Democrats & Liberals Archives

December 2005 Archives

December 30, 2005

It Could Have Been Columbia

Is America a homeland or a nation?

The question I pose is rhetorical, and I pose it for this reason: what is America to us? What is it that our soldiers fight to protect? What is it that even most of America's native critics admire about it? There is something to America, in every subculture and region that goes beyond simply the land. American may be a patch of soil between two shining seas, but there is more to it than that, and that something is worth defending.

» Continue reading "It Could Have Been Columbia"

Ann Coulter's "War on Kwanzaa"

Poor President Bush just can't seem to get this holiday thing right. First, he sent out "Holiday" cards instead of Christmas cards and threw the fundamentalists into a tailspin. Now, the President has Ann Coulter up in arms over his 2005 Kwanzaa message in which he states, "African-Americans and people around the world reflect on African heritage during Kwanzaa."

» Continue reading "Ann Coulter's "War on Kwanzaa""

Democrats and the Big Picture

Republicans like to complain that Democrats have no ideas. The Democrats are running on a negative agenda, criticizing Republicans and Bush bashing, without offering positive alternatives. The Democrats are silent on the issues. The Democrats will never win elections if the voters don't know where they stand on the issues. But are the Democrats really silent on the issues? The House Democrats actually offer the Big Picture, the Innovation Agenda, and Issues in Focus. So for everyone who believes that the Democrats have no ideas, here you go, pick your topic and see where the Democrats stand on the issues.

» Continue reading "Democrats and the Big Picture"

December 28, 2005

The Business of America is Work

President Coolidge believed and now President Bush believes that the business of America is business. Since we started glorifying business, there has been too much popular aggrandizement of entrepreneurs, tycoons, financiers, billionaires, CEOs and business owners. The result has been a big shift towards conservatism and an increase in fierce competition, money-craziness, selfishness, aggression, conflict, polarization and militarism. We are on the wrong track. The business of America is not business but work, especially work for the common good.

» Continue reading "The Business of America is Work"

Posted by Paul Siegel at 6:00 PM

Munich

The last time Steven Spielberg made a movie this intense and this searing in it's portrayal of man's darker side, it most likely changed an entire nation's outlook on what war was. One looks at War movies before Saving Private Ryan and after, and one see a trully seismic shift in the way our culture deals with war. Out of that movie came the legend of "The Greatest Generation". Now, Spielberg takes on the subject of fighting a war on terrorism, and the results are no less intense.

I must warn my readers here that what comes after the fold is spoiler material, so those wishing to see this movie fresh should not read what follows.

» Continue reading "Munich"

December 27, 2005

How To Play The Race Card Effectively

Only in a manipulated Rovian world where the compulsory official language is Luntz-speak, could the closeted chairman of the Republican National Committee actually seek to peel away Black voters from the Democrats with a one-two sales pitch of 'faith-based' payoffs, while exploiting generational ignorance and intolerance over the gay marriage issue.

» Continue reading "How To Play The Race Card Effectively"

Hamdi, Padilla and You

President Bush labeled Hamdi and Padilla "enemy combatants" and had them "detained" without access to any judicial process. Although Hamdi and Padilla eventually received some semblance of due process, the administration remains against justice for those Bush labels "enemy combatants." Today it's Hamdi and Padilla. Tomorrow it may be YOU who is labeled an "enemy combatant" and deprived of all your civil rights. All it takes is for Bush to pronounce you an "enemy combatant" because he dislikes your position on the war or detests you as a liberal (traitor), an atheist (infidel), or even a Republican dissenter.

» Continue reading "Hamdi, Padilla and You"

Bush's Lewinsky Moment

While the claim that "Bush lied" has been overused, here is one you can take to the bank:

Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so.

President Bush, April 20, 2004

Any comments?

