It Ain’t Over ‘Till It’s Over

On the 3rd Anniversary of the United States’ commencement of hostilities in Iraq, the government’s top three executives, President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld asked a watching world today to suspend belief in reality and accept the notion that War is Peace.

Confronted on the CBS news program “Face the Nation” with his statement three years ago that American troops would be “greeted as liberators” in Iraq, and with his assurance ten months ago that the insurgency there was “in its last throes,” Mr. Cheney said his statements were “basically accurate” and blamed the news media for creating a different “perception” by reporting on the daily litany of death and destruction that have plagued the nation since American troops stage-managed the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s statue in a Baghdad square three weeks after the invasion.

Mr. Cheney sought to distance himself from the inaccuracy of his previous statements about the war by looking to the future. “It’s not just about Iraq, it’s not about just today’s situation in Iraq,” he said. “It’s about where we’re going to be 10 years from now in the Middle East and whether or not there’s going to be hope and the development of the governments that are responsive to the will of the people, that are not a threat to anyone, that are not safe havens for terror or manufacturers of weapons of mass destruction.”


For his part, the architect of the American war effort, Mr. Rumsfeld wrote in an op-ed piece published in the Washington Post that failing to see the job finished in Iraq would be akin to our having turned post-war Germany over to the Nazis after Word War II, or to asking former Soviet-bloc nations to return to Soviet domination after the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe.

Let it not be said that anyone in the Bush administration is bereft of delusions of grandeur.

When the war was launched, the Pentagon expected a short conflict. Its classified plans called for the withdrawal of the majority of American troops by the fall of 2003. Today roughly 133,000 remain there on combat duty and force commanders predict that “significant numbers” of troops will be required for at least “a couple more years.”

The President, who stood on a U.S. aircraft carrier in yet another stage-managed set piece in May of 2003 to declare the mission accomplished, failed to answer questions today about the disparity between his expectations three years ago and the present reality in Iraq, saying only, “I’m encouraged by the progress,” before retreating to the cozy confines of the big house on Pennsylvania Avenue in the nation’s capitol.

Meanwhile, Ayad Allawi, the former Prime Minister of Iraq who was once hailed by Mr. Bush as the kind of fair-minded leader needed by the Iraqi people, put things rather bluntly in an interview with the BBC: “We are in civil war.”

So there you have it, we’re either doing a “heckuva job” in Iraq, or the country is about to go into the toilet.

For those of you keeping score at home, 2318 American service personnel have perished in the three years of this war; 17,124 have been wounded. Iraqi casualties remain uncounted.


  1. lonbud - March 30, 2006 @ 9:46 am

    Christianity is the dominant religion of the societies that matter

    There’s a statement that tells us pretty much all we need to know about Mr. Herdegen and his understanding of the interconnectedness of things.

    Bush isn’t reducing pollution so much as he is declining to permit his benefactors to continue profiting by it at the rate to which they have become accustomed.

    Come on back out of the weeds, Michael. No one here is talking about snail darters or spotted owls or making their “plight” paramount. The issue is interconnectedness and humanity’s role in the “plight” of all life on earth. BushCo and you (apparently) are far more interested in photo ops and empty gestures than in actually confronting issues or crafting solutions to complex, real problems.

  2. Tam O’Tellico - March 30, 2006 @ 4:42 pm

    A Fish Story

    Since Michael and Lonbud are both picking on the poor old snail darter, let me try to explain that there is a whole lot more to this fish story. I know because I live where this story began. As a matter of fact, the Tellico in Tam O’Tellico refers to the Tellico River and my tiny mountain town of Tellico Plains, Tennessee.

    The story begins with the discovery of this new species in the 70’s in the Little Tennessee River and a few of its tributaries – including the Tellico River. This area is one of the most bio-diverse places on the planet; it is home to many species found nowhere else. But plans to dam most of the rivers in the area were certain to decimate the small known population of snail darters and possibly render the species extinct – a prediction that thankfully has not quite come true.

