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Cashew Lou's Yukon Annex

I've got Pop-Pop in the attic.

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Utter disgust
I have been trying since Tuesday to come to terms with the shameful, outright betrayal the Democratic party handed to the American people on that day. It's been hard. The chief issue that gave them their mandate back in November--not to mention both chambers of Congress--was loud and clear; nearly 70% of Americans want the Iraq War ended as soon as possible, by any poll you read--including over at pseudo-news source Fuck Snooze. But they caved and gave the petulant I'm-gonna-hold-my-breath-until-I-get-my-way "president" precisely what he wanted: more wholesale death. That I as an American taxpayer get to help pay for. Freaking lovely.

They (the Congressional Democrats) try to tell us they are being politically savvy, that they are picking their battles. Um, look, dumbasses, this was the battle right here. And you dropped the ball. I expect the Greedy Old Pedophiles to betray their base; I had hoped the elected Democrats were above such games.

Before I go to beat my forehead bloody against a brick wall somewhere, I strongly suggest you read last night's special comment from the wonderful Keith Olbermann at MSNBC. I have placed its text behind a cut here to cut back on friends-list spamming, but please by all means read it.

This is, in fact, a comment about… betrayal.

Few men or women elected in our history-whether executive or legislative, state or national-have been sent into office with a mandate more obvious, nor instructions more clear: Get us out of Iraq.

Yet after six months of preparation and execution-half a year gathering the strands of public support; translating into action, the collective will of the nearly 70 percent of Americans who reject this War of Lies, the Democrats have managed only this:

* The Democratic leadership has surrendered to a president-if not the worst president, then easily the most selfish, in our history-who happily blackmails his own people, and uses his own military personnel as hostages to his asinine demand, that the Democrats "give the troops their money";

* The Democratic leadership has agreed to finance the deaths of Americans in a war that has only reduced the security of Americans;

* The Democratic leadership has given Mr. Bush all that he wanted, with the only caveat being, not merely meaningless symbolism about benchmarks for the Iraqi government, but optional meaningless symbolism about benchmarks for the Iraqi government.

* The Democratic leadership has, in sum, claimed a compromise with the Administration, in which the only things truly compromised, are the trust of the voters, the ethics of the Democrats, and the lives of our brave, and doomed, friends, and family, in Iraq.

You, the men and women elected with the simplest of directions-Stop The War-have traded your strength, your bargaining position, and the uniform support of those who elected you… for a handful of magic beans.

You may trot out every political cliché from the soft-soap, inside-the-beltway dictionary of boilerplate sound bites, about how this is the "beginning of the end" of Mr. Bush's "carte blanche" in Iraq, about how this is a "first step."

Well, Senator Reid, the only end at its beginning… is our collective hope that you and your colleagues would do what is right, what is essential, what you were each elected and re-elected to do.

Because this "first step"… is a step right off a cliff.

And this President!

How shameful it would be to watch an adult hold his breath, and threaten to continue to do so, until he turned blue.

But how horrifying it is to watch a President hold his breath and threaten to continue to do so, until innocent and patriotic Americans in harm's way, are bled white.

You lead this country, sir?

You claim to defend it?

And yet when faced with the prospect of someone calling you on your stubbornness–your stubbornness which has cost 3,431 Americans their lives and thousands more their limbs–you, Mr. Bush, imply that if the Democrats don't give you the money and give it to you entirely on your terms, the troops in Iraq will be stranded, or forced to serve longer, or have to throw bullets at the enemy with their bare hands.

How transcendentally, how historically, pathetic.

Any other president from any other moment in the panorama of our history would have, at the outset of this tawdry game of political chicken, declared that no matter what the other political side did, he would insure personally-first, last and always-that the troops would not suffer.

A President, Mr. Bush, uses the carte blanche he has already, not to manipulate an overlap of arriving and departing brigades into a ‘second surge,' but to say in unequivocal terms that if it takes every last dime of the monies already allocated, if it takes reneging on government contracts with Halliburton, he will make sure the troops are safe-even if the only safety to be found, is in getting them the hell out of there.

Well, any true President would have done that, sir.

You instead, used our troops as political pawns, then blamed the Democrats when you did so.

