Wednesday, July 23, 2008

If McCain wins, your kids and grandkids will fight his wars

You have a friend or a colleague who has kids? Or one that has grandkids? Or is thinking about having kids?

Are they thinking that McCain is “moving to the center” (as I was told by a colleague earlier today)? Are they considering voting for McCain because Obama “doesn’t necessarily have the right experience” or for some other nonsensical reason? Do they believe the lies that McCain was “very against the war from the beginning”? Are they unfamiliar with McCain’s “there will be more wars” comment? Do they not know about his 100 years in Iraq comment?

If there is no other distinction that people can understand (or care enough about) – even though there are more distinctions than I can easily count to (and I am an accountant), it is this one: if McCain wins, he and his neoconservative buddies will ensure that there are more wars. Enough of the “more wars” that not only many of us, but our children and grandchildren will be shipped off to fight..

So, I plan on telling one of my closest friends, who is a self described “moderate libertarian” who happens to vote republican because of his wallet (he owns 2 dental practices) that his 7 year old son, 4 year old daughter and 1 year old son (who I am the godfather of) could likely be shipped overseas to fight in one of the many wars that McCain will start or inflame.

And I will tell my parents, who think McCain is not conservative enough that if he wins, they will be setting things up so that my 4 year old niece has a shot at being drafted into the decades long war that he plans on continuing (I will personally flee the country with the little mollusk if need be). Ditto for my work colleague down the hall who has 2 sons under the age of 6, and all of the people in my neighborhood who have young children, including my next door neighbors who have twin grandchildren who are around 2 years old.

It is that simple to me. It is that clear. SCOTUS is of utmost importance, however the damaging impact from McCain SCOTUS picks are not as easy to describe in tangible terms as “McCain would gladly have your kids kill and possibly die halfway across the world – or come back with PTSD or permanent injuries”.

Or the reverse – “Do you want your kids or grandkids to become fodder for McCain’s continuation of failed aggression?”>

Either way, it is a very powerful question, and paints a picture in very stark terms of what we can expect under a McCain presidency. And with there being absolutely no coverage of Iraq on the major news outlets and therefore no talk of the human cost in lost and damaged lives, I can think of no stronger more powerful way to pointedly show what is at stake here.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Will the Democrats ensure that justice is served for Siegelman

I’m sitting here in Austin listening to Sam Seder interview Don Siegelman about the horrific actions that Karl Rove orchestrated in order to wrongfully imprison him for 9 months, and even though I knew some of the background, I am frankly shocked as I hear it straight from his mouth.

Once again, as Don said, “all roads lead to Rove”, and here is yet another example of a gross overstepping of any legal or moral lines by Karl Rove - carried out by fellow republicans and more importantly, yet again against a prominent Democrat.

And just as Rove (yet again) has skipped out on testifying before Congress, and just as we see more “sternly worded letters” or “stern comments” by top level Democrats and “significant interest” in investigating Rove and his illegal acts - such letters will be ignored, such subpoenas will be mocked, such comments will be dismissed by republicans, and the story will not be covered nearly enough by the corporate media.

Siegelman has just said that now Congress wants to investigate Rove’s involvement in this - yet another example where Karl Rove is involved in illegal acts against Democrats. Just like the White House emails, just like the prior refusal to testify, just like ignoring other subpoenas, just like the Plame leak, just like the US attorney firings, just like the smear campaigns and every other illegal thing that Rove has done.

There is a website set up called that calls on Congress to make Rove testify or to hold him in contempt of Congress. Besides the obvious call for everyone to visit this site and send a note to Congress, it raises a question that I have been asking for quite some time, as well as a major concern about how the Democratic Party Congressional leadership treats its own.

Why is the Democratic Congressional leadership so unwilling to take all steps to not just investigate abuses of power and crimes by republican members of this administration but ALSO to protect members of its own party who have been wrongfully charged, imprisoned or targeted by Rove and the republican party?

The republican party, for all of its faults, take care of its own. Now granted, usually it is in the form of cover ups and stalling and obstructing justice and commuting of sentences for criminal charges. But they DO take go to great lengths to take care of their own.

The ONLY remedy here for the Democratic Party is to take care of one of their own - a GOVERNOR who was wrongfully charged, convicted and imprisoned for partisan political purposes. It would show that they are not only serious about “having each other’s backs” but also to hold one of the biggest criminals in this country - a criminal who is hated by such a large number of Americans accountable for his illegal acts.