    The furor over the snail darter became something of a joke, particularly among those who consider themselves manly men. Fish-lovers and tree-huggers are just a bunch of pansies, right? Now it may be laughable to be concerned about a tiny fish, but it is inarguable that the disappearance of any species comes at some cost to those species that remain – including the species known as homo sapiens. I am compelled to add that such sophomoric ridicule calls into question whether some members of homo sapiens are really all that sapient.

    We may argue about the cost/benefit analysis in this controversy, but we cannot do so without understanding that there is far more to the story than the possible disappearance of a previously unknown fish. As I said, the extinction of a species effects other species as well, and the preservation of the snail darter has left deep and lasting benefits to the people who live and recreate on or near the Tellico River, one of the few rivers to escape “improvement” by the TVA, an escape that was due in large part to the protection of the lowly snail darter.

    Most of the other rivers in the area, including the Hiwassee, the Ocoee, the Nantahala, the Little Tennessee, have all been dammed – and in many ways damned – in the name of progress. Damming provides hydro-electric power – largely for the benefit of Alcoa Aluminum (another story for another time) – and some flood control. It also provides a lot of lakefront property for a fortunate few and recreational opportunities for the masses.

    That includes masses of drunken college kids who brave the rapids on these rivers on the 180 days of controlled release. It also means they leave behind their Budweiser and Mountain Dew bottles and cans, the wrappers from their McDonald’s hamburgers and anything else they feel like dumping into the rivers.

    On the other 180 days, the waters are diverted for electric power production, and huge sections of river bottom are exposed to direct sunlight, forever altering ancient eco-systems that had remained virtually unchanged for eons.

    All this taken together, makes a cost/benefit analysis difficult, if not impossible, because any such analysis must also take into account the experience of a grandfather watching his young grandson cast a Tellico nymph into the crystal clear waters of the Tellico and land a specimen rainbow or brook trout, or weigh the smiles of the visitors who discover hundred-foot Bald River Falls, or measure the pleasure of the kayakers who conquer Baby Falls, kayakers who usually leave the river cleaner than they found it.

    The real bottom line is that some things are worth saving, things that cannot be priced or weighed by some “value-neutral” system, particularly not by a system motivated only by greed and the worst impulses of homo-semi-sapiens.

  3. lonbud - March 30, 2006 @ 4:58 pm

    Not fair, Tam O’! I wasn’t picking on the snail darter, I was just trying to reign in Michael’s obfuscatory diversion into the weeds of emotionally-charged, politically divisive debates over environmental policy.

    He was the one who tried to paint w as a Sierra Club poster boy and I’ll have none of it because this President has perhaps the worst environmental record of any man to ever hold the office.

    I maintain my discourse on the interconnectedness of things, far from “picking on” the poor old snail darter, serves to highlight the indivisibility between the survival of that species and the love of a grandfather for his grandchildren.

  4. Tam O’Tellico - March 30, 2006 @ 10:02 pm

    Lon, rest assured my tongue was planted in firmly in my cheek where you are concerned, and I trust our friend Michael knows the truth of the matter as well. Whether he will admit it may be another matter.

    There are many true Conservatives who understand perfectly what I was describing in my previous post. But it is hard to take Republican environmentalism seriously given that it is dominated by outrageous deceptions such as the Committee for Republican Environmental Action, a group which was in reality little more than another Abramof bribery front group.

    As for the President, the Clear Skies Initiative says far more about his “environmentalism” than all the doublespeak that falls from his forked tongue.

  5. Michael Herdegen - March 30, 2006 @ 11:08 pm

    Bush isn’t reducing pollution so much as he is declining to permit his benefactors to continue profiting by it at the rate to which they have become accustomed.

    And in your view that’s a bad thing because… ?

    BushCo [is] far more interested in photo ops and empty gestures than in […] crafting solutions to complex, real problems.

    So are you saying that raising fuel consumption standards is an “empty gesture” that isn’t part of a solution to a real problem ?

    Come on, I know you can do it…

  6. Tam O’Tellico - March 31, 2006 @ 6:50 am

    As is always the case, there is more to Bush’s “environmental” proposal than meets the eye. Attorneys-General in eight states have commented negatively on these standards, and if you’d like to know why, read this:

    Here’s a quote:

    “NHTSA does not disguise the fact that is proposing the standards to benefit General Motors, Ford and Chrysler which make more larger, lower mileage models than their foreign competitors. E.g., Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at 36 (“One factor [underscoring the need for CAFÉ reform is the fiscal problems reported by General Motors and Ford . . .”)”

