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Panel recommends that U.S. lower its profile in Iraq September 6, 2007

Posted by chuckwh in Al Gore, Gore, Iran, Iraq, President Gore.
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An independent panel led by the heirs of Orville Redenbacher is recommending that businesses and organizations in Iraq that have direct ties to the U.S. lower their profile. “There is a mythology that Iran happened because a dictator ruled the country,” said the spokesperson for the panel, Christiane Amanpour, “but we would argue that what happened was that Iran experienced a shockwave, and that the Ayatollahs were merely a symptom of a larger backlash against Western materialism. Conditions are ripe for the same thing to happen in Iraq today.”

Iraq, as everyone knows, is the new glam child of the Middle East, but its Shi’ite population is becoming a bit restive.

U.S. to Outsource All Government Functions to Indian Company August 21, 2007

Posted by chuckwh in Al Gore, blogosphere, Drudge Report, Goa, Gore, Gore Years, outsource, outsourcing.
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In a dramatic move to cut government expenditures, The Drudge Report is reporting that the The Gore Administration will soon outsource all non-military government operations to an Indian company called “OutDamnedSpot,” pending congressional approval.

Details are sketchy, so far, but insiders are leaking some concepts to bloggers. “We’ve identified a major urban area in India,” said one inside source quoted by the Drudge Report. “The plan is to clear any cities out, and move in contractors specializing in government processes and bureaucracy. It’s a win-win for the U.S. Government, because, according to the contract, if we’re not happy with their performance we can pull out of the contract, no questions asked.”

The blogosphere is ripe with rumors that the operations will be based in the Indian state of Goa, and that, if necessary, the contractor will build a new coastal city to accommodate the new contract. Some rumors are also suggesting that the contractor will require all employees to work at least 23.5 hours per day through a written agreement.

No comment yet from anyone in the Gore Administration.

All Republican Presidential Candidates Officially Withdraw After Iowa Straw Poll August 14, 2007

Posted by chuckwh in Al Gore, Fred Thomson, Gore, Gore Years, John McCain, Mitt Romney, News and politics, President Gore, republican primary, Ron Paul, satire.
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In a stunning and historically unprecedented move, all 8 Republicans in the Republican primary race announced their withdrawal from the Presidential race in a joint press conference in Des Moines, Iowa today.

The decision was made by the candidates after they met in a hotel in Des Moines and decided that they needed a unified reaction to the fact that only five Iowans voted in this year’s Iowa Straw Poll, all for Representative and blog world superstar Ron Paul, who admitted today during the press conference that his libertarian roots ran contrary to the opinion of nearly 98% of Americans.

Quick question. Is he Jack Bauer's boss? Or some other Jack?

The press conference was led by Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York, who said, “America, under Al Gore, has entered a golden age, and as the opposition party we need to refocus our agenda and stop trying to divide America. Instead, what we need to do as a party is determine how to fine tune the fine progress this administration has made. This isn’t some brilliant revelation on the part of any one of us, but is instead a central fact of American polity today. Speaking only for myself I can tell you that the personal scandals I would have brought to fore would have made Bill Clinton look like an English schoolboy in knickers.”

Next to take the stage was Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, who said that the revelations in the liberal press about his backwardness would “destroy the kind of tinker toy presidency that I would have. Unlike the last neo-con candidate, George W. Bush, I’m actually smart and could have made a good run of it, but at the end of the day folks would have discovered my underlying prejudices and extreme views.”

Next up to the podium was John McCain, who lost to Gore in 2004. McCain merely shrugged and, with his typical honesty, said, “I just pretty much suck as a presidential candidate. But I’m a pretty good guy. I get a little pissed off sometimes though, and my advisers kept playing tapes of Howard Dean and said, ‘this is you, pal, on a good day.’ So yeah, I’m calling it quits.”

Mitt Romney appeared next. Romney, who is calling for an invasion of Iran even though Iran and the U.S. are in a period of sustained d├ętente, lamented the apparent re-direction of the American military service’s mission during the Gore Years, but said there was little hope of changing it.

