Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bush Has Been Selling Iraq War For 6 Years, But Americans Still Aren't Buying


Like a relentless salesman who won't take no for an answer, George W. Bush has been peddling the Iraq War for six years now. And the American people are still steadfastly refusing to buy Bush's case for war.

Bush and his Kool-Aid drinking followers seem genuinely baffled and hurt that the American people want the war ended now.

After all, they argue, in increasingly shrill tones, if we leave Iraq, then Al Qaeda will "win," and America will surely be hit with another 9/11 terrorist attack.

Pretty strong words. And yet they fail to sway the American people.

In fact, the American people simply don't believe Bush's bullsh*t about Iraq. They want the war ended now. They want the troops brought home. They're deeply unhappy with Bush's handling of the war. And Bush's approval ratings remain in the toilet.

Bush and his followers point the finger at countless suspects in trying to explain why the Iraq War remains so deeply unpopular with the American people.

It's the media's fault, they say. It's the liberal bloggers' fault. It's the Democrats' fault. It's the fault of the American people (who clearly don't see the threat the nation faces).

Bush has had enormous help in selling his war over the years. The mainstream media, which helped Bush sell the case for invading Iraq in the first place, has now gone to bat for Bush to sell the idea that the surge is a success (despite strong evidence that it's a failure). And even the military (which is supposed to be non-partisan) has stepped up to the plate to help Bush sell the surge.

What Bush and his followers have never grasped is that necessary wars don't have to be sold at all.

If a war is really essential, the American people have shown time and again that they will not only support it, but they will make whatever sacrifices are needed to achieve victory. They'll accept rationing. They'll accept higher taxes. They'll even line up to buy war bonds.

FDR never had to sell the war against the Axis Powers. The American people understood the necessity of World War II.

Back in 2003, Americans briefly were swayed by Bush's argument that we needed to invade Iraq. With the help of the corporate media, Bush hammered away the idea that Iraq had terrifying Weapons of Mass Destruction that posed a mortal threat to America.

At the time, a few rational voices were disputing Bush's case for war. We rejected the silly idea that a small, isolated Third World desert nation with no industry could somehow pose a threat to America. We even rejected the term "Weapons of Mass Destruction," which is a term that belongs in comic books, not in the real world.

Indeed, in the build-up to war, some of us were arguing that the real question wasn't whether the nation should invade Iraq. Instead, we were wondering what, exactly, American taxpayers had been getting in return for the trillions of dollars we'd sunk into the Pentagon money pit over the decades.

The Pentagon, apparently, couldn't protect America even though our nation spent more on defense than the rest of the world combined. What was wrong with this picture?

Fast-forward five years later and America is totally sick and tired of Bush's Iraq disaster. Not only is the Bush legacy in the toilet, but the Republican Party itself has been seriously wounded by the fiasco of the Bush years.

At this point, the only people who want the Iraq War to continue are Bush and his followers, and Al Qaeda. Although the MSM has done a poor job of reporting it, the fact is that U.S. intelligence has long believed that Al Qaeda wants the U.S. military to remain in Iraq.

It's no mystery why Al Qaeda wants the war to continue. After all, the Iraq War has been a fantastic boon to Al Qaeda. The photos from Abu Ghraib alone have done wonders for Al Qaeda recruitment. Countless young Muslim men have been radicalized by their anger over the bloodshed in Iraq.

Before the Iraq War, Bin Laden was regarded as an embarrassment to many moderate Muslims around the world. But since 2003, Bin Laden's stature and prestige has risen sharply in much of the Muslim world.

Bush's original reason for invading Iraq (the non-existent WMDs) turned out to be a fraud. Since then, Bush has tried to retroactively justify his war by coming up with numerous other reasons why the war was necessary.

The most contemptible and blatant lie Bush has peddled has been his insistence that the Iraq War is somehow connected to the 9/11 attacks and that U.S. withdrawal will lead to more such attacks.

