my resolution: lick bush in '04.
the worst president in history needs to go away.
by matt morin
I’m not really a New Years resolution-type person. I never saw the need to change myself based on a random date on the calendar. If it’s something I want to do, I do it now. I don’t need to see Jan. 1 to get me to start eating better. And I don’t need Dick Clark to remind me it’s time to stop smoking so much crack. However I do see the benefit of resolutions in general. It’s good to set goals (Less masturbation! More flossing!) and stick to them. So with that in mind, I have just one resolution for 2004.
I resolve to do everything in my power so that George Bush does not win the next presidential election.
Unless you’re a member of big business, I can’t imagine how a single person could justify voting for Bush in November. A quick overview of what he’s done just in 2003: He’s lied repeatedly in order to drag our country into two wars - neither of which was necessary. He’s handed out billions in breaks and money to his friends and campaign contributors. He’s systematically destroying the environment and the first amendment at equally disturbing rates. And after years of reducing the deficit under Clinton, he’s spending like there’s no tomorrow. (And with the way he’s trying to relaunch a nuclear weapons program, there may be no tomorrow.) Feel free to click on the links below if you need my source material. Otherwise, just read this and try not to curl up into the fetal position and sob when you’re finished.
If I wrote about all the evil Bush has legislated on us since 2000, this column would be 10,000 words long, not 1,000. I’ll skip past the stealing of the election and those other minor doings and get to the cold, dark heart of the matter.
Currently, Junior is a man who is spending a billion dollars a month in Afghanistan to not find Bin Laden and $4.4 billion dollars a month in Iraq to not find any evidence whatsoever of weapons of mass destruction. Why is it he can find $5.5 billion a month to get U.S. soldiers killed, but he can’t seem to find any money to fund the Energy Star program or Teach for America? He recently received $87 billion more for 2004 specifically to fight these two wars. He entire education budget for 2004? $53.1 billion.
Then again, I’m not sure what’s worse – wasting billions of dollars on unnecessary wars or lying about the reasons for those wars in the first place. He lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and when the international community didn’t believe him, he sent the moderate and respected Colin Powell to lie for him. If you need any single reason not to vote for Bush, here’s one: He made France look like smart, reasonable people. Of course months later, when the biggest WMD he found was a can of Raid and Leprechaun II on DVD, he lied again, claiming that the war was to “free the Iraqi people.” His lies have ruined almost every international relationship we had, and rendered the United Nations impotent. Well, until he realized he had no exit strategy for Iraq and wanted someone else to take the PR hit of hundreds and hundreds of U.S. soldiers dying.
Back in this country, Bush has proposed cutting more that 200 environmental laws including rolling back the Endangered Species Act and exempting the military from it. Apparently, we shouldn't kill endangered animals…unless it interferes with target practice or bombing runs. Or they're not American animals. He appointed Dale Bosworth, a former timber industry lobbyist, as Forest Service Chief and Gale Norton, a former mining industry lobbyist, as Secretary of the Interior. Almost every single Bush cabinet member comes from the industry they’re supposed to be regulating. He’s loosened clean air laws across the nation and has actually decided that carbon monoxide is not a harmful pollutant and therefore cannot be regulated by the Clean Air Act. I don’t know if Clinton inhaled or not, but if carbon monoxide isn’t harmful, I sure wish Bush would put his mouth on a tailpipe and inhale some of that.
Maybe even more frightening than his plundering of the environment is his whittling away of the Constitution. He’s effectively removed the separation between church and state by giving federal funds to religious groups and fighting against gay marriage with a proposal for a federal ban. For three straight years he’s refused to issue a proclamation for Gay Pride Month. He defended Rick Santorum and his homophobic remarks. And he's even successfully limited abortion rights in the name of “God.” On Capitol Hill, Bush’s cabinet meetings are jokingly referred to as ‘Bible Study.”
All I can say is, Bush better hope there’s not a God. Because he’ll have some answering to do about the stuff he’s successfully weaseled out of while on Earth. He’s avoided independent investigations into his (and VP Cheney’s) dealings with the energy task force – meetings that ended up handing billions of dollars to Bush and Cheney’s friends in the energy business. Shortly before that he handed an open-ended $7 billion contract to Halliburton (Cheney’s former company) without a single competitive bid.
Not only is Bush hands down the worst president this nation has ever had, but he’s also the most dangerous. And I think this is what scares me most. For years the U.S. has been reducing its nuclear arsenal. Bush however, despite not even being able to correctly pronounce “nuclear,” seems dead set on reversing that trend. He disbanded the National Nuclear Security Administration when they disagreed with him, then lifted a ten-year-old ban on nuclear weapons and authorized $15 million for a nuclear weapon capable of destroying underground bunkers. He wants an additional $70 million to study ways to quickly build nuclear weapons and has backed a policy paper that suggests resuming nuclear testing – possibly readying for first strike capabilities in battle.
As someone who lives a 47 minute missile ride from North Korea, the only thing I find more disturbing than that, is the thought of four more years of George Bush. So forget eating better and exercising more. If there's one resolution I ever follow through on in my life, this one will be it.
Matt would love to be George Plimpton...welll, except for the being dead part. He supplies the doing and the writing. All he asks of you is the reading.
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12.19.03 @ 12:27a
For me you're preaching to the choir. Although I still think Cheney is the bigger evil. Together they have caused much more harm than good. The resulting freedom of the Iraqi people was a side effect, and it will be a success only if they are still a free people in 10 to 20 years.
There was a discussion on the boards as to why anyone should care about the capture of Saddam Hussein? While I agree that he was a bad man, I still don't believe war was the only answer.
If anything, Afghanistan was, in my view, our retaliation for 9/11. Iraq was a vengence thing.
The thing is, while I'd like to be all pro Dean, I think Clark would be the better President because he spoke positively to issues that concern me, but I feel he won't get the support he needs and Dean will be the top choice. Dean is almost perfect, and I agree with a lot of what he says, but he does fall slightly short. Yet I'd vote for anyone to get Bush out of a position of power, and more importantly get Cheney out of a power position.
12.19.03 @ 7:57a
I'm sure your title was a double-entendre, but honestly, licking bush is my goal on a Nightly basis. Actually, it has been for quite some time now.
12.19.03 @ 9:54a
There is a Hindu belief that the world goes through a simple cycle. On the uptick, people get smarter, more compassionate, wiser and more loving. On the downtick, it's just the lamentable opposite: greed, hate, violence, intolerance, ignorance and irreverence for human values.
We're on the downtick, of course. Hitler was on the downtick. Stalin was on the downtick. Saddam Hussein was on the downtick. But those evil people do not create the downtick. It's made by ordinary people whose compassion and understanding fails them at the critical moment. Those evil men don't make the wave -- they ride it.
I'm goin' to Surf City
'Cause it's two-to-one
A bible in every classroom
Billions for Halliburton.
It doesn't scan, true, but that doesn't mean it's not right. It doesn't mean that we're not in danger, either.
One of the best-sellers this season of peace and love is a little potboiler entitled TREASON. If you haven't looked at it you ought to. It turns out that every liberal in the country is a TRAITOR, which makes them (us?) subject to the death penalty. Gee, I'm going to be sent to Dachau because I'm in favor of clean air and think that family planning is an issue for the family in question! Well, it was all there in Mein Kampf the first time, too.
12.19.03 @ 10:12a
Great, it's 9:16am central time and I'm already profoundly depressed.
I'm afraid the Hussein capture has led many people to believe that a) America has achieved its goals in Iraq, and b) this means it's over. It's not over. The Bush administration said our "liberators" would be welcomed with open arms. They have been welcomed with bullets, anger, suicide bombers, and righteous hatred. You would think someone would have gotten the message by now.
12.19.03 @ 10:41a
A year ago, I would have disagreed with Matt. I find it harder and harder not to agree with him as time goes on.
Unfortunately, I think all the Democratic candidates suck, too. Matt, are you 35 yet?
12.19.03 @ 11:05a
And since he's not, what Dem runner fulfills your needs, Matt?
I read in the paper today that the Bush administration is buring the bill to abolish overtime amidst a lot of other pork.
Health insurance premiums? Increasing annually by 10%-15%. Deductibles are higher, employers are paying less and insureds are paying more for everything, everytime.
Since I'm self and p/t employed, I have no benefits at all. I don't get overtime. I pay a hefty premium monthly, even while part of my husband's group plan.
Yet I can't blame everything on the Bush administration - some of these concerns were in place when Clinton was in office too. It's falling downhill - Bush just isn't doing anything to stop it, because he has too many favors to pay back.
Within 20 years, we will be reduced to two classes in this country: Lord and serf.
12.19.03 @ 12:39p
I haven't made up my mind on my Democratic choice yet, but I do like what I've heard from both Dean and Clark.
I don't actually blame Bush for the health insurance mess. You're right, that's been unsolveable for a long time. But I do blame his for his current solution, which will drive people out of the Medicare system and into HMOs.
And Jael, I'm totallly with you. I hope people aren't dumb enough to believe the capture of Saddam is really what this was about.
Bush, Cheaney, Rice, etc spent months scaring the world into believing Saddam had WMD and was prepared to use them soon. Condeleeza Rice even made comments about a "mushroom cloud over America." They used people's terror over 9/11 to blind them to the fact that Saddam had zero ties to 9/11, and there was zero evidence of WMD. In effect, Bush terrorized his own people with the threats of nuclear weapons.
Then, well into the war, when it was apparent Bush had completely lied about the WMD threat, the rhetoric shifted to "We're liberating Iraq!"
It makes me so mad that things like this slip by most of America. Unfortunately, across the pond, Blair hasn't been so lucky.
12.19.03 @ 1:11p
Tracey, medical costs are actually "the people's" fault. We live in a society where everyone goes to the doctor for the slightest scratch or discomfort and then Dr. Drugaddict writes a prescription. Very few of us just rub some dirt on it and get back in the game anymore. The co-pay for the (usually unnecessary) Dr. visit and the prescription are like 10 bucks apiece and the insurance pays the rest. Co-pays should all be a minimum of $100. It would force people to see a Dr. only when needed. That and Drs. shouldn't get a kickback from pharmaceutical companies for pushing their newest crack.
Oh, and yes, Bush sucks hard.
12.19.03 @ 1:25p
It's things like this that really piss me off:
Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam.
We armed him. We supported him. We helped him out. We even loaned him billions after he gassed his own people.
But it was only when faced with the need for reelection/oil rights (Bush Sr.) or to scare the public into thinking we were fighting terrorism and divert attention from a flagging economy (Bush Jr.) that we decide he has to go.
12.19.03 @ 3:36p
Ohhh - you're a master of hindsight, Matt.
The fact is, YES: The U.S. aided Saddam. YES: They aided Bin Laden. At the time, it was done under the assumption that they would behave in accordance with our interests. It turns out they were wrong. Thus, the U.S. did what they could to stop them.
The NYPD also hired and armed the cops who shoved a plunger up one inmate's ass; it doesn't mean that they don't have the right to fire those officers afterwards. It DOESN'T mean there should not have been cops to begin with.
Would you prefer to have NO police officers because a few transgress their authority?
Should the U.S. never do anything in regards to foreign affairs without a crystal ball around?
The fact is, the U.S. did what it had to do then by looking for allies in that part of the world. The fact is, they worked to remove those individuals when they got out of line.
The fact is, you're a whining bitch, Matt. If you had your way, people in Iraq would still be under terrible oppression - and THAT'S a fact. Now they have a chance at a better existence. And Bush gave them that. That's a fact.
12.19.03 @ 3:43p
Jeff, I don't deny it's somewhat hindsight. What I object to is that Saddam seems to be this terrible world threat only when it suits our needs.
We wanted him on our side - so we looked the other way and loaned him billions even after he gassed his own people.
We couldn't care less about his terrible oppression...until our oil interests were at stake.
And then we STILL couldn't care less about his oppression...until he became an easy target of our post-9/11, post-we-can't-find-Bin-Laden desperation to change Bush's approval rating.
I don't think it's a bad thing that the Iraqi people are no longer under his rule. I think it's a bad thing that our president flat out lied to us, and the world, (and still is lying) about why we went to war. Because without those lies he couldn't have convinced anyone, foreign or domestic, that this war was necessary. Because it wasn't.
12.19.03 @ 3:53p
I'll give you that entering Iraq and the "link" to 9-11 wasn't straight up.
However, as I mentioned, the U.S. (and the U.N.) had sanctions against Iraq for over 10 years prior to the most recent invasion. I'd hardly call that "caring less" about Saddam. Rest assured, sanctions from the U.N. are BRUTAL. When no one trades with you in today's economy, you're in a bad spot - especially in a BIG DESERT!
Lastly, YES - what was said for our reasons about getting into Iraq were not fully true. I'll even go so far as to ASSUME THERE ARE NO WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. But you know what? As you even agree, it's not "a bad thing that the Iraqi people are no longer under his rule."
The Civil War wasn't "really" about Slavery when it started, either. But in the end, America was rid of that evil. In that same vein, no matter WHY this war happened, Iraq (and the rest of us) are a little better off in the aftermath.
So why aren't you cheering instead of complaining?
12.19.03 @ 4:22p
I still think we should have given the $90 billion to the schools. Our schools suck.
12.19.03 @ 4:33p
Oh yeah - schools.
Get the teacher's unions out of the picture; then maybe your money on education will get to the kids instead of bureaucracy.
Unions in the 21st century suck.
12.19.03 @ 7:17p
I, by no means, think that the capture of Saddam is what this is all about or that the fact it occurred means it is over. But it is part of what it's about and you can't deny that.
12.19.03 @ 10:28p
While Bush isn't to blame for the healthcare problems, he is supposed to be concerned about them, and trying to fix them. The fact is, in the loing run things will be much worse. Right now he's got a lot of seniors thinking his attempt at healthcare reform is going to actually help them. Unfortunately not everyone can take generic drugs. Sometimes people need the actual brand name because it has one ot two subtle differences that are necessary for their continued survival.
Personally, I don't have insurance, don't trust doctors, and pop Tylenol for most everything. It's not a cure all, but then neither is the Bush war a cure all for the problems in Iraq.
Matt, have you heard of an independent film project called Undercover: The Whole Truth About The Iraq War?
I got it through the Human Rights Campaign but you can get information about it at: www.truthuncovered.com
It is a fascinating film. Yes it is slanted against Bush, but that's just the way I like my anti-Bush stuff to be.
12.22.03 @ 10:15a
While I decry corruption in unions as much as I decry corruption in government (read Halliburton, Enron, et al) had it not been for the successes of the early labor movement we'd all be working 80 hour weeks with no overtime, no benefits, no work safety rules, no NOTHIN'! You'd wind up owing the company store at the end of the month. Any working person who doesn't appreciate what the unions did for all of us who sell our labour is either unaware of history or is so much of a right wing ideologue as to revise history to suit his particular purpose. Without controls capitalism becomes monopoly capitalism which becomes facism. We are in the process of watching it happen yet again. John Maynard Keynes and FDR saved capitalism once (with a little tragic help from the production necessary to fight WW II). We need somebody to put the brakes on it now, or Leon Trotsky may be proven right after all: When things get bad enough the people will rise up in revolution. Nobody wants that, and nobody wants to live through the "getting bad enough" phase of this paradigm. The neo-cons want an empire so badly they're even willing to out their own CIA agents, a criminal and treasonous act. Shrub must be sent home to Texas.
12.22.03 @ 11:00a
Robert, while doing research for this, I found out about "Undercover" and ordered it on DVD. It should be showing up any day now - I'm excited to see it.
And Sandra - that was one I forgot about. The outing of the CIA agent. Bush refused to let an independent panel look into it and instead said "We'll do it ourselves." Surprise, surprise when they came back with "Oh we investigated and...uh...can't figure out who leaked the name."
12.22.03 @ 10:00p
Matt, "Undercover" was worth the price. Granted anyone could argue it is slanted against Bush, but life does go on.
Also it seems there are several things going on with very little fanfare. I'm just looking into some stuff about Social Security for illegal aliens, and also something about "overtime" being cut. As I say, so much is going on with this administration, it'll take years to get things back to what they were before Bush took office. Maybe that wasn't the best of times, but I have a hard time thinking these are the best of times.
1.14.04 @ 7:30p
I knew I should have waited to post this column. Although I could be waiting forever if I'm expecting the lying and deceit to stop from Bush.
Anyone care to comment about Paul O'Neill's revelations that Bush started planning an invasion of Iraq on his 6th day in office?
It amazes me more and more every single day that the American public hasn't physically revolted against Bush yet.
1.14.04 @ 8:46p
I'm amazed at a lot of things the Bush administration has gotten away with. For 8 years the Republicans hounded Clinton on White Water, and then on Monica Lewinsky, and the American public found it amusing. Now when a politician is doing things actually have an effect on someone other than his wife or immediate family, no one seems to care enough to hound him. In fact, for the first year of his term it was socially considered bad form to criticize Bush/Cheney on any decision.
I find it interesting Bush is quoted as wanting to investigate O'Neill to determine if he used top secret documents for the book. To me that action or threat of action says "yeah, we did it, but we didn't want people to know about it. Now we want to bury the knowledge with another smoke screen."
Let's face it. I don't like or trust Bush/Cheney. I'm really going on a gut feeling when it comes to my dislike for them. I could go on for days on all the things Bush/Cheney have tried to do to help corporate cronies, that are hurting or would've hurt the average non-millionaire American.
1.15.04 @ 11:12a
With all due respect, Robert, because I do like you, the allegation that Bush / Cheney are hurting the average American's money situation is insane. If anyone has hurt the economy, it was Clinton's endorsement of the NAFTA bill, which sent just about every U.S. industry and lower level corporate job out of the U.S. and into anywhere that was cheaper. That piece of Liberal legislation did more to destroy jobs and the economy in the U.S. that any other president in History.
That's why the ONLY democrat that has had anything of value to say with respect to the economy is DENNIS J. KUCINICH, who promised to repeal NAFTA if elected. All the rest of the democrats are nothing but hot air in this area.
Nominate Kucinich (or Sharpton), and I'll vote Democrat for president. Otherwise, forget it.
