The Sick Mindset of the Welfare State

Maybe Republicans, after passing this obscene Prescription Drug Vote Buying Scheme, will begin to understand that they were right all along about the Welfare state. Buying votes through permanent entitlements is a really shitty idea, and it is not helpful for anyone. Check out the sick state of mind as presented in the NY Times:

But Ernest D. DeBlasis, 73, echoed the view of many when he said the new coverage “amounts to peanuts.”

“It’s not going to help me,” said Mr. DeBlasis, who spends half the year here and half in Marlboro, N.J., where he was an architect. “Let’s hope Congress revises this thing before it takes effect in 2006…”

Joseph S. Shapiro, 89, out for his morning stroll on the boardwalk, said: “People have to pray that they get very ill. If you are in semi-bad shape, you get very little or nothing from the new Medicare bill..”

Of the new drug benefit, Mr. Forzese said: “I don’t expect to get much out of it. I don’t think it will help unless I really get sick and need a lot of medicines.”

The Greatest Generation speaks- they want a free ride.








4,946 to Go

From Reuters (via Drudge):

U.S. soldiers killed 46 Iraqis and captured eight trying to carry out a series of attempted ambushes on U.S. convoys in the central Iraqi city of Samarra on Sunday, a U.S. military spokesman said.
“The fourth infantry division repelled multiple ambush attacks,” Lieutenant Colonel William MacDonald told reporters.

At least 18 attackers, five U.S. soldiers and a civilian traveling with the troops were wounded during the ambushes.

“The attacks were coordinated in locations very close to each other,” he said, adding that the ambushes were made on separate U.S. convoys using mortars, grenades and small arms fire. Three buildings, from whose roofs the attackers fired, were destroyed.

“The attackers attempted to block one of the convoy’s way with a makeshift barricade,” MacDonald said, citing three main attack points around Samarra, north of Baghdad.

“In all of the clashes coalition firepower overwhelmed the attackers resulting in significant enemy losses,” he said. “If you attempt to attack one of our convoys we’re going to use our firepower to stop that attack.”

Some of the attackers wore the attire of Fedayeen, a militia formed by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein before U.S.-led forces toppled him earlier this year.

Quagmire.








Watch Who You are Calling Names, Buddy

In an insult to drunken sailors everywhere, John McCain noted that Congress and this Administration are spending like crazed men. Meanwhile, Chuck Hagel notes why he (correctly) voted against the Prescription Drug Act, and points out the real problem with this administration:

There is a larger point to all of this. Who is looking out for the future of the country? This administration and Congress have increased federal spending over the past three years by 21 percent, resulting in budget deficits for the last two years of $559 billion, with next year’s deficit estimated to be about $500 billion. We passed some of the largest and most expensive bills in the history of the Congress in the past three years – at the same time passing some of the largest tax cuts ever.

All of this at a time when America has taken on more peacekeeping and nation- building around the world than at any time since World War II – all at huge costs. And we see a dangerous and strong protectionist movement beginning to dominate our historical commitment to free trade that will have a negative impact on our trade and institutional relations as well as our economy.

It really is shameful.








It Is Official

The Rebuilding of Iraq is over. It is done. A bloody failure. We are fucked. We are cutting and running. We have quit. We have failed. Democrats are going to have to fix everything.

Oh, and while you are at it, to what extent are Democrats merely obnoxious partisan naysayers willing to say anything to make Bush look bad and to what extent are they merely opportunistic political hacks with a superiority complex and a jaded view of reality? Inquiring minds want to know

*** Update ***

You know, there are a lot of questions about Iraq that need to be answered. There are a lot of things that need to be done better. but now that the economy is recovering quite nicely, the full-on attack on everything Iraq (check my liberal blogroll) is pretty god damn predictable and prett god damn amusing. The words transparent and shallow come to mind…








He Be Right

Howard Owens is right.








Gator Bound

At least we have this good sports news:

The No. 24 Mountaineers (8-4, 6-1) wrapped up a share of WVU’s first Big East conference championship in a decade with a 45-28 victory over the mistake-prone Owls (1-11, 0-7) and can now turn their full attention to preparing for a New Year’s Day rematch with Maryland in the Gator Bowl.

