Democrats & Liberals Archives

August 2003 Archives

August 27, 2003

Can the stonings be that far off?

As the battle continues in Alabama over whether the Ten Commandments should remain in the courthouse or be removed, some are using the issue to reintroduce the discussion regarding the relationship between religion and government.

While many agree that the freedom of religion and the lack of any established religion is one of the fundamental foundations of the United States, others seem to believe otherwise. Former presidental candidate Alan Keyes argues that the first amendment of the Bill of Rights only prevents the federal government from establishing a national religion, and therefore the tenth amendment allows for the establishment of official religion on the state level.

» Continue reading "Can the stonings be that far off?"

Posted by blipsman at 3:58 PM

"You will be punished if you come after us."

Why should we be afraid of being punished for voicing our opinions? Why do certain entities feel compelled to attack others and try to sue them into submission? Is this what America is coming to? Reading the First Amendment of the Constitution, it states clearly that "Congress shall make no law [...] abridging the freedom of speech" but we are starting to find that lawyers have no morals when it comes to using the power of litigation to shut an someone up. With enough money and political clout, anyone can be silenced — Al Franken just got lucky because Bill O'Reilly and Fox were acting like petulant 4-year olds. If they had been thinking more clearly then they could have successfully silenced him; which would have been an unfortunate circumstance for all Americans. Like I've pointed out before, the silencing of individuals is one step closer towards a totalitarian state.

Posted by huxley75 at 3:43 PM

August 26, 2003

The World is Changed

Remember the opening sequence of Fellowship of the Ring? The narration goes, "The world is changed. I feel it in the earth. I feel it in the water. I smell it in the air." This began as a comment on Ashcroft's Albatross. But it isn't just about Ashcroft. It's about my whole impression of the way politics works in the contemporary US. (Remember as you read: this is how things have seemed, not something I'm making as an accusation that I claim is objectively true.)

The main fundamental fact of politics throughout my adult life so far has been that Republicans are totally united and inexorably winning. Everyone from libertarians to Nazis has been part of the Republicans' big tent, and they've been in perfect lock step -- because the fundamental distinction for these people is not good versus evil; it's not white versus black; it's not totalitarian big government versus constitutionally-constrained small government; it's not Christian versus infidel: it's us versus them.

» Continue reading "The World is Changed"

Posted by dsws at 10:17 PM

Postwar Deaths Exceed Wartime Casualties

With the death of a soldier in a roadside bombing on Tuesday, the postwar casualty number in Iraq now exceeds the wartime casualties.

The sad thing is that the soldiers no longer get the touching eulogies on the news they did during the war. Does W. still call each family to express his condolances? Since the end of combat on May 1, the brave soldiers dying daily in Iraq have become little more than statistics. At least CNN.com gives them some acknowledgement.

» Continue reading "Postwar Deaths Exceed Wartime Casualties"

Posted by blipsman at 12:30 PM

August 23, 2003

Time to Grow Up

I find the California recall vote fascinating - and though I don't believe in polls - this one is encouraging for those who do -- and support Gray Davis of course.

» Continue reading "Time to Grow Up"

Posted by 9thwave at 10:26 AM

August 20, 2003

Attack of the Narco-Terrorists!

I believe that somewhere, deep in the bowels of Washington's many administrative buildings, there is a civil servant whose entire job description is "sit at desk and make up patriotic, stirring acronyms for bills".

Fresh from the stunning success of the USA PATRIOT act, that servant has outdone themselves with their next effort. Please welcome the VICTORY ACT - the Vital Interdiction of Criminal Terrorist Organizations Act of 2003.

(That doesn't even spell VICTORY. Never mind.)

The draft bill, dated to be introduced in the first session of the next Congress by Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) – the same, eminently sensible senator who proposed remotely destroying the computers of copyright violators – is this: apparently the administration has had enough of a separate War on Drugs and War on Terror, and now wants to combine the two.

A Democratic aide for the House Judiciary Committee told ABC News that:

“This bill would treat drug possession as a 'terrorist offense' and drug dealers as 'narco-terrorist kingpins.'”
Remember - always dehumanise those you want to attack. They're not college students experimenting, they're terrorists! He's not buying some marijuana for his mother with MS, he's a terrorist! And so is she!

That's not all, folks. Remember those "sneak-and-peek" secret subpoenas that were only for terrorists? Well, the VICTORY act extends them to drug dealers. Who's next? Suspected murderers? Tax evaders? According to the ACLU's Jameel Jaffer,

“Absolutely nothing would prevent the attorney general from using these subpoenas to obtain the records of people who have no connection to terrorism, drug trafficking or crime of any sort.”

Ah, but why should you worry? If you haven't broken the law, what have you got to fear?