“In recent years, we’ve gone from a military machine capable of quickly evaporating any foe to a world-wide army corps of engineers. Today we have engineering brigades in countless countries, with the supposed intention of helping countries escape poverty and the results of armed conflict. While doing this, however, we have ignored the fact that we could be attacked at any time by any number of enemies. I will devote the rest of my career to identifying these enemies through a new blog I will be writing called, ‘Meet Mitt’s Enemies.’ I think my supporters will enjoy it.”

Fred Thompson was also at the event, and declined to say whether he would run, although he provided some hints when he said, “Well, people know me as Jack’s boss, and some people who vote at the last minute are so stupid that they won’t know if I’m Jack Bauer’s boss, or Jack’s boss from Law and Order, so I guess things are looking up for old Fred right now. Gotta work on my hair, though.”

The other candidates never get any mention in the press, and had nothing at all interesting to say, so we’ll join the mainstream press and dutifully ignore them.

Bush Calls for Air Strikes Against Russia in Retaliation for Georgian Missile Attack August 8, 2007

Posted by chuckwh in Al Gore, arms control, Bush, George W. Bush, Georgia, Gore, missiles, News and politics, President Gore, Russia.
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Former Presidential Candidate George W. Bush today called for air strikes against Russia for what he called “its unpardonable missile attack against Georgia.”

Bush, who was defeated by President Al Gore in a close and controversial election in 2000, speaking from the Betty Ford Center, where he is completing an extensive stay, said, “The great state of Georgia should be answered for. I have many friends in many parts of Georgia, including Atlanta, and of course Savannah, a fine town, and I’m sure they must all be very upset about the Russian attack. I don’t know what could have provoked the Russians to attack our homeland, but it is vital that this appeasement president respond in kind. I therefore call on President Gore to immediately launch a strike against the Soviets.”

There has been no official response from the White House yet on Bush’s remarks. President Gore is in Havana, Cuba, on a visit with Raul Castro.

Gore Commerorates New Bay Bridge, Lauds Federal Bridges Program August 3, 2007

Posted by chuckwh in Al Gore, bridges, Environment, Environmentalism, Gore, News and politics, President Gore.
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President Gore today commemorated the new Eastern span of the Bay Bridge connecting Oakland and San Francisco, California today. In his speech before Bay Area civic leaders and construction workers, he pointed to the four-year old Federal Bridges Program (FBP) that has received most of its funding from the graduated gasoline taxes that went into effect in mid 2002.

East Span of the Bay BridgeThe bridge actually received little funding from the FBP, in fact. The multi-billion structure was instead mostly funded from California state coffers. But Gore pointed out that the bridge’s completion was accelerated in large part from a boost from the FBP, and lauded the significance the FBP has had on bridge infrastructure in the United States, which had been deteriorating for years before the program came into being.

“The American people can take pride in the fact that their sacrifices are paying off,” said Gore in the speech. “Initial studies indicated that, before the FBP was enacted one quarter of American bridges were unsafe. We’ve made significant inroads into that figure already, with more than 100 major bridges having already undergone significant safety and infrastructure improvements.”

One of the results, of course, of the bridge program, has been higher gasoline prices, which have crept up to their current high of $3.50 per gallon, despite a fairly stable period of crude oil prices, which are currently at around $26 per barrel. Gore wasn’t shy about pointing to the connections. “Now, Americans have had to sacrifice in order to help pay for these improvements, but I think most would argue that it’s important to protect our families and remember that when we’re packing that car up and filling up the tank, we’re not only helping to assure a safe trip, but we’re continuing to improve our environment and help lead our nation towards alternative fuels. Already, hydrogen-powered vehicles are making their way into the mainstream. I see a very bright future ahead of us, thanks to the determination and ingenuity of the American people.”

