Friday, May 09, 2008



We may have mentioned a few times this week how Steny Hoyer is taking a leading role in delivering retroactive immunity and warrantless wiretapping authority to the Bush Regime... on a silver platter. But that doesn't make him too busy to also figure out how to make sure Bush has all the money he needs to continue his absolutely disastrous war policy in Iraq. Of course, Hoyer has plenty of allies among Democrats helping him with that odious task. "But Steny is the Democratic leader," you ask... kind of plaintively. "Would he really do that?" Sure, his Iraq voting record is pro-war and has been since October 10, 2002 when he voted to give Bush a blank check in attacking Iraq. If ever there are war crimes trials, Hoyer will have a tough time proving his innocence-- and he will need to pray I'm not on the jury.

I have little doubt that Bush's latest "supplemental budget"-- $108.1 billion in war funds for the remainder of fiscal 2008, plus $70 billion in fiscal 2009 for the war and $5.8 billion for Gulf Coast levee reconstruction in fiscal 2009-- after the Congressional leadership and various congressional factions are finished with their pointless dramatics. Hoyer and other reactionary pro-war Democrats want to lure moderates in by offering a temporary extension of unemployment benefits and a major expansion of education benefits for veterans (which Bush says he'll veto)-- at which point, Hoyer will lead the Democrats back to approve Bush's billions. It's complicated by the warmongering Blue Dog faction, which, like the Republicans, wants plenty of war but no economic middle class relief-- not even for returning vets.

You think there's a better way to handle this? Maine Congressman Tom Allen is one of a growing cadre of Democrats-- ones who actually want to end the war-- who take a completely different tact from Hoyer's shameful and deceptive pro-war policy. Allen says he'll oppose the "supplemental appropriations bill to fund the war in Iraq because it lacks a binding responsible deadline for troop withdrawal and leaves room for an open-ended commitment."

This is one reason-- among many-- Blue America supports his election to Congress. Tom:
“After more than five long years, there is still no end in sight in Iraq. Yet President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Senator Collins, and other supporters of an open-ended commitment still have no plan for bringing our troops home. During a time when the middle class is struggling to pay for things like fuel, groceries, healthcare, and education, we continue to spend $12 billion every month in Iraq. America can’t afford to stay in Iraq indefinitely. For that reason, I will oppose any funding bill that doesn’t include a firm, responsible deadline to bring our troops home.”

That's the progressive position. Ironically, the pro-war Blue Dogs and the anti-war Out-of-Iraq Caucus may vote together on a procedural motion to prevent Hoyer's plans from working. Right wing Blue Dogs are against it because, like the Republicans, they oppose the modernization of the GI Bill which would offer military vets better educational benefits. Out of this mess, Pelosi predicts not just victory (in Congress, obviously victory in Iraq is beyond illusory), but Democratic unanimity. I don't know what drugs she's on but she must have picked them up when she visited Damascus. She thinks she's going to get Democrats who want-- I mean really want, not make believe, theoretically, rhetorically want-- to end the war to support the same bill the die-hard war mongers like Jim Marshall (GA), John Barrow (GA), Gene Taylor (MS), Jim Matheson (UT), Chris Carney (PA) and Dan Boren support. Roll some of that up and send it over here, Ms Off the Table.

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