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Saturday, July 17, 2004

Oops!

So it turns out that Iran may have had more to do with 9/11 than Iraq? No! Your kidding?? Not Iran!


So because of Feith, Wolfwitz and the Gang, not only did we cut back on Afghanistan before we finished, but we targeted the wrong I-country... good Lord.


Again, I believe that Hussein needed to be removed sooner or later. But this is supposed to be about cleaning up the trash that struck us on 9/11. And if Iran is indeed culpable, then that is another example of ideology trumping pragmatism in the Bush White House. And now it is too late, b/c there is no way we can start a THIRD war. Don't even think it, Georgie.

Friday, July 16, 2004

More terror?
Here's a story that brings home the very real threat that terrorists still pose to us within the United States. And another good reason why airport security should be allowed to target suspicious people for screening regardless of their ethnic background or their number.


Because you know the current rule, right? The FAA will fine an airline that has more than two arabic men in screening at the same time on the grounds of "discrimination." Gosh, they may blow up another plane, but at least we can feel good about ourselves!


Here's the deal. Once caucasians, blacks, asians, hispanics, amerindians, pacific islanders or men from Mars start hijacking and blowing up planes, we'll broaden the screening. Until then, keep the airways safe.

Speaking without talking

It now appears that Sen. Clinton will, in fact, be speaking at the Democratic Convention in Boston. But only to introduce her husband on the first night.


Hmm. Sounds like the DNC is mollifying the Clintons and their supporters without running the risk of a polarizing prime-time speech from Hillary. Nice finesse job on the part of the Democrats. Unless she introduces him the way Bill ran on in 1988.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

(Almost) Learning the lessons of '92

The Democratic Party showed it still has a few brain cells in operation by not including Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) to the speaker's list during the Convention in Boston. Sen. Clinton herself is not disappointed about this (at least not outwardly). But a major Dem. fund-raiser, Judith Hope, is livid.


She has called the decision "a total outrage...very stupid". She also went on to say:


It's a slap in the face, not personally for Hillary Clinton, but for every woman in the Democratic Party and every woman in America

Wow! Someone's been feeding at the red meat table with Al.


What Ms. Hope is failing to understand is that the Convention serves a dual purpose. First and foremost, it's a party for the faithful where they select their candidate.


But it is also an opportunity for undecided voters to see what a candidate, and their party, is all about.


Love her or hate her, Sen. Clinton is one of the most polarizing figures in American politics today. To give her a prime-time speaking slot would be suicide for the DNC. And they know it. Heck, she probably knows it.


This is the lesson learned from 1992, when Pat Buchanan submarined George Bush Sr.'s campaign with a prime-time, red-meat speech that energized the conservative base and scared the crap out of moderates and undecided voters.


Conventions are showcases where you try to suck in the undecided voter. Why do you think the GOP is pushing Giuliani and McCain? Because people like them. Give Rick Santorum some prime-time slot and every undecided voter would run screaming for the hills.


Liekwise, the DNC won't give Hillary a prime slot because she causes too much controversy. But what possessed them to let Gore speak? Yes, I know he was the last candidate (who lost, who couldn't carry his home state), but have they listened to him lately? Look at this quote from a recent speech:


The administration works closely with a network of rapid-response digital Brown Shirts who work to pressure reporters and their editors for undermining support for our troops

Now, I don't have a problem with dissent and honest debate. This is the United States. It's a cornerstone of what we are all about; the right to question our leaders.


But calling people "Brown Shirts?" If you don't know, this is a direct comparison to Hitler's S.A., who basically intimidated and killed people for Hitler until the S.S. came into being and Hitler dissolved the S.A. in the "Night of the Long Knives."


So Gore is basically calling these people Nazi thugs. Which is so over-the-top and offensive I am shocked he is getting time to talk. Will this talk energize the Dem. base? Undoubtedly. But will it attact moderate and undecided voters? I wouldn't bet on it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

FMA crashes and burns

The ill-conceived attempt by theo-cons to insert blatant bias into the Constitution came to a screeching halt today, when they couldn't even muster a majority of votes, let alone the 67 they needed. So for now, marriage laws remain under the purview of the states.


And thank God for that. This whole idea is so at odds with what the GOP is supposed to stand for. It's called federalism, fellas. The idea that the states are the laboratory of democracy. As opposed to the federal government sitting on the headboard of every bed in the United States. Besides, under the "public policy exception", states are not required to recognize marriages performed in other states. That pesky federalism idea the GOP claims they support just keeps popping up.


So far we have marriage in Massachusetts and civil unions in Vermont and Hawaii. Near as I can tell, the institution of marriage hasn't collapsed in a heap yet. I woke up today, and I was still married to my wife. In fact, I felt like staying married to my wife. I talked to all my married friends at work. The too reported that they were still, in fact, married to their wives. Someone should tell Santorum this. We must be an anomaly, becuase if you listen to Rick, the institution of marriage should be in tatters by now.


The plain fact is that opening marriage to gay and lesbian couple won't damage marriage at all. Mainly because it will still be what it is today: two people, non-related, of legal standing, who love each other, making a civil commitment to one another.


And make no mistake, it is a CIVIL institution. You may get married in a church, but it's the government who issues the marriage license. Frankly, religious opposition to gay and lesbian marriage means jack. Priests will never have to marry a gay or lesbian couple if they do not want to. If someone has a legitimate civil law opposition to it, I haven't heard it yet.