“Although the BCS will not let us officially invite West Virginia to our bowl,” Gator Bowl selection committee chair Susan Hamilton told the media afterwards, “I’m looking forward to seeing all of the WVU players and their wonderful fans in Jacksonville on New Year’s Day.”

The official invitation can’t be extended until the BCS releases WVU from consideration for the Big East’s BCS bowl spot.

That release could come as soon as today following No. 10 Miami’s win over No. 24 Pitt Saturday night.

While WVU and Miami will be listed as co-champions of the Big East with identical 6-1 league marks, the Hurricanes will get the league’s BCS berth thanks to their regular-season win over the Mountaineers.

Regardless, West Virginia coaches and officials left no doubt they were looking forward to welcoming the New Year in Jacksonville.

“Let me say right now,” said WVU president Dr. David Hardesty with a smile, “that we graciously accept your generous non-invitation and are looking forward to bringing a very good football team and a lot of fans to the Gator Bowl on Jan. 1.”

There is a good chance I might be spending New Years in Jacksonville.








Worst Team in Football

If you are just acsual fan of the NFL, you might be wondering why the Steelers are doing sopoorly this year. I think the final three plays in today’s loss to the Bengals might go a long way in illustrating the Steelers problems.

With 13 seconds left in the game, trailing 24-20 (after blowing the lead in 40 seconds), the Steelers have the ball 1st and 10 on the 20 yard line. On first down, with a 4 man rush, the ball is batted down. On 2nd and 10 with 9 seconds left in the game, Maddox is sacked for an 8 yard loss, and a time-out is called qit 1 second remaining. Guess what play the Steelers, in their infinte wisdom, called on 3rd and 18, trailing 24-20, with 88 yards to go and 1 second on the clock:

A screen pass to Amos Zeroue, who can’t run more than 40 yards without getting winded.

We deserve to be the worst team in football.








I am a Country

And my name is JCOLEDOVIA. My neighbors are rampant lefties, but I am assuming I am am nuclear equipped.








Billy Bob Gasket Disease

This collection of book reviews by Andrew Ferguson provides the best description of Bush hate to date. Go read the whole thing and enjoy.

(via Dodd Harris)








Cat in The Hat

Via Dean Esmay, it appears that the movie critics feel the cat should not have been let out of the bag:

“They may as well have skipped the hassle of securing licensing rights and simply called this mess Mike Myers: Asshole in Fur.” — Gregory Weinkauf, DALLAS OBSERVER

“Like being run over by a garbage truck that backs up and dumps its load on top of you.” — David Edelstein, SLATE

“A vulgar, uninspired lump of poisoned eye candy.” — A. O. Scott, NEW YORK TIMES

The Defective Yeti has more.








A Difficult Question

Here is a difficult question for you: “Who has become more predictable regarding their reactions to President Bush? Al-jazeera and the Arab Press or the American Left?”

The American Left

Atrios:

Count me as one who thinks that Bush’s little trip is, on balance, a “good thing.” I mean, it’s better than him not doing it. But, what’s with the press acting like, as Hesiod says, Bush grabbed a machine gun and personally stormed a building filled with armed insurgents?

He didn’t meet with any locals. He didn’t meet with the governing council. He flew into a heavily fortified military base and then flew out again.

Hesiod:

President Bush is a chickenshit.

I’m surprised they didn’t ship that yellow-bellied coward to Iraq in a submarine.

Once the shock value of this stunt wears off, people will realize that everything the Bush administration has been telling us about Iraq is a 100% lie.

The Daily Kos:

Why is it so inherently unsafe for Bush that he has to fly in under darkness without anyone except a handful of top aides and Secret Service and military personnel in the know, then hide out at the airport for a couple of hours with 600 troops, but Hillary Clinton and Jack Reed can drive around the city and meet with American troops, international officials and Iraqi leaders?

Again, the Daily Kos:

I would be a lot more impressed if Bush spent the night in Iraq. Perhaps visited one of those famous schools that have allegedly opened since the war. But fact is that Iraq is nowhere near as calm and safe as the administration would have us believe. The country really is a mess, thanks to the US invasion and inept occupation.

Juan Cole:

Instead, the President had to sneak in and out of Iraq for a quick and dirty photo op, clearly in fear of his life if the news of his visit had leaked. He did not even get time to eat a meal with the troops. He was there for two hours. He did not dare meet with ordinary Iraqis, with the people he had conquered (liberated).