1.15.04 @ 12:22p
Matt, I'm not at all shocked that Iraq was in Bush's sights from Day One. To be fair, though, I'm told that these kinds of scenarios (post-Saddam Iraq plan) are routinely developed for any nation there's even the slightest chance we might fight with. Just to be prepared. There's probably one that says what we should do if North Korea does drop those warheads on San Francisco -- doesn't mean there's any chance of it happening or that the administration is getting behind it.
I still think Bush is an asshole, a liar, and a detriment to the nation, but I want to be sure this particular revelation isn't just being taken out of context. I hate it when good people lose credibility on hair-trigger accusations when I totally agree with their message.
1.15.04 @ 12:49p
Yes, but there's a difference between "What would we do if North Korea pushed the button?" and "Hmm...let's see who shall we give part of the Iraqi oil fields to?"
And while I can picture an event like this being a routine part of a new administration, I wonder why that isn't the defense here. Why hasn't Bush come out and said "Hey, you know, every President sits down and plans this stuff out. It's not unusual."?
Instead, their defense has been "Ah, O'Neill was an idiot and we never really listened to him when he was here anyway."
1.15.04 @ 12:51p
They're not good at spin control. Mainly because they don't care what the American public thinks, unless it's going to keep him from getting re-elected. Unfortunately his ratings are going to have to drop before there's any serious danger of that.
1.15.04 @ 8:39p
Jeff, I don't disagree with you on NAFTA. You're right. However, Bush has the same ability to work to repeal NAFTA. Instead he's seeing what he can do for all those nice little corporate cronies of his and Cheney's.
The main reason I like to toss Cheney in here is the fact many people assume Bush is in charge just because he's the President. I get the feeling Cheney is the puppet master, pulling Bush's strings.
I also agree with you on Kucinich, but feel he isn't going to get enough endorsements to garner the Dem support for the Nomination. After reading his web site, I like him more than the rest. It still looks like Dean will be the Dem candidate, practically ensuring a Bush win and an American loss.
1.15.04 @ 8:52p
If everyone likes Dean so much, why is he considered "unelectable"? I think that's bullshit.
The big mistake people make is thinking they have to vote for the winner. You should vote for whoever you think is the best man for the job. If that's Dean, then vote Dean. If it's Kucinich, then vote for him. But if you listed 100 candidates for President, the very last one on the list would be George Bush.
Anyone is better than Bush.
1.15.04 @ 9:07p
Anyone want to comment on the fact that Carol Mosley Braun just dropped out of the race? It was the strangest thing watching the Daily Show rerun tonight and seeing her give a fabulous, positive interview when I knew she had dropped out of the race this morning.
1.16.04 @ 10:34a
Yeah - that and she said the Iowa Caucuses are Tuesday.
Jon Stewart must have been really pissed. He could have called Richard Lewis back for a neurotic encore.
1.16.04 @ 10:42a
Whatever Richard Lewis went into rehab to kick, he's clearly back on it. That man was WEIRD.
And I thought it odd that she gave the interview and didn't mention she was, y'know, dropping out of the race. Would've been nice for her to use TDS to break the news.
Jon Stewart is coming to DC in late Feb. Tix go on sale tomorrow. I am excited.
1.16.04 @ 12:35p
Have you ever seen him live, Jael? He's fantastic. I swear I didn't stop laughing through the whole show when I saw him in Boston.
1.16.04 @ 12:35p
Yes, we saw him last year. Absolutely fricking brilliant.
Jon Stewart for President!
1.16.04 @ 1:31p
Nobody does a good interview post-rehab. One of my favorite actors, Robert Downey, jr. is the WORST INTERVIEW EVER since he's cleaned up. SHUT UP ALREADY! He's even worse than Harrison Ford.
1.20.04 @ 7:55p
For those interested in hating Bush even more, there's an excellent, excellent article in Salon.com's opinion section called "The No Jobs President."
I highly recommend it.
1.21.04 @ 12:17p
I don't know whether to laugh or cry at such amazing bullshit. Quotes from Bush's state of the union speech:
"For diplomacy to be effective, words must be credible, and no one can now doubt the word of America."
"Had we failed to act, the dictator's weapons of mass destruction programs would continue to this day."
"From the beginning, America has sought international support for our operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we have gained much support."
"I urge you to pass legislation to modernize our electricity system, promote conservation, and make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy"
"We will double federal funding for abstinence programs, so schools can teach this fact of life."
"Activist judges, however, have begun redefining marriage by court order, without regard for the will of the people and their elected representatives. On an issue of such great consequence, the people's voice must be heard. If judges insist on forcing their arbitrary will upon the people, the only alternative left to the people would be the constitutional process. Our nation must defend the sanctity of marriage."
"By executive order, I have opened billions of dollars in grant money to competition that includes faith-based charities. Tonight I ask you to codify this into law, so people of faith can know that the law will never discriminate against them again."
Ugh. I'm going to be fucking sick.
1.21.04 @ 1:26p
I'm not sure which of these is the most egregious.
1.21.04 @ 5:20p
Matt, I completely agree. The sad part of this is, many people will still vote for him and believe his word as gospel.
And as for abstinence as a "fact of life", all he's revealing is that he isn't getting any either by choice or by decree, so abstinence is a fact of his life. Trying to get hormonal teenagers to practice abstinence is like trying to stop a dam from bursting.
He's a fool, but he's the fool on our hill. It's time to vote him off.
1.21.04 @ 5:57p
Robert, here's the thing that pisses me off most: When cutting all kinds of social programs, Bush uses the argument that the government is too intrusive and shouldn't be so involved in people's lives. But then he earmarks $1.5 billion to support marriage. Or to tell teens how to run their sex lives.
1.23.04 @ 2:05p
So today, CBS announced they are refusing to run the MoveOn.org contest winning ad on the Super Bowl.
Hmmm...comes conveniently following Bush's further relaxing of the FCC rules that will allow CBS to merge with Fox.
Funny how a big Republican campaign contributor (CBS) just happens to not run the Reagan mini-series and just happens to not run anti-Bush ads and just happens not to report that Cheaney is being investigated for criminal bribery when he worked for Halliburton.
3.25.04 @ 11:58a
Has anyone been watching the 9/11 hearings? Bush and Condi Rice have a whole lot of explaining to do.
Of course they never will.
3.25.04 @ 12:52p
You didn't actually expect them to, did you?
3.25.04 @ 1:08p
I did expect Dr. Rice to give testimony. I think it's utterly ridiculous for her to effectively give testimony through the press, but refuse to give official testimony to the panel.
The problem they have is that Richard Clarke's testimony is rock solid. That's why Bush, Cheaney, and Rice have focused on attacking his character instead of the facts.
3.25.04 @ 1:19p
So in other words, it's business as usual.
I have grown jaded, but like you, Matt, I still hold onto the freaky notion that people will do the right thing when the cards are on the table. And I'm still surprised every time they don't. Neither of us should be anymore.
3.25.04 @ 1:26p
Bush's pre-9/11 behavior is not nearly as horrible and offensive to me as his post-9/11 behavior, so I haven't been as upset by this.
3.25.04 @ 1:59p
Jael, I bet that's all anyone's talking about in your neck of the woods.
3.25.04 @ 2:08p
Meh, not really. I hear more about it from Jon Stewart than from anyone else.
3.25.04 @ 2:08p
Clarke testified Wednesday that the administration did little in the spring and summer of 2001 to prepare for possible attacks in the United States. To rebut that charge, Rice released unclassified portions of an e-mail Clarke sent to her on September 15, 2001, four days after the attacks.
"When the era of national unity cracks in the near future, it is possible that some will start asking questions like did the White House do a good job of making sure that intelligence about terrorist threats got to FAA and other domestic law enforcement authorities," Clark wrote.
He then went on to detail the steps he said were taken to put the nation on a higher alert footing:
* In late June, an interagency counterterrorism security group, which Clarke chaired, warned of an upcoming "spectacular" al Qaeda attack that would be "qualitatively different."
* On July 5, representatives of federal law enforcement agencies were summoned for a meeting at which they were warned "that we thought a spectacular al Qaeda terrorist attack was coming in the near future," Clark wrote. Among the agencies represented were the FBI, Secret Service, Federal Aviation Administration, Customs Service, Coast Guard, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
"We asked that they take special measures to increase security and surveillance," he wrote.
Summarizing his thoughts to Rice, Clarke wrote, "Thus, the White House did insure that domestic law enforcement (including FAA) knew that the [counterterrorism security group] believed that a major al Qaeda attack was coming and it could be in the U.S. ... and did ask that special measures be taken."
Clarke's initials -- "rac" -- are typed at the end of the e-mail.
What's "rock solid" about that? The bit of the proceedings that I heard on the radio, one of the commission members asked Clarke very pointedly -- why is it that your testimony and your book say one thing, but your conversations with the press (in 2001) and these e-mails say completely the opposite? That's not an attack on character, that's a legitimate question regarding the veracity of Richard Clarke's testimony.
I think the whole thing is a meaningless shitstorm. No one in the government -- Bush's administration or Clinton's -- wanted those attacks to happen. It's political showboating and scapegoating. If you want to lay blame, blame the 19 sons of bitches who hijacked the plane. Stop dwelling on what went wrong and start fixing it. Period.
3.25.04 @ 2:20p
From AP's coverage -- a reasonable summation:
"Nobody has clean hands in this one," said former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean, a Republican and the commission chairman, referring to the Bush and Clinton administrations. "It was a failure of individuals. The question now is whether or not we learned from our mistakes."
"One of the startling things that I think came out of the hearing ... is that virtually every witness, including Dick Clarke, specifically, when asked indicated that even when everything had been raised to the highest alert level when the new administration came in, it was really too late then" to avert an attack, said former Navy Secretary John Lehman, a commission member, said Thursday.
3.25.04 @ 3:40p
Russ, Clarke's answer to why his book says one thing and his press release says another was completely viable. He was not in a position to publicly criticize Bush, so he put the best face he could on it.
How many times have you thought your boss was doing something idiotic? Probably lots. But when you're sitting in a client meeting with him, do you ever tell the client "Hey, I think my boss is doing a terrible job."? No, you play along. That's what Clarke did.
I never said Bush wanted these attacks to happen. But maybe he ought to step up - like Clarke has - and apologize for not doing all that he could to prevent them in the first place.
And the fact that you think this is political showboating just shows you're buying into all the Republican crap. This has nothing to do with politics on Clarke's behalf. 1) He's a republican. And 2) He finished his book in August of 2003, but the White House sat on their review/approval of the book until now.
What pisses me off most is how Bush is trying to distort all the facts regarding Kerry's stance on defense, all the while claiming that he's the one who's soooo tough on terrorism.
3.25.04 @ 3:45p
From the AP:
At the hearing, Republican commissioner James R. Thompson, a former Illinois governor, held up Clarke's book and a text of the briefing and challenged the witness, "We have your book and we have your press briefing of August 2002. Which is true?"
Clarke said both were true. He was still working for Bush at the time of the briefing and was asked to highlight the positive aspects of the administration's counterterrorism efforts and minimize the negative, he said.
3.25.04 @ 3:47p
The hearings are political showboating and no mistake. What does anyone expect to gain? 9/11 should not have happened. It did. Focus on preventing future attacks, not rehashing the old ones.
3.25.04 @ 3:53p
Well, you have to learn what went wrong in order to prevent the same mistakes from happening. And it looks like the biggest mistake here was that Bush didn't make terrorism a high enough priority.
And that's why Bush, Cheaney and Rice aren't cooperating. The only significant lead Bush has over Kerry is in the perception that he'd be better at keeping America safe. If it's shown that that's not the case, there's no way he wins reelection.
That's why Bush has also fought the committee to begin with, then tried to push back the date of their final report until after the elections, and when that didn't work, he moved up the date so they didn't have all the time they asked for.
3.25.04 @ 4:03p
And if Richard Nixon had made terrorism a high enough priority, the PLO wouldn't have killed 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team.
And if Gerald Ford had made terrorism a high enough priority, 85 people wouldn't have been killed on a TWA flight brought down by a Libyan bomb.
And if Jimmy Carter had made terrorism a high enough priority, 37 Israelis wouldn't have been killed by a Palestian attack on a bus.
And if Ronald Reagan had made terrorism a high enough priority, 83 Marines wouldn't have been killed by a car bomb in Beirut.
And if George H.W. Bush had made terrorism a high enough priority, Pan Am 103 wouldn't have been blown up, killing 259 people.
And if Bill Clinton had made terrorism a high enough priority, the Murrah Building wouldn't have been blown up by Timothy McVeigh, killing 168 people.
Yes, Matt. It was all George Bush's fault. All those dead people. I guess he really dropped the ball on that one. Maybe we should have him shot for dereliction of duty.
3.25.04 @ 4:13p
No, he just should be able to run a campaign based on his claim that he's done such a remarkable job fighting terrorism. When in fact, he hasn't.
For the record, (and as Clarke pointed out), Clinton did make terrorism his highest priority. That's why the US stopped multiple bombing attempts during the millenium celebration, stopped multiple other terrorist plots, and why Clinton fired 60 cruise missles at one target in an attempt to kill Bin Laden back in 1998.
3.25.04 @ 4:13p
Nothing is a high enough priority until after it's gone horribly wrong. And making it a high priority now may not help. 9/11 was a long time in the making and I don't think a lack of presidential attention is the lesson to be learned from this hearing. I wish, instead, they would take away the lesson that political infighting and grandstanding are no subtitute for diligent bipartisan governance. There are things more important than one particular person's re-election. I doubt any public official will learn that lesson anytime soon.
3.25.04 @ 4:21p
No, they won't. Look at Bush himself - he's so busy fundraising that he'd rather have another $1 million added to his overflowing pot than have kids in Boston go to school.
Bush's fundraiser is causing more than 1400 kids to miss a day of school.
3.25.04 @ 4:39p
Erhm, since I live 5 minutes from the Des Moines airport, this kind of stuff happens whenever a politico comes to town. Hell, we couldn't get out of our neighborhood for 3 hours while waiting for Clinton to fly in to assess some drought damage back in '98.
Make no mistake - Kerry has major fundraising efforts also. They just don't require as much security.
Russ, your points are well made. Every sitting President has had a horrendous act of terrorism happen on his watch. My feeling is that unfortuntately, the current government structure is not one of solutions on the issue, but a stifling of liberties. That's more a concern of mine.
3.25.04 @ 4:50p
Journalist Scott Rosenberg says what I was trying to say, just way better than I did.
"Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I can't recall a single instance when a leading Bush official -- someone on the order of a cabinet secretary or above -- looked the American people in the eye and either apologized or admitted error. They don't know how to do it. Admitting mistakes is not in their playbook. Apologies are for wimps and Democrats.
Now Clarke, neither wimp nor Democrat, has done both these things, in simple, direct words -- words that, I think, the 9/11 family members and their wider network of friends, relations and sympathizers, a circle that ripples out to include just about all of us, have wanted and needed to hear from someone in a position of responsibility for so long. By uttering these words, Clarke indirectly but boldly underscored their absence from our government's vocabulary in the entire two-and-a-half-year span of days since 9/11. His action placed Bush's failure in stark relief. Further, it reminded us that despite the incomparable magnitude of the 9/11 attacks, not a single Bush administration official has resigned, or been asked to resign, to take responsibility for what happened.
It was fear of just such a moment, I think, that led Bush to oppose the formation of a 9/11 commission in the first place. And it is the resonance of the moment with so many other Bush failures that gives it its power. This is an administration that (as Josh Marshall has eloquently argued) does not know how to say "This was our fault." I'm not saying we can or should blame 9/11 on Bush. But the Bush administration's habit of finger-pointing -- whether talking about the stagnant economy (not the fault of our insane tax policies!), the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (not the fault of our blindered policy-making!) or any other issue of national significance over the past four years -- has escalated from a bad habit into a scandal. The stonewalling of responsibility has made it impossible for the nation to figure out what went wrong and make the changes we need to insure it never happens again."
3.25.04 @ 10:23p
And while all this was going on, congress passed a bill giving unborn babies rights. The bill, associated with Laci Peterson, revolves around charging a murderer with two counts of murder if they kill a pregnant woman. The fear of this bill, which is being touted as a victory for the White House and the Christian Coalition, is that it can later be used to undermine abortion rights and eventually overthrow Roe V. Wade.
Also, on the sly, it is now okay to fire a government employee because they are gay. And to top that off, they will have no legal recourse against their employer. Their sexuality makes them undesirable for government employment. Oh yes, the Bush White House is filled with compassionate conservatives.
I feel secure in the knowledge that if Bush does manage to get re-elected he will bring America back to the wonderful times of the 1950s, in mentality if not financially.
I don't want Bush to admit he fumbled or failed to protect the US. I want him to say he's sorry for screwing up the country, starting a war that we cannot win or end, and bullying his way through the last couple of years to get his way. Then I want him to lose the next election, and sling off back to Texas or Connecticut or Maine with his tail between his legs and open a library or barbecue restaurant or something.
3.30.04 @ 9:07p
Does a quote like this scare the shit out of anyone else and make you wonder who we've all elected to congress? Especially the last part.
"Sen. Zell Miller, D-Ga., said Tuesday,
'The vindictive Clarke has now had his revenge, but what kind of hell has he, his CBS publisher, and his ax-to-grind advocates unleashed?' Miller has backed Bush on practically every major foreign and domestic initiative. He said if there were intelligence breakdowns, Clarke was most to blame because he was in the "catbird seat" for a decade.
"It's obvious to me that this country is rapidly dividing itself into two camps -- the wimps and the warriors," Miller said. "The ones who want to argue and assess and appease, and the ones who want to carry this fight to our enemies and kill them before they kill us."
3.30.04 @ 11:21p
It doesn't frighten me as much as it disappoints me. The Bushies, as they are sometimes called, all seem very anxious to do battle with anyone who doesn't think their way. If you differ from them in thought, word or deed, you are unpatriotic, or a terrorist sympathizer.
I'm very disappointed in the fact so many of our elected officials seem hell-bent on such total control of the free will of the people they are failing to see how bizarre there words and actions are coming across to the general public.
