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Ear to the Ground

Voters Focused on Iraq

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Posted on Nov 2, 2006

According to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, Iraq is the most important election issue to voters, 29% of whom approve of Bush’s handling of the war, while 81% believe the Democrats would reduce or end the occupation of Iraq, and 52% of registered voters intend to vote for a Democrat.


New York Times:

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1—A substantial majority of Americans expect Democrats to reduce or end American military involvement in Iraq if they win control of Congress next Tuesday and say Republicans will maintain or increase troop levels to try to win the war if they hold on to power on Capitol Hill, according to the final New York Times/CBS News poll before the midterm election.

The poll showed that 29 percent of Americans approve of the way President Bush is managing the war, matching the lowest mark of his presidency. Nearly 70 percent said Mr. Bush did not have a plan to end the war, and 80 percent said Mr. Bush’s latest effort to rally public support for the conflict amounted to a change in language but not policy.

The poll underlined the extent to which the war has framed the midterm elections. Americans cited Iraq as the most important issue affecting their vote, and majorities of Republicans and Democrats said they wanted a change in approach. Twenty percent said they thought the United States was winning in Iraq, down from a high this year of 36 percent in January.

Even beyond the war, the Times/CBS News poll, like most other polls this fall, contained worrisome indicators for Republicans as they go into the final days of a campaign in which many are bracing for a loss of seats in both the House and the Senate.

In a year when there are many close races, Democrats were more enthusiastic than Republicans about voting and more likely to say they would support their party’s candidates, although Republicans were slightly more likely to say they would actually vote.

Fifty percent of independent voters, a closely watched segment of the electorate in such polarized times, said they intended to vote for the Democratic candidate, versus 23 who said they would vote for a Republican.

Among registered voters, 33 percent said they planned to support Republicans, and 52 percent said they would vote for Democrats.

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By Steve, November 2, 2006 at 8:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I still want to know who the 29% are who favor Bush’s handling of the war.  That’s nearly 3 out of every 10 people!  Who are these people?  I don’t know any of them and I don’t think I know anyone who knows any of them.

If there are 3 out of 10 in favor of Bush, and given that there are now 300,000,000 people living in the U.S., that would mean that there are 90,000,000 absolute looney bins living amongst us.  I’m so terribly afraid…and ashamed.

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By Robert Goode, November 2, 2006 at 2:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Daniel Carver, an unabashed Aryan supremacist, spewed racial epithets while broadcasting out of Forsythe County, GA. during the pre-blog ‘80s and ‘90s. His daily agenda was devoted to denigrating African/Americans whom he described as mud people that overpopulated pristine white America with their niglets. This charlatan misconstrued out-of-context Biblical passages and claimed the Bible supported his notion that (blacks) were sub-human, while whites were the sole ordained stewards of the Earth. He opened and closed each broadcast with the warning, “Wake up white America!” and urged concerned whites to resist the black evildoers who, through ethnic diversity, were diluting the Aryan bloodline and holding Carver’s listeners hostage in their own homes. According to Carver, the welfare system that sustained the mud people was part of a pernicious liberal/Jewish plot intended to subvert the security of the US and the purity of the white race. He was in effect a bloviating Rush Limbaugh-lite although lacking (1) the erudition to create anodyne euphemisms, (2) a major listening audience, (3) the official endorsement of the Republican Party, and (4) unlimited access to mind altering pharmaceuticals. Coincidentally, after Bill Clinton (ironically not only the first “black” president but also the only ideological “republican” president since Eisenhower) became president in 1993, Limbaugh opened every show with the daily countdown to the 1996 election and the dire warning, “America held hostage day one, two, etc”. Dittohead!

I experienced an epiphany while driving past Carver’s residence/salvage-yard with a black friend and observing several dozen black lawn-jockeys (P.I. ornamental statues that were popular in the ‘50s) adorning his rutted driveway. All had been decapitated and posed with the heads placed at the feet of each statue.  This white American woke up fast. My friend, a Georgia native, had been awake for his entire life and didn’t seem too surprised.  Today Bible-reading presidential hopeful Senator George Allen (R-VA) taunts black Democrats as “macacas” (while claiming to eat pork daily to distance himself from his Jewish ancestry), and the Internet is filled with images of real mutilated people and posed detainees; civilians that had nothing to do with Osama, Saddam, or 9/11, but merely have the misfortune to live in countries considered to be kill-zone surrogates by the Bush administration. Osama is on hiatus in Pakistan (“marginalized” in Bush-speak), Saddam is incarcerated, and the WMDs Reagan and Bush I gave Saddam were used up long ago on the Iranians, so apparently someone has to pay. And whatever happened to the anthrax attack investigation? Or, are we looking for the perpetrators who mailed, what we now know were not sophisticated military-grade spores (5 years ago the FBI determined that any skinhead with a meth lab could have made the anthrax used in the mailings), contaminated letters from NJ and MD in Iraq too?

