Democrats & Liberals Archives

January 2004 Archives

January 31, 2004

Why Can't Juries Find Cops Guilty of Beating Black Men?

Why is it so hard for juries to find police officers guilty of using excessive force against Black men?

Donovan Jackson, a Black teenager, was slammed into the hood of a police car and hit in the face while handcuffed and subdued by three police officers. Everything was caught on tape. Yet, the second jury to hear the case could not come to a unanimous decision regarding the guilt of the officers involved in the episode.

» Continue reading "Why Can't Juries Find Cops Guilty of Beating Black Men?"

Posted by at 6:45 PM

Cultural Suicide

In every culture's existence on earth, there's a point where it turns inwards on itself, chokes itself of new ideas, new dreams and motivations, and dies.

Unfortunately, we are approaching that point. Before, we were simply fading into isolationism, both in terms of our politics and our knowledge of the outside world. But now we're experiencing an even worse kind of isolation: from the marketplace of ideas. It may very well be this kind that spells the end of American prominence in the world, as well as the culture of freedom which nurtured it.

» Continue reading "Cultural Suicide"

January 29, 2004

Say It Ain't So, Joe

Joe Trippi resigns and has been replaced by Al Gore's former go-to guy. Someone had to leave after Kerry's rear assault. Trippi wouldn't know me if he fell on me but I remember him from the Mondale-Ferraro campaign. I remember a guy who was a bundle of energy without any real regard for people. I can't say what he's like today or if he's mellowed with age -- although his hair is grey rather than black now. He's a political machine who knew what he was doing -- and should be credited for what he did for Dean. But Internet strength doesn't mean real strength (ie votes). And now Dean has brought in Roy Neel, a consumate Washington insider. It's another sign of a dying campaign.

But I'm not sure Dean was really ever so high as to have "fallen," despite what the media says. Dean's rise mirrors the Internet boom which was inhabited by many who insisted they had a product that worked. Eventually you found out that the product only existed in theory -- or the costs were ludicrously high. That was the real problem with the Internet boom -- too many idea guys, too few implementors. The Internet bubble didn't burst -- it just ran out of hot air. Which is exactly what I think is happening to Howard Dean. I'm sure Trippi will land on his feet somewhere -- guys like that always do.

Posted by 9thwave at 12:29 PM

Five for the Road

It is a long way back for the Democrats from the abyss looming before them. The bridge to a new century has crumbled and the Democratic Party is in disarray in this new election year. Things can change rapidly in politics, winners become losers every day in the biggest game in town. The truth is this does not have to be a zero sum game for people in this nation. We do not have to punish the poor for being poor or reward the rich for being rich any more. Nor do we have to drive the Middle Class down the road to joblessness and the loss of wealth that looms in a future defined by the same old politics of left and right. The Democratic Party needs to redistribute its attention to a number of the new ideas that are emerging today as prospects for the future.

» Continue reading "Five for the Road"

Posted by Henri Reynard at 11:55 AM

January 28, 2004

Hidden Taxes

An HMO denies the doctor the discretion to do tests on his or her patients as he or she sees fit, and a cancer in its early stages goes undetected. Executives in a company, tempted by the returns on their stock options, mask their company's debts until they have the opportunity to sell them. Then they let the inevitable occur, their money safe in the bank. A terrorist enters this country as a guest worker. Lousy turn of events, but someone had to have a cheap workforce around. A woman takes an herbal supplement day by day, unaware that the mixture isn't only failing to help her, but is playing havoc with her system. A car company moves its factory south of the border, leaving a formerly thriving community collapsed into poverty and despair behind it.

Since Reagan, tax cuts have been the constant drumbeat of political life. They seem the perfect political gimmee: Vote for me, and you'll get a bigger refund! They've become the third rail of the electorate, almost. But are taxes the only way a government can cost its citizens?

» Continue reading "Hidden Taxes"

New Hampshire Primary: Kerry wins, Dean grabs second

The final results of the New Hampshire Primary: Kerry 39% / Dean 26% / Clark 13% / Edwards 12% / Lieberman 9% / Kucinich 2%. Candidates needed at least 15% support to earn delegates for the Democratic National Convention.

