When will Bush’s lies end???

I read an article on Yahoo News today that ticked me off. It was an article about John Kerry’s reaction to Bush’s so-called press conference on Tuesday.

Here is what ticked me off:

“The president made clear what we all share, which is a sense that the United States of America is going to be resolute and tough and make certain that we accomplish our mission,” Kerry said.

Other nations share the U.S. goal of stability in Iraq and, if elected president, Kerry said he would use his powers of persuasion to convince them that their interests demand they share in the effort.

“Our soldiers are bearing the brunt of this operation,” Kerry said. “Our military is to some degree overextended. American soldiers are bearing the huge majority, the lion’s share of this.”

Republicans rejected the criticism, with Bush’s re-election campaign chairman Marc Racicot calling Kerry’s comments “a political attack that is very, very seriously undermining our efforts in Iraq and in the war on terror.”

In a conference call with reporters, Racicot said Kerry simply blames America for provoking the attacks in Iraq without offering a competing vision that addresses the war on terrorism. 

The full story here

First of all, Kerry’s criticism is not “undermining our efforts in Iraq.” The radical Muslims don’t care what Kerry says about Bush’s Iraq policy. All they know is the devil is in their house and they must die.

It is interesting to note that the current outbreak of violence has nothing to do with Saddam or his supporters. It is probably the first volley in a renewed power struggle among the different religious sects in Iraq. Each sect believes they should be the only power in Iraq.

The person who us actually undermining the US in Iraq is Ahmed Chalabi.

Ahmed Chalabi, the neocons’ choice to run Iraq, appears to have been responsible for the disastrous decision to move against Muqtada al-Sadr.

Why did they do it? It seemed a safe bet to the civilian echelon policymakers at the Department of Defense when they approved Coalition Provisional Authority administrator L. Paul Bremer’s fateful decision to close down the newspaper of Muqtada al-Sadr and to arrest an aide to the young firebrand Shiite cleric. Even after Shiite Iraq had erupted into fury over the moves on Saturday, April 3, top-level Pentagon policymakers were privately still convinced it was all a storm in a teacup.

Chalabi, longtime exile leader, has never had a power base within Iraq. He is a smooth operator, convicted of embezzling millions from the Petra Bank of Jordan — sentenced in absentia to 22 years of hard labor — but championed by the neoconservatives of Washington.

Just as Bremer will not make the slightest move without the approval of his Pentagon bosses, the Defense Department policymakers continue to rely on Chalabi alone for their political assessments on Iraq. In private conversation, as in public, they remain amazingly enthusiastic about Chalabi’s supposed political skills, and even genius, and proclaim repeatedly that he is the only man with the brilliance to hold Iraq together and make it work. Give Chalabi a free hand after June 30 and give him all the U.S. firepower he wants to crush his foes — this is their master plan; there is no other. 

Complete article here

Marc Racicot says that Kerry’s comments are “undermining our efforts in Iraq and in the war on terror.”

Iraq has always been, absent contrary proof, a tertiary part of the war on terrorism. In fact, the Bush administration has undermined their war on terrorism by invading Iraq before Bin Laden had been dealt with completely in Afghanistan.

Lastly Racicot makes the ridiculous statement: “Kerry simply blames America for provoking the attacks in Iraq without offering a competing vision that addresses the war on terrorism.”

Kerry isn’t simply or difficultly blaming America for provoking the attacks in Iraq. Bush is the one who ordered the invasion of Iraq. Iraq didn’t attack us first. Kerry is pointing out the issues with Bush’s Iraq policy.

As for Kerry not “offering a competing vision that addresses the war on terrorism,” I would like to know what Bush’s vision for addressing the war on terror that as Kerry has said doesn’t needlessly infringe on our civil rights as the Patriot Act does today.

Meet the Candidates…. YAWN

The Hancock Republican Party held a “Meet the Candidates” event during their First Friday Luncheon Club on February 6th.