Offstage, the real Iraq carried on. Guerrillas attacked a military convoy on the main highway to the west of Baghdad, near Abu Ghraib. The wire services said, that an AP cameraman filmed “two abandoned military trucks with their cabs burning fiercely as dozens of townspeople looted tires and other vehicle parts.” Guerrillas in Mosul shot an Iraqi police sergeant to death.

Nathan Newman:

Bush– he has to visit the country like a thief in the night. Essentially, this trip was an announcement that Iraq is in such bad shape that the military could not protect the life of the President without such deceit.

Al Jazeera and the Arab Press

The Al Jazeera English Website:

US President George Bush’s stealthy visit to Iraq has been greeted with derision in the Arab world and Iraq’s neighbour Iran.

A section of the Arab media termed it a stunt which showed his determination to win both the war in Iraq and re-election next year.

In Iraq itself, many people termed it a cowardly swift stopover for fear of resistance fighters. Some said they would have preferred Bush to have had the courage to visit the country more openly and meet ordinary people.

Al-Jazeera Television:

I watched it all on Al-Jazeera later, and as usual, they described it as a cheap attempt by Bush & Co. to boost American public opinion in his favour for the upcoming election campaign. You could easily detect the anguish in their anaylsis to the fact that Bush didn’t go down to the streets or meet everyday Iraqis, or that Air Force 1 wasn’t hit by an anti-aircraft missile fired by Iraqi militants. They were really frustrated. Their news have become so predictable. My father was peculiarly furious with one of these ‘analysts’, he almost kicked the tv. The guy was saying that this visit would practically achieve nothing, or to be more accurate “would trick nobody”. He also said that it would have no effect whatsoever on morals of American troops…etc.

An-Nahar:

“I came, I saw nothing, but I will conquer.”

You decide…








Happy Anniversary

Henry Hanks is celebrating his second anniversary today. Go wish him well.








Meme-Killing Time

One of the most obnoxious and tenacious memes the Democrats have been echoing for the last few months is the “Why is Bush not going to funerals of soldiers” nonsense that got its most widely seen airing in a NY Times piece by Andrew Rosenthal. Rosenthal asserts:

But someone of rank from the White House could and should be at each and every military funeral. Ideally, Mr. Bush would shake the hand of someone who loved every person who dies in uniform a small demand on
his time in a war in which the casualties are still relatively small. And he has more than enough advisers, cabinet secretaries and other officials so attending funerals should not be such an inconvenience.

The White House talks about preserving the privacy and dignity of the families of the war dead. But if this was really about the families, the president or Vice President Dick Cheney or Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld would be handing flags to widows and mothers in the time-honored way. And if protecting the privacy of Americans who are suffering was such a priority, the White House wouldn’t call in the cameras to watch Mr. Bush embracing victims of every hurricane, earthquake or suburban California wildfire.

Any time the President does anything regarding Iraq, you can almost certainly expect the catcalls from the idiotic left. Here are a few culled from yesterday’s absurd reactions from the lunatic fringe.

From the comments section of this post from Atrios regarding the President’s visit to Baghdad:

Maybe he’s paying a preemptive visit to our soldiers’ funerals…

All presidents have traditionally done this, along with attend funerals, etc. Bush has been very hands-off during this war, and now he’s gone there, stayed a couple of hours, and returned. He still hasn’t attended a soldier’s funeral…

If Bush really cared about the troops he would have done this in broad daylight, stayed for more than two hours, and actually observed the difficult job these brave troops have to do, I would give him his props. Also, how many funerals has Bush attended?

Normally, if I were not as disgusted as I am with the left wing of the blogosphere and ‘moderate’ Democrats, I would list about 900 other links with the same sort of garbage re-iterated over and over again. I simply don’t have the energy, and while some may want to state that I am not linking these quotes because I can’t find them, they are full of it. Just try this link and see what you get:

From AlterNet: Bush Ignores Soldiers’ Burials

From Fair and Balanced: Bush AWOL again – too busy to attend funeral of DC National Guard …

It goes on and on, and if you don’t believe me, frankly I don’t care. I am tired of being polite to the left and proving arguments beyond any reasonable doubt only to have loony lefters deny what is obvious.