Kerry overpowers Dean to win New Hampshire primary:

"Fortifying his front-runner status, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry captured the New Hampshire Democratic primary Tuesday, convincing his neighbors he was best qualified to beat President Bush with his military credentials and congressional tenure.
» Continue reading "New Hampshire Primary: Kerry wins, Dean grabs second"

Posted by Anthony at 1:00 AM

January 26, 2004

Drawing Conclusions

If you draw a line from the New Journalists to many of the current crop of writers breaking out on editorial pages everywhere you will find a sharp rise of irredeemably inaccurate conclusions. From the Sixties onward the flow of information in our society has come full circle. What was once an accepted strategy of the writers of the Left, during Vietnam and for a short time thereafter, drawing unconnected conclusions, is now the purview of the Right. When an overwhelmingly large body of evidence regarding some kind of consistent behavior on the part of a politician or other public figure is assembled a lot of conclusions might follow. It ought to largely depend on the body of material evidence what the conclusion that was drawn might be, but it does not. Not for the Left in the sixties and not for the Right in current times.

» Continue reading "Drawing Conclusions"

Posted by Henri Reynard at 9:48 AM

January 25, 2004

Meryl Streep bashes Bush at Golden Globes

Award-winning actress Meryl Streep took a swipe at President Bush's State of the Union Address tonight after being awarded a Golden Globe at the 61st edition of the awards show.

After addressing her friends and colleagues who she said helped her win the Golden Globe for "Actress In A Leading Role - Mini-Series Or Television Movie" for her performance in Angels In America, Streep used her final minutes in front of the camera to attack two specific parts of President Bush's speech.

» Continue reading "Meryl Streep bashes Bush at Golden Globes"

Posted by Anthony at 9:33 PM

January 24, 2004

Rove Endorses Kucinich (Satire)

Claiming that he “wants to have a good fight” Republican strategist Karl Rove officially endorsed Dennis Kucinich for the Democratic nomination. Although he acknowledges that Kucinich has his detractors, Rove said that he has important strengths that Democrats have failed to appreciate, “Anyone who can run a city the size of Cleveland is going to be a tough competitor. Dennis showed real guts by bankrupting the city instead of kowtowing to those creditors. And then there’s his nickname: The Menace. That is someone you don’t want to mess around with.”

» Continue reading "Rove Endorses Kucinich (Satire)"

Posted by Woody Mena at 9:57 AM

January 23, 2004

Senator Lieberman

I have a preference for Democratic candidates for President other than Joe Lieberman. To be utterly pragmatic about who is the Democratic candidate for President is difficult. With the long campaign, the variety among the candidates, and the constant spin applied by the media to the simplest elements of the candidate’s behavior making a choice is not easy. I like Joe Lieberman’s stated stance on domestic issues, where we most differ is on the war on Terror and the development and execution of Foreign Policy.

» Continue reading "Senator Lieberman"

Posted by Henri Reynard at 12:21 PM

CBS Won't Air MoveOn.org's "Bush in 30 Seconds" Super Bowl Ad

CBS informed MoveOn.org that they will not run the winning commerical from MoveOn.org's "Bush in 30 Seconds" contest (you can view the ad here).

CBS claims that they choose not to run ads which violate the network's policy against accepting advocacy advertising, but seem to only apply this standard to progressive issues -- PETA was denied ad space during last year's Super Bowl while the White House's contorversial advocacy ads implying that drug users fund terrorism and drug use leads to abortions ran during recent Super Bowls. Again this year, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy will be running an ad during the Super Bowl.

» Continue reading "CBS Won't Air MoveOn.org's "Bush in 30 Seconds" Super Bowl Ad"

Posted by blipsman at 11:42 AM

January 22, 2004

Watch Out for Right-Wing Carnivores!

So, who says there is no Right-Wing Conspiracy? C'mon guys, honestly, which one of you can explain to me, in rational terms, why the Secret Service is seizing computers from Bill Frist's office and why General Dynamics would be called in to investigate the possibility that Republicans had infiltrated Democratic computers and were dishing out juicy bits to the media?

Now, in the past when I've raised the spectre of America becoming a Fascist police-state, you scoffed. When we've pointed to the possibility of Republicans engineering consent through scare-tactics and underhanded astroturf campaigns, some of you got defensive and said old news was irrelevant — like history isn't bound to repeat itself if we don't learn from the past. Maybe you're not worried. Maybe you know something that the rest of us Americans don't want to know — or something that you don't want us to know, but this scares me. This isn't Watergate and those of us who are already worried about your power grabs now have more cause to worry...

Posted by huxley75 at 2:17 PM

January 21, 2004

The Fundamental Disconnect

Elephants: they're not just for political mascots anymore. Case in point, the State of the Union Address. There seemed to be a rather large elephant in the room to begin with. The kind that seems to enjoy hanging around obvious, unresolved issues.

