Right On Cue

By NightTwister Posted in | | | Comments (36) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

Promoted by absentee. Love the comparison

Senator Joe Biden Declares Iraq Troop Buildup a Failure as reported by the Associate Press via FoxNews.com.

During the weekly Democratic radio address yesterday, he said,

The purpose of the surge was to bring violence in Iraq down so that its leaders could come together politically. Violence has come down, but the Iraqis have not come together.

The eternally optimistic leader later added,

There is little evidence the Iraqis will settle their differences peacefully any time soon.

Although somewhat subdued this time, Senator Biden's comments are a clear preemptive strike against General Petraeus' scheduled report to congress this coming week. The democrat congressional leadership simply cannot weather another positive report about progress in Iraq.

Read on ...

Senator Biden is not the only one to warn against reporting anything positive. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi forewarned General Petraeus against putting a positive spin on the recent uprising of Shiite militants in Iraq. From politico.com, Speaker Pelosi says,

I hope we don’t hear any glorification of what happened in Basra.

Not surprisingly, she also lets us know who she thinks is in charge of Iraq (hint: It's not the Iraqi government nor the U.S. military).

We have to know the real ground truths of what is happening there, not put a shine on events because of a resolution that looks less violent when in fact it has been dictated by al-Sadr, who can grant or withhold that call for violence.

I know this has been done before, but let's check the current score. Results based on The Daily Standard

Iraq's Seven Legislative Benchmarks

1. Enacting and implementing legislation on de-Baathification. DONE

Passed by CoR on January 12, 2008; approved by Presidency Council in February 2008.

2. Enacting and implementing legislation to ensure the equitable distribution of hydrocarbon resources of the people of Iraq without regard to the sect or ethnicity of recipients, and enacting and implementing legislation to ensure that the energy resources of Iraq benefit Sunni Arabs, Shia Arabs, Kurds, and other Iraqi citizens equitably. NOT DONE

It should be noted that although legislation is still hung up, oil revenues are currently being equitably distributed to the various ethnic groups in the interim.

3. Enacting and implementing legislation on procedures to form semi-autonomous regions. UNDERWAY

The Kurdish Regional Government is up and running, and a law has been passed that would allow provinces to form regions after April 2008.

4. Enacting and implementing legislation establishing an Independent High Electoral Commission, provincial elections law, provincial council authorities, and a date for provincial elections. DONE

Passed by CoR on February 13, 2008; vetoed by Vice President Adel Abdul Mehdi on February 26, 2008; veto withdrawn and law approved by Presidency Council on March 19, 2008.

5. Enacting and implementing legislation addressing amnesty. DONE

Passed by CoR on February 13, 2008; signed by Presidency Council on February 26, 2008.

6. Enacting and implementing legislation establishing a strong militia disarmament program to ensure that such security forces are accountable only to the central government and loyal to the constitution of Iraq. DONE

Laws have been passed and decrees have been issued declaring that only the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) are legitimate armed forces. The movement of former insurgents into Concerned Local Citizens groups is a major part of accomplishing this task.

7. Forming a Constitutional Review Committee and then completing the constitutional review. UNDERWAY

CoR formed a Constitutional Review Committee in September 2006. It was originally supposed to report back in May 2007, and submitted a draft, but has since been granted an extension through August 2008. On the other hand, most of the key provisions in the Iraqi constitution requiring review involve the rest of the benchmark legislation, so this can be fairly said to be underway.

So there you have it. Four benchmarks met, two underway, and one not met (even though results of intended legislation are already being met.

Now, on to the fun part. In 2006, the new Democratic majority in congress committed to Six for '06. This New Direction for America listed six legislative benchmarks for the 110th congress. These six legislative goals were to be completed in the first 100 days. It's been more than 400 days, and yet they are woefully lacking, even in comparison to the Iraqi government.

The following is my own analysis.

Democrat's Six for'06

1. National Security. NOT DONE

The cut-and-run strategy of the democrats has been a dismal failure. Rather than getting troops out of Iraq, the number of troops has risen significantly during their tenure. They have also failed to renew the intelligence gathering bill, leaving our country more vulnerable to terrorist attack.

2. Jobs and Wages. PARTIAL

They successfully raised the national minimum wage, but in doing so have caused businesses to cut jobs to make up the difference and try to do more with less. Unemployment filings were up last month to a four-year high. The economy is slowing, and true-to-form they've refused to extend or make permanent the Bush tax cuts, thereby causing businesses to slow investments in new business.

3. Energy Independence. NOT DONE

So far, they've passed laws requiring turning food into fuel (ethanol), turning mercury into landfill fodder (fluorescent light bulbs), and raising CAFE standards (without requiring alternative energy usage). None of this will have any effect whatsoever towards energy independence.

