the day those kids left was like the movie stereotype of a "bad trip". I was overcome with sadness, followed immediately by fear and then immediately by rage, then denial, then comic relief, then all happened in quick time.

It was emotionally exhausting.

Then we spent a year walking around day-to-day wondering if they were in any danger...and quickly blotting it out of your mind.

thank god they all returned safely.

But Lance Corporal Tillery didn't.

Our generation has to figure out how to stop the killing and also how to make us safe in the future and how to make these sacrifices part of a larger picture.....

But I'll be damned if I know how to do that.....

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Wood County has lost a son.....

Lance Corporal Jesse Tillery of Vesper was killed in Anwar Province in Iraq. His family was notified on Sunday. He was a Graduate of Wisconsin Rapids High School.

In honor of Jesse Tillery I am reprinting this:

Ode To A Marine ...
(also know as St. Peter's Poem)

You can have your Army khaki,
You can have your Navy blue,
But there is still another fighter,
I will introduce to you.

His uniform is different,
the finest ever seen.
The Hun's called him Devil dog,
But his real name's Marine.

He trained at San Diego
The land that God forgot.
Where the sand is 14 inches deep.
And the sun is scorching hot.

He has set many a table,
And many a dish he dried.
He also learned to make a bed,
And a broom, he sure can guide!

He has peeled a million onions,
And twice as many spuds.
He also spends his leisure time
In washing out his duds.

Now girls, take a little tip,
I'm handing it to you.
Just grab yourself a good Marine,
For there's nothing he can't do!

And when he gets to heaven,
To St. Peter he will tell
"Another Marine reporting Sir,
I've served my time in hell!"

Another volley in the "Christmas Wars"

This Wickan had a particularly poignant post about the Catholic League's monitoring of Christmas.

You can read the details here.

Religious holidays, on the other hand, are what we celebrate in our homes and at our places of worship. (OK, I don't have a set "place of worship." Today, I saw a lovely t-shirt that said, "Surely you can pray for me and I can dance naked in the woods for you." I loved that! But if I had "A" place of worship, I guess that it would be the woods.) So the CLRCR can go f*** itself. If they want to celebrate f**king xmas so much, they can go f**king celebrate it in their f**king churches and leave the rest of us the f**k alone. Otherwise, I'm going to start demanding that everyone wish me a Happy Solstice, sing Solstice songs, put up Solstice ornaments, and dance naked in the woods.

Actually, it's a nice that expresses outrage at intolerance and places a somewhat humorous juxtaposition of religious beliefs before us for our consideration.

In our own county, we have people of many, many different faiths and I have no desire to offend them and I am sure they have no desire to offend me. Most often I encounter friends of the Jewish faith but more and more commonly, I am finding persons of the Islamic faith. Throw in an occasional atheist and you've got quite a mix right here in our own community. I don't need any one of the faiths whining that they aren't being adequately represented....

Celebrate in your own way.

Celebrate privately or publicly as you wish....

but don't criticize me for celebrating in my way....

Monday, December 04, 2006

Bolton Resigns!!!!

Remember this: Bolton was sent to Florida in 2000 to "stop the counting"

Reaction across the web has been interesting:

From the liberal/progressive sides:

Another one bites the dust...Couldn't have happened to a nicer rageoholic pervert.

66. Cookie duster bites the dust. n/t

From firedoglake:

Sure, it's a little gloaty to post an extended Snoopy dance at the news…so I'm just posting the extended Snoopy dance YouTube video above because I'm in a really good mood and thought everyone could use it on this cold and snowy Monday (it's cold and snowy here, anyway).
That Bolton resigned? Just think of it as an added bonus. (As Jesus General said in an e-mail this morning, "Isn't it kind of like resigning after you've already been laid off?")

