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Legacy Chooses

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Ian Walsh believes President Obama is just about done being proactive. I agree.

The Republican/conservative brightness before the burn out I keep thinking is happening, only gets brighter and brighter, and not in a good way. As the Birthers, Tea baggers, and generally just mad at the world types, descend upon the town hall meetings, I realize that my imagining of their behavior falls quantitatively short of their capabilities.

Then, Ian had this to say:

They took the lesson of the Clinton administration to be "don't enflame (sic) the fanatics on the right--avoid social issues, and don't slash the military".  They were, of course, wrong: the radical right (and there is hardly a non-radical right left) will oppose Obama no matter what he does and if Obama is unwilling to use to the full might of the administrative apparatus against them, they will simply take advantage of his weakness to escalate.  Tactics which are seen to work, will not be abandoned, to the contrary, they will be used more and more.
don't enflame (sic) the fanatics on the right--avoid social issues

Suddenly, my imagination made a quantum jump that pictured a radical increase in the use of deadly force, with a resultant increase in dead minorities (including gay, lesbian, and transgenders).

Now, I am not about to believe one way or another that President Obama understood this possible scenario. Still, to pick health care as his first major policy push might have been for other reasons besides the time was right. Regardless of whether he recognized it was a policy that could result in the least amount of insanity and violence, in the end, it is what happened.

Ask yourself this; had President Obama picked an African American jurist for the Supreme Court, just what kind of push back do you think would have happened? Unlike health care, an African American nominee to the Supreme Court is a racial element that would have inflamed the radical right even more then the current push for health reform. I don't know about you, but my imagination in this situation includes some serious killings, maybe even a lynching or three.

What? You think that's too far? If there are calls by influential leaders of the radical right for people to bring guns to town hall meetings, my suggestion of lynchings had President Obama attempted to place an African American on the Supreme Court is going to far? Considering how easy it is for the radical right followers to kill gays, lesbians, and transgenders during less politically decisive times, any push to end DADT, or otherwise legislate equal rights for sexual orientation, would suddenly result in a decrease of killings? We are talking about a section of the electorate that thinks it is funny to print out liberal hunting licenses.

So, for whatever reason, President Obama went the path of least resistance. But, Ian is right. No matter what policy the President pursues, the radical right will fight back. And they will use any action they perceive to have already been effective. If the push for health reform does stall, and no bill is forthcoming this year, I too believe the President is dead in the water. He will achieve no further legislative goals. And even if he does pass health care reform, I still believe he's dead in the water, simply because the radical right, already inflamed and instilled with an Armageddon mindset, will simply believe the end is nigh and make a homicidal/suicidal push. They are going to take as many with them as possible.

In my opinion, any further legislative attempts by the President and violence is assured. It is already occurring. If President Obama manages to shove a version of health reform through congress, he's going to be faced with one angry, pissed off radical right. He will pretty much be unable to overcome any further resistance because civil unrest is only going to continue. Chances are, it will take up most of his administration's attention.

So, once he's done with as much of the legislative work he can realistically achieve, I suggest he turn his attention to judicial/legal house cleaning. Unleash the Justice Department and force a searching and fearless constitutional inventory of our government. There is a world of hurt in it, with much latent corruption and incompetence set to cause further decades of pain and suffering, thereby weakening our country. If he truly wants to be seen as an agent of change, the more important task he faces is exposure of the past administration's eight years of malfeasance and criminality. Hell, cleaning up the last 30 years of modern conservative governance is one damn fine legacy, if you ask me.

Now, I do not believe President Obama wants that for a legacy. But most people do not get to choose their destiny, it chooses them.

Cue Conspiracy Theorists

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I'm surprised we haven't already heard banshee cries of cyber-terrorism over this crash from the 101 Keyboard Brigade.

Of course, if it turns out to have been a case of cyber-sabotage, I'm going to be busy chewing up my shoes......
Normally, I am not one to jump to any conclusions in regards to a person's, or nation's, intentions. However, considering that North Korea's rocket flew directly over Japan and supposedly failed to place it's payload into orbit, I'd be willing to go out on a limb and say they just signaled to the rest of the world they are now a nuclear power.

Do they have enough to go toe to toe with us, or any other country with a left over cold war arsenal? Probably not. In fact, I'd go so far as to say North Korea has assured it's own destruction. If they lob one of their inferior bombs at, say, Pakistan or India, good bye North Korea.

Now, if they pointed one of those bombs at the US, hell we wouldn't even need to use any nuclear weapons in retaliation. A good week of carpet bombing with conventional weapons would be just as effective as a few lobbed nucs. The North Korean government and military is posing, images of grandeur populating their collective imagination in compensation for their lack of true might and completely ignorant of their inability to stand up to the big boys at the moment.

However, that does not mean they will remain impotent. Having possibly developed nuclear weapon capability, and obviously having developed the very real capability of transporting a nuclear weapon, we are going to have to deal with North Korea quickly.

I could go on at this point about the failure of the last administration in preventing North Korea from developing nuclear capability, but that will not change the facts now in place. North Korea has shown itself capable of inflicting severe damage to it's neighbors and disrupting an already unstable global state of affairs. Regardless of how North Korea managed to achieve nuclear weapons capability, we now have to address the issues.

Even more frightening is the real possibility of North Korea setting off World War III. With North Korea stands China. Whether we like it or not, China will have much to say in the manner of how North Korea is dealt. We mishandle China - look out.

The United States once managed to put into place a framework to keep North Korea sedate. Then, with our collective heads shoved up our collective asses, we placed George W. Bush into the Oval Office - twice! We now are facing the real consequences of that insanity. I hope to God we've managed to place a man in the Oval Office capable of rectifying this mess left for him; and us.