The country is very evenly divided at the moment. I don't ever remember it being this way in my lifetime. Not as evenly divided, I mean.
4.6.04 @ 5:18p
I am not a Bushie, but he is not getting a fair shake on a variety of issues. The 911 commission, a blithering mess of partisan politics, hasn't concluded it's investigation and people are quoting the 'record'. Enough said on that, I'll use Iraq to illustrate the bias.
The search for WMD's in Iraq is not complete, but it is being characterized as a failure. This is flat-out bias. Bush never said the threat was imminent in any case, he said, verbatim, that to wait for an imminent threat would be to wait too long and it would be too late to stop.
Apparantly the newly found 300,000 graves mean nothing. That they bring Saddam's total (1.3 m+) to 1/6 of Hitler is also missed.
First, check out conventional arms sales to Iraq during Husseins regime from the liberal SIPRI:
57% from Russia/USSR, 17% from France, and 1% from the US. Yet the Democrats say we armed him, a blatant falsehood, and they support the corrupt UN security council.
60% of Iraqi's polled last week (they never had polls before) said they're life has improved since the coalition arrived. Less than 20% say resistance against the coalition is justified.
57% of the country approves of continued presence in Iraq. Slightly more disprove of Bush's overall job handling, but the difference is within the margin of error. Yet article after article talk about Iraqi's protesting the coalition.
A final fact, high-ranking Al Qaeda are factually known to have been in Irag since late 2001/early 2002, before the coalition. This while Blix and the other socialist meat puppets were being toyed with by Saddam and his fucking looney-ass insane sons.
How can you argue those facts? All Kerry can say is we shouldn't turn over the country in June. How's that for a platform?
After Iraq, we can talk about the economy where Bush is also getting slandered.
4.6.04 @ 5:41p
See, I would hardly call those facts at all. From a Knight-Ridder article the other day:
"Bush and other administration officials repeatedly blamed Sunday's uprising by thousands of Shiites on one man: Muqtada al Sadr, a 31-year-old Shiite cleric who urged his followers Sunday to 'terrorize your enemy.' … Experts questioned the administration's grasp of the situation. 'It's a lot more serious than the Bush administration is letting on,' said Shibley Telhami, an analyst at the Brookings Institution, a center-left policy-research center. He returned last week from the Middle East. 'At first we were told the opposition was Saddam loyalists, then it became the Sunnis in general, now we're told it's only one leader of the Shia. They are not coming to grips with the greater realities of the opposition in Iraq. It's far more widespread than the administration is letting on.'"
The hard fact that 26 Americans have died in Iraq since Saturday seem to back up the point that they don't want us there.
And hey, guess what, just because Al Qaeda has been in Iraq - it doesn't mean Saddam supported them. Al Qaeda was in America prior to 9/11. Maybe we should overthrow Bush for that.
There isn't one credible shred of evidence that Saddam and Bin Laden worked together.
Bush (and cronies) didn't say "imminent threat"? Hold on. This will need multiple posts.
4.6.04 @ 5:43p
"There's no question that Iraq was a threat to the people of the United States."
• White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan, 8/26/03
"We ended the threat from Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction."
• President Bush, 7/17/03
Iraq was "the most dangerous threat of our time."
• White House spokesman Scott McClellan, 7/17/03
"Saddam Hussein is no longer a threat to the United States because we removed him, but he was a threat...He was a threat. He's not a threat now."
• President Bush, 7/2/03
• White House spokesman Ari Fleischer answering whether Iraq was an "imminent threat," 5/7/03
"We gave our word that the threat from Iraq would be ended."
• President Bush 4/24/03
"The threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction will be removed."
• Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 3/25/03
"It is only a matter of time before the Iraqi regime is destroyed and its threat to the region and the world is ended."
• Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke, 3/22/03
"The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder."
• President Bush, 3/19/03
"The dictator of Iraq and his weapons of mass destruction are a threat to the security of free nations."
• President Bush, 3/16/03
"This is about imminent threat."
• White House spokesman Scott McClellan, 2/10/03
Iraq is "a serious threat to our country, to our friends and to our allies."
• Vice President Dick Cheney, 1/31/03
Iraq poses "terrible threats to the civilized world."
• Vice President Dick Cheney, 1/30/03
Iraq "threatens the United States of America."
• Vice President Cheney, 1/30/03
"Iraq poses a serious and mounting threat to our country. His regime has the design for a nuclear weapon, was working on several different methods of enriching uranium, and recently was discovered seeking significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
• Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 1/29/03
"Well, of course he is.”
• White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett responding to the question “is Saddam an imminent threat to U.S. interests, either in that part of the world or to Americans right here at home?”, 1/26/03
4.6.04 @ 5:44p
"Saddam Hussein possesses chemical and biological weapons. Iraq poses a threat to the security of our people and to the stability of the world that is distinct from any other. It's a danger to its neighbors, to the United States, to the Middle East and to the international peace and stability. It's a danger we cannot ignore. Iraq and North Korea are both repressive dictatorships to be sure and both pose threats. But Iraq is unique. In both word and deed, Iraq has demonstrated that it is seeking the means to strike the United States and our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction."
• Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 1/20/03
"The Iraqi regime is a threat to any American. ... Iraq is a threat, a real threat."
• President Bush, 1/3/03
"The world is also uniting to answer the unique and urgent threat posed by Iraq whose dictator has already used weapons of mass destruction to kill thousands."
• President Bush, 11/23/02
"I would look you in the eye and I would say, go back before September 11 and ask yourself this question: Was the attack that took place on September 11 an imminent threat the month before or two months before or three months before or six months before? When did the attack on September 11 become an imminent threat? Now, transport yourself forward a year, two years or a week or a month...So the question is, when is it such an immediate threat that you must do something?"
• Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 11/14/02
"Saddam Hussein is a threat to America."
• President Bush, 11/3/02
"I see a significant threat to the security of the United States in Iraq."
• President Bush, 11/1/02
"There is real threat, in my judgment, a real and dangerous threat to American in Iraq in the form of Saddam Hussein."
• President Bush, 10/28/02
"The Iraqi regime is a serious and growing threat to peace."
• President Bush, 10/16/02
"There are many dangers in the world, the threat from Iraq stands alone because it gathers the most serious dangers of our age in one place. Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists."
• President Bush, 10/7/02
"The Iraqi regime is a threat of unique urgency."
• President Bush, 10/2/02
"There's a grave threat in Iraq. There just is."
• President Bush, 10/2/02
"This man poses a much graver threat than anybody could have possibly imagined."
• President Bush, 9/26/02
"No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq."
• Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 9/19/02
4.6.04 @ 5:48p
"Some have argued that the nuclear threat from Iraq is not imminent - that Saddam is at least 5-7 years away from having nuclear weapons. I would not be so certain. And we should be just as concerned about the immediate threat from biological weapons. Iraq has these weapons."
• Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 9/18/02
"Iraq is busy enhancing its capabilities in the field of chemical and biological agents, and they continue to pursue an aggressive nuclear weapons program. These are offensive weapons for the purpose of inflicting death on a massive scale, developed so that Saddam Hussein can hold the threat over the head of any one he chooses. What we must not do in the face of this mortal threat is to give in to wishful thinking or to willful blindness."
• Vice President Dick Cheney, 8/29/02
If you'd like me to continue, I can. The fact is, Bush focused solely on Iraq, to the exclusion of Al Qaeda and everything else. He was looking for a reason to attack them. They were in no way, shape or form an "imminent" threat to the US. Bush (in his SotU speech), Rice (on Meet the Press, when she talked about "mushroom clouds over New York"), Cheaney (in multiple TV interviews) and every other Bush official made it seem like if we didn't attack now, Americans would soon die from Iraq.
There was nothing further from the truth. (Which doesn't surprise me - the Bush administration hasn't seen the truth since before they stole the election.)
There was even a report in the LA Times that was saying the reason Cheany doesn't want his energy commission reports unsealed is because they talk about invading Iraq as a way of getting more oil.
I'd also happy to debate the 9/11 commission and how it's letting Bush off easy.
Or the economy, which still sucks.
Or how the media is actually letting Bush get away with murder.
4.6.04 @ 8:06p
You can quote all you want, all your stating are things that every nation in the UN agreed on. Hussein had weapons, Blix agreed there were piles unnacounted for, which are still unaccounted for, and Hussein used them many times. There's no arguing that.
And the numbers in the Iraq poll don't lie, but why won't you acknowledge them? And why not face the fact that Bush acknowledged that the threat might not be imminent in is SotU address, but that they were going in anyway. You can disagree, but calling him a liar or a traitor is pure kindergarten antics.
The fact is, none of your quotes have been proven to be a lie, and won't be until the thing is done. And then, at the worst, they are misperceptions that everybody shared.
There isn't one credible shred of evidence that Saddam and Bin Laden worked together.
Untrue, Saddam's intelligence agents met with Al Qaeda on numerous occasions. That is a link of some kind, and thoroughly credible.
the Bush administration hasn't seen the truth since before they stole the election.
Complete and inlammatory fiction.
There was even a report in the LA Times
That rag suffers from chronic direct and indirect editorial bias in favor of liberal thinking. But believe whatever you wish.
Why anyone who considers themself sane would prefer that the oil was in the hands of dicatorial madman and his shit-crazy sons is beyond me. Oh yeah, I forgot that Russia, France in Germany were making millions helping him raid the UN Oil for Food program. I guess if you prefer those socialist dogmatics and their boy Saddam, and you somehow think that situation was better for the world and that Clinton handled it well, so be it.
But the bottom line is, Saddam had to go and they did it to get it over with before they got bounced from office. It's not about oil, nor greed, nor empire. It's about strategy, allowing individuals to control their assets and not socialist dictators who torture them and won't let them advance past the dark ages.
My prediction is that everybody will be much happier about it later. If Kerry gets elected, he'll be happy to gobble credit for building the new Iraq while republicans spew crap at him. If not, dems will keep blowing shit and whining about some fantasy election that never occurred.
In any case, Iraq is better off. The only people who are unhappy are fanatics, criminals, and poverty-deluded poor folks.
The world is better off and will get better. Iran is rolling over, Syria has nothing, Libya is done. Like it or not, it's gonna work out in the end very well.
4.6.04 @ 8:30p
The point isn't "Is the world better off." Or "Saddam had to go." Or "The oil is now out of the hands of a madman."
The sole reason we were given for going to war was "Iraq has these weapons of mass destruction that put Americans in [real, grave, imminent, insert synonym here] danger." And the Bush administration used the backdrop of 9/11 to make that link in everyone's mind.
That reason was why congress voted for war. That was the reason given to America.
And that was a lie. Bottom line is, Bush took us into war based on faulty premises - premises he knew were false. And if he didn't know they were false, then someone that dumb and careless shouldn't be running our country.
I don't care if the invasion of Iraq produced a cure for cancer, an end to world hunger and a hit sitcom for ABC - it still isn't the reason we were given.
Do you realize the implications of invading a country just because we don't like who runs the place? Do you realize the implications of attacking someone because sometime, somewhere in the distant future they might attack us?
Sure, I can acknowledge that Bush didn't use the word "imminent" in his SotU address. But I'll certainly acknowledge that he, and everyone immediately under him, used that word - and much stronger language - many, many times. (As quotes above.) And it was all to blow Iraq's risk out of proportion so they could push their agenda, consequences be dammed.
Link me one recent story that has claims Saddam's agents met numerous times with Al Qaeda. I can give you plenty that say we now know that is a false statement.
And as a matter of fact, all those quotes have been proven to be at the very least untrue. If a public offical makes a statement like that, they'd better have proof to back it up. And they don't.
4.6.04 @ 8:41p
An excerpt from a recent Ted Kennedy (despite what I'm sure many people think if TK) speech.
"Sadly, this Administration has failed to live up to basic standards of open and candid debate. On issue after issue, they tell the American people one thing and do another. They repeatedly invent 'facts' to support their preconceived agenda –- facts which Administration officials knew or should have known were not true. This pattern has prevailed since President Bush's earliest days in office. As a result, this President has now created the largest credibility gap since Richard Nixon. He has broken the basic bond of trust with the American people."
"In recent months, it has become increasingly clear that the Bush Administration misled the American people about the threat to the nation posed by the Iraqi regime. A year after the war began, Americans are questioning why the Administration went to war in Iraq, when Iraq was not an imminent threat, when it had no nuclear weapons, no persuasive links to Al Qaeda, no connection to the terrorist attacks of September 11th, and no stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons."
"Tragically, in making the decision to go to war, the Bush Administration allowed its own stubborn ideology to trump the cold hard evidence that Iraq posed no immediate threat. They misled Congress and the American people because the Administration knew that it could not obtain the consent of Congress for the war if all the facts were known. By going to war in Iraq on false pretenses and neglecting the real war on terrorism, President Bush gave al Qaeda two years -- two whole years -- to regroup and recover in the border regions of Afghanistan. As the terrorist bombings in Madrid and other reports now indicate, al Qaeda has used that time to plant terrorist cells in countries throughout the world, and establish ties with terrorist groups in many different lands."
"By going to war in Iraq, we have strained our ties with long-standing allies around the world—allies whose help we clearly and urgently need on intelligence, on law enforcement, and militarily. We have made America more hated in the world, and made the war on terrorism harder to win. The result is a massive and very dangerous crisis in our foreign policy. We have lost the respect of other nations in the world. Where do we go to get our respect back? How do we re-establish the working relationships we need with other countries to win the war on terrorism and advance the ideals we share? How can we possibly expect President Bush to do that? He's the problem, not the solution. Iraq is George Bush's Vietnam, and this country needs a new President."
4.6.04 @ 9:28p
Vietnam: an asinine reference, it just show's that his speech-writer is as big a dullard as he is. That speech is all hooey. There has been open debate. 57%-67% of the people concur. The misbegotten liberal bias in the press is draining some away from the facts though.
The sole reason we were given for going to war was "Iraq has these weapons of mass destruction that put Americans in [real, grave, imminent, insert synonym here] danger."
This is untrue, there were three reasons consistantly given.
And as a matter of fact, all those quotes have been proven to be at the very least untrue. If a public offical makes a statement like that, they'd better have proof to back it up. And they don't
Yet is the key word. And this is a negative fallacy. Lack of proof doesn't posit the contradictory.
Now, more quote-spam or are you gonna hit me with something hard? ;-)
4.6.04 @ 9:55p
Vietnam is a perfect analogy: A guerilla-style war that we're trying to fight conventionally. A war with absolutely zero exit strategy behind it. And a war with no need or purpose.
The people who think there has been open debate are sorely mistaken. The administration has flat-out refused or totally stonewalled every step from 9/11 until now.
Bush fought the creation of the 9/11 panel. He fought their request for more time to adequately complete their report. He fought letting Rice testify. He fought the release of 9,000 pages of Clinton documents related to terrorism. And he's been fighting like crazy to discredit all the bad testimony.
He's stonewalled the Plane investigation and he fought against the creation of the homeland security administration (until he found out it was going to pass anyway and Liebermann was going to get credit for it).
And sure, there was NATO debate about Iraq. They said no, so Bush said fuck you and did it anyway.
As far as debate in general, Bush & Co. have raised to new heights the art form of attacking the person and not the issue. Or fighting with out and out lies. Or fighting by leaving out key pieces of info. (See: Current anti-Kerry ads.)
Negative fallacy or not, when you make a decision to go to war, the onus of proof is on you. It's not true until proven false. It's the other way around. And when it finally came down to it, their "proof" was poorly forged Nigerian documents, UN inspector documents from 1991, and a lot of "Um...no really, it's there somewhere. Trust us."
No chemical stockpiles. No missles. No radiation. No nukes. No mobile biological warfare vehicles or Anthrax factories. No credible terrorist connections. Not even any documents that remotely hint at the fact that any of these things were actively being pursued. Because if there was, the administration would be pointing to them instead of repeating the Rainman-like mantra of "But aren't you glad Saddam's gone?"
4.7.04 @ 12:52a
I'll give you the thin proof argument on WMD's so far, but the jury is still out.
There's no question the overwhelming majority of Americans supported the war. If by debate you mean capitulation to a significant minority, then you can say there was little debate. But the UN was corrupt to oppose it. Their own resolution authorized force but they reniged for selfish reasons only. You should give me that, the facts completely support it, unless you think that Germany, Russia, and France were looking out for peace by selling him tons of weapons and throwing money at the criminal oil for food program so he could starve and torture the Shiites and Kurds.
Every president stonewalls every invasion of their administration, this is not new. (See Hillary's missing Whitewater documents that popped up in the oval office after that investigation.)
I can't abide the personal attacks comment. The Democrats have this down to a science and the parties are equivalent in this.
I won't give you anything in the last paragraph yet. It may come to pass in the end, but you quoting it as a conclusive fact is presumptious.
Good debate. Now onto economy.
Unemployment is 5.7%, the natural rate for our system is about 6%. (As it approaches 0%, inflation overwhelms. As it rises toward 10, deflation overwhelms.) The DOW is up 2000 points since crashing on Clinton's watch after he artificially inseminated the tech bubble and Greenspan kept inflation at bay by constantly injecting currency into the markets. This is what caused the massive implosion.
Jobs are up. The job losses the democrats pin on Bush are a hang-over from the 8-year frat party some call the Clinton presidency.
Gas is up as well, but that is largely the fault of OPEC and foreign-owned oil companys, who control crude interest and production capaciy. They are currently taking profits while awaiting the world's fourth largest oil supply to legitimately enter the markets for the first time.
The tax cuts will work over time, as they are designed to. Just ask Kerry who's going to cut taxes for corporations while repealing cuts for individuals to try to meet his audacious job creation claim.
There are convictions for Enron, Adelphia, Martha, Worldcom and almost Tyco. More to come.
The economy is in much better shape than how Clinton left it in any case, and is currently gaining.
4.7.04 @ 1:17a
This last quarter the economy grew by .24% - Bush's best quarter ever.
Other presidents - job growth months over .24%
Clinton - 34
Reagan - 37
Nixon - 32
Carter - 29
Even Ford had 10 of them.