Administration sophistry aside, the denouement of this is that American military casualties in Iraq have exceeded the deaths that resulted from the 9/11/01 attacks, Taliban-ruled Afghanistan is once again the leading producer of heroin in the world, and Al-Qaeda has metastasized into Iraq (the area has become a “salt lick” for psychotic jihadists) as Bush postures for The Battle of Baghdad part deux. More than 600,000 Iraqis have perished on their violent streets since “mission accomplished” according to a study by John Hopkins University (our rulers say the number is “only” 100,000) and domestically we are no more prepared for a catastrophe (natural or terrorist) than we were on 9/10/01. As of September 2006 no member of the Bush family is or has recently served in the military (with the exception of Bush I who at age 20 was a war hero of sorts) and only one member of Congress or the Bush administration has a son or daughter serving in the Middle East. Ask yourselves who the favorite Bush phrase, “cut and run”, really describes because “bring ‘em on” evidently applies only to placing others and their family members in harms way. Indeed while Americans died and were mutilated in Iraq this summer, Bush claims he read “three Shakepeares”. So whose “values” and commitment justify the human suffering that has resulted and will continue to result from this corporate special-interest crusade? It is time for others to wake up because this is major-league demagoguery compared to Carver’s amateur rants.

Americans, white and otherwise should wake up, but not because the enemy is black, Islamic, or Hispanic. This mendacious enemy is as alabaster as Porky Pig and preaches end-time, intelligent design, and is pro-life but somehow pro-death penalty and pro-war. These self-styled neo-conservatives support usurping the Constitution and generally don’t believe anything is immoral if it involves big money, power, or bombing swarthy (replacing Asians as the people we most like to kill) evildoers back to the stone age in the name of Jesus.  All of this is served up with a good dose of fear. As Pogo said “we have met the enemy and he is us”.  Paradoxically, if you judge our hypocritical rulers by deeds, they aren’t really conservatives at all. Since 2000 government has become pervasive legally, morally, culturally, and fiscally; making them by definition socialists!  Given our new preemptive military aggressiveness, erosion of the 1st and 5th Amendments, and affinity for using torture in our Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo gulags, we are rapidly becoming the new Soviet Union. Continuing Haditha-like slaughters and atrocities have invited comparisons with a far more invidious 20th Century regime.

In 1968 Nixon’s advertising people came up with a pithy name for the incongruous coalition of Christian end-timers, science phobic creationists, paranoid NRA supporters, defense contractors, chicken hawks, NASCAR fans, low income Confederate-flag-sporting bigots, blue collar workers (Remember “hardhats for Nixon”? They felt foolish by the early ‘70s when the NLRB was stacked with pro-business Nixon appointees: Labor still hasn’t recovered), homicidal anti-abortionists, Luddites, and oil barons: “The Silent Majority”. Most of the people in this seemingly unlikely alliance between the country-club set and radical lower classes will vote for a selfish single-issue agenda, even to their own detriment. Of course, the plutocrats unfailingly vote in their own financial self-interests. The key to the minds and hearts of these people is to find the hot and divisive wedge issue dujour: This is usually an elixir combining elements of religious intolerance, xenophobia, racism, homophobia, special (pork) interests, and misogyny. For marketing purposes the platform is semantically consolidated into the oxymoron “values”, as in Mark Foley may be a loathsome pedophile but he is a “values” candidate. As long as the candidate opposes gay marriage and single moms receiving welfare (the “Healthy” Marriage Initiative, a Christian-right crowd pleaser, will divert $750 million from childcare support for these women and their children), the congregation doesn’t care how reprehensible he is. After all, this is Bill Clinton’s fault not Foley’s.

