Democrats & Liberals Archives

March 2006 Archives

March 31, 2006

The Solution is...... Amnesty

Every time a politician - Democrat or Republican - favors being nice to illegal immigrants by offering them a path toward eventual citizenship, the immigration tough guys scream, "Why should we offer amnesty to those who break the law?" Who is a real lawbreaker? The illegal who never thought of legality and risked his life in order to feed his family? Or the employer of the illegal who knew what he was doing was against the law but did it anyway in order to make an extra buck? Let's provide amnesty, not to the poor immigrant, but to the true felons: employers of illegal immigrants.

» Continue reading "The Solution is...... Amnesty"

Swimming Against The Current I: Regulation

Society naturally seeks to regulate behavior it considers harmful. When big disasters shake people's confidence in a system, they naturally seek to do the impossible but entirely understandable job of making sure it never happens again. Some folks take a dim view of this impulse, and believe that nine times out of ten that after the public hysteria has died down, the status quo will function nicely to keep things in line. Those who dislike change in the organization of society, who value their place in the hierarchy of power tend to resist changes. But sometimes change should happen, and these people are simply in the way.

» Continue reading "Swimming Against The Current I: Regulation"

March 30, 2006

It's a Bird!.. It's a Plane!... It's Big Brother!

On Wednesday a House of Representatives panel heard testimony on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). UAVs have been used extensively in Iraq and Afghanistan to track terrorists. Now UAVs may be coming to a sky near you.

» Continue reading "It's a Bird!.. It's a Plane!... It's Big Brother!"

New Auction Requirements

The Senate passed a so-called "ethics bill" that many are touting as a means of reducing the influence of lobbyists and of making the Senate once again a place where legislation is initiated, discussed and voted on properly and honestly. Though the bill passed by a bi-partisan 90-8 vote, as a means of stemming corruption it will have no effect - even if the House approves it as well. Bill auctions will still take place. This bill will merely establish a new set of auction requirements.

» Continue reading "New Auction Requirements"

Real Security or Just Talk?

Ok, so the Democrats have unveiled their plan for Iraq and "Real Security" for the nation. One might read what they are proposing and just dismiss it as election year talk.

» Continue reading "Real Security or Just Talk?"

Running Down The Clock

There are certain symbolic events that just cut right to the heart of things, and I think this is one of them:
The Deficit Clock in New York is about to run out of digits It is a sad commentary on our times, given that Democrats and Republicans once worked together to give this clock it's first mechanical problem. In the 90s, this clock found itself unable to run properly because it wasn't designed to run backwards. I tell you at this moment I wish we could run back the clock. Let's tell our President, the Senators, and the Members of the House that the time has come to get our debt under control.

March 29, 2006

Cheeseburger Boy Resigns

Andrew Card resigned his position as President Bush's chief of staff. It was out of the blue, and the press is portraying it as a second-term "overhaul" of the administration in response to Republican criticism. What a crock. Calls for a shake-up are invariably directed at Vice President Cheney or Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. If the President thinks he's going to get a boost in the popularity polls by jettisoning Card, he's dippy. I mean, who the hell is Andrew Card?

» Continue reading "Cheeseburger Boy Resigns"

March 28, 2006

Republican Crackup on Immigration

As a rule, Republicans are excessively competitive and fight like hell because they are positive they are right. You can see this by their disdainful approach to our allies abroad and to their political antagonists at home, and by the way they are handling the Iraq War. They don't mind division; they seek it, because it enables them to advertise themselves as the "good" fighting the "evil," a strategy that has brought and kept them in power. Their latest righteous and divisive cause is immigration reform. The upcoming fight will show Republicans to be mean xenophobes and will lead to a Republican crackup.

» Continue reading "Republican Crackup on Immigration"

Memos

The President of The United States of America, Vice President Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld assured us that war was not inevitable, it was a last resort that would be used by the U.S. to remove the threat of Saddam Hussein's "Weapons of Mass Destruction." We were the "good guys" and they were the "bad guys." It was evident what had to be done. We had no choice but to attack, right?
We didn't want to, right?

» Continue reading "Memos"

March 27, 2006

Where's the Good News?

Last week President Bush had a news conference in which he told us that the "long war" will be long and that the media is reporting only bad news about Iraq and not the good news. I guess I can rejoice that he's not blaming liberals for the Iraqi chaos. Or maybe not, since he is picking on the "liberal media." The rattled language of Bush about not bringing the troops home soon had to be explained away over the weekend by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The bad news-good news spat is ridiculous: there is no good news from Iraq.

» Continue reading "Where's the Good News?"

Membership Has Its Privileges

America can use more hard workers. If a person is willing to earn their keep and become part of the community, we should grant them full citizenship, rather than go the Guest-Worker route. Europe's current problems with their muslim community stem from just such programs, where cheap foreign labor is imported to get around the expense of domestic labor, and full citizenship is withheld from most.