More on this from Google News

Posted by Thomas Scott at 3:56 PM

August 18, 2003

Kucinich on Deregulation

Lawrence Lessig has been making room for Dennis Kucinich to post some entries on his blog. Here is an interesting post from Congressman Kucinich about his views on deregulation of the energy industries in Ohio. Interesting back-story, and a good look at where Kucinich came from. Whether deregulation is the right thing to do or not is obviously debatable. It is interesting to note that most of the finger pointing that is going on so far seems to be aimed at FirstEnergy Corp., the company that was attempting to purchase Muny Light in Cleveland.

Posted by crutan at 9:33 AM

August 17, 2003

Where Were You...?

I was in Stamford, CT, more than 50 miles from home, when the Big Blackout hit. I stayed overnight at the Stamford-Westin after a dinner of two margaritas. I awoke with the power restored, ordered a large breakfast and drove home to Long Island, keeping the hotel's floor-length white robe as a memento of my "trouble." Once home, I waited another 10 hours for power to return.

» Continue reading "Where Were You...?"

Posted by 9thwave at 3:19 PM

August 16, 2003

Iraqi Tips on Coping With a Blackout

Though the electricity is fully restored in New York, the Times generously provides some tips for dealing with a blackout, from the citizens of Iraq to their occupiers. Most notably, don't count on Americans to fix the problem:

Thamir Mahmoud, a retired clerk, said he was especially worried by President Bush's promise to fix the problem [power outages in the Northeast United States]. "If the American government is involved," he said, "you must be prepared to be patient. They work very slowly."

Also in the Times John Kerry speaks out on the blackouts: "Millions of Americans are now well acquainted with our old, antiquated, not up to par energy system that they have not been paying attention to...this is not a forward-looking administration that tries to eliminate problems before they occur."

Posted by Ry Rivard at 2:40 AM

August 15, 2003

Why I'm Voting for Dennis

Politicans and Presidential candidates use the media and the web to try to convince voters that they deserve their support, but often it is the opinions of ordinary people that sway my opinion. If you haven't given Dennis Kucinich much thought, or if you don't know what Kucinich stands for this blog entry from the sometimes political "Something's Got to Break" is an excellent primer on the candidate.

"I'm pledging my vote to a Polish-American vegan with radical ideas and Hollywood friends who believes in holistic medicine, who looks like a shriveled voodoo doll, and who has no hope in hell of winning against Bush. Trust me, I've already heard all about it. Here's what I have to say to the inevitable shrieks of indignation."

With that the author of the post takes on five arguments for not voting for Kucinich and explains his reasons for disagreeing. The author's viewpoint on Kucinich is an interesting one as he grew up in an American socialist environment (the United States Army). The post is fairly passionate, and includes a number of links to news articles on Kucinich (both pro and con).

» Continue reading "Why I'm Voting for Dennis"

Posted by Lefty at 11:45 AM

August 14, 2003

Bush Fiscal Policy Worst In 200 Years?

As President Bush enjoys his month-long vacation in Crawford, Texas, punctuated by the occasional fundraising gala, many Americans are still looking for jobs from which to take that vacation.

Bob Herbert writes and quotes in The New York Times (registration required):

It's too bad George Akerlof wasn't at the meeting. Mr. Akerlof, a 2001 Nobel laureate in economics, bluntly declared on Tuesday that "the Bush fiscal policy is the worst policy in the last 200 years." Speaking at a press conference arranged by the Economic Policy Institute, Mr. Akerlof, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, said, "Within 10 years, we're going to pay a serious price for such irresponsibility."
» Continue reading "Bush Fiscal Policy Worst In 200 Years?"

Posted by jeremy at 12:03 PM

August 13, 2003

Is Dean the Anti-Bush?

Nationally syndicated columnist Robert Novak has an opinion piece on CNN Politics that got me to take another look at Howard Dean. I've been under the impression that Dean would not be able to 'go all the way' because he is 'unelectable.' That impression turns out to be the work of anti-Dean sentiment within the Democratic establishment, and not a dose of daily corporate media. So, why are the leaders of the Democratic Party so upset with Dean, and why do Democrat voters show their support through Internet contributions?

According to Novak, the reason is one and the same; Dean is the Anti-Bush. He's not part of the political establishment, and taps into the...

"...pure hatred by rank-and-file Democrats of the reigning Republican that I have never seen in 44 years of campaign watching."

As for being too liberal to be elected, Novak points out that:

"Dean is actually in the mainstream of the party, with all candidates enunciating the same liberal line."

Having a candidate that worries the centrist hub of the DNC doesn't worry me one bit (Kucinich got my vote in the MoveOn.org primary). What worries me more is the negative press that Democratic leaders are spinning that Dean is unelectable. Give US voters a candidate to stand behind and we'll take that candidate to the White House.