Here is a list of some of the bridges that have been or are currently being repaired through the FBP:

State Bridge Repaired
Highways and/or crossings City: Avg. # of vehicles/day
Ala. I-65 U.S. 11, railroad Birmingham 148,800
Calif. I-880 Fifth Avenue, railroads Oakland 240,000
Calif. State Route 710 Los Angeles River Los Angeles 235,440
Colo. I-70 U.S. 6, railroad, city street Denver 136,744
Colo. I-25 South Platte River, railroad Denver 208,353
Colo. U.S. 6 Bryant Street Denver 148,339
Conn.-N.Y. I-95 Byram River, South Water Street Byram 127,200
Conn. I-95 Cherry Street and Bostwick Avenue Bridgeport 130,100
Conn. I-95 West River and SR 745 New Haven 135,200
Mass. I-95 and SR 128 Charles River Newton 160,000
Md.-Va. I-95 and I-495 Potomac River Washington, DC 172,975
Minn. I-35E Cayuga Street St. Paul 148,000
Minn. I-35E Railroad St. Paul 148,000
Minn. I-35E Pennsylvania Avenue St. Paul 144,000
Minn. I-35W Mississippi River, railroad Minneapolis 141,000
Mo. I-64E MetroLink light rail line St. Louis 135,892
Mo. I-64E Brentwood Boulevard St. Louis 158,620
Mo. I-64E Laclede Station Road St. Louis 142,196
Mo. I-64E Clayton Terrace St. Louis 142,196
Mo. I-64E McCausland Avenue St. Louis 139,458
N.J. Route 3 Passaic River, Route 21 Rutherford 144,200
N.J. Garden State Parkway Raritan River, Smith Street Perth Amboy 208,000
N.Y. I-678 I-495 New York 137,852
N.Y. I-87 Hudson River, River Road South Nyack 133,933
Pa. I-95 Palmer and Cumberland streets Philadelphia 173,662
Pa. I-95 Sergeant and Huntington streets Philadelphia 173,662
Pa. I-95 Tacony and Bridge streets Philadelphia 166,407
Pa. I-95 Comly Street Philadelphia 166,407
Pa. I-95 Magee Avenue Philadelphia 166,407
Pa. I-95 Longshore Avenue Philadelphia 166,407
Pa. I-95 Ramp Philadelphia 163,884
Pa. I-95 Ramp Philadelphia 161,310
Pa. I-95 State Road, railroad Philadelphia 161,310
Pa. I-95 Pennypack Creek Philadelphia 161,310
R.I. I-195 Chestnut Street, SR 12 Providence 161,153
Va. I-95 Lombardy Street, railroad Richmond 144,772

New Report on Iraq Charts Growth February 3, 2007

Posted by chuckwh in 9-11, Al Gore, Economy & Business, Election 2008, George W. Bush, Gore, Iraq, News and politics, Politics, Terrorism, World Trade Center.
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The new U.S. government-released National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq is providing some of the most comprehensive numbers on Iraq growth since President Gore’s Bill of Hope authorized billions for education programs across the Middle East. Total literacy has jumped from an estimated 50% in 2001 to nearly 88% in late 2006, according the report (parts of which were provided by UNESCO).

Baghdad University has grown from 34,555 students (1988 numbers) to nearly 90,000, mostly through its two new campuses. The Foundation of Technical Institutes has grown from 35,000 students (also 1988) to 70,000, a growth that also can be attributed to new campuses. In addition, the Hijric Collective has opened up a number of smaller universities (in addition to the Hijric Samarra University) with a somewhat Islamic-focused curriculum. This makes some American politicians nervous, but so far the results are encouraging, with about 35% of the first wave of graduates moving on to post-bachelor work at the larger universities.

The new Samarra University is by far the largest in the Midde East, with some 200,000 students spread among 14 widely dispersed and quickly built campuses.

The first wave of Samarra graduates hit the street only recently, and no figures are available yet on what they’re up to, but indications are that their interests are split among a few distinct areas. The largest contingent of graduates seems to be migrating towards the glamour of Qadisiyah Expressway, the growing high-tech hub that has sprouted in Central Baghdad. The next largest groups are evenly split between teachers, lawyers, doctors, and engineers.

Unemployment in Iraq is now at about 8%, a high number, the report notes, considering all of the infrastructure projects that have been initiated by the BOH since 2001, but much better than the 30% or so estimated at the time of the fall of Saddam (who was basically shown the door after the population saw how well Iraqis were doing in the Shia south and Kurdish north).