Only 3 presidents since 1945 have had less than .10% job growth during their administration. (Eisenhower .07, Ford .09, Bush Sr .05)
Bush Jr? Right now is at negative .04% and even if he matches his best ever job growth for the rest of this year, he'll still only be at positive .04%.
Bush's tax cuts. DA HA! The administration projected 1.4 million new jobs due to the tax cuts. That was...um...three years ago.
I don't really need to get into what $5 trillion in tax cuts to the rich over 10 years will do to the national debt, do I?
4.7.04 @ 11:38a
Now you've used 'DA HA' and I've used 'hooey.' :-)
But I'll call you on the economy. The deficit is looming large, but since there's no gold standard, money on that level is so abstract so it's hard to worry about directly.
But tax money is our personal capital. It's all that separates us from the proleteriat and it is our main resource from which we can self-govern. Democrats have a history of unwise spending and specific wealth redistribution, which Kerry looks to continue.
In '92, you'll recall, Clinton lost the Democratic majority in Congress for the first time in a decade or two in a backlash for pushing Hillary's ridiculous socialized medicine plan. Over the next 8 years, the Democratic party grew systemically weaker and become devoid of strong leadership. (See Daschle, Gephart, et al.)
I believe the country is best off when both parties are fairly strong. Economic Yin and Yang. But if both parties are spending poorly, you have to err on the side of the one that keeps government smaller.
If not now, then in four years, we'll need a democrat in office. If we get four more years of Bush, perhaps the country will backlash and the Dems will get strong again in congress. If we get Kerry, and he spends poorly, who knows. But to swap every four years foments all this policy thrashing, and I think the Democrats are not strong enough now to put in a long-term administration.
I should also mention that I never particularly wanted Bush to get in. I hate nepotism, and didn't think much of him. But Gore was too flimsy and lacked the authority to convince me 4 more years of a democrat would be beneficial.
4.7.04 @ 1:15p
I'm not sure how spending more than any US President ever and going from the largest surpluses in history to the largest deficits in history count as being fiscally conservative.
I'm sure you also realize that his budget didn't even include money to fight the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Bush is a conservative only in his moral values. If you want to talk about unwise spending, Bush heads the list.
I think Kerry's plan of keeping small business and middle class/poor tax cuts but eliminating big business loopholes and tax cuts for anyone who makes over $200k is a great compromise.
I completely agree that the country is strongest when both parties are equal. But Bush and his administration have turned Capitol Hill into the most viciously partisan group in history. He has the majority and has done nothing but push his far right-wing agenda, raise cronyism to new heights, and refuse to acknowledge any opposition voice whatsoever.
I think a lot more people are waking up to the fact that Bush, Cheany, Rove, et al are just in this for themselves and no one else. And people are starting to see the bad decisions, dirty tricks, and outright lies that they'll say and do just to remain in power. That's why Bush's approval ratings have been droping quickly.
4.7.04 @ 3:18p
Here's a good article on taxes and the rich by the Seattle Times.
4.7.04 @ 3:33p
Don't kid yourself on that budget surplus, it didn't exist, it was a complete illusion. You can't count a surplus based on money owed to our children and future workers.
Clinton fabricated the surplus by doing just that. He spent under a deficit the entire time he was in office, but kept counting the payroll taxes Social Security collected every year minus the benefits that they paid out as a surplus. This is daft myopic math, and spending off of it is why SS will be bankrupt in 2039. And you're blaming Bush for counting it correctly?
The only legal thing to do with the fake SS surplus that Clinton pretended to leave us with is to borrow against it with US Bonds. Bonds that the gov't would have to pay back to the fund with interest. Where will they get the interest? Personal Income tax raises which will be manifest and necessary under current Democrat mathematics. Sheer insanity, but welcome back to it when the next democrat takes office.
As for your other comments, I still can't abide that Bush and co. are any more selfish than any other politicians, including and especially Clinton. Nor do they use any more dirty tricks, nor have they patented lying, nor have they added to cronyism any more than the democrats did and are doing.
This is pure biased vitriol, pots calling kettles black, etc, and is baseless as far as I can see.
[edited to remove excess lines and typos]
4.7.04 @ 3:56p
The way I vote for President is, I ask myself, "Am I better off than I was 4 years ago, and is the country better off than it was 4 years ago?"
With Bush in office, this country has become more divided, less secure/safe, poorer (unless you're a big business friend of Bush - hello Haliburton!), less respected (and even more hated) internationally, less environmentally sound, more in debt, less employed and less open.
I'm curious as to what good things you think Bush has done to deserve reelection? I honestly can't think of one single thing.
4.7.04 @ 4:41p
This is like watching a ping-pong match.
The biggest problem with our government is that it's full of politicians. Anything said by them in public lacks credibility for the simple fact that they're always angling to be the lead soundbite on the news. If they'd put as much effort into actually serving the people that elected them as they put into replenishing their warchests for the next election, something constructive might actually get done.
The only job in this country where you are guaranteed a significant pay raise of your choosing on a yearly basis is as a member of Congress. Maybe if they were restricted by the Constitution to a pay level equal to the average annual American income, more civic-minded people would serve.
4.7.04 @ 7:33p
I was wondering when someone else would jump into this discussion. I know people have things to say...
Anyway, Lisa, I totally agree with your Congressional pay scale. I also think campaign finance limits should be in place so that the President doesn't spend half his time shilling for donations.
4.7.04 @ 8:08p
I have my own thoughts on the current state of affairs in Washington, and while I'm not happy with the fact that once again we've got Congressional hearings and people telling new stories about "what we really knew" every five minutes, I'm resigned to the fact that what I think matters not one whit to anyone inside the beltway.
I'm convinced after watching the last 4 administrations that no one is really minding the store. I will be forever eternally grateful that on Sept. 11, 2001 George W. Bush was in the White House and not Al Gore....and that's coming from a registered Democrat. He has all the personality of an uncooked lasagna noodle and I really don't think he could have provided the emotional reassurance that Bush did.
Even though I have mixed feelings about Bush's performance, I can't warm up to John Kerry either. I suppose personality shouldn't enter into one's choice of candidates, but a good leader needs to be personable. Kerry comes across to me as strident, confrontational, and far more evasive that anyone currently working in the West Wing. Something in me recoils from him.
Then again, maybe it's just because I'm a Southerner and he's from Massachusetts, and I won't ever be happy unless someone from below the Mason-Dixon line is running the country.
4.7.04 @ 8:27p
Kerry does seem to have a stick up his ass. But to me, he comes across as earnest.
Bush seems smarmy and underhanded and above all else - dumb.
I see Kerry as a stern but fair professorial type. I see Bush as a rich, jackass frat boy who I want to punch in the face every single time I see him.
And like I said before, for me, Bush has done zero to warrant his reelection and so, so, so many things to warrant his non-reelection and possibly even his impeachment.
4.7.04 @ 8:41p
Lisa- I agree with Matt. (alarming, isn't it?) Great idea on Congressional pay scale. Also, I understand how you feel torn. I do to.
Matt - good basis to vote on. But you are better off than you were 4 years ago, you just refuse to accept it.(kidding)
Good things I think Bush has done? Here's a few, I'm not sure how much they matter to any particular voter.
AFGHANISTAN: Girls went to school there in early 2003 for the first time. Enough said.
ECONOMY: See my above posts on this.
EDUCATION: Proficiency scores are up across the board since No Child Left Behind was implemented.
TERRORISM: The terrorism highway between Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and eastern anti-Israeli states like Syria has been severely interrupted. Hussein's regime, well-known terrorists, has been dish-ragged. Libya and Iran are coming clean.
IRAQ: See above posts.
Matt mentioned Kerry's economic plans, maybe they will work without tax raises and massive beaurocratic growth. Maybe not. But what else is Kerry bringing to the plate?
4.7.04 @ 9:18p
You're agreeing with Matt? Someone call Guinness. ;)
You forgot something: Not only can girls in Afghanistan finally go to school again, their mothers, aunts, and grandmothers no longer have to fear the Taliban. That is a tremendous step in the right direction. Things like that get lost in all the craziness going on right now.
4.7.04 @ 10:18p
The problem with suitable and sustainable jobs still seems to be one of major debate. While the Democrats scream "loss of manufacturing!", in reality, we have had consistant manufacturing growth over the past 20 years: it's just the products are different and not all the manufacturing companies are unionized.
The problem with jobs in America is two-fold:
1)the return of the monopolistic era, similar to what was in place at the beginning of the 20th century. When so few have so much, it deteriorates the true meaning and purpose of productive capatialism. Thus, we will see a similar breakdown, and probably another economic crash, 'round about the time the majority of us reading this retire.
2) Job creation in the service sector is devoid of solid, managable benefits and steady, reliable salary increases. No pension. No retirement. No solid insurance plan. A family of four with a parental income of under 30K a year, working an average minimum wage job of $5.25-$7.75 an hour, can barely support themselves as a middle class family - at least, not like our parents were able to do 30 years ago. The rate of inflation, the over-stimulated housing industry, and the mismanagement of the health care industry have contributed much to the downfall and hardship of the middle class.
A tax cut for this middle class bracket is not going to balance their out-of-pocket health care costs, additional school costs for supplies,field trips and activities, (how many of us had a required list of materials before starting school, mandated by the teacher? I sure didn't.) and the housing problem they face.
In addition, the practice of allowing major corporations to establish off-shore headquarters, providing 10-15 year tax abatements for local commerical and residential construction, and forcing community infrastructure to be built to accomodate a select few is at the heart of the problems facing this country.
The candidates can talk "tax cuts" all they want, but as long as these allotments are permitted, the tax burden will continue to fall on individuals.
I don't have the energy to address anything else right now. I'm not fond of any of 'em.
4.7.04 @ 11:13p
Great stuff, Trace. You should run and teach 'em a thing or two.
4.8.04 @ 2:03a
I've been holding off on jumping in because I've pretty much come out against Bush from the time he started running for President against Gore.
Aside from looking at the economy, or whether or not I'm better off from four years ago (and I'm not), I go with my gut feeling. My gut tells me George W. Bush, along with Ashcroft, Cheney, Ridge, and that pompous ass Rumsfeld, is destroying America. The America I believed in while growing up was one of real freedom, real truth, and real justice. I know it sounds corny, and like a lead in to Superman, but what I've seen lately is lying from Bush, lying from Clinton (I'll toss him in because people seem to bring up his lies as if his lies were worse than the lies of George Bush. Clinton's lies were sexual in nature and don't have a death toll attached to them), Martha Stewart getting railroaded over lying while our Vice-President hides behind executive privilege concerning his misdeeds at Haliburton, a President who claims not to hate homosexuals but seems to do everything in his power to create a second-class citizenship for homosexuals, as well as blurring the lines of separation of church and state.
I do not see Bush as a moderate or a compassionate conservative, or whatever he calls himself this week. I see him as a man who has already gotten more than 600 American soldiers murdered for a cause that has changed goals more than any previous war in history. Calling it anything other than war (Operation Get Iraqi Oil would've been my choice of names) makes it sound as though it is a noble action instead of a political power play.
Honestly, I miss Clinton's sex scandals. At least they were entertaining and no one was dying.
Bush has been in the White House four years too long. That's my opinion. Nothing he says or does will convince me he is the right man to be running this country.
4.9.04 @ 11:36a
Hard to argue that.
I think Clinton gets brought up because the media and Hollywood gave him a suspiciously easy time. Even NOW stayed quiet, at least until Republicans were getting accused.
At any rate, there's too much "No YOU are" from both parties, and too little of the analysis Robert shows in the second and third paragraph there. Like I said, hard to argue, vote your heart.
On a side note,I also agree that Iraq was a war. But I submit that it is no longer a war, but a police action against criminal insurgents. At least as far as the neutral Geneva Convention goes, you can't just drop your uniform and change into civvies, fake surrender, and hide amongst civilians and then kidnap and murder people. That's not even guerilla warfare, it's just crime. There is no viable comparison to Vietnam and the dems should analyze it for what it is, and attack it on substance.
4.9.04 @ 11:58a
Dan, I can't believe you consider Afghanistan a success!
We didn't get Bin Laden - the whole reason for going there in the first place.
We didn't leave them with a stable government - so opium druglords now run the coutnry. And of the billions of dollars they now make since the Taliban is gone, a fair amount goes to terrorist groups. Woo hoo! New funding!
And with our blind fury against Iraq, we neglected to keep enough troops in Afghanistan to keep terrorist groups from reforming.
Attack Iraq on substance? Ok.
We've lost more than 600 of our soldiers and have absolutely zero exit strategy so that more don't get killed.
We haven't found any WMDs.
We're spending a billion dollars a WEEK doing...um...what exactly? Making Haliburton rich?
We've succeeded in making Islamic people who simply hated us before, now actually join forces with groups who have been fighting each other for hundreds of years just to kill us. If you don't think every bullet we fire over there adds recruits to terrorist organizations, then you're sorely mistaken.
And EXACTLY like in Vietnam, we're not fighting an enemy, we're fighting a tactic. Vietnam fought guerilla warfare, in Iraq we're fighting terrorism. You can't win when you fight a tactic.
To another point, I could write a whole 'nother column on how the media has been far, far too easy on Bush. Maybe I'll just link to one of the dozen or so I've read on that same subject in the past few weeks.
4.9.04 @ 1:10p
New AP poll out today.
Bush - 45%
Kerry - 44%
Nader - 6%
Has military action increased or decreased the threat of terrorism?
Increased - 49%
Decreased - 28% (Down from 38% in Feb.)
Approval of Bush foreign policy - 41%
Approval of Bush handling of war - 51% (both down from Feb)
Disapprove of handling of economy - 53% (same as Feb)
Overall job approval - 48%
Overall job disapproval - 50%
4.9.04 @ 3:47p
I understand Nader didn't qualify for the ballot in, I believe, Washington. While I believe a third option would've been nice, right now what we need is a strong candidate to boot Bush, and Nader is just a distraction.
I wonder where his 6% would go if he dropped out? Even split?
4.9.04 @ 6:31p
Hey, I'd vote for Tracey in a heartbeat! Common sense, personality, and the guts to tell Congress where to go.
4.9.04 @ 7:20p
Ok, to lighten up this discussion a bit...Here's why Osama got away.
4.9.04 @ 10:05p
Booting Bush fine, as long as the replacement has something constructive to add instead of the kindgarten na-na-na-na-boo-boo- bunk Dems have been spewing. What is Kerry's exit strategy after he's done with his "I told you so's"?
Now, I've been trying to avoid conjecture and will stick with facts. The first is an observation.
-I don't understand logically how Afghanistan is a failure for lack of capturing Bin Laden, but Iraq is a failure despite catching Hussein. I actually think neither are that significant, they're more or less trophies, but I had to ask since that baffles me.
-There's no new funding for terrorism in Afghanistan. Opium was the largest export of the Taliban, who is not operating with any stability anymore. Anyone can call it a failure, except Afghani schoolgirls, women, and men who are no longer being disembowled and hung in the UN funded soccer stadium because they refused to grow a beard. Also, we never armed Bin Laden. We armed the Afghani resistance. The Taliban was not around, they were busy being brainwashed in Afghan/Pakistani border monasteries. Bin Laden was in Sudan after getting booted from Arabia.
-There is no new alliances in Iraq to speak of. Even if there were, they could not be Bush's fault, except if he was successful. The alliance in question is Al-Qaeda backed Sunni cast-offs, pared with a small, completely radical Shiite minority who agrees EXACTLY with Al-Qaeda's principles. We've actually accomplished so much that they're desperate enough to attempt this civil-war against the wishes of the Iraqi majority, and that desperation is evident in their own written words.
-You're right about the 'tactic' piece of the Vietnam comparison. But that is where it ends. The Vietnam analogy is useless for anyone objective. It's only useful for people who are predisposed to negativity. 600 deaths, while tragic, is not a high casualty count. There is no state-sponsored gurilla force in Iraq or Afghanistan. In Vietnam, we were asked to participate to stop a bloody regime (NVA) from continuing to slaughter and subjugate South Vietnam and their 100+ tribal ethnic groups who fought on our side. In Afghanistan, we were obligated to obliterate the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, which we have mostly done, and are continuing to do in Iraq, which is where they fled. If anyone would like to make shallow surface comparisons between to the two to criticise Bush with, that's fine, but they are not helpful to anyone who wishes to analyze things with any depth. This because in reality, Vietnam has NOTHING to do with anything going on now. Even the tactics, while seeming similar, are completely different from jungle to city. Nothing constructive can come from that comparison, unless you're constructing criticism of Bush.
[edited for long-windedness, sorry]
4.9.04 @ 10:06p
-The polls of US citizens are relevant in measuring our opinion, but that is all. The polls of the Iraqi's and the Afghani's, neither of which had polls before are more instructive as to what's going on.
That's it for now, good debate you guys. I'm off for a Good Friday beer with some neighbors of the conservative ilk, whom I'll annoy by devil's advocating against their arguments. Gotta love independence, you get to aggravate everybody equally. ;-)
4.10.04 @ 12:29a
Dan, I find your comments interesting because we obviously get the same news from CNN and Headline News, yet you see Afghanistan and Iraq as successful ventures, while I watch the news and see a lack of Osama Bin Laden being captured as an important goal being overlooked.
I see Iraq as a quagmire in the making. The comparison to Vietnam may not be the best analogy for this current war to end all wars, for the very reasons you pointed out, but it is one the American people understand.
I've always been a "peacenik". I felt there is nothing that can't be settled through talking, but in the case of Iraq it is obvious we cannot settle the issue peacably. We bullied our way into the country, and are actually offended that forces within Iraq, majority or not, would turn on us or fight us for control. Granted these forces are supposedly pouring over the border from Iran and Syria, but this should tell us something as well.
The general American public was led into this war through the trickery of semantics and outright lies, believing it might be a year or two at the very most. This is going to be an ongoing concern for years to come. While many people don't see war as a terrible thing because it should boost the economy, it has an emotional effect on the people.
Add to this the fact that half the US does not believe in or support Bush, and you have a great emotional drain on the general population.