» Continue reading "Membership Has Its Privileges"

March 26, 2006

Bringing Democracy to the Middle East?

We are in Iraq for the right reasons, to help bring democracy to a part of the world that's never known it. -Rep. John Boehner (R), 2/5/2006

Considering that he is now the House Majority Leader, Boehner is frighteningly ignorant. In fact, democracy is not new to the Middle East.

» Continue reading "Bringing Democracy to the Middle East?"

March 24, 2006

Conservatives: The Law is for Liberals

President Bush is a "war president" and therefore he does not need to obey the law if he thinks it would prevent him from fighting the "war on terror." This is what he says. This is what conservatives in Congress, such as Senator John McCain who defends his position, say. Liberals in Congress, like Senator Feingold, keep repeating that nobody is above the law. To which conservatives, like Karl Rove, retort that only liberals who don't give a damn about the war think the law is more important than winning. Evidently, according to him the law is only for liberals.

» Continue reading "Conservatives: The Law is for Liberals"

March 23, 2006

Your Identity for Sale

Are you worried that someone may steal your identity and then spend you into bankruptcy? No need to worry about identity theft. It will soon be possible to do it legally, by permission of the IRS. Believe it or not, that formidable organization is promulgating a new rule that will allow your tax preparer to sell the information on your tax form. Your identity is for sale - LEGALLY.

» Continue reading "Your Identity for Sale"

Why Does Bush Hate The Military?

President Bush loves the military -- when he can use them as a backdrop for his speeches. But when it comes to actually showing the love he comes up short. For example, President Bush wants Iraq War vets to pay more for medical care and prescription drugs.

» Continue reading "Why Does Bush Hate The Military?"

March 22, 2006

A Grand Bargain with Iran

I said yesterday that we need to talk to Iran. Talk for what purpose? I do not think limited talks are what we want; they will change nothing. Iran is such a big player in the Middle East that U.S. and Iran must negotiate their differences on many levels in order to make the Middle East a vibrant part of the world community. Iran today presents a problem. With proper diplomacy we can convert the problem to an opportunity to bring peace to the region. We must, over the next few years, negotiate a Grand Bargain with Iran.

» Continue reading "A Grand Bargain with Iran"

Obligations

I work in downtown Houston, and take a bus into the city. I tend to walk the rest of the way. As I walk my route through the streets, I often pass the Bob Cassey Federal Courthouse as a matter of course. Until about a month or two ago, there was nothing much to see there. Recently, the media has begun congregating there. This morning, I came to that area to see an unusual amount of cameras, both still and video set up. It took a few minutes for me to work out the target. Three or four suits on the other side of Smith Street. One of them was Jeffrey Skilling.

» Continue reading "Obligations"

March 21, 2006

Talk to Iran

Last year, Bush said he was in favor of discussions with Iran but only on how to maintain peace in Iraq. Recently, Iran seemed to indicate that it may be inclined toward talks. Then, today I see this headline in the newspaper: "Some U.S. Officials Fear Iran is Helping Al Qaeda." Could it be that the administration is repeating with Iran the same type of war campaign it pursued with Iraq? NO, NO, NO! It will not work, just as it did not work with Iraq. We must TALK, TALK, TALK to Iran.

» Continue reading "Talk to Iran"

Stick A Fork In It...

...Iraq is done. President Bush tried to whip up support for his on (and on, and on) going Iraq adventure yesterday by redefining victory as merely reducing the insurgent's ability to "threaten Iraq's democracy". Is that how low our expectations have fallen? It's a far cry from the original goal of standing up a free liberal democracy and modern infrastructure as an example and inspiration for the region. Let's face it, the only debate over Iraq right now is how to exit gracefully.

» Continue reading "Stick A Fork In It..."

March 20, 2006

A Conservative Revolt?

Lately, "intellectual conservatives," "movement conservatives" and many conservatives of different stripes have been complaining, criticizing and distanciing themselves from the Bush administration. Some in the media are calling this a revolt. It is no such thing. When Bush was popular, these "conservatives" said nothing and enjoyed their fame. Now that Bush is way down in the polls, all of a sudden these "conservatives" are so filled with "integrity" that they are bashing Bush for not adhereing to conservative principles.

» Continue reading "A Conservative Revolt?"

It's All Good, Except The Bad

"We're making good progress in Iraq."

» Continue reading "It's All Good, Except The Bad"

March 17, 2006

Democrats: What's Your Response to Feingold?