This is a no-brainer. It would be a travesty of justice to not fully investigate and hold Rove in inherent contempt if he refuses to testify, just as it has been a travesty of justice for there to not be full investigations of all of the other crimes committed by this administration (or republican party members) over the past 7 years. These actions, as Sam Seder just said, are corrupting the chief law enforcement department in this country.

To have Rove be the one at the center of this and to hold him accountable would be a bonus. But the bigger picture is how this reflects on Democratic Party leadership. Will they make sure that one of their own is vindicated and that justice is served? A pardon by President Obama of Siegelman would be great. But even if Obama wins and even if he pardons Siegelman, this would not be nearly enough.

Will criminals be held accountable when their actions result in the wrongful imprisonment of a high level Democratic Party member? Or will this be brushed aside with no accountability?

The result of this investigation will go a long way to show whether top Congressional Democrats are more concerned with protecting their own from wrongful and illegal acts, or if they are afraid of “rocking the boat in the name of partisanship”. There is a BIG difference between the two.

Election theft disguised as the "Bradley effect"

There have already been a few articles and discussions over the past few months about the “Bradley effect”, which attempts to “explain” discrepancies between what white voters tell pollsters and how they actually vote when it comes to “non-white” candidates.

And even though a lot of these discussions end up with evidence that dismisses the theory, as the election season heats up, there will no doubt be more of a racial undertone (whether it is blatant or not), and as long as poll samples are intentionally skewed to help McCain, or likely Obama voters are being excluded from the polling samples - there will be more focus on the so-called “closeness” of this race.

A few months back, I wrote a diary titled “They just have to make it close enough to steal”, and this point bears repeating over and over and over.....and over until the election.

The ways that the elections have been stolen since 2000 have been in a number of ways - whether it be caging, gaming the system from the inside, questionable software security “patches”, illegal voter roll purges, voting machine “issues”, voter ID laws, illegal redistricting, phone jamming or other shenanigans by people like Ken Blackwell or Katherine Harris - there have been different and creative ways for different states, different races and on different levels.

Many Americans have been led to believe that exit polls were suddenly inaccurate and unreliable, even though they have historically been the most accurate methodology in numerous countries for many years. We were convinced by the lying corporate media and the republican party that, while our exit polls were so far off in the 2004 Presidential race - and all in the favor of one candidate while at the same time, exit polls were being cited in the Ukraine as irrefutable evidence of a stolen election which was ultimately overturned there.

In many states, the voting machine problems have not been satisfactorily fixed - hell, in New Jersey, the voting machines are known as some of the least reliable in the country. And with new anti-voter voter ID laws being introduced, a renewed effort at voter suppression with each cycle, more states in play for Obama to potentially capture and the skewed polls that I mention above, this election is another one that is ripe for an attempt to steal.

While we can argue whether there is a “Bradley effect” - on that election, on ones involving Jesse Jackson, David Dinkins or others, the narrative of such a “phenomenon” is out there. And just as there were “theories” (no matter if they were based on fact or evidence, or if they were just explanations and cover ups so that a neat and tidy media narrative could exist) of why the 2000, 2002, 2004 and certain 2006 elections defied all sense of reason, statistics, evidence of suppression or disenfranchisement, it will be all too easy for a “new” (but recycled and largely false) narrative to come into play if there is a race that is close enough to steal comes into play.

And just as we have already seen skewed and biased reporting on Obama vs. McCain, just as we have seen biased polling sample sizes in order to give the impression that the polls are close than they are, and just as we have seen prior elections stolen with impunity, it will be all too easy for another “explanation” with no proof to be advanced if there are swings outside of the margin of error in certain states, or even if Obama loses states that historically voted republican but he is winning (or will be projected to win) this November.

Which makes it all the more imperative for this election to be a blowout, and for this narrative to be killed before it starts to rear its ugly head again - as it has from time to time over the past few months.

Scott Garrett's new low - hating on Americans with disabilities

As noted by Howie Klein, the Americans With Disabilities Act Amendments (HR 3195) was overwhelmingly passed yesterday by a vote of 402-17.

And once again, Scott Garrett was one of the 17 - the only republican from New Jersey (again) to vote against these Amendments. Is this because Garrett hates all Americans with disabilities? Is this because he thinks they don?t need protection against discrimination? Or is this a stick in the eye of opponent for NJ-5?s House seat Dennis Shulman, who has overcome many obstacles, including his own disability?

Here are some of the things that Garrett voted against yesterday:

  • Specifically rejects the erroneous Supreme Court decisions that have reduced the protections for people with disabilities under the ADA, restoring original Congressional intent.

