Monday, February 27, 2006

National Security

I wanted to write a follow up on Kyle's post on Bush's pathetic approval ratings, and bring back a story from a couple weeks ago.

The one strong suit Bush has held on to, through all his ups and downs as president, is the public's approval ratings of his job "protecting the homeland," a traditional GOP strength. We as Democrats have always had to jump through hoops to explain why we are not unpatriotic/traitors, and even Democrats who lost three limbs in combat have been successfully compared to Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, causing them to lose re-election. I don't think any of us need a reminder to what happened to another war hero named John Kerry.

So it should have suprised no one when a month ago, Karl Rove set the tone for the 2006 midterm elections, calling on Republicans to focus heavily on national security in their attempts to save Nov '06 from being a total disaster. The reaction from some Democrats, however, was quite surprising. It appears that some within our party still insist on fighting elections on domestic issues, thinking that people will honestly put their social security check before the lives of them and their children. In a post 9/11 world, if people do not trust you to protect our country, they will not vote for you- and rightly so! What we need to realize, as Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) points out, is that not only is this a issue we need to fight on, its one we can and should win. It is not only in our best interest for political reasons, but for the safety of our country that we need to be the one's shaping our national security and foreign policy.

Not only can we win it, but the fight is looking increasingly easier. Quoting from the same article Kyle just did, only 43% of Americans approve of the way Bush is conducting the war on terror. 43% approval, on their "strongest issue"? Is that's not a political opportunity, I don't know what is. Only 30% approve of the way the Iraq war is going, and only 30% approve of the Bush administration's plan to give control of our nation's ports to a company owned by the United Arab Emirates, where two of the 9/11 hijackers came from. But none of this will ever matter unless Democrats finally stand up and stop being so afraid of talking about protecting our country. If we lay out a comprehensive and forward-thinking plan about how to secure our country, not only will we win big in November '06, but we will deserve it. So to Bush, Rove, and the rest of the GOP, I would simply say, bring it on.


Bush approval rating at 34 percent

Yes, 3-4.



Oh Lordy that's bad...

The latest CBS News poll finds President Bush's approval rating has fallen to an all-time low of 34 percent, while pessimism about the Iraq war has risen to a new high.

Americans are also overwhelmingly opposed to the Bush-backed deal giving a Dubai-owned company operational control over six major U.S. ports. Seven in 10 Americans, including 58 percent of Republicans, say they're opposed to the agreement.

Mr. Bush's overall job rating has fallen to 34 percent, down from 42 percent last month. Fifty-nine percent disapprove of the job the president is doing.

Wowee..but there's more..

There is a bright spot for the administration, most Americans appeared to have heard enough about Vice President Dick Cheney's hunting accident.

More then three in four said it was understandable that the accident had occurred and two-thirds said the media had spent too much time covering the story.

Still, the incident appears to have made the public's already negative view of Cheney a more so. Just 18 percent said they had a favorable view of the vice president, down from 23 percent in January.

Well, I suppose when your poll numbers have hit 34%, when you've bungled Iraq, Katrina, social security, and port security, the cloud always has a silver lining. And in this case, that silver lining is Cheney's 18% approval rating.

Rest of article here.

-Love Kyle

Financial Abandonment of Palestine

To explain the issue, here is a quote and direct link to a BBC article:

"Aid has already begun to drop off after last month's Hamas victory in the polls, with Hamas still regarded as a terrorist group by Israel, the US and the EU.
At the weekend, the authority agreed to return $50m (£28.7.m) of US aid following a request from Washington, which said it did not want the money going to a government that refused torecognizee Israel. And now, to make matters worse, the Israeli government has frozen the transfer of millions of dollars in funds to the authority - a move which the UN has called unhelpful and premature."

I see this as wrong. Preaching such strong ideals of Democracy in Iraq, it is hypocritical of the United States to withhold aid to a democratically elected Hamas, regardless of their past actions. More than hurting the government, the financial collapse of Palestine will ruin the lives of thousands of innocent Palestinians who have no connections to Hamas. Many of these people are simply trying to subsist and have no concern for political issues. This is a horrible example of the United States and Israel putting political motives ahead of the welfare of human beings.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Cartoon Protest Against the USA

In light of the attack on the US Embassy in Indonesia, I do not understand why such anger is directed at the United States when only newspapers within Europe published the inflammatory cartoons.

