Dear Speaker Pelosi: An Open Letter to the Speaker of the House of this 110th US Congress.
Dear Madam Speaker:
In the "may you live in interesting times" school of history and politics, we certainly live in interesting times. All across America an entire class of professional politicians, an entire party (the Democrats) that should represent well over one-half of the American public, find themselves MUTED by the coordinated and forceful PR spin - propaganda - that is the Republican Party under the control of the Bush-Cheney-Rove administration.
Democrats, who should represent the BEST CHARACTERISTICS of our modern American society - the willingness of society to educate _all_ of our children; the desire to protect our environment and children from toxins such as lead which can overnight create lifetime mental and physical disabilities; the desire to embrace humanity's "wretched masses" and lead them, too, to economic self-sufficiency if not the "promised land" - all these impulses and many thousands more stem from the progressive, democratic, and freedom-loving desires that we Americans have come to regard as our birthright, and that we celebrate every July 4th: the RIGHT and ABILITY to CONFRONT any wrongful, injurious, or ABUSIVE use of authority, and to demand that OUR rights - "WE THE PEOPLE" - be heard over the coordinated efforts of those (the autocracy/aristocracy) that would seek to quell the voices of the public so as to further concentrate wealth and power, as barons and nobles once treated the populace as serfs and peasants during the feudal age.
THERE IS NOTHING WRONG TODAY with the Democratic Party that some FORCEFUL PR would not correct.
And the good news is - Democrats COULD HAVE FUN doing so - if they just stop taking orders from the CW "CONVENTIONAL WISDOM" of the DC press corps and corporate-owned press-media!
Quite simply, Republican arch-conservitives ("reactionaries" or "right-wingers") WANT TO TAKE AMERICA BACK to the days and society of THE GREAT DEPRESSION. Ten, even five years ago, it would have been impolitic - even daft - to say so, but almost seven years into the Bush administration, we know that the Bush Republicans have as much respect for American voters and taxpayers as they do for minimum-wage illegal immigrants - "You may provide cheap labor, but DON'T EVEN THINK of asserting your rights!"
Even before anyone in America (outside of Texas) had heard of Karl Rove, Right-Wing leaders, reporters, and think-tank writers, and above all HATE RADIO DJs had made the words "LIBERAL DEMOCRAT" into a pejorative.
i.e. "Tax and Spend Liberals!" with all the sneering contempt that a Right-Wing hate-radio DJ could muster. Karl Rove, using the wealth and influence of the Republican Party's alliance with corporate America (i.e. Bush Sr's rolodex, including such industry executives such as Halliburton Chairman and CEO Dick Cheney), merely took the "Librul Democrats!" pejorative to new levels - especially once 9-11 shocked America's sense of security, and allowed the GOP to bind their pejorative smears of "tax and spend libruls" to FEAR, to every American's very desire to survive in a dangerous world.
Madam Speaker, when George W. Bush talks of "DEFENDING AMERICA" and "PROTECTING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE" - HE DOES NOT SPEAK FOR ME, or millions of other fellow Americans who voted against him in two or three or four elections.
HE is the president who, when warned in person, "Al Qaida is DETERMINED TO ATTACK IN AMERICA" did - EXACTLY NOTHING!
Nothing, that is, except to give his Attorney General the authority to stop flying on public airliners in July of 2001, leaving AIRLINE CREWS and PASSENGERS EXPOSED, like sitting ducks while the Attorney General flew in the security of a private chartered jet - two full months, 8 long weeks, before the 9-11 terrorists made good on their well known efforts to bring the Africa embassies- and USS Cole-style suicide-bomb attacks to America.
George W. Bush CLAIMS to want "to protect the American people" but his actions speak louder than his words. HE preferred STAYING ON VACATION as the most powerful hurricane in decades swirled ominously towards American towns and cities... (Katrina set the all-time meteorological low-pressure record for the Atlantic basin, before it stalled and weakened, then regained strength and resumed heading north towards the Mississippi-Louisiana coastline)- then he TOPPED that DISMAL, callous, GROSS NEGLECT - BY ATTENDING REPUBLICAN PHOTO-OP FUNDRAISERS as American citizens in New Orleans drowned - after the FEDERAL dikes and levees failed, as had BEEN PREDICTED THEY WOULD!
Mr. Bush looked at beleaguered citizens of New Orleans in the same way that a military commander orders the relocation and deportation of enemy civilians after a victorious military conquest - with SCORN and CONTEMPT!
It is scarcely possible to compile all of President Bush's "war on terror" failures and instance of gross incompetence in a single book, much less in a single letter, but any such compilation would have to include SELLING US PORTS (and port security) to DUBAI firms owned by dictators who answer to no one - in a region that was the nexus of the BCCI "bank of terrorists international" money-laundering and fraud (and possibly 9-11 funding as well)! To top THAT gross, in-your-face contempt of the American people, the President and Vice President have clearly approved of Halliburton corporation's desire to move its headquarters from - Houston, USA, to Dubai, UAE, presumably taking its billion-dollar US government contracts and military secrets with it!