Not that these Democrats, who had this country's support and sympathy up until 48 hours ago, have not since earned all the blame they can carry home.

"We seem to be very near the bleak choice between war and shame," Winston Churchill wrote to Lord Moyne in the days after the British signed the Munich accords with Germany in 1938. "My feeling is that we shall choose shame, and then have war thrown in, a little later…"

That's what this is for the Democrats, isn't it?

Their "Neville Chamberlain moment" before the Second World War. All that's missing is the landing at the airport, with the blinkered leader waving a piece of paper which he naively thought would guarantee "peace in our time," but which his opponent would ignore with deceit.

The Democrats have merely streamlined the process.

Their piece of paper already says Mr. Bush can ignore it, with impugnity.

And where are the Democratic presidential hopefuls this evening? See they not, that to which the Senate and House leadership has blinded itself?

Judging these candidates based on how they voted on the original Iraq authorization, or waiting for apologies for those votes, is ancient history now.

The Democratic nomination is likely to be decided… tomorrow.

The talk of practical politics, the buying into of the President's dishonest construction "fund-the-troops-or-they-will-be-in-jeopardy," the promise of tougher action in September, is falling not on deaf ears, but rather falling on Americans who already told you what to do, and now perceive your ears as closed to practical politics.

Those who seek the Democratic nomination need to-for their own political futures and, with a thousand times more solemnity and importance, for the individual futures of our troops-denounce this betrayal, vote against it, and, if need be, unseat Majority Leader Reid and Speaker Pelosi if they continue down this path of guilty, fatal acquiescence to the tragically misguided will of a monomaniacal president.

For, ultimately, at this hour, the entire government has failed us.

* Mr. Reid, Mr. Hoyer, and the other Democrats… have failed us. They negotiated away that which they did not own, but had only been entrusted by us to protect: our collective will as the citizens of this country, that this brazen War of Lies be ended as rapidly and safely as possible.

* Mr. Bush and his government… have failed us. They have behaved venomously and without dignity-of course.
That is all at which Mr. Bush is gifted.

We are the ones providing any element of surprise or shock here.

With the exception of Senator Dodd and Senator Edwards, the Democratic presidential candidates have (so far at least) failed us.

They must now speak, and make plain how they view what has been given away to Mr. Bush, and what is yet to be given away tomorrow, and in the thousand tomorrows to come.

Because for the next fourteen months, the Democratic nominating process–indeed the whole of our political discourse until further notice–has, with the stroke of a cursed pen, become about one thing, and one thing alone.

The electorate figured this out, six months ago.

The President and the Republicans have not-doubtless will not.

The Democrats will figure it out, during the Memorial Day recess, when they go home and many of those who elected them will politely suggest they stay there-and permanently.

Because, on the subject of Iraq the people have been ahead of the media….

Ahead of the government…

Ahead of the politicians…

For the last year, or two years, or maybe three.

Our politics… is now about the answer to one briefly-worded question.

Mr. Bush has failed.

Mr. Warner has failed.

Mr. Reid has failed.

So. Who among us will stop this war-this War of Lies? To he or she, fall the figurative keys to the nation.

To all the others-presidents and majority leaders and candidates and rank-and-file Congressmen and Senators of either party-there is only blame… for this shameful, and bi-partisan, betrayal.

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This war makes me so sick to my stomach, it's not funny. This war is full of lies. Fighting to bring Democracy to Iraq....bullshit! That may be what news channels and the president says, but it's all lies. Bush says it's for Democracy, but that's just hiding the true reason we as Americans are getting horribly killed or losing limbs and that's...oil. That is what I've come to read under all the blood shed. How many times must the Democrats say that they're going to get our troops home, only to have our asshole president say that he'll veto anything they make. Well Mr. Bush, I hope you keep holding you breath until you die. Maybe then we could end this fucking war. I'm done! Right now I'm so sick to my stomach, I'm going to go into the bathroom and vom....

Right now I am of the mindset that full impeachment of both Chimpy and Deadeye Dick is the only solution to this mess. Well, okay, it's not a solution, but a step in the right direction.

Sadly, I am more or less positive this will never happen.