Given such fear-mongering, it's quite remarkable that the American people continue to hold Bush in such low esteem. In effect, we the people are calling Bush a liar.

If the Iraq War was really necessary, Bush wouldn't need to lift a finger to sell it. Instead, selling the war has consumed his presidency.

If there's a silver lining to all this, it's that Iraq so consumed Bush that he was unable to spend as much time foisting his extreme radical right corporatist agenda on the American people.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Right-Wing Blogs Oblivious To Troop Deaths In Iraq


Anyone who has ever spent any time in the creepy parallel universe known as the right-wing blogosphere has likely noticed that these sites tend to share one thing in common. Here, you'll find a complete and total absence of any mention of our troops who've fallen on the battlefield in Iraq.

As far as the right-wing blogosphere is concerned, troop deaths in Iraq simply don't exist.

There's a great deal of bluster and jingoism on these sites about "supporting the troops." But when it comes to the slightest mention of any wounded or dead soldiers, you simply won't find it in the right-wing blogosphere.

This is a stark contrast to the progressive blogosphere. Here, you'll routinely find mentions of troop casualties (along with regular calls to get the troops out of harm's way). You'll also find calls to fix the mess at Walter Reed and to improve the paltry benefits that our troops receive.

Five U.S. soldiers were killed in two roadside bombings on Friday. And yet, if you visited much of the right-wing blogosphere, there was zero mention of these fallen heroes. Nor, of course, was there any mention of the ongoing horrific violence over the weekend in Iraq (which included a car bomb that killed at least 33 people).

Why, exactly, do right-wing blogs and sites completely ignore troop deaths? Do they simply figure that it's not important news?

If that's the case, then let's take a look at some examples of the sort of news that the right-wing blogosphere did consider important on Sunday:
  • The Drudge Report: A glance at this site on Sunday showed that tabloid crap about Britney Spears and Heather Mills is apparently more important than news of our fallen troops.

  • No mention of troop deaths here, from the Fat One. However, he does find room on his site to peddle his exploitative "Adopt-A-Soldier" scheme to sell paid memberships to his site. (One might think that a fantastically wealthy mega-millionaire like Limbaugh could afford to give away free memberships to the troops that he claims to support).

  • Like a lot of right-wing propaganda blogs, if you spend much time here, you might be convinced that the War in Iraq is actually a big success after all and the only problem is that the treasonous Liberal Media won't report it. Sadly, though, you won't see even a tiny mention of the on-going horrific violence and troop deaths.
It's clear that the right-wing blogosphere has embraced the Dick Cheney view of the war in Iraq. Victory is just around the corner. The insurgents are in their last throes. And as for the ongoing U.S. troop deaths, well, let's distance ourselves from that uncomfortable topic (as much as Dick "Five Deferments" Cheney distanced himself from serving his country during the Vietnam War). These days, about the only time one ever does encounter a mention of the troops in the right-wing blogosphere, it's usually in the form of a vicious attack on our nation's war heroes (from John Kerry to John Murtha to Wesley Clark to Max Cleland).

Friday, February 08, 2008

Romney: U.S. Will "Surrender To Terror" If Dems Win White House


Mitt Romney's bid for the White House is over. And in his announcement that he was quitting, Romney gave us a glimpse of what certainly be the GOP's game plan in the run-up to November.

In a nutshell, it boils down to this: if Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama win, then the U.S. will "surrender to terror."

"Frankly, I'd be making it easier for Senator Clinton or Obama to win" if he stayed in the race, Romney said. "I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror."

George W. Bush has spent the past 6 years trying to convince America that Iraq was somehow connected to the 9/11 terror attacks. And it's clear that the GOP will continue this theme, in increasingly alarmist tones, as it seeks to retain the White House.

During his bid for the White House, Romney deflected criticism over the fact that none of his five sons was serving in Iraq by saying that they still were serving the nation by supporting his campaign.

Now Romney's campaign is over. So when will any of his sons serve in Iraq? Romney ought to sit down and talk to his sons about the real meaning of patriotism, instead of engaging in fear-mongering and lying to the nation that a Dem win in November will somehow lead to a "surrender to terror."