    One of the most flagrant examples of Republican environmental irresponsibility is the “It’s not just a Hummer, it’s a tax break” provision written into the tax code. If you’re not familiar with this outrage, you can read more here:

    I became familiar with this idiocy because my sister, who is a musician, worked for peanuts for someone who purchased 3 Hummers for their restaurant in Newaygo, Michigan. Now one Hummer might be excused as a legitimate expense in a resort community even though it never left the highway. But three?

    There had to be a catch, and Sis discovered the Hummers provided a tax benefit of at least $25,000 for these welfare capitalists.

    About the same time, the owner informed Sis that the restaurant could not afford to give her a raise in spite of the fact that she filled the place three nights a week. Even more incredible, the owner said she could no longer afford to provide free desserts for performers.

    That was the last straw, and being her own brand of free-market capitalist, Sis took her act – and the restaurant’s former customers – up the road to the competition.

    Nowadays, three Hummers sit out front of the empty restaurant, testimony to the wisdom of the tax code and the efficiency of free-market capitalism.

  7. Tam O’Tellico - March 31, 2006 @ 6:57 am

    PS: The total first year deductions on a $110,00 Hummer H1 is $106,000. Most other heavy SUVs are fully deductible during the first year. This is nothing short of welfare for the rich. Meanwhile, looters stealing groceries in New Orleans make the evening news.

  8. lonbud - March 31, 2006 @ 7:28 am

    In my view it’s a bad thing to allow people to profit at all by polluting the environment. Striking a zero from the billions of ill-gotten gains is indeed an empty gesture where the real problems with pollution and government-sanctioned corporate welfare are concerned. Raising fuel consumption standards on Hummers and Suburbans may well be part of a solution to a real problem. But’s it calls to mind the little Dutch boy and his finger, though w’s action isn’t rooted in anything nearly so civic minded.

  9. Michael Herdegen - March 31, 2006 @ 10:42 am

    Tam O’Tellico:

    Since larger, heavier vehicles are also safer, if slightly more full-sized trucks are sold it’ll save a few lives.

    Regarding Hummers and tax breaks, remember that the vehicle must be used in a business. Average Jane Richperson can’t buy a Hummer to drive on personal errands and get a deduction.

    The restaurant owner could have purchased three delivery trucks and gotten similar tax breaks.



    Neither you nor Tam can bring yourself to admit that less pollution, less oil used, is a good thing. None of what either of you have said negates the simple fact that America will be better off with higher-MPG light trucks on the road.

    But it’s fun watching you squirm.

  10. lonbud - March 31, 2006 @ 1:14 pm

    Here you go, Michael: Less pollution, less oil used, is a good thing.

    Unfortunately for your position in the debate, w and his administration — on balance — have not crafted policies which will result in less pollution or in less oil used. As I stated before, w will leave office (whether before or at the completion of his appointed term) as the president with the worst record of environmental stewardship in the history of the nation.

    America will be better off with higher-MPG light trucks on the road in the way that someone falling from a 55 story building is better off if she is not also on fire.

  11. Tam O’Tellico - March 31, 2006 @ 2:34 pm

    M: Since larger, heavier vehicles are also safer, if slightly more full-sized trucks are sold it’ll save a few lives.

    By that logic, we should all be driving 5 mpg dump trucks, I guess.

    M: Regarding Hummers and tax breaks, remember that the vehicle must be used in a business. Average Jane Richperson can’t buy a Hummer to drive on personal errands and get a deduction.

    Yeah, and we all know no one would every operate a business as a tax-loss in order to write-off Hummers and vacation homes and otherewise offset income that wasn’t so easy to manipulate. And, of course, we all know Average Jane needs three hummers to carry the bread and rolls for her restaurant.

    Michael, it would add so much to your credibility if in the face of such horror stories you joined us in saying “That’s outrageous, the govt should not provide that kind of capitalist welfare!”

