With my new radio show, I have not had the time to write my newsletter. A monthly newsletter is more than I can tackle at this time. Quarterly, may be more realistic.
Do you remember that TV clip in faded color with Vince Lombardi, the famous Hall of Fame coach of the Green Bay Packers, furiously pacing up and down the sideline exclaiming, "What the h%## is going on out there?" When I look at the political scene, I feel like Coach Vince.
This week we learned that our President may have authorized the leak of CIA agent’s Valerie Plame’s name to the press. This is the same President who has railed against White House leaks and promised that no lawbreakers will remain on his staff.
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Tom DeLay has announced that he will not seek re-election. DeLay blames "liberal democrats" for his downfall. Let’s see…. DeLay’s very close friend Jack Abramoff has been found guilty of illegal lobbying practices. Two of the congressman’s former aides have been indicted and are cooperating with prosecutors. A third DeLay aide has plead guilty and it looks like Congressman Bill Ney (R-Oh) is the next target of the investigation. Of course, none of these events could have caused DeLay to step down. It was the liberal democrats.
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The President has told us, in a press conference several weeks ago, that it is tough in Iraq, but he is confident of victory. The press, he tells us, is just reporting the bad news and none of the good. Well, we know that thousands of airplanes land at hundreds of airports across the US every day. This is not news. The plane that has a near miss or crashes makes the news. We all know this. The fact that our soldiers have erected a new school in Iraq is nice; but the ceiling fans in that school were originally supposed to be a nice air conditioning unit. Government contractors took so much money out of the project that the school only gets a cheap fan… now, that’s news. Other news in Iraq has not been good. Five months after their historic general election, the Iraqis have finally formed a new government but have yet to pass a single law or done anything to prove that they can govern.
All of this political gridlock is playing out against the background of ongoing violence in Iraq. Another bomb was exploded, destroying a mosque, killing seventy and injuring hundreds. Every week there is a new atrocity. Suicide bombers. Roadside explosives. The UN embassy is attacked. A busload of children is blown up. All the while Donald Rumsfeld is telling us that Iraq is not undergoing a civil war. And all the while the casualty list of American soldiers in Iraq gets longer. Are the American people becoming numb to the violence? Perhaps they should visit websites such as http://www.newslink.com/uscasualties.htm, where they can find the names of those who have died "in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom," or www.thefinalrollcall.us, where they can see the faces of the fallen. Are we becoming accustomed to the insanity of this debacle? How many Americans know that Russia was giving Saddam intelligence information--troop movements and other satellite information--during the initial phases of Operation Iraqi Freedom? I thought Putin was someone our President could "do business with."
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The immigration debate is less a debate than it is a World Wrestling Federation exhibition. The House passed a measure back in December that is really nothing more than building a 700-mile wall along the Mexican border. The House seems to be posturing very much like WWF performers do prior to matches, daring the Senate to pass anything other than an enforcement bill. The Senate bill sponsored by majority leader Bill Frist, was an enforcement bill much like the House bill—look what happened to that. McCain-Kennedy proposed a compromise bill which was more comprehensive. There appeared to be a deal in the making. Then the American people got body-slammed. Republicans came out pointing fingers at the Democrats. The Democrats called foul and accused the Republicans of killing the deal. The bottom-line is that there is no referee for this free-for-all, except us, the citizens. Thankfully, the least likely among us have stood up. More rallies with tens of thousands in the streets of Dallas, Los Angeles, Chicago and many other cities across our county. Non-violent marches. We have told our Senators to deal and to do so now. Our President has gotten behind the bandwagon so that he could lead us. His primetime speech was a jewel of tepidness. It was meant to please the right, the left and the middle. As far as I can tell it pleased nobody. The real fight is going to happen behind closed doors where no snooping reporters or angry protesters can influence the outcome. The compromise between the House and Senate versions of this immigration bill will truly be where the rubber meets the road.
"What the h$#* is going on out there [in Washington]?"
- The budget deficit continues to climb in spite of promises of fiscal restraint. Congress recessed without passing any portion of the budget (if the budget is not passed, more than likely Congress will spend more and not less money). The House did pass a measure to raise the debt ceiling...again.
- Iran and Washington are staring each other down waiting for the other to blink first.
- Condolezza Rice echoing her Iraq rhetoric, "Iran is currently the greatest threat to the US."
- The Iranian Ambassador to the US gloats, "We can cause the US pain!"
I just have one question, "Where are the adults?"
* with writing assistance from Catherine Ross, PhD.