I make no secret of the fact I think Bush is not a good leader, but then I didn't vote for him to begin with. We have no choice but to accept the world as it is, and make the best of the situation facing us. However, we are going to remain divided on the war issues for decades to come, and the Iraqi people are very likely going to turn on us from all sides.
Sure, mom and pop Iraqi who were living at poverty level will thank anyone who comes in and gives them a meal, a chance, but they are also seeing American soldiers as the ones killing their children who are being forced to fight. Don't think they will forgive that, just because of an ideal for a better way of life.
As for Afghanistan, I've seen people on right wing television shows such as The Factor and Hardball, military men who've been to Afghanistan, claiming that Al-Qada have been given a chance to rebuild in Afghanistan while America is busy defending Iraqi borders.
Personally I find discussing the defense of Iraqi borders sickening. I'm to the point of saying take back the 87 billion Bush wants to give Iraq to rebuild, don't give it to them. Use it to protect American borders, and leave Iraq to the Iraqi.
Of course I'm a lover, not a fighter, so I never believe in prolonged aggression.
4.12.04 @ 9:30p
Hard to argue that, Robert. You've minimized conjecture and based your thoughts on your personal philosphy.
I'm no warmonger, far from it. And we do get the same news, although I don't watch a lot of tv news.
Personally, I'd rather the war had been avoided. But that chance was blown by the security council refusing to back their own resolution and their selfish choice to continue doing business with Hussein and giving him the opportunity to keep playing with the inspectors.
Paul Berman, a liberal and Marxist, touches on it here.
I thought it interesting coming from a leftist purist.
At any rate, my main thing is that people should make an effort not to mangle facts to suit their beliefs, just like you did. If that happened, whether or not we agreed or not, at least we could learn something from our disagreement. You can't learn anything if people can't come to a reasonable consensus on the facts.
4.12.04 @ 10:53p
As much as I abhor what's happened in the last couple of days in Iraq, it smacks of last-ditch desperation on the part of a radical minority, and seems to be evidence that we have made progress toward democracy for Iraqis.
I equate the hard-line clerics of modern-day Islam with the historical Christian leaders that kept the masses ignorant by teaching only clergy to read. It's the epitome of Travis Tritt's line in "Lord Have Mercy on the Working Man": Them politicians treat me like a mushroom
Cause they feed me bull and keep me in the blind
The way the extremists keep power is fear and ignorance. We're making inroads on the ignorance, and that is removing one of their most effective tools in maintaining power. The average Iraqi might not completely agree with everything the US stands for, but at least we're giving them the ability to make informed choices...something they weren't able to do when Saddam Hussein was in power. Then the only choice was his way or the executioner's block.
The pursuit of democracy is a messy business. Add religion and mouthy politicians with personal agendas and it gets downright nasty.
4.12.04 @ 11:36p
Funny, I would argue that "fear and ignorance" is what the Bush administration is giving America.
They're keeping us ignorant by lying about or covering up the facts about everything from Iraq to their energy policy.
And they're keeping America scared with their terror alerts and the bullshit that we'd be less safe with Kerry as president.
4.13.04 @ 12:10a
When it comes right down to it, I don't really believe any president will keep the US safe. We were living in an illusion of safety prior to 9/11.
A lot has been said in the 9/11 Commission testimony about when people actually knew what and who. I believe if you asked most people on the streets when they first heard of Osama Bin Laden, or are conscious of hearing of him, it would be after 9/11.
I'm sure his name was mentioned prior to 9/11, but your average person, myself included (as much as I hate to think of myself as average) went about life without giving national security a thought.
Now that it has become a hot topic, it can be used to sway votes. I'm not supporting Kerry because I believe he would help make America safer from terrorism, but because I believe he can boost the economy in my favor. Like much of society, I'm not a big picture person. It's nice to care about other countries and other people, but when it comes down to how things effect an individual financially we all look to our own wallets first.
Truthfully, I don't like having to deal with money, but I'd be homeless without it, so I put my needs before a greater good. I'm human. I'm happy for the people of Iraq, if they can maintain a democracy, but to paraphrase a Loretta Lynn song, "here in New Jersey the interest rates are still droppin', The dog wants his dinner, and McDonalds ain't a hirin',
the bank account is drainin' and the house buyers ain't a buyin', and no help is on the way."
See, I tend to personalize everything. I was part of the "Me Generation."
I also believe, by the time the November elections come around, people will be so tired of politics many won't care who is running the country because they just won't believe in any politician.
4.13.04 @ 12:17a
Well, to clarify my earlier statement, I don't think the country will be safe with Kerry as President. At the very least, the country will be as safe with Kerry as it is with Bush. And the fact that Bush is running on a platform of "The country will be safer with me" is pure bullshit.
There's zero proof of that, and plenty of evidence that it could be a lot less safe.
4.13.04 @ 8:17a
Funny, I would argue that "fear and ignorance" is what the Bush administration is giving America.
Ah, but our press makes sure that any government secrecy gets brought out in public one way or another. That's something that citizens of countries with state-run media don't have. There ARE no long-term secrets in Washington. Too many people willing to talk, and they can do so without fear of execution.
4.13.04 @ 11:06a
I'd disagree there. I'd say there are probably plenty of secrets or half-truths that either the media aren't privy to or that they are mislead to report incorrectly.
If everything came out, and it all was truth, then no one would be dishonest.
4.13.04 @ 12:35p
True...but "honest politician" seems to be an oxymoron in our society.
4.13.04 @ 1:34p
That's something that citizens of countries with state-run media don't have..
I'm with Lisa on this. Even the Brits don't have it this good, the BBC is government-sponsored. In Iraq, one of Hussein's batshit sons ran all of the media.
We have a much clearer view of facts here, despite many credibility foibles (NY Times) and bias (CNN and FOX).
If everything came out, and it all was truth, then no one would be dishonest.
Web-cam in the oval office? Could be useful, but not as fun with Bush in there.
4.13.04 @ 4:12p
Clinton could've made a fortune on the oval office webcam.
With the FCC coming down on decency issues, I'm getting the impression our media is cowering in fear of the government, and will soon be the government lap dog spewing what propaganda the government deems suitable for the general public.
4.13.04 @ 4:45p
The media already does that. Go back and read the major newspapers' stories right before we went to war. They all talked about "irrefutable evidence" and "smoking guns" and stuff that if they had done even a shred of investigative journalism, would have show all Bush's "evidence" to be weak at best and completely false at worst.
I just read an article on how journalists are using a "unnamed source" to cover up lazy reporting. They can just quote this unnamed source and never have to either A) research whether it was true or not, or B) reveal the name of that source.
If you want an example of what the media is missing, check out my last column: Janet's Boob and other important news stories.
4.13.04 @ 4:46p
Damn double post.
4.13.04 @ 5:03p
I'd just like to see a president in the Oval office whose policies don't seem to be centered on simultaneously destroying free speech and the environment. That would be nice.
And I think Ashcroft is evil. Truly evil.
4.13.04 @ 8:13p
I'm with you on every point, Adam.
I can't wait for Bush's prime time news conference tonight. Although it makes me ill listening to the man, I'm curious as to how many lies and half-truths he's going to spit out this time.
4.13.04 @ 11:22p
I agree the media is lazy in their investigating methods, that was the point I was loosely trying to make. You made it better.
Now about the Bush press conference. He didn't change my mind, or gain my support. He said a lot of nothing, while pledging America will stay the course. It was a pep rally for the American people to feed off of, and to make us feel better about the fact we are fighting for the democracy of Iraq, while ignoring the fact Bush is willing to bar a large portion of the American people from sharing equality by supporting an amendment to the US Constitution that symbolizes hate.
As the Native Americans have said of many political figures throughout history, he speaks with forked tongue.
Of course I don't support Bush, so my views are tainted by my belief he should not be in office.
And Matt and Adam are right about Ashcroft.
4.13.04 @ 11:35p
I was actually a little disheartened that other than being annoyingly evasive on some points tonight, he seemed to come off fairly okay tonight. Oh, well.
4.14.04 @ 12:28a
This is from the transcript of tonight's press conference. I'll let it speak for itself.
QUESTION: In the last campaign you were asked a question about the biggest mistake you'd made in your life and you used to like to joke that it was trading Sammy Sosa.
You've looked back before 9/11 for what mistakes might have been made. After 9/11 what would your biggest mistake be, would you say? And what lessons have you learned from it?
BUSH: Hmm. I wish you would have given me this written question ahead of time so I could plan for it. (Laughter.)
John (sp), I'm sure historians will look back and say, gosh, he could have done it better this way or that way. You know, I just — I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, all the pressure of trying to come up with an answer. But it hasn't yet.
I would have gone into Afghanistan the way we went into Afghanistan. Even though I know what I know today about the stockpiles of weapons, I still would have called upon the world to deal with Saddam Hussein. See, I happen to believe that we'll find out the truth on the weapons. That's why we set up the independent commission.
I look forward to hearing the truth as to exactly where they are. They could still be there. They could be hidden like the 50 tons of mustard gas in a turkey farm.
One of the things that Charlie Duelfer talked about was that he was surprised at the level of intimidation he found amongst people who should know about weapons, and their fear of talking about them because they don't want to be killed. You know, there's this kind of — there's this — there's a terror still in the soul of some of the people in Iraq; they're worried about getting killed, and therefore, they're not going to talk.
And — but it will all settle out, John. We'll find out the truth about the weapons at some point in time. However, the fact that he had the capacity to make them bothers me today just like it would have bothered me then. He's a dangerous man. He's a man who actually not only had weapons of mass destruction — the reason I can say that with certainty is because he used them. And I have no doubt in my mind that he would like to have inflicted harm or paid people to inflict harm or trained people to inflict harm on America because he hated us.
You know, I hope I — I don't want to sound like I've made no mistakes; I'm confident I have. I just haven't — (chuckles) — you just put me under the spot here, and maybe I'm not quick — as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one.
4.14.04 @ 2:16a
What appals me even more than Bush's idiotic answer above is the fact that he and his entire administration flat out refuse to take any responsibility or offer any apology of any kind for 9/11.
People like Richard Clarke and Janet Reno have apologized to America. But Ashcroft wouldn't - he blamed the Clinton administration. Condi Rice wouldn't. And in tonight's press conference, Bush had several opportunities to apologize, and wouldn't.
The arrogance, callousness and gall that takes is utterly stunning to me.
4.14.04 @ 10:36a
Still, I think that's a fair statement that he made. Its worst offense is that it doesn't really say anything. But he didn't stand there saying, "I don't believe I've made any mistakes since 9/11. I'll stand by all of my decisions." His final paragraph just sort of softened the rest of his press conference for me.
That said, he didn't apologize. He was evasive on a number of issues; most of them, really. And he hammered at most of his speaking points to the point where I could have predicted what he was going to say next.
And Ashcroft is evil. I figure the people of Missouri must know something if they elected a dead man instead of him. Also, people for censorship, lack of reproduction rights, segregation, and a government build on an extremist religious viewpoint scare me, too.
4.14.04 @ 12:03p
Don't forget that the FBI, CIA, and NSA all bear a tremendous responsibility for being so stupidly secretive with their info, instead of sharing it amongst the three agencies.
It's also naive to lay blame for 9/11 on any one administration doorstep. Like it or not, Bush was right--the blame lies squarely with Bin Laden. This was a man who was determined to attack us, and would have found a way regardless of what any presidential administration did to prevent it. If he hadn't succeeded with 9/11, he'd have done something else as heinous, if not even more so, had we managed to thwart the multiple hijackings and subsequent deliberate crashes.
The man is Evil personified.
The only thing useful about the 9/11 commission is that it gets a bunch of re-election-seeking politicians free airtime without the networks being obligated to provide equal time to their opponents. Witch-hunts are rarely good for anything else other than producing massive amounts of hot air.
4.14.04 @ 12:06p
And decent literature like "The Crucible."
4.14.04 @ 12:18p
If you leave your child with a babysitter who's supposed to be watching the kid, and the kid wanders off and gets hit by a car, is the answer you want to hear from the babysitter, "Well, it was the car's fault!"
No, Bush is not the one who flew a plane into the WTC. But his lax attitude towards terrorism and his ignoring the warning signs was partially to blame for allowing it to happen.
And the fact that he's not willing to apologize for mistakes he's admitted to making is ridiculous.
He's the leader of our country. Leaders stand up and take responsibility for their actions. They don't blame other people.
4.14.04 @ 12:27p
I agree with Lisa. I think it's too complex to condense into "Bush was wrong." That said, it couldn't hurt him to apologize, and his smirking, chuckling attitude during the five minutes of the speech I could tolerate watching yesterday was offensive to me.
He said "I got that memo. I didn't think there was anything new in it." So he's stepping up... but stopping short. Much worse than sharing blame.
God willing and the creek don't rise, he'll be gone in November.
4.14.04 @ 12:48p
Okay, here's the thing:
You can't protect anything when you don't know what the target is. As Condi Rice said very clearly in her statements last week, yes, they knew something might occur on US soil, and soon, but they had no real, clear-cut idea of where, when, how many were involved (even though they were aware of the group) and what type of attack. Had planes ever been used as missiles before? Could you, personally, have anticipated that type of attack? I don't think so. And what, if anything, could you have done? Grounded all air travel for an indefinate period of time? Starting when?
If just one informant from the inside had a change of heart and let something leak, everything could have been different. But that didn't happen.
The victims of 9/11 and their families can't lay blame on the government, and don't deserve any form of reparations, for let's make one thing perfectly clear: those people want justice and money. This isn't about patriotism.
I'm sure if someone in Tokyo had just called someone at Pearl Harbor, we could have avoided that attack, too. As it was, the US had scout subs, and had indeed made some preceived aggressive manuevers toward the Japanese, and they took it a little too far. Did we see that coming, too? Not exactly. But then again, sort of.
Let's back up to the Oklahoma City bombing. Any good patriot could have tipped off the FBI or CIA about McVey and Nichols. But no one did. Could that attack have been prevented, simply because the American government is aware of militia activity in the United States? Probably not.
This isn't a Bush problem, nor will it be a Kerry or whoever problem. This is a world-wide issue mired in power and position, and will continue with the next administration, just like Vietnam, an action started by JFK, perpetuated by LBJ, and popped like a pimple by Nixon.
Heaven help me, but I agree with Buchanan, the crazy bastard: if the US would take more extreme measures of border control and immigration like other industrialized countries around the world, part of the terrorist problem would be reduced. But nobody likes to talk about that, because it makes them look racist.
4.14.04 @ 1:14p
It's not racist if we don't allow anyone in.
4.14.04 @ 1:16p
Tracey, don't forget that not only did someone in Tokyo not warn the US, the Japanese ambassador was repeatedly assuring FDR's government that Japan was NOT going to attack the US, even as the Japanese fleet was moving into position to launch planes.
The problem is, we all want a convenient scapegoat to punish. Since we can't get our grubby little paws around Bin Laden's scrawny neck, we'll settle for whoever was in charge of the country on 9/11. If we had Bin Laden in custody, the 9/11 commission would be sitting around patting themselves on the back and still castigating Bush and company.
Want to spread the blame around? Blame the culture in Saudi Arabia and other Arabic nations that allows religious fanatics so much latitude. Virtually all of these Muslim insurgents spent their formative years in schools whose sole purpose was to create hatred against non-Muslims and promote violence against anyone who doesn't share the teachers' narrow-minded views of religion and world order.
It's a bunch of little Hitlers in burnooses running loose, except instead of creating an Aryan world, they want to exterminate all non-Muslims. A mass temper tantrum, if you will.
4.14.04 @ 1:43p
Sorry Tracey, but I think you're 100% wrong.
The President got a brief with the title of "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." and in the summer of 2001 he received memos with the titles including "Bin Laden planning multiple operations," "Bin Laden network's plans advancing" and "Bin Laden threats are real."
And at the G-8 summit in July of 2001, U.S. officials were warned about that scenario of Bin Laden using planes full of explosives as bombs.
Saying Bush wasn't told when, where, why and how is ridiculous.
I heard a great analogy the other day: It's like a group of citizens telling the mayor that there's going to be a rash of burglaries. And instead of putting more cops on the street or rounding up the usual suspects, the mayor does nothing. After everyone gets robbed and demand to know why the mayor did nothing, his excuse is "Hey, the robbers didn't tell me what addresses they were going to rob or what time they were going to do it."
4.14.04 @ 1:48p
Wow, Lisa, did you actually just say to blame other random Arabic countries?
Sure, THAT'S a way to do it. Blame all Arabs for 9/11. Let's start a war against anyone with brown skin! Let's kill all the Muslims!
I'm going to sound like Jeff Walker, but that's the most bigoted thing I've read on this site in a long time.
4.14.04 @ 1:51p
I'm with Tracey. The complexities are impossible. And I think it goes back to something Russ said some time ago -- was Clinton responsible for Oklahoma City? Of course not. The fact that Bush did not prevent 9/11 from happening is not the point. The point is what he's done since.
Even the G-8 summit thing? That's not "when, where, why and how." Knowing that someone somewhere is planning to do something nasty with airplanes? What would you have done? Grounded all flights in the US from July onward? Even if Bush had wanted to do something, getting funding and support for the drastic actions that could have prevented the attacks? Couldn't have been done. It's taking years to get things done, and that's even when it's a top priority.
4.14.04 @ 1:57p
I am simply astounded that people don't at least partially blame Bush for completely ignoring a huge amount of intelligence data.
I guarantee you Clinton never got a memo that said "Timothy McVeigh determined to blow something up."
4.14.04 @ 2:02p
Matt, I don't think Lisa meant that we should blame "random Arabic countries," just that we should blame those that promote a culture of hate, which is something that's already happening, for better or worse.
4.14.04 @ 2:10p
Maybe we shouldn't blame them at all. Maybe we should try and understand why they hate us and work towards fixing things.
It's funny and sad that coming from a free country someone would say "Blame the culture in Saudi Arabia and other Arabic nations that allows religious fanatics so much latitude."
Guess what? That's called freedom.
