June 27, 2005
I might have my sea legs, back. Never let it be said that my depressions are short lived.
It seems that Current Administration is betting that the American public cannot remember that it was men from Saudi Arabia who flew jets into the World Trade Center.
When responding to analogies drawn between this country's disenchantment with the war in Iraq and the disenchantment we once felt with the war in Vietman, Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster based in Alexandria, Va, responded, history is a poor guide when looking at Iraq and the war on terror. The key difference, he says, is that the US was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, and that has profoundly affected the way Americans see their own security.
"9/11 changed the lens through which we view the world," says Ayres. "Vietnam never attacked the US, and 9/11 showed Americans what happens if we're not aggressive in going after this enemy. That provides this president far more latitude to maneuver."
Again, the men who attacked this country were from Saudi Arabia -- not Iraq.
December 16, 2004
war without w
right wing freaks are welcome in on the fun as well
November 05, 2004
Who are these people who voted for Bush?
Timothy Burke has written an insightful essay exploring what drives the people who voted for George Bush; why the Democratic party failed to reach the majority of American voters; and what changes can be made to correct this failure.
I think Burke's essay is so good that I have quoted it's essence at length below. Do yourself a favor, though. Click here to find and read the entire text. Because of its lenght, Burke has posted it in pdf format, so you'll need to click a second time when you get to his website.
Much as I would like to think so, it’s . . . not enough to wait for four more years of failure, dishonor, and malfeasance and thing that this will make enough people come to our point of view. [T]he case was made very clearly this time that Bush and his colleagues were incompetent. More than anything else, this has fueled the despair among those of us who oppose him. Can’t they see? Don’t they know? Are they stupid? Are they blind?
What I’ve had to face is the last three days is this: a desire for competency and respect for political process is a cultural value, as surely as abortion is. My intense belief in the importance of those things is just that, a belief. More to the point, it is a self-serving belief that advances the interests of my own social class. I believe in the importance of competency, knowledge, "best practices" of decision-making because I’ve been trained to be apart of an elite that holds those things to be of importance, and aspires to them as a matter of course. I believe in those things as a way of life, as a part of self and identity, as deeply as any evangelical believes in the spiritual presence of Jesus Christ in all things.
[Bush supporters] look for a leader who symbolically summarizes and emphasizes the values and beliefs that sustain their lives within their own communities and that connect them to the larger imagined community of the nation. [They do not] have any reasonable expectation that competent governance will address the priorities and issues they face in their everyday lives. They do not think that good or bad policy can help or hurt them.
[Bush supporters hate us.] [T]hat hatred is based on a rational parsing of economic and social facts, and implicit understanding of the drift of American history and its likely forward arc. . . . They hate us because we are in economic and social and cultural terms the winners, the owners of the future. Because they are the losers.
People living in many of the communities that compromise the red states are there because they could not or would not leave. . . . Why should the love us? We steal their children, we kill their towns. We show the next generation the bright lights of the big city everyday and we ask them to love us for doing so. . . .
Whomever is left in the red states is left because they have no skills which are transportable, because they have no capital to pay for the costs of relocation, because they have no social networks to act as their safety net in the blue-state world, because they have family or friends who are not leaving and they cannot bear to leave, because some dominant person in their life terrorizes them and bullies them into staying. Because they like it where they live and figure nowhere else could be better, even if their aren’t any jobs besides minimum-wage service jobs where they are. Because, . . . , they don’t particularly have any ambitions beyond getting along o.k.
What’s left to the red states? What do they own? They own the political system . . . [T]he conventional Democratic approach to the problems of the red-state American would do little to address its resentment and isolation. . . . The people who are left don’t want job retraining; that just fives those who get retrained transportable skills that they will use to leave. They don’t want an infusion of capital or investment that will turn their communities into yet another blue-state city or town, that will price them out of housing and living.
Burke then goes on to lay the foundation for a coalition that includes those have voted for Bush.
