Observations on the world today.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Reuters: Nader to Announce Presidential Plans on Sunday Frankly, I consider this a good thing. Hold on. Hold on. Let me explain. As noted on the Talking Points Memo blog, "Nader now isn't even running as a Green, he has apparently abandoned even the pretense that he is in the race to create a viable third party in American politics. If he runs, it would now be strictly on a platform of vacuous moral posturing and self-aggrandizement."

So why is this a good thing? Look, we all know that the only people who want Nader to run are republicans. They will spend part of their war chest to keep him in the race, and all to no avail. Greens won't vote for him. Certainly democrats won't vote for him. And republicans are even less likely to give him a vote. All that leaves is independents and libertarians, and I doubt that even they will take Ralph seriously this time around.

Actually, if there is a downside to this run, it is the harm Nader will do to his own cause - which in the right time is not a bad cause at all. But this is the wrong time, and everyone but Ralph seems to realize this. But there is potential in this for the democrats to do good. Not by voting Nader certainly, but by not challenging his right to campaign and by digging to prove that the only way Ralph is able to generate funds is from the GOP.

Welcome Nader into the race, but don't debate him on the issues. Just join him in his criticism of Bush and agree with him about everything else. Give people no reason to favor him, and make certain that he is pressured to release all of the sources of his campaign finances. When the cash is shown to come from Halliburton (for example) have reporters ask Cheney why he thinks his old pals are subsidizing Bush's opponent. The obvious answer is that it is because Nader is not Bush's opponent at all. He poses no risk to Bush. Theoretically, financially supporting him splits the anti-Bush vote making it easier for them to again put in a right-wing president with less than a majority of America's support. Even if they don't admit it, the point will be made. Our ideals don't matter to the right. The only things that matter are maintaining power and advancing THEIR vision of America, whether we want them to or not.

Yahoo! News - Bush Installs Judge, Bypassing Senate Hey congress, here's an idea. QUIT TAKING RECESSES! At least until 2005.
As many of you may know, the GOP and the right wing ditto-head-types, launched a campaign to steal the Google search first-hit for the words miserable failure away from George W. Bush, their rightful owner, and assign the words instead to Jimmy Carter. Well, this is just me doing my part to see to it that that does NOT happen.
AP: Laura Bush Stands by Her Man: Laura Bush had this to say yesterday concerning all of the attention that the AWOL-Bush story is getting. "I think it's a political, you know, witch hunt, actually, on the part of Democrats."

Would that be anything like a vast left-wing conspiracy?

Here is the thing about this story. It was all but ignored in 1992, and again in 2000. And it only came to a head in 2004 because Kerry and Clark both said that it wasn't an issue to them. It was actually RNC head Ed Gillespie's constant insistence that Clark and Kerry disavow the story that made it a story at all.

Thanks Ed.


Friday, February 20, 2004

From Talking Points Memo, apparently this exchange is from yesterday's early press briefing:

QUESTION: Scott, on taxes and jobs, your campaign chairman, Marc Racicot this morning said that the job prediction or the job forecast in the CEA report was a "goal." You indicated to us yesterday that it was simply a figure that was based on economic modeling. So what is it? Is it an objective analysis of the current state of the economy, or was that a political document?
Scott McClellan: John, I think it is what it is. The data is a snapshot that economists use at a point in time for economic modeling. That's what I said yesterday. So it is what it is --

QUESTION: Right, but Racicot --

Scott McClellan: -- and it's based on the data available at that point in time.

QUESTION: So was Racicot wrong in describing it as a goal?

Scott McClellan: I haven't seen those specific remarks. I'll be glad to look at them, but it is what it is, and it is how I described it yesterday.

[Here there's a short and snappy back-and-forth between John and Scott on the difference between predictions and goals, and what the definition of 'is' is.]

Scott McClellan: John, I'm giving you the facts. It is what it is.

QUESTION: And the meaning of the word "is" is?

Scott McClellan: Well, John, I think that where the discussion of policy should be -- or the discussion should be is on policy. And the President is a decision-maker. The President leads by making policy decisions. And the policies we are implementing are working to strengthen our economy and create an environment for robust job creation. New jobs are being created. The unemployment rate is declining. The policies this President has advocated and passed are working. And I think the American people think the discussion should be there on the policy decisions that are being made. Some don't want to discuss the policies. But it's important for a President to lead and make decisions, and then defend those decisions.

QUESTION: You understand the difference between a forecast based on economic modeling and a stated goal. Racicot just seems to indicate that this is a stated goal.

Scott McClellan: It is the economic forecast for our annual Economic Report. That's what it is.

QUESTION: So it's not a goal?

"And the meaning of the word 'is' is?" How great is that?

Court to Hear Case to Reopen Roe V. Wade Personally, my private views of the abortion question differ from my political views. I think there are plenty enough options that almost no woman should ever need to have an abortion. However, in certain medical situations and in the case of women who may potentially be traumatized by the prospect of giving birth (such as rape victims) I can see why the option should exist. That is my private position. Politically, I don't think the government has the right to inflict either my private opinion or anybody's. For that reason, politically I support the right to choose.

But what I do not understand is the value of this case. McCorvey brought the original case on which the Supreme Court decided to legalize the option to abort, but the decision does not belong to her. To me, this is like if Rosa Parks was to say today that she actually preferred segregation and ask the courts to rescind Johnson's civil rights act. Or like Susan B. Anthony deciding that the world was better off before women had the vote, and deciding to file a suit requesting that the 19th amendment be repealed. McCorvey may have been instrumental in winning women the right to abort, but the right is not hers to take away from them.

And, again, I say this as a man and as a person who's personal philosophy is pro-life. So if I can see this obvious flaw in the case, it seems clear that any appeals court that rules otherwise is engaging in the very "judicial activism" that the republicans claim to abhor.
The following exchange is from yesterday's white house press briefing. It's the bomb.

Q So why not -- why aren't you standing behind (the prediction that America will add 2.6 million new jobs this year)?

WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY SCOTT McCLELLAN: I think what the President stands behind is the policies that he is implementing, the policies that he is advocating. That's what's important.

Q That's not in dispute. The number is the question.

MR. McCLELLAN: I know, but the President's concern is on the number of jobs being created --

Q My question is, why was the prediction made --

MR. McCLELLAN: -- and the President's focus is on making sure that people who are hurting because they cannot find work have a job. That's where the President's focus is.

Q Then why predict a number? Why was the number predicted? Why was the number predicted? You can't get away with not -- just answer the question. Why was that number predicted?

MR. McCLELLAN: I've been asked this, and I've asked -- I've been asked, and I've answered.

Q No, you have not answered. And everybody watching knows you haven't answered.

White House Press Briefing, 2/18/04

I just find it incredible that this is STILL on the official white house website. Disarm Saddam Hussein


Thursday, February 19, 2004

Just a quick observation, but remember when Clinton had his haircut, and it made headlines. Well why is it that Bush can inconvenience the entire navy for one photo-op, and then later inconvenience the very NASCAR dads he was in Daytona to court, and nobody seems to have a problem with it? This episode led atrios to call Bush the "Jerk in Chief."


Wednesday, February 18, 2004

According to this story in the English paper, The Daily Telegraph, Larry Flint, porn publisher and free speech advocate extraordinary, plans to publish a book alleging that president Bush in his youth, arranged for an abortion for his then girlfriend. Let me just say that I wish he wouldn't.

In my opinion, this could easily back-fire and do more damage to the democratic nominee than it will do to Bush. These are not the heady days of the Clinton administration when exposing GOP hypocrites like Newt Gingrich could do no more damage to the lead democrat than he had already done to himself. This could actually be seen by many as a response designed to deflect attention from that despicable Drudge lie. Kerry, after all, already has a reputation as a Lothario. And many people are already aware that Bush actually used to be pro-choice. And if they weren't aware before, the publication of this book will certainly bring that fact out. And Bush can waffle again by noting that his wife is pro-choice and that he had even considered a pro-choice running mate at one point.

There is also the possibility that nobody will believe the story. For whatever reason, the conservatives tend to be much better at benefiting from sleazy politics, and even if this story is true (which I am not saying that it is - and I'm not saying that it isn't), there is no denying that the reason that it is being brought to the fore is sleazy.

Look, I want rid of Bush as much as the next guy, but the simple fact is this. If you are pro-life you won't care that Bush paid for an abortion. And if you are pro-choice, you know Bush's current position, and it suits your agenda so it is the only thing you care about. In hyping this story, we democrats have nothing to gain and everything - and I do mean EVERYTHING - to lose.

Please, Larry, reconsider. |
I had a strange dream last night. I dreamed it was March of 2005 and a new Attorney General to the United States had just been confirmed. I can't really say how I knew that. It was a dream. In dreams, you just know some things. The dream started in the living room of our current Attorney General, John Ashcroft. Again, I just knew that was where I was. I don't know how I knew. I don't know why I knew. I just did. Maybe it was by the life-size cutout of Janet Jackson from the Super Bowl with a drape over her right breast like the one Ashcroft had put over that statue of Blind Justice.

