Democrats & Liberals Archives

April 2004 Archives

April 30, 2004

When the actions of a few shame us all

Of late, many instances of unbecoming conduct have been surfacing of a few soldiers acting out against Iraqis (POWs and civilians) in deplorable ways. It began with what was seemingly an ill-advised attempt at humor when a soldier posed with 2 Iraqi children holding a sign that suggests he killed their dad and 'knocked up' their mother (more info on this found at Snopes). It continued with this video of how a few soldiers decided the crime of stolen wooden planks should be dealt with.

Now it seems to conclude with recent reports of actions deliberately contrary to the Geneva Convention- which, despite these acts, the United States is actually a part of and bound to.

» Continue reading "When the actions of a few shame us all"

Posted by tamsen at 9:46 PM

Soft Soap Hard Soap

Since our hands are dirty now and quickly getting dirtier in Iraq, in Afghanistan and in the Palestinian territories, we need a little cleanser in our lives. One way to look at the Presidential race is that it is comprised of two ad campaigns for soap. One is a hard gritty bar of soap that can force the crud off with a lot of rubbing but will leave little skin behind. The other is a softer soap that will work with the crud and soften it, removing it by persuading it to just let go. The interesting thing about this analogy is that it corresponds all too well with the reality of politics today. Candidates are sold like soap, not on their real merits but on the values that their marketers think will draw your votes. How do you get to know your own candidate if his “Handlers” are always there to keep him on message? The answer of course is that you do not ever get to know him at all; that is the point of all the advertising.

» Continue reading "Soft Soap Hard Soap"

Posted by Henri Reynard at 7:40 PM

Bush Shredding Constitution

The Bush administration's lawyers are currently arguing before the Supreme Court their right to seize and detain any American citizen they see as a threat to the United States. President Bush's lawyers are claiming that he has the right to authorize "indefinite executive detention" without oversight by Congress or the Judiciary.

» Continue reading "Bush Shredding Constitution"

April 29, 2004

Right-Wing Network Censors Nightline

Just when I thought the hypocrisy couldn't get any worse, I found this tasty little item on

(CNN) Sinclair Broadcast Group has ordered its eight ABC stations not to broadcast Friday's "Nightline"...

So what are these guys worked up about, you ask. An unpixelated segment on nude beaches? A hard-hitting expose on the Victoria's Secret catalog? Nope. Ted Koppel's crime against decency will be to broadcast the names and photos of 500 dead American soldiers.

» Continue reading "Right-Wing Network Censors Nightline"

Posted by Woody Mena at 10:58 PM

GOP: Bush Stiffing Troops

Whenever George Bush or Donald Rumsfeld have been asked about the need for more troops, they answer almost identically. If the generals ask for them, they explain, we'll give them what they want. For months they explained that the military didn't want more troops. Suddenly this changed last week.

» Continue reading "GOP: Bush Stiffing Troops"

April 27, 2004


Here in this little western valley where we live there is going to be an earthquake, a big one if the scientists who study these things are right. Pretty much everyone above the age of ten has heard the warnings. Not very many of us have made any changes in our lives related to that threat. The threat is real enough, but by moving here we have made a choice. That choice includes living in an area of the country where earthquakes can happen at any time.

» Continue reading "Earthquake"

Posted by Henri Reynard at 5:12 PM

April 25, 2004

Market-Based Medicine

After looking at John Kerry's health care plan, I decided I'd better take a look at President Bush's plan. I'm going to start with the assumption that everyone believes Americans should have access to high-quality, affordable health care, and I'll summarize Bush's plan based on the same criteria I used with Kerry's plan: Increased coverage, decreased cost, and quality care.

» Continue reading "Market-Based Medicine"

Why The Anger?

The question itself is one that has been asked by many Conservatives, often with the intent of declaring certain political opposition to be the product of irrational sentiment. Such aims miss the important point of what creates the anger.

No anger could sustain itself for so long, minus the support of other grievances. Anger is transitory, a state of mind. So the question is, what could possibly maintain it for so long? Part of the answer lies in a particularly cruel irony.

» Continue reading "Why The Anger?"

April 22, 2004

The Cost of War

As part of their campaign to keep Americans behind their invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration had continued a post-Vietnam policy of preventing press from covering the ceremonies at Dover AFB when the bodies of fallen soldiers returned to U.S. soil. Without the casket draped in an American flag--holding somebody's son, daughter, husband, wife, father, mother, etc.--the numbers of war dead became empty statistics. One might be able to imagine 600 people, but it's different to see a box containing one in front of you.

» Continue reading "The Cost of War"

Posted by blipsman at 11:42 PM

Citizen Wal Mart

I confess, I do not read either of the two Chicago dailies (I usually spend a buck for the NYTimes), and neither (very proudly) do I watch any of the local news programs.

So, after cheering Wal-Mart’s defeat in Inglewood, CA, I was stunned to find the next battleground was right here in my own backyard! Wal-Mart wants to build two SuperCenters here – on the city’s predominantly Black, South and West Sides.