» Continue reading "Bush's Lewinsky Moment"

December 26, 2005

Morality and Ideology

The surest way to lose one's moral compass is to focus too intently on a single moral truth. It has happened to well intended souls throughout the ages, and every one of us is susceptible to this blindness. Surely a healthy exercise for anyone, is to acknowledge the moral underpinnings for ideologies which typically run counter to his/her own. If you really believe any of the following statements to be false, I believe you need to take a long hard look at why you might be wrong about that.

» Continue reading "Morality and Ideology"

December 24, 2005

Hand to hand combat in the Christmas War

Historically the holiday season has been one in which Americans embrace peace on Earth and good will toward men. Peace and good will have become the latest casualty of the righwing radio war on America...via their war on Christmas.

Enter Wil Wheaton... actor cum Vegas poker celeb:

» Continue reading "Hand to hand combat in the Christmas War"

December 23, 2005

Read What Your Signing; You May Be Signing Your Rights Away

Recently, the Massachusetts Secretary of State certified 123,356 signatures from registered voters to put a same-sex marriage ban before state voters. That is twice the number required to get the measure on the ballot and breaks a 20-year-old record for the most certified signatures ever gathered in support of a proposed ballot question. If the measure is passed by at least 25 percent of the Legislature in two successive sessions, the measure will appear on the ballot in November 2008.

» Continue reading "Read What Your Signing; You May Be Signing Your Rights Away"

Samuel DUBYA Alito

After hearing Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito and his political cohorts talk about his previous statements with reference to judicial actions, I decided to dub him with a middle name of DUBYA. The real Dubya says one thing to sell his programs and does something entirely different in practice. Alito and his cronies do it the reverse way. Alito has made all kinds of statements in past years indicating the he is a conservative in the mold of Scalia. Now, he and those pushing his nomination say Alito did not truly believe what he had said. He was only doing his job or applying for a job.

» Continue reading "Samuel DUBYA Alito"

December 22, 2005

Russ Feingold, The Real Patriot

I just returned from Mexico to be greeted with the great news that Democratic Senator Russ Feingold has stopped cold President Bush's push toward the reduction of civil liberties through the extension of the grossly mislabeled Patriot Act. Feingold led a filibuster which prevented the House-approved version that contained civil-liberties-busting provisions from becoming law. A 6-months extension to the current Patriot Act was enacted to give senators time to write an act that is constitutional. Russ Feingold is the real patriot here.

» Continue reading "Russ Feingold, The Real Patriot"

The dissed court: What happens when a President decides he's a dictator?

Today, it was announced (link) that FISA court members, including the Head of FISA court are arranging briefings from administration and justice department officials surrounding the legality of President Bush's American Citizen Surveillance Program (ACSP).

» Continue reading "The dissed court: What happens when a President decides he's a dictator?"

December 21, 2005

Tom Delay is Loved By All

This man is truly cared about. He is well taken cared of and Everybody wants to be nice to him. Why are we prosecuting this guy? Why would we want to prosecute any politicians? Everybody (especially the wealthy) really love these guys.
Tom Delay is a popular man indeed.
Public documents reviewed by the Associated Press show some of the perks that have been kindly given to the leader of the Republican party.

48 visits to golf clubs.
100 flights aboard company planes.
200 stays at world class hotels.
500 meals at 4-5 star restaurants.

» Continue reading "Tom Delay is Loved By All"

The Puzzling Price of Unity

The Bubble that surrounds Bush is an example of a plan that went too well. What was the plan? To protect Bush from his enemies and rivals. In what might be cosmic irony or poetic justice, depending on your point of view, the very means of Bush's defense have become the things imprisoning him in a nutshell of misinformation, public scorn, groupthink, and desperation.

» Continue reading "The Puzzling Price of Unity"

More fallout from ACSP (American Citizen Surveillance Program)

With the news (link) that US District Judge James Robertson resigned late Monday from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) to protest President George W. Bush's authorization of a domestic spying program. He served for 11 years on the court and believes the court may have been tainted by Bush's 2002 authorization.

» Continue reading "More fallout from ACSP (American Citizen Surveillance Program)"

The Patriot Act: Fix It, Don't Kill It

Senate Republicans have been demonstrating just how they really feel about national security and civil liberties lately. Either they have it their way, or no way at all.

