Friday, February 24, 2006

Game over, man!

Iraqi Government warns of 'endless civil war'

We. Told. You. So.

Of course you realize this means war.

The wonderful Jane Hamsher from firedoglake posted an excellent piece at Huffington summarizing all that's taken place on the abortion front this week and highlighting what action she thinks we that support choice should take politically. Her call to drop an anvil on the collective heads of the "Gang of 14" is spot on. Those Senators that are part of that "extrodinary circumstances" coalition that call themselves pro-choice yet voted for cloture are not worth a tinker's damn. Lieberman, Chafee and Snowe have shown they can't be trusted to follow-through with action when it comes to protect reproductive rights.

I was struck by this response from the comments section to Jane's post:

Bush won the election. Republicans won 55 seats in the Senate. They EARNED the right to appoint justices to the Supreme Court. Even ones that don't pass the NARAL/NOW/PP litmus test .

It's not called "bullying", it's called "democracy". Look it up sometime, you obviously have no clue what the word means.

Posted by: tarajunky

I pay a lot of attention to politics. I follow national elections outside of my local and state races. I love watching C-Span. I get as nervous meeting my congressional representative as some people do meeting their favorite rockstar or actor and I can't for life of me remember abortion being a major issue in the last national election. I don't recall it being much discussed at all and certainly not by most Republican candidates for office.

In point of fact there were moderate, pro-choice Republicans paraded across the stage at the Republican convention as the face of the party. Their were no James Dobsons or Pat Robertsons speaking in prime-time and leading a charge against abortion. Instead there were Schwarzeneggers and Guliannis talking about security, September the 11th and immigration and sold to the American people as the authentic face of the party. And Bush? Bush refused to say what kind of judges he would nominate, only that he wouldn't apply a "litmus" test.

The Republican Party didn't win the last election running ON the issue of abortion but rather running FROM issue of abortion.

But perhaps no other thing gives lie to tarajunky's babbling than to point out the obvious: the Republicans DO control both houses of congress and the presidency. Why don't they just pass legislation banning abortion?

It's because they haven't EARNED a damn thing.

As for the "democracy," South Dakota is a perfect microcosm of what's wrong with that argument. In a state with only 750,000 residents the average voter already has more say more say on this issue than the average New Yorker via the advice and consent of their two Senators. Their efforts this week at leading the charge for judicial review by passing a law banning all abortions just add insult to injury. I wouldn't call that democracy. Tyranny of the minority maybe.

No, I think Jane described it best when she termed it "bullying." Sure, it's like being bullied by an Ewok but it's still bullying. Nobody likes a bully.

Least of which a short, fat, cute, furry and really annoying bully.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Hey, anybody seen a ghost?

The rough consensus yesterday to the question of why in the hell the Bush Administration was pushing the UAE port deal in the first place was that there was probably a quid pro quo and it must be a biggie. Both Digby and Atrios come to conclusion that blatant profiteering is only one piece of the puzzle but didn't make sense by and of itself, even for the current White House crowd. They both point to the UAE provides most of the docking rights for our warships in the region.

Digby writes---

It may be that we have gotten ourselves into a terrible position in which we cannot "offend" the UAE by blocking this deal because they may reciprocate by blocking access to their deep water ports. If that's the case, then we are being blackmailed by the UAE for big money and potentially putting our own ports in danger in the process.

So the situation is more complicated that it appears at first glance. The results of the UAE port deal will have broader strategic implications for the U.S. in the Middle East. Nor are they the only regional "ally" to stick it to the United States. Saudi Arabia joined Egypt in rejecting a call by the U.S. to cut off the Hamas-led government in the Palestinian territories.

Even our toadies are giving us the rhetorical finger. Iraq's Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari recently responded to a U.S. warning to avoid sectarianism--

When someone asks us whether we want a sectarian government the answer is 'no we do not want a sectarian government' -- not because the U.S. ambassador says so or issues a warning..." (Reuters, 2/21/06)

Ouch. That's sort of like Jim Henson getting bitch-slapped by Kermit the frog.

I don't want to pretend that our relationships with our allies in the Middle-East are somehow different under the foreign policies of the Bush administration than they were under previous administrations. Governments from the UAE, to Saudi Arabia to the nascent Palestinian Authority have played both sides of the fence for years. At best they've been that buddy that borrows 50 bucks and then doesn't pay you back or return your calls. At worse they've been that buddy that runs off with your wife.

But I am feeling that same old frustration at lost opportunities that I get every time I think about events after they unfolded after the September the 11th attacks. With unprecedented international goodwill and calls for solidarity with the United States from countries as diverse as Iran and Russia we were in a position to effect international politics to an extent we won't see again in our lifetimes. We had practical carte blanche to change the world in a way that would ensure the security of our country. We had a huge store of political capital.