  • Makes it absolutely clear that the ADA is intended to provide broad coverage to protect anyone who faces discrimination on the basis of disability.

  • Clarifies the definition of disability, including what it means to be ?substantially limited in a major life activity.?

  • Prohibits the consideration of mitigating measures such as medication, prosthetics, and assistive technology, in determining whether an individual has a disability.

  • Provides coverage to people who experience discrimination based on a perception of impairment regardless of whether the individual experiences disability.

  • Is supported by a broad coalition of civil rights groups, disability advocates, and employer trade organizations.

When asked by the folks at Blue America for his thoughts on Garrett?s vote, Shulman offered this sober and rational response:
"I'm not outraged as someone with a disability, I am outraged as someone who fights for the fundamental American value of equal opportunity."

"The Americans with Disabilities Act is a landmark piece of legislation that has provided millions of Americans with equal access in virtually all areas of life, including education, the workforce, and technology. Perhaps without it, I wouldn't be here to offer a sensible alternative to an out of touch career politician like Scott Garrett."

As an American, I am outraged at the latest extremist vote by Garrett. And as a resident of this District, I am ashamed to be represented by someone so out of touch with reality. Any support for Dennis and his campaign will go a long way towards bringing sanity back to NJ?s fifth district.

The contrast between the candidates couldn?t be clearer.

Offshore drilling - Garrett proves that he just doesn't get it.

It isn?t exactly news anymore when Scott Garrett is the only NJ republican House member to vote a certain way. While it shows his stunning ability to be out of step with his own party (and not in a good way, since he is more to the right than most party members at a time when the republican party is more and more at odds with what Americans want), there are certain times when his lone vote shows an even more stunning lack of ability to grasp the big picture.

Offshore drilling is yet another one of those times.

Just recently, Garrett voted in favor of not one but two bills that would ?solve? America?s oil dependency by?.drilling for more oil, just here in the United States. Not only is this a bad idea from a short to mid term standpoint, but it is also a bad idea from a long term standpoint, as it (1) won?t lower gas prices in any material way and (2) won?t address the big picture need of becoming energy independent over the long term.

As far as the overall timeframe and impact, one of the more common timeframes that has been thrown around is that it would take 10 years before we hit a high level of production and there would be a potential 3% drop in prices on a per-barrel basis:

According to the NYT, the Energy Information Agency estimates that the total amount of oil in the offshore zone in question is about 16 billion barrels. If we assume that it would take about ten years from the day of authorization to get to peak production and that most of the oil is pumped out over 30 years, this would translate into a bit over 1 million barrels of oil a day.

That would be equal to about 1 percent of world production in a decade. If we assume a long-run demand elasticity of 0.3, this would imply a drop in world prices of approximately 3 percent. In today's prices, we would be looking at a drop in the price of a barrel of oil from around $135 to $131. If this were passed on one to one in gas prices (this is long-run story), we might expect to see a drop in the price of a gallon of gas from around $4.00 to around $3.92 a gallon.

But this isn?t really even the point, even though it demonstrates that (1) we can?t drill our way out of the current crisis, and (2) even if we can, we won?t see a big benefit even if everything runs as smoothly as one can hope. Put another way, the offshore drilling won?t reduce prices in the short term and won?t likely even materially reduce prices in the long term.

The larger issue here, of course, is energy independence in general, as well as the environmental impact of our choice in energy policy. And here is where Garrett is either clueless or doesn?t really care about the needs of his constituents when it comes to solving the short term and long term energy crisis.

Not that this lets other republicans who oppose drilling off their particular state coast but are all for drilling elsewhere off the hook ? as the ?NIMBY? argument is only a selfish one. Either you are in favor of more drilling or you are not. Either you are in favor of solving America?s oil addiction with more oil or you are not. Either you are for new initiatives in order to achieve energy independence and lower overall energy costs as well as help the environment or you are not. Either you are for more environmental pollution from oil and ?clean coal? (and by the way, coal is coal and is dirty no matter how ?clean? you want to try and call it) or you are not.

Either you get it, or you don?t (or you do but choose not to care).

By focusing on more oil and more refineries and more drilling, it is clear what Scott Garrett?s priorities are. And they are not with the short, mid range or long term interests of the people of New Jersey?s fifth district.

It is only with investment and focus on alternative energy sources and renewable energy initiatives that can save people money in the short term and help families transition to the use of hybrid cars, energy saving appliances, wind or solar energy sources and other similar ?out of the box? thinking that will help people save money in the short term as well as make changes that will be beneficial in the long run.