At any rate, I was going to do some research and examine the historical record regarding Presidents attending funerals during wartime, and attempt to see if there was anything to these charges. My research did not take long, because it has already been done for me. Much thanks to the History News Network, who has already examined this issue, and I will thus quote them freely:

Recently, President Bush has been criticized for failing to attend the funerals of the soldiers killed in Iraq. Maureen Dowd noted sarcastically in a recent NYT column that the president had not even bothered to attend the funeral of Specialist Darryl Dent, a “21-year-old National Guard officer from Washington who died outside Baghdad in late August when a bomb struck his truck while he was delivering mail to troops,” though the service took place at a church just “three miles from the White House.”

Have presidents in the past attended the funerals of soldiers who died in combat? Have they taken note of the deaths of U.S. soldiers? The record is mixed, as can be seen below. It would appear that few presidents have ever actually attended military funerals, though many used the bully pulpit to draw attention to lives lost in the service of their country.

Maureen Dowd also criticized the president for refusing to allow the media to take pictures of the coffins of slain soldiers arriving at Dover Air Force Base. During the first Iraq war a similar ban was in effect.

The chaps at the History News Network then break it all down for us in language simple enough for even Atrios, Maureen Dowd, and Andrew Rosenthal to understand:

Lyndon Baines Johnson – According to the Johnson Library, LBJ attended two funerals for soldiers who died during the Vietnam War. The first funeral was for Captain Albert Smith, son of White House correspondent Merriman Smith, which was held February 28, 1966. The second was for Major General Keith R. Ware, held September 17, 1968. LBJ had met Ware while visiting Vietnam.

Richard Nixon – Richard Nixon does not appear to have attended the funerals of any soldiers killed in Vietnam. He did award posthumous medals of honor to the families of several soldiers on 22 April 1971 and on several other occasions. On Veterans day in 1971 he visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery. In 1973 he met with the family of Colonel William Nolde after the colonel was buried in Arlington Cemetery. Colonel Nolde was killed on January 27th, the night before the cease-fire went into effect.

Jimmy Carter – According to the New York Times, Jimmy Carter attended a memorial service for the soldiers killed in the failed rescue of America hostages in Iran in 1980.

Ronald Reagan – Ronald Reagan attended memorial services on several occasions for American soldiers. In 1983 he attended a service at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in connection with the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, which cost the lives of 241 people. In 1987 he attended a service at Mayport Naval Station in Florida for the sailors killed on the USS Stark.

George H.W. Bush – President George Herbert Walker Bush does not appear to have attended any funerals for American soldiers. (The NYT, citing Marlin Fitzwater as a source, indicated that the president did attend several such funerals. But no details were provided.)

Bill Clinton – Bill Clinton attended a service in October 2000 in memory of the 17 sailors killed in the attack on the USS Cole.

After the terrorist bombing the Murrah building in downtown Oklahoma City he publicly grieved with the families of the victims at an event that was regarded at the time as a turning point in his presidency.

In short, it simply is not typical for a President to attend funerals of soldiers during wartime, and if you listen closely, you can hear TAPS playing in the background. By reading this, you have just attended the funeral for this idiotic, mean-spirited, ill-informed, and partisan meme.

(Much Thanks to Lucas Rooney, Aaron Erlich, and the HNN staff for the research done regarding this issue.)

*** Update ***

Some Bush speeches mourning/praising our soldiers:

The heaviest burdens in our war on terror fall, as always, on the men and women of our Armed Forces and our intelligence services. They have removed gathering threats to America and our friends, and this nation takes great pride in their incredible achievements. We are grateful for their skill and courage, and for their acts of decency, which have shown America’s character to the world. We honor the sacrifice of their families. And we mourn every American who has died so bravely, so far from home.
The Americans who assume great risk overseas understand the great cause they are in. Not long ago I received a letter from a captain in the 3rd Infantry Division in Baghdad. He wrote about his pride in serving a just cause, and about the deep desire of Iraqis for liberty. “I see it,” he said, “in the eyes of a hungry people every day here. They are starved for freedom and opportunity.” And he concluded, “I just thought you’d like a note from the ‘front lines of freedom.'” That Army captain, and all of our men and women serving in the war on terror, are on the front lines of freedom. And I want each of them to know, your country thanks you, and your country supports you.