Provisions of the Patriot Act involving powers granted to law enforcement agencies to gain secret access to personal data, including library and medical records, and to conduct roving wiretaps are set to expire on December 31. Senate Democrats are using a filibuster to block renewal because of the lack of civil liberty safeguards. Democrats have proposed a 3 month extension of the existing law to allow time to work out the civil liberty concerns. Republicans have rejected this proposal flat out and would rather see the Patriot Act die.

» Continue reading "The Patriot Act: Fix It, Don't Kill It"

Bush-Cheney Openly Seek Dictatorial Powers

Vice President Cheney justified secretly spying on American citizens -- and presumably also the secret abduction and detention of Americans that the US Supreme Court smacked 'em down for last year -- by saying the executive branch needs to be strengthened. That may be, but it doesn't change the fact the he and President Bush are now crooks like Nixon.

» Continue reading "Bush-Cheney Openly Seek Dictatorial Powers"

December 20, 2005

Teaching Intelligent Design Found Unconstitutional

To be sure, Darwin's theory of evolution is imperfect. However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions.
Judge John Jones
» Continue reading "Teaching Intelligent Design Found Unconstitutional"

The New Orleans Referendum

There has been a lot of argument on these pages about what post-Katrina New Orleans should look like. Why not let the residents of NO, including the displaced ones, decide themselves? One could come up with a budget and solicit different proposals for how to spend it. Then the voters choose between them in a referendum, allowing for a runoff (perhaps an instant runoff) to keep a tiny plurality from pushing through a quirky proposal. Here are some models for what the plans could like look (some more serious than others):

» Continue reading "The New Orleans Referendum"

Posted by Woody Mena at 6:30 AM

December 19, 2005

President Bush's Idea of Accountability: "Trust Me"

President Bush apparently thought when Congress gave him power to "use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001", he took that to mean that he could sidestep the need for a warrant and eliminate the paper trail it provides.

He effectively became the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branch. The problem with all of this is that the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled on this issue. That ruling is the precedent that should have set the stage for what "appropriate force" is.

» Continue reading "President Bush's Idea of Accountability: "Trust Me""

Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative

An amazing campaign is underway for the Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative proposed for the November 2006 state ballot. This initiative has tremendous, positive implications not only for the state of Missouri but the entire country. Missouri, and St. Louis in particular, is a hub for biotechnology commonly known as the BioBelt and the region has the ability to make cures for common, devastating diseases a reality by expanding its already considerable knowledge base and resources. All it needs now is the legislative approval to do what is already permitted by the federal government.

» Continue reading "Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative"

Bush and Co. Are Very Questionable

Those who support this administration and support the policies of our current President have on occasion accused those who do not support the president of ignoring facts, manufacturing evidence and having a preconceived doubt of his abilities and a need to rush to a negative judgement about his policies.
I see it a little differently. I see us as those willing to ask questions. We want to know more about what we're being told.
We don't always like what we find out and on occasion speak up about it.
Is that so bad?

» Continue reading "Bush and Co. Are Very Questionable"

December 18, 2005

Watching the Watchers

Freedom and Responsibility go hand in hand. Therefore, so does security and liberty. History is full of examples of unstable governments who mistook tyranny for security, a lack of oversight and accountability on one group's part for their ability to defend America effectively.

These governments fail, because when we fail to rein in the power of those who promise all these things, we fail to put in place the systems that make sure they do their jobs.

» Continue reading "Watching the Watchers"

December 16, 2005

Secret wiretaps=impeachable offense?

If you still support the Bush Administration after reading this story, then your partisan political sickness may be terminal:

» Continue reading "Secret wiretaps=impeachable offense?"

December 13, 2005

Satisfaction

Some people can't get none. Some people demand it, with pistols at dawn. Right now, the question is, what satisfies your notion of good government? I think the problem with todays notion of government is that we expect not to be satisfied, not to have it work. We don't summon outrage at abuses of power, instances of corruption, or demonstrations of incompetence.