Of course, the obvious conclusion is that such protests are actually stemming from anger over American foreign policy in the Middle East. Despite what resentment some Muslim factions have for the United States, I think it is absurd to attack American targets because of cartoons that are totally unrelated to the United States. The cartoons have given fuel to an "anti-Western" protest when only a minority of Western countries are to blame. How these cartoons can be used for motivation to attack America and Israel is ridiculous.

While it was both ignorant and irresponsible for the conservative Danish paper (with a readership of 500) to print such cartoons, it is equally irresponsible of Muslim militant leaders to use these cartoons to inflame their followers and then place the blame where it is not deserved. Moreover, it was not only the few Muslim leaders who are to blame, but the European press should have exercised more discretion when deciding to take a stand on freedom of the press and freedom of speech. The European press should have been more aware of the possible ramifications of their actions. There was no need to make such a stand with such a controversial topic; and I believe that the decision to reprint the cartoons, for at least some of the European newspapers, was not motivated by free speech, but more so by anti-Muslim and xenophobic sentiment. Thus, those who reprinted the cartoons are just as guilty for the ongoing violence as are the Muslim leaders who used the cartoons for ulterior motives.

Lastly, the media should take responsibility and broadcast coverage of the larger Muslim community who denounce the violent backlash against the cartoons. There has been far too much coverage of the violence and not enough on the efforts by Muslim community in its efforts to quell the fighting. In doing so, the media only further solidifies the idea that the majority of Muslims are violent fundamentalists. While that view may seem laughable to most, sadly, there are many more who will fall victim to this ignorant bias.

This blog represents the main points of my thoughts on the issue. If I had more time, I would further elaborate, as this is an extremely complex topic.

Friday, February 17, 2006


Howard Dean is coming to UCLA!!
Date: Wednesday, February 22
Location: CS50

Make sure to bring a UCLA id (student/faculty). Line up early, he will begin speaking at 5pm, entry will begin around 4:40pm.

He will be giving a short speech then open up the floor for a Q&A session.

Don't forget, the Bruin Democrats will be debating the Bruin Republicans that night as well.
6:30pm in DeNeve Auditorium
Free Admission

Monday, February 13, 2006

Cheney-Quail '06

Vice President Dick Cheney shoots a man, no really.

While it is good to note that the 78-year-old man whom he shot is doing fine, there is a fairly large hubbub over the White House's failure to disclose the shooting.

In fact the story only broke because the owner of the property told a reporter. I have a strong hunch that this story may have never broken if left to the Bush administration. And with good reason.

As with many policy issues, the Bush administration is simply incompetent, plain and simple.

However, this highlights an incompetence that can be deadly. Every year, nearly 1,000 people die because of accidental gun deaths. As a gun owner myself (Though not a hunter), I know that when one fires a gun, one assumes the ultimate responsibilty. I have the responsibility to know that what I am shooting at is in fact what I'm supposed to be shooting at, and not some poor 78-year-old Republican donor. I'd hope that the Vice President of the United States would know this an act as a role model for gun owners everywhere (Especially those who hunt with children).

The individual firing the gun has the ultimate responsibility of knowing where everyone is and ensuring that everyone is kept safe, and it is simply disingenuous to suggest that it is the victim's fault (As the Republican spin is attempting to do now).

The lesson? Don't go hunting with the vice president. And if you do shoot a gun, know that you're not aiming at another person.

Monday, February 06, 2006

We like freedom of the press. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that we generally like the press, as long as it does its job and tells the truth. The New York Times had an interesting column recently about the role of the press in a democracy. I thought I'd include the more amusing part here.

So here's something to ponder: where would you be without your local newspaper? I'll tell you where I'd be - not in the Bruin Democrats. I became interested in politics at roughly the same time I discovered the newspaper at age six. It's been a beautiful marriage ever since.


The Pumas Must be Monitored

I was watching a great program on the capuchin monkeys of Costa Rica last night around four in the morning. The narrator pointed out the various behaviors and duties of each individual tribe member. While most of the capuchins hung from limbs, playing and eating berries, a special group of monkeys with the best eyesight scurried about the perimeter, scanning the jungle for predators – big cats, birds of prey and venomous snakes.

Of the entire tribe, these sentry monkeys were a small, but important, slice of society. When a bloodthirsty puma came sneaking around, the sentries erupted in wild screams, alerting their ignorant brothers and sisters and saving them from danger.

At four in the morning, this nature program was merely entertaining, but now as I am thinking about the role of a newspaper in a democracy, I find myself identifying with those furry capuchins on the rain-soaked fringe. I let out a horrible howl in my empty office. The pumas must be monitored for the good of the whole.

Read the rest here: