Observations on the world today.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Another Favorite Debate Moment 

I really loved Kerry's answer to the abortion question. I thought it pure genius. Of course this may be because I practically wrote the answer for him:
Kerry said:

But I can't take what is an article of faith for me and legislate it for someone who doesn't share that article of faith, whether they be agnostic, atheist, Jew, Protestant, whatever. I can't do that.

I wrote:

A woman’s uterus does not belong to the government. Therefore, it is not the government’s right to force a woman to incubate a fetus for nine months if she chooses not to.

Kerry said:

But I can counsel people. I can talk reasonably about life and about responsibility. I can talk to people, as my wife Teresa does, about making other choices, and about abstinence, and about all these other things that we ought to do as a responsible society.

I wrote:

None of us would ever council a woman who had asked our advice that she should casually have an abortion when options like adoption and foster care exist in the world. At least for myself, not unless there were extreme circumstances such as rape or danger to her life involved.

Kerry said:

Now, I believe that you can take that position and not be pro-abortion, but you have to afford people their constitutional rights.

I wrote:

First, I would like to let them know that I too am pro-life. As I understand his position, John Kerry is also pro-life. All of us - he, I and those who protested him - believe that the moment when life begins is ultimately at conception. And all of us believe that to indifferently abort that life prematurely is a morally objectionable decision.

Bush's response:

I'm trying to decipher that.


Before the Fall, Yell "Timber!" 

Here was another great moment from the debate. Bush was asked about the environment. So he fumbled for a bit, and then started parroting his line about the Orwellian named "Healthy Forests" program. But he Cheneyed that up too.

See, here's the deal. The timber lobbyists (which we now know Bush is personally connected to) got the pResident to pass a law allowing them to mine timber from the national forests. To get this through without too much trouble from the public, they named the program "healthy forests" and came up with some lame argument that to protect forests from forest fires, we needed to cut them down.

Now, I'm sure Bush was coached on what to say about this. I'm sure he was told to use words like "Thin the forests" or "create a natural fire-break." But instead he used a word that I'm sure had Karl Rove once again pulling his hair out. And what word was that?
We proposed and passed a healthy forest bill which was essential to working with -- particularly in Western states -- to make sure that our forests were protected. What happens in those forests, because of lousy federal policy, is they grow to be -- they are not -- they're not harvested.
Harvested? Is that why we have a national forest? For Bush's pals to harvest?

What an ass.



Going Out On a Limb 

I am writing this post shortly after viewing last night's debate. I did not watch any of the post debate analysis, and I have not read any material on the Internet before coming to place this post. I am doing this as an experiment to see how close my guess is to the reality.

When the debate ended, one instance stuck out in my mind. I have been thinking about it and have formed a theory. It will be interesting to see how close my prediction is.

The instance in question is the moment when John Kerry announced to Bush that he (Bush) had formed a sub-chapter S Corporation for the purpose of selling lumber. Bush seemed surprised, and announced that it is news to him. He then jokingly asked Charlie Gibson if he would like to buy some wood.

Now either Kerry was mistaken or Bush doesn't know what businesses he owns. I am hoping that it is the latter, and have come up with a scenario to explain how this might be. Here is my theory.

During the Veep debate, while trying to portray John Edwards as a tax dodging lawyer, Cheney noted that Edwards had formed an S corporation for the purposes of evading his tax debt. Of course, as I understand it, this is not the value of S Corps. It is my understanding that S Corps are an option that some choose over sole proprietorship in order to protect their private property in the event a business deal results in litigation. If you sue John Edwards and win, you might take his home. If you sue John Edwards, Inc., all that you can get is the limit of his corporate holdings.

Thinking this might again come up in tonight's debate, Kerry's people did some research and learned that Bush is also incorporated. My theory is that after buying the Crawford Ranch and staging so many brush-clearing photo-ops, something had to be done with all the lumber. Note that there is a scene in F-9/11 of Bush hacking away at a log with a chainsaw as he speaks with a reporter. In my theory, Bush's people incorporated him to protect him and the ranch from liability and sold the lumber to nearby mills.

Kerry never had to use this tidbit as he had prepared to, but then Bush brought up Sub-chapter S corporations to make a totally bogus point. He actually suggested that such corporations are the bulk of small business hirers - a claim which is I believe wholly without merit. Kerry of course knew this, and pointed out to Bush that he himself has such an incorporation status and has never used it to create even one job. Probably Kerry thought Bush knew this fact, but as luck would have it, Bush did not and he foolishly went on to challenge it and to try to make a joke of it at Senator Kerry's expense.

I could be all wet, but man-o-man I hope I'm right.

UPDATE: It was reported that Bush did own a timber company, but the reporter has issued a correction.
President Bush himself would have qualified as a "small business owner" under the Republican definition, based on his 2001 federal income tax returns. He reported $84 of business income from his part ownership of a timber-growing enterprise. However, 99.99% of Bush's total income came from other sources that year. (Bush also qualified as a "small business owner" in 2000 based on $314 of "business income," but not in 2002 and 2003 when he reported his timber income as "royalties" on a different tax schedule.)
(Oct 9; CORRECTION: What we originally reported as a "timber-growing" enterprise is actually described on Bush's tax return as an "oil and gas production" concern, the Lone Star Trust. We were confused because The Lone Star Trust currently owns 50% of another company, "LSTF, LLC", described on Bush’s 2003 financial disclosure forms as a limited-liability company organized "for the purpose of the production of trees for commercial sales." So, Bush does own part interest in a tree-growing company, but the $84 came from an oil and gas company and we should have reported it as such.)
Ironically, the site which provided the bogus information that Kerry based his assertion upon is the same site, factcheck.org, that Cheney directed people to in the V.P. debate last week. However, in a new article, factcheck spells out that Bush actually does currently own stock in the company and the company does own 50% of a timber company.

Remember, the relevent part of the Bush gaff was that he didn't know that he owned part of a timber company. And the Kerry/Edwards people should be able to use this to their advantage. In fact, they have already begun.



Friday, October 08, 2004

A Society With Secrets 

Nader says he hopes to draw votes from Kerry and Bush
Ralph Nader is calling on President Bush and John Kerry to renounce their ties to a secret Yale society.

Others call it an attempt to divert from the real issues.


Ralph Nader says,"George W. Bush and John Kerry have been members of the Yale secret society Skull and Bones since the 1960's.

Independent Presidential candidate Ralph Nader is concerned about the impact of President Bush's and Senator Kerry's membership to Yale's Skull and Bones.

Nader says,"You have two major candidates for presidency who are bound by a common oath from this secret society Skull and Bones the public has a right to know to what extent this secrecy this oath of silence extends to their public responsibilities."
Nader is nuts, and there is really nothing to this charge, but it does bring up a point that I have been wanting to touch upon.

I would love it if tonight, somebody would ask both candidates if they would be willing to renounce their allegiances to Skull and Bones and make service to America their first priority. Why? Because I think only one candidate would, and that one candidate is John Kerry. This would have a resounding impact on several voters. The conspiracy fringe is out there, and they are real. What's more; they vote.

We know they are there. Look at the furor over The DaVinci Code. Look at the success of books by David Icke and movies by Oliver Stone and Stanley Kubrick. In fact, my own series of unpublished mystery novels is geared toward these people.

What's more, they are not really as nuts as the media would like us to believe. That's not to say that I think there is an underground secret society manipulating current events and America's elections. But men like Grover Norquist and Karl Rove do stear the media. If John Kerry could have the opportunity to stand next to George Bush and publicly disavow any connections to secret societies while Bush grasps for a rationale not to do the same, the election would be in the bag.



Thursday, October 07, 2004

That Top Secret Plan 

I think I know what the Kerry/Edwards secret plan for Iraq is. A few months ago Kerry suggested that his campaign team had a secret plan for getting us out of Iraq. It led to comparisons with Nixon and ridicule from right-wing gas-bags; but I think they actually do have a plan, and I think I have figured out (at least in part) what it is. And it is brilliant.

Also brilliant is what they have done to allow us to figure out the plan. I was thinking about it last night. I was drawn by something John Edwards had said during the debate on Tuesday. He was criticizing Bush and Cheney for not doing enough to make Iraq secure, and Cheney was criticizing them for suggesting that they could get support from our allies after the allies had said that they would not send troops even if Kerry and Edwards were in office. I remembered that Kerry had said that he would double the special forces and add two active duty divisions to the US Army, and that when Iraq was secure, the allies would have no reason not to return. I expected Edwards to repeat the same line, but he didn’t. Instead, he noted that the Iraqi security forces were not being properly trained, and suggested that trying to train them in the middle of the insurgent attacks was part of the problem. "And by the way," he said, "if we need to, we can take Iraqis out of Iraq to train them. It is not secure enough. It's so dangerous on the ground that they can't be trained there. We can take them out of Iraq for purposes of training."

As I thought about this last night, I realized what their plan is, and the brilliant way that they have been leaking the plan a little at a time.

Kerry and Edwards will increase troop strength in Iraq immediately upon taking over the White House. They will then move the Iraqi security forces out of the country - possibly to Kuwait or Saudi Arabia - along with the U.S. civilian training forces. Then it will be easier to both control the insurgency and finish the task of training the Iraqis to take over their own responsibilities as well as being safer for the American contractors which would increase the number of contractors willing to help do the job. Within six months, the turn over would begin, and we could begin pulling American troops out of Iraq. As this happens, and as countries like France and Germany see that we have begun to withdraw, it will be easier to convince them that it is in their own best interest to put a contingent of their own people on the ground in Iraq.

This next part is my own speculation, but I also suspect that we will sweeten the pot by offering rebuilding contracts to German and French (or any other) firms once they have joined the coalition.

I hope that team-Kerry intends to put this plan in the mainstream sometime within the month. It is brilliant the way they have covertly sneaked so much of the plan into the debates, but unless it is spelled out for the electorate, I fear that it will have no effect. After the election, the plan is only useful if we have won. Although as a tool for winning the election, it is only effective so long as Bush and Cheney don’t get the opportunity to create a situation where the plan is inoperable. If I am correct, I understand that this is a kind of Catch-22 for the campaign, and that would be why they have taken this surreptitious route to subliminally place the plan in the mind of voters; but eventually, they will need to spell it out in language that a seventh grader can understand.

By the way, if this wasn’t the plan, why the hell not? It’s genius.

And they’d better do it before the October surprise, or not at all.



Wednesday, October 06, 2004

I Would Like to Thank God Nothing For This Honor 

I received an interesting email today. Apparently, my site has been chosen by United Universalists as a recipient of their Faithless Site award. The letter reads:
Congratulations Mister! Members of United Universists, the global freethought movement, have selected your site as an excellent Faithless Site! The Faithless Site Awards are presented to carefully
selected websites that proudly demonstrate secularism, pluralism, empiricism, and eschew religious faith as a valid worldview.

The forces of religion have successfully made "faithless" a dirty word in today's society. We are fighting back. We will wear the badge with pride. Please show your solidarity with the movement to promote faithlessness by placing one of the following buttons on your site:
I was then directed to a site where I got to choose from several buttons. I chose this one:

a Proud Faithless Site!

You can find the button on the right hand column just below the Smirking Chimp headlines.

I have no idea how I was chosen for this honor. For the record, I am not a member of United Universalists. I do not personally hold the opinion that there is any need for a church for atheists. To my way of thinking, atheism is not in any way compatible with the idea of church or religion. However, I am also not opposed to the idea of an atheist church for those who would like one.

The thing is, atheism is too broad a concept. Therefore, in my opinion, a church for atheists would be impossible to organize except as a broad concept such as Protestantism or something equally Catholic in its approach to definition.

The thing is, no two people view atheism the same way. Some come to atheism through science. Others take a more emotional road. Some incorporate their faithlessness with some other form of religiousness; such as Buddhism or Deism. I could describe my own road to non-belief, but I think I will save that for another post. Perhaps after the election.

Suffice to say, if I was going to join any church, it would most likely be the one that I made up.



Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Draft Notice 

Operation Truth
Since 1973, America has relied on an all-volunteer military. But current retention issues, recruiting problems, and over-extension have pushed our armed forces to the limit. General Richard A. Cody recently told members of the House Armed Services Committee that our military has reached a breaking point. He stated, “Are we stretched thin with our active and reserve component forces right now? Absolutely.”

The next logical contingency for military planners is the draft. A recent poll called “The State of Our Nation’s Youth” by the Horatio Alger Association indicates that most high-school students believe that the government will restart the military draft during their lifetimes. Among teenagers, 55% say young Americans will be required to serve in the military, up from 45% last year.
The military (not the Pentagon but the actual military) believes that a draft is inevitable under Bush's current foreign policy. And they are not happy about it.
The effect of the draft could be even more marked than during Vietnam: recent polls hint to the possibility that if a draft were to occur today, draft avoidance rates would be much higher than in Vietnam. This means that a current draft would be more politically divisive and harmful to the military than ever before. "In a sharp reversal from historical support for military service, the first comprehensive national survey on the draft reveals that our country could face a crisis in military capacity with an unprecedented number of draft eligible adults stating they will actively seek deferment or refuse to serve if a draft is reinstated."
This is THE issue that could win this election for Kerry.



Monday, October 04, 2004

Do You, Two-face, Take This Draft? 

I've been thinking alot lately, you know what would be a pretty darned effective strategy? To tie the Bush flip-flop campaign to the draft issue.

Here's what I'm talking about. In the debates of 2000, Bush said that he was opposed to nation building. He then went ahead with a program of nation building, and the evidence is that he was planning to do so all along. He also promised not to touch the Social Security Surplus, and he renegged. He promised to support a patient's right to sue and the Brady bill, but he backed off both of those promises. He said he opposed a Constitutional amendment barring gay marriage, and then he actually supported exactly such an amendment. The list goes on.

Now Bush says he has no plans to reintroduce the draft. But he had Paul Wolfowitz poll congressional Republicans to see if they would support such a request in a second Bush administration. And today we learn that Bush is positioning outside Korea in the Sea of Japan.

We cannot trust this man at his word. We need to marry the two issues in the next month. The right is trying to portray Kerry as a flip-flopper, but they are not even suggesting what the risk of flip-flopping is. By taking one of Bush's current promises and demonstrating how he has been untrue to his word in the past, we can use his own supposed strength, his determined focus to rid the world of the axis of evil at any cost, to plant the seed of doubt that he may just be lying about the draft.

In fact, Bush has danced all around the issue, but has never directly answered the question - will he promise not to reinstate the draft in his next term? Why won't he promise it, and why should we trust him if he did?



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