From the conservative side:

I thank John Bolton for the dedication and skill with which he performed his duties..."I thank him, too. He was a wonderful breath of truthful air, and he will be deeply missed.This is the saddest announcement since Rumsfeld. We're losing all our real men. I'm just damn depressed.20 posted on 12/04/2006 10:33:16 AM PST by AnnaZ (I keep 2 magnums in my desk.One's a gun and I keep it loaded.Other's a bottle and it keeps me loaded)<>

OUCH! That's gotta leave a scar!

Anybody who has ever worked in politics knows that your credibility is your political "wealth" . Without credibility, you have no currency to trade in the political marketplace. Once you have "expended" your credibility, you have nothing.....

So Bush goes to Jordan and makes a jaw-dropping speech denying reality in all forms and all ways. Our allies, by some AP accounts, are agast at his ignorance of reality.

But not to worry.....Mark Sandalow, of the San Francisco Chronicle explains it all.

"This business about graceful exit just simply has no realism to it at all,'' Bush said at a news conference Thursday morning in Jordan with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Yet some experts say it would be foolhardy to assume, just because Bush said it, that the statement is true.


There is mounting evidence that the world of public Bush-speak -- from his vigorous support for al-Maliki and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to his rejection of direct diplomacy with Syria and Iran -- bears little relation to what goes on behind the scenes.

Senior White House officials even tangled this week with reporters who suggested that al-Maliki had snubbed Bush at a dinner with Jordan's King Abdullah. A three-way dinner had never been planned, the officials insisted -- until the reporters forcefully pointed out that it had been on the president's public schedule for nearly a week.

"It does seem from his rhetoric, if he's true to it, that he's not going to bend. That he's going to continue down the road toward further disaster,'' said historian Robert Dallek, who has written biographies of such wartime presidents as Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson.


"But with this guy, I don't know. It's so hard to know what's going on behind the scenes. We'll all know in 30 to 40 years when they open up the documentary record,'' Dallek said.

In other words, don't listen to what he says, just WATCH WHAT HE DOES!

The man is now officially without credibility....without ANY CREDIBILITY.

Time for a nice, quiet vacation on a beach in the Caribean?....maybe not so much......

Sunday, December 03, 2006

A few Sunday thoughts...

I know I've written about this before but guest blogger Dennis Hartley over at Digby's place (Hullaballoo) got one of those "transcendental moments" (okay, okay, I'm making this crap up) while watching his TIVO'd episodes of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Or, as he put it:

"...first few episodes of NBC’s “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”, I got up off my couch, switched off the DVR, went to my DVD shelf and made my annual pilgrimage back to The Source-Sidney Lumet’s Network ."

Why do I consider this important? Or "blog-worthy"? Simply because I think the Movie, Network, should be shown to every Junior High Civics Class (which should be required again, btw) and every Senior Social Studies Class (which should ALSO be required) to teach kids a couple of valuable lessons:

Lesson #1. Not everything you see on TV is true.
Lesson #2. Money and TV News Don't mix.

The predictions made in that movie were profound....remember this was in 1976. Here's a snippet from Hartley's excellent post:

In the opening scene, drunken buddies Peter Finch (as Howard Beale, respected news anchor soon to suffer a complete mental breakdown and morph into “the mad prophet of the airwaves”) and William Holden (as Max Shumacher, head of news division for the fictional “UBS” network) riff cynically on an imaginary pitch for a surefire news rating booster-“Real live suicides, murders, executions-we’ll call it The Death Hour.” Funny punch line back in 1976. Sadly, in 2006, we call it “The Nancy Grace Show”.

Think that's prophecy? Check this out.

Later in the film, when the corporate “hatchet man” for “CCA” the network’s parent company (brilliantly played by Robert Duvall) barks “We’re not a respectable network, we’re a whorehouse”, one can not help but flash on the Fox network.

I will probably bore my son and his new bride to death, but I'm buying Network and showing it over the Christmas Holiday.