4. Affordable Health Care. NOT DONE

Deafening silence.

5. Retirement Security. NOT DONE

Nothing has been done towards Social Security and Medicare reform. Tax increases have been their only proposals, which will only delay the inevitable bankruptcy of the system.

6. College access for all. NOT DONE

More silence. No changes have been made towards making college available to more people. If and when they do finally make more money available for tuition, it'll only drive up the cost of education and likely shut out even more middle-class people from attending.

7. The most honest, ethical, and open Congress in history.

I added the last one, since this was a direct quote from Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

* Honesty: The lies never stop. From denying progress in Iraq to intentionally maligning the top General and Commander-In-Chief during a time of war.

* Ethical: Several times they tried to put memebers in positions of authority that were under review for or had already committed ethics violations. One of their current members is under indictment for bribery.

* Open: A flat-out, in-your-face refusal to end the practice of quietly and secretly tacking on billions of dollars of hometown pork projects into spending bills.

Well, there you have it. A fair comparison of the legislative progress by the Iraqi and our own Legislatures. Here's the scorecard:

U.S. Congress: 0 completed, 1 partially completed, 6 not completed.

Iraqi Government: 4 completed, 2 partially completed, 1 not completed.

It should be noted that for the Iraqi Government, these benchmarks were dictated to them. For our own Congress, they were selected by the very leaders that have failed to carry them out.

I'm starting to agree that the cut-and-run strategy may be the best choice, but only from the legislative body that has failed to meet any of their benchmarks.

-Randy Ketner
-Fort Collins, CO

Nice job there NightTwister. The Iraqis should teach the Democrats a thing or two about getting things done.

BigGator5.net
John McCain for 2008!

If the Republicans want to win not just the Presidency, but win the House back as well, they need to make the argument in your Point #2 above about as succinctly as you did.

One of the keys to this election, in my mind, is to *tie the Democrats* to the downturn in the economy.

The ad copy needs to go something like:

"Despite a terrorist attack on our soil and a recession, a GOP-led Congress implemented tax cuts and other fiscal policies that led our country to 4 years of prosperity. But now a "do-nothing" Democrat controlled Congress has changed all that. Our country has been in trouble since the summer of 2007. And yet the Democrat controlled Congress has done NOTHING to combat this, and now we're in a recession, with people losing their jobs, their homes. If the Democrats in Congress won't help us, isn't it time for a change?..."

Another ad could make you point of tying the Dems' passing of the minimum wage hike to helping to cause this recession. A third ad can tie the Democrat Congress to the housing/mortgage bubble and how they did nothing to stop it.

Rather than letting the Dems try and blame Bush for this recession, we should return the favor and try and blame them first. We need to start running national ads saying this, like, NOW (certainly no later than June).

The advantage of this line of attack is that is has the added benefit of at least being partially true.

The consensus among both liberal and conservative economists, is that the current recession was caused by the popping of the real estate bubble. Followed by a real collapse in housing prices and in mortgage lending: The collapse of Countrywide Financial was a harbinger of where we are now.

How all that could have been avoided is the subject of real debate. But you couldn't boost the real estate market by eschewing a minimum wage hike. Folks who are paid at the margin, at the minimum wage, don't buy expensive homes anyway.

My own take is that there is plenty enough blame to go around. Basically, politicians from both parties have always treated home ownership as an unqualified good thing: the American Dream. The problem is that not everybody can own a home that will appreciate rapidly. In the real estate market, like in any other market, everybody can't be a winner. Yet everybody tried to be, and the politicians were actively encouraging this behavior. The result was to turn America's real estate market into a Ponzi pyramid scheme which had to come crashing down sooner or later. Just like the "dot.com" market did, eight years before.

In the real estate market, like in any other market, everybody can't be a winner.

Bzzzzzzzzzzzzt.

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"If we want to take this party back, and I think we can someday, let’s get to work." – Barry Goldwater

Of course it always cheers me to see the democrats get the fruits of their victory.


"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

Unfortunately, the rest of us share in those fruits. Frankly I could do with a little less sharing :)

John
----------
Why would God invent something like whiskey? To keep the Irish from ruling the world of course

Good job pointing out the reason for rising unemployment--the raising of the minimum wage.

Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone. --Mitt Romney

I have 6 teenage kids at home. Only one is currently employed. That means not only are they not making money and contributing to improving the economy, but my income is also reduced because I have to subsidize them until they find a job.

How is it again that the democrats care about middle-class families?