    As for my admissions or lack thereof, I have no problem admitting that increasing CAFE standards is a good thing – it should have been done long ago and would have been, save for the undo influence of GM and Ford. If George reduces pollution, I am all for it, regardless of his motivation for doing so.

    (Okay, there’s my concession – now where’s yours on the $10,000 a year?)

    What I cannot concede is your contention that that this token gesture somehow makes this President an environmentalist. Anyone who is paying attention knows better about a man who engages in doublespeak policies like the Clear Skies Initiative or who demonstrates such blatant disregard for the evidence supporting global warming.

    It may be impossible to know how much of the cause of global warming is manmade, and it may be impossible to prevent, but it is certainly possible to slow down human contributions to global warming – unless, of course, you remain in complete denial that the phenomenon even exists.

    No, I’m afraid George is to environmentalism as Pat Robertson is to Darwinism.

  12. Michael Herdegen - April 1, 2006 @ 10:47 am

    President Bush is not an environmentalist.
    Neither is he a foe of the environment, and of course he will not leave office as the “president with the worst record of environmental stewardship in the history of the nation”, partly due to the fact that there were no environmentalist Presidents before Teddy R.

    But Bush supports things like higher CAFE standards, his administration has lowered the amount of pollutants that diesel engines are allowed to emit, and he supports nuclear power.

    Those are all things that the mainstream environmentalist organizations support, (although there is a strong resistance to nuclear power from some fringe groups, and I find it to be a non-ideal solution myself).
    Therefore it’s only pique that would cause people to say that Bush is “anti-environment”.

    It is disappointing that BushCo. hasn’t crafted policies which will result in much less pollution or in far less oil used, but at least they’re doing incremental stuff which will result in some reduction of each immediately.
    BushCo. has also appropriated one billion dollars for research into alternative energy, and is a big supporter of ethanol, both of which are policies which will result in less pollution and a shift away from oil in the future.

    America is hardly falling from a 55 story building, and even if we relied on crude oil 100% in the future, it would still only be the equivalent of a fall from the roof of a one story building, leaving us shaken but largely unharmed.
    We do, after all, have 2 trillion barrels of oil in North America, even if they’re more expensive to produce than Middle Eastern crude.

    Tam O’Tellico:

    By that logic, we should all be driving 5 mpg dump trucks, I guess.

    Dump trucks get 7 – 9 MPG, and yes, as a matter of fact we should be. People’s lives are more valuable than saving a few gallons of fuel.

    Or at least, we should all be driving large sedans and minivans, the safest vehicles on the road, and ones that still get 15 – 30 MPG, depending on type and driving conditions.

    [W]e all know no one would ever operate a business as a tax-loss in order to write-off Hummers and vacation homes…

    Some do, but it’s not widespread.

    There just aren’t that many people for whom it would be advantageous, that also want to buy a Hummer or whatever, even for 20% off.
    Operating a sham business for a tax loss only makes sense if the savings outweigh the losses and disadvantages.

    For instance, you or anybody else could open a “consulting business”, and write off part of the operating costs of your existing vehicle – but do you ?
    How many do ?
    It’s more hassle than it’s worth, for most people.

    …if in the face of such horror stories you joined us in saying “That’s outrageous, the govt should not provide that kind of capitalist welfare!”

    The intent of the policy was to encourage small businesses, who provide almost all of the new jobs every year, to buy equipment that they might need to expand their businesses, and provide more jobs.
    NO tax law can be crafted to exclude the possibility that a few people will find ways to benefit from it in unintended ways. The trick is to maximize benefit for the average person, and minimize the possibility of misuse.
    It’s like operating a retail business – you know that there will be theft, you just keep it to a minimum, and count the rest as unavoidable.

    Would you support ending the EIC, because a few million people have gotten benefits that they weren’t entitled to, through fraud and deception ?

    In the particular case of your sister’s horror story, the horror there was bad management, not bad tax code, and as you tell it, the owner got her comeuppance, right ?

    It may be impossible to know how much of the cause of global warming is manmade, and it may be impossible to prevent, but it is certainly possible to slow down human contributions to global warming – unless, of course, you remain in complete denial that the phenomenon even exists.

