Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Democrats would sustain US involvement in Iraq

Contrary to the impression that the Democrats would like to give, they do not favor a total withdrawal from Iraq. Note the following, from the SFGate Politics Blog:
Democrats are not aiming for a total withdrawal. Biden said 10,000 U.S. troops will be needed merely to maintain the "Green Zone" in Baghdad, and thousands more are contemplated for remaining operations to train the Iraq military, prevent jihadis from controlling territory, and keeping neighboring states at bay.
I particularly like the bit about "keeping neighboring states at bay." Which neighboring states would those be? They wouldn't include Iran, by any chance, would they?

The Democrats, in other words, would continue US military involvement in the region, and perpetuate the policy of Empire.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Democrats avoid the issue of impeachment

Here's a news report for you: 32 towns in Vermont voted yesterday to urge the impeachment of George Bush.

And how do the Democrats feel about this issue? Well, let's see:
The new Democratic-controlled Congress has steered clear of the subject, and Wisconsin Sen. Russell Feingold's call last year to censure Bush -- a step short of an impeachment -- found scant support on Capitol Hill, even among fellow Democrats. Vermont's congressional delegation has shown no serious interest in the idea.
But you knew that, didn't you?

Friday, February 23, 2007

Pay to play

Carla Marinucci of the San Francisco Chronicle has written an article that describes the way the Hillary Clinton campaign, fundraising juggernaut that it is, has made it clear to potential donors that they should not expect any post-election favors to come their way if they spread their donations among other candidates than just Clinton herself.

"The Clintons have made it very clear that, in the political world, no dalliances are allowed. There is zero tolerance for that,'' Huffington laughed. "It's sheer loyalty versus sheer fear.''

And it's reinforced, she said by the "constant e-mails being sent out about the senator's poll numbers, along with the implication that 'if you give any money to anybody else, you're on the outs.' And that when she is the nominee, and when she's the president, she will remember."

A veteran California Democratic campaign strategist -- speaking only on condition of anonymity because of clients he represents -- agreed.

The message from the Clinton campaign, particularly its chairman, Terry McAuliffe, has been blunt, the strategist said, "that you're with us or against us. This isn't one of those races that you can max out (in contributions) to all the candidates. The message from Team Hillary is: We're ahead, we're going to be the nominee -- and we will remember who our friends are.''

But Chris Lehane, the White House spokesman for Bill Clinton, said remembering who your true-blue friends are is a must for a political winner.

"I think history is pretty clear that those folks who are loyal to the Clintons find the loyalty is really reciprocated -- and that is one of the reasons why so many people have stuck with them for so long,'' he said. "They really do respect and appreciate it when someone is loyal, and that manifests itself in many ways ... that is what good politicians do.''

Here we have an admission from a Clinton operative that the Democratic Party, not to mention our political system as a whole, has a deeply ingrained system of trading favors with those who give money to the campaign. It is a system of pay to play--and everyone knows it.

This, in a nutshell, illustrates why the Democratic Party cannot and will not be a progressive political force. Its ties to the corporate and wealthy interests that finance its campaigns is plain for all to see. One can try to excuse the Democrats by saying that it is the money-dominated system of campaign finance that forces them to behave in this way. But it doesn't really matter what their reasons are for their pay-to-play mentality. Regardless of why they do it, the fact is that they do it. And they all do it--everyone from Nancy Pelosi to former California Governor Gray Davis have invested great efforts towards cultivating close relationships with wealthy and corporate donors. The Clintons were clearly tied to corporate interests throughout Bill Clinton's tenure in the White House. That's life under the Democrats.

The point is simply this--to expect the Democrats to be a progressive political force in these conditions is clearly a pipe dream. They are beholden to the wealthy and to the corporate ruling class in this country. The fact that Democratic operatives like Chris LeHane admit that pay to play is a reality within their party and within our political system only serves to bolster this point. What we need is to change the system--and that is not something that Democrats are going to push for.

Friday, February 02, 2007

When corporate interests trump religious conservatism

Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, a conservative Christian, has bypassed the state legislature and ordered the vaccination of girls for the virus that causes cervical cancer, much to the chagrin of his constituents on the Religious Right. Why would he do this?

It seems that the pharmaceutical company Merck has been bankrolling an effort to get girls vaccinated, including providing funds to a group called Women in Government, and Perry has close ties with Merck:

Perry has several ties to Merck and Women in Government. One of the drug company's three lobbyists in Texas is Mike Toomey, Perry's former chief of staff. His current chief of staff's mother-in-law, Texas Republican state Rep. Dianne White Delisi, is a state director for Women in Government.

Perry also received $6,000 from Merck's political action committee during his re-election campaign.

I am in favor of vaccinating girls for HPV, so I would say that Perry has taken the right action in this case, but for reasons that say much about the interplay between corporate interests and religious conservatism as it relates to right wing politics. Ultimately, for this governor, his ties to corporate interests won out over his affiliation with the Religious Right. It is true that because drug companies provide a product that often serves public health needs, they and their shills may from time to time promote policies in individual cases that can support health needs against narrow minded opponents. But we should not be falling over ourselves praising Merck; the reality is that, for Merck, it is all about profits, not human needs. And for the governor of Texas, it is about his ties to corporate interests that, in this case, even trumps his religious convictions. Capitalism is always, ultimately, about profits. When religious conservatism runs smack up against this reality, which side ultimately wins?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Germany issues arrest warrant for CIA agents

A German court has issued arrest warrants for 13 CIA agents who were involved in the kidnapping of a man who was kidnapped and then tortured in Afghanistan.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Bush's approval rating at a new low

According to one poll, Bush's approval rating is now at 28%.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Pelosi proves once again that she's full of crap

Nancy Pelosi, in an ABC News interview, proves once again why she and her party are worthless as an opposition force to George Bush and his war in Iraq.

In the interview, Diane Sawyer asked her, "Are you going to move to cut off funding for troops going into Iraq as part of the surge?"

In response, she said, "
Democrats will never cut off funding for our troops when they are in harm's way."

This is, of course, complete nonsense.
Pelosi has reiterated this excuse on other occasions as well. The best way to take the troops out of harm's way would be to cut off funding for the war so that they will come home. But that is one step the Democrats just won't take.