And finally, how can any discussion of the Bush-Cheney administration's 'leadership' fail to mention that the conservative Republicans have had, for at least a decade since the 'end of the Cold War,' a JIHAD against - nuclear non-proliferation talks and treaties! The 'conservatives' of the Right-Wing of the Republican party have been ENCOURAGING nuclear proliferation! (Including a $5 billion deal to sell India GE's latest nuclear technology, with the "understanding" that India's SEVENTEEN 'secret' military reactors will be able to produce more weapons-grade material - unsupervised and with the blessings of the US government!)
In a word, the Republican Party agenda, as exhibited by the Bush-Cheney-Rove White House, is one of unadulterated GREED and CORRUPTION - greed and corruption that puts American citizens, even our very American way of life, at great risk!
HOW can such transparent 'leaders,' and such a grossly corrupt agenda, fail to provoke more OUTRAGE from more of the American citizenry?
The answer is - control of the media and PR spin machine. As Leslie Stahl explained in a Bill Moyers documentary from the Reagan administration days, President Reagan was able to SLASH funding for health-care facilities for senior programs - but merely by attending the grand-opening of one of the last such facilities to survive his budget cuts, he garnered public approval for "being compassionate" in a skillfully executed photo-op!
The Republican agenda under the Bush Republicans is quite simple - to take America, and Americans, as closely back to the days of the Great Depressionas politically possible. Before the Bush administration came to power, it would have been quite impossible for Democratic leaders and commentators to make this bold assertion - but today we have the wreckage of New Orleans to point to, much less the carnage in Iraq that the Bush administration points to as "PROGRESS"!
Without even going into whether Bush administration zealots sees open-ended, on-going, never ending wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere as "progress" (they most certainly do, and only need another major terror "incident" to justify the draft and even more draconian police-state powers), just here in America, and exclusive of the war-on-terror, they have openly signaled their desire to subordinate American law and jurisprudence to "fundamental religious values" - the same values that Bible-thumping preachers in the slave-states once used to justify slavery! The Bush-Republicans seek to destroy (and many have said so) ALL the layers of the social safety net built up since the New Deal administration. They have openly sought to destroy Social Security, and indeed want to keep the mandatory "WITHHOLDING" in place, but instead of having a GUARANTEED retirment account at the end of one's working life, want to turn those withholdings into a gian ponzi scheme at the mercy of brokers and fund-managers - in effect turning what is a form of SAVINGS into a form of TAXATION. (IF Social Security returns MORE money to retired workers than they put in, then it has become A FORM OF SAVINGS. Righties ignore this point, Democrats seem to be oblivious of it, and economist rarely credit Social Security with being a FORM OF SAVINGS.)
Across the board, Right-Wing Republicans are unapologetic (if not proud) about their dsire to DISMANTLE the New Deal - which is to say, TO TAKE AMERICA BACK TO THE GREAT DEPRESSION ERA!
WHY can not Democrats come out and forcefully make this assertion? That "LIBRUL" policies have brought America almost all the things that we take for granted about our America since the Great Depression - protections of our civil rights and property rights and voting rights and our right to breath clean air and consume food untainted by corporate production of toxins and poisons?
These points should be, to steal an recently abused notion, "A SLAM DUNK" of Demoratic PR, spin, and media savy!
WHENEVER a Republican is caught in public talking about DISMANTLING Social Security or other New Deal programs, the Democrats should FORCEFULLY, ENERGETICALLY, and HAPPILY counter "SO - you Republicans want to take us back to the Depression era?"!!
Madam Speaker, whether you realize it or not, you are matched in a high-stakes battle of wits with Karl Rove. He still controls the DC press corps (and thereby the NY/Chicago/LA national press-media). IF he is still the president's Chief Political Counsel by the end of this presidential term, that will mean Republicans will have WON the battle to portray the War in Iraq as a _DEMOCRATIC_ FAILURE, and the Democrats as being weak and unable to PROTECT American citizens.
And, quite honestly, Madam Speaker, IF the Democrats CAN NOT PROTECT THEIR CONSTITUENTS (from Mr. Rove's blatant voter suppression and voter intimidation schemes and outright computerized vote-THEFT ballot rigging)... IF the Democrats can NOT PROTECT American taxpayers from Mr. Cheney's wholesale HALLIBURTON billion-dollar FRAUDS.... IF the Democrats can not PROTECT American citizens from wholesale corporate corruption, of the kind that such as ENRON used to DEFRAUD workers, investors, and pensioners, that Mr. Bush used to ride to power (1) in the first place -
- IF the Democrats CAN NOT PROTECT American citizens from such clear and present CORRUPTION, FRAUD, ABUSE, and outright criminal conduct (2) from the highest levels of this government - then they DESERVE the caulumny that Mr. Rove is so ardently hoping and planning to heap on them starting in January 2009.