It seemed liked such a no-brainer that we would spend that capital on addressing the obvious roots of the problem that led to the attacks: oppressive, anti-democratic regimes in the Middle-East that were nominally classified as our "allies." Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE spring immediately to mind. If the United States was willing to play it's cards right and apply a tactful, thoughtful and global policy towards democratizing those regimes the U.S. could work itself into a much stronger strategic position. We were in the cat bird's seat towards making REAL change in the region for the first time in a generation.

Instead of all that we took tact, grabbed it by the shorties, threw it on the ground and kicked the living shit out of it. We burned up all that unprecedented international goodwill by going after Iraq. We took the bull-in-the-china-shop approach to foreign policy and it cost us.

It's costing us still.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I do not sink it means what you sink it means.

President Bush drew a line in the sand yesterday over the UAE ports deal AKA Operation Sell Out Our Security. Bush said

"If there was any chance that this transaction would jeopardize the security of the United States, it would not go forward." (emphasis mine)

I guess it depends on the meaning of "jeopardize." If by jeopardize you mean "put the the security of the United States in danger by turning over the operation of a number of U.S. ports to an Arab state with a dubious record on terrorism, including ties to the 9/11 attackers," then you might have a small point.

However if you apply the President's definition of jeopardy which is to "keep me and my buddies from making millions off a sweetheart deal" then you can see the port sale offers no real danger to the United States.

UPDATE: I love this succession of headlines off of Google:

Bush defies attempt to stop ports sale (3 hours ago)

Port Foes Unfazed By Bush Veto Threat (2 hours ago)

Lawmakers Claim Numbers to Override Bush Veto on Port Deal (55 minutes ago)

White House says Bush didn't know about ports deal (28 minutes ago)

What a bunch of chickenshits these boys are.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Are you suggesting that I'm not who I say I am?

Samuel Alito during his Senate Hearings for confirmation...

As the hearing opened, Alito sought to put the issue to rest by saying he would approach abortion cases with an ''open mind" and by acknowledging that past opinions have substantial value. (Boston Globe, 1/11/06)

Then yesterday...

WASHINGTON – For months Samuel Alito fended off questions about his views on abortion.

Now, the new Supreme Court justice will answer.

He took the bench Tuesday, and the very first case that justices agreed to hear was on the contentious issue.

At least he didn't try to claim he was the Sausage King of Chicago.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Oooh, spank me! Spank me!

Poor Bin Laden. If he wasn't such a murderous sociopath one could almost feel sorry for him. Almost. Spurned like a girl who's date takes her to the dance then proceeds to dance with every other girl BUT her, he's obviously in a lot of emotional pain and that's forced him to lash out and those he cares about the most.

In his latest tape he vows that he "would never be taken alive." He might as well say the United States will never force him to vote for a winning couple on "Dancing with the Stars" or the United States will never force him to eat processed cheese. The United States, as embodied in our fine Cowboy President, has no intention of doing any of these things. Bush doesn't care enough about you to take you dead OR alive.

This is the part that really has to hurt. President Bush continues to say he doesn't know where you are and doesn't spend a lot of time thinking about you. In fact; he spends as much time wondering where you are and what you're up to as he did when he read that PDB on August 6th, 2001 entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." None whatsoever.

That isn't to say he doesn't appreciate the fact you're out there acting crazy. Whether you're offering the U.S. a truce, threatening us with a new attack or just calling Bush and hanging up just to hear the sound of his voice, there's a certain type of bad-boy that thinks he looks good with a psycho ex-girlfriend hanging around. They think it makes them look like a player to their buddies. It's an "I'm such a stud it literally drove that chick crazy not to have me around" thing.

As soon as you realize that you're nothing more than Bush's Glenn Close life will get much easier. Trust me.

I'm a Doctor, not an Engineer.

It's good that the Amazing Karnack, aka Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, has dusted off costume and begun performing again. There'd been some talk after last year's show in which he tried to miraculously diagnose the condition of Terri Schiavo from hundreds of miles away via videotape, while standing on his head no less, that Karnack had hung up his cape for good.

You'll recall that the ensuing performance debacle rivaled the Harry Houdini "I-can-take-a-punch-to-the-abdomen" trick, the Evil Knieval "I-can-jump-the-Snake-River-Canyon" stunt and the Steven Bochco "I-can-produce-a-show-about-singing-policeman" Cop Rock disaster. The resulting abuse hurled at Senator Frist caused many of us to worry we'd seen the last of his act, but he's back and he's back in form:

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said President George W. Bush didn't need court approval when he authorized a National Security Agency surveillance program, and that the U.S. law establishing a special court to review national security wiretap requests doesn't need to be changed.

All in the absence of congressional hearings determining the legality of the wiretapping program under FISA and judicial review of the constitutionality of the program.

As a long time fan I'd like to send this out to Karnack: Bravo, sir! Well done!