But unfortunately for the poor pachyderm, especially in the light of a deficiency of elephant sized seating, he didn't get to leave, but had to sit out the rest of the speech just like us. Bush brought doublespeak to a new low last night. That "weapons of mass destruction-related program activities" is bound to become a classic. And it is but one example of where Bush fails to even address the existence of the problems at hand, much less address the problems themselves.

» Continue reading "The Fundamental Disconnect"

Confidential Memo (Satire)

Dear Fellow Democrats,

Operation Vermont Blizzard has succeeded brilliantly. Clearly, Rove and Co. were under the the impression that we were going to nominate Howard Dean. Those Republicans really think we are nuts! It just goes to show the power of the Internet. This is no time to be complacent, though. It's time to start Operation Connecticut Yankee.

As you can probably guess, the idea is to convince George Bush that there has been a groundswell of support for Joe Lieberman. The poor man will be dizzy with confusion. First he is running against a hip-shooting governor who opposed him on the war, then he is running against a reassuringly bland senator who supports him on the war!

» Continue reading "Confidential Memo (Satire)"

Posted by Woody Mena at 8:30 AM

State of the Union

I listened to a President who took office based on a lie speak about the State of the Nation last night. His words were full of self praise even though his speech writers put ‘We” in his mouth many times over the night. He declared war, not only on Terror, several times last night, but on all of the policies of the man whose words he used in the close of his message, FDR. Based on that speech alone, either this man is dangerously delusional, or he believes that he is a great leader, in which case the danger of his delusions infects our whole nation tragically.

» Continue reading "State of the Union"

Posted by Henri Reynard at 8:23 AM

January 20, 2004

The Obligatory Iowa Caucus Post-Mortem

Okay my predictions were way off. I thought that Dean would pull out a victory in the Iowa cacuses despite the fact that his poll numbers were trailing off in the last two weeks. But I was wrong. Kerry prevailed with Edwards coming in a close second and Howard Dean a distant third, CNN reports.

Two things stand out in my mind now that the Iowa caucuses are over and the 2004 presidential campaign has begun officially. First, unions are not coming out of the Iowa caucuses as losers despite what some pundits would have you to believe. Second, Howard Dean may have lost this battle but he won the war (and it's not the one you think).

» Continue reading "The Obligatory Iowa Caucus Post-Mortem"

Posted by at 3:50 AM

Iowa-shcmiowa...

Call me Dr. Dean and tell me why you would make a better president than Mr. Kerry or General Clark. Call me Mr. Lieberman, Reverend Sharpton, Mr. Edwards — Hell, I'd even like to get a phone call from you, President Bush. Tell me where you honestly stand and give me good, solid reasons why and I might decide to vote for you. Personally, I'm getting sick and tired of hearing why any of you have decided to put your faith in Iowa or New Hampshire and why the voters in one state are more important than any voter in any state. Granted, some states may offer up more electoral votes than others, and some campaign contributors may offer up more funds than others, but I'm calling your bluff here — every last one of you. Face it: you're all charlatans to me, at this point, unless you can prove that 2004 is anything more than a numbers game.

» Continue reading "Iowa-shcmiowa..."

Posted by huxley75 at 12:35 AM

January 19, 2004

Who Da Thunk It?

I've been asking myself that question over the past 48 hours as the Kerry-Edwards steam engine kept gaining speed. One of my first posts to this blog recommended Eugene Burdick's "The Ninth Wave," one of the best political novels ever written. One of my favorite scenes concerns a discussion over how most elections are won: by the undecideds. That appears to be the case tonight in Iowa (r.r.).

A huge turnout in gatherings across the state spelled victory for John Kerry and John Edwards tonight. Dean's third place showing is actually quite impressive when you realize no one had heard of him a year or so ago but the expectation albatross is tough to carry. (No pun intended.) And Gephardt sounded like a man who's pulling out of the race.

» Continue reading "Who Da Thunk It?"

Posted by 9thwave at 11:55 PM

January 18, 2004

The Cost of Propaganda

Propaganda is the heart and soul of the Public Relations Industry. As long as that industry confines itself to selling us soap and soft drinks no one is too offended. Of course that industry is now used to manipulate our political realm constantly. The series about the selling of the President is now decades old and still pertinent to our political process. When the same expertise was used to create “information” which was recently used to sell us on war as a solution in Afghanistan and Iraq something seriously wrong happened in our Democracy.