In other news:

I was listening to WPR in the car today...(I had another impromptu road trip) and I heard Lieberman from his appearance on Face the Nation today. He's already refuting some of the leaked reports coming from the Baker Commission's recommendations, specifically, he's refuting the recommendation that the Administration talk directly with Syria and Iran in solving some of the issues in the region.....Lieberman says that's like a "fireman negotiating with arsonists"....


Lieberman is so busy kissing Dubya's behind that he's turned his brain off....the Baker commission is talking about DIPLOMACY and Lieberman is playing it like the neocon talking points...

That guy makes me nuts....

The other blogs have pointed out the bizarre juxtaposition of the Republican on the Panel, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska who was ripping Bush and company apart, and the Independent (former Democrat) Joe Lieberman, defending Bush....welcome to the twilight zone....


Friday, December 01, 2006

Just heard on The Stephanie Miller Show

Our "favorite" ex-Congresswoman, Katherine Harris, has formed a PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION EXPLORATORY COMMITTEE, to determine if she will SEEK THE REPUBLICAN NOMINATION FOR THE PRESIDENCY!

Well, as some of my less reverent fellow bloggers would say, "She got the bat-S**t crazy vote locked up!"

Actaully it will be fun to have "Pink Sugar" to write about again. I was a little sad that she wasn't going to be in the limelight anymore.

We can be certain to see more TV appearances like this:

Let the good times roll!

Steve is a bit cranky this morning

Our old friend from Last Chance Democracy Cafe, Steve, says he has a cold and is "a bit cranky this morning".

He should be cranky more often, take a look at this:

And you know something else I’m sick and tired of, as I wallow in my crankiness? I’m sick and tired of pro-war politicians and commentators attacking those of us who opposed this stupid war from the beginning for not coming up with our own constructive proposals for solving the problem. Hey bozos, read my lips: There are no good solutions to the mess you’ve made in Iraq. None. Whatever we do will be the wrong thing. Whichever turn on the road we choose will lead to despair.


But here’s the thing guys: The burden of proof isn’t on those of us who want out of Iraq. We’re the ones who were right at the beginning, are still right today and have been right at every point in between. The burden of proof is with those of you, dwindling though your ranks may be, who are still part of the war party. It’s your burden to prove that staying in Iraq is likely to produce some sort of good, some improvement in the current nightmare, sufficiently great to justify the expenditure of even more precious American blood and treasure.

I found it interesting that Steve addressed some of the questions I raised in an earlier post about how to respond to the Right-wingers who insisted that the situation in Iraq would only be worse if we pulled out too early. I really like Steve's work over there at "the cafe", and generally I feel like he speaks for me (only in a much more articulate manner)but I have to take issue with him on this one...a slight one anyway.

It's true that it is patently unfair for the war party to criticize us for not having a solution to the mess THEY CREATED but telling them that it's unfair doesn't do anything to solve the problem. As Steve points out early in his essay:

"This war is a wildfire blazing across the body and soul of this nation."

Our goal isn't to blame the other party but to end the wildfire. The other side is so obviously incapable of doing it that they should never, ever be entrusted with the power to make war again, but in the meantime, it is up to us, whom we assume are the more rational, intelligent and patriotic of the two parties to put the fire out. The question still remains, how?

I wish I had the answer at the tip of my fingers but I don't.

I suspect that the answer may in fact lie in some Pan-Regional Coalition where the neighbors step in and impose a peace on the warring factions. I can't buy into the theory that a strong leader will emerge (like Mel suggested in an earlier comment) only because there is much too much meddling by Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and god knows who else (maybe some small elements of Al Queda) to allow an Iraqi "Thomas Jefferson" to emerge. Further, the meddling neighbors are using the religious factions as their surrogates and therefore trying to turn it into a jihad of some fashion.

I guess the point is that the answer will lie in a concept totally foreign to the Bush Administration :



Thursday, November 30, 2006


Just checked the stat-counter....we set a new record yesterday...58 visits...unique...pretty good for a little county-wide blog huh?