If Garrett can not or will not see this major pressing need, even when the other NJ republicans see it, then it makes you wonder whether he is fit to serve his constituents.

The long road back to respectability

This is something that has been on my mind for some time, yet I still haven’t quite figured out where I am going with it. Over the past decade, this country has fallen from grace in a big way. Granted, “grace” is overstated, since there were many stains on the integrity and hypocritical nature of what we say as opposed to what we do long before Mister Bush took office in 2001.

But even taking that all into consideration, the way that this country’s promise and opportunity was hijacked - not by “republicans” or “Democrats” or even “neoconservatives” per se - since 2001 makes one (or at least makes me) look at what has gone on and how much respectability has been lost and wasted by a combination of greed, money, arrogance and wanton disregard for the rule of law.

In 2004, I thought that things would get better once Kerry was elected. Or, at least, it wouldn’t continue to get worse. Sadly, even if Kerry did win, much would still be the same - sure, there wouldn’t be such a mess of the Justice Department, and there would be two people other than John Roberts and Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court, and we wouldn’t be dumping hundreds of billions into Iraq and a good number of other horrific things that are a direct result of the abomination that is the current Executive Branch.

But most of the problems facing Americans would still be big, regardless of who is in the White House - just a degree of how big.

That being said, it isn’t really worth playing the “what might have been” game, because Bush is in office, not Kerry. And with the way that Bush and many in Congress have been acting, the “just wait until Democrats are in the majority” line of thinking has been an even bigger disappointment when it comes to just how far we have to go in order to regain any respectability or advance any real progressive causes.

There is no credible explanation other than “they don’t represent us” that would explain the capitulation on Iraq funding or on FISA and the failure to have any meaningful consequences from the investigations that have been launched, nor the interest in stopping torture (or at least bringing this to light when it was first learned), the selling out of the middle class for oil and gas companies on the energy bill, the reckless disregard for the budget deficit on the AMT legislation or the challenges by Democratic party “elite” to progressive candidates by the DLC.

It’s even worse on the “other side” as the number of republicans who aren’t absolutely repulsive has dwindled to, at best, a single digit number. Stopping legislation that would help the middle class, that would be fair on wiretapping, would eliminate unnecessary and unaffordable tax cuts for special interests, stonewalling and lying and withholding documents and looking the other way about crime, corruption or the favored few are just a few of the many anti-American things that are done.

All just to show that they can obstruct everything because if they can’t get exactly what they want every time then nobody will get anything.

The same tools that wouldn’t be used by Democrats when they were in the minority (specifically by Reid and a few other Senators) are being used at every turn. Even Presidential candidates who are standing up for the Constitution are being railroaded by their own party “leadership”, while a number of impeachable offenses have occurred and been uncovered since last November with no consequences.

The same special interests are being rewarded and sheltered from accountability while not being prosecuted or seriously investigated for their complicity in violating federal law or international treaty. The election in November 2006 was supposed to take care of this. The election of 2006 was supposed to change the status quo and bring us in a new direction. Yet, impeachment was taken off the table immediately, and there has been little in the way of accountability.

Almost two years later, things have most certainly not changed - in fact, you can say that they have gotten worse. We have learned that many more of those Democrats that would make it all better were either liars or inept. We saw a party that turned its back on the winner of the Connecticut Democratic Primary for Senate for one of “its own” - a man who has only proven to be a power hungry egomaniacal liar and is actively supporting a republican (McCain) and will hopefully be kicked out of the Democratic caucus, and stripped of his seniority - yet that isn’t even a definite and it has gotten to this point without any semblance of major pushback. This is not nearly the first time that Lieberman has done this, yet he was welcomed with open arms by Senate Democrats over a progressive candidate that their own party’s voters wanted to represent their state.

We have been told that 2008 is the year that will change everything. Yet, there has been disappointment after disappoinment - on Iraq, on FISA, on things as silly as condemning to more recent comments by Harold Ford that were as tepid of a defense of Obama as I have ever seen when it comes to smears, lies and distortions by republicans, the media and the McCain campaign. Similarly, there has been little push against all of the egregious things that McCain has said or done - now it can’t really be done by Obama, but it CAN be done by other prominent Democrats.

when one of the strongest remarks from House Democratic leadership was Rahm manuel saying that he won’t be buying the New Yorker anymore, how does that demonstrate leadership, and what message does that send to the American people?