Today, with Fox TV News being the virtual publicity arm of the neo-conservatives, and Rush Limbaugh and his blathering clones dominating the radio airwaves with propaganda intended to frighten the bejeezus out of populist America, they aren’t so silent anymore.  Bush smugly refers to the wealthy members of this coalition as his constituency. The pastor-in-chief is privately embarrassed by the rest, particularly the Pentecostals and Evangelists, but considers them a necessary inconvenience since only about 1% of US voters are affluent enough to actually benefit from his tax-breaks-for-the-wealthy ideology.  Republicans patronize religious zealots for their votes during election years and ignore them in off years. These people will feel as foolish as the unions did, after supporting Nixon, if the rapture spaceship doesn’t come down for them soon, because their obsession with restricting the Constitutional rights of gays and women will not be seriously considered by many politicians after the 2006 and 2008 elections. Anyone who has doubts as to how red meat conservatives really feel about mainstream Americans should read Bush-toady Ann Coulter’s latest book, “The Religion of Liberalism”. She suggests that the widows (“broads”) of 9/11 victims should pose for a Playboy spread while they are still young enough to capitalize on their undeserved celebrity status. Even Dubya’s infantile “Where are those WMD’s?” skit didn’t rise to this level of insensitivity. This “values” centerfold is currently facing federal charges relating to voter fraud.

After the US Supreme Court coronnated Bush II over the wishes of a majority of voters, Venezuelan-made voting machines aside, a diversion was needed to distract the population from the fact that we were (1) quickly becoming a totalitarian theocracy and (2) that Dubya had in a few short months destroyed the future economic viability of the US through tax cuts and generous hand-outs in the form of corporate welfare.  Resulting from Republican efforts to gut the INS (a reward for the low-wage addicted and big-time cash contributors like Disney and Wal-Mart), 19 superstitious Florida- based hijackers armed only with flight guides and letter openers were able to slip through minimal airport security (thanks to Republican efforts to minimize the airline’s financial responsibility for screening passengers) and vaporize themselves along with 3000 unsuspecting Americans. All had entered the US legally, were taught how to fly airliners into buildings by Florida-based proprietary flight schools, and essentially lived the American dream of getting fit by day at health clubs and wasted by night at strip clubs; until the day they earned their 72 celestial virgins. The Bushies convinced Americans that this was a diabolically sophisticated prelude to a shadowy international conspiracy, and not the act of 19 simpletons who took advantage of bureaucratic complacency and incompetence in order to earn eternal fornication privileges in the Islamic afterlife. Diversion accomplished!

And remembering how easily this was done by 19 satyr-wannabe guest workers, how does Senator Martinez’s (R-FL) proposal to grant citizenship to illegals on the basis of: (1) paying a $1000 fine, (2) paying any owed income taxes, and (3) learning the English language rank on the list of inane ideas? Right behind selling port security contracts to Dubai? Under this proposal the next terrorist cell wouldn’t have to bother pulling a pass- go-to-jail-green-card: just pull out the checkbook.  Most of the jihadists who are sent to the USA, speak English better than the average Florida cracker since they usually attend universities (even in this post-9/11 era, former Taliban leader Said Hashemi is attending Yale) here while waiting for their final day on Earth. An itinerant fruit picker in Florida doesn’t have any money for taxes, fines, or ESL tapes, but a government subsidized engineering major who is affiliated with a modestly funded terrorist cell certainly does. 

Somehow, as Osama morphed into Saddam, we ended up killing thousands of Iraqis and Afghans in retaliation for the murders committed by Egyptians, Saudis, and a few guys from Dubai: Florida residents all. These proxies get pulverized and Dubya tries to give our ports to Dubai. Failing in that, he brokered the sale of some major US arms companies to a Dubai concern in April. The administration is also re-arming the same Somalian warlords we tried to disarm in ‘93-‘94 (Blackhawk Down) so we will have a diversional war project for the future, when Dubya’s successor decides to disarm them again. Go figure. It is obvious the neo-cons really don’t care about US security.

Another diversion is now needed to get everyone’s attention away from the escalating fiascoes in Iraq and Afghanistan, rising oil prices (US energy policy having been written by deceased convicted felon Ken Lay), the immigration debacle, education (US colleges graduate more sports trainers than engineers and 30% of our public schools are dysfunctional), the Medicare swindle (the Bush plan having been written by his friends in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries), stem cell research veto, and the scandals that endlessly flow from Dubya’s personality-disorder-fraternity of “Scooter”, “Turd Blossom”, “Brownie”, “Dusty”, “Rummy”,  “Kenny Boy”, “Nine Fingers”, “Wolfman”, “Tar Baby” Snow, Tom Delay, and their ilk. Frat sweetheart Condi (“Brown Sugar”) is brandishing her “quiver of diplomatic arrows” at the Iranians because they are purportedly developing nuclear weapons.  Americans, who are unconcerned that an illiterate coke-head who claims Jesus speaks to him (on July 9, 2004 he announced in a speech to defense contractors that “God speaks through him”), has access to thermonuclear WMDs, are now getting paranoid because the Iranians might be able to split an atom. Tehran wasn’t a threat to anyone, living beyond the operational range of a camel, since Iran was known as the Persian Empire; at least not until Ollie North sold them an arsenal of WMDs that they subsequently depleted on Iraq. 