    The Earth has been on a warming trend for awhile, but, we cannot say for how long it will continue, nor how warm it’ll get, and as you note, humans may have nothing to do with it.

    Geological data, ice cores, tree rings, etc. all point to the fact that the Earth has been going through warming and cooling cycles since LONG (like, very long) before the Industrial Revolution, and before humans had even discovered how to control fire.

    Therefore, how does it make any sense to say that “it is certainly possible to slow down human contributions to global warming”, if it’s “impossible to know how much of the cause of global warming is manmade” ?

    In any case, NO Kyoto signatory is anywhere near to making the cuts that they promised, despite them making a big fuss about the U.S. not agreeing to participate. That’s rank hypocrisy.
    President Bush, on the other hand, has joined with Australia, China, India, and Japan to explore ways in which future technologies can be used to cut carbon emissions. That’s intelligent action.

    For $ 10,000, in most parts of the South and Midwest, one can be well fed, clothed, sheltered, and entertained for a year. I’ve done it, and many millions do it now. To say that it cannot be done is foolish.

    However, although I consider such to be “comfortable”, in the sense that survival is not in question, and there’s time and money for relaxation and enjoyment, it is a bare subsistence living that few American would envy, and it doesn’t allow for much saving against misfortune.
    If I have ever written, or implied, that such a life is “luxurious”, then I do indeed concede that it is not.

  13. lonbud - April 1, 2006 @ 11:11 am

    Actually, based on our dueling budgets in the previous thread, $20,000 is a debatable minimum for survival of an unmarried single person. Despite your concession to an absence of luxury in the budget, Michael, it is not possible to be well-fed, clothed, sheltered, and entertained on 10K. The purported millions you claim are doing it now do not exist.

  14. Michael Herdegen - April 1, 2006 @ 4:51 pm

    Michael, it is not possible to be well-fed, clothed, sheltered, and entertained on 10K. The purported millions you claim are doing it now do not exist.

    Well, lonbud, since I just got through saying for the fourth time that I’VE DONE IT, you’re pretty directly calling me a liar.
    Further, and much worse in my opinion, you are completely ignorant about the subject – but still willing to call me a liar.
    You’ve done no research, posted no data to support your claim that millions don’t live on ten K. We know that millions make less than $ 10,000/yr, and yet somehow, they keep on living…

    If you’d actually looked into the matter, you’d never have made such an absurd claim. It’s easy to see that you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, on third base just like George Walker Bush. Except that scion of privilege went on to become a two-time Governor and two-time President of the United States; how about you ?

    Observe and learn:

    10000 – 180 1040 tax = 9,820 [1]
    9820 – 765 payroll tax = 9,055
    9055 – 3000 housing = 6,055 (250 per month rent, w/roommate)
    6055 – 900 utilities = 5,155 (75 per month utilities, including phone)
    5155 – 1825 food = 3,330 (5 per day for food)*
    3330 – 600 household incidentals = 2,730 (50 per month)
    2730 – 320 clothing = 2,410
    2410 – 540 transportation = 1,870 (45 per month)
    1870 – 660 cable TV w/premium movie channel(s) = 1,210
    1210 – 180 Netflix = 1,030
    1030 – 180 ISP = 850
    850 – FREE Public library = 850
    850 – 150 sales tax = 700 (1800 * 8%) [2]

    *For instance, 8 oz. of ground beef cost $ 1 or less, half a loaf of premium whole wheat bread costs $ 1.50 or less, and between them that’s 2,250 calories. Rice and beans are much, much cheaper.

    [1] IRS Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information

    [2] Comparison of State and Local Retail Sales Taxes
    Only 18 states tax groceries, and 30 states have a maximum State+Local Rate of under 8% – only 6 have a maximum rate of 10% or more.

    So, with my budget you might end up with an extra $ 700/yr, and that’s with a number of luxury items.

