Monday, April 24, 2006

The Week Ahead

A few things to pay heed to as the new week begins…

  • File this under the ‘Color me NOT surprised’ files. House Republican leaders have (very, very quietly and very, very significantly) watered down their plan to lessen the influence of lobbyists by eliminating the parts of the proposal that would have required lobbyists to disclose which lawmakers had been contacted and also the portion that would have required disclosing how the lobbyists may have raised money for said politicians. Shocked… shocked and appalled aren’t ya?
  • This week marks a thousand days left in the Bush presidency (personally, that end can’t come fast enough).
  • Gas prices have rocketed skyward nearly 25 cents per gallon over the past two weeks and crude oil hangs around $75 per barrel, What will happen to that average this week?? Only time can tell, and she ain’t talkin’.
  • Speaking of high gas prices, some may be wondering what our “fearless leader” is planning to do to help… he’s warning that it’s going to be a “tough summer” for American consumers at the pumps. Wow! Way to help there Dubya… don’t overexert yourself or you’ll have to take even more time off to relax…
  • That “Most Wanted Fugitive that Time (and by that I mean the Bush Administration) Forgot,”aka, Osama Bin Laden, released a new audio tape over the weekend. The tape was full of the same nonsensical fluff he usually spews. The release of playing of this tape though points out one of the most glaring examples of the (many) failures of this administration… the “high priority” that was placed on catching Bin Laden. If this is how the administration reacts and operates to “high priorities”, I’m scared to death to see how they react to lower priorities…
  • Keep an eye on Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) this week. A mere 2 months ago Burns’ seat seemed like the easiest win for the Democrat’s in November, but now he’s coming back strong from a plethora of Abramoff ties. My question is this: why are the Democrats allowing this to happen??? In last week’s debate, NOT ONE DEMOCRAT questioned Burns about his relationship with Jack “Fedora” Abramoff, and now Burns is enjoying a bounce-back in polling data. Brilliant job Dems, you had a chance to knock down a long-serving Republican tainted by a lobbying scandal and you are wholy letting the opportunity pass by. Brilliant… absolutely brilliant…
  • Keep an eye on two Republicans this week (and not for ethical reasons… can you believe it??) as Senators Frist (R-TN) and Hastert (R-IL) plan on asking Dubya to direct the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice to investigate whether there is price gouging going on or if oil markets are contributing to the current high price for gasoline. I’m sure Dubya will be receptive to that suggestion… uh, huh… sure… and the Chief of the Capital Police is taking Rep McKinney out for dinner…
  • Reinstating the draft??? Well, no one is really ruling it out as the general public is against it, but when an article comes out of the blue about how under-worked draft board workers are… it makes anyone with a brain think.
  • They’re all walking on egg shells at the White House this week as the axe continues to hover over everyone’s neck. This week, keep an eye on who will be the next one to vacate the premises with a LA Times editorial piece saying that it is Vice President Dick “Dead Eye” Cheney who should resign.
  • Joe Lieberman’s stock continues to fall faster than a Bush approval number as many Democrat’s are starting to think that he is too friendly with Bush (the kiss sealed his fate) and is “too Red.” With Ned Lamont making some serious headway, and Lieberman airing his first television ad in a decade, see what Lieberman does this week in order to calm his constituent’s worries that he is becoming a Republican in Democratic clothing…
  • Keep an eye on the Harris for Senate campaign this week (if for nothing else, keep an eye on it for it's entertainment value) as everyone begins to ask what’s next for Katherine Harris’s senate campaign? Another attempt to “score” with a college newspaper reporter? Another bus tour (cuz the first one helped her SO much… hard to express sarcasm in the written word you know) Only time will tell as her senate campaign begins to fade into… into… well, it’s already faded into obscurity… so I guess it will fade into even deeper obscurity.

Stay tuned...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bush’s Iraq war is costing $100,000 per minute, But who’s counting?

Well folks, its really getting a little old in Washington.

Now The White House plans to ask Congress for an additional $70 billion to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, driving the cost of military operations in the two countries to $120 billion this year, the highest ever. I read these fact recently, while reading an article in the Los Angeles Times. In the article, it was said that “most of the new money would pay for the war in Iraq, which has cost an estimated $250 billion since the U.S. invasion in March 2003.”

