Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Emerging Outraged Majority

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

American voters are in a nasty mood. Across the board, Americans feel betrayed by the process, elected officials, and the government. At the very heart of discontent are lies about the war, the lobbying of congress, the fiscal soundness of the nation, the state of "freedom" itself.

Liberal Democrats —especially the growing grass roots anti-war movement —feel betrayed by Democrats whose only position vis a vis the GOP seems to be of the form "...but we could have fought the war better than Bush!" That's cold comfort to those who believe the war was not only wrong but premised upon a pack of GOP lies. It's a poke in the eye to progressives who believe American foreign policy is now dictated by Dick Cheney and Halliburton. Bush's policies are seemingly un-opposed though they seem to have made terrorism worse and Americans less safe.

GOP politicians, however, are even less well off. E. J. Dionne, writing in the Washington Post, has written a brief but accurate history of how the GOP has been hijacked by the increasingly extremist right wing, how "moderate Republicans" have either left the party or been marginalized, how Bush's huge budget deficits point up the hypocrisy of GOP "conservatism".

I am unhappy with Democratic triangulation of the center. I am less interested in out-maneuvering the GOP than in defeating them straight-up on issue, on points, on substance. But I suspect that I am less disenchanted with Democrats than GOPPERS with the GOP. Can you imagine how upset I might be if I were a GOPPER, favoring responsible government, confronted with Reagan/Bush deficits of truly historic proportions? Similarly, some GOP types were staunch civil libertarians. Where are they to go now that Bush has assumed dictatorial powers? Some old time Republicans disdained empire to the point of isolationism. What are they to do now that Bush has embarked upon world conquest for the benefit of Halliburton and handful of oil cronies? Many Republicans, like Nelson Rockefeller, for example, could have been described as "moderate" or even "liberal". What are they to do now that Bush has radicalized the GOP?

A fundamental re-alignment of American politics is underway. Moderate and liberal Republicans —all but extinct —have no choice but to make common cause with the Democratic party. This seems to be a mirror image of an earlier re-alignment in which "conservative" Democrats became Republicans. There were dramatic individual examples of that. Former Texas Governor John Connally's joining the GOP is one. The most sweeping re-alignment, however, was Nixon's "southern strategy" which resulted in a solid "red" south. Admittedly, Nixon was helped out by LBJ who virtually ceded the south when he signed the voting rights act. What does that say of the south?

Major developments signaling a major re-alignment are bad news for the GOP. A recent Gallup poll indicates more Americans now identify themselves as Democrats than Republicans —a shift that may give Democrats the edge they need in November. And from the same poll, we learn that independents give Democrats the advantage, though Democrats had been neck and neck with the GOP since the second quarter of 2005.

Elsewhere there is evidence that the GOP is running scared while "...on the run". GOP candidates are on the defensive, forced to decide how closely they wish to identify with Bush who shows no sign of reversing his plunge in the polls. Problematic for the GOP is the party's conflicting, if not hypocritical, positions on the out-of-control federal debt and deficit and the Bush administration's inept response to Katrina. Overriding everything else, however, is Bush's tar baby —the war on Iraq! It's a tar baby that has permanently stuck itself to whatever legacy Bush might wish to leave behind. It is nothing if not a quagmire and will ultimately prove to be a war crime of unimaginable proportions! Until recently, Bush continued to lead Democrats on the issue of "terrorism". Now, when it has become clear to all but a few diehards that the war against Iraq has made terrorism worse, Bush has lost even that advantage.

A TIME poll is stunning: 3 in 5 Americans now say the nation is headed in the wrong direction. Given a choice, a "generic" Democrat beats "generic" Republicans in races for Congress by a margin of almost 10%. What is clearly an anti-Republican wave cannot be good for the GOP's longer term prospects. Stuart Rothenberg, of the Rothenberg Political Report is quoted thus: "The only question is how high, how big, how much force it will have. I think it will be considerable."

If there is a big picture, Kevin Phillips can always be counted on to get a handle on it. His latest book —American Theocracy —makes the analogy to California which recalled Gray Davis.
Still, with impeachment losing credibility as a constitutional remedy, the possibility of having an "incompetent" president with a 35% job approval rating in office for almost three more years represents enough of a threat to an unhappy and beleaguered United States that a wide-ranging debate is in order.
—Kevin Phillips, Time to Recall Bush?
In American Theocracy, Phillips zeros in on what he calls " petro-politics" which he credits with having sparked the emergence of "the new national party politics of oil".
Phillips is the kind of tough-minded realist who doesn't even bother to feign shock at the idea that our foreign policy has a bottom line. When Dick Cheney said in 1999 that ''by 2010 we will need on the order of an additional fifty million barrels a day," certain geopolitical consequences followed. Why pretend otherwise?
Axis of ills:An indictment of recent Republican policies, domestic and foreign, Scott McLemee
But this is not a real political movement. It is, rather, the Bush administration outsourcing the conquest of the world to Halliburton. The Roman Empire had similarly, outsourced to previously conquered tribes the defense of Rome. Bushco, however, has outsourced the seizure of world oil supplies to Halliburton even as Halliburton seems to have hijacked the armed forces of the United States to do its dirty work.