This notwithstanding, the Bushies assertion that the Iranians can soon put a nuke on a missile and finish off NYC is preposterous unless a malefactor sells them a warhead and an ICBM. Who would be that irresponsible (After all, Reagan is dead and Ollie is a blathering Rush clone)? The answer to this rhetorical question is Condi! She has proffered a plan to supply nuclear technology to Iran, in a move reminiscent of the technology transfer that backfired on us in North Korea. If she gets her way, at least they really will have WMDs when we liberate them from their oil fields: No pretense or Plamegate this time.  If this outrage fails to generate sufficient paranoia, our rulers are working on hyperbolizing the flu pandemic and can always fall back on immigration, the problem they created at the urging of major cash contributors, or gay marriage which, as any devout neo-con knows, is undermining our families. More recent efforts to indict seven rastalamic hobos in Miami as Osama sponsored saboteurs, would be laughable if the joke weren’t on us. Scared people don’t think they merely react and vote for sentence fragments like “values”.

Iraq has no armed forces, is presently about the size of Arizona, and will be much smaller after the northern Kurds secede along with their oil fields. The “war president” has been fighting them almost as long as FDR fought the Axis powers that included the mid- 20th Century superpowers of Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany along with Finland, Italy, Hungary, Thailand, Bulgaria, and Croatia. Tommy Franks is obviously no Dwight Eisenhower or Chester Nimitz. Iran, with a relatively modern though diminutive army and airforce, is a much larger country with about 3 times the population of Iraq. Dubya might have to dust off all those nukes (diplomatic arrows) that have been deteriorating since the “evil empire” disintegrated because unless Bush reactivates conscription he will run out of troops: Enlistment quotas are not being met (although the courts are doing their part by sentencing “category 4” convicted felons to Iraq in lieu of incarceration), the desertion rate is increasing, and he now plans to station troops on the Mexican border: the border he defended during the Vietnam conflict while sitting on a barstool New Orleans. Troops and missiles are also being deployed to Japan in order to counter the Dong threat from N. Korea, the third member of the “axis-of-evil “. Say buckaroos it sounds like we’re surrounded so circle the wagons, break out your sedatives, and keep your draft age children at home. Vote for “values”, leave your toothpaste at the security checkpoint, and hold on to that duct tape and plastic sheeting you bought when Tommy Thompson cheerily told us that “were’re alright” in September 2001. The Canadian border isn’t looking too secure these days either. 

If he is still alive, Daniel Carver must be thinking that he could have been an international contender had he been thinking globally and not myopically. Instead he limited his vision by merely trying to make the lives of the poor black folks in neighboring Fulton County miserable. He could have at least been Governor of Georgia, like Lester Maddox, and maybe gone on to bigger things like Newt Gingrich did. As a prototypical hate-and-fear monger, he could have made the entire world miserable like Bush II has if only he had been born on third base and issued an MBA too. On the bright side it appears that this psychotic never entered the gene pool.

The bad news is that the gene pool is full of Bushes and JEB! seems to be positioning himself to become Bush III, or in family parlance “44”. Future exercises of primogeniture may feature JEB! scion George P. Bush whom, like his uncle (and siblings Noelle and JEB! Junior) has a police record. JEB!s progeny are collectively referred to by the rest of the Bush family, consistent with their wont for assigning deprecatory nicknames, as the “brown ones” (smuggler/shoplifter Mom, Columba, is Hispanic). P’s lineage, although not pure Brahman, will be advantageous to continuance of the Bush Reich because of demographic shifts in the US population.  Bearing a vague resemblance to the young Ricky Martin, bilingual, telegenic, and surprisingly sober, “P” is already being touted as the most marketable of the new generation of Bush reprobates. Fortunately it appears that pill popping, lush Princess Jenna (more like Paris Hilton than Trish Nixon)  has no chance of ever being in a position of authority, but then those who knew her father back in the day were certain he was a harmless sybarite and far more likely to be a stoned rodeo clown than The Decider. 