The oil industry boom has already prompted the Iraqi government to offer to repay some BOH expenditures for 2006, even though BOH funds were grants, not loans,. Meanwhile, no BOH money has been spent this year by the Iraqi government. Negotiations are now under way to transfer 2007 BOH funds to Sudan, which has been reeling under internecine unrest for several years, but many obstacles remain (primarily on who to give the money to, because the Republican-forced compromise for getting the BOH passed in the first place mandates that no BOH money can go to UN-chartered services).

The report notes that one of the trickle down effects of the rise of the oil industry in Iraq has been a massive growth in small businesses, which also have benefited from the tough standards imposed on BOH beneficiaries that mandate simple legal processes for starting a new business, instead of high taxes and a morass of red tape. The BOHBA (Bill of Hope Business Administration) has, additionally, released nearly $2 billion in business loans in Baghdad alone since the bill was passed. An escrow was established early on that allows the loans to be transferred to an Iraqi financial authority, which means that yet another portion of BOH funds will ultimately be repaid.

That, in fact, is one of the most encouraging aspects of the new report. The U.S. has poured billions into Iraq and other Middle East countries in an effort to improve conditions there, and now some of that money is showing signs of coming back.

I remember when 9-11 happened and thinking to myself that we were at war. But today, the men responsible for that attack are nothing more than a fringe group wandering around aimlessly in Waziristan, unable to even move East or West because they’re surrounded by committed democracies dedicated to destroying what’s left of them.

Something tells me this could have all gone much differently. After the incursion into Afghanistan, Al-Queda went on the run, vowing their revenge, but nothing happened. But Gore didn’t stop there. He then looked at the root causes that might have prompted such anger, and reached out to a people few Americans at the time understood.

The world is richer for it, in more ways than one.

Gore Focuses on Peace, Prosperity in State of the Union Address, Rumsfeld in Tears January 24, 2007

Posted by chuckwh in Al Gore, Donald Rumsfeld, Foreign Policy, Gore, News and politics, State of the Union.
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As some pundits have begun to seriously bandy about notions of a possible “Golden Age” in America and beyond, President Gore during tonight’s State of the Union urged Americans to “stay the course, because our current prosperity is not only sustainable, but can actually be improved upon — must be improved upon.”

Reports had indicated that Gore would press hard for Americans to make sure a Democrat was elected President in 2008, but he refrained from such a blunt message and merely emphasized that “now is no time for course corrections.”

Also expected was a new environmental package, but Gore said the new environmental bill would not be introduced until late February. Instead, the President pointed out that America has reduced its gasoline consumption nearly 20% in just six years’ time. “It was not that long ago where I went before the American people and told them that we would all need to sacrifice, and the American people, true to spirit, came through. This is an achievement that we can all be proud of, but there is more work to be done.”

The Republican response was delivered by Senator Donald Rumsfeld, who shocked pundits and talking heads by weeping openly before the cameras as he delivered a rambling speech. “Mr. Gore’s pacifism has taken on new energy,” said Rumsfeld, brushing back tears. “It’s a pacifism that only true pacifists can embrace, if they can embrace at all. And it’s this embracing that punishes the country the most, because it emboldens those who will not embrace this country’s principles of freedom and peace.”

Rumsfeld scoffed at the notion of an approaching golden age for the nation, saying instead, “America lost a golden opportunity to shape the Middle East in a way that all supporters of democratic ideals can appreciate. We’ve lost the hearts and minds of the Middle East, which has been left, sadly, to its own devices, its own bizarre forms of democracy, where the electorate pins its hopes on some indigenous concept of self-governance that is an affront to all that we should stand for.”

Rumsfeld went on to admonish Democrats and progressive Republicans for “misleading the American people by telling them that the so-called economic boom taking place in the Middle East is a positive thing for Americans when it is not. There are good, fine American companies who can be laying down the concrete and building the infrastructure and the other seeds of this growth, but instead the money all falls into the hands of the very people we are trying to help.”

Inconsolable, Rumsfeld was then led away from the cameras.

