Thursday, June 22, 2006

The (republican) War and Poverty Program

Two things happened yesterday that paint the clearest picture of the options facing Americans in November, and in most years for that matter.

The (r)epublican party will spend the next few months trying to cloud that picture by waving banners of nationalism, by waving banners of fear.

As of yesterday, and for the expressed purposes of electioneering, the GOP is mostly on record as being in favor of that disaster brought to you by the administration and known as THE IRAQ WAR.

It is also in favor of poverty, having rejected, yet again, and shamefully, a Democratic attempt to jack up the minimum wage.

First the war. Jim Rutenger annd Adam Nagourney pen the piece, “GOP Decides to Embrace War as Issue.”

Like they had a choice in the matter. The “Washington Post” scribes noted that, “As [p]resident Bush offered another defense of his Iraq policy during a visit to Vienna on Wednesday, [r]epublicans acknowledged it was a strategy of necessity, an effort to turn what some party leaders had feared could become the party’s greatest liability into an advantage in the midterm elections.”

Could become its greatest liability?

The liability is, or certainly should be, there already. The thousands of soldiers dead, the innocent aid workers and journalists captured and beheaded, the “30 or 35 thousand” dead Iraqi civilians Bush breezily admitted this ghastly affair had claimed are there for all to see.

And the vote is there, too; for all to see. They’re for it. The War. The (r)epublicans. They put it up there on the docket, called their opposite numbers in both houses of Congress “defeatists”and now we’ll have to see if it washes.

An barely lesser disgrace, for the moment, are the Democrats, led by Hillary Clinton, who didn’t back John Kerry’s call for a withdrawal.

Here’s Kerry’s list of friends in the Senate.

Call ‘em up and say thanks for the chutzpah.

But make no mistake, you can browbeat Democrats into playing it safe on such votes – political charades cooked up for the peanut gallery – but they’re not the party of war. They’re simply not the party to stop it.

According to the “Post” piece, there now exists a 74-page briefing book to Congressional offices from the Pentagon, “to provide ammunition for what White House officials say will be a central line of attack against Democrats from now through the midterm elections: that the withdrawal being advocated by Democrats would mean thousands of troops would have died for nothing, would give extremists a launching pad from which to build an Islamo-fascist empire and would hand the United States its most humiliating defeat since Vietnam.”

the scribe understood the armed forces to be nonpartisan.

Of course, before the Bush administration, he also understood there was a right of habeas corpus and a crazy little executive inconvenience called congressional oversight.

So we are on notice. And we should have answers: No more men and women should die for nothing. The “launching pad” for terrorists didn’t exist until the war was cooked up and that was cooked up by a failed (r)epublican strategy, and the same goes for the defeat, which, unless they’ve got proof to the opposite (and they don’t), is already the most humiliating defeat since Vietnam.

And the question should be. “Whose fault is that?”

The follow-up should be, “And do they deserve to govern anew.”

The rest is up to the American people whose judgement has proven less than sage in recent electoral convocations.

Of course the war and beheading of innocents and such is all in a far away place, being handled by underpaid minions of the growing American poor and underclass.

Here at home, if you want to avoid getting tortured and beheaded in that nasty Mesopotamian snake pit, you’ve got to earn some money.

And the (r)epublican party isn’t making that any easier.

Clear choice here, too. The Senante vote was 52 to 46 in favor of raising the wage, but you need 60 for it to happen. So, no raise for our (nonunion) coffee servers, janitors, etc. since 1997.

That’s absurd.

And by the way, have you ever noticed a lack of interest in the big immigration issue from highwayscribery?

That’s because its purveyors would have preferred a healthy and secure wage rate for the people that had been doing those jobs in the first place. Our government saw fit, instead, to roll with the manufacturers associations and clamp wages. And the people they can’t wait to throw out of the country are the one that filled the resulting cheap positions.

It shouldn’t have happened save for the cheapness, austerity, and heartlessness of the global economy, which is administrated largely out of our nation’s capital by the (mostly) men we vote to represent us.

The article, written by Molly Hennessy-Fiske, quotes a (r)epublican representative on the House appropriations committee who voted for the increase. “It could harm us,” he said, “if we don’t address it. I think we are too hung up on philosophy and not looking enough at reality.”

No argument here.

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