» Continue reading "The Cost of Propaganda"

Posted by Henri Reynard at 5:17 PM

January 17, 2004

Requiem for the Moseley-Braun Campaign

When Carole Moseley-Braun came into the presidential race, reportedly with encouragement from Dick Gephardt, it was no secret that her mission was to neutralize Al Sharpton if (scratch that, when) he said anything that embarrassed the Democratic party. Expectations were not high.

Even in this context I was underwhelmed by her early debate performances. After the first debate on September 4th I noted in my blog that she “confuses me.” Particularly puzzling was her claim that everyone in America gets health care. By the time of the late October debate in Detroit, however, she started to impress me.

» Continue reading "Requiem for the Moseley-Braun Campaign"

Posted by Woody Mena at 10:18 PM

A Measure of Sacrifice

It always seemed absurd to me that the media and public would get so out of shape about casualties in our military engagements. Casualties in post Gulf-War engagements pale in comparison to those suffered in previous combat arenas like Vietnam, Korea, and wars before that. Even the casualties of the two Gulf Wars and Afghanistan hardly compare to their historical counterparts. 9/11 has once again put such small losses in perspective, though, and we are much less likely to raise hell over two or three soldiers killed a day or a week as we were in pre-9/11 days.

That said, the sacrifice of individual soldiers should not be an unrecognized thing. Unfortunately, our Department of Defense is failing to do so in one substantial way. I might be wrong, but so far as I have checked, there is no official casualty list for the war in Iraq.

» Continue reading "A Measure of Sacrifice"

January 16, 2004

The Gamble-and-Spend Conservative

I am a Tax-and-Spend Liberal. Proud of it. It's my honest belief that it's our duty to ourselves and others to pay a fair amount of taxes, if we're going to ask the government for the help we do.

Now, I'm not so in love with the idea that 70% top tax rates make me feel warm and fuzzy all over. But I do believe that if we're going to spend for it, we might as well pay for it, with cash, and not loans if we can. Running a deficit should be a rare thing, reserved for emergencies.

» Continue reading "The Gamble-and-Spend Conservative"

What are Iraqi Women Facing?

Republican pundits often bandy about the assertion that "Iraq is better off" after last year's U.S. invasion. Yet Iraqi women are in peril of this not being the case when we hand over the political reins in June.

Currently, under American stewardship, there is a fantastic opportunity for the initial creation of an Iraqi government to include fair female representation, yet that opportunity thus far has not been realized. Women make up anywhere between 50-65% of the population of Iraq ( post-war figures vary a bit), yet only 3 were appointed to the group of 25 comprising the Interim Governing Council (IGC).

» Continue reading "What are Iraqi Women Facing?"

Posted by tamsen at 3:26 AM

January 15, 2004

Social Security is on the Moon

We are all saved from the effects of the demise of Social Security in our time; we are going to build a colony on the moon. Look at the benefits, there are no known terrorists on the moon. There are, insofar as we know, no WMD bearing dictators on the moon either. Of course there is no known source of easily accessible water or air there, but then there is no pollution there either. Even better daytime lasts for 14 earth days and nighttime is equally long, so time must pass more slowly there. Then there is the lower gravity which will clearly help keep the sags from affecting us as much as they do here. It is really a lot closer to heaven than anyplace here on earth. Of course we will have to spend a trillion dollars to get the first twenty colonists there. It will probably take another trillion to set them up to support larger numbers. Then there will be the ongoing problems of colonizing a place where no McDonalds is available for half a million miles. But this is surely the way to solve the social security funding problem. Just send Alice to the moon, even if Ralph couldn’t do it after all.

» Continue reading "Social Security is on the Moon"

Posted by Henri Reynard at 11:31 AM

Moseley-Braun Steps Down

Carol Moseley-Braun's dropping out of the race isn't a surprise. Dropping out right before Iowa is a bit of a surprise to me. (I thought she'd wait until after New Hampshire.)

Her endorsement of Howard Dean, however, is a welcome surprise to me. Not that it's so unexpected. It's just that I didn't think there'd be another Dean story for the press to go after until Monday.

» Continue reading "Moseley-Braun Steps Down"

Posted by 9thwave at 10:54 AM

Pow, Zoom, Right to the Moon...

I�m a big fan of the National Space Administration and I would love nothing more than to see our country endeavor to reach the moon once again, replace the aging space shuttle, and send mankind to mars, if not for just curiosity and exploration, but for all the brilliant technology that would come out of such a program. The problem is, we are all living check to check at the moment and President Bush just called for a Limousine to come pick us up on a ride to the grand ball.

» Continue reading "Pow, Zoom, Right to the Moon..."