Al Gore’s “October Surprise” November 6, 2006

Posted by chuckwh in 9-11, Al Gore, Bush, Congressional ethics, Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush, Gore, Iraq, Neo-cons, Neo-conservatives, News and politics, Politics, Scandals, Terrorism.
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Al Gore today, in a surprise pre-election announcement, has pardoned several well-known Republican criminals, including Bill O’Reilly (imprisoned for illegally obtaining abortion clinic patient records), Donald Rumsfeld (who along with Dick Cheney was nailed for racketeering and embezzlement during the Iraq Reconstruction Project — see this link for background on the Bill of Hope), and several other small-time Republican crooks. Notably absent from the list was Senator Tom DeLay.

Press Secretary Aaron Sorkin today said Gore is doing this as part of national reconciliation efforts that began when Republicans were routinely put in prison back in 2001, when Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris were thrown in jail for vote fraud.

He is also offering “limited amnesty” to Republican sex offenders who have not yet been apprehended and who come forward and show a willingness to adhere to a GPS-based tracking system, and who voluntarily submit to psychological counseling. Insiders say that the reasons for this are more practical than a simple desire for national reconciliation. “Our medium security prisons just don’t have enough room for all the offenders,” says one official close to the administration.

In fact, prison overcrowding has again become a major issue, in spite of recent changes in criminal drug laws that no longer mandate imprisonment for minor drug offenses and have returned the focus to drug rehabilitation. Studies are beginning to pour in showing that, since the crackdown on Republican corruption, the prison population once dominated by drug offenders and minorities is being replaced by Republicans.

With the mid-term elections tomorrow, and the nation enjoying unprecedented peace and prosperity, electoral interest seems to be at an all time low, and Gore appears to be trying to remind voters why he was re-elected in the first place. While neocons refer to Gore as “the appeasement president”, the fact is that Gore has become a world leader based on his skills at managing reconciliation on a global level, while driving successful worldwide anti-poverty and environmental programs. He has, in other words, not only not squandered the good will that wrapped the U.S. in an emotional blanket of sympathy after the 9/11 attacks, he’s capitalized them in a huge way, one that’s easy to take for granted in a less dangerous world.

When things are going well, it’s easy to become complacent, and Gore apparently is trying to find a way to remind voters how dangerous such complacency can be. “It’s really hard for most voters to imagine how bad things could become if the current Republican leadership were ever to take control of the government,” says one Democratic campaign pollster, who is hopeful that the neoconservative wing of the Republican party is finally being dismembered through its delirious combination of sex and corruption scandals, as well as voter antipathy towards the neoconservative doctrine of perpetual war.

Also, in a speech late yesterday, Gore offered what he called some personal advice to the challenger in his first presidential election, George W. Bush. “I think maybe it’s time for George to check himself out of the Betty Ford clinic. He’s been in there, what? Five, six years? I know it was a tough election, but it’s time to move on.”

Gore to Propose “Green Zone” for Iraq October 22, 2006

Posted by chuckwh in Al Gore, Environmentalism, George W. Bush, Gore, green zone, Iraq, News and politics, Politics.
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Word just in that the Gore Administration is going to propose a “Green Zone” for central Baghdad similar to Green Zones that have been started in several other urban zones in the developing world.

The Bagdhad Green Zone will, like other Green Zones, be backed by the Kyoto Initiative, which is a recently signed addendum to the Kyoto Treaty that provides funding for environmental initiatives in the developing world, especially the fast growing ones that need it most.

The Green Zone will power downtown Baghdad with nothing but renewable energy, and will initiate a tree planting program similar to the one Chicago mayor Rich Daly helped push in Chicago.

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Republicans Gear Up Their Media Fear Machine October 21, 2006

Posted by chuckwh in 9-11, Al Gore, Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Foreign Policy, George W. Bush, Gore, Haliburton, Iraq, Law & Politics, Neo-cons, Neo-conservatives, News and politics, Politics, September 11th, September 11th & The War On Terror.
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The Republicans have officially ramped up their fear-based media frenzy by generating ads suggesting we’re all about to die.

You can find one of them here.

As a professional web developer, I ask this simple question. Do you really trust a party that uses Dreamweaver to write its scripting code to tackle such potential horrors as dirty suitcase bombs?

How do you know they’re using Dreamweaver? Easy, just do a view source and see the ubiquitous Macromedia function MM_swapImgRestore() littering the HTML code. Now, there’s nothing wrong with amateurs using Dreamweaver to crank out a site, but do we want the Republicans to hire amateurs to run a war? If they can’t come up with the technical resources to do a web site properly, how in the name of fat hypocrisy can we expect them to run a war if they somehow get the presidency back?

