Friday, February 26, 2010


Republicans have learned over the years that their best chance at winning elections when they aren't in power is obstruct the Democrats any way they can and hope for failure.

They do it by planting political IED's everywhere and then claim the Democrats can't get anything done. And so far, since Obama's election, both Obama and the Democrats in the senate have been playing right into their hands.

They seem to always lose the argument to Republicans because neither Obama nor anyone in the Democratic party is able to effectively frame an argument even when the Democrats have all the facts on their side.

A perfect example were the lies Republicans told about healthcare reform (something Obama has retitled health insurance reform which Matt Taibii in Rolling Stone accurately called an Obama bait and switch) during the so called healthcare summit. (Why there even was a healthcare summit with Republicans is another testament to Obama's political ineptitude and mistakes.)

During this "healthcare summit" Republicans repeated the lie over and over that America overwhelmingly rejected the Democratic healthcare plan. And the press simply played "Polly Doesnt Want a Healthcare Cracker" and repeated the lies which were a gross misrepresentation of the polls.

What Americans overwhelmingly rejected was the watered down compromise healthcare plan that came out of the senate which was cobbled together because of Republican obstructionsim and Obama's political inadequacy and lack of conviction(and maybe backbone).

What the American people overwhelmingly said they wanted was the government run public option to compete against private insurance. The most recent polls back in early January by the Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation showed that 57-58% wanted the public option. And that comes after all the Republican lies and misinformation that Obama was so unskillfully unable to refute. And back in June 2009 a CBS poll showed 72% wanted the public option and 66% were willing to pay higher taxes to get it.

But Mitch McConnell completely misrepresented the polls during the healthcare summit and ignored the latest polls from Kaiser and the Washington Post.

The biggest problem with Republicans is that when they are in power, unlike the present administration, they do know how to get things done. The problem is that what they get done is always, and has always been, a disaster for the country. Republicans probably have the worst track record and are responsible for more disaster going back to the Great Depression, than any political entity since the fall of the Roman Empire.

Not only does Republican initiatives blow up in their face, they blow up in the country's face as 8 years of the Bush Administration proved. And we have only just begun digging ourselves out of the damage from those 8 years.

But Republican and conservative obstructionism is not new. It is their credo. Their reason for being. It's who and what they are. Conservatives have never been about what they want -- after all this is America and they can get whatever their abilities and talents can get them. What Conservatives are really all about is what they don't have other people to have. That is what drives them.

This goes back to the founding of the country. The country's conservatives at the time were called Tories. They didn't want revolution. They wanted to make nice with King George. They wanted to stop revolution and then went nuts when those crazy liberals in Massachusetts opened fire on the British at Bunker Hill.

The Civil War was about southern conservatives not wanting the slaves to have freedom because of what it would mean to the south economically. After the civil war, during Reconstruction they didn't want freed slaves, now free citizens, to have the constitutional freedoms they were entitled to.

At the turn of the century conservatives didn't want women to have the vote. In the 20's they didn't want people to have whiskey or a beer. In the sixties they didnt want blacks to vote or go to schools of their choice, live in houses or neighborhoods of their choice, work in jobs or professions of their choice, and never wanted blacks and women to have equal rights.

With gays its about preventing them from having sanctioned, legal relationships with the same rights as heterosexual couples, or keeping them from serving in the military. And conservatives have always wanted to keep people from having sex, in word, picture or deed.Like many other things conservatives want or believe in, it goes against the laws of nature.

Preventing gays and lesbians from serving in the military or keeping them from legally sanctioned partnerships would understandably make mom and dad and little Jimmy and Debbie feel a lot more secure not to mention making splashing around in the pool on a hot summer day a lot more fun. And let's face it, that lemonade on the veranda always hit the spot just a little bit more when sodomy was illegal.

What the health care summit made clear , as well as the entire debate about healthcare reform, is that conservatives are about preventing people who can't afford health insurance from being able to acquire it at little or no cost, and to prevent a public option that would also force insurance companies to compete in terms of both premiums and coverage . They call it socialism but have no problem with government run socialist fire departments showing up to keep their houses from burning down.

Republican conservativism has gone from a legitimate point of view to a home grown form of neo-fascism where they believe they and they alone know what's good for everyone and they covet the power to ram it down other people's throats.

Sinclair Lewis wrote that if fascism ever comes to America it will come wrapped in the American flag. And that is the conservative way. To claim they are the true Americans and that liberals are out to destroy America. The talk show whackos like Limbaugh, Laura Ingram, Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter like to say that liberals hate America and many conservatives use that as their mantra and to justify what is simply their own home grown hate and inadequacy.

Liberals dont hate America, they created it. It was Thomas Jefferson who called the United States at its inception a "liberal democracy".

Who liberals hate are the neo-fascist strain of conservatives and everything they stand for -- the Tom Tancredo, racist type of Tea Party conservative who are more about fascism than freedom. But instead of facing and accepting that liberals dont hate America but only hate them, they wrap themselves in the flag so they can pretend its the flag that liberals hate instead of the people hiding behind it and their philosophy.