(1) - (Enron was Mr. Bush's NUMBER ONE CAMPAIGN DONOR in TWO Texas gubernatorial campaigns, the 2000 Republican presidential primary campaign, the 2000 presidential campaign, the 2000 Florida recount battle, and the 2001 inauguration balls)
(2) - (Lewis "Scooter" Libby was concurrently a SENIOR PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR - at the SAME TIME that he was the Vice President's CHIEF OF STAFF - during the time for which he was CONVICTED of FELONY PERJURY and OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE that put the "CIA outing scandal" safely past the 2004 election)
The good news is, IT SHOULD BE FUN AND EASY to portray the Republican Party, and Bush-Rove-Cheney administration, in this light!
Just imagine poor Karl Rove - having to CREATE the "WHITE HOUSE TRASHING SCANDAL" out of THIN AIR! - so as to smear and disgrace the departing Clinton-Gore White House staffers, and drive popular vote-winner of the 2000 presidential race (Vice President) Al Gore out of town, tarred-and-feathered in abject DISGRACE by Mr. Rove's "they VANDALIZED sacred White House property" SMEAR.
Poor Mr. Rove- having to CREATE SCANDALS out of thin air, while, were he working for the Democrats, he would have to compile an entire encyclopedia of Republican GENUINE SCANDALS of the first order, just to decide which atrocious frauds and derelictions-of-duty he would select and focus on to raise public outrage to "IMPEACH YESTERDAY!" levels!
Madam Speaker, DON'T be an Al Gore or John Kerry, to have victory and your good name SNATCHED from you because you were afraid of that very possibility, and thereby (they) were to afraid to confront the GOP smear machine! DON'T be a Tom Daschle or Joe Lieberman, SITTING IDLY as ENRON- with the BLESSINGS of the Bush-Cheney White House, DEFRAUDS American investors and pensioners, and extorts California ratepayers. DONT pretend ignorance, as the DC press corps does, as Dick Cheney and George W. Bush turn New Orleans into Blackwater and Halliburton's Happy Hunting Grounds, at the expense of American citizens.
HAVE SOME FUN! DEMAND that your party stay ON MESSAGE, to DEFINE the Bush-Cheney administration, and Republican Party, as the party of those frauds and abuses and outrages!
IF Karl Rove can SMEAR Max Cleland, John Kerry, Tom Daschle, (all three Vietnam combat veterans)and popular-vote winner VICE PRESIDENT Al Gore - he can certainly SMEAR YOU.
DON'T go down without a good fight! Defend America, protect your grandchildren, AND HAVE FUN DOING IT!
(PS: In the recent televised Democratic Presidential debate, the swarmy NBC anchor Brian Williams aked to one of the candidates "A recent letter-to-editor in the USA Today newspaper said that Senate Majority Leader HARRY REID is guilty of "TREASON" for saying that the war in Iraq is lost, and that he should be exiled from the Senate, if not punished. First thing, would the swarmy Mr. Williams ask of a Jewish candidate, or African-American candidate, a racist letter written by a Skin-head reader? Let's give Mr. Williams "a pass" for using a HATE-RADIO TALKING POINT as a question in the primary debate (for, indeed, that portrayal is the essence of Campaign 2008) - his choice of question merely points out that indeed Senate Majority Leader Read and Speaker of the House Pelosi ARE BEING ACCUSED of TREASON by the Righty talkers of Hate-Radio, which just demonstrates the urgency of Democrats WORKING OVERTIME to DEFINE the Bush-Cheney-Rove administration as the creator of all these massive failures, corruptions, and fundamentalist terrorist recruiter fantasies in the first place.)
Pelosi calls out Bush for 1999 statement on timetable.
Reacting to President Bush’s veto of the Iraq supplemental bill, Speaker Nancy Pelosi noted this evening that Bush once believed it was important for a president to lay out a timetable (TRANSCRIPT follows):
<< The president wants a blank check. The Congress is not going to give it to him. The president said, in his comments, he did not believe in timelines, and he spoke out very forcefully against them. Yet in 1999, on June 5th, then-Governor Bush said, about President Clinton, “I think it’s important for the president to lay out a timetable as to how long they will be involved and when they would be withdrawn.” Despite his past statements, President Bush refuses to apply the same standard to his own activities. Standards — that’s the issue.
If the president thinks that what is happening on the ground in Iraq now is progress, as he said in his comments tonight, then it’s clear to see why we have a disagreement on policy with him. I agree with Leader Reid. We look forward to working with the president to find common ground, but there is great distance between us right now. >>