Mr. Ashcroft was reading from the bible -- something about bearing false witness -- when suddenly there was a knock at his door, and when he answered it there were two identical Secret Service agents standing in the entry. "Tony, Mick," Ashcroft said. "What brings you guys here at this late hour?"

"John Ashcroft?" Tony said questioningly yet stern.

"You guys know it's me," Ashcroft said. "We've worked together often this past few years; locking up community college sociology professors and rousting Green party candidates and such."

"John Ashcroft," Mick said, "you are hereby placed under arrest pursuant to the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act."

"Otherwise known as the USA PATRIOT Act," Tony clarified.

"On what charge?" Ashcroft demanded, and Tony held back a chuckle. "Oh, yeah, that's right, I forgot," Ashcroft said. "Well, where are you taking me?"

At that point the dream shifted locals. Tony and Mick were gone, and Ashcroft was alone in a jail cell. Well, actually, it was more like a cage. It had a concrete floor, and all four walls were made of cyclone fencing. The cage itself was sparse. There was nothing inside other than Ashcroft and a pot to piss in, a blanket, a bible and some spilled Cheerios. I realized that some time had passed. At least three months. I also realized (in that omniscient dreamlike way) that Ashcroft had never been told what he was charged with. He also hadn't seen his family or consulted a lawyer or even been told if his family knew where he was.

Then from nowhere a chaplain appeared. "John," the holy man said, "I have something I want you to see." Ashcroft turned and there beside him in the cell was a television set. It was turned on to CNN and a live picture showed the new Attorney General. His name appeared on the screen below his picture. "Adnan Adoum" it said.

"Hey," Ashcroft said. "Isn't that a Lebanese name? How did an Arab ever become Attorney General?"

The chaplain did not dignify the question. Instead he slowly stretched out his arm and pointed to the screen. Sometimes my dreams are a little Dickensian.

Attorney General Adoum cleared his throat and began to speak. "Today marks a momentous day in the history of American justice. Today, we have repealed the USA PATRIOT Act." As flashbulbs popped and applause lilted in the background, Adoum smiled and waited for the crowd to calm, a broad and satisfied smile on his face. "All personal records of America's citizens which were immorally gathered over the past few horrible years have been destroyed. In addition, we have released all suspects illegally held, and officially charged all suspects who warranted prosecution. Well, all but one who we saved for last. Today, pursuant to actual patriotic American legal procedure, we will officially charge former Attorney General John Ashcroft with aiding and abetting terrorism. He will then be moved to a secure but more humane federal facility where he will join the general prison population. At that point, it will be my pleasure to read him his rights, and charge him for his crime. 'John Ashcroft,' I will say, 'I hereby charge you with the crime of dereliction of duty, treason against the United States government, interfering with a lawful investigation and suborning terrorist acts for the December 6, 2001 act of forbidding the Federal Bureau of Investigation from looking at background-check information on suspects detained in connection with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.'"

Ashcroft curled into a ball on the floor of his cell and began to weep, and I woke up. Oddly though, I didn't have the panicky anxious feelings that usually accompany a nightmare. Quite to the contrary, I actually felt energies. But the feeling soon faded.

After all, dreams that good never really do come true.

Okay, I didn't REALLY dream that. So sue me for the artistic license.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

As a sort of service to my party, I am going to offer suggestions as I think of them for a cabinet for our eventual candidate. Since at this time, it seems that the candidate will be Kerry, my picks will reflect that. Should the winds change, I will update my picks. I will not bother with such positions as Secretary of the interior or Transportation Secretary. And my standing pick for Secretary of the Treasury is Robert Rubin. Come back Bobby. Your country needs you.

With no further ado, here are my current picks:

President John Kerry
VP Max Cleland
National Security Advisor Wes Clark
Sec. of State Al Gore
Chief of Staff Gary Hart
Sec. of Homeland Security Hillary Clinton
Sec. of Defense Lt. General Claudia Kennedy
Deputy Secretary of Defense Joe Wilson
Attorney General John Edwards
Surgeon General Howard Dean
EPA Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
This guy is a genius. Well, okay, maybe genius is an over-statement.
Welcome to my new blog. I will use this site to update on my search for a publisher for my novels, to sound out ideas, to shamelessly promote myself and my son's band, and to do whatever I can to overthrow the Bush regime.

A little about myself, I am a democrat, an atheist, a happily married former photographer and would-be writer, and - according to my wife - an internet junky. I have two kids to a previous marriage - a teenage son and a preteen daughter, and I have a kindergarten aged daughter with my present and future and forever wife.

Hope you enjoy my blog, and find it useful.

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