Wednesday, October 4, 2006


schadenfreude ..SHOD-n-froy-duh.., noun:
From the German, Schaden, "damage" + Freude, "joy."
A malicious satisfaction obtained from the misfortunes of others.

Four weeks away from Congressional elections, and the GOP elephant is looking like a mastodon in a tar pit. What's gone so wrong for the Republicans? And can the Democrats take advantage? Hmm… let's have a recap. Click anything in blue for more info!

President Bush's sinking poll numbers: Live by the village idiot, die by the village idiot. The Republicans in Congress made a Faustian pact some time ago, allowing George W. Bush and his authoritarian neo-con handlers to hijack their party, and marry it to the right-wing religious extremists. It was only a matter of time before that cabal began to turn the masses off. Bush's current job approval has dipped as low as 34%. To put things in perspective, that's about where President Richard Nixon's ratings were right before he resigned! A lot of Republicans are trying to flee that sinking ship, but they've entangled themselves into it so tightly, it's rather hard to disengage.

Iraq: Reports have showed that rather than the insurgency in that occupied country being in its "last throes," as Vice President Dick Cheney reported in 2005, it's picking up steam. US military deaths are nearing 2800—with over seventy happening just last month. Attacks on US troops are up. The number of wounded US troops—from illness to missing limbs to massive brain injuries—are well over 20,000. American bombs, including controversial chemical weapons like white phosphorous, and sectarian violence (another nice word for a proto Civil War) has left tens of thousands of Iraqi's dead, perhaps over 100,000! In fact, the latest news by the National Intelligent Estimate is that the Iraq debacle has helped create a more unstable world, and lit the fires for terrorism. Way to go… I guess pretensions of Empire are a lot harder than actually accomplishing the great Pax Americana.

Torture & Privacy: As if the horrors of Abu Gharib weren't enough, the Bush administration and their Republican allies have now passed bills on detainees that ignore the Geneva Conventions, and codify torture. In case you're uncertain about what torture is, here's a primer on waterboarding. Unlike agent Jack Bauer on 24, torture generally doesn't work. And worse still, with the new unprecedented detainee laws pushed by the Republican Congress and the President, allowing the government to suspend habeus corpus, rest assured that innocent people—yes, this may mean YOU—could easily be picked up, not charged, flown to some undisclosed spot and disappeared. If you're doubtful, maybe you haven't heard of Canadian Maher Arar—who was rendered to Syria, and tortured for 10 months (and by torture, we mean having his testicles sliced with razor blades and other "tough interrogation techniques"), all at the behest of the US, and released without so much as an apology when it was realized he was completely innocent. They've ignored privacy with numerous cases of illegal NSA wire-tapping all supposedly in the name of the War on Terror, taking us down the Orwellian road to big brother.

Corruption, Corruption, Corruption: From Representative Tom Delay's resignation, to that of Rep. Bob Ney, to the many tentacled Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal and over to the Valerie Wilson CIA leak, the GOP run Congress aren't just turning out to be a "do-nothing grouping," but one filled with a culture of criminal corruption. Ironically, when they stormed the legislature in Newt Gingrich's 1994 "Contract on America," it was to stamp out Democratic corruption. But a few unethically purchased postage stamps pales in comparison to this lot.

George Allen's Racist Mouth, and Past: Once a darling of the GOP, and a Presidential hopeful, Republican George Allen of Virginia can't seem to keep his foot out of his mouth, or his past buried. After referring to a worker in his opponent's camp by a racial slur, he later goes on to deny his Jewish heritage (as if it is a stain) before later embracing it, and is now embroiled in claims that he repeatedly used the n-word in the past, and (most bizarrely) once cut off a deer's head and stuffed it into a black family's mailbox as a type of hate crime. While this has sent shock waves through his campaign, considering that Allen during his high school years wore Confederate army pins and later kept a lynching noose in his law office, these latest acts and revelations shouldn't have really surprised anyone. To his one saving grace on race, Allen did introduce a symbolic bill in 2005 to officially apologize for the Senate's role in blocking antilynching legislation through decades of killings across the South. The question now however is whether such acts were sincere, or political jockeying.

Mark Foley and the "No Child's Behind Left Alone" Act: And then, just when the GOP thought perhaps they had scored a clever tactical victory with their detainee bill, a bombshell was dropped in the form of Republican Representative Mark Foley of Florida—who was forced to resign after sexually solicitous emails and IMs surfaced between himself and male teenage pages in Congress. The GOP is finding itself in disarray, with its members pointing fingers at each other, and even prominent conservatives demanding an investigation. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

Add in everything from the madness of Katrina to stagnating wages, and the Republican Party is running scared. Democrats need 15 seats to gain control over the House of Representatives. The Senate is also up for grabs. Now I don't think the Democrats are a panacea. There are too many problems with our consumerist Über-capitalist, globalist, militarist, neo-liberal, hegemonic society to be solved by any one party, who shares in those same depravities. However with the Democrats, we can start at least slowing down the mad dash off the cliff. And perhaps, like Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy said as he watched the GOP alter the Constitution to score political points, "in 40 days we can put an end to this nonsense."

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