I totally agree with you there. We need to get rid of Bush's whole ladder of people that he choose when he went into office, in my opinion. We need someone whos sick of this war in office, who'll pull our troops out.

It comes up now and again, primarily from Feingold (bless that man). It's gaining steam in the latest attempt--the impeachment committee is actually investigating Cheney, last I read--but I figure it's really too late in the game.

We're approaching the seven year mark for Dicky & No Brain; throwing them in the hole now won't do any immediate good. If they started the impeachment hearings and proceedings now, it wouldn't finish before January 2009, when the new Prez takes over and shuffles around the Cabinet Secretaries and Capitol Hill Staff. It'd certainly send the right damn message, though, and might shake out enough roaches to make sure that the next Commander In Chief actually gets a fresh start with an honest staff under him.

I imagine it keeps getting stopped by Republicans (and even some crooked Dems) who are afraid that if the investigators start following the slime trail, they'll be finding all sorts of dancing skeletons...

Well, it's not too late, really; this is about the point in Clinton's presidency when the Gassy Oil Perverts decided to impeach over a blow job. There is a mountain of evidence for real impeachable offenses against Chimpy and The Dick, yet the spineless Democrats are afraid of taking any real action, fearing it would be viewed as a "partisan witch hunt."

Nevermind that the Christofascist right wing did exactly that to Clinton for seven years of his term.

We need some more Democrats with an actual set of balls--someone who doesn't give a flying rat's ass what the right-wing noise machine will say about them. They just need to go all-out for impeachment. Nail Dumbleya's balls to the wall--Herr Cheney's, too.

That's what just repulses me down to my very core: that the Congressional Democrats are more worried about what the right-wing media think of their actions than what their constituents think.

In many ways, I saw this coming months ago. Staying in Congress has become a horrific balancing act, a desperate juggle between doing what needs to be done and not offending anyone who's opinion can cost you your seat next go 'round. It unfortunately leads to milquetoast leadship, forced to back down at the slightest impression that the GOP will spin your stance against you. In this case, The Rovian Machine was working overtime to create an illusion of sorts that failing to provide Duh-byuh his will was an invitation by Congressional Democrats to the insurgency to kill our now underarmed and underfunded troop base, a "stab in the back" by liberal Dems who were cowardly, were greedy, or even--gasp--unpatriotic.

I'm saddened deeply to see Reid and Pelosi end up as targets, though I have trouble pegging everything that's happened on one or two or even a few names. Congress, even when Democrat-dominant, is a group of people. It only takes a majority of idiots to make everyone look like they're applying lipstick in preparation to smooch buttock.

Don't think I'm happy about this outcome in the least. There's no way the troops are coming home soon enough to justify cutting their funds, and I guess the Dems had to give up and get them money somehow. And I don't even know if I'd blame it entirely on either party's leadership or members. I just wish someone up there on the Hill who wasn't on the "wrong" side had more cojones.

Call me an eternal optimist.

And I realised, after I put that in, that I've lost much of my ability to be angry at my government for their idiocy and powermongering. They're starting to wear me down, and it scares me.

After further contemplation, I don't place the blame on any one person--or, indeed, any one party. But everyone involved here did exactly the wrong thing.

Not only did they do the wrong thing, they did the MOST wrong thing they could. It's the polar opposite of the MOST right thing. Instead of standing up and waving their flags in the air and screaming bloody murder or even making a stand and convincing Li'l Dub-Dub that he cannot always have his cake and shoot at it too, they sat down and put their spines back in the box that they've been stored in since 2000.

Maybe our faith in our subleaders--Congress--is badly misplaced. I begin to wonder if we farmed off our democratic privileage without realizing it, and now we're just voting for the guy who says the right words without necessary ever meaning them.

Civil disobedience would seem to be in order, but we went over that elsehwere.

(You've got me worked up like few others. I haven't politi-ranted like this in months.)

There are days I wish I was politically ignorant like so much of this country seems to be; I am pretty sure I would sleep better some nights. I swear people are more concerned with who's fucking who on Grey's Anatomy than who is fucking the country.

It profoundly saddens me to see members of Congress--many of whom I am sure are nice people and actually have their hearts in the right place--just sell their fellow human beings down the river for what they see as political prudence...