» Continue reading "Citizen Wal Mart"

April 21, 2004

Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise

If your company subsidizes a large part of your health care plan, you're lucky. Many companies can't afford to do so. And forget trying to pay for it yourself. One of the companies I worked for went out of business. I had the option of paying for COBRA coverage, but it was so expensive I couldn't take advantage of it. I was out of a job, for cryin' out loud! Luckily, it was the 90s and I had another job within a couple weeks. Currently the average between jobs is about four months. That's a long time to be without health care, especially if you have a young family or are being treated for a chronic condition.

» Continue reading "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise"

April 20, 2004

Selling the Candidates

Looking into how to get a Kerry bumper sticker or two, I came across John Kerry's online store. After browsing around a bit, I decided to check out Bush's online store as well.

» Continue reading "Selling the Candidates"

Posted by blipsman at 12:55 PM

Congress and Their Sacred Trust

We no longer have the best Congress money can buy; we now have the worst Congress money can sell. It is not a subtle distinction. The difference between the Senators and Representatives of my youth and those lamely handing their power to the Administration today is more than just which party dominates our politics. The conservatives in those times were more than just shills for business and industry. They worked more for the nation than they did for their party. The liberals in those days tried to build a nation that used its resources to help those who needed a little help.

» Continue reading "Congress and Their Sacred Trust"

Posted by Henri Reynard at 9:12 AM

April 19, 2004

Pass the Salt

There's been an ongoing debate in my family for weeks now. The question isn't whether Election Day is a potential terrorism target. That's perfectly obvious even before Rice spoke out. I didn't see them all but it seems the real question was skirted in the Sunday talk shows: who benefits politically if such an act does occur?

» Continue reading "Pass the Salt"

Posted by 9thwave at 1:45 PM

April 17, 2004

Has the Republican Party Lost its Soul?

A few weeks ago when there was early speculation about Senator John McCain as a possible Kerry running mate, this was his response.

"It's impossible to imagine the Democratic Party seeking a pro-life, free-trading, non-protectionist, deficit hawk."

This got me thinking. Is this really true? With the Republican Party disappearing into the abyss of neocon reality distortion, which party better represents the ideals of a moderate Republican?

» Continue reading "Has the Republican Party Lost its Soul?"

Posted by Al Maline at 7:35 PM

Political Games

Remember the games we played when we were kids? Monopoly and Scrabble and even Old Maid have survived. But when you talk about games today a whole new class of games dominates the discussion if you are talking to anyone under thirty. Video games are everywhere. Even my cell phone, which I keep as simple as possible, has multiple games installed on it. I would like to propose a new class of video game, the candidate game. We could easily do that today, just digitize Bush and Kerry and install them into the most successful video game on the market.

» Continue reading "Political Games"

Posted by Henri Reynard at 8:59 AM

The Political War Al Qaeda Wages

Listening to an interview on Bill Moyer's NOW a Columbia University government professor named Mahmood Mamdani, I was struck by a particular sentiment of his.

Even Republicans must admit that Al Quaeda is an odd duck, a stateless terrorist organization. But many conservatives, especially neoconservatives like to make the characterization of Al Quaeda as representing a kind of Islamic fascism. In fact those are the the kinds of terms that the buzzwords surround.

» Continue reading "The Political War Al Qaeda Wages"

April 15, 2004

Palestinian Problem Solved?

President Bush made a monumental change in US policy regarding Israel and Palestine. He has decided the US will no longer play the role of "honest broker" for a peace plan, and will fully back the Israelis.

President Bush said yesterday, "In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949,".

» Continue reading "Palestinian Problem Solved?"

April 14, 2004

Blame Clinton!

If at first you don't succeed- do something completely contrary to published facts like Ashcroft and blame the previous Administration for your intelligence failures!

Not that anyone is blameless in what happened. All sorts of 'could-haves/should haves' exist on both sides. However, it is well documented terrorism was one of the primary targets of the Clinton Administration, especially by the time the torch was being passed.

» Continue reading "Blame Clinton!"

Posted by tamsen at 3:18 AM

April 13, 2004

Bush Press Conference

I'm sure there are a lot of different opinions on Bush's April 13 press conference, so I'll throw my impressions out first.

Bush seemed to be very well prepared, and I think he's a better speaker than he was in 2000. This could be bad news for Kerry, since Bush won that time (or at least got the tiebreaker).

His insistence on getting back to his talking points on most questions was annoying, but expected from a modern politician.

» Continue reading "Bush Press Conference"

Posted by LawnBoy at 9:48 PM

April 12, 2004

Falluja of an Empire

We are in a conflict that we cannot win today. I am not talking about the war in Iraq although that is a symptom of what is wrong here. We can still win something for the future of Iraq by bringing in an international coalition and reducing our level of control over things there. We will clearly not do that if the Bush Administration is reelected, he cannot easily gain followers in the world outside our borders after the first act of his war in Iraq. Nor does he want to, he clearly prefers a go it alone strategy to any real international involvement.