Or at least we weren't. Something's happening, that I think will work against the Republican Majority: People are starting to demand more of their government than absence from their lives.

» Continue reading "Satisfaction"

Change is Not Always Good

When you think of words like government secrecy, it stirs up memories of a "Cold War" Soviet Union. When you think of words like government sanctioned torture, N. Korea, China and a Saddam controlled Iraq come to mind. When you think of words like rampant government corruption you think of a post-"Cold War" Russia, that due to a rapid destabilization of their economy, was run by thugs, crooks and the officials that were overcome by greed.
I never thought that the United States government would fall into the same disgusting pot.

» Continue reading "Change is Not Always Good"

More or Less: The cavalier attitude of the Bush administration toward death

"I would say 30,000, more or less, have died..." George Bush replied when asked about the number of Iraqi civilian deaths as a result of the American invasion of Iraq.

More or less? More or less is an interesting phrase to use when you're comparing lives lost. I mean it's not like you're counting marbles here. They're lives. But, I guess from an actuarial perspective, the reported 30,000 Iraqi civilian deaths is an acceptable number to Mr. Bush. For that number translates to a paltry 0.115% of the total population (link) of Iraq. So, I guess it's not that bad.

» Continue reading "More or Less: The cavalier attitude of the Bush administration toward death"

December 11, 2005

'Tis the season

For all of those who've become numbed to the commercialization of Christmas, here comes the next wave: the politicization of Christmas. Some background: I'm Jewish, and do not celebrate Christmas. But I grew up with Christmas, and most of my family are very into it. Until a couple of years ago, it never occurred to me to be offended if someone wished me Merry Christmas - any more than I would be offended if someone mistakenly but sincerely wished me a happy birthday on the wrong day.

» Continue reading "'Tis the season"

December 10, 2005

The Ticking Bomb Scenario

The British version of the Supreme Court just ruled that torture induced evidence cannot be used in court. I like the way one of the judges put it: "If the police were to learn of the whereabouts of a ticking bomb, it would be ludicrous for them to disregard this information if it had been procured by torture. It is an altogether different matter for the judicial arm of the state to admit such information as evidence."

» Continue reading "The Ticking Bomb Scenario"

December 9, 2005

House Votes Tax Increase for Workers

The big Republican mantra is "cut taxes." They cut the income tax. They cut the inheritance tax. They cut the tax rate on dividends and capital gains. And yesterday the House extended the tax cut on dividends and capital gains - $60 billion worth. Evidently, when Republicans talk of tax cuts they mean tax cuts for the rich. If our ever-growing government can't get money from the rich, where can it get the money? Besides boosting the deficit, the government must increase the taxes on workers. What the Republicans call a tax cut is effectively a tax increase on workers.

» Continue reading "House Votes Tax Increase for Workers"

Posted by Paul Siegel at 5:01 PM

The Real Culture War

Using a title like that begs the question: "What is the Real Culture War, Einstein?"

It's not between Christians and the so called Secular Humanists. It's not between Liberals and Conservatives. It's between information and exformation. It's between background noise and foreground meaning. It's between simply having a free speech society, and making good use of it. Everything else is just vanity and ego.

» Continue reading "The Real Culture War"

December 8, 2005

Religious Farce or Tragedy?

I am not a Christian; I am Jewish. In the past, the one thing I loved most about the Christmas season was the wonderful message about peace and goodwill you found almost everywhere. It made me feel good, accepted and warm. Today, the self-proclaimed devout, the religious right extremists, don't talk of peace and goodwill, but spout messages of war and hatred. They have taken their war against the "war on Christmas" to such ridiculous lengths that they are criticizing President Bush's Christmas greeting cards. What a farce!

» Continue reading "Religious Farce or Tragedy?"