4.14.04 @ 2:17p
I did think Bush made an okay point regarding moving too soon versus moving too late. What would have been international response had he sent troops into Afghanistan to drive out the Taliban pre-9/11? It's tough to say Bush should have gone after Bin Laden before 2001 and then turn around and claim that he acted too quickly in the invasion of Iraq.
Also, Matt, to add to what Sarah said, and to be fair, Lisa didn't blame Arabs or even random countries. She said specifically to blame the "culture" in those nations. And she's not wrong. Any culture that views terrorists as martyrs is inherently adding to the problem, whether or not the people or leaders are taking an active role.
Also, for whatever it's worth, Bush is not the end-all/be-all of the intelligence community. The FBI doesn't need his go-ahead to arrest suspects in the US. The CIA doesn't need his signature on everything in order to infiltrate terrorist cells abroad. I'm not sure what you're saying Bush failed to do except "act," which is a little vague. Yes, he needs to admit his culpability in 9/11, the same as everyone else. But my dislike of his policies doesn't mean that I feel he takes the full force of the blame for 9/11. If you want to start somewhere, I hold the lax security guards in the airports more responsible.
4.14.04 @ 2:29p
I've never said Bush should take full responsibility for 9/11.
I said that Janet Reno and Richard Clarke have both apologized for not doing everything they could have done to prevent the attacks. It's painfully obvious now that Bush, Rice, Ashcroft, etc. didn't do everything they could to prevent the attacks - but they refuse to apologize for it.
I think everyone realizes that even if they had done everything in their power, Bin Laden still could have succeeded. But I don't think anyone would be blaming Bush if he could honestly say "I did everything I could."
4.14.04 @ 4:47p
But I don't think anyone would be blaming Bush if he could honestly say "I did everything I could."
Hell yes they would, you must be kiddin. They would and are. Half of the anti-war movement lies and says Bush armed Bin Laden, Hussein, compares him to Hitler, etc. They say Bush's policy is responsible for breeding the hatred. Gimme a break, that idiot McAuliffe will look for anything to blame on Bush.
I'm sorry, but this is getting absurd. There is a huge difference between 'I did everything I could' and 'I did everything that seemed reasonable at the time.' No one can look back at something like that and honestly say 'I did everything I could,'it's a total set-up. They're just looking for another fault to add to the pile that justifies their predisposed dislike.
What kind of responsibility can he take? He offered condolences to the families way back when. Now everyone is microscopically going backwards over every detail, morbidly trying to link them together to form a completely implausible 'could have been.' That is the definition of head up the ass, they should be looking over the details to compare it to the current situation to prevent further attacks, not nit-pick to support or counter a presidential campaign.
Since honesty appears to no longer be possible amongst the parties, I'd settle for some realism in its stead.
4.14.04 @ 5:03p
What this is coming down to is the fact that it really doesn't matter who is to blame for allowing the 9/11 incident to happen. I blame Bush for a lot of things, but I don't even want an apology from him. All I want is him and his crew of bigots out of office.
Sad as it is to think, this is a case of going with the devil you don't know because the one you do know is so far off from your own views and beliefs that anyone else will be better. The thinking is to just get rid of him and deal with what comes into office next when they are in office.
Ironically, given the attention span of a majority of Americans, if Bush were a television show he would've been cancelled before 9/11 happened.
As for his press conference, it really didn't inform the American people of anything new, or bolster confidence. It was designed to distract with pat answers to pre-arranged questions. If not pre-arranged, then simply questions that have been raised so often a carnival psychic could've guessed what was going to be asked.
At this point looking for blame for 9/11 is useless. It happened, people died, and it's over. We have to get beyond it. The war is our current problem, one that will cost lives and have no clear ending to it. We should not have been there, should not be there, and eventually even Bush will have to admit it when he withdraws troops. If he doesn't he is possibly the most arrogant world leader in the history of the planet.
4.14.04 @ 5:34p
When the outgoing administration tells you terrorism is the #1 priority but you don't even list it in the top 7 on your agenda...when the FBI asks for more terrorism money and instead gets their budget cut...when you get a brief that says Bin Laden is going to attack the US but no one alerts the airlines, public, or seemingly the FBI - I don't think it's much of a stretch to say that more could have been "reasonably" done.
The reason we're harping on what happened in the past, is because Bush is running 100% on the reelection platform of "I'll keep this country safe" when in reality, his track record has proven otherwise.
And Dan, do you really believe Bush's policy of invading and occupying a country under false pretenses hasn't made us more hated in the world?
4.14.04 @ 5:53p
I understood completely what Lisa said, and it was not a racial comment. The families demanding restitution are not the ones heading into the Iraq mess, our soldiers are.
As an American, I will not cater to the hysterical and misappropriated hatred some in other countries feel toward the United States. If you don't like the fact that there's a fuckin' KFC next to your mosque, then don't go to it. I will not take the blame individually or as a U.S. citizen for what others may feel is an infringement on their culture or freedom, when they aren't doing anything for themselves against it but setting up a terroristic regime.
Those same terrorists that followed Saddam had no problem with his millions of stolen money, gold-gilded sinks and concubines. All terrorist actions have nothing to do with America and every fuckin' thing to do with their own desire for power and glory, at whatever cost.
Demanding full disclosure of covert intelligence falls in line with what Jack Nicholson said:
"You can't HANDLE the truth."
It is unwise and unjust for the public to expect our government to tell us every little thing. Clinton HAD been warned about Bin Laden and the Taliban and other extremist organizations many times during his two terms - remember, he picked up the Bush Sr. dropped ball of concerning the Middle East - but what exactly is a President and his advisors to do? The Rumsfeld duct tape and plastic routine? Send the country into High Red Alert? Only our grandparents can tell us about true nationwide security, rationing, curfews and blackouts, and the problems and sacrifices they encountered during WWI and WWII. What the hell would today's current society do? Loot and maim, primarily. You don't force a country into those extreme circumstances based on a hunch, and keep that stranglehold indefinitely, otherwise we'd become the USSR, circa 1957.
I totally agree that Bush is not the best President this country ever had - but to put complete and total blame of Iraq and 9/11 squarely on his shoulders is actually giving him more credit than he deserves. The war in Iraq was voted on by Congress - and yes! Democrats voted for it too! The complexity surrounding the mishandling of the 9/11 intelligence falls over many desks, not just the President.
Until someone has actually held any type of government seat, it's hard to completely comprehend the myriad dynamics of the process. We might think someone is doing it wrong, but until we shut up and put up, that's who's minding the store. Don't like the tax tea? Throw it overboard. Don't just sit and bitch about it.
And let's face it, Matt: You and the other Bush haters would find something wrong with any apology Bush might attempt. He would have smirked too much, or looked in the camera wrong.
4.14.04 @ 5:54p
Wow, Lisa, did you actually just say to blame other random Arabic countries?
Oops. No, not intentionally, Matt. I said blame the culture that allows that sort of behavior and attitude to proliferate. Perhaps I phrased that badly. I was getting at the fact that it is all too easy for hardline religious leaders to gain power in that area of the world, and they encourage the development of the extremist mindset as a way to cement their hold over their countries. At the risk of sounding horribly sexist, the fact that these countries are heavily patriarchal in nature with women relegated to being second-class citizens doesn't help matters.
I'm well aware there are many Muslims who are moderate, and abhor violence as a method of promoting religion. But here in the US, as well as most of the European continent, religious leaders are not granted the sort of power that they receive in Muslim areas. Perhaps that's because Europe and the US are primarily Christian, and Christian clergy are not really in positions where they can garner a great deal of political power. Clout, perhaps, but not power. As a matter of fact, every time a clergyman in the US tries to become president, they come off appearing more as a buffoon than anything else.
However, Christianity does not demand that its followers pray 5 times a day at the call of a cleric and make annual pilgrimages to holy sites, either. It puts the faithful at the mercy of the religious leaders in a way that only happens in the US with cults. I should have used David Koresh instead of Hitler, since that would be a more apropos comparison.
4.14.04 @ 5:55p
Every time I think Bush has outdone himself, he does one better.
Now he's fully endorsed Sharon and completely pissed off the Palestineans.
By the time the election rolls around, there's not going to be a single place in the Middle East who doesn't hate us besides Isreal.
I'm telling you right now: It's not going to be very long before we start frequently getting suicide bombers blowing themselves up on city buses. I'm serious.
4.14.04 @ 5:59p
I'll give you this, though: Bush's reelection platform is bullshit, and makes my stomach curdle every time I see/hear/read/smell it. He is capitalizing on fear, and it may very well backfire on him.
But again, how much of that is decided on by him, or the spin doctors? Just using Carville or Maitlin as examples, those types of people are extremely persuasive, and I would put just as much blame on them as anyone else. The only people who tried to run a relatively positive campaign were Edwards and Clark. And they're gone now, so that's the way it is.
4.14.04 @ 6:22p
Now that I've straightened out my earlier faux pas, I'll tackle the Bin Laden memo.
We've known for years what he's been up to. And for years he stuck to his usual tactics of truck bombs and suicide bombers. He certainly ran true to form with his first attack on the WTC. Also, no terrorists have ever hijacked planes with the intention of deliberately crashing them into skyscrapers or government buildings. They've always used hijacking events to demand the release of their cohorts or political prisoners, not for the purpose of indiscriminate killing of ordinary citizens, with the exception of the WTC bombing in 1993. After that, they went back to strictly military targets when the US was involved.
I have a vivid imagination and a talent for looking at things in my little science world from all different angles, but I doubt I'd have taken the information in that memo and come up with a scenario even remotely resembling 9/11 on the basis of historical patterns.
It's all very easy for everyone to look back now and say "Bush should have done this, Condoleeza Rice should have told him to do that, Rumsfeld should have done something else."
Bin Laden was determined to do something to us come hell or high water. I think 9/11 was inevitable. It didn't matter who was in the White House on that day, or who was occupying the key Cabinet and security advisory roles.
And if Bin Laden or al Shadr or Aw Zawahi or whoever decides to do it again, they'll probably succeed again, and it won't matter who's butt is parked behind the desk in the Oval Office.
4.14.04 @ 6:28p
Edwards would have stood a better chance if he'd had more experience in national politics. I voted for him for Senate, but I couldn't bring myself to vote for him for President because he just wasn't ready. Of course, now I'm stuck with Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum to choose from in November, but that's pretty much par for the course. I didn't even get to have my say in the Democratic primary because everyone else chickened out before Pennsylvania got around to having a primary. It ought to be a federal law that all primaries be held on the same date. The way it's set up now, a handful of states determine who the rest of the country gets to vote for in the main election, and that's not fair.
4.14.04 @ 6:39p
Tracey, would you go open a steakhouse in India? Of course not. Because you respect their culture. Would we allow a restaurant to serve horse meat or dog meat? Of course not, because we protect our culture.
But with Middle East countries, we force our culture on them because we don't respect it.
It's already been testified to that Clinton/Reno/ et al, made terrorism their #1 priority and they successfully stopped several terrorist plots at the millenium. Because they weren't asleep at the wheel like Bush was.
I'll say it again, I'm not placing 100% of the blame on Bush for 9/11. But he has to accept and apologize for some of his responsibility in it happening.
4.14.04 @ 6:42p
As much as I never thought I'd ever say this, a Kerry/McCain ticket would make a TON of sense.
McCain brings over the undecided votes. And it sends a message that Kerry isn't interested in the partisanship that has made DC an evil place the last three years.
Bush would have no answer for that.
4.14.04 @ 9:11p
McCain already said he would not consider it. He reiterated on Larry King last week.
4.14.04 @ 10:05p
Robert- the amendment is ludicrous and should not be passed. I just want it to be clear that I detest that thing.
Matt- I don't like support of Sharon's plan. I was going to point it out as a real error is Bush's foreign policy, as opposed to these made-up ones we keep talking about.
As for the rest:
But he has to accept and apologize for some of his responsibility in it happening.
Still with this? You actually think saying 'sorry' has anything to offer? What responsibility does he personally have? Suddenly you're blaming him for previous administrations gutting of intelligence.
It's a no win, you're holding him to an impossible standard you wouldn't even hold Clinton to, whom you keep mentioning for some reason, as if he ever apologized for anything.
You're just driving to see Bush humiliate himself, just like McAuliffe wants. And you're quoting all the biased dems, who are campaigning against Bush with their testimonies. Reno and Clarke, gimme a break.
4.15.04 @ 12:26a
One of my points of moving on beyond the 9/11 Commission (although I'll say Ashcroft came across as an arrogant fool by pointing fingers in the manner he did. I don't like Condoleeza Rice, but she was more sympathetic than Ashcroft. Neither of them gave me a sense of confidence), because it is distracting from issues like the economy and jobless rates.
When I hear that unemployment rates are down, I wonder if much of the county realizes this doesn't mean people are getting jobs. I know several people who have given up on getting jobs, who have run out of unemployment and are living with family and friends until something "happens" for them or their family and friends get tired of them and boot them out.
Lower unemployment rates don't mean an improved economy, just that people are starting to fall through the cracks.
The same goes for education. The fed is cutting support to states where the No Child Left Behind program shows a decline in levels of learning ability. Instead of increasing funding to build up education in among poorer school systems, the incentive is to punish those for falling behind the program.
Most of you already know my stance on gay rights. I'm left of Bush, waving a big rainbow flag and flipping him the bird.
These are only three issues besides the war or 9/11 that are being overshadowed by war. If we allow war to become that all encompassing, many things of equal and greater importance will get overshadowed.
When Bush spoke of assuring democracy and freedom for the Iraqi people, in his press conference, I was sickened by his hipocrisy simply because of his stance on gay rights.
As for his staying the course in the war, we really don't have a choice. We are there and have bombed the hell out of their country. We've ripped apart their way of life. We can't just pull out now and abandon them. We have to attempt fix what we tore apart. Of course 87 billion dollars that could be used right here in America isn't going to do much for them. Not when the small amounts we've already turned over to them disappeared without a trace.
We've hit on the culture being a problem. This is hypocritical, considering America is a land where we embrace our ancestral culture. We can't ask them to give up their beliefs and culture because it suits us.
Just looking at all these issues is overwhelming.
4.15.04 @ 3:02a
We've spent $80 billion on an unnecessary war this year alone and the estimates I've seen for next year are between $70 billion and $90 billion depending on which party you talk to.
I just sit back and wonder what our schools, or the poor, or AIDS Research would have done with $170 billion dollars.
4.15.04 @ 3:12a
Oh, and yes Dan, I really do think the president saying "sorry" (and meaning it) is something to offer. It offers humility and regret and an acknowledgement that one may not be right all the time. Three things Bush has never owned up to. And that's the sign of a low, weak, timid man - not someone I want running my country.
A excerpt from a Sydney Blumenthal column on Salon.com illustrates my point exactly.
"Almost exactly 43 years ago, on April 21, 1961, President John F. Kennedy held a press conference to answer questions on the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion by Cuban exiles that he had approved. "There's an old saying," he said, "that victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan ... I am the responsible officer of the government and that is quite obvious." He expressed private disbelief at and disdain for his sudden rise in popularity: "The worse I do the more popular I get." He remarked to his aide Ted Sorensen: "How could I have been so far off base? All my life I've known better than to depend on the experts. How could I have been so stupid, to let them go ahead?"
On Wednesday, President Bush held only his third prime-time press conference and was asked three times whether he accepted responsibility for failing to act before Sept. 11 on warnings such as the President's Daily Brief of Aug. 6, 2001, titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." "I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference with all the pressure of trying to come up with an answer, but it hadn't yet," he said. "... I just haven't -- you just put me under the spot here and maybe I'm not quick -- as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one."
4.15.04 @ 8:22a
I'm going to toss another morsel into the ring for everyone to wrestle with: Just how did John Kerry earn those 4 Purple Hearts in Vietnam? Was he truly wounded, or did he pull a Frank Burns, except for scratches instead of accidentally shooting himself in the foot with a stolen gun?
His aides and supporters were screaming for Bush's service medical records to be opened for public scrutiny, yet he's not wanting HIS medical records relating to his Purple Hearts opened to the same scrutiny.
Say what you like about Bush, I would find it far more abhorrent that someone had manipulated the Purple Heart system to gain an early exit from Vietnam to get a jumpstart on his political career. It's also hypocritical that he wants to be commander-in-chief of people who are out there taking chances everyday that can lead to a real reason for a Purple Heart after manipulating the system himself.
4.15.04 @ 10:00a
Matt-The commission has concluded that nothing gave adequate warning for 9/11. They are unsure of how to fix the problems, they estimate it will take at least 5 years to address certain issues, e.g. that the CIA's staff was reduced by 25% during your boy Clinton's tenure.
Bush is simply not responsible for it, nor for failing to fix it in a single term. I'm with Robert, I'm ready to move past the committee.
Robert- The amendment is heinous. Keep waving the flag and flipping the finger, you deserve better than that. Kerry is a total hypocrite on same-sex marriage, but I have to give you this one.
The Education bit, I did not know. I knew scores were up on average, hadn't looked at the funding. It doesn't make much sense to reduce it in those ares. My overall view on education is that the fed should have a role limited to generalities as per the constitution, and that the states should own it. But when the social engineers at the NEA control it, and 9/10 of every dollar they spend goes to a democrat who then authorize socialist policy to be embedded in the curriculum, I have to favor less education spending in general, at least until we get unbiased lobby groups, which is probably never. But none of that changes your point, which is curious bit of policy.
-As for the economy, you raise good points. The rate for unemployment is not bad, however, it doesn't reflect underemployment or dynamics. The pool should not be static, I've been sitting out 6 months, it feels pretty static to me. I think this area is a draw, but the unknown amount of money that Kerry is going spend, how he's gonna fund his programs, etc, are a concern.
Lisa-Way back when, Kerry once said he thought war records should not be signifant criteria for electing a president. This was back when Clinton was being questioned. Apparantly that changed when he ran. Maybe this is McAuliffe's fault though. At any rate, the dems opened the can of worms, so let's see them play fair and look at Kerry's records. (I bet they won't, and I bet they'll cry foul.)
