August 21, 2007

Couple of quick items

The Bush legacy will take years to fully understand, but the immediate impact is actually bad enough. AP is reporting that our Army is nearing the breaking point (h/t Upper Left):
"WASHINGTON - Sapped by nearly six years of war, the Army has nearly exhausted its fighting force and its options if the Bush administration decides to extend the Iraq buildup beyond next spring.

The Army's 38 available combat units are deployed, just returning home or already tapped to go to Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere, leaving no fresh troops to replace five extra brigades that President Bush sent to Baghdad this year, according to interviews and military documents reviewed by The Associated Press. That presents the Pentagon with several painful choices if the U.S. wants to maintain higher troop levels beyond the spring of 2008:"
How Republicans still get high marks for supporting the troops amazes me. In this piece, they admit privately that one option on the table to provide for 2008 is to extend tours beyond 15 months (which was already an extension beyond 12). I won't castigate the entire Republican party, but Bush and Cheney are horrible on the military. Those Republicans who support them have to decide for themselves. The next SUV I see with a yellow ribbon for the troops, a "these colors don't run" sticker, AND a W, or W 2004--I might just puke.


Item two is the Schip program--or the insurance program for poor children. After failing to veto any meaningful legislation beyond stem cell research when the GOP ran the shop, Bush has rediscovered his veto power. But he uses it in such terrible places.
Faithful Progressive: Bad Medicine: New Bush Health Care Rules Leave Many Children Behind: "The Bush administration, engaged in a battle with Congress over whether a popular children's health insurance program should be expanded, has announced new policies that will make it harder for states to insure all but the lowest-income children."

Last month, Krugman assessed Bush's stance:
It’s not because [Bush] thinks the plans wouldn’t work. It’s because he’s afraid that they would. That is, he fears that voters, having seen how the government can help children, would ask why it can’t do the same for adults. […]

There are arguments you can make against programs, like Social Security, that provide a safety net for adults. I can respect those arguments, even though I disagree. But denying basic health care to children whose parents lack the means to pay for it, simply because you’re afraid that success in insuring children might put big government in a good light, is just morally wrong.
I am afraid Krugman is right here. Bush does have principles, they just suck.


Finally, this gem that really suggests that Bush and his people don't "get" America and never have.
A couple arrested at a rally after refusing to cover T-shirts that bore anti-President Bush slogans settled their lawsuit against the federal government for $80,000, the American Civil Liberties Union announced Thursday.

Nicole and Jeffery Rank of Corpus Christi, Texas, were handcuffed and removed from the July 4, 2004, rally at the state Capitol, where Bush gave a speech. A judge dismissed trespassing charges against them, and an order closing the case was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Charleston.
Reread that. American citizens were arrested for protesting their President. They didn't threaten his life, or start a riot. They simply wore t-shirts. T-F*&KING SHIRTS!!!!! And the Bush White house tried to put them in jail. They lost, but claim that the settlement was not an admission of wrongdoing. They can't even admit that jailing someone for wearing a t-shirt is wrong.

Boy, those votes for Bush in '04 are starting to look dumber and dumber, aren't they?


ubub said...

I am not sure the votes look dumb. Rove put together a highly effective campaign based on appeals to based on various fears and posited an uncritical patriotism to an infallible America, strict loyalty to the President as person rather than office, and military strength as the answer.

My guess is that a lot of folks voted from their gut and chose the image that was most appealing. Kerry struggled to compete in the glitz and gloss area. (I mean the hippy who faked his Purple Heart-worthy injuries and probably his entire Vietnam service anyway?).

So, there is a way to look at those who voted for Bush, even those who voted for Bush twice, as rational actors. I think many are now realizing that they were duped.

Love the voter, hate the vote?

steve s said...

As I have said before, I voted for Bush twice. The first vote can be excused, IMO. I had no way of knowing what he was like and I was sick of Clinton. The second vote, I can't excuse. I still don't like Kerry, but I can't say he would have done a worse job.

As for the Army nearing the breaking point, I don't get that impression from my friends that are serving. I know both full-timers and reservists and their morale is fairly high. I just started a book called "The U.P. Goes to War." It details what life was like in the upper part of Michigan during WW II. I grew up there and it is mostly rural, with a low population. Despite the low population, there were 40,000 who sered from that area. People are capable of great sacrifice, if they believe in the cause. In the case of Iraq, most do not (myself included). It wouldn't matter if the deployments were short. Being there is not what we should be doing.

The article on the Schip program was disturbing. States have to show a 95% sign up for Medicaid. That is asinine and shows that whoever came up with that number knows nothing about medicaid based programs. I worked in a program that was mostly funded by Medicaid. Unfortunately, some parents are lazy and neglectful and won't go through the effort of signing their children up for Medicaid, even though they qualify. Michigan even has a low cost program for people that make too much for Medicaid, called Mi-Child, which ran into the same program. I don't see why the people should be punished for the laziness of others.

Nothing needs to be said on those t-shirts. I don't know how anyone can justify such an unConstitutional practice.

Streak said...

My sense is that Army people aren't going to admit the problems. And some of them may not see it. I think the breaking point is at the big picture level, where we don't have the troops to sustain this horrible policy.

Tony said...

has announced new policies that will make it harder for states to insure all but the lowest-income children."

he fears that voters, having seen how the government can help children, would ask why it can’t do the same for adults.

But Bush is pro-life, right? Its awful strange to me that he is the least vetoing president ever but he rediscovers it now? Over this? Where is his brain?