It is . . . characterized by an intense commitment to the universal enforcement of constitutional rights, by an uncompromising protection of free speak, free assembly, to the restraint of the power and capacity of the federal government . . . to intrude on the rights of its citizens. . . . [It] has to abandon the strong version of the welfare state, to throw overboard strong regimes of governmental regulation of business, to subject government intervention in economic and social issues to very strong-needs test and very intensive assessment of effectiveness. The rhetoric . . . would have to strongly favor meritocratic visions and conceptions of social mobility and economic policy.
Essentially this embraces the common interests of suburbanites, business elites and cosmopolitan liberals, and I strong suspect, many of the so-called "Reagan babies" and South Park Republicans," who vote Republican . . . much more for these logics than because of red-state "moral values"rhetoric. It throws overboard the union consistencies and their political allies, and to a lesser extent, throws over more conventional forms of patronage politics aimed at ethnic groups.
[Burke’s vision for the future of the Democratic Party] draws much more on 19th Century liberalism, and tires to pull out those aspects of the left-liberal tradition that owe heavier debts to that lineage. . . . [W]here the left would enter very much as the junior partner into this coalition, not as a vanguard or leadership.
November 04, 2004
Arafat has slipped into a coma
A gravely ill Yasser Arafat reportedly slipped into a coma today. My guess is that his inevitable death will be the excuse for a rash of violence.
November 03, 2004
The government that we deserve
In my despair I fear that, if the pundits are correct and the American public re-elected George W. Bush based upon his moral vision for this country, then America has gotten the government that she deserves. Like the idiots who followed the false Aslan in C.S. Lewis's The Last Battle, the American people believe that they's elected a lion but instead have returned a jackass wearing a lion's skin to the Oval Office.
I am certain that carnage lies ahead and that the images that await will be too terrible to view, except in glimpses. And I fear that the America that emerges -- after the carnage -- will neither be recognizable nor to my liking.
Fortunately, though, life need not be a spectator sport. Those of us who believe that we deserve more than a president who lies to us, who uses the weapons of war for the sake of commerce, who is willing to sacrifice lives for oil, have a great deal of work ahead for us these next four years. It may take us a few days to recover from the sucker punch that has knocked us off our feet, but we must continue to fight the good fight. We owe it to the countless men and women who gave their life's efforts and their lives establishing and preserving the freedoms Geroge W. Bush is hell bent on destroying.
October 29, 2004
An army of ten thousand will protect voter's rights next Tuesday
Three partners and an associate from the law firm, Hurley, McKenna & Mertz, are traveling to Florida to guard against voter interference. They are amount the over ten thousand lawyer monitors—partisan and nonpartisan—volunteering their time in Florida and other battleground states key to deciding who will be the next president.
"As a lawyer, I never have liked it when somebody bullies someone out of their civil rights," says Hurley, a registered Democrat and veteran trial lawyer. "I have a guttural response to that."
Democrats will have at least 2,000 lawyers like Hurley headed to Florida, with another 8,000 distributed throughout the country. The GOP has its own army of lawyers supporting the GOP "Victory" legal team to monitor the polls and act as first responders if problems arise. The Rainbow/PUSH Coalition teamed up with the National Bar Association to announce plans to send teams of lawyers to monitor polls, especially in battleground states. Other activist organizations have announced similar monitoring efforts.
GOP works to prevent newly registered voters from voting in this election
Today’s Washington Post reports that Republicans are challenging the validity of tens of thousands of voter registrations in Ohio and other key states in the presidential election. In response, a coalition of civil rights and labor groups sued the GOP, contending the Republican efforts were aimed at removing eligible minority voters from the rolls.
Ohio’s Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell (R) worked with other election officials who asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati to allow GOP challenges to 35,000 voters from mostly urban and minority areas to proceed before the election. As of late last night, the court had not ruled.
Republicans in Wisconsin attempted to challenge the registrations of 5,600 voters in Milwaukee but were turned down in a unanimous decision by the city's bipartisan election board.
Earlier this month, a similar effort by a former Nevada GOP operative to question 17,000 Democratic voters in Las Vegas was rejected by election officials there.
Republicans have also filed plans in Florida and Colorado to place watchers who can challenge voters in those key states on Election Day.
Preventing minority voters from participating in an election is an old GOP trick. Courts in the past found that Republicans used tactics that were aimed at intimidating minority voters and suppressing their votes.