Fellow citizens: We’ve been tested these past 24 months, and the dangers have not passed. Yet Americans are responding with courage and confidence. We accept the duties of our generation. We are active and resolute in our own defense. We are serving in freedom’s cause — and that is the cause of all mankind. President Bush in an address to the nation, 7 September 2003

Securing democracy in Iraq is the work of many hands. American and coalition forces are sacrificing for the peace of Iraq and for the security of free nations. Aid workers from many countries are facing danger to help the Iraqi people. The National Endowment for Democracy is promoting women’s rights, and training Iraqi journalists, and teaching the skills of political participation. Iraqis, themselves — police and borders guards and local officials — are joining in the work and they are sharing in the sacrifice. President Bush at the 20th Anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy, 6 Nov. 2003

It is the nature of terrorism and the cruelty of a few to try to bring grief and the loss to many.

The armed forces of both our countries have taken losses felt deeply by our citizens. Some families now live with the burden of great sorrow.

Cannot take the pain away, but these families can know they are not alone. We pray for their strength. We pray for their comfort. And we will never forget the courage of the ones they loved.

The terrorists have a purpose, a strategy to their cruelty. They view the rise of democracy in Iraq as a powerful threat to their ambitions. In this, they are correct.

They believe their acts of terror against our coalition, against international aid workers and against innocent Iraqis will make us recoil and retreat. In this, they are mistaken.

We did not charge hundreds of miles into the heart of Iraq and pay a bitter cost of casualties and liberate 25 million people only to retreat before a band of thugs and assassins.

We will help the Iraqi people establish a peaceful and democratic country in the heart of the Middle East. And by doing so, we will defend our people from danger. President Bush’s remarks on U.S.-British relations and foreign policy at Banqueting House in London, 19 November 2003








Kudos To Dan Drezner

Congratulations to Dan Drezner, whose response to Matt Yglesias’s idiotic postings on the Bush visit to Baghdad were far classier than mine, but managed to essentially say the same thing. I am not apologizing for my postings- they were and are spot-on and deserved, but it is nice to see Dan can be a touch more patient than I can be in these situations.








How Soon They Forget

Often times, I am guilty of attributing the worst to Democrats, assuming they are just liars and hypocrites. I am starting to think they are just suffering from groupthink induced memory loss. The most amusing example of this is the recent outrage over certain Republicans being pressured to vote a certain way on a major piece of legislation.

For the record, I am not in favor of these sorts of strong-arm tactics, but it is absolutely absurd for Democrats to pretend this is a Republican-only sin. How soon they forget:

Back in August, when he was trying to get his budget passed, Clinton made a deal with moderate and conservative Democrats who argued the plan relied too much on higher taxes or didn’t cut spending early and often enough: Vote for the budget, and the moderates–including Penny–could propose a new set of spending cuts in the fall. (Clinton made a similar agreement with Sen. Bob Kerrey of Nebraska.) They relented. Clinton’s budget passed by one vote in the House and by Vice President Al Gore’s tie-breaker in the Senate.

Democratic leaders thought they were off the hook. They obviously didn’t understand how painful the vote was to moderate Democrats. Citing his frustration with the recalcitrance of the pro-spending groups in Washington, the 42-year-old Penny announced that he would resign from the House at the end of his term.

And the following weekend’s talk shows prominently featured freshman Rep. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky (D-Pa.), who cast the decisive vote. The Almanac of American Politics 1994 calls Margolies-Mezvinsky’s district a “quintessentially Republican seat.” Margolies-Mezvinsky had run for the open seat in 1992 as both a liberal and a deficit hawk, winning by only 1,300 votes. She had announced her opposition to the Clinton budget a couple of hours before the vote.

Margolies-Mezvinsky had to be bullied into changing her position. The televised images of a harried, almost-tearful member of Congress explaining her switch made Margolies-Mezvinsky an instant, if unintentional, celebrity.

These bullying tactics also provided an opportunity for the moderates to demand that Clinton deliver on his promise. Penny got Clinton and House Speaker Tom Foley to agree to a vote on spending cuts before the House adjourned in November. When Clinton offered his “rescission” package, House members could propose amendments that would be voted on individually, without any revisions, at that time.

Strong-arming is nothing new, and Kevin’s implication that some physical harm might come to Republicans who voted against the Prescription Drug Benefit (“Nice kid you’ve got there, Nick. Be a shame if anything happened to him….”) is more over-the-top rhetoric from the theatre of the absurd that once was the Democratic mainstream.