June 2009

By Wink

Do we still have troops in Iraq? We do?

Are you tired of reading about it? Imagine serving without air conditioning in 120 degree heat every day. I bet the soldiers get tired of it.

Just like they get tired of wondering if they will die in some random bombing.

Who knows the long-range prospects in Iraq? Nobody.

We can wish them the best. I know I do.

I just wish we hadn’t sacrificed the lives of over 4000 American soldiers, plus tens of thousands of wounded, along with approximately $10 gazillion for a completely optional war.

A small reminder for the dozens of people who still think invading Iraq was a great idea: Iraq did not attack the U.S., was not attacking any of its neighbors and, in fact, had no military to speak of, let alone nuclear weapons.

Not only was Iraq NOT a paper tiger, they were barely ‘paper.’

The ‘liberal’ American press got all caught up in the rockets-red-glare, and sticking it to the ‘enemy’. We just love seeing how technically proficient the U.S. military is at sending missiles thru windows. (Answer: We are good at it.)

No one asked any difficult questions until we had both feet in the quicksand.

When some in the press finally had the cojones to ask if the war in Iraq was legit, they were accused of being liberal-minded America-haters.

Wrong. The press asking if a war (any war) is legitimate is their damned job, and they were completely lily-livered for not asking it earlier.

The job of the press is to annoy the powers-that-be and force them to justify the logic of ALL of their decisions, but especially …

1) what is the government doing with our tax dollars? and

2) why is the president sending young Americans to die?

The moment ‘W’ suggested we were going into Iraq, some reporter (many, really) should have asked: “What does Iraq have to do with 9-11?”

And EVERY follow-up question should have begun: “All existing evidence shows Iraq has no nuclear arsenal, and no weapons of mass destruction. Shouldn’t we confirm that they do before risking thousands of American lives?”

Or… “Is this war really just a reflection of your dissatisfaction with your father for not ‘finishing off’ Saddam Hussein during Desert Storm?”

Or… “Mr. President, is this really just an attempt to make yourself look manly, considering you skipped out on serving in Vietnam and you were a cheerleader in college?” (at least Dad was a baseball player)

Or … (my personal favorite) “Mr. President, did you think a war would be ‘fun’?”

The press owes it to the American public to do their job correctly and thoroughly. Be annoying. Ask hard questions.

Again I ask: Are you tired of reading about the war? Imagine how the soldiers, and their families, feel…

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By Wink

What do ruthless dictators and theocrats fear the most? Guns?

Nope. They fear an educated citizenry, and they fear the ballot box.

A few decades back Iran was overthrown by religious zealots, and they still run it today. They are not good at paperwork, or dealing with foreign dignitaries, so they installed a puppet ‘leader,’ Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who they bother to call ‘president.’

As a figurehead, Ahmadinejad often needs something to do, so sometimes he will make a speech that is anti-American and/or anti-Semitic, and deny the holocaust ever took place. Hey, it keeps the mullahs happy.

Occasionally a theocracy or dictatorship will go thru the motions and hold ‘elections.’ Naturally the outcome is always predetermined, but every once in a while a legitimate, and very brave, candidate decides to run against those who have already ceased power. ‘Brave’ may be a bit of an understatement because opposition leaders know they will probably be assassinated by the ruling party.

Heroically, they sometimes run anyway.

This just happened in Iran, where Mir Hossein Mossavi decided to run against puppet President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Mossavi is well known, and popular enough that, in a legitimate election, he may well have won, or at least seriously challenged Ahmadinejad.

Only minutes after the polls closed, and in spite of the fact that votes are not cast (or counted) electronically, the government of Iran announced that Ahmadinejad won by a wide margin.

They are so new at running rigged elections that they don’t know how to make it look good.

Protesters took to the streets fairly quickly. The government response was a ruthless and violent crackdown.

C’mon whichever-Ayatollah-is-running-Iran right now, get some good advisors. When all votes must be hand-counted, wait at least a day or two to give the phony results.

People will still protest, but probably in smaller numbers because it will at least look a little like you really counted the votes.

The bad news for fundamentalist Iranian rulers: One thing going against you is that the educated voters in Iran are pro-west. They are not religious zealots. They want to cooperate with the U.S. and with Europe. They want cars and cell phones and the freedom to go wherever, and say whatever, they want.

The good news: There are still millions of under-educated and uneducated in Iran who will believe whatever you tell them. They will accept that all non-believers are infidels, and the lack of personal freedom is just to ‘protect’ people from those evil infidels…

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By Wink

According to a recent USA Today/Gallup poll one-third of Republicans hold an unfavorable view of their own party. This is not a good sign. The party is already shrinking.

A third of Republicans in the poll (obviously a DIFFERENT third) said the GOP should not moderate its policies in its quest to regain power.

The mathematics illustrate the problem. It is not 33% of the electorate that says they should stand strong, it is 33% of REPUBLICANS. Since self-described Republicans only amount to about 30% of the electorate, a third of them only totals about 10% of the electorate.

