Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Worst President Ever

Let's take just one day's news headlines that doesn't even mention the debacle in Iraq. Today's Washington Post has these three headlines:

FDA Told U.S. Drug System Is Broken
Expert Panel Calls For Major Changes
By Shankar VedantamWashington Post Staff WriterSaturday, September 23, 2006; Page A01

The federal system for approving and regulating drugs is in serious disrepair, and a host of dramatic changes are needed to fix the problem, a blue-ribbon panel of government advisers concluded yesterday in a long-awaited report.

Audit Finds Ethical Lapses In U.S. Reading Program
By Ben FellerAssociated PressSaturday, September 23, 2006; Page A02

A scorching internal review of the Bush administration's billion-dollar-a-year reading program says the Education Department ignored the law and ethical standards to steer money how it wanted.
Page 2

Probe of FAA Contracting Finds Waste
Mismanagement Blamed For Losses in Millions
Del Quentin WilberWashington Post Staff WriterSaturday, September 23, 2006; Page D01

A Federal Aviation Administration contracting program, initially hailed as a way to make the agency more efficient, was so poorly managed that it cost the government millions of dollars in overruns, according to a government investigative report and legislators who reviewed its conclusions. The FAA has disbanded the program.

These are all internal reports by inspector generals within the Bush Administration. That would explain why they all came out on a Friday afternoon, the dead zone when bad news gets released.

But the breadth and depth of the incompetence and corruption in this administration is truly amazing.

But, heh, gas prices are coming down, so what's the problem?

A Dilemma

Here's the moral dilemma for Democrats in Congress. Do they let this egregious torture bill pass to avoid the inevitable onslaught of attacks accusing them of siding with terrorists against America which might, for yet the third time, scare enough voters into voting Republican in the Fall? Or do they stand up against this violation against the most fundamental values inherent in being an American. In other words, do they risk the prospect of two years of a Republican Congress that feels vindicated and a completely unconstrained Bush Administration, which could literally bring about the end of civilization as we know it?

Still, this one is completely beyond the pail. Who would have thought that America would come to the point where we're actually debating what torture is. Torture is for bad guys, we are (or used to be) the good guys. If I was in Congress, this is one I would sacrifice my seat over. But would I sacrifice the country over it? That could literally be the question.

Of course, the big problem here is not that I don't trust the Republicans, which I don't. But in this case, what you see is what you get. They want to be able to torture people. Pure and simple. And they apparently think it is more important to protect the geography of America than to protect its values and Constitution. No, the problem is that I don't trust the American people. I fear that they will fall into Karl Rove's trap. And that's really bad. Some smart person once said that people get the government they deserve, especially in democracies, which we still least for a while. Well, we've got Bush.

So, this is the one thing that has come up that I think is more important than getting the majority. I just hope the Democratic leadership does the right thing and also finds a political skilled way of doing it.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Struck Dumb

Sometimes the Bush Administration just leaves me speechless. I am outraged, saddened, disgusted and despairing of our nation on so many fronts that I don't know how to verbalize my feelings. That's one of the reasons this blog goes quiet periodically.

Now is one of those times. The news that Bush is now bringing the scariest terrorists we have to Gitmo and demanding that Congress immediately pass his bill to try them takes things to new heights of cynicism. This bill, which would allow us to execute individuals after a trial in which they would be confronted with some evidence that was produced as a result of torture and other evidence that they would never see. It makes my head spin and I cycle between outrage and deep, deep sadness with the indifference of large portions of the American public.

Beyond this, I don't know what to say.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

More Desperation

Okay, here's the Republican strategy, "This is not about national issues, this is a choice made at the local level." In other words, "If you think we're bad, check out the other guy." Pretty weak.

Also, I noted this quote by Bill McInturf, Republican pollster in a story about the economic squeeze that middle and lower income people are feeling:

"People like this are making a large ripple across the body politic," said Republican pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies. When added to the growing opposition to the war in Iraq, he said, worry about this economic crunch "is creating a political environment that is not that friendly to the party in power."

Yeah, right, especially when "the party in power" has done literally nothing to address the economic problems of the middle and lower class and, in fact, has adopted policies that dramatic aggravate the squeeze. "The party in power" is expressed as some innocent bystander who happens to hold office when bad things happen. No, it's the Republicans and maybe, just maybe the voters have at long last gotten wise to the scam.

Monday, September 04, 2006


Remember the republican mantra from a couple of months ago that they were going to hold the house in spite of their abject failures in governing and President Bush's unpopularity? They said that congessional races are decided on local issues. They repeated Tip O'Neill's old standby "all politics is local." This was not a national election, they said, so their majority was secure.
They're not saying that anymore. In fact, they say that they are going to limit the congressional agenda for September to national security issues. If that doesn't nationalize the election, I don't know what will.

In fact, the problem is "they got nuthin' left." You know they are desperate when their strategy is to call attention to a national security policy that is opposed by 60 percent of voters.
In the words of that pathetic TV ad, "they've fallen and they can't get up!"

Friday, September 01, 2006

Always With Us

I know that Jesus once said the poor will always be with us. But I do believe moral people have an obligation to shrink their number. You would think that Christians would feel a particular obligation in this regard.

Yet our Christian president, for whom Jesus was his most influential philosopher, has presided over - and advance - uprecedented growth in poverty. Jesus also said that it would be easier for camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. Yet this same "Christian" president has vastly increased wealth and income at the top of the economic scale.

I think our biggest moral failing as a country is that these fact seem to have little political consequence. Read E. J. Dionne's column in the Post today to get an analysis of the recent Census report that documents these trends. It's depressing.

I still believe the Democrats are coming back. It is sad, however, the level of arrogance and incompetence on the part of the Republicans is has to take to bring that about. And I just wish that the neglect of the poor was a bigger fact that it is in this comeback.