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Right-Wing Radio's Anti-McCain Blitz Fails To Sway Super Tuesday Voters


The extremist right-wing nutcases who spew their toxic bile over the nation's airwaves daily are licking their wounds today. John McCain, right-wing radio's biggest enemy this side of Hillary Clinton, had a great Super Tuesday, despite their best efforts to derail his candidacy.

Right-wing talkers like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin have been demonizing McCain for weeks and urging their listeners to vote for Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee. On Monday, HateWing radio reached a fevered pitch, with a new level of anti-McCain hysteria.

The blitz failed as McCain scored big wins over Romney and Huckabee, to claim the title of GOP frontrunner.

The mood among right-wing talkers was gloomy on Tuesday. As Levin's Web site put it, "McCain would be a train wreck for the Republican Party and the Conservative movement!"

And in a weekend interview, Limbaugh said he'd rather see a Democrat win the White House than McCain. Limbaugh's own Web site was full of blistering anti-McCain headlines, like, "Disgraceful, Insecure McCain Campaign Manipulated Bob Dole."

Right-wing hack Laura Ingraham joined in the anti-McCain hysteria, endorsing Romney last week. "There is no way in hell I could pull the lever for John McCain," she said.

One thing I find hard to fathom is why HateWing radio despises McCain so much. I mean, McCain is hardly a liberal. It's particularly bizarre when you consider HateWing radio's long-time love affair with George W. Bush, a man who could hardly be less conservative in the areas of deficit spending and an intrusive Big Brother government, with Constitution-shredding initiatives like the Patriot Act.

HateWing radio has even gone so far as to question the patriotism of McCain, a celebrated war hero. That's something they've never done to Bush, a coward who ran away from serving his nation in combat.

No matter how they try to spin this in the coming weeks, Super Tuesday was a disaster for the Bush-loving HateWing radio crowd. I can only hope that they have many more gloomy, depressing days ahead of them in the coming year.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Bush Budget Starves Vital Programs While Embracing Wasteful Spending


George W. Bush proposed a record $3.1 trillion budget on Monday that manages to accomplish two astonishing feats. Not only does his budget produce an eyepopping $410 billion federal deficit (double that of 2007) but it ALSO manages to gut popular domestic programs, ranging from Medicare to clean water grants to homeland security to education spending.

And while important domestic programs are slashed, Bush still finds room in his budget for $70 billion for the never-ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And that figure, as titanic as it is, is a ridiculously low-ball estimate of the real costs that Bush's wars will require in the future, something that even White House aides acknowledge.

There are lots of losers under Bush's budget proposal---and you can bet that none of them are America's rich and powerful. Bush's budget slashes funding for programs for low-income seniors, clean water grants, homeland security grants and poor pregnant women and their children. Education spending also gets cut, by $4 billion.

The winners in Bush's budget are (as always) the rich, as well as corporations. The reckless tax cuts for the rich remain in place (even as the nation's deficits soar into the stratosphere). And the budget continues to provide billions in corporate welfare, disguised in the form of "military spending." The budget raises military spending to inflation-adjusted levels not seen since World War II.

In fact, as NPR pointed out: "If you add up all projected defense-related spending for fiscal 2009 and $515 billion balloons to $750 billion — almost a third of all U.S. federal spending today."

Don't get me wrong: I agree that responsible defense spending is important. But that's something we simply haven't seen under this administration. Remember the $21 billion in cash that the Pentagon managed to lose without a trace in Iraq in 2003?

And this budget does nothing to reign in the corporate welfare in the form of Bush's Medicare Part D program, which has been a cash bonanza for drug corporations. (No surprise there: Bush allowed business lobbyists to create this program, which forbids the federal government from negotiating prices of drugs with the drug companies).