"After two years in Washington, I often long for the realism and sincerity of Hollywood." -Fred Dalton Thompson

Lots of people have been saying these things here for a long time. I just thought it might be good to put them together and make a direct comparison.

"After two years in Washington, I often long for the realism and sincerity of Hollywood." -Fred Dalton Thompson

if Biden actually wrote his statement? Cribbed it from some defeatist old socialist tripe?

Katie Bar the Door, sir.

[And how did your Rox do this last week? Kidding...kidding!]



Fighting for conservatism one day at a time.

It's still early. Rox doen't come out of hibernation until late May earliest.

"After two years in Washington, I often long for the realism and sincerity of Hollywood." -Fred Dalton Thompson

Well done Night Twister. You should change your name to Straight Shooter...

I've been wondering how long it would take someone to blame the demise of that "robust ecomomy" on the $.70 an hour McDonald's hike. It goes up to $6.55 next July. By that time, we'll have demand that they flip burgers for free in order to be saved.

you have yet to acquire.

I blamed the recent unemployment spike on the minimum wage increase.

I blame the democrat congress for telling businesses that their tax incentives for investment are soon going away, so they'd better think twice about new investments with any risk, because they'll no longer be worth it.

Not that restating this again will help your comprehension.

"After two years in Washington, I often long for the realism and sincerity of Hollywood." -Fred Dalton Thompson

Anyone can do it and there's plenty to go around. That doesn't mean it's correct.

Wal-Mart and many others were already paying above minimum wage prior to the increase. Many states had already raised it and some, even higher than the federal wage. I didn't even see the "trickle" effect that usually bumps wages for higher earners when the lower wages increase.

There were a lot of drivers that led to where the economy is today but I don’t buy into the minimum wage being a factor of any significance. Perhaps you can enlighten me with data. I’m not finding it.

I do agree with you however that the less an employer pays in taxes and the less they pay their employees, the more jobs they can provide. But if the employee cannot survive on slave wages and there’s not enough there to pay taxes for two, what good does this do for the economy?

Comprende?

And you still don't get it. I didn't blame minimum wage for the current state of the economy (third time I've had to say that).

"After two years in Washington, I often long for the realism and sincerity of Hollywood." -Fred Dalton Thompson

minimum wage jobs are not meant to be any one's living wage, they are the wages that first time workers get. Anyone who is not earning more than that after a few months on the job will never earn enough to support themselves anyway.

Minimum wage was first created by the progressives for two reasons. To drive blacks and other undesirables out of the cities (it was assumed that they would be unhireable at that wage). and to make non Union jobs less competitive with Union wages.

"Nothing works like freedom, Nothing succeeds like liberty"
Kyle

Of the minimum wage. That rise priced up the entire labor market.

So let me ask you are an employer how do you deal with overall higher labor costs ?


"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

Unfortunately, I don't know anyone here who would blame our current economic downturn on an increase in the minimum wage.

What the increase does do, though, is to reduce the number of jobs in the economoy (or at least decrease the slope in the number of jobs curve).

And Rightly So!

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"If we want to take this party back, and I think we can someday, let’s get to work." – Barry Goldwater

Isn't it interesting that the Commicrats response to the President's radio message is given by Mister "Those are really my words" Biden? Most ethical Congress ever? Lets see, who are some of the most ethical members of Congress?
1] Ted "The Swimmer" Kennedy
2] Robert "Sheets" Byrd
3] Dick "Pravda" Durbin
4] Barack "I See Nothing" Obama
5] Patrick "Flannel Lip" Leahy
6] Hillary "Miss Speak" Clinton
7] Harry "Boss Tweed" Reid
Those are just seven of the Dems most ethical members. They have the audacity to condemn the Iraqi government for corruption and failure to reach their goals? Its the same as Elliot Spitzer calling Hugh Hefner immoral!
You sir have scored a bulls eye with this post! Keep at 'em!

Lots of professional pols in Demland who've never met a payroll, but who love to tax business, big and small.

So there you have it. Four benchmarks met, two underway, and one not met (even though results of intended legislation are already being met.

Well, then, if all these benchmarks have either been met or are in the process of being met, why aren't we withdrawing our troops yet?

From what you said, the benchmarks have made such wonderful progress that we should be able to withdraw all our troops in another year or so, which is exactly what Hillary has been saying.

If not, then it sounds like there's something ELSE that has to happen in Iraq before YOU will agree that our troops can safely be withdrawn from Iraq. What is it? What EXACTLY do YOU want to see happen in Iraq so YOU can say proudly "We have succeeded!" and we can safely withdraw most or all of our troops?