...or they get drunk on the dollar sign. Sigh.

I couldn't believe all of this. How do people even accept the President's claims that somehow the Democrats are at fault for the troops not getting their money? I can't tell if anyone actually thinks this is the case, or the Dems are just too stupid and believe it anyway.

I recently registered to vote in Washington, and am now reconsidering that decision. It doesn't matter anymore. I think I'm just about done with voting. My thin illusion of democracy fails me. What the hell are we living in when despite such a loud message from the electorate and a sweeping out of the legislature, the will of one man can trump it all?

The majority of Americans seem to be either amazingly apathetic or mind-numbingly stupid. The mainstream media have become nothing more than stenographers for the White House, and this is a horribly bad thing, because your average viewer at home lets the TV do the thinking for them.

I was going to say this country is ripe for revolution--but revolutions come from a fed-up populace that insists on change. The "revolution" last November has done us no good, and as foxish pointed out in his comment, we as a people are either being worn down or didn't care in the first place. I, too, have become disillusioned with the concept of voting; you hit the nail on the head when you said it just doesn't matter anymore.

So what now? I just don't know. This corrosion of democracy has been happening since Reagan, if not since Nixon. The greedy culture of corruption in politics is so out of control, it boggles my mind that more millions of Americans aren't just absolutely pissed off by it all. It is blatantly obvious that those supposedly elected to represent us have no intention of really doing so--not when corporate lobbying keeps them stinking rich and totally out of touch with their constituents.

I want to believe that the system of American democracy is not irretrievably broken. I want to believe there is someone--or a group of someones--out there who can pull this country from the brink. But more and more I get the sinking feeling it will not happen within our lifetime.

Please someone out there prove me wrong!

I've had an essay (or a speach or monologue or whatever you want to call it) brewing in my head for about six months so far, and it sort of ties back.

When LBJ and later on Nixon were starting to grate on the public consiousness with their inept and downright grotesque handling of American politics and policy, the public grouped up, mobilized, formed counterculture groups and protested until they were coughing up blood and teeth. We don't have all that tape of rallies and riots for nothing.

This time around, it seems to be the exact opposite, and I blame no small part of it not on a lack of motivation, but a lack of motivators. The "American Resistance" has no leaders, no polarising everymen who can stand in front of a crowd, put the right words in the right order, and have what should be a motley mob of random joes turn right into a wave of righteous anger and holy anger. It just doesn't happen. Folks seem content to rant and rave on their blogs, on YouTube, in their own homes, whatever. Goddammit, people, where is the out and out rejection of this enemy of the state we've got sitting in power?

I don't know. I certainly am not a leader, and I don't know where to find one. Someone--many someones--have to step up, and say "you are lost, America, and I will lead you home again." This go, we've no Bobby Kennedy, no Martin Luther King, no Malcom X, no one who seems to want to lead. All I ever see are random rallies that degrade into nothing and never mean anything.

Pardon me if I seem really worked up here. Fuck fear, apathy is what'll get you killed in the political arena.

I think there are people out there who can lead, who should lead. What they are waiting for, I don't know--some political or social cue, perhaps? Certainly they can't be waiting for things to go too far; they already have.

I imagine it is very difficult to try to lead and stand up for what you think is right when there is virtually no one rallying behind you (and I don't mean in the uninformed and detached way Duuuuuhbya seems to pretend to "lead" even though 70% of the country is against him; smirking through a smog of ignorance and stupidity isn't leadership). Every day I wonder, "What will it take? When does enough become enough for the American people?" And after every Bush misadministration scandal and travesty I hope maybe that point has come...and it never seems to.

I repeat: Americans seem to be so very lazy and so very apathetic. Maybe if gasoline hits $5.00 a gallon and they cancel American Idol; hell, I don't know.

You want my honest opinion? I don't think they know when, where, or how to get a sort of revolution started. It's been almost 40 years since the civil uprisings of the 1960's, and in the interim we've had the drug'n'sex powered 70s, the money-crazed "Me & My MTV" Generation of the 80s, and the apathy and flannel kids of the 90s. This wave wouldn't know how to stand up to a slightly vicious puppy, let alone a small army of powermongers. Maybe that's how they got in there in the first place--the silent are often the oppressed.

I know that's how I stand right now. I want to go out, I want to do something, but I don't know what or how or when or who to look to, who to throw my support behind. It's not anyone political, they're too much a part of the machine to make changes to it, not in the face of a million cogs who can break them in a second. If the leaders are waiting for the army to lead, they should know the army's waiting for their leaders to follow.

I've never had to rebel on this scale before. It's not a skill I could major in.

I don't think this social uprising (if indeed one happens) will be something you arrange online or have folks sign up for.

I think it will be spontaneous, sudden, and almost frightening in aspect. Basically, once these apathetic, stupid people do find something that pushes them to the edge--if it isn't too late--you aren't going to have little demonstrations of two or three thousand people; you are going to have about fifty or sixty million people all pissed off at once and taking it to the streets. All those people without any chance of health insurance or retirement. All those people with whispers of possible deportation over their heads. All those people who watch helplessly as their job is exported to Mumbai.

Just a guess on my behalf, and I reiterate: heaven only knows what it will take to motivate some of these people.

Slowly gained immunity...

Lemme tell you a little story.
As far back as I can remember, I've been told that pandas are going extinct. And, you know, they are. It was all over the place for a better part of a decade. But 20 years later, I'm still hearing about it. You know what? I'm immune. They stuck these things in cages together hoping they would mate, and they didn't. This panda practically has a 'aslt man on earth' scenario, and he won't have sex with any of the women he's been presented with. Maybe, just maybe, pandas want to go extinct. But that's not the issue I wanted to discuss.

The issue is the built up immunity. Most people see the war now and just turn the channel over. When it's that easy to ignore, no one really cares who dies or for what reason. Save for the parents of the deceased, of course. So, I guess it boils down to what stops wars. Is it one side winning? That ain't too likely in this scenario is it? The war in vietnam was ended by what some would argue as a single picture of a girl running screaming down a road from her village being napalmed in the background.

That hit home. An image of war, especially when you see it happening to children. That hits home like a sledgehammer to a watermellon, leaving juicy chunks of stuff you'd rather not see burned into memory. But, you can't even get that now as the news is so softened towards the war that any negative press is instantly downplayed, no matter what it is. Guantanamo Bay anyone? Those were war crimes, and atrocities. But, did anything really happen? Did anyone really care that much? Nope. The news drowned it out with other stuff. Sure it was covered, but who really remembers the names involved?

See, people have grown immune to this stuff now that the only way to really end the conflict would be to see a whole lot of soldiers coming home broken.
Colostomy bags hanging out, disguting bandages holding back seeping wounds, limbs removed, permanent disfigurements ... but wearing an american flag pin, and carrying a smile. Proud to serve a country that doesn't care. Ain't that a bitch.

But, would people really care about that? No. See, that soldier is no longer TV friendly, so you won't see that, or even hear of that. Fox news would say a soldier returned home to his family ... in other news, there was more death in Iraq as insurgents killed a half dozen marines, and a reporter. We now take you live via sattelite phone to discuss these deaths, but not show you any death pictures, because death is bad. We can only talk about it, but not show it to you. That would make people upset. Quick, show them puppies. Or better yet, get that fear sound and tell them about the war in iraq. And get that fire effect back there. Fire is bad, so war is bad. Make gunfire sound effects too. Those are bad too. Guns kill.

You know who else died recently and got shitloads of attention? Anna Nicole Smith. 6 months ago, I only knew her name, now I know intimate details of her family life. How she lived, how she died, even the size of her implants. Was that necessary? Was diving way the hell too deep into her personal life and airing it on television necessary? Hell no, but there's a war out there, any news is better than that. Keep discussing it like it's important! Why not go look in your local paper. I bet the obituary section has a long list of deceased from the past six months. Where is their TV coverage?

Hell, Jerry Fallwell died, and got like 2 minutes in the news. Al Sharpton didn't even call a press conference. This stuff ain't worth hearing, obviously. We don't care when people die in the war, we care when they die and were on a diet, and had a TV show. Now *that* is news.

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