This means all of the current crop of Republican ‘leaders’, those currently banging the drums and opposing all things ‘Obama’, are only appealing to about 10% of the total electorate. This is not a blueprint to ‘take back’ America.

It is okay to be disagreeable. In fact, it is required in a democracy. But labeling your opponents as communists or fascists or terrorists is not a strategy with long-term staying power (think “the sky-is-falling” Chicken Little example). You lose credibility when you continually fling out those wacky labels.

C’mon Republicans, pull it together. Take your foot (mouth) off of the verbal gas pedal.

You have seen the baseball manager who gets so ticked off that he runs out and kicks dirt on the umpire? That is how the American public sees you. Obama is the umpire, and all you guys seem to do is kick dirt.

Sorry, but that IS what it looks like. And dirt-kickers never look like leaders.

Don’t worry Republican, your party is not facing imminent obsolescence. You have too much financial backing to allow that to happen. Plus, there is ALWAYS an audience (albeit a small one) for Chicken Little rhetoric.

A new voice will rise for the GOP. I promise you it will not be a voice we are hearing now. Not Newt. Not Sarah. Probably not Mitt.

Newt can be a compelling speaker though, in ways that Sarah is incapable of doing. He just brings too much baggage with him. He has made too many needlessly incendiary comments throughout his history. Newt is no statesman. And let us not get started on his personal life.

The new leader will emerge from the Republican morass, one who is strong enough to stand up to the wacked-out right. One with real ideas, not just slogans (and certainly not the hateful slogans that are being flung around today).

This person will have to be brave though, because it is easy to get into the comfort zone of feeding red meat to all the demagogues. Verbal firebombs will get you campaign contributions, but will not win general elections.

By the way, liberals made this same stupid mistake years ago, frequently reaching for the word ‘fascist’ to describe Republicans and Republican behavior. It backfired on the Dems, when the public didn’t bite on that terrible label, and it didn’t work for the GOP in this last election when they screamed ‘terrorist’ at every McCain rally.

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I am going to Boston. I don’t really have a reason why, except that I have never been there before.

Boston has the Celtics, but there won’t be any basketball while I am there. They have the Red Sox. I guess I can try to catch one of those games…

What about history? I heard they have a lot of that, but only the Boston Tea Party and Paul Revere’s ride come to mind. I hope I pick up some more historical tidbits. Maybe I can see the Liberty Bell. (Please do not e-mail to correct me on this, I KNOW the Liberty Bell is at Gettysburg.)

Boston does have that “Cheers” bar. It there any reason to go there? I probably can’t afford a beer at that joint anyway.

The bay is probably nice. Is Nantucket close? Is that a real place, or does it only exist in bawdy rhymes?

Boston Cream Pie? Boston baked beans? Clam chowder? Crab? Samuel Adams Beer (no wait, I can get that beer HERE).

Maybe I can visit with some Kennedy-people or James Taylor. Doesn’t he live there somewhere?

Maybe he lives in Martha’s Vineyard. Are normal people allowed to go there?

Hey Bostonians, what should I do on my whirlwind tour of your lovely metropolis? Do you have any suggestions? Make it snappy, the car is warming up…

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By Wink

I can’t predict the future. Heck, sometimes I even have a hard time predicting the PAST.

I have no idea whether or not Sonia Sotomayor will be an especially effective Supreme Court Justice.

I know anybody can be a racist, but I really don’t get the feeling that Judge Sotomayor is.

While I have my doubts, Rush Limbaugh does not. His assertion that she is a racist is not based on any pattern of legal decisions, but rather on one flip comment she made sometime in the last decade. It is so innocuous I won’t bore you with it here. And, in fairness, I won’t list all the dumb things said by Rush in the last ten years either, because there isn’t enough memory on my computer.

(By the way, I do not, not even for one second, believe that Rush really thinks she is a racist. This is just part of the game that Limbaugh plays, but I will save that discussion for a later article.)

Another Rush observation about Judge Sotomayor:

“She’s not the brain that they’re portraying her to be. She’s not a constitutional jurist,”

And Limbaugh IS a brain and a constitutional jurist?

Hmmm. Let us compare…. Judge Sotomayor graduated Summa Cum Laude from Princeton and received her J.D. from Yale Law School. She was editor of the Yale Law Journal.

She was nominated by Barack Obama. He must be a lightweight on legal matters, right? Oh yeah, for twelve years he served as a professor of constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School, so what would he know about constitutional law?

And Rush?

According to Wikipedia, Limbaugh attended college at Southeast Missouri State University. He dropped out after two semesters and one summer. According to his mother, “he flunked everything”, even a modern ballroom dancing class. As she told a reporter in 1992, “He just didn’t seem interested in anything except radio.”

So I guess I will just let Rush tell me who is a constitutional jurist and who is not.

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