None of the Democratic senators came out in favor of Senator Russ Feingold's resolution to censure Bush for breaking the law with his warrantless wiretapping of American citizens. Today, 4 Republicans introduced a bill that effectively makes Bush's crime legal. The question I have for Democratic senators s: What are you going to do now? Are you going to vote for this bill? Or are you going to show some spine and follow Feingold's lead - vote for censure?

» Continue reading "Democrats: What's Your Response to Feingold?"

The 5 Stages of Death of the Republican Party

The fear of death is common in our culture. Too often a political party and its supporters view their impending death through abhorrence and avoidance. But dying is a process in the cycle of life, an end point. It is a terminal part of living. Coping with responses during this particular segment of life are shaped by previous experiences with death, as well as by cultural attitudes and beliefs. The Kubler-Ross model is the basis for the five stages of death with regards to the Republican Party:

» Continue reading "The 5 Stages of Death of the Republican Party"

March 16, 2006

Republicans Flip-Flop on Drug Program

President Bush calls it his signature program. He labored strenuously - even lying about costs - to get it passed. He thinks it supports his contention of being a "compassionate" conservative. I'm talking about the new Medicare Drug benefit. Instead of shouting praises, as Bush had expected them to do, seniors are complaining about the chaos the program has brought. Republican senators, worried about losing election this fall, have voted to fix the measure.

» Continue reading "Republicans Flip-Flop on Drug Program"

March 15, 2006

PC or Not PC

What is PC? Political Correctness, of course. But really, what is PC? PC is a club with which conservatives attack liberals. Republicans consider liberals to be punching bags. For decades conservatives have been deriding liberals, the ideas of liberals, the literature of liberals, the organizations of liberals, the party of liberals - the Democratic Party. PC is just another weapon with which to destroy liberalism, so conservatives would remain supreme.

» Continue reading "PC or Not PC"

The Pastrami Budget: How Bush's Killer Budget is really a good thing

Pack it on. What's another $91 Billion to an already bloated deficit? When you're just financing it through international banks, I guess you never really feel the pain. It's analogous to paying your Visa credit card debt with a MasterCard. Even though I didn't get my MBA at Harvard like the President, this revolutionary public money management plan that the President has consistently promoted during his tenure as Commander and Chief, this 'spend until you can't spend anymore' model of budget restraint has got to come to an end.

» Continue reading "The Pastrami Budget: How Bush's Killer Budget is really a good thing"

March 14, 2006

Feingold Rebuilds Democratic Party

Fighting Senator Russ Feingold is presenting 3 challenges - maybe more - to his Democratic colleagues in the Senate. The first was a resolution he submitted yesterday to censure President Bush for breaking the law. With their wimpy response, the Democrats muffed it and the issue was kicked to the Judiciary Committee. When the Committee drops the matter, as it surely will, Feingold will present his Democratic colleagues a second challenge by trying for a vote on his resolution in the Senate. If the Democrats don't face the challenge then, he probably will challenge Democratic candidates on this during the primary.

» Continue reading "Feingold Rebuilds Democratic Party"

The Direction We’re Heading

When I look at our government, what I see is an obvious chasm growing between the government and the citizens of this country. Who decides our government's policies? Is it us? Who makes decisions in our communities? Is it the citizens of our communities?
Can we hold officials accountable? Does the government have the power to change laws that only benefit our government? Do we have a right to know what our elected officials are doing with our voice and our money?
They don't seem to think so.

» Continue reading "The Direction We’re Heading"

March 13, 2006

Immoral Morality

Bush and the Republicans were boosted into power on the wave of "moral values." Evidently, the morality of the religious Republican zealots is based almost exclusively on avoidance of sex, which explains their hostility to sex-before-marrriage, abortion, same-sex marriage and even sex-in-movies. They hate sex so much that they think that having "non-sanctioned" sex is worse than dying from cancer! This is morality?

» Continue reading "Immoral Morality"

The Hinge of The Door

During my Baylor Years, we were required to take some survey classes about the bible. I did so without too much reservation, though I was an agnostic and thoroughgoing humanist at the time. It's interesting to read the bible itself, in a fuller fashion, rather than just hear about it from others. It's true of the New Testament, and also true of the Old. In the survey class on the old testament, I had an epiphany about the bible and other works of its kind.

» Continue reading "The Hinge of The Door"

March 10, 2006

Agog at Glitzy Globalization

Globalization is good, good, good. It's opposite protectionism is bad, bad, bad. This is the mantra of Bush, as well as of practically all of the so-called "experts." This is too black-and-white for me. Some globalization actions are good and some are bad. Some protectionism actions are good and some are bad. Not "good" or "bad" for business, for growth or for a few powerful people, but "good" or "bad" for the majority of Americans.