In 1981, the Republican National Committee sent letters to predominantly black neighborhoods in New Jersey, and when 45,000 letters were returned as undeliverable, the committee compiled a challenge list to remove those voters from the rolls. The RNC sent off-duty law enforcement officials to the polls and hung posters in heavily black neighborhoods warning that violating election laws is a crime.
Undeliverable mail is the basis for this year's challenges in Ohio. Republicans also sent mail to about 130,000 voters in Philadelphia, another heavily black and Democratic stronghold.
In 1986, the RNC tried to have 31,000 voters, most of them black, removed from the rolls in Louisiana when a party mailer was returned. The consent decrees that resulted prohibited the party from engaging in anti-fraud initiatives that target minorities or conduct mail campaigns to "compile voter challenge lists."
Arizona, a Republican stronghold, (Phoenix’s leading newspaper was originally called the “Arizona Republican”) has a proposition on its ballot that would require voters to: proof they are citizens at the time they register to vote and requires proof of identity at the time of voting.
In 1964, William Rehnquist, the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, reportedly sat outside a polling place, brimming with black citizens, in the poorest neighborhood in Phoenix and quizzed voters ad nauseam about where they were from, how long they'd lived there. A passage of the Constitution was read and people who spoke broken English were ordered to interpret it to prove they had the language skills to vote.
Let’s hope that in 2004 the Republican party’s efforts and the Republican candidate are as successful in influencing the outcome of the vote as they were in 1964.
October 27, 2004
An uppity woman
Bob Whitson, at Howling At A Waning Moon just introduced me to Taylor Marsh, a talk radio personality, national radio guest and liberal political commentator talking about politics, relationships, religion and family values. She is promotes herself as the Democrat antidote to right-wing talk in politics on the Democratic Party, elections, John Kerry, national and foreign affairs, social and women’s issues. Neo-con trolls leave comments on her site. Click here to find out what the right finds so damn infuriating.
The Bush Administration issues a misleading explanation for the disappearance of Al Quaqaa munitions
The New York Times reports that the Bush Administration’s explanation for the disappearance of 380 tons of explosives at Al Quaqaa is unlikely. White House officials reasserted yesterday that 380 tons of powerful explosives may have disappeared from a vast Iraqi military complex while Saddam Hussein controlled Iraq, saying a brigade of American soldiers did not find the explosives when they visited the complex on April 10, 2003, the day after Baghdad fell. Col. Joseph Anderson, the commander of the Second Brigade of the Army's 101st Airborne Division, who stopped at Al Quaqaa on April 10, 2003 tells a contradictory story.
Col. Anderson reports that he and his men, “stumbled on” Al Quaqaa and at the time – and did not search the facility while they were there. Col. Anderson reports that he had not been informed and had no reason to know that Al Qaqaa, was considered sensitive, or that international inspectors had visited it before the war began in 2003 to inspect explosives that they had tagged during a decade of monitoring.
"We happened to stumble on it,'' he said. "I didn't know what the place was supposed to be. We did not get involved in any of the bunkers. It was not our mission. It was not our focus. We were just stopping there on our way to Baghdad. The plan was to leave that very same day. The plan was not to go in there and start searching. It looked like all the other ammunition supply points we had seen already."
One of the reasons why I admire and support our military is because the military leaders that I’ve know – and I’ve known a few – have been earnest men of principle. Some of them could run circles around me intellectually. And some of them seemed almost incapable of critical reasoning. But to a man they fully understood and religiously adhered to the concepts of honor and duty. As a result, I am absolutely certain that it is Col. Anderson who is speaking the truth. If the Bush Administration would start giving our military leaders all known information and listening to our military leaders informed ideas and advice about this present war things in Iraq would improve to the benefit of the Iraqi people, the United States, and the Middle East in general. The only interest that might suffer is American oil companies and its constituents, such as Haliburton.
October 26, 2004
Count the cost
I often look at the faces of the 1100 plus who have lost lives in Iraq. There seems to be such hope and promise in each and every face. I am overwhelmed by their committment to this country and the sorrow their families feel must feel as a result of the death of their loved ones. Lately I've noticed that the photos of the dead are no longer being released. This dishonors their sacrifice.