The article also noted “The additional spending, along with other war funding the Bush administration will seek separately in its regular budget next week, would push the price tag for combat and nation-building since Sept. 11, 2001, to nearly a half-trillion dollars, approaching the inflation-adjusted cost of the 13-year Vietnam War.”

This means that current Defense Department spending is about $4.5 billion a month on the conflict in Iraq, or about $100,000 per minute.

Yes, $100,000 per minute.

This is crazy folks.

Like many African-American voters I’m culturally conservative, with strongly held faith values, especially on issues such as same-sex marriage and school vouchers. Yet on the issues of Iraq as a public policy I’m on the polar opposite side from the GOP. I visited the pentagon’s Web site for casualty numbers in Iraq. It looks bad America.

Bush will be in office for another thousand days. In politics that a life time. In war it could mean the death of hundreds or thousands of men, women and children, and billions more U.S. tax payer dollars.

Enter Arthur Schlesinger Jr. who today wrote an article in the Washington Post about Bush's Thousand Days. Schlesinger a writer, a historian, who served as an adviser to President John F. Kennedy, writes, “ a thousand days remain of President Bush's last term -- days filled with ominous preparations for and dark rumors of a preventive war against Iran.

The issue of preventive war as a presidential prerogative is hardly new. In February 1848 Rep. Abraham Lincoln explained his opposition to the Mexican War: "Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose -- and you allow him to make war at pleasure [emphasis added]. . . . If, today, he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, 'I see no probability of the British invading us'; but he will say to you, 'Be silent; I see it, if you don't.' "

This is precisely how George W. Bush sees his presidential prerogative: Be silent; I see it, if you don't . However, both Presidents Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower, veterans of the First World War, explicitly ruled out preventive war against Joseph Stalin's attempt to dominate Europe. And in the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962, President Kennedy, himself a hero of the Second World War, rejected the recommendations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for a preventive strike against the Soviet Union in Cuba.

It was lucky that JFK was determined to get the missiles out peacefully, because only decades later did we discover that the Soviet forces in Cuba had tactical nuclear weapons and orders to use them to repel a U.S. invasion. This would have meant a nuclear exchange. Instead, JFK used his own thousand days to give the American University speech, a powerful plea to Americans as well as to Russians to reexamine "our own attitude -- as individuals and as a nation -- for our attitude is as essential as theirs." This was followed by the limited test ban treaty. It was compatible with the George Kennan formula -- containment plus deterrence -- that worked effectively to avoid a nuclear clash.

The Cuban missile crisis was not only the most dangerous moment of the Cold War. It was the most dangerous moment in all human history. Never before had two contending powers possessed between them the technical capacity to destroy the planet. Had there been exponents of preventive war in the White House, there probably would have been nuclear war. It is certain that nuclear weapons will be used again. Henry Adams, the most brilliant of American historians, wrote during our Civil War, "Some day science shall have the existence of mankind in its power, and the human race shall commit suicide by blowing up the world."

But our Cold War presidents kept to the Kennan formula of containment plus deterrence, and we won the Cold War without escalating it into a nuclear war. Enter George W. Bush as the great exponent of preventive war. In 2003, owing to the collapse of the Democratic opposition, Bush shifted the base of American foreign policy from containment-deterrence to presidential preventive war: Be silent; I see it, if you don't. Observers describe Bush as "messianic" in his conviction that he is fulfilling the divine purpose. But, as Lincoln observed in his second inaugural address, "The Almighty has His own purposes."

There stretch ahead for Bush a thousand days of his own. He might use them to start the third Bush war: the Afghan war (justified), the Iraq war (based on fantasy, deception and self-deception), the Iran war (also fantasy, deception and self-deception). There is no more dangerous thing for a democracy than a foreign policy based on presidential preventive war.

Maybe President Bush, who seems a humane man, might be moved by daily sorrows of death and destruction to forgo solo preventive war and return to cooperation with other countries in the interest of collective security.

Abraham Lincoln would rejoice."
I agree with Arthur Schlesinger Jr.

L. Nathaniel Rock

PS, Bush’s Iraq war is costing $100,000 per minute. In the 2-3 minutes you have taken to read this article. How much more money have we spent in the Iraq War, But who’s counting?