The amount of “House” cleaning that needs to be done is massive. The balance of whose interests are being served is highly skewed. The current two parties have their differences but on the big picture and issues that are vital to the American people, there is more common ground with each other than with We the People. Not wanting to make moderate changes to the status quo or not wanting to tackle the big issues isn’t much different from willfully obstructing the passage of legislation that would make moderate changes to the status quo. Both result in nothing. We talk about more and better Democrats. And in some cases, the more part gives us a Jim Webb or a Jon Tester - not the ideal progressive by any stretch but certainly 100 times better than George Allen or Conrad Burns. But we also run the risk of electing the next Steny Hoyer or Jay Rockefeller, who are certainly not necessarily “better” Democrats, and can actively hinder progressives, Democrats and America as they become more entrenched.

How different will 2008 be? Or 2010 and 2012, for that matter. Will there be enough progress on global warming or healthcare or our education system or energy independence or our deteriorating infrastructure? Will we be any closer to withdrawing from Iraq? Will we be bogged down elsewhere, or still debating which Middle Eastern country we need to attack rightfuckingnow? Will the US dollar continue to be as weak, will the job market be any better and will the economy be any better? Will the US Justice Department be cleansed of its partisan ideology? Will our election system still be the laughingstock of the civilized world?

So much has happened that has done so much damage in so many ways. And it will take more than elections or incremental change to bring back any semblance of respectability for this country.

I shouldn’t say “this country”, as it isn’t the country itself - there is still opportunity and a lot that is right and good about it. I should say our “system” and our leadership with respect to their priorities and reputation. But we have seen very little change of direction as compared to what was promised in 2006. And our reputation is damaged beyond levels that would never even be considered a few years ago.

I do have faith that things can change - that things can get better again and at least there will be some accountability or change of direction. Certainly, and despite what some people think, Barack Obama is a HUGE step in the right direction - not my first choice as a candidate, but light years better than McCain. There is no other option than to do whatever we can to get him elected - and no, that is not mutually exclusive from holding him accountable in the blogosphere or even on MyBO (again, despite what some think).

But with Democratic leadership being as pitiful as it has been (I don’t think I ever saw a republican say that they needed a veto proof majority or a filibuster proof majority), more and more however, I am realizing just how far we have to go to get there.

Whiners, eh? Funny thing about that...

With all of the talk about Phil Gramm's and by extension, McCain's campaign's comments about Americans being a bunch of whiners, most are focusing on the outrage as far as a reaction goes. But the truth is, there is a large segment of Americans that ARE whiners.

That segment would be, ironically enough, republicans.

Think of an issue - think of the incessant whining on right wing talk radio, think of the direction of the debate and discussion over the past decade (or even more), and we can see just how much Gramm's comments ring true.

Who can forget some of the classic whining moments that prove Gramm's point?

George W. Bush - Debate with John Kerry, 2004: It's hard work. But, again, I want to tell the American people, we're doing everything we can at home, but you better have a president who chases these terrorists down and bring them to justice before they hurt us again.
This was just one of 10 comments that whine about the "hard work" something is.

Trent Lott, 2005 - describing the "need" for the nuclear option: "I'm for the nuclear option, absolutely," Lott has said. "The filibuster of federal district and circuit judges cannot stand. ... It's bad for the institution. It's wrong. It's not supportable under the Constitution. And if they insist on persisting with these filibusters, I'm perfectly prepared to blow the place up. No problem."

Republican activists complain of "voter fraud", which there have been very few cases, in pushing widespread voter disenfranchisement initiatives. John McCain complaining about Congress going on July 4 recess despite missing close to 400 votes in this Congressional session. John McCain complains about his treatment by the press despite having them ignore his gaffes, his misstatements, his blowups, his "McCain moments" and his flip flops.

Oklahoma State Representative Sally Kern on "the gay agenda": The "homosexual agenda is destroying this nation....This stuff—it's deadly," Kern says, "and it's spreading, and it will destroy our young people. It will destroy this nation."

Bill O'Reilly's "War on Christmas": "it's all part of the secular progressive agenda ... to get Christianity and spirituality and Judaism out of the public square." He then added: "[B]ecause if you look at what happened in Western Europe and Canada, if you can get religion out, then you can pass secular progressive programs, like legalization of narcotics, euthanasia, abortion at will, gay marriage, because the objection to those things is religious-based, usually."

Rick Santorum - whining about "activist judges": "Should we look at situations where judges have decided to go off on their own tangent and disobey the statutes of the United States of America?" Santorum said. "I think that's a legitimate area for oversight, sure."

