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By Dr. Lawrence Smith, Population Institute, at RH Reality Check.
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This week I discuss the Democratic fumble in Congress, yet another example of Republican Corruption (in Kentucky), discuss American Muslims (something to shit our pants over or well-integrated and hard-working Americans) and present some interesting aspects of unemployment figures. If you visit my blog, PLEASE don't forget to click on an advertiser or two since that helps me keep the blog going. It really makes a difference! As usual I also highlight local events and organizations for several states. And, if you want more political and social discussions, please check out our offerings on Culture Kitchen.
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Watching congress do whatever it is that they do is like watching my screen saver, a lot of movement, a bit of color, a little cheap entertainment but ultimately a waste of time.
I would like to have 10 percent of the monetary value of the man hours expended by members of the House, the Senate, and their respective staffs that was piled atop the redolent heap of history's wasted gestures in the recent exercise in futility that was the fight over the Iraq supplemental appropriations bill.
Republicans joined with Democrats in making a spectacle of themselves as ineffectual windbags without a cause, proving publicly, once again, that most of them have no respect for this republic, it's people or the business they are paid so handsomely to conduct.
Knowing that the eminently hardheaded little man who occupies the big house on Pennsylvania Avenue would veto any bill which included deadlines for troop withdrawals, and knowing that the same cynical little man would use the pork content of the bill against them, they made him a gift of a bill that he could veto and look "presidential" while doing it. They gave Bush exactly what he wanted.
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The topic below was originally posted in my blog the Intrepid Liberal Journal on January 11th.
It's not possible to be a little bit pregnant. Yet the Bush Administration prosecuted the Iraq War as if they were awaiting the results of a pregnancy test. Under Donald Rumsfeld the Pentagon tried to win on the cheap. Without boots on the ground however order could not be established after Saddam fell.
In 2004, President Bush ridiculed John Kerry during his re-election campaign for suggesting more troops were required. In his twenty minute speech Wednesday night the President finally acknowledged an insufficient number of troops resulted in chaos. Iraq was a war of choice and Bush waged it with timidity while claiming the fate of western civilization was at stake.
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"The President has the ability to exercise his own authority if he thinks Congress has voted the wrong way."
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The midterm election is barely over and the religious far right is already acting out over incoming Minnesota Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison's stated intention to be sworn in using the Koran rather than the Bible.
Ellison, the first member of the Islamic faith to be elected to the United States Congress has served in the Minnesota Legislature. His desire to use the Koran at his swearing-in ceremony has apparently caused great consternation and hand wringing among some of the luminaries of the religious and not so religious right. Fox News' Sean Hannity, famous for making mole hills appear as mountains could not pass up an opportunity to dig in to this nonsensical non issue last week.
His invited guest was a guy named Dennis Prager who I am told has a right wing talk-show in Los Angeles, I envision the type of show that Donald Fagin sang of in "Night Fly."
"So you say there's a race of men in the trees, I wait all night for calls like these." Donald Fagin
I will probably never understand what motivates these people to worship the symbols and trappings of a particular religious faith rather than the substance, the core, the Deity. I would think it should be obvious to the fateful that it is Nature's God that is the object of worship not the icons, the bones of the Saints, nor the pot shards of religious history.
But no, this crowd lives on symbolism, Jesus on the dashboard, eat a flag for breakfast, pray loudly in the streets and beat your breast in public so that you may be seen as pious, among the pious. of (In spite of Christ's admonition against such behavior)
Religion aside it is a bit disturbing that after so many years and so much debate that they are still unable to read and understand The Constitution of the United States of America.
It seems to me that somewhere in that document it is clearly stated that the Constitution itself is an establishment of the People of the United States, yes now I remember clearly, it's in the preamble:
"We the people of the United States, in order to for more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." Preamble to the Constitution of the United States
It might be noticed that there is no mention of God, Allah, Yahweh, Jesus, Buddha, nor any others among history's pantheon of available deities. Also notice that there is no mention of God as the establishing authority as the Jimmy Swaggart, Falwell, Robertson, Parsley, Tammy Faye shoofly pie, down home revival wing of American thought would have us believe.
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55% of Americans voted against Republicans running for Congress.
59% of Americans voted against Republicans in Senate contests.
62% of Americans voted against Republicans running for governor.
Adding insult to injury, Independents broke 3 to 2 for Democratic candidates.
This thumping will leave a mark. Bush might have avoided Icarus' fate if he had spent more time in the reality-based world.
The Decider Icarus can make all the noise he wants about bi-partisan intentions. No one is listening. Here's the beauty of this victory: Armed with a popular mandate that spans the nation, our job is simple. We have to keep the Corrupt Bastards grounded in reality. Below the fold are a few suggestions that should help put cement shoes on the neo-cons, their apologists, shills, and cronies.
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Republicans will be doing everything they can to make Democrats look as ineffective as Republicans themselves have been over the last twelve years. Unfortunately for the would-be congressional monkey wrench gang, they've spent the last decade putting in place rules and procedures that make the minority party all but irrelevant. They can shout all they want, but their voices are going to sound funny coming from that deep, deep well of impotence.
Nice as it is to see the Republicans hoist on their own hubris-powered petard, we have to do more than just enjoy the irony if we want to still be laughing at Delay in 2008, 2010, 2012. We have to not only pass bills, we have to do so in a way that fundamentally changes... well, everything.
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- Raise the minimum wage.
- Put in place an ethics plan that "breaks the link" between lobbyists and legislation.
- Protect the nation by implementing the recommendations of the independent 9/11 Commission.
- Eliminate the clause that prohibits the government for bargaining over drug prices.
- Promote stem cell research.
- Cut interest rates for student loans.
- Roll back subsidies for oil companies.
- Protect Social Security.
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At a glance, the polls below (coupled with the historical tendency of 1) undecideds tend to break for the challenger, and 2) an incumbent held under 50% in the polls is in serious trouble) suggest:
Democrats Safe: Connecticut, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania
Democrat Lean: Missouri
Toss-Up: Maryland, Rhode Island, Virginia
Republican Safe: Tennessee
In an anti-Bush, anti-Iraq, anti-Republican, anti-incumbent election cycle -- like this one is, the Toss-ups are truly the challengers to lose.
Look for a Democratic Senate come January 2007.
As you peruse the polls below, you might notice that many of the races are statistically too close to call. That means two factors will take over in the final hours:
1) GOTV efforts which have been highly touted on both sides of the aisle.
2) Voter enthusiasm. Who will be more likely to turn their opinions into actual voting. Democrats or Republicans?
Connecticut: Lieberman will take this one, holding large leads over challenger Ned Lamont. Independent Lieberman will caucus with the Democrats.
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