From the Tea Party activists who think they know what's best for America, to Republicans in congress who work hard at exploiting it, like John Boehner, waving the constitution over his head at an anti-healthcare reform rally and quoting from it only to learn later he was quoting from the Declaration of Independence not the constitution, conservatives promote the idea they are being patriotic by obstructing anything Democrats try and do.

The best way to fight that kind of self-deluded conservatism is defeat it and point out what a failure its been.

To hear conservatives glow about Scott Brown's election is to see how self-deluded they are. Scott Brown was a pro choice candidate who voted for a healthcare system far more liberal than anything Republicans were trying to block in the senate.And Brown kept the word " Republican" off every peice of campaign literature and signage he had.

What the Democrats need to do to overcome Republican obstructionism is pass a public option using reconciliation and stop playing games with Republicans no matter how much Obama wants to play with them.

When Republicans see Democrats mean business and the polls reflect approval of what the Democrats are accomplishing, their choice will be to stop obstructing and let voters decide based on the success or failure of the Democratic programs or face defeat.

And for the Democrats it means that if you believe in what youre doing then have the courage of your convictions. And forget the Republicans. And if you dont have that, then dont even bother.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

911 proves Republicans have no standing to talk about terrorism

Two weeks ago Republican senator Susan Collins appeared on one of the Sunday talk shows talking about Obama having a blind spot when it comes to terrorism. Her reason was the Obama Administration decision to try the Nigerian Christmas Day terrorist in a federal court ( the fact that the Bush Administration did the same thing twice is, of course, not mentioned).

This, according to Collins and to every other Republican who thinks they know something about terrorism, proves that Obama doesn't understand the terrorist threat or that its all about it being a war.

But Collins, who said Obama has a blind spot about terrorism never demanded the impeachment of George W. Bush and neither did any other Republican, when the information was revealed that George W. Bush had known about and ignored every sign,every warning, every piece of hard intelligence, that told him the United States was about to be hit with a major terrorist attack. And he had that information from multiple sources as recently as August, 2001, less than one month before the 911 attacks. And he did nothing.

Neither Susan Collins nor John McCain, nor John Bohener, nor Newt Gingrich, nor any Republican had anything to say about that at the time. After 3000 Americans were killed, after the World Trade Center was destroyed and the Pentagon hit because of the gross negligence of Bush, Rice and Cheney, none of them, no member of the party that beats its chest over its national security credentials, demanded Bush's impeachment or resignation for ignoring not just warnings, but intelligence that could have prevented 911.

Both Richard Clarke and George Tenant, Director of the CIA testified that in the summer of 2001, Al-Qaeda chatter had sky rocketed to the highest levels Clarke had seen in his 20 years as anti-terrorism czar under four presidents. The CIA intercepts of Al-Qaeda chatter revealed that the U.S. was going to be hit with a major terrorist attack that the attack was IMMINENT, ( the translation of one intercept was, "the match has been lit",) and in the words of the CIA memo, the attack was going to be "spectacular".

Clarke and Tenant testified that in August of 2001, they were, in Clarke's words, "running around the White House like men with their hair on fire" trying to get Bush's attention regarding a major imminent terrorist attack and they were rebuffed They were rebuffed by Bush. They were rebuffed by Rice. Neither agreed to have so much as a meeting.

Clarke and Tenant implored Rice to set up a meeting with Bush telling her of their concerns but Bush refused to meet with them and went on vacation to Crawford. As a matter of fact Bush refused to have any meeting with Clarke to discuss terrorism at all in the eight months from the time he took office up to the 911 attacks.

At the same time Clarke and Tenant were trying to tell Bush about the impending attack, and in August of 2001, Bush was given an intelligence memo dated August 6,2001 telling him that not only was Al-Qaeda preparing to attack WITHIN the United States, but page 2 of the memo told him that as part of the attack, Al -Qaeda planned on hijacking U.S. airliners.( see the the front page of the NY Post accompanying this article)

The same memo also told Bush that Al-Qaeda had buildings in New York City under surveillance.

Bush did nothing. Absolutely nothing. He did nothing even though when he first took office he was told by the FBI, CIA,Richard Clarke,outgoing president Bill Clinton and outgoing National Security Advisor Sandy Berger than Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda were the single biggest threats to U.S. national security in the world. Bush ignored them.

Had Bush ordered the FAA to put out a high priority alert to all US airlines and major airports to be on the alert for possible attempts at hijacking by middle eastern men after getting the information in the August 2001 PDBm that alone would have prevented 911.

Republicans who always bet they can win by underestimating the intelligence of the American people, have been complaining for weeks that it was the Democrats who dropped the ball over the Christmas Day bomb attempt because, they say, the Nigerian had bought a one way ticket to Michigan, paid cash and didn't have any luggage and that should have sent up red flags.