You think the connection is off the wall? Well, just, for a moment, let’s come up with a preposterous scenario.

Imagine, for a moment, that Bush had beaten Gore in the presidential race of 2000. Now, imagine that instead of engaging the Middle East with diplomacy and, essentially, winning the “war” on terrorism (as summed up here) Bush had done something crazy, like invade, oh, I dunno, just for the sake of argument, maybe Iraq. Who knows why, but just bear with me for a moment. For me, it’s almost as easy to then imagine other weird scenarios. You know, like the U.S. drives into Baghdad, quickly routs the hapless Iraqi army, then disbands it and allows a massive looting spree where all kinds of nasty weapons are squirrelled away.

Okay, granted, I do have an over-active imagination. You have to sort of clear all reason from your mind to imagine such a scenario, but if you saw the job Bush did in Texas and, generally, what a dunderhead he is in general, you begin to realize that, by golly, anything is possible, had he won.

Understanding that Bush would have probably included guys like Paul Wolfowitz in his cabinet makes me think even greater disasters would have been possible, had he been elected. Keep in mind that in February 1992, Wolfowitz’s henchmen drafted an American defense policy that called for the United States to brandish its military might aggressively and persistently. The policy was too chilling even for Republicans, and it was dropped, but George Bush Sr.’s well known phrase “New World Order” came largely from that document, as did, later, the Project for the New American Century, of which several dedicated neo-cons were a part of, including Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Jeb Bush, and Wolfowitz.

In fact, way back in the day Bill Clinton was in office, the neo-cons officially urged an invasion of Iraq.

Still think the whole idea is silly?

See? This is what happens when we become complacent during times of peace and economic prosperity.

Gotta watch that. It’s dangerous business, this complacency.

Okay, so let’s just say their man had won. It’s not too much of a stretch to think that their man, he of a somewhat dim mind, would have played catch with these fellas.

Now, chances are, these neo-cons would not have thought out the prospects for an invasion of Iraq. Even if they did know the difference between a Sunni and Shi’ite, neo-cons are, basically, and simply, warlike. And arrogant. They probably felt that if Saddam could contain the two groups, the U.S. certainly could. As preposterous as it sounds, they probably would have done something completely outrageous, even after winning the initial phases of the war. Who knows what? But something. Maybe they would have relied on patronage to manage the rebuilding process instead of using local civil engineering firms. After all, you can bet that any invasion would have really torched the Iraqi infrastructure. Everything from electrical grids to oil fields would need to be rebuilt.

Who knows, maybe after beating up on the Iraqi army these clowns would even disband it, letting them roam the streets penniless, hungry, and angry.

I know how silly and impossible this all sounds.

Today, Iraq is a study in possibilities, a thriving regional economic power whose biggest problem is the restive Kurds, who want to finish the job of autonomy and become an independent state, but who are not so restive as to take up arms.

But still, these are people whose idea of technical competence is using Dreamweaver on their web site. If that’s the kind of technical competence the GOP has on hand, had Bush been elected and had done the neo-cons’ bidding, I bet they couldn’t have even kept the electricity on in Baghdad for more than a few hours a day, had they been foolish enough to invade.

But the most chilling aspect about their incompetence is their fuzzy knowledge of world affairs. If they thought Iraq was okay to invade, then who would be next? Syria? Or, even more incredible, Iran? Let the dominoes fall, right fellas? Geniuses, all of them.

All of this would have given birth to an army of new terrorists. I suspect if we had invaded Iraq, that nation would have become an Al Queda playground, where American troops would have been engaged in a horrible guerrilla war, with red big targets on their humvees the size of Dick Cheney’s massive butt.

If the U.S. had then moved on to Iran, then we really would have been talking about the very real possibility of a nuclear terrorist incident in the U.S.

And that, my friends, is something the GOP doesn’t talk about in its ad.

Luckily, this is just a nightmare scenario. The kind of thing we only think about as the autumn skies turn grey and the void between life and death, as represented by old Gaelic beliefs of Halloween, approach.