Last November I was verbally attacked for not voting in the US elections. Then as now, I don't feel I have the ethical right to vote in the US anymore, despite what is technically true. More importantly to me, I feel the system is fatally corrupt. I believe US elections are a sham, a palliative to present the appearance of democracy, to make us believe things aren't as dire as they really are. I just feel finished with it.

And even if I could stomach the system, I can't stomach the Democrats. They sicken me and the idea of voting for them sickens me further.

Without my help, the Democrats won the day, and there was much jubilation over the supposedly good guys - the better guys, anyway - taking back Congress.

And what has happened since then? For the last four months, the Democrats have had the power to end the war. What have they done?
In what may be the largest supplemental in U.S. history, the House appropriations committee passed a $124.1 billion emergency funding bill – more than $25 billion more than requested by President Bush.

The bill is touted as changing course in Iraq because it requires troops to be out by August 31, 2008. But even then there are four exceptions that troops can remain in Iraq for including "capturing or killing" members of Al Qaeda or other terrorists.

Remember "starve the beast"? That's conservative shorthand for cutting revenue (taxes), which in turn cuts spending on social programs, and supposedly reduces the size of government. How about starving the gargantuan beast that is the war machine? Put another way, has anyone ever heard of a war and occupation ending because it was getting more funding?

This post is coming more from my heart and my gut than from a careful following of every move the Democrats have made, or failed to make. I don't follow news of the US Congress that closely. I read a headline and a few paragraphs and I think, that's just Dems being Dems. What did anyone expect?

So this morning I did a little searching to see if I could find a good wrap-up. Thanks to Alexander Cockburn for providing it.
This last Sunday Harry Reid, the incoming Democratic majority leader in the US Senate, went on ABC's Sunday morning show and declared that a hike in U.S. troops in Iraq is okay with him.

Here's the evolution of the Democrats' war platform since November 7, 2006, the day the voters presented a clear mandate: "End the war! Get out of Iraq!" and took the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives away from the Republicans.

So somewhat to their surprise the Democrats recaptured both the Senate and the House. Then they went to work--to obliterate the mandate.

Read Cockburn's story. It's very good.

Here's an interview with Dennis Kucinich, a true progressive, about what his colleagues are doing.

Another excellent piece is this editorial in The Nation.
The House and Senate have the authority to end the war in Iraq quickly, efficiently and honorably. Claims to the contrary by George W. Bush and his apologists are at odds with every intention of the authors of the Constitution. Which part of "Congress shall have the power to declare war... to make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces...to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers" does the White House fail to understand? Unfortunately, it may be the same part that cautious Congressional leaders have trouble comprehending.

With the announcement of spending legislation that includes benchmarks for progress in Iraq, and a plan to begin withdrawing troops if those benchmarks are unmet, Pelosi has begun to define a Democratic opposition to Bush's policies. But she has not gone nearly far enough. . . .

Forcing Americans and Iraqis to die for Bush's delusions for another year while emptying the Treasury at a rate of more than $1 billion a week is unconscionable. That is why House members who have battled hardest to end the war are so frustrated with Pelosi's approach. "This plan would require us to believe whatever the President would tell us about progress that was being made," says Representative Maxine Waters, speaking for the bipartisan Out of Iraq Caucus. Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Lynn Woolsey has been blunter, saying of the legislation, "There's no enforcement mechanism."

. . .

The haggling over compromises points up the flaw in Pelosi's approach: It is too soft, too slow, too open to lobbying mischief and abuse by a President who has done nothing but abuse Congress for six years. America and the world are not crying out for a timeline that might begin extracting troops from Iraq a year from now. Almost 200 American soldiers, and thousands of Iraqis, have died since the Democrats took control of Congress. To accept that the war will go on for another year, at the least, is to accept that the death toll will continue to mount.

Democrats should recognize that the time has come to use the full power accorded Congress in time of war: the power of the purse. As Senator Russ Feingold says, "Some will claim that cutting off funding for the war would endanger our brave troops on the ground. Not true. The safety of our servicemen and -women in Iraq is paramount, and we can and should end funding for the war without putting our troops in further danger."

Instead of negotiating with Bush to give him another year of his war before facing consequences, Democrats should refuse to write another blank check.

This column by Jonah Goldberg in the Los Angeles Times gives the full run-down on the Democrats betraying their base. (Look how he begins the piece! Is it really ironic?)

None of this is the slightest bit surprising, and that what makes it so very, very sad.

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