Two More Unemployed Captains

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Two US navy vessels have collided in the Strait of Hormuz near Iran, lightly injuring 15 sailors, the US navy said.

A nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Hartford, and amphibious transporter the USS New Orleans collided early on Friday, the US Navy Fifth Fleet said.

As crowded as the oceans are getting, I am not surprised to hear about collisions. However, I am surprised about two US Naval ships colliding. Now, two ships of opposing nations, that's totally not unheard of, considering the number of times navies engage in chicken. Or tag.

So, I figure there had to be a failure in communications. Or the sonar guys were not paying attention. Or the two captains didn't like each other and were playing chicken. If it wasn't for the fact that our former president was one George W. Bush, who managed to break the military, I'd never even consider typing the third option.
Oh, look. My conspiracy theorist just woke up.

(CNN) -- A NASA satellite crashed back to Earth about three minutes after launch early Tuesday, officials said.

"We could not make orbit," NASA program manager John Brunschwyler said. "Initial indications are the vehicle did not have enough [force] to reach orbit and landed just short of Antarctica in the ocean."

"Certainly for the science community, it's a huge disappointment."

The satellite, which would have monitored greenhouse gases to study how they affect the Earth's climate, was launched on a rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 1:55 a.m. PT (4:55 a.m. ET).

But the payload fairing -- a clamshell-shaped structure that allows the satellite to travel through space -- failed to separate from the rocket, NASA officials said.

I'm sure it was just a simple malfunction. It's not like there are people out there who would stoop to such levels as to sabotage a NASA rocket. Right?


The Daily Brew

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The Daily Brew
February 21, 2008

Suppose, hypothetically, that sometime in the middle of next summer there is a major terrorist attack in the United States. Not on the scale of September 11, but somewhat larger in scale than the attacks in London and Barcelona. Suppose, for example, that on Friday, the Fourth of July, 2008, explosives simultaneously destroy ten subway trains packed with people on their way to the firework shows in New York City and Washington DC, killing 800 people, and injuring 1200 more. What would be the political fallout?

We all know what would happen. It would take perhaps three seconds before the Republican megaphone on AM radio and Fox News blamed the Democrats. The Republicans would immediately point to the Democrat's failure to renew FISA this past week as the reason the attacks were not stopped. The Democrats would then pee in their pants and form a circular firing squad, simultaneously blaming each other for not giving Bush the unfettered power to declare who should live and who should die, and debating whether the fall elections should just be delayed, or canceled entirely. Assuming that the ballot somehow went forward, John McCain would be elected president and the Republicans would re-take both houses of Congress.

The simple, undeniable truth is that the Republicans now have a tremendous amount to gain if America is attacked, and even more to lose if we are not. So put on your tinfoil hats with me and ask yourself if Cheney would let it happen.

I realize that among respectable progressives one is not allowed to even hint that the Republicans are capable of such evil. There is no more certain way to poop in the punchbowl of the comments section any of my favorite blogs than to suggest that you don't buy the official explanation of September 11. Virtually all of the self appointed consignetti of the left-wing commentariat will either ban you outright or mock you for even bringing the topic up. Despite how much we have in common on virtually every other political issue, I have to admit that I regard these people as idiots.

How much evidence do we need to see that the main difference between Republicans and Democrats is that Republicans aren't shy about using violence, including violence against Americans, as a means to an end?  What do the Republicans have to do to prove they are capable of doing damn near anything to further their power?

The head of the Klu Klux Klan has been quoted as publicly predicting that Barrack Obama will be assassinated. No one believes for a minute that if he is elected President, some racist Republican won't try. The anthrax spores that were mailed to then majority leader Tom Daschle were created in a US government facility, yet no one has ever been charged with the crime. Osama bin Laden is blamed for killing three thousand American citizens. At six foot four, he is the most recognized man in the Arab world. He is also disabled, as he is in need of periodic kidney dialysis. Despite that, he has never been caught. The Bush administration deliberately lied to the American public to start an illegal war of choice that has killed thousands of American servicemen, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. They tortured people, some to death, in detention centers in Iraq and Cuba. They paid your tax dollars to hire private corporate mercenary armies to operate outside of the jurisdiction of any sovereign power, while knowing that male employees of these mercenary armies were raping female American citizens who worked for them, with no consequences whatsoever.

Call me a conspiracy nut, but given this track record I don't think it is unreasonable to suggest that the Republicans are capable of doing whatever is necessary to stay in power. Quite the contrary, I would suggest that anyone who thinks they would not is hopelessly naive.
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Damn it! And I just managed to get my conspiracy theorist back in his box.

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Bush to Veto Pentagon Funds Over Iraq Provision

New York Times

Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who heads the Armed Services Committee, said it was "unfortunate that the administration failed to identify the concerns upon which this veto is based until after the bill had passed both houses on Congress and was sent to the president for signature." The senator said he was "deeply disappointed" at Friday's developments.

The bill is important to members of the military and their families, since it provides for a 3.5 percent pay raise for the troops and contains measures intended to improve the much-criticized health-care system for veterans. (Money for the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan is provided for in separate legislation.)

Honestly, it is not about the possibility of lawsuits. It is about BushCoâ„¢ using it as an excuse instead of vetoing it over the 3.5% pay raise for the troops. These bastards are nothing, if not craven, in their efforts to undermine our troops. And since there is no simple fix to be had here-it will all have to go through the legislation process again, more pork barrel sections will be added, and the pay raise will be battled against. And if it is not successfully combated and makes it into the bill again, than another section will be used as an excuse to veto that version of the bill.

Now, if you will all excuse me, I have to put my conspiracy theorist back in his underground bunker complex.

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