Posted by Lefty at 2:30 PM

What Hath Blogs Wrought?

I had noticed the growing faux blogging (registration required) trend among the Democratic candidates and was trying to put something together but now don't have to. Maureen Dowd covered it perfectly in today's New York Times.

Posted by 9thwave at 1:28 PM

August 11, 2003

The Bush Foreign Aid Package

The big bet on tax cuts has always been a question of timing.

The idea was that the cuts would kick in, and the growth would start, at the latest, in time for jobs to be plentiful come Election Day. The danger was government crowding-out private lending, but that was considered something for the second term. If the first part of the bet is lost, if there's no growth, the second part is the Democrats' problem.

So where is the growth? It's in India, Singapore, and China. The big tax cut has been turned into foreign aid.

» Continue reading "The Bush Foreign Aid Package"

The Rebuke

This article from The Kansas City Star has been making the rounds, and it deserves the attention. It's a point-by-point rebuke of the main charges in Powell's UN speech regarding the call for war on Iraq.

» Continue reading "The Rebuke"

Posted by jeremy at 10:20 AM

August 9, 2003

Use The Trolls

Extremism is one of the great tricks of the Republican Party.

Not just extreme positions, but extreme rhetoric. Republican movements gain adherents through extreme rhetoric, tailored to specific groups. They have done this for a generation.

» Continue reading "Use The Trolls"

Bush For President, 2004

Okay, it's a spoof site. I guess it's about that time in the election cycle for these guys to start popping up. Still, it's got some entertaining stuff that could cross the aisle:
Poll Results: 98% of Americans don't care A CNN/USA Today poll suggests that Americans couldn’t care less about complex news and issues concerning America’s place in the world.
Posted by jeremy at 7:22 PM

August 7, 2003

The Gore Speech

It does amaze me how, approaching an event they have deemed newsworthy, reporters and pundits can predict, pontificate, and perfect a story that simply isn't there.

The story with Al Gore's speech today was he would run for President, that he would run as alternative to Howard Dean, that he would run as an alternative to the Democratic Leadership Council.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. The stories were, in the parlance of our time, pure Yellowcake.

» Continue reading "The Gore Speech"

August 6, 2003

Raise Your Hands If You Paid Attention in High School Civics

I have to make a confession. I am a registered Republican. I signed up to do my part in trying to help John McCain get a leg up over Bush in the 2000 primaries. As is obvious, McCain lost, and Bush was elected. Bush was elected not because he was a better candidate, was smarter, or was more honest. Bush was elected largely because he was much better funded, was much more media savvy, and had much of the Establishment backing his candidacy. I have little reason to think that the election in 2004 will be any different.

» Continue reading "Raise Your Hands If You Paid Attention in High School Civics"

Posted by cjkarr at 7:39 PM

Gore to Enter Race?

Maybe this is just more gossip to fill a slow August in the Beltway, but rumors have begun to swirl that Gore's "major speech" on Iraq in New York, sponsored by MoveOn.org, will be a kick off to entering the campaign for the 2004 Democratic nomination.

Seeing how none of the supposed major players (Kerry, Leiberman) have moved to the forefront yet and upstart Dean is still portayed as too liberal by many, does Gore now believe that he has a chance to win the nomination and beat Bush in 2004? Does he stand a shot or have Democrats already tossed their support elsewhere?

Posted by blipsman at 10:36 AM

August 5, 2003

H(oward) Ross McDean

Fresh off his wins in the money primary and the publicity primary, Howard Dean showed off a new side of himself to Larry King and the Today Show.

Call it H. Ross McDean.

In both venues Dean emphasized this above all, to thine own budget be true. He repeatedly promised a "glide path" to a balanced budget, with "spending limits" to keep liberals at bay, pointing to his record as Vermont governor.

How could he morph so far to the right? Here's a secret. He didn't change a thing.

» Continue reading "H(oward) Ross McDean"

August 1, 2003

The Secret is Out

It's been announced. The "top secret" purpose for which the money was earmarked on the Dean campaign's second bat of last weekend's fundraiser is --

To air a tv commercial in Texas.

I didn't suggest it. But I did argue there in favor of putting some campaign resources into Texas. If Bush has to campaign in Texas, how does that make him look? Five letters, starts with L. If Bush doesn't campaign in Texas, we can win there. If both sides campaign there, but his campaign pretends it isn't, they look phony and play into our hands on the credibility issue. As an added bonus, Texas has a huge number of people, which means it has a substantial number of potential donors.

Making it the target of a secret-purpose fundraiser stirs up advance buzz without letting anyone beat the Dean campaign to the punch. All in all, this sounds like a winner to me.

Posted by dsws at 8:31 PM