The guests were the nine candidates running for the two open slots on the Hancock County Commissioners. As the headline read in the Findlay Courier, “Candidate views similar”.

Read the Courier article

It really isn’t important to name the candidates here since they were so interchangeable. But that’s what happens when a party dominates the local scene. Instead of new ideas and wanting to get enthusiastic, you get BLAH.

The participants were given two minutes to introduce themselves and then one minute to answer a series of questions posed from the audience.

Some the questions were:

If they would meet new Findlay Mayor Tony Iriti’s pledge to nurture cooperation between the city and the county, and how they would do it.

If they would put the quarter-percent sales tax increase, used to fund the county’s criminal justice system, back on the ballot if necessary or if they would simply impose it.

How they would attract well-paying jobs to the county.

But like true modern politicians none of them really answered the questions.

One candidate, during the intro part of the event, even told people to read his bio in a pamphlet his campaign had printed up.

On the question about how they would attract well-paying jobs to the county, no one mentioned a specific plan. They only mentioned working closely with the Chamber of Commerce.

“Well, duh….” comes to mind.

On the issue of the recent sales tax hike to fund the sheriff’s office, some said they would wait and see if it needs to be renewed while a couple pledged to put it on the ballot if needed.

Left unanswered, like how to bring more jobs to the county (which by the way the county really doesn’t need what with consistently having one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state), the participants also didn’t answer questions not asked, like how would they improve the county. What would they do about the lack of affordable housing? How would they protect farmland from the annexation fever of the city of Findlay? What are their feelings about the recent efforts to zone various township land? What are their views on the need for strong environmental regulations?

The meet and greet reminded me of interviewing 16 year olds for a fast food job and each one saying they are “people person”. Each are just as qualified but none stand out from the crowd.


Originally posted on the blog “Hancock County Politics Unfiltered”

Kerry wins round one in Campaign 2004

The Iowa Caucuses have come to a close and Sen. John Kerry was the top vote getter with 38%. Sen. John Edwards surprised me by finishing in the top 3 and Gov. Howard Dean surprised me by coming in 3rd.

I think Dean let Iowa slip a bit. That and he didn’t do as well in the debate the week before.

Edwards surprised me because he hasn’t been getting a lot of press so his showing is the result of a lot of meet and greets – getting his message out the old fashion way.

Early reports have Gebhardt dropping out.

I expect the “media” to start focusing on Kerry as the new front runner even though the primary season is just starting. Lest we forget that President Clinton was beaten by Paul Tsongas in New Hampshire in 1992 and the political pundits thought Clinton was finished.

Dean has work to do to correct his slip if he is going to get win the nomination.

Edwards is going to be the wild card going into New Hampshire.

Oh where oh where are the candidates?

It is the time of year for prospective candidates to indicate their intentions in running for elective office. They must submit their names for the ballot at least 100 days before the March primary.

Lori Miller, director of the Hancock County Board of Elections lamented the lack of candidates in the 12/19 edition of The Courier.

“The same people have been on and I don’t know why people don’t run against them,” Miller said. “You would think with all of interest in the commissioners’ race that someone might file for some of the other seats.”

As of December 19, the only contested county races were for 2 spots on the County Commissioners. All the other elective offices up for a vote in 2004 had just incumbents running.

Miller’s question was answered in another story in the same edition.

“It’s very difficult to get Democrats to run for office in Hancock County,” said Mary Jane Roberts, interim chairwoman of the Hancock County Democratic Party. “They don’t feel they have a chance to win.

“We are trying to encourage more Democrats to get involved so we can have more support,” she said.

There you have it. People won’t run if they think they won’t win. But it is also true that you can’t win if you don’t run.

What the issue is, is the power of the incumbent and machine politics. There is a machine at the heart of Hancock county politics and the Republicans run it. They hold all the offices and with that they decide who runs and who can win.