    * Federal income tax estimate does not include potential EIC qualification – liability might be zero, or you might even get a few hundred back.
    * In some states utility payments might average $ 50 or less per month, mostly for cooking, bathing, and the phone.
    * The food budget could easily be $ 3/day, for a savings of $ 700/yr.
    * You could easily cut the budget for household incidentals & clothing by $ 200/yr.
    * In some places the transportation budget would have to double, to $ 1,080/yr.
    * Cable TV is obviously a luxury, and a costly one.

    So, one could easily double the transportation budget, and still save $ 2,000 yr.,, and still have an ISP and rent DVDs, as a single person making $ 10,000 yr.
    Only helpless bourgeoisie fobs die on ten K – no Starbucks, after all, and you have to do your own cooking…

    10 million U.S. households have incomes under $ 10,000/yr.
    Obviously, not all of them are in subsidized housing, get food stamps, etc., thus millions of people get by on their own, on ten K.

  15. Tam O’Tellico - April 1, 2006 @ 10:24 pm

    M: 10 million U.S. households have incomes under $ 10,000/yr. Obviously, not all of them are in subsidized housing, get food stamps, etc., thus millions of people get by on their own, on ten K.

    Even a tautology can’t make a dead horse walk again.

  16. half-mooned - April 1, 2006 @ 10:28 pm

    um, i lived on somewhere between 8 and 9k in the late eighties. had two roomates and ate alot of peanut butter. but i also had good benefits, and car that was paid for. i was young, didn’t need much medical care, but if i did it was covered for 10 bucks. i even came up w/ enough money to rent a movie and bag of pot once a week. it is approaching nearly 20 years ago now, but i did it for nearly half the decade under 10k. just sayin’, at least in 88 it was possible in memphis. oh, i was in college at the time too, sax scholorship. books every semester, and the car insurance twice a year would break me, but i managed. i also had a buddy that cosigned for a big bass rig several years later. i’ll never forget that guy..couldn’t have done w/o his help.

  17. lonbud - April 1, 2006 @ 10:41 pm

    points well-taken, half-mooned. twenty years ago, 10K was worth quite a bit more than it is today and it’s clear that, even then, one couldn’t do it on the 10k alone, nor could the living be said to have been comfortable.

    i myself lived for nearly two years in asia, the majority of that time in nepal and mainland china, as well as rural thailand, on less than 10k total.

    but in and of itself, that is meaningless. people are able to withstand all kinds of deprivations and hardship, though in a land as wealthy and resource-rich as the united states, why so many are forced to is a question more of us should be asking our elected officials.

  18. bubbles - April 2, 2006 @ 6:09 pm

    From David Corn’s Blog; Had Enough?

    NOTE TO HOWARD DEAN, HIRE NEWT. I’ve taken plenty of pokes at Newt Gingrich over the years, but I’ve always respected his capacity for killer-instinct strategic scheming. So let me note that in Time magazine this week he has a terrific piece of advice for Democrats. Noting that the GOP has made a mess of much, he proposes a simple bumpersticker for the Democrats in 2006: “Had enough?” I’ve seen all sorts of lefties who have suggested running on troop withdrawal plans, impeachment and health care for all. But it seems the party cannot develop any consensus on these (and other) issues–and probably won’t in time for the elections. So Gingrich may have given the Ds an overarching thematic message upon which they can all agree. Imagine the ads: Footage of chaos in Iraq, footage of chaos in New Orleans; pictures of Bush and Jack Abramoff; pictures of Cheney. And then those words: “Had enough?” Can the Democrats ever be that edgy and that creative?

  19. Tam O’Tellico - April 2, 2006 @ 9:45 pm

    Newt is abolutely right – this time out all that ought to be necessary is to point the finger at the guys who screwed the pooch. The Dems would be fools to offer any sort of detailed program or specifics; by doing so, they would play right into the Republicans hands because detailed plans can always be cut apart by the opposition.

    But no one should rest easy – Nancy the Whine Merchant and Harvey the Too-Visible Rabbit have proven more than capable of fucking up a wet dream.

    Instead, they should take a page from the MachiRovian Playbook and offer up platitudes. Bush ran twice on no more than tax cuts and a cowboy movie foreign policy – remember the crack about doing more than shooting a missle up a camel’s ass? That’s the kind of remark that gets a lot of votes in these here parts. I gotta give Bush credit, he delivered on his empty promises – much to the sorrow of present and future generations in America and Iraq.