4.15.04 @ 11:02a
Well, this is what I found. His first purple star was from basically a scratch from a piece of shrapnel. Apparently an iffy situation, but the Navy felt he deserved it. From the Miami Herald: Kerry went on to earn another two Purple Hearts and he led more than two dozen missions in which he often faced enemy fire. He won the Silver Star for an action in which he killed an enemy soldier who carried a loaded rocket launcher that could have destroyed Kerry's six-man patrol boat, and he won a Bronze Star for rescuing an Army lieutenant who was thrown overboard and under fire.
Regarding employment, a friend of mine recently commented that no matter what the national numbers are, if you don't have a job, the unemployment rate for you is 100%.
Regarding Sharon, who I don't like, by the way, what's wrong with Bush's support of his plan? Haven't the Palestinians wanted Israel out of the Gaza strip? Isn't this what Sharon's doing? You feel that Bush should be backing the people who advocate blowing up children on busses instead? Also, spell "Israel" right next time, Matt.
(I'd also point out that on 9/11, Palestinians were dancing in the streets. They hated the US before yesterday.)
4.15.04 @ 11:34a
Adam, the main thing I see wrong with it is, Bush promised the Palestinians they'd have at least some input and negotiation power in any policy the U.S. backed.
Then he turned around out of nowhere and supported a plan the Palestinians had zero input in and were against.
4.15.04 @ 11:58a
The Palestinians are against any plan that actually calls for anything less than the total destruction of Israel. It's actually in the PA's constitution. I'm no hard-liner; I think a give and take path to peace would have been the way to go. I don't agree with Sharon on many issues.
But I have to agree with Bush when he says that the US can't work out a peace agreement with a governmental body "compromised by terror."
If that requires Israel to move unilaterally to protect itself, so be it. The fewer Israelis in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the better, in my opinion. Sometimes doing the right thing for the wrong reasons doesn't mean it's not the right thing.
4.15.04 @ 11:59a
I agree with Matt somewhat. The Gaza piece is a step, but The West Bank is the key. In order not to give back all of the illegally occuupied territory, there would have to be agreed-upon reparations. I'm not saying there are no reparations in Sharon's plan, but I'm saying that the Palestinians don't appear to have been involved in them. Not that they have stable, coherent representation in any case, but still.
I agree with Adam, too. The Palestinians, Iraq, and Al-qaeda have hated the US and Israel for years. How can you negotiate with terrorists, they represent no state and are not reliable and accountable for anything. It's iffy at best.
4.15.04 @ 12:35p
Hell, why not just attack the Palestinians? They support terrorism. And in the end, that's the reason we're giving for attacking Iraq.
While we're at it, let's attack Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, etc...
4.15.04 @ 12:49p
Reparations to the Palestinaians? For what, exactly? Do you people know the history of how they came to be there? If anyone owes them reparations, it's Jordan. Sorry to get off topic. But I'm tired of people blowing up Israelis while simultaneously claiming that they want peace.
4.15.04 @ 1:00p
Nobody owes the Palestinians a damned thing. The "peace process" has always been, and will ever be, a sham. Fatah and Hamas are, for all intents and purposes, the "government" of Palestine. Yasser Arafat was the one who ordered the kidnapping (and subsequent murder) of Israel athletes at the '72 Olympics, and yet we (and the Israelis) have parlayed with him for over 30 years now? That's batshit insane.
4.15.04 @ 1:15p
They've been fighting over the same piece of land for well over 2000 years. What makes anyone in Washington think a couple of signatures on a sheet of paper are going to suddenly put a stop to it.?
4.15.04 @ 1:55p
Increasingly advanced technology that allows people to mass murder in one fell swoop?
4.15.04 @ 1:57p
4.15.04 @ 2:00p
The same thing that makes them think marching into Iraq and forcing democracy on them is a good idea.
4.15.04 @ 2:34p
Reparations to the Palestinians?
The settlements are illegal, no? And you can't hold all Palestinians collectively guilty for the behavior of some insane factions, can you?
I'm with you guys on the negotiations part, Arafat, and on ending the suffering of the Israelis. I'm not with you on Zionist claims to biblical land, however. Pure dogma.
4.15.04 @ 2:53p
I think the biggest problem is the egos of Arafat and Sharon.
It seems like every time there's any baby steps forward in negotiations, one of them puts up a giant cement wall, or puts a dozen suicide bombers on buses.
Any progress seems to make them both need to prove "Look! I'm not really giving in!"
4.15.04 @ 3:03p
I think the biggest problem is the egos of Arafat and Sharon.
I think the biggest problem is that people are strapping explosives to themselves, blowing up night clubs, and calling themselves martyrs and freedom-fighters.
You can't possibly be equating the building of a wall to the deliberate mass murder of civilians.
In addition, for those who obviously don't know the history, the Palestinians are in the occupied territories because their parents and grandparents willingly left their homes in what's now Israel to go there. When Israel claimed its statehood in 1948, all of their Arab neighbors invaded. It was expected that the Jordanian Legion would just wipe the Israelis into the sea. So a lot of people left their homes in order to make way for this invading Arab force. Funny thing is the Jews won that war. And again in 1967. And again in 1973. There would be no Palestinians if a) they hadn't left their homes in the expectation that Israel -as a Jewish entity - would be destroyed and b) if the Jordanians had allowed them into Jordan following their defeat in 1948.
4.15.04 @ 3:08p
Does anyone know the history behind why the U.S. and Israel are such strong allies?
I don't know my politics well enough to understand why we give so much money, technology and military support to a country that doesn't seem to have much to offer back to us.
4.15.04 @ 3:51p
a) Because the American Jewish lobby is very strong. b) Because they have nuclear weapons, even though no one "knows" they do. c) Because they're the only democracy in the Middle East. d) Because they've never sponsored terrorism. e) Because at times they've been our only ally in the world's most volatile geographical spectrum. f) because when Israel was being created, the US was trying to assuage its guilt over its complacency during the Holocaust. g) because they're the only country in the Mideast that hasn't stabbed us in the back with the knife we've given them.
4.15.04 @ 4:06p
Israel not supporting terrorism??? Maybe by the American definition they aren't, but what do you call hired assassins?
Ask this: why is America supporting any single faction over another over a shitty piece of land simply because people think its a religious site? That's a state action supporting religion - not allowed under the constitution. We shouldn't do it. I say, fuck them all and let everyone blow themselves up over there so we can move in and make it a vacation resort in 75 years or so once the fallout clears.
4.15.04 @ 4:12p
That's putting it in a historical context. Good job, man.
(sarcasm should be dripping onto your keyboard right about now.)
And, no, I don't consider assasination to be terrorism. I'm not saying it's right, but it's definitely not on par with sending young men, women, and children to deliberately target civilians on buses and in restaurants, either.
As for your disdain of the US supporting a Jewish state, I'd like to try to avoid getting into that debate.
4.15.04 @ 5:02p
I’m happy to not go into the historical context; those responsible for creating Israel as its known today are no more right than those who fight against it. Camps for Palestinians? Remind you of the WWII ghettos, doesn’t it?
Adam, I understand and support your right to take the Jewish side in this mess but laugh at your rationalization of that Israel less responsible. They are not innocent in any way. All parties over there are equally reprehensible, and its high time America got its nose out of the equation.
4.15.04 @ 5:25p
Okay, fine. a) Israel was created in response to the death of 6 million Jews in the death camps of Europe.
b) During WWII, boatloads of Jews were actually turned away from US shores and sent back to Germany. The only country that never turned them away was Palestine (at the time).
c) The Palestinians created the current camps for themselves. The Arabs that stayed in Israel during the '48 war were allowed to remain, keep doing their work, etc. in peace. Until the rise of the PLO, most Israeli Arabs were perfectly peaceful neighbors with Israeli Jews. Moreover, if Jordan hadn't closed their borders to those exiting Palestine, the camps wouldn't exist either.
d) technically, there's no such thing as a Palestinian. Before WWI, the land they're on was part of the Ottoman Empire, and before WWII, it was part of Trans-Jordan.
e) The Palestinian constitution still calls for the destruction of the state of Israel. There are countries in the Mideast who still refuse to recognize Israel as a sovereign entity.
f) with the rise of anti-Semitism in the world these days, I'm actually kind of happy to know that there's always somewhere I can go. This is why the continued state of Israel is so important.
I'm not sure what you would have the Israelis do. They certainly can't just cease to exist.
4.15.04 @ 5:53p
Not that I'm up on the history of the Middle East, but it seems everything from the problems in Israel and Palestine, and the problems caused by Osama Bin Laden in the rest of the world all are stemming from Saudia Arabia ie. Egypt.
I might be wrong about this, but I'm sensing a pattern that goes back to ancient Egypt.
4.15.04 @ 5:58p
Actually, it's probably better traceable to ancient Rome.
4.15.04 @ 6:07p
Ok, not to break off good discussion, but let's get back to what a jackass Bush is.
4.15.04 @ 6:42p
Boy, he's a jackass.
4.15.04 @ 6:53p
Ok, here's a poll I saw today that makes no sense:
According to a Fairleigh Dickinson University Poll, Kerry is at 41 percent and Bush at 40 percent. But with Nader on the ballot, he gets 5 percent, Bush 48 and Kerry 44 percent.
So suddenly, with Nader on the ballot, 8% more people make up their minds about Bush and 3% mor about Kerry?
4.15.04 @ 7:00p
If Ralph Nader wins this election for the Republicans again, I'm calling open season on hitting him with ice cubes wherever he goes.
4.15.04 @ 10:02p
The bad part about Nader being on any of the ballots is that he hasn't qualified for the ballots in I believe two states (Oregon and Washington). If you're running for President I really think you should be on the ballot in every state.
There was an article in New York Magazine last month about Nader winning the election for the republicans. Not a bad article, but it really slammed Nader.
4.16.04 @ 10:54a
If Ralph Nader wins this election for the Republicans again
I love democrat fantasy math, Clinton's greatest contribution to the party.
But let me talk about what a jackass Kerry is, in the interest of balance. Here's what he's bringing to the table:
1. The same exact exitless strategy for Iraq with more involvement with the UN. It's brilliant, they've performed so well in previous police functions, they'll clearly solve it.
2. Cut taxes for corporations, an estimated 2/3's of which paid zero payroll taxes from 1996-2000.
3. Rampant socialism. Here is a quote from Kerry, regarding his public-service for college tuition program, with Hillary and Rangel close by: "We can't have a country where all we do is take care of ourselves." Okay, let's forget how the place was designed and instead specifically redistribute a bunch of bank and individual wealth to benefit specific communities and students, compensating for the imminent shortfalls with more taxes. Reward people who are responsible for themselves with even more obligations.
4. The same approach to Israel.
5. An even more hypocritical approach to same sex marriage.
Vote for him if you want, but don't expect libertarians to support him with that bunch of socialist bunk. Blame it on Nadar, but you're avoiding the many questions democrats need to answer.
Libertarians are still safer with republicans, insideous amendment or not, and I can explain why in painful detail. And while I would not like to endorse a candidate that represents hatred toward people, as Robert has mentioned, you have to realize that Kerry represtents hatred toward a lot of people as well, specifically those who would self-govern.
4.16.04 @ 11:45a
1. Kerry didn't get us into this mess, so the fact that Iraq doesn't have a solution you can hardly blame on him. Frankly, right now I don't give a shit about Iraq. I give a shit about hundreds of Americans dying, and if less US involvement reduces our casualties, I'm all for it.
2. How can you rip Kerry for corporation tax cuts? You think Bush is any better? The only thing different between Kerry and Bush is that Kerry won't cut taxes for people making more than $200,000 a year.
3. I don't know about you, but I'd love a country where everyone helped take care of everyone else.
4. I doubt Kerry would have supported Sharon like Bush just did.
5. I'm not sure how backing same-sex unions, and giving people all the same legal rights as married people is a bad thing.
And I think saying that Kerry "hates" people who want to self-govern is going overboard. I don't see him backing a Constitutional ammendment to make it illegal to register to be a Republican.
4.16.04 @ 11:48a
Dan, I'm convinced jackass is synonymous with politician. Sane, polite people don't want the job of running the country.
Everyone who wants the job of President has an agenda that centers around themselves. The rest of the country really doesn't matter to them, they just say it does.
4.17.04 @ 12:52a
Lisa - I agree wholeheartedly.
1. I'm not blaming Kerry, I'm just saying it's a draw. Our soldiers will still die, the UN will take over the government building piece.
2. I'm not ripping on him, he's not doing anything different, just shifting the cut to corporations. But because 2/3's of them didn't pay any under the last democrat, and you and I paid plenty, it's iffy. Draw a magic line and say you don't owe on 199K but you do on 201k? When in doubt, leave individuals alone, even if they're over 200K. Screw the corporations, they'll survive. I say it's another draw, it depends on whether you favor social-capitalism, or individual-capitalism (which is what the Constitution calls for.)
3. I would love it too, but it should not be government mandated and regulated. That violates liberty and individual capitalism in every sense of the words as mentioned in the Constitution. Taken to its logical extreme, you end up with China. There's no privacy or private property there, all you do is work for others. It's also very bad campaigning with a swing vote that is to some extent concerned with libertarian ideals. An individual should be able to choose how and who he or she helps, and what help and from whom he or she receives.
4. I admit to speculating on this one. I can't see how he would do any different, but he might. I'll give you this one.
5. Not only is it bad, it's as hypocritical as Bush's, probably more. Kerry doesn't want same-sex couples to marry, but he wants their vote so he won't take a stand. Of course, he won't stand for them to get married either, as you would expect a candidate to if they cared about fundamental libertarian principles or gay rights. It's a fine stand for a fascist socialist pretending to be a liberal, but a weak one for a presidential candidate.
Hate- Sorry for going overboard, the term was loaded, but it's not a complete stretch. Otherwise, he wouldn't be dictating to us that we're somehow responsible for more than ourselves. And you wouldn't see groups like NOW, NAACP, Planned Parenthood, the NEA and the ACLU under his hood. They are, and don't think because they give good oink-oink to rights that they care about individuals. They only care about group results via social engineering and wealth redistribution, both of which are directly harmful to self-governing and thus hateful to individuals. Maybe we should lick Bush, I won't be sorry to see him go. But be warned, what's under Kerry's kimono ain't pretty, and we're not gonna be any better for seeing it.
4.17.04 @ 10:06a
1st, to Adam: " c) The Palestinians created the current camps for themselves... d) technically, there's no such thing as a Palestinian.". Please! Are Jews are a separate race, too?
but we're off of that.
5) Matt; a civil union is far from having the same rights marriage allows. It's NO VICTORY!
Dan and Lisa are right about Kerry. He's very good at not taking any stand, or one that has no depth. Shift the taxes to corporations? Most of them have left the country. They have shell organizations of management all day who shift all manufacturing overseas, and hide a lot of their financial transactions at the same time. Certain types of job are leaving, and taking $$ with them. Kerry's "jobs" plan is a farce. He'll raise your taxes. No one will be better off.
Iraq is a red herring; even if Bush hadn't have gone in, the UN or some other president would have in our lifetime. Thank Bush for having balls, despite some other flaws.
I'm voting 3rd party, and that's all. Dems and Reps are over. Any of you who vote safe votes are nothing but sheep.
4.17.04 @ 12:19p
3rd party? Surely not Nader. Who's the Libertarian candidate this go-around? I thought I read something about one around somewhere, but that's about it.
But with Middle East countries, we force our culture on them because we don't respect it.
Nonsense, Matt. There are politicos in the Middle East who welcome the money brought in by Western products. You're acting like we just march in and build it. Who approves the site? Who allows for the infrastructure? Where do th workers come from? Who encourages the taxes paid, or, as is probably the case, greenlights the tax abatement? Just because some of the Middle East is desert doesn't mean the entire region is without rules and structure. The politicos who run Iraq or Saudi or Iran or where ever are the ones that benefit from the Western money, at the cost of their own culture.
So if fingers need to be pointed in a certain direction, it would be at them. Companies from any country, not just the United States, will market their products where ever they feel there is a demand and free trade. Just as in America, a Walgreens builds across the street from Osco, city planners allow for it, and therefore, it is done. If any preservation of culture has to occur, it is the responsibility of that culture to do so.
4.17.04 @ 7:43p
It looks like the Libertarian candidate for president will be Gary Nolan. The closest runner-up in the LP Primaries is Aaron Russo. I myself will be voting Libertarian in this election and as a matter of fact (On April 8 2004) filed to change my political affiliation from NPA (No Party Affiliation, the Florida way of saying Independent) to the Libertarian Party.
4.17.04 @ 10:59p
Interesting discussion. Lots of tit for tat details and quotes from sources that cannot be substantiated through direct contact. ( Both sides know how to push our buttons by appealing to our emotions ) Quote from the movie Dune "Fear is the mind killer". I also believe that anger is the mind killer. We are all being deceived. Why? Good question. Who benefits when we spend our time immersed in a discussion of details? I would like to pose a couple of other questions? I am very interested in the responses from such a diverse intelligent group of people.
(1) Why were we attacked?
(2) Who is running this country?
(3) What are the components of America's vital interests?
(4) Why is it necessary to have an American military presence in so many places around the world?
I think that the best thing that could happen for the long term viability of the United States is for George W. Bush to be re-elected. I do agree that he is the worst President that we have ever had.
4.17.04 @ 11:23p
(1) Why were we attacked?
Karma. If you look at it, America blew up two cities in Japan during WWII. Karmically, this was our payback.
(2) Who is running this country?
Dick Cheney. He may be hiding behind Bush, but Cheney is pulling corporate strings still. He is the real danger to America.
(3) What are the components of America's vital interests?
America's vital interests are control, power, image and money.
(4) Why is it necessary to have an American military presence in so many places around the world?
Control, power, image.
I still feel Bush in the short term is the worst thing and that is the reason he has to be ousted. I don't care about America in 50 years because at 40 years of age, chances are I'll be dead within 50 years. I'm not a person to care about leaving a legacy.
4.18.04 @ 10:46a
(1) Because Bin Laden and Co. think we're Godless, soulless devils out to overrun Islam with Christianity and force our culture on the rest of the world.
(2) Large corporations. They're the ones with the power to get mercury reclassified as a non-toxic stubstance thereby saving them billions in cleanup fees. They're the ones writing our energy policies in secret meetings with Cheney. And they're the ones profitting from this war.