Hancock county is a hard place for a new person to break into the politics. Mike Oxley wouldn’t have become the power he has become in the 4th District if he hadn’t been appointed to the House seat in 1981 upon the death of Tennyson Guyer. Oxley barely won the run-off election against the Democratic candidate who was better connected. The fact that Oxley was the incumbent made up for his lack of experience.

The reason the same people run for the same office year after year isn’t only about the lack of an opponent. It also speaks to how nothing changes in Hancock county. It wouldn’t matter which party was dominate as long as the status quo was maintained and in Hancock county it has.

What that means is the party affiliation has had no bearing on the success, or rather lack of problems, of the county.

John Sausser has been on the Findlay city council for years and served as Mayor in the 1970’s. He use to be a Democrat but now claims to be an independent. He had success as a Democrat because he worked hard to get elected and had views on the issues.

If a person has a choice of candidates and they each had views on maintaining the status quo then of course the incumbent is going to win for the simple fact that people won’t change their elected officials unless they have to. In Frankin county, the clerk of courts, a Republican, was caught stealing money. The voters voted in a Democrat to the job.

The problem with incumbents with no opposition is that it disenfranchises the voter. Why vote if Joe Smoe is going to win anyway?

The lack of participation leads to more races with no challengers which leads to less participation. It is in fact a threat to Democracy because we move the power of the offices into the hands of the Party rather than the voter. We go back to the days of the political machines, where it was who you knew and not what you would do that decided if you got elected to office.

Sad indeed.

Originally posted on the blog “Hancock County Politics Unfiltered”

Reason behind this Blog

Some may wonder why I started this Blog.

Well, it is because I got pissed at the antics of two people who were elected to serve the residents of Hancock County, my home county.

I should be up-front and tell you I don’t live there now, but my family still lives there and I read the Findlay Courier on a regular basis. Findlay is the county city.

The two representatives are State Sen. Lynn Wachtmann, R-Napoleon and State Rep. Mike Gilb, R-Findlay.

Their public statements concerning the proposed Ohio state budget just smacked of the hypocritical public policy that has infected the nation since 2000.

After an article in the Courier concerning Rep. Glib, I had to write a letter to the editor to complain. I was lucky that it was published. The version I sent them is below. When it was published they edited it a bit from the original. Unfortunately published letters aren’t posted on their website:

[Letter to the Editor of the Findlay Courier – sent 6/10/2003 and published 6/13/2003]

Dear Editor,

I am writing to complement The Courier’s coverage of the on going debate over the upcoming State budget from a Hancock county perspective including the article on State Rep. Mike Gilb published on June 9th.

It is telling how the two people elected to represent Hancock county in Columbus, State Sen. Lynn Wachtmann, R-Napoleon and State Rep. Mike Gilb, R-Findlay, are so obsessed with cutting taxes that they refuse to see the revenue problems all local governments are having in these economically slow times and instead base their position on irrational political motives.

Wachtman and Glib want to see education and Medicaid cut. They both failed to stand up for local governments when it looked like their state funding was going to be cut. In fact Wachtman said on April 8th that he supported making some cuts in local government funds.

Both have repeatedly said that government spending is out of control when the opposite is true. The state has already cut the budget in the current fiscal year as well as cutting taxes for at least the past 4 years and revenues have been off since 2001. Where have Wachtman and Glib been for the past 4 years?

Even Hancock county, consistently one of the better local economies in the state, almost had to severely cut its Sheriff’s department and has trouble replacing old bridges and if there are further cuts in state funds as well as a continued soft economy it might get worse. Not to mention the proposed cuts in funds for libraries and parks that will hit the average people hard.

If it is getting difficult here imagine what it is like in the rest of the state. I am sure Wachtman and Glib haven’t.

They sure have ignored the 81% of Ohio businesses who pay $2000 and less in corporate income taxes each year. The current budget bill does nothing to resolve that revenue problem.

Hancock county needs rational representation.

Originally posted on the blog “Hancock County Politics Unfiltered”