Of course, 7 of the 9 Supreme Court justices were appointed by a republican, as were more than half of the federal bench.

Scott McClellan whines about people playing the "blame game" about Katrina, while "Brownie" whines about Louisiana being to blame, and Brit Hume blames Gov. Blanco, despite thousands of pages of documents proving otherwise.

Thinking nothing of Swift Boating, lying and smearing opponents with whisper campaigns or outright leaking of classified information, Matthew Walter, spokesman for the New York Republican State Committee, whined about a privately financed exhibit that had mug shots of Bush, Cheney and others:

“It is simply inappropriate to have political attack in the form of egregious doctored photographs of the president and other high-ranking officials who have dedicated their lives to public service in a taxpayer-funded building frequented by schoolchildren and the general public.”

Republicans whine about how Democrats will raise taxes. Larry Craig complained about a "witch hunt", despite pleading guilty. Tom DeLay complained about "unfair partisan attacks" despite being knee deep in illegal activities. Republicans complained and tried to blame the Democrats for Mark Foley's sexual harassment of Congressional pages.

And of course, there is this "ace in the hole":

George W. Bush - 2006:"Five years after 9-11, Democrats offer nothing but criticism, and obstruction and endless second guessing," Bush said. He said the Democratic Party - the party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry Truman - has become the "party of cut-and-run."

This, despite overwhelming support for withdrawal from Iraq, the Bush administration's own "cut and run" from Afghanistan and a record of republican obstruction in the 110th Congress that is unrivaled by any Congress ever.

I could go on for days, but will leave it at these fine examples. So maybe Gramm does have a point - there are a lot of whiners in America. Thankfully, due to millions of Americans realizing how destructive the republican policies have been, the number of republican whiners has decreased over the past few years.

All that is left are a bunch of dead enders.

Screw you, Iraq, we're not leaving

Iraq’s National Security Advisor is the latest official to insist on a timetable for withdrawing from Iraq, following such dead enders such as the Iraqis themselves, not to mention al Maliki and the Iraqi Parliament (in fact, this is one of the only things that they do agree on).

But these silly Iraqis just don’t get it. It really doesn’t matter that 70% of Iraqis want us out. Or that top official after top official call for a timetable for our troops to leave. Or that the point of McCain’s ill-fated surge was to allow for political progress, which there has been none of. Or that most Americans want our troops out, and that keeping our troops in Iraq is hurting the cause in Afghanistan as well as Pakistan – the places where the Taliban and al Qaeda are. Or that more troops are now dying in Afghanistan than Iraq.

No, what matters is that John McCain says that the Iraqi government can’t make us leave (not to mention that he wants to keep our troops there for 100 years), that General Petraeus isn’t about to come up with any plan for withdrawal, and that even though members of Congress are asking for that, Congress is still providing hundreds of billions of dollars to ongoing operations in Iraq with no strings attached.

So, while these Iraqis whine and some members of Congress continue to act in the best interests of America, none of them realize that it isn’t their place to say what happens in their own country. After all, we liberated them, so they owe us. The timetable will be our timetable, not anyone else’s. And if you look at other “strategic acquisitions” made over this country’s history – this is not unlike the Louisiana Purchase, the purchase of Manhattan, or even the “liberation” of Texas.

This is for the Iraqi’s own good. It is for the good of the region. It is our “manifest destiny”. It is the “Pottery Barn rule”, and since it ain’t “fixed” yet, then we have an obligation to stay there as long as it takes to fix it – Iraqi officials or citizens be damned.

We are there, and we are not leaving. There can be hand wringing, there can be demands, there can be calls from the Iraqis, the Americans, the Iraqi officials and the US Congress for withdrawal. But none of this matters.

Congress is funding this ongoing occupation with no withdrawal dates attached (and even if they did, it wouldn’t be listened to), nobody thought of what to do after “shock and awe” and the Iraqis don’t know that we are really there to hear them say “God, I love freedom", even if we have to force it down their throats at gunpoint. Don’t they realize that they just aren’t grateful enough of what we are doing for them?

What are they going to do anyway, attack our troops? Don’t they realize that one of the Presidential candidates doesn’t care about the troops, nor do far too many people in Congress?

So go ahead and call for a withdrawal – it won’t happen. There is a better chance of Iraq becoming the 51st state than anything else. After all, how long as it been since Iraqis paid their taxes to the US – a country that has laid out all of this cash and to what benefit?