    But unless I miss my guess, the party is over for the Republicans. I have never seen so many people so utterly disappointed in a President and in themselves for falling for an empty cowboy suit TWICE. On a recent CSPAN call-in, 90% of the callers, half of whom claimed to have voted for Bush twice, expressed the utter contempt for this administration.

    My advice for the Demos? Keep it simple, Stupid. And the slogan?

    Fooled Me Twice – Shame on Me
    Double Displeasure
    Recall Halliburton
    Defeat K-Street
    End the Lame Game
    Won’t Get Fooled Again

  20. Tam O’Tellico - April 3, 2006 @ 11:36 am

    Lon, Bubbles and Half-Mooned,

    Michael knows full well that what he is saying is just plain foolish. No one can get by in this country on $10,000 a year unless they have some sort of Unabomber existence – and I guarantee even he was getting financial help from somewhere.

    Worse yet, M is suggesting a family of four could live comfortably on that! I suppose such fantastical notions is why he still imagines things are just peachy in Iraq and that eliminating taxes for fat cats will lead us all to prosperity.

    Were it not so sad, it would be laughable. What is laughable is that people like Michael consider themselves “realists” and people like me “dreamers”.
    Well, I’ll take my dreams over his nightmares any day.

  21. lonbud - April 3, 2006 @ 12:57 pm

    From Michael’s perspective, we don’t need to be led to prosperity, we are already the most prosperous nation ever to grace the planet.

    There is no channel to change, no adjustment necessary to your TV set.

    If anyone in the United States is not sufficiently employed and compensated so as to be free of want or need for nutrition, shelter, clothing, transportation, healthcare, education, and entertainment IT IS THEIR OWN FAULT.

    Through poor lifestyle choices, laziness, and unwillingness to move to where the living is easy, anyone here who is unhappy with her lot can go suck an egg.

  22. Tam O’Tellico - April 4, 2006 @ 7:34 am

    The Summer of Our Discontent

    As predicted some time ago, the house of canards is beginning to fall. Tom DeLay has declined to run for re-election because of his legal troubles and the political fall-out from the Abramoff Affair. DeLay may be one of the first to fall, but he will be far from the last.

    Given his obstinate and combative nature, DeLay hung on long past the point most politicians would have given up hope. Who knows – given the strange nature of Texas politics, he might even have retained his seat. But it would have been an empty victory, since his political power in Washington could never be regained.

    His victory would have been even more pyrrhic for the Republican Party since the fight would have focused national attention on a subject Republicans are desperate to have go away. While it is true that some Democrats took money from Abramoff, in most cases it was a second or third-hand transaction through one Abramoff’s dummy charities or PACs, making it much harder to prove a quid-pro-quo. Those who end up facing a judge, in this affair and many others, are much more likely to be Republicans.

    We are likely to see more resignations and guilty pleas in the near future as the party attempts to keep press coverage of the scandals to a minimum. We will also witness calculated delays such as we saw before the 2004 elections. The object now is to stall these cases so that trials and pleadings will occur after the November elections and before the 2008 elections.

    But it may not be possible to keep the lid on one case much longer, a case that involves perhaps the biggest fish short of Bush or Cheney – Karl Rove. No one should be surprised if Rove resigns soon. And in a rare instance of honesty for this administration, the reason offered may well be the truth.

    In resigning, Rove may take the blame for the many political disasters that have hit this administration lately, such as the Harriet Miers appointment, the Katrina non-response and the Port-O-Let debacle. Such political disasters and the response to them give the appearance of rank amateurism, but whatever else his failures, Rove is no political amateur.

    So how can such monumental failures be explained? Let’s just say Karl Rove has other things on his mind – things like staying out of jail as a result of his involvement in and cover-up of the Plame Affair. Every day brings Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald closer to an indictment of Rove, if not for the outing, then for the cover-up.

    All this could not come at a worse time for Republicans. The Ides of March may have passed without a major political storm, but the storms of the summer of our discontent loom ominously on the horizon.

    ©2006 Tom Cordle

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