Posted by Beau Wade at 5:13 AM

January 12, 2004

Just Tell Me Why

So the Iowa caucuses are a week away. And last night's debate was just another opportunity for the field to bash each other before January 19. Living in New York, I've watched Al Sharpton's involvement with interest -- and more often than not, I felt he was talking about issues. But going after Dean the way he did last night smacked of grandstanding -- and I remembered for the first time in a long time that that's how Sharpton came to national attention in the first place.

So I contrast the Democratic squabbling (r.r.) last night with the news reports this morning that focused on Paul O'Neill's recollections of his time in the Bush II White House and the fact that personal privacy intrusions and "color-coding" continues in the name of national security.

» Continue reading "Just Tell Me Why"

Posted by 9thwave at 12:13 PM

January 9, 2004

Externalities Rule

“The Economy” is a major topic of this election year, and how it works is the source of a constant battle between those who think everything is all right and those who don’t. Not all of the people on either side of the issue are partisans. Many of them are true believers in one economic theory or another, and “Free Trade” gets mentioned a lot by both sides of this issue. Almost no one on either side is talking about the same thing when they use the words “Free Trade”, and while this makes for a wild and wooly debate, it hardly is likely to lead to a common conclusion in the end. Some of the people on both sides use GATT (General Agreement on Tariff and Trade) and the WTO (World Trade Organization) as if they were interchangeable. They are not. Some focus on world economic growth and ignore what happened in places like Indonesia and Argentina, or dismiss it with vague phrases like “Crony Capitalism”. Some focus on the issues in the USA caused by exporting jobs and ignore real growth in China and a few other nations. Some just want everyone to believe that “Free Trade” is good regardless of how it is implemented and what the results of that implementation are in the real world.

» Continue reading "Externalities Rule"

Posted by Henri Reynard at 11:39 AM

January 6, 2004

What Does “Electable” Mean?

A few weeks ago, The Nation ran a rather devastating portrait of Wesley Clark. Predictably, this prompted a flurry of letters from Clark supporters threatening to cancel their subscriptions. An unspoken message of the letters was that The Nation had damaged a valuable asset of the Democratic party, and by extension the Left.

Clark is, after all, supposed to be the electable candidate. Prospects are certainly shaky enough now for the Democratic party that its members would be nuts to turn down a candidate who clearly has the best chance of winning. Simply labeling a candidate “electable”, however, begs the question of exactly what qualities make him or her likely to win.

» Continue reading "What Does “Electable” Mean?"

Posted by Woody Mena at 8:25 AM

January 5, 2004

Free Trade And fOlly

There is a lot of jabbering going on constantly in the media about how essential “Free Trade” is to our world and how it is bringing prosperity to all participants. The facts about trade between nations as it is currently constituted are somewhat different. Export dependent economies are not very resilient, their internal markets are too weak to sustain growth if the external market stops buying. The USA’s recovery from the recent recession is an example of the difference between trade dependent nations and those that have strong internal markets.

» Continue reading "Free Trade And fOlly"

Posted by Henri Reynard at 9:29 AM

January 2, 2004

"What We Will Do In 2004”

What will we in this most powerful of all nations do in the next year? I will continue to study history in an attempt to understand our conversion from a Republic into an Empire. I will continue to speak out in the debate of whether or not our nation will continue to approach the world as if it were naturally subordinated to the desires of our leaders. Colin Powell asserts that the Bush Administration will continue to utilize our national power and our nation’s resources to dominate the world through the force of arms and the power of our economic engine. The Secretary of State uses some high flying hyperbole in making the Bush Administration’s statement regarding this New Year. He obviously believes that what they are attempting to do in the world is something different that what a lot of us see happening due to their policies that have hastened our rush to Empire. He pulls at our emotions and tweaks our ideals but he serves an Imperial drive that will destroy our Republic. It will destroy us as surely as it destroyed Rome and the recent Soviet Empire that we judged as evil if we continue on our present course.

» Continue reading ""What We Will Do In 2004”"

Posted by Henri Reynard at 7:25 AM

January 1, 2004

Is Halliburton the New Enron?

Halliburton, under Dick Cheney, seems no different than Enron with Ken Lay at the helm.

Around the same time that a Pentagon report discovered that Kellogg Brown & Root, a subsidiary of the multinational provider of oil field services, overcharged the government by $61 million, a French court is weighing whether or not to indict Vice-President Cheney on bribing, money laundering, and misuse of corporate assets charges.

» Continue reading "Is Halliburton the New Enron?"

Posted by at 7:07 PM