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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

The Stoic Brits

Posted: 07/09/05 12:49, Edited: 05/26/13 11:25

by Dave Mindeman

You have to admire the Brits. They have endured the Nazi blitz, the Irish Republican Army, and now an Al-Qaeda threat begins. They get angry, but keep on with their daily life. They have a world of experience that Americans have only recently begun to confront.

They also understand that there is a difference between the War on Terror and the Iraq War. They (the people of Britain) have understood that from the beginning. Tony Blair joined Bush in his Iraq quest but it was never with true support of the British populace. They have been skeptical and less inclined to give Blair the benefit of the doubt. They will stand behind him regarding this new Al-Qaeda event, but they will still have that skepticism about Iraq. They understand the complications and the dangers. Cowboy America is more easily deceived.

The English expected this attack. More than once you hear the quote, "it was just a matter of time". They don't believe that we are fighting "over there", so we don't have to fight them "here". They know that's a lot of (excuse the expression) "blarney". Europe is now paying a price -- Istanbul, Madrid, and now London. There will be more. That doesn't mean there wouldn't have been more anyway, even without the Iraq War, but all the money spent on Iraq will mean less money spent on protecting themselves.

Italy will still withdraw their troops. France and Germany will stand firm against Al-Qaeda but marginally on Iraq. Russia will look out for Russia. And the anger in the Arab world will continue and it will grow. There won't be as much sympathy for England in Cairo or Amman, the words will be there but their hearts will not.

Bush has mishandled this Terror War and it keeps getting worse. Taking resources away from the Terror War and utilizing enormous manpower and monetary expenditures in Iraq are going to be a constant drain for years. In the meantime, Afghanistan begins to spin out of control. Terror networks splinter off and plan unknown future atrocities. Guantanamo continues to grow as the image of America. And the "coalition of the willing" is growing weary of a process that accomplishes nothing.

Tony Blair said we need to address the underlying causes of the extremist Islamic terror machine.... the extreme poverty and hopelessness that has to blame someone and the West is the most convenient target. George Bush never talks about that -- no, his concern is keeping the oil flowing, business happy, and the environment exploited.

When we were attacked on 9/11, we were angry and wanted something done. But there is no tangible answer to a war that is a series of catastrophic crimes. George Bush wanted to give America something to quickly identify with... something that could clearly show progress against a shadowy enemy. The obvious and correct choice was Afghanistan, but the conventional military victory was too quick and it only eliminated a haven, not the real foe. To keep progress visible, he moved on to Iraq. Nobody would come to Saddam's defense and his military was another easy target for the world's only super power. So what if we had to lie about our reasons for intervention. It would still be tangible; something everyone could see. We were fighting the war and we were "winning". But the aftermath planning was horrible and the country is now, in near chaos. We have created another problem rather than adding to the solution.

Al-Qaeda continues in the shadows. Lurking and observing...waiting for that next soft spot. They don't have to fight a conventional war. No, they can stay in the darkness while we chase after shadows and ghosts. We need a massive investment in covert operations; instead we are just wasting bullets and valuable time on fighting someone else's civil war.
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Ethics and Coleen Rowley

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 07/06/05 14:35, Edited: 07/06/05 14:36

by Dave Mindeman

Coleen Rowley announced her candidacy for Congress today. Watch out Mr. Kline!

I would guess that we are about to hear a lot about ethical decision making. Coleen Rowley understands it... John Kline and Tom Delay are still looking for definitions.

Ethics is a commodity in short supply these days. We have oil and gas companies writing energy bills and drug companies dictating terms for Medicare. We have a President withholding the facts on reasons for war and we have Senate majority leadership changing rules that hinder their agenda.

I wonder if ethics really could change things? What if we decided who the next Supreme Court justice would be, based on ethical decision making rather than ideology? What if the House Ethics Committee was made up of impartial non-Congressional lay persons really concerned about true ethical conduct? And what if our Minnesota legislature was concerned about ethics in their decision making rather than special interest demands?

It is worth a discussion.... it is worth a debate.

I am sure it is a lot to ask of one Congressional candidate to change the way Washington is run, but it could be a beginning....
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The GOP Solution? SHUT IT DOWN!

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 07/02/05 14:06

by Dave Mindeman

Shutdown. Not operational. The State of Minnesota is not working.

Here we sit but maybe we can fix it. No, the Republicans are going to play the blame game -- even though it was their votes against the Democratic "lights on" proposal that ultimately stopped state government. They think it is more important to place blame than even allow a stopgap measure.

It is like we are in a giant sandbox -- you know, you have that one kid who insists on having control. If he can't bully everybody to get his way, he picks up his toys and goes home. Then he cries to his mommy that nobody will play fair.

What is so stupid (or should I say profoundly stupid?) about it all, is that it is completely avoidable. Democrats made proposal after proposal and each time it was dissed, criticized, and ignored. Republicans came back with different wording for the same things. It wasn't negotiation at all, it was extortion.

The apparent strategy for the GOP is to keep telling everybody it's the Democrats fault.... the usual ridiculous idea of constantly saying a lie until they start believing it. The ironic thing is that the Democrats have a lousy negotiating position. The Republicans have the Governor's office, they control the House, and the Democratic majority in the Senate is so narrow that you have to coax some Republican votes to get a bonding bill passed. Yet, with all of those advantages, the Republicans feel justified to blame Democrats for this lousy version of government.

It is hard to explain to the electorate the reality of what happens at the capitol. Not too many who are there, are sure themselves. There is certainly no mystery about where we are headed -- nowheresville!
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