About the Presidency.....

It's starting already....The run for the nominations. Today's news and views in both the traditional press and the blogosphere is full of little tidbit. For instance:

Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Bill (cat-killer) Frist has announced that he will not seek the Republican Nomination.

Senator Joseph Biden (D) says he's still looking.

Retired General Wesley Clark says he hasn't "ruled it out".

Senator Barack Obama says he's exploring the possibilities.

Giuliani (spelling incorrect?) is listed as a Republican front-runner.

Saint Senator John McCain is pandering as hard as any man can to please the Republican Conservative (wacko) base for his bid for the nomination.

It brings back a lot of pre-2004 memories and causes me to think about an important difference in candidates. I offer it for your consideration.

What I think we are observing is a flock of people who are actively SEEKING OR PURSUING the Office of President. (before you post a "Well...DUH...." comment, hear me out.) It is not a case where The Presidency is pursuing them....that is, none and I do mean NONE of the present candidates have led such a life of service to the country that they seem to be natural and logical choices for the office of the Presidency. Yes, I will elaborate.

Teddy Roosevelt was a natural for his times because of his strong background as a reformer (remember he was Police Commissioner in New York too) Franklin D. Roosevelt was a natural choice because he showed he could lead at a time when America was in desperate need of leadership. Eisenhower was a logical and almost unanimous choice because of his demostrated leadership abilities and was actively sought as a candidate by both Republicans and Democrats.

Let me make this clearer by using Eisenhower as an example. He was a Four-Star General who put together the Allied Victory in Europe ending WWII. He is most known for his planning of the invasion at Normandy but his work and strategic planning in the years leading up to the invasion were brilliant. The important point is that he didn't run that war with a press agent or focus group telling him what to do to enhance his image for a distant run for the Presidency. He ran the war in Europe as a professional military man and in doing so demonstrated strength of character and leadership that would be unmistakable years later. It was, in fact because of his character and leadership that he was so actively sought for the nomination by both parties.

Contrast this with the made-for-TV-and-prime-time candidacy we are being exposed to now.

Issues and topics are carefully chosen to appeal to a "demographic" and images are masterfully sculpted to meet the desires of focus groups. As Teddy White told us in his first edition of The Making of a President, 1960, the candidate is packaged, labeled and sold to us in much the same fashion we purchase a jar of peanut butter.

Does it make a difference? Does it really matter if we choose someone who has chosen to run as a result of a lifetime of demonstrated character and achievement or someone who has been carefully groomed and sculpted for our consumption?

You're damned right it does!

For example, see this from today's Digby (Hullaballoo)

This all proves that it really matters who the president is. It matters a lot. We will be electing a new administration in less than two years and it's important to try to learn from this, beyond ideology, beyond partisanship. The Bush administration debacle is not, after all, confined to Iraq. There was Katrina as well, along with untold numbers of domestic, economic and foreign policy crises that have been put into motion and haven't yet come to fruition. The malfeasance wasn't confined to Don Rumsfeld or Doug Feith.

George W. Bush is perhaps the best example of a pre-packaged President we will ever see. One of our (Democrats ) major complaints about him (okay, it was a complaint about Reagan too) was that he was an "empty suit" and it turned out to be tragically true.

In the next 18 months or so, we, the Wood County Dems, will start fractioning off to support different candidates for our party's nomination for the Presidency....consider these things as you choose...

it does make a difference.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Another Campaign Memory was a great experience...and DeDe has a nice souvenier picture to prove it.

Here's DeDe with Wisconsin's first Lady Jessica Doyle:

Thanks for the picture DeeDee!

Random thoughts on an open thread....

how's that for confusing....

actually I'm inviting all our friends to jump in here and have their say.....

Bush is at a NATO summit....met with German Chancellor Merkel...remeber what happened last time?