I'll give you my own take on it: I think that supporters of this war cannot even define what "success" is anymore, for a basic reason: We're dealing with an enemy that won't ever surrender formally (no white flag), and one whom we cannot totally exterminate because they hide out among the millions of radicalized Muslims in the Middle East. They won't surrender and they can't be exterminated. So how exactly does this Iraq War ever end for us? How can it ever end for us? What does the endgame for the war look like?

but we've rather grown accustomed to nonsense in this particular case.

First, I want to congratulate you on building a really nice strawman, dousing it in kerosene, and setting it afire. I haven't seen that particular feat carried out with such panache since I was in 11th grade. And this didn't end up involving state troopers.

1. Meeting the various milestones is pretty unrelated to withdrawing troops. I'd say Germany met most of its post-1945 milestones around 1955 but we still have troops there. Same for Japan.

2. Just because you haven't bothered to inform yourself on the subject doesn't mean everyone is similarly benighted.

You've done a great job in establishing yourself as the owner of a Zippy the Pinhead sized intellect. Congratulations. Don't be shocked, however, when in the near future when you discover you no longer have a valid account here.

"A man does what he can and endures what he must."

what constitutes "good questions" verses questions that will void an account? I understand and appreciate that direct attacks and insults shouldn't be tolerated but it appears that even the moderators here have different views on what that might be.

historically we've banned the stupid and the disagreeable regardless of political philosophy. I think if you view the posting history of the person in question you'll find [insert pronoun of choice here] is treading perilously close to outing themselves as one or the other, if not both, of these.

"A man does what he can and endures what he must."

1. Why aren't we withdrawing our troops yet?

Because other benchmarks have not been met. Because the Iraqi troops are not sufficiently trained and seasoned to completely take over the task themselves. Recent events show they are becoming more capable and need less assistance from us. This will continue so long as we stay on the current course.

So how exactly does this Iraq War ever end for us?

When the Iraqis are capable of providing the bulk of their own security on their own like other moderate nations in the area are (e.g. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan).

How can it ever end for us?

It ends when the enemy knows that we're committed to making sure they are never able to gain control. They'll simply take their fight somewhere else where they think they'll have a better chance.

What does the endgame for the war look like?

We continue to draw down troops as the Iraqi forces are able to provide their own security, with the full knowledge that if the enemy puts on the pressure again, we'll be there to assist and ensure that they fail. It ends when they realize they can't ever win.

That is why we can never give a firm withdrawl date.

Never.

"After two years in Washington, I often long for the realism and sincerity of Hollywood." -Fred Dalton Thompson

Iraq is in a very dangerous neighborhood that is key to US strategic interests. The presence of a three to five US divisions deployed under a joint security arrangement like that now being negotiated would go a long way towards both stabilizing the region and giving the Iraqi government some breathing room to establish itself.

"A man does what he can and endures what he must."

"They successfully raised the national minimum wage, but in doing so have caused businesses to cut jobs.."

"I blamed the recent unemployment spike on the minimum wage increase."

"I have 6 teenage kids at home. Only one is currently employed. That means not only are they not making money and contributing to improving the economy......."

"And you still don't get it. I didn't blame minimum wage for the current state of the economy...."

maybe I need to brush up on my reading comprehension skills.

Loss of jobs is not significantly affecting the economy.

Yet. As others have stated there are other forces at work (wages tied to multiples of minimum wage, etc.).

It could be a factor depending on what happens going forward, but the investment disincentives (failure to extend or make permanent the Bush tax cuts) and the housing crash are the primary forces at work right now.

Investment disincentives will cost a lot more jobs. Businesses will simply hold onto their assets until the political environment is more supportive of risk-taking investment.

The housing market will eventually bottom out and begin to rebuild itself, but that will also take longer as the buying power of Americans is reduced.

"After two years in Washington, I often long for the realism and sincerity of Hollywood." -Fred Dalton Thompson

(and I'll give credit where credit is due) Republicans were able to tie in a needed business investment incentive to the Democrat's $600-chicken-in-every-pot nonsense.

I think the loss of jobs does play a role in the overall economy but I don't think minimum wage played a role in job loss. Historically (1997 and by states that had already made the raise), it has been more productive than not. Also, none of my 3 working teenagers who make $7 to $8 an hour saw any of that ripple increase that usually goes along with it. I don't have statistics but it's my understanding that that's consistent nationwide.

The minimum wage increase was not for the benefit of anyone making minimum wage, most people make more and state min wages are usually higher anyways as you pointed out. Raising the minimum wage is the Democrats trying to get a raise for their union buddies as some union contracts are based off minimum wage levels (for example: min wage + $10 = union wage, so bumping the min wage will be a raise for them).

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