December 7, 2005

Progressive Taxation Increases Growth

During the Bush administration taxes have become more and more regressive: Taxes on the rich have decreased with a variety of Bush tax cuts, while taxes on the poor remained high with payroll taxes and sales taxes. This is the Republican way; they say their policies increase economic growth. Democrats, however, believe in progressive taxation where the poor pay less and the rich pay more. Democrats say, and I will show, that progressive taxation is the way to economic growth.

» Continue reading "Progressive Taxation Increases Growth"

Posted by Paul Siegel at 5:48 PM

Dean Should Go

I don't think Howard Dean is crazy, and I don't think he is particularly left-wing. He is, however, great at coming up with lines that help the other side. His first big gaffe as party leader was characterizing Republicans as the party of white Christians. (Don't the Democrats want to be the party of white Christians, along with everyone else?) In terms of the Iraq War being unwinnable, well, I'm not exactly sure what he means. Whatever he had in mind, it's a great sound bite for Republican ads. Dean should resign now.

December 6, 2005

Raising Minimum Wage Increases Growth

I always believed, as do most Democrats, that the minimum wage should be increased and tied to the poverty level because of pure fairness. If we raised the minimum wage to about $8 an hour, it would reinforce the social contract that says, If you have a job you can support yourself. Ravi Batra, however, has demonstrated that increasing the minimum wage would increase economic growth, boost employment and be economically beneficial to all Americans.

» Continue reading "Raising Minimum Wage Increases Growth"

Ethically Challenged Officials

We the people are losing our position and strength in our government. The lawmakers are no longer working for their constituents. They are no longer held to a high standard. We tolerate their unethical behavior and chalk it up to politics as usual. When we take that stance it only emboldens those politicians who are corrupt and the lobbyists that line their pockets. Capitalism should not be the single driving force in our government, yet the citizens of the United States have watched their power and their voice in government usurped by the wealthy elite and large corporations.
Even the people who are supposed to be the ethical watchdogs in government have failed us.

» Continue reading "Ethically Challenged Officials"

December 5, 2005

Book Review: Greenspan's Fraud, by Ravi Batra

Here is a book by an outstanding professor of economics, who predicted the date of the crash of the end-of-'90s economic bubble. Ravi Batra deflates Greenspan's reputation as an economic wizard by presenting in great detail how Greenspan undermined the global economy. Batra calls Greenspan a fraud because Greenspan flip-flopped often in order to stay in the good graces of powerful people. Although supposedly a conservative, the main principle he followed was to always please the rich and powerful.

» Continue reading "Book Review: Greenspan's Fraud, by Ravi Batra"

December 2, 2005

Democrats Are On a Roll

After the Democrats lost to George Bush in 2004, they were gloomy and depressed. W., however, was on a roll. He was ready to spend his "capital" on his new agenda, on top of which was privatization of Social Security. For months he ran around the country giving speeches to "invited" guests about the urgent need for privatization. His speeches had worked before, why not now? Greatly to his surprise, the more he spoke the less the public liked his ideas. Democrats won big. Saving Social Security was so great a victory that Democrats are now on a roll.

» Continue reading "Democrats Are On a Roll"

Forget The Money, The Plan Was Illegal

This administration doesn't seem to listen to warnings very well

The entire staff assigned to decide whether Texas's Redistricting was legal or not came out against it, only to be overruled by the political appointiees at the top, who claim that the lack of any actions since then vindicates what they did. I don't think it really does, and I think y'all have good reason to agree with me.

» Continue reading "Forget The Money, The Plan Was Illegal"

December 1, 2005

There Is No Exit

The Democrats, including myself, have been agitating for an exit strategy from Iraq. Bush claims that Iraq is the "focal point" in the "war on terror" and we we will exit when we achieve "victory." Maybe our troops will exit when military action will no longer be needed. But there is no way we would then be able to declare "victory." The "war on terror" is not a war in the conventional sense and it does not have a "focal point." We are fighting a worldwide movement that promotes religious intolerance and worships death. To fight this movement we need a worldwide counter-movement that promotes religious empathy and celebrates life.

» Continue reading "There Is No Exit"

Posted by Paul Siegel at 6:20 PM