Here's the truly tragic aspect of the Bush's coup d'etat: the Democrats —time and again —have simply failed to oppose, have failed to put forward an alternative to Bush's corporate rule of America, the GOP's concerted, deliberate, and well-organized subversion of the Constitution and the rule of law:
Unfortunately, the Democrats’ “Real Security” plan , released yesterday, falls short of providing a sharp alternative to Republican policies. Whether one looks at the primary document, a 10-page brochure, or the 123 pages of back-up material, what emerges is not a plan, but a mixture of rhetoric and goals that is short on specifics and fails to set clear priorities. Its vagueness no doubt derives from the consensus nature of the document. The current Democratic Party is a fractured mosaic of factions with divergent positions on issues ranging from the war in Iraq to how best to address Iran’s nascent nuclear enrichment program. Coming up with a common platform that takes a clear stand on anything is no small task.
Democrats' Tough Talk, William D. Hartung
Kevin Phillips has summed up more in fewer words than most books and articles to date on the origins of Bush's power, the nature of his constituency, and the real reasons for the the so-called "war on terrorism". In even fewer words: the war on terrorism is not about 911, Bin Laden, or Saddam; it's about OIL! Thus, Phillips exposes the lies told by Bush on the road to theocracy:

How the GOP Became God's Own Party

By Kevin Phillips
Sunday, April 2, 2006; B03
Now that the GOP has been transformed by the rise of the South, the trauma of terrorism and George W. Bush's conviction that God wanted him to be president, a deeper conclusion can be drawn: The Republican Party has become the first religious party in U.S. history.
We have had small-scale theocracies in North America before -- in Puritan New England and later in Mormon Utah. Today, a leading power such as the United States approaches theocracy when it meets the conditions currently on display: an elected leader who believes himself to speak for the Almighty, a ruling political party that represents religious true believers, the certainty of many Republican voters that government should be guided by religion and, on top of it all, a White House that adopts agendas seemingly animated by biblical worldviews.
Indeed, there is a potent change taking place in this country's domestic and foreign policy, driven by religion's new political prowess and its role in projecting military power in the Mideast.
The United States has organized much of its military posture since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks around the protection of oil fields, pipelines and sea lanes. But U.S. preoccupation with the Middle East has another dimension. In addition to its concerns with oil and terrorism, the White House is courting end-times theologians and electorates for whom the Holy Lands are a battleground of Christian destiny. Both pursuits -- oil and biblical expectations -- require a dissimulation in Washington that undercuts the U.S. tradition of commitment to the role of an informed electorate.
Because the United States is beginning to run out of its own oil sources, a military solution to an energy crisis is hardly lunacy. Neither Caesar nor Napoleon would have flinched. What Caesar and Napoleon did not face, but less able American presidents do, is that bungled overseas military embroilments could also boomerang economically. The United States, some $4 trillion in hock internationally, has become the world's leading debtor, increasingly nagged by worry that some nations will sell dollars in their reserves and switch their holdings to rival currencies. Washington prints bonds and dollar-green IOUs, which European and Asian bankers accumulate until for some reason they lose patience. This is the debt Achilles' heel, which stands alongside the oil Achilles' heel. ...

Impeaching Bush is just the start

By Dennis Fox/ Gadflying,Thursday, March 30, 2006"

Town Meeting urges our representative in Congress to introduce and/or support a resolution impeaching President George W. Bush." That's the warrant article Brookline Town Meeting will probably approve in May. It's good, but it's not enough. ...

Impeachment: Too Easy

Impeaching the president is the remedy when Congress can't control him. This Congress hasn't even tried. Since talk of impeachment is in the air, it seems incumbent on all vocal critics of the president to ...

US invasions and genocides: Dutch soldiers refuse

Indymedia Argentina
"Two thirds feel politicians in The Hague have handled the issue badly and only 4 (FOUR) percent of the respondents think the performance of the (cowardly, malignant, brain- and spineless) MP's and 'ministers' on the issue has been good.". ...
From an excellent blog:

It is the victors who write History

And in so doing, they will always gloss-over their own excesses or omit them altogether - but the awareness of guilt endures notwithstanding, and is passed on subliminally to subsequent generations.

In this context, a friend of mine on a discussion board brought an important article to my attention, regarding war crimes and victors and abuses.
An excerpt:
No one knows how many civilians have died violently in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003. The most careful assessment, by the website Iraq Body Count, estimates at least 36,000. The true figure could be three times higher. The uncertainty is explained by General Tommy Franks' now-notorious remark, "We don't do body counts."

Three interesting facts nevertheless help shape a sense of the possibilities. One is that the US forces insist that they use precision techniques to minimise "collateral damage". The second is that the coalition recently and controversially admitted using phosphorus weapons in its attack on Falluja. The third is that one of the US marine air wings operating in Iraq announced in a press release in November 2005 that since the invasion began it had dropped more than half a million tons of explosives on Iraq.
The felt inconsistency between the first fact and the other two reminds one that ever since the deliberate mass bombing of civilians in the second world war, and as a direct response to it, the international community has outlawed the practice. It first tried to do so in the fourth Geneva convention of 1949, but the UK and the US would not agree, since to do so would have been an admission of guilt for their systematic "area bombing" of German and Japanese civilians. ...
An update: Bush has been frightened by Peace Activists in Texas. They've have frigtened him so that he won't sbe spending Easter in Texas.

Bush cutting back visits to Crawford ranch amid protests, paper to report

RAW STORY, Published: Sunday April 2, 2006

Since last summer President Bush's visits to Crawford, Texas have been "less visible," which some experts link to demonstrations of antiwar protesters held nearby his ranch, according to an article set for the Waco Tribune-Herald in Monday editions.
According to the Tribune-Herald, the police chief of Waco has said President Bush will not be celebrating Easter there with his family, as he has done in the past. ...

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