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Good Riddance! But, Who Did More Damage to the Country?

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Friday was a red letter day for the country. In the wee small hours of the morning, the American public learned that Al-Qaeda's public face in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed when Air Force jets lobbed two 500 pound bombs onto his "safehouse." But the real reason for celebrating came later in the day as Tom DeLay finally left Congress to await his eventual conviction and incarceration on myriad counts of bribery, ethics violations and so on and so forth.

You'll have to excuse me for being a little more enthused about Delay's departure from Capitol Hill than al-Zarqawi's departure from the mortal coil, because DeLay's corrupt leadership of the House of Representative's was more destructive to the United States of America than al-Zarqawi could ever hope to have been.

Before I get in to facts and figures, which although meaningless to the GOP zombie hordes do tend to add a little something to discussions in the reality-based community, let me explain that I am talking about actual measurable detriment to the American people. Yes, al-Zarqawi has killed, either directly or through the plans he has set in motion, hundreds of American soldiers and the members of the American press corps who have been assigned to cover the disastrous war in Iraq. However, I think history will show that almost every American citizen, even those yet to be born will feel the effects of "The Hammer's" time as Speaker of the House.

Where to begin?

(By the way, these are all facts in evidence as they say. I'm only recapping for the sake of argument. A simple Google search, which even the slowest of Republican sympathizers can accomplish, will reveal ample documentation of what I'm saying here, so excuse my lazy lack of footnotes.)

Let's start with the redistricting of Texas. DeLay, while Speaker of the House, used his influence to task Homeland Security assets with the job of tracking down a group of Democratic Texas legislators and force them to return to the state capitol. All this effort so that his GOP cronies back home could redistrict the state well in advance of the federal census and, more importantly, the 2004 election.

From extraordinary federal intervention in state business we go to pathetic legislative inaction in the service of industry lobbyists. As Speaker, DeLay's time and again refused to allow debate or a vote on proposed legislation that would have ended forced labor in the garment industries of the Marianas Islands. Even worse, the women working in these sweatshops are also forced into the islands thriving sex trade and made to have abortions when pregnancies occur as a result. It's amazing how quickly morals can be shucked in the face of campaign contributions and cushy golf outings.

Those are just two of the most egregious and offensive of Tom DeLay's crimes against the American people, but they're not the only ones. In his time as Speaker, DeLay has been complicit in the plundering of the American economy; helping to turn a historic surplus into an equally historic deficit, saddling generations of Americans not even born with the bill. He has helped slash the budgets of governmental programs from veteran's benefits and border security to school lunches and environmental protection.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been responsible for the deaths of countless American soldiers, but the policies Tom DeLay helped pass into law will continue to devastate American families long after our troops have left Iraq. So you tell me, who was the more dangerous man?

Back In The Saddle

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

If found this post on The Cincinnati Enquirer's Politics Extra blog thanks to a member of the Democratic Underground. I've sort of lost my way lately and it felt good to blast another right wing nut job who really needed it.

Here's the original post:

Subject: : Unreported

* Did you know that 25 Iraq students departed for the United States in January 2005 for the reestablished Fulbright program?

* Did you know that the Iraqi Navy is operational?! They have five 100-foot patrol craft, 34 smaller vessels and a naval infantry regiment.

* Did you know that Iraq's Air Force consists of three operational squadrons, which includes 9 reconnaissance and 3 US C-130 transport aircraft (under Iraqi operational control) which operate day and night, and will soon add 16 UH-1 helicopters and 4 Bell Jet Rangers?

* Did you know that Iraq has a counter-terrorist unit and a Commando Battalion?

* Did you know that the Iraqi Police Service has over 55,000 fully trained and equipped police officers?

* Did you know that there are 5 Police Academies in Iraq that produce over 3500 new officers each 8 weeks?

* Did you know there are more than 1100 building projects going on in Iraq? They include 364 schools, 67 public clinics, 15 hospitals, 83 railroad stations, 22 oil facilities, 93 water facilities and 69 electrical facilities.

* Did you know that 96% of Iraqi children under the age of 5 have received the first 2 series of polio vaccinations?

* Did you know that 4.3 million Iraqi children were enrolled in primary school by mid October?

* Did you know that there are 1,192,000 cell phone subscribers in Iraq and phone use has gone up 158%?

* Did you know that Iraq has an independent media that consists of 75 radio stations, 180 newspapers and 10 television stations?

* Did you know that 47 countries have reestablished their embassies in Iraq?

* Did you know that the Iraqi government currently employs 1.2 million Iraqi people?

* Did you know that 3100 schools have been renovated, 364 schools are under rehabilitation, 263 schools are now under construction and 38 new schools have been built in Iraq?

* Did you know that Iraq's higher educational structure consists of 20 Universities, 46 Institutes or colleges and 4 research centers, all currently operating?

* Did you know that the Baghdad Stock Exchange opened in June of 2004?

* Did you know that 2 candidates in the Iraqi presidential election had a televised debate recently?





Instead of reflecting our love for our country, we get photos of flag burning incidents at Abu Ghraib and people throwing snowballs at the presidential motorcades.

