Friday, June 23, 2006

Orange You Glad It's Election Time Again?


Don't you miss those Orange Alerts?  They only happen just before elections. You know it's election season when the Republicans start hauling out their proposal for an Anti-Gay Marriage constitutional amendment, or when Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (whose name rhymes with "loyal uber alles") starts arresting Islamic terrorists who are plotting a jihad to "kill all the devils," including blowing up Chicago's Sears Tower. There's nothing quite like conspirators pledging an oath to Al Qaeda to get the fear juices flowing.

The leaders in the Bush Administration are masters of Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD). That's how they got America into an unjust, unwinnable, and hugely costly war in Iraq -- high in human costs; high in political costs; high in diplomatic costs; and high in financial costs.

After watching the FRONTLINE program entitled "The Dark Side," is it any wonder that the Republicans want to cut PBS's budget?  Once upon a time the major broadcasting networks (i.e., NBC, CBS, ABC) would do investigative reporting. Unfortunately, that's no longer true. Perhaps it's because nowadays they are all no longer independently owned.

The PBS FRONTLINE program portrays a vivid exposé explaining how all roads on the War on Terror ran straight through the Office of the Vice President. It had a political arm and a policy side. But, most frighteningly, it had a powerful legal team too.

Cheney believed in expanding the President's executive power. He was convinced that presidential power had been whittled away by Congress and the courts ever since Watergate. Richard Cheney viewed the searing moments of the Nixon Administration, in which he had a front row seat, as a dimunition of what the President ought to be. Within days of 9/11, Cheney's legal insiders saw a chance to rebuild the President's power, almost as if 9/11 was a moment of preparation meeting opportunity.

Vice President Cheney's legal counsel, David Addington, headed a group of lawyers who said the President could authorize whatever means were necessary to fight the War on Terror. They said that, as Commander-in-Chief, George Bush could disregard any other law during time of war. When 9/11 came, it was a state of emergency that gave the people at the top of the Administration a chance to try some things they'd been thinking about for a long time.

Within six months of 9/11, it was clear that the Vice President was going to get the U.S. to go to war against Iraq -- even though CIA Director George Tenet believed he had proved that Al Qaeda and Iraq were not connected. Cheney's strategy was to raise fears about the imminent danger of weapons of mass destruction, saying on NBC's Meet the Press, "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us." His partisan chum Condoleezza Rice chimed in, "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud." The intelligence community was merely used as a public relations operation to validate the war against Saddam Hussein.

How much longer will the war in Iraq continue?  That depends on what happens in the next couple of elections. Considering, though, that the incumbency rate in Congress is 98%, members pretty much have to be indicted before they lose their seat. I guess in the end America always gets the government it deserves and the government it elects because: a) the masses are asses; b) the partisanship is poisonous; and c) the country is run by extremists because the moderates have turned their back on our political systems.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Robert Pearson said...

I am impressed with your insight and that of Norm Ornstein and Thomas Mann in their book:

"The Broken Branch : How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track"
by Thomas E. Mann, Norman J. Ornstein
Oxford University Press, USA (August 1, 2006)

If you take the view that Congress is a reflection of the "Will of the people" then you are stuck.
Better find another country to live in.
We have seen this level of the 'Will to power" at state and local government levels over the years.
It has been a long time since it has been seen at the national level.
Even there, it has been seen before.
In these "Dark Times" I like to remember some good times:
1) President Lyndon Johnson ending USA military involvement in Vietnam in 1975
2) President Clinton pulling the USA out of Somalia after President 41 (George H. W. Bush) put us "At Risk" there
3) Peacekeeping done right with true United Nations support through NATO in the Balkans
4) The end of the Irish Catholic-Protestant war after President Clinton sent George Mitchell to negotiate a peace, It wasn't quick and it wasn't easy

P.S.
The Storage Revolution is underway over at http://storagemojo.com

3:58 PM  
Blogger ITscout said...

LBJ did not end USA military involvement in Vietnam in 1975. His presidency ended in 1968.

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Robert Pearson said...

Thanks for the correction.
I always dislike not having the facts straight but I really dislike having them hopelessly muddled. Johnson died in 1973.
Johnson overlapped my period of awareness about Vietnam. I guess I was still looking for John Kennedy's ideas in Lyndon.
After your correction, I briefly reviewed my Vietnam notes again, got in touch with my Art Buchwald information, and decided my statement should have been---
1) The people's pressure on Presidents Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford ended USA military involvement in Vietnam in 1975

Power to the People!

My main Vietnam awareness was an incredible article, written by Art Buchwald, about the "body count" method of measuring the conflict's military success.
Based on "body count" versus the cost of the war, Art's conclusion was that it was too expensive to kill the North Vietnamese with bullets and bombs.
He suggested it would be cheaper to simply give them a guaranteed $25,000 a year income, two cars, a three bedroom-two bath brick house,
and then sit back and watch them die from automobile accidents, pollution and trying to maintain an impossibly high standard of living.
He had the numbers in his column to prove it. To his and my satisfaction.

We seem to have gone from an era of "People Power" and positive social change to the "Dark Side" of change.
I submit it is because of a lack of leadership. Darth Vader is not my idea of a leader.
A lot of leaders and potential leaders have disappeared since the 1960's. The Dark Side is at work.
A lot of people are glad they are gone. People resist change. You need leadership to overcome this.
There is a lot of change happening in everyone's life that they resent because they have little or no control over it.
The "clock-turner-backers" have decided it was all the "Liberal" activities and the "Welfare" state-ism of these social changes.
Most people seem unaware that conservatism has been in control of the government and society most of the last 40 years.
The "clock-turner-backers" are unhappy because they have seen no positive change in their lives. The dominant political party
has capitalized on this. They are members in good standing of the "clock-turner-backers".
There is now a sullen resentment in these people as they realize they have been sold down the river into slavery by the
people they trusted. The dominant political party. The mood is turning ugly.

My truth is that the Emperor has no clothes but no one can talk about it. EVER!
Freedom of the Press is absolute! How else could we see their incompetence when it happens?

For those who have been busy looking for truth in Weblogs and Blogs here is a
refresher on Andersen's (no relation to Arthur) Fairy Tale.

The expressions The Emperor's new clothes and The Emperor has no
clothes are often used with allusion to Andersen's tale. Most
frequently, the metaphor involves a situation wherein the overwhelming
(usually unempowered) majority of observers willingly share in a
collective ignorance of an obvious fact, despite individually
recognizing the absurdity. A similar twentieth-century metaphor is the
Elephant in the room. A metaphor of the opposite, in which each
individual insists on his or her own perspective in spite of the
evidence of others, is shown in the various versions of the Blind Men
and an Elephant story.

"The Emperor Wears No Clothes" or "The Emperor Has No Clothes" is
often used in political and social contexts for any obvious truth
denied by the majority despite the evidence of their eyes, especially
when proclaimed by the government. Amazon.com alone lists 17 works
with one of these two phrases in the title, and this ignores political
magazine articles and non-mainstream authors.

4:36 PM  

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