So this bad idea is rightly squashed, but not before throwing the GOP even deeper into the arms of reactionary fundamentalists who want to see their personal religious views imposed upon the entire nation. Be they for or against gay marriage, every Republican should have opposed this just on the basis of the federal government grossly overstepping its boundaries.


I'll just end it here with one of the few Republicans who can still rightly wear that title, Sen. John McCain:


The constitutional amendment we're debating today strikes me as antithetical in every way to the core philosophy of Republicans. It usurps from the states a fundamental authority they have always possessed and imposes a federal remedy for a problem that most states do not believe confronts them...[the amendment] will not be adopted by Congress this year, nor next year, nor any time soon until a substantial majority of Americans are persuaded that such a consequential action is as vitally important and necessary as the proponents feel it is today. The founders wisely made certain that the Constitution is difficult to amend and, as a practical political matter, can't be done without overwhelming public approval. And thank God for that.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Saving? Not really.

Maine has been (unfortunately) designated a battleground state in the 2004 election. I say unfortunate because it means we get assaulted visually by 40 million campaign ads between late 2003 up to Election Day this November.


The latest Kerry ad has him talking about saving over $350 billion dollars in health care costs by streamlining the system and eliminating redundancies and paperwork.


Now, this would be a very good thing. This is something I have wanted to have happen for quite some time. It was heartening to hear him talk on it, as it kept the gorge from rising to my mouth as it always does when I realize I am voting for him this November in a Machiavellian maneuver to purge the theo-cons from the GOP, create gridlock in DC (at this point, no government is good government), block a Hillary run until 2012 and get a moderate GOP ticket on board for the next election.


Then I looked at the rest of his plan, and the gorge came rushing back. Indeed, he wants to save $350 billion through streamlining. The problem is he wants to spend $900 billion in new funds for health care. So he's really spending an extra $550 billion dollars.


And that's only if he actually reduces the overhead. This has been a goal since the early 90s, and no one has been able to do it. So Kerry's savings are potential, while his spending is actual. So the potential cost of Kerry's plan lies between $550 and $900 billion, dwarfing Bush's $500+ billion Medicare boondoggle/giveaway.


It looks like a key part of this is allowing people at the age of 55 to buy into Medicare. Are you kidding? So now Kerry wants to spend all this money on allowing the fastest growing portion of our citizenry to buy into a program to which Bush has just attached a money-draining drug benefit.


So now not only is this $900 billion in spending, but it will inflate the long-term cost of the Bush giveaway. So now the costs are easily reaching over $1 trillion dollars.


So the obvious question is: how will he pay for it? Of course, it's by repealing the tax cut to anyone making over $150,000 per year. I question whether that will cover all of his plan, but set that aside. The major point is this: the deficit will not go down at all. In fact, it will probably increase.


Why? Because right now the current deficit is a combination of lowering taxes and raising spending. If Kerry repealed those tax increases and took in more cash, he'd begin to balance the budget. But now he is going to spend that money. And not only spend it, but do so on a program that will only grow over time and cost even more.


So the deficit, whick Kerry rightfully slams Bush over, wouldn't go down at all under Kerry. It would most likely increase, since he wouldn't apply increased tax revenues towards deficit reduction, but large social programs whose cost would only escalate over the years.


The only reason I am not running for the Caymans right now is that I'm pretty confident that the GOP will hold onto the House and Senate. And although they spend money like drunk sailors on leave in Bangkok, socialized health care scares the crap out of them. So Kerry's plan won't go anywhere.


The one piece that I wish would, though, is the plan to allow children into Medicare. Kids shouldn't suffer because of bad decisions by their parents or the unfortunate fact they are poor and cannot afford care. And by investing this money in young children and keeping them healthy, not only will they grow into healthy adults, they will be productive adults. So here the short-term cash loss is a long-term gain, as they will become net contributors to the tax system instead of net receivers.


Four years of Kerry. I'm gambling he won't tank the country. But as someone else said, Carter didn't do it. Here's hoping Kerry can equal that molehill of achievement.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Cogent thought has left the building

Just when the GOP couldn't get any more offensive on the issue of gay marriage...
"It does not affect your daily life very much if your neighbor marries a box turtle. But that does not mean it is right. . . . Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife."


-- Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), advocating a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in a speech Thursday to the Heritage Foundation.


I don't see the problem. Surely it's okay for a man to marry a box turtle, since it seems the good people of Texas sent a jackass to Congress.
The Theo-Con Scam

The theo-cons at the GOP are lining up a stellar cast to speak in primetime at their convention. Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and the Governator. It'll be nice to listen to them. It'd be even nicer if the GOP wasn't being so blatantly deceptive by parading these men in front of America in an obvious "bait-and-switch" tactic. The moderate Republicanism these three men represent is under relentless attack from W and his cohorts such as Delay, Brownback, Santorum and their ilk. The problem is that in prime-time, letting a theo-con speak to the nation is political suicide, as Pat Buchanan proved in 1992.


So they will present America with a puppet show, parading the nationally popular Republicans on stage and hoping no one will look up to see the theo-cons pulling the strings.


It saddens me that these three men are letting allegiance to a party that has basically said it doesn't want them compel them to talk. The best thing they could do is not show and force the GOP to give America speakers that accurately reflect their current positions; pro-censorship, anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-deficit reduction...basically positions that increase the level of government involvement in our lives. Which I always thought the Republicans were against. Silly me.

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