The lack of accentuating the positive in Iraq serves two purposes. It is intended to undermine the world's perception of the United States, thus minimizing consequential support, and it is intended to discourage American citizens.

And Here's My Response:

Dear wakeupamerica,

Are you really a simpleton or do you just play one in the blogosphere?

Guess what genius, it's hard for the media to tell us about the schools that have opened when they refuse media coverage because it will make them a bombing target?

Phone use is up? Who gives a crap? Well at least its one way that families can keep in touch since they can't go outside for fear of being kidnapped or shot.

25 Iraqis came to America on Fulbright scholarships. Kudos! Between 38,000 and 42,000 Iraqis have died as either a direct result of military action or from circumstances created by the war.

The Iraq navy! Are you serious? Less than forty vessels none bigger than 100 feet. Ivy league crew teams have more seapower! And, by the way, WHO CARES? No one is being kidnapped, bombed or shot on the high seas. We're not dealing with pirates you imbecile. We're dealing with terrorists, who by the way weren't in Iraq before we invaded.

The Iraqi police has 55,000 fully trained and equipped police officers. That would be great except for the fact that most of them are Shiite militiamen who are busy killing Sunnis instead of maintaining order.

There are 1100 building projects in Iraq because we obliterated ther infrastructure. Most Iraqis still have no running water in their homes, their electricity is rationed and there is sewage backing up in both the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. These rivers, in case you are unfamiliar with world history or geography (and being a Republican apologist I'm sure you are), gave rise to the first civilizations in the entire world. By the way, how many of those 1100 projects are being run or staffed by Iraqis whose unemployment rate is close to 46% in case you care, which I know you don't.

Oh boy, the Baghdad Stock Exchange is open. Well hallelujah, Praise the Lord and Pass the Doctored Account books. In a country with 46% unemployment, who in God's name is going to be buying stock. Especially when they are to busy trying to buy ice and clean drinking water.

Listen you Pollyanna, you can blow sunshine up my hind end all you want but don't expect me to thank you for the breeze. Shut your piehole and get some real facts before you try and claim that things are going swimmingly in Iraq, when we all know it is an A1 Cluster. . .

As far as accentuating the positive, let me ask you a question? Should my cousin be singing "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" while his Chinook is being shot at in Iraq. There is no need for the media to undermine our standing in the world and minimize public support for the war because unlike you we can see what's going on and we don't like it and we haven't liked it for a long time. So, why don't you climb back under your rock and leave the important stuff to the rest of us. So long then. Bye, Bye now.

Doing the Nation's Business?

Monday, June 05, 2006

It's good to know that our "duly elected" officials in the Senate are doing their level best to address the concerns of all Americans. Tis the season for empty gestures and pandering to your base with a quick "what-have-you-done-for-me-lately" shout out to the two competing factions of the Republican party.

Today, the President and the rubber stamp Republican Senate reintroduce a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The dog and pony show for the Deliverance Wing of the Republican Party has absolutely no chance of passing in either the Senate, which requires a two-thirds majority, or in the states, which would require that 38 out of 50 states ratify the proposed amendment. Nothing says "good government" better than an abject waste of time aimed squarely at a backward minority of the population.

And, speaking of minority portions of the population, let's not forget the second item of important government business on the Senate's agenda, repealing the Estate Tax, or Death Tax if you prefer conservative misnomers. I for one am truly concerned about the plight of those downtrodden members of our society who have their long waited for inheritances of over $2 million unfairly burdened with taxes to pay for governmental services. Those people have spent years being nice to their relatives only because they wanted a piece of the pie and it's really not fair that they should have to give any part of that money to the goverment. I mean really, who would want to rub grandma's bunions or get her teeth out of the cup on the nightstand if they knew that when she finally croaked you'd have to give up a single dollar that you hadn't earned.

Snide comments aside, the numbers just don't support any of the whining going on. The current threshhold is $2 million for a single person and $4 million for couples with the levels rising to $3.5 million for sigles and $7 million for couples by 2009. Let's be clear, that means your portion of an estate must be higher than those levels before you are forced to pay taxes on that inheritance. This is not a tax levied against the estate itself, as so many callers to C-SPAN's Washington Journal claimed this morning.

I have to take a moment to comment on a couple of the callers to the Washington Journal on this topic. First, there must be some talking point floating around the right-wing world regarding how to "discuss" the estate tax issue because I heard at least three out of 24 callers spin the same yarn about their father having worked his way out of the coal mines and building up an estate worth $1 million dollars which was unfairly - "sob" - taxed.

The best call of the segment, however, had to be a caller who claimed his father had amassed over $100 million in assets because he was so much smarter than the rest of us. The caller wanted to know why he should have to change his lifestyle, which he described as pretty good, because the rest of us weren't smart enough to not be poor. He actually said that people who are poor should accept their station in life and leave him to enjoy "his" wealth. I personally can't believe this guy was for real because nobody could be that stupid, could they? That's a question for another post.

What I getting at is that while troops continue to die in Iraq, while over 46 million Americans continue to live without access to health-care, the Republicans in power continue to waste their time and ours. Enjoy the show.