Wonder what he'll do to embarrass himself...and us...this time?

update: This picture looks like She told him to "Keep his hands to himself"....rofl

He's going to meet with Iraqi President Maliki later Jordan...

IN JORDAN? Is Maliki defecting?

Meanwhile, Al Sadr's Shiia faction has withdrawn from Maliki's Government....ummmm...aren't they THE MAJORITY PARTY?....

Try answering this: There is no doubt we're going to leave Iraq. Do you think we should do it gradually or quickly? Post in comments.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Brief notes

I have a couple of meetings this afternoon/evening so this will be brief......

I'm glad I put the "statcounter" on this site...through Saturday there were 80 unique visits to the site and, get this, 48 of them were FIRST TIME if you have something to say, this is a good place to say it.

BTW, Jenny sent me the web site info in late September but my email spam filter picked it up as spam and put it in the deleted items bin....I found the info there over the I'll be updating the web site as soon as I can get to it.

see u soon

A different perspective

Etta Hulme puts a little different light on the subject of Iraq:

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A few random thoughts....

I've spent most of the morning catching up on posts in my favorite blogs...surprisingly, it's been relatively quiet in the land of Left Blogsylvania.

Jesus General has an interesting post up that has me thinking a bit. This small "snippet" gives you a good sense of where he's coming from:

What happens, though, when we elect people who have no interest and/or ability to govern? What happens when we elect people who are more interested in their own personal power than in the general interests of society? We have been experiencing exactly that with the current Republican Congress and administration.

It may not be possible to document the full extent of Republican malfeasance and mismanagement of this country. Major crises, like hurricane Katrina and the 9/11 terrorist attacks, were addressed in ways that almost couldn’t have been worse. Minor issues have been dealt with in an even more incompetent manner. It might be easier to simply list the areas where Republican governance has been competent and effective.

(*crickets chirping*)

Aside from that, the news out of Iraq hasn't been good. Take a look at this compilation from The Raw Story.

Start with car bombs that kill 202 in one day, add to it, Sadr's militia taking over a major radio station, mortar fire into a US Base and the the Prime Minister getting stoned by his own supporters and I'd say you have....

what's that word?

Oh yeah, chaos.

I have to ask the question so many other bloggers have been asking over the past two or three weeks:

Exactly what does "victory" in Iraq look like?
What is our goal and is that an attainable goal? Bush said recently (on his trip to Viet Nam) that we will "win" in Iraq," ...unless we quit." Win what?

Here's an easy way out Mr. Bush. Remember that before the invasion of Iraq you changed your rationale for invading almost every day. Every time somebody contradicted your "reason of the day", you came up with another one. It was pretty tricky to do because you had multiple goals in your self-serving speeches.

You had to crank up your base with the USA! USA! USA!...KICK THEIR ASS AND TAKE THEIR GAS ..mantra...

You had to scare the crap out of Mr and Mrs Middle America and every Soccer Mom in the US...(that smoking gun = mushroom-shaped cloud line was a WINNER...kudos to Frank Luntz for that one heh?)

And, here's the tricky had to refrain from mentioning to the United Nations that it had ANY thing to do with "regime change", so you spoke of "disarming Saddam". Slick. Absolutely slick.

So what does this have to do with getting out of Iraq now? Simple. Just pick one of the "excuses de jour" that you used in the run-up and declare "Mission Accomplished"...(maybe some different phrase would be better) .

For example: Try on the " If Saddam doesn't disarm, we, and a coalition of the willing, will disarm him."

Ta Daaaaaaaaaa! Victory. You sure as hell disarmed Saddam. And you didn't promise a democracy or a glowing republic or even a stinking rose garden afterwards. You didn't say what the cost of "disarming Saddam" was going to be. Who cares if you created another failed state or even another Islamic Theocracy or even another ally for Iran, you "disarmed Saddam".

Wooohoooo! USA! USA! USA!

See, it's that easy.

No charge for the advice Mr Bush.....