» Continue reading "Falluja of an Empire"

Posted by Henri Reynard at 11:35 AM

The Uncertainty Principle

The extent of denial on the Right, concerning the disintegration of Iraq, knows no boundaries. They are accurate in predicting that the small bands of enemy fighters, spread across a growing number of cities, will be crushed – by means unbecoming a military force of ‘liberators’. Fighters loyal to Cleric Sadir (himself included) will pay the heaviest toll. Yet, it is uncertain if the widespread condemnation of scores of innocent Iraqis killed, will give the Coalition forces pause.

» Continue reading "The Uncertainty Principle"

April 11, 2004

Free Trade, But At A High Price

I was surprised to find this particular news item while surfing the net, or rather surprised by it's implications.

In essence, it says that some of our highest volume trade partners persist in maintaining many of their tariffs and trade restrictions, including Japan, and China, among others.

» Continue reading "Free Trade, But At A High Price"

April 8, 2004

Partisan or Practical?

In the criticism of the more intense scrutiny of the Democrat members of the 9/11, a drumbeat has developed: The investigational committee was being made political.

But how can any investigation have teeth, if it fears to wade into the way an administration approached the issues of Homeland Security? It's a subject that is guaranteed to make political waves, and guaranteed to be problematic for a campaign like Bush's, where any demonstrated negligence or incompetence about terrorism will add to his political liabilities. Just so, it is subject that Bush will resist revelations about, and some might not be too motivated to explore.

» Continue reading "Partisan or Practical?"

April 7, 2004

Improving the Primary Process

I am not happy with America's primary election process for Presidential elections. Both major parties have decided their candidates eight months before the general election and over four months before the conventions at which those choices will be formalized. Already, we have seen the campaigns turn negative, both from the campaign organizations themselves and especially from the respective echo chambers.

We have seven months of sniping, spinning, and negative campaigning to go. Is this the best way to prepare for a national election?

» Continue reading "Improving the Primary Process"

Posted by LawnBoy at 8:00 AM

Woman Be Wise

On October 11, 1991, a poised young Black woman sat down before a panel of Senate Committee members, amid the harsh lights of TV cameras that would beam her image into an unprecedented number of American households. No mitigating circumstances of a political or legal nature had prompted her appearance, yet it soon became apparent that powerful forces determined to discredit her would outmatch any discernable public or personal support.

» Continue reading "Woman Be Wise"

April 5, 2004

How Much Violence is Too Much?

This is not intended as a rhetorical question, it is a major issue in the ongoing war we are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and quite possibly soon in Iran and other places in the world. This has been named the War on Terror by our present confused Administration. Their confusion lies in both what they are fighting and how terrorism works. I am concerned that much of our nation is also becoming confused in a way that will hurt us far more than it will help to rid the world of terrorism.

» Continue reading "How Much Violence is Too Much?"

Posted by Henri Reynard at 6:46 PM

Goin' Mobile

US Secretary of State Colin Powell has admitted that the "most dramatic" piece of evidence he presented to the UN Security Council in making a case for the invasion of Iraq, the mobile WMD factories, is probably wrong.

"I'm not the intelligence community, but I probed and I made sure, as I said in my presentation, these are multi-sourced" allegations, Powell said. "Now, if the sources fell apart we need to find out how we've gotten ourselves in that position," he said.

» Continue reading "Goin' Mobile"

April 2, 2004

Justification and Connection

I apologize for so quickly following my last post here with a new one, but I think the issue I am about to present to you can hardly wait.

I was watching Bill Moyers interview John Dean on his new, rather scathing book on the Bush administration, when he brought up what can only be described as a surprising point, that WMDs and terrorists were an integral part of the authorization to use force in Iraq. I did a little research, and sure enough, I found what what Mr. Dean was speaking of.

» Continue reading "Justification and Connection"

Will You Just Take The Debate, Mr. President?

Bush has a problem. He is unwilling to put himself to the test. He will not get up on a podium and defend his policies against his Democratic opponent. Just this Thursday, a Bush spokesman once more said that Bush was refusing the debate because he says Kerry hadn't finished the one he was having with himself.

What a cop-out. What red-blooded Republican would not jump at the chance to face down a Democrat opponent? What kind of robust conservative would find a waffling opponent as a reason not to debate? It's the perfect reason! Go for the kill! Expose him as the muddled creature he is!

» Continue reading "Will You Just Take The Debate, Mr. President?"

April 1, 2004

April First, Two Thousand and Four

In keeping with the long tradition that we always hold sacred the government officials appearing in public today will all tell the truth whenever they speak. It will be a quiet day in government circles. Those who are on both sides of the argument regarding Richard Clarke will agree that any man who worked sixteen hour days for twenty years looking for our enemies should be allowed to talk about it without merciless character assassination. The people who have learned how to make a living by working to make those opposed to their views angry will be required to wash out their mouths out with soap. This will be done under the supervision of John Ashcroft who will also supervise the mouth washing of all shock jocks and anyone else who makes their living by offending other people. There will be a soap shortage in the USA tomorrow.

» Continue reading "April First, Two Thousand and Four"

Posted by Henri Reynard at 9:23 AM