In the immediate future, and even more concerning than the thought of George Allen as president, ethically challenged hypocrite and philanderer Georgia’s own Newt Gingrich (the innovator of political trivialization and creator of the vague political slogan,  “family values”), is also beginning to pander to right-wing Christendom by conflating the religion of Jesus with US hegemony. He recently asserted that God created the US, implying that we are doing the Lord’s work.  Add blasphemy to Gingrich’s sordid dossier.  Or maybe the neo-cons will nominate addled John McCain (“Johnny Mac” in Dubya speak), a politician who can’t render a consistent opinion about anything. McCain, the 2006 commencement speaker at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty (talk about an oxymoron) University, had described Falwell as “one of the agents of intolerance”. In yet another flip-flop he has now embraced this demagogue as a political ally and should be judged by the company whose endorsement he seeks. The worst case scenario for 2008 is that Dubya will be impeached or assassinated and sociopath Dick Cheney will be president, at least until his next “heart incident”. Move the doomsday clock to midnight if this occurs because Cheney is a serious head case. 

Do you think the notion of a McCain/Gingrich, Gingrich/Falwell, or JEB!/Rice ticket is absurd? How many people thought a shit-kicking poltroon like George W. Bush would actually be elected (OK anointed) when he proclaimed in 1999 that Jesus told him he was to become president in 2000? Recall that at the time he was infamous for having spent the better part of his life in a drug-induced haze, graduating from Yale despite being illiterate, draft dodging, and for yukking it up while signing more execution warrants than any other governor in US history (the US along with Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, and North Korea are the only major countries currently practicing capital punishment).  Wake up America because Carver’s “God endorsed” vitriol is thriving in high places and is financed by mega-corporations. FDR’s admonition that, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”, has never been more relevant. Ike’s (the last republican Republican) admonition to the American people upon leaving office, “beware of the military/industrial complex”, is frighteningly prescient. Currently more than 2 billion dollars per week are channeled to defense contractors for a war that supposedly ended three years ago. Much of it comes back to Republicans and Democrats alike; in the form of the legal graft we call soft and hard money. 

It will be, “meet the new boss, same as the old boss”, if we don’t wake up and take back our republic in 2006 and 2008. Accordingly let’s never forget that religion and politics are the last and preferred refuges of scoundrels: The combination of the two has resulted in the most corrupt and inhumane regimes in history. If we heed the words of Jefferson, who evidently was mindful that we eventually would have a government that embraces torture and despises democracy, this will not be the legacy of the United States of America: That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends (“rights…granted by the Creator… just powers from the consent of the governed”) it is the right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government”.

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By Ed Wright, November 2, 2006 at 11:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The outcome of next Tuesday’s election.

Let me share with you the outcome of next
Tuesday’s election.  No, I have no access
to the software “upgrade” kits of the
assent machines.  But I can tell you what the
outcome is even without the envelope.
They could simply carry out a putsch, cancel
the elections and so on, BUT, that would
make us look officially like an unstable
banana republic, and that would zero-out
the dollar, so they won’t do that.
They could retain both houses, but that would
look too much like what it would be, another fix.
So this is what they will do: they will let
the Democrats gain an ostensible 2-vote majority
in the House.  The ostensible majority will
be illusory, as they will still retain absolute
control.  The story line will be that
democracy has equilibrated, the markets will
be happy, business will be as usual.

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By rabblerowzer, November 2, 2006 at 6:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Plutocrats can bribe and corrupt our elected leaders faster than we can elect them.

No matter which party wins the election in November, corruption will still rule. That’s because the system has been so corrupted by plutocrats that neither party can or will reform a system that works to their advantage. Plutocrats are the root of corruption because our election process has degenerated into a commercial enterprise.

The only way we can eliminate the cycle of corruption is to eliminate profit. The half dozen corporations that own the mass media are owned by the same plutocrats that own the Military Congressional Industrial Complex. They bribe politicians to wage never ending wars, and politicians use those bribes to pay for campaign ads in newspapers and TV.  Have no doubt that some of that campaign money also ends up in politician’s pockets. When you factor in the campaign contributions given by individuals, the plutocrats not only recapture their bribe money, they also reap huge profits from individual contributions. “We the people” are actually financing the plutocrat’s corruption of our government.

We can break this cycle of corruption by demanding public financing of elections and by making all private donations illegal. The mass media and newspapers should be required to run political ads as a public service. Equal time for all candidates.

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