» Continue reading "Agog at Glitzy Globalization"

March 9, 2006

Outsourcing, Offshoring and Racketeering

In his India trip, President Bush praised outsourcing of jobs. Outsourcing is part of free trade, he said, and therefore good; Americans can educate themselves into better jobs than the ones they lose. He never praised offshoring - tax havens for business - but he did precious little to stop it because he is in favor of the "free flow of capital." Both outsourcing of jobs and offshoring of capital are forms of racketeering.

» Continue reading "Outsourcing, Offshoring and Racketeering"

March 8, 2006

Bush, the Diplomat

Macho, belligerent and militaristic Bush, who never saw a treaty or an agreement he liked, went to India and signed an agreement that America help India with nuclear power in return for which (it appears) India would help America with its faceoff with Iran. There were also some economic deals with Pakistan as well as with India. After 5 years of being a "war president," President Bush is finally working on diplomacy. His diplomacy is rough, but he may improve with time.

» Continue reading "Bush, the Diplomat"

March 7, 2006

ATT: The UNREGULATED Monopoly

It was only 22 years ago, that the old AT&T was split into seven Baby Bells in wake of the anti-trust suit of the Department of Justicet. Now one of the Baby Bells, SBC Communications, wants to become the new Ma Bell by merging 4 of them. Pretty soon we'll have 2 instead of 7; eventually there may be one - the new Ma Bell. But with a huge difference: the old ATT was a regulated monopoly, the new ATT will be an UNREGULATED monopoly.

» Continue reading "ATT: The UNREGULATED Monopoly"

March 6, 2006

C.S. Lewis on Patriotism

The Four Loves is one of C.S. Lewis's wonderful works of popular theology, wherein he writes of the joys and pitfalls of the first three (affection, friendshiop, eros), and the necessity of the fourth (charity) in redeeming the rest. In the first chapter, "Likings and Loves for the Sub-Human" (referring to pets and inanimate objects), he discusses patriotism, and I think what he said over forty years ago has great relevance to us today.

» Continue reading "C.S. Lewis on Patriotism"

Now And Then A Study In Contrast

The White House goes on the offensive to prosecute those who leak classified and now, unclassified information to the press.

» Continue reading "Now And Then A Study In Contrast"

Dubai Must Manage Our Ports

Economist Nouriel Roubini says the United States desperately needs foreigners to buy our capital assets in order to pay off loans from China and Japan that the Republican-controlled Congress uses to kite their annual record-setting federal budget deficits.

» Continue reading "Dubai Must Manage Our Ports"

March 3, 2006

John McCain: Maverick No More?

Fully expecting only partisan Republicans to be baffled by the admission, Independents and moderate Democrats like me have been drawn to the judgment of Sen. John McCain, in part, for his refusal to abandon his Conservative principles. You see, we sometimes share the philosophy of fiscal discipline and right to privacy to which he has held steadfast - an authority George Bush never exercised to veto bloated, pork-barreled budgets, and an intrusion Dr. Bill Frist willing committed via videotape.

» Continue reading "John McCain: Maverick No More?"

Ethics in Government

Ethics in government? How does one achieve such a thing? Some legislators want to control "earmarking" - you know, the practice where each legislator throws in a favorite project into a spending bill. Other legislators want to more carefully regulate "lobbying." Nobody seems to be concerned about "money," the root of all our ethical problems.

» Continue reading "Ethics in Government"

Our Government Can Be Nonpartisan

Our elected leaders from both parties finally unite to take a stance together. Not the publicity stunt that is "Port Gate." Our ports are important but the indignation most politicians have shown has been more for their 06 campaigns than a real desire to reign in the President's unending power and back-door deals. They're taking a stance on an issue that matters just as much as our port safety, but this is an issue that is near and dear to them, regardless of party affiliation. They have finally come together on the issue of ethics.

» Continue reading "Our Government Can Be Nonpartisan"

Back In The Cellar

There's no denying it. Bush is in trouble again. Six polls have been taken since 2/22, and five of them show his approval rating in the 30's. (The other one has 40%.) And before you cry "Liberal media conspiracy!", note that one of those polls is from Fox.

Alas, Bush isn't going anywhere for three years, but we can still look at this with awe. He may be remembered for single-handedly reversing the "Republican Revolution" of 1994. Republicans can't say that weren't warned though -- we told you he was incompetent!

» Continue reading "Back In The Cellar"

March 2, 2006

Do We Need Guest Workers?

Republicans are all agog about illegal immigration. Some of them want to discourage aliens from entering, even going so far as to erect a wall at the American-Mexican border. Others want to encourage aliens to come via a guest-worker program. Still others, like our esteemed leader, George W. Bush, want it both ways: knab them at the border AND have a guest-worker program. I don't know about the wall, but we definitely will have a guest-worker program. Why? Because guest workers serve the needs of business. And this administration is noted for favoring business at the expense of workers.

» Continue reading "Do We Need Guest Workers?"