On the morning of 911, nine hijackers all bought one way tickets on transcontinental flights to California, none had luggage, and all paid cash buying the tickets on the spot, paying full price of $2500, when most people book in advance to take advantage of discounts. If there has been an FAA alert for any suspicious behavior by middle eastern men because of a threat of possible hijacking, what kind of red flags would that have sent up?

If Bush had at the very least taken Clarke, Tenant and the CIA's warnings seriously, had he taken the intelligence report that said Al-Qaeda was planning on hijacking US airliners seriously, had he taken seriously the warning that intercepts of Al-Qaeda chatter indicated that we were about to be hit by a major attack and it was imminent, and had the FAA issued that alert what do you think would have happened the morning of September 11,2001 when those middle eastern men bought those one way tickets with cash?

Bush blamed intelligence failures for 911 but the only intelligence failures were at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on the part of Bush, Rice and Cheney. Intelligence failures and the worst case of gross negligence related to the national security of the United States in history.

Bush should have been impeached or forced to resign. It didn't happen because of the Republican desire to cover it up and avoid the blame and the sheer cowardice of the press who to this day is afraid to hold Bush accountable.

Republicans succeeded in deflecting the blame because they rightfully knew they could underestimate the intelligence , not of the American people but of the American press.

But they may be pushing their luck. You would think that with the blood of 3000 Americans on the hands of the Bush Administration Republicans would have the sense to let sleeping dogs lie and just shut up. But it may be part of their strategy to be on the offensive and not let the truth catch up with them.

Maybe its time for the press and the Democrats, if they have the guts, to finally get the truth about 911 out in the open and place blame where it belongs. Maybe that will be the thing that shuts the Republicans up. And at the same time, let the American people know why.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Message from Massachusetts: healthcare bill not liberal enough

It's true that the Massachussets senate election was about more than healthcare even though Coakley tried to frame it that way. Voters showed Obama's influence in Massachusetts,, as in the rest of the country has waned (which shouldnt be surprising -- Obama was crushed by a landslide in Massashusetts by Clinton in the Democratic primary despite endoresements from both Kennedy and Kerry).

But many Republicans and conservatives have engaged in wishful thinking if they believe that the result indicates a move to the right. Coakley was a terrible candidate, and unemployment and the economy are big issues. But on healthcare reform,the real message from Massachusetts voters was not a rejection of healthcare reform as Joe Lieberman and some others tried to suggest. It was that the health care bill that came out of the senate was not liberal enough.

The senate bill was a vastly watered down version of what Massachusetts voters already have. And many voters interviewed before and after the election said as much and expressed a fear that the national bill that came out of the senate, if it was adopted, would give them less than they had now. And they didnt want to lose what they had. Which gave Scott Brown an ironic coalition of liberal voters as well as independents who didnt like the senate bill and were happy for him to pledge to shoot it down.

To underscore the point, Scott Brown, as a member of the state senate voted for the Massachusetts healthcare plan, the most liberal healthcare system in the country, a system than covers all but 3% of Massachusetts residents. So much for the Massachussets result being a referendum on liberalism versus conservatism. Or a rejection of healthcare reform.

The Democratic healthcare bill gave Brown a good case to make to the voters of Massachusetts that he would be the 41st vote against the senate bill, not as a vote against healthcare reform, but a vote to preserve the liberal coverage they already had in Massachussets.

And it wasnt just Massachusetts voters who didnt like the senate bill.Most liberal Democrats in the House never liked the senate version and even its supporters in the senate said "it was better than nothing". But to not for the people of Massachusetts.

And most of the country feels the same way. When polling is done on the current senate version of the healthcare bill, only 35% support it. But when the public option is included,support skyrockets to well over 50%. The most recent polls show 57-58% support a public option. The fact that Obama had buckled on the public option and dropped it is just one reason his approval ratings plummeted. And one big reason Coakley lost.

Opponents of health care reform like Lieberman choose to interpret polls showing a majority of people disapproving of Obama's handling of health care as a rejection of reform itself. It wasn't it. It was a rejection of Obama's knee buckling on the policies they wanted, the most important of which is the public option.

The question now is will Democrats get the real message on health care -- that dropping the public option is not an option and that what the country wants is a healthcare reform bill far more liberal than the senate version, something equal to if not better than the Massashussets system.

The Democrats still have options. Either kill the bill as Howard Dean suggested awhile ago and expand Medicare to cover all, or come back with another bill that has the public option and ram it through with reconciliation.

Its going to be up to congress to deliver on healthcare not Obama since he has already shown he can't handle it. Sharrod Brown, Senator from Ohio was on MSNBC saying that the healthcare bill floundered in congress for only one reason -- lack of leadership. He said it over and over, how the lack of leadership on healthcare was the problem. And he wasnt talking about Harry Reid. He meant Obama.

The real message from the Massachusetts election is that dropping the public option was not an option. Polls since the election showed that most people who voted for Brown supported the public option.

So now it's up to the Democrats in congress, especially the liberals, to take control, and understand what the bluest of blue states was saying and do something before its too late.