On Monday, Democrats slammed the Bush proposal and promised changes. But it remains to be seen whether the Dems will stand up to Bush for a change. This is something we have yet to see from the gutless and cowardly Dems.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Wikipedia Continues To Sanitize Bush Content


Wikipedia, the massively popular online encyclopedia, claims that its "content must be written from a neutral point of view."

But after comparing Wikipedia's main articles on Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, you could have fooled us. These days, some of Wikipedia's content looks like it was written by Fox News.

For example, Wikipedia's main Bill Clinton article manages to mention every single fringe right-wing nutcase allegation ever made against the 42nd president.

By contrast, the main Wikipedia article on George W. Bush has been carefully sanitized. It clearly aims to present Bush in the most favorable light possible. Frankly, the Bush article looks like a love letter from Karl Rove.

(Note that we're talking about the main, high-profile Wikipedia Clinton and Bush articles---so this is indeed an apples-to-apples comparison).

I realize that Wikipedia offers fluid, dynamic content and is technically open to edits by anyone and everyone. Right-wing bias in articles is open to correction by progressive contributors (and vice-versa).

But it's clear that in the battle to edit the main Clinton and Bush pages, the right-wing contributors are winning (and have been winning for a long time).

For example, the main Wikipedia article on Clinton includes a massive, seven-part "Controversies" section.

By contrast, no "Controversies" section exists in the Bush article (although there is a two-part "Criticism and public perception" section).

One thing that recently caught my eye in the Clinton "Controversies" section was the "Sexual Misconduct Allegations" headline. The section discusses claims of sexual misconduct made by Kathleen Willey and Juanita Broaddrick. The section also includes links to other Wiki articles that discuss the allegations in great detail.

If Wikipedia was free of bias, one might think that the main Bush article would include at least a mention of the Margie Schoedinger sexual assault allegation against Bush.

And just who is Margie Schoedinger?

She was a 38-year-old Texas woman who filed a sexual assault lawsuit against George W. Bush in December 2002.

Oh, and there's one other interesting detail: the next year, Schoedinger was found dead of a gunshot wound.

Let's imagine for one moment if a woman had filed a sexual assault lawsuit against Clinton---and let's say that woman was found shot to death a year later.

Do you think the mainstream media would ignore such a story?

I think we all know goddamn well the answer to that. The fact is, the media would give such a story around-the-clock, saturation coverage that would make the Monica Lewinsky media frenzy look tame by comparison.

But instead, the Schoedinger case was completely ignored by the U.S. media, with the sole exception of the small local Texas newspaper (The Fort Bend Star) that originally reported the story. Her case remains extremely obscure. To this day, very few people have ever heard of her.

Wikipedia gives coverage to unproven sexual allegations in its main Clinton article. But in the main Wikipedia article on Bush, there is zero mention of the Schoedinger case.

I recently got a taste of just how protective Wikipedia is of Bush, when I tried to raise this issue on the site. (Note that I wasn't even trying to edit the main Wikipedia Bush article--I was merely raising the issue in the "Discussion" forum).

I typed a brief post in the forum, raising this issue.

Within 30 seconds, my text was removed from the discussion forum. I then re-entered the post and it was promptly deleted again.

Bear in mind, all I was asking for was equal treatment in Wikipedia's coverage of Bush and Clinton. I certainly wasn't asking for any special treatment, or even (gasp!) a mention of, say, the Valerie Plame case or the Downing Street memo.

Neither issue, of course, gets the slightest mention in the main Bush article. As I mentioned previously, since Wikipedia's content is fluid and dynamic, the situation may have changed by the time you read this. But if that's the case, you can be assured that such content won't survive long on the Wiki articles before it is deleted by Bush supporters.

I can't say that I'm really surprised by Wikipedia's kid-glove, Fox News-like treatment of Bush. It's clear that the Bush worshiping cultists will do anything to protect the image of their hero. Clearly, these people will stop at nothing to sanitize Wikipedia's content on Bush.

In the aftermath of this episode, I guess the only thing that baffles me is how Wikipedia can continue to claim with a straight face to be a reference resource with a "neutral point of view."