(3) Totally agree with Robert, although the order is different: money, power, control and image.
(4) It's not.
Daniel, I'd love to hear your explanation on your last point. I'm not sure I get it.
I don't see how destroying the environment, giving more money to the super rich and less to the poor, creating a deficit that we may never recover from, making us hated in many more countries and disliked by even more, destroying the Constitution by legislating discrimination and erasing the separation between church and state, etc., etc., etc. is good for the "long term viability of the United States."
And to counter a Dan rebuttal that I'm sure is coming - I don't think Kerry is the end all be all. I don't think he can solve a lot of the problems that we face. But I think he can solve some of them. And I don't think he'll run this country into the ground like no other President except Bush has.
Honestly, if it was between Bush and a retarded Chihuahuan for President, I'd choose the dog.
4.18.04 @ 10:58a
Oh, and I'm sure I've said this before, but it bears repeating: Look at all the shit Bush has pulled while in office. (Go ahead, reread this column.) Then keep in mind that he did all this knowing he had to get reelected.
Just think what he and Cheney are going to do to this country when they know they have absolutely no one to answer to four years down the road.
4.18.04 @ 5:50p
"Honestly, if it was between Bush and a retarded Chihuahuan for President, I'd choose the dog."
Can you imagine the number of diplomatic incidents we'd have because of the darn thing biting all the foreign dignitaries' ankles?
4.18.04 @ 7:46p
But Lisa, imagine the cushy CIA jobs like "walk the president", and the guy who holds the pooper scooper. Of course being a Chihuahua the immigration issues would become top priority, and comedians could finally get away with calling the first lady a bitch.
4.19.04 @ 10:59a
I'm reminded of a couple of quotes from "The American President"? - "For the record, yes, I am a card carrying member of the ACLU, but the more important question is "Why aren't you, Bob?" Now this is an organization whose sole purpose is to defend the Bill of Rights, so it naturally begs the question, why would a senator, his party's most powerful spokesman and a candidate for President, choose to reject upholding the constitution? Now if you can answer that question, folks, then you're smarter that I am, because I didn't understand it until a few hours ago.
America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You've gotta want it bad, cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say, "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours." You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of it's citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free.
We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things, and two things only: making you afraid of it, and telling you who's to blame for it."
And the other quote that stuck with me - "How do you have patience for people who claim they love America, but clearly can't stand Americans?"
4.19.04 @ 3:15p
I like the quotes, especially the last one, but I do not believe the ACLU's sole purpose is to defend the Bill of Rights. It was once, but not in today's form as mutated by the current leadership.
If it were, they would put equal resources into supporting the second amendment, not just the first and a few others they believe.
In fact, their mission statement says point blank that they focus on certain groups and people whose rights need support more than others. They, of course, are the group who decides this. They also support very unconstitutional things, such as specific wealth redistribution. One's right to throw a punch ends just shy of another's nose. They don't get this at all, that's why they're in people's pockets, even those who don't carry their card.
Sorry, that was off-topic. Back on topic, I won't rebut anyone's beliefs, even Matt's, who has not come by them lightly.
I reject that Bush created the deficit, has caused more hatred than there already was, or has destroyed the constitution as of yet. But these are the facts as I believe them, and as Daniel pointed out, how sure are we of their foundation?
Here's my $.02 on Daniel's four questions:
1. Because we are singularly blamed for the disparity that Western Culture represents to deprived, poverty-stricken countries, even though France, Germany, and other countries are equally responsible, but neatly hide behind us.
2. This country is run by corporations, some for-profit, some non-profit. The democrat and republican parties represent 2 huge non-profits that govern us. The NRA, Christian Coalition, NOW, ACLU, NAACP, etc., etc., represent others. There are many for-profits as well.
3. Free trade, responsible world citizens to trade with, and all liberties provided by the individual capital with which we self-govern.
4. It should only be necessary in places where we are threatened. The bulk of it is the remainder of the strategic containment and deterrance doctrine with which we won the cold war, but which no longer seems effective.
4.19.04 @ 4:27p
"But Lisa, imagine the cushy CIA jobs like "walk the president", and the guy who holds the pooper scooper. Of course being a Chihuahua the immigration issues would become top priority, and comedians could finally get away with calling the first lady a bitch."
Yeah, and just imagine the scandal when the little rascal gets out and has his way with the French ambassador's toy poodle.
4.20.04 @ 12:33a
I'm not liking this. You racists are saying smallish Mexicans aren't smart and are helplessly horny?
Just because it's true in my case is no reason to generalize and discriminate against that dog, sheesh.
4.20.04 @ 12:55a
Dan, biting all the foreign dignataries hasn't really worked well for Bush, so I don't think it would work for the Chihuahua either.
4.20.04 @ 7:13a
Dan, I have nothing against Mexicans....but lots of experience with Chihuahuas. Actually, they were all ankle and heel biters, but I don't remember any of them being horny. Then again, they were all neutered. Maybe that's why they had such nasty dispositions.
4.20.04 @ 11:31a
So now Bob Woodward's new book is backing up the claims that Richard Clarke testified to: That Bush was planning to invade Iraq long beforehand.
Can we impeach him now? I mean, he used funds to plan for a war that wasn't even approved by Congress yet - totally against the Constitution.
And now we know they lied even more. When Cheney, Bush, et al first tried to discredit Clarke and flat out told the public he was lying because they never had early plans to attack Iraq.
Now it's pretty obvious that Bush lied and Clarke and Woodward are telling the truth.
I often wonder if there's a single sentence that comes out of the mouths of this administration that's true. I mean, it really is beyond the point of ridiculousness.
4.20.04 @ 12:06p
Now it's pretty obvious that Bush lied and Clarke and Woodward are telling the truth.
How do you figure that without just taking their word for it? Clarke is disgruntled and Woodward is a shameless democratic pundit who has never been objective in his life. If they have facts, why are they selling books?
I don't buy it. They're book salesman who need the controversy.
[edited to change soulless to shameless, I was too harsh on old Bob
4.20.04 @ 12:31p
Woodward is a highly respected journalist who was given amazing access to everyone in the administration. He did multiple interviews with different people - all who said the same thing. Hell, even Bush himself said as much.
If Woodward was making things up, don't you think the GOP would be demanding proof of his interviews?
And while the Republicans tried to paint Clarke as disgruntled and out for revenge, Woodward's interviews completely back up Clarke's testimony.
What? Do you think Clarke and Woodward got together and decided on a story to both make up?
4.20.04 @ 5:42p
I was too harsh on Woodward, that's why I toned it down but didn't conceal it. To answer your question, I don't think they made everything up, I think they embellished it to the worse possible appearance over scotch and water with their buddy Terry McAuliffe, who's really running the show.
And Woodward is very creative, coming up with a way to blame Bush in the event that oil prices do drop. Like these guys know anyting about the complexities of the foreign-dominated oil markets if they believe a single prince can effect it that hugely. What they do know is how to pin it on Bush, whichever way it turns out.
By the way, did you note Kerry's recent brilliance campaigning for the Jewish vote in Florida? Fullest support for Israel, no more 'sweetheart' deals for Arab nations? You've got to love that, that will quell some Arab hatred. The only difference with Bush's platform now is that Kerry will piss off more Arabs.
4.20.04 @ 8:35p
The way the world is shaping up, I don't think America can afford to trust anyone. And I don't think the American people can afford to take any politician at their word.
I'm actually beginning to think the term of office for politicians should be limited to one year with yearly elections and a cap of eight consecutive terms. Maybe then politicians would attpemt to actually get things done within a year, and not drag things out for election year boosts.
I read warnings about possible terrorist attacks in America around the November elections, as if the thought of terrorist attacks seems to vanish from my mind if I don't see a daily reminder. Basically everytime something happens, a train wreck, plane crash, blackout, bad hair day, my first thought is terrorists until I hear otherwise.
If Kerry is pissing off the Arabs, Bush is pissing off the Palestinians, some Arabs, probably Spain, and Afghanistian, and half the US. Kerry has the other half of the US P.O.'ed.
When is someone going to stand up and say, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore"? Of course with the new censorship they'll have to either bleep it or say "Heck."
4.20.04 @ 8:56p
Dan, I'm currently reading House of Bush. House of Saud. It's about the ultra-close relationship that the Bush family has with the royals in Saudi Arabia.
So pretty soon I'll be able to coherently argue about why we didn't attack Saudi Arabia eventhough most of the 9/11 terrorists came from there. Or why on 9/14 Bush, despite a national no-fly rule, authorized a plane full of Saudis (including relatives of Bin Laden) to leave the country without questioning .
4.20.04 @ 10:28p
I think that the best thing that could happen for the long term viability of the United States is for George W. Bush to be re-elected. I do agree that he is the worst President that we have ever had.
I still feel Bush in the short term is the worst thing and that is the reason he has to be ousted. I don't care about America in 50 years because at 40 years of age, chances are I'll be dead within 50 years. I'm not a person to care about leaving a legacy
Daniel, I'd love to hear your explanation on your last point. I'm not sure I get it.
(3) What are the components of America's vital interests?
3. Free trade, responsible world citizens to trade with, and all liberties provided by the individual capital with which we self-govern.
Thanks for the responses.
Let me see if I can tie some of this together.
When I say long term I mean very long term. I think a good objective for the human species would be to keep the planet not only viable, but enjoyable for our ancestors 10,000 years from now. Possibly we could all unite in taking the responsibility as caretakers for the planet. Personally, I think that's a pretty cool gig.
Something catastrophic will eventually happen and whoever is in office will be blamed. The war on terrorism cannot be won, because winning in the current context of our leadership, Democratic or Republican, means that all liberties are provided by the capital with which we self govern. In other words, everybody in the world must adopt our Capitalistic system.
That is not freedom. You have no choice. I do not think we even have 50 years with that kind of thinking. I think that the coming election is a mirror image of the 1964 election. The Republican party took an extreme position while running Barry Goldwater. I think old Barry said something like "Extremism in the the defense of liberty is no vice". They got slaughtered in the election. But in the next election they won, and since then there has only been one progressive President, Jimmy Carter. Winning in a landslide seduced the liberals into moving too fast. They also were dealing with the beginnings of Vietnam. Sound Familiar
If the Democrats came out with an extreme position, (they could use the same line as Barry) they would lose in a landslide, thus seducing the conservatives into revealing their true agenda. Otherwise, if Kerry wins and something happens, the game is over. Worldwide Capitalism and never ending war.
4.21.04 @ 2:00a
"I think a good objective for the human species would be to keep the planet not only viable, but enjoyable for our ancestors 10,000 years from now. Possibly we could all unite in taking the responsibility as caretakers for the planet."
If you want that, then you certainly wouldn't vote for Bush - the President who's rolling back almost every single environmental law on the book. He's allowing big business to pollute this country to death.
And if that's not enough to ruin the world, go back and reread the part in my column about Bush and nuclear weapons.
4.21.04 @ 4:34a
I am not going to vote for Bush. I agree with almost everything you say. Democrats also believe in continuous growth. With continuous growth you will get increasing pollution, no matter who is the President. Electing Kerry might get us a little extra time. That is a good thing. But sooner or later we will have to face the fact that Capitalism will not carry us 10,000 years into the future. There is a document created by our Government during the Clinton administration that is more frightening than the Bush nuclear policy. document
When is someone going to stand up and say, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore"? Of course with the new censorship they'll have to either bleep it or say "Heck."
There are many people who are standing up, both here and abroad. The question is "What are we not going to take and what are we going to replace it with?"
4.21.04 @ 9:57a
"What are we not going to take and what are we going to replace it with?"
Those are easy questions, pieces of cake. It's How are we gonna replace it that is the hard question, unanswerable perhaps.
I'm currently reading House of Bush. House of Saud
Interesting, I'm looking forward to hearing what you dig up. I've no doubt there are links, I'd be surprised if there weren't, but I'm skeptical as to the more far-flung sounding assertions and whether or not they can be proved.
One thing we can all agree on, this is an awesome discussion, and having to consider each others' diverse viewpoints foments growth. Now when I see a tidbit in the news, I have to think "how would this strike the folks in the lick Bush thread?".
4.21.04 @ 10:48a
Agreed - it's been a great discussion. Always fun to debate like this.
4.21.04 @ 12:37p
Who's running the country?
When, in the history of American politics, has a Vice President had so much influence and power? Not in my lifetime, that's for sure.
4.26.04 @ 1:48p
Democrats also believe in continuous growth.
Continuous growth, carefully regulated by a socialistic beaurocracy, which will not mitigate the flaws in capitalism, but IMHO will hasten it's demise without bringing about a viable alternative, communistic or otherwise. Thus, although I dislike the parties, particularly the big two, I have the most disdain for the democrats.
4.26.04 @ 2:18p
I identify more with the party that stands (at least a fair amount) behind the poor and the environment - the Dems. I can't really get behind a party like the Republicans which, in general, operates more for the very rich and tries to legislate morality.
But in reality, I don't have much rancor for either party in general. There have been plenty of good and bad presidents from both sides.
I just think in the entire history of this country, we haven't had a president who's more out for the rich, more detrimental to the environment and more destructive to foreign policy than Bush is. We've also never had a less intelligent president, one who's a bigger liar, one who's done more shady and illegal things, or one who's tried harder to divide this country and exclude people who don't fit into his fanatical religious beliefs.
4.26.04 @ 3:46p
Actually, I'd argue that Nixon probably did "more shady and illegal things," or at least they're neck and neck.
When is someone going to stand up and say, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore"?
I'm pretty sure that's what the terrorists are saying.
4.26.04 @ 3:54p
Ok, I'll give you a Bush/Nixon photo finish in the shady and illegal things race.
4.26.04 @ 5:03p
When is someone going to stand up and say, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore"?
I'm pretty sure that's what the terrorists are saying.
I was kind of hoping someone in middle America, who wasn't a terrorist, would be mad as hell. Oh well.
I've lost faith in all politicians, and really liked Dean as a cure for Bush, but considering the current choices, I'll settle for Kerry until someone better comes along in the next 8 years.
4.26.04 @ 5:15p
I just want a president who isn't going to rape our environment while advocating censorship above the law and prayer in schools.
Plus, three scary words: Supreme Court Justice.
4.26.04 @ 6:21p
Ok, I'll give you a Bush/Nixon photo finish in the shady and illegal things race.
I'd add Clinton to the list. He lied, obstructed justice, collected money from the Chinese, pardoned his cronies, and abused executive privelege to cover it all up. Sound familiar? I think you guys are lucky Bush got elected, so now you can say he's the worst instead of Bill, who was clearly worse than Nixon in my mind.
I'll settle for Kerry until someone better comes along in the next 8 years.
I won't argue this anymore, you can have him. But you better hope for a Republican majority in congress, because what else will prevent Pelosi and co. from socializing us to near-death? This is my big problem with the dems, and you guys don't seem to share it.
Hilary was at it again this weekend, saying Bush had to go because he was denying funding to International abortion clinics, he believed Roe V. Wade should be overturned (which is correct on medical grounds), and believed the male-female wage gap was phony (which is correct because that figure neatly omits hours-worked).
I'm not paranoid, but as I've mentioned, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, NOW, etc., are a socialist coalition, as evidensed by their joint participation in the recent rally and recent litigation, and their premise is that men and women are not equal unless public funds are spent allowing women to have abortions, among other things. Why doesn't this bother you guys?
4.26.04 @ 6:35p
It doesn't bother me because I'd rather have a state where I get taxed reasonably to help my fellow countrymen, even if I'm not directly affected by their condition, and the funds are state approprated, than live in a state where the poor fall by the wayside in preference to corporations and the almighty dollar.
I'm no socialist, but I don't mind bearing a little of the burden if it means that the needy don't keep getting needier.
And speaking specifically of abortions, I will never need one. But again, in my mind, public funds for Planned Parenthood beats women being forced to have babies they don't want. I don't know about you, but less overcrowding in the lower socioeconomic classes seems like a good thing to me, especially if the alternative is an overabundance of unwanted, neglected children.
4.26.04 @ 6:45p
I will happily spend my tax dollars making sure there are fewer unwanted children in this country instead of spending hundreds of billions of dollars on an unnecessary war that is killing our soldiers, lining the pockets of Halliburton, and making us more hated around the world.
I will happily spend my tax dollars for things like national health insurance, or child care credits, or education, or any number of other things that help a significant portion of the country instead of giving it to the energy industry with secret back room deals.
If anything, I think this country is under socialized. We need to help people out more not less. We should make laws and pass spending bills that help people who can't be successful instead of people who already are successful.
The problem I see this country having right now is that it's a "me me me and fuck everyone else" society. Everyone's out for themselves and they couldn't give a shit what minority group they step on to get what they want. And that's exactly why the rich are getting richer, the middle class is disappearing, the poor are falling further and further behind with no way to ever catch up, and why the environment is going to shit.
So if it takes a little socialism to force people to act humanely and do the right thing, then I'm all for it.
4.26.04 @ 6:49p
You're making me seem cold-hearted. Reasonable taxes are fine. Currently, the average American works 28% of the time (every fourth day) to pay taxes. 101 total days a year. I have no problem with this, but I think it's about as much as it should ever get. But it will not stay at that level under current democratic policies.
forced to have babies they don't want. No one is forcing anyone to have a baby, nor to have sex, nor any of those things. No one except for the ACLU, NOW and Planned Parenthood is making choices on anyone else's behalf.
The sheer lack of personal responsibility that these groups encourage is baffling, and is one of the biggest problems. That, and the fact that their logic is based entirely on bigotry which I personally abhor.
If you take money from responsible people, redistribute it to irresponsible people based on whichever discriminatory group they belong, you get irresponsible people who get to live for free. If you don't incent them to work, or to take responsibility for their choices, and instead pay for their choices, they will never choose to get out of that system. They will never have the choice to get out of that system.
4.26.04 @ 7:05p
But it will not stay at that level under current democratic policies.
Hmmm...I seem to remember the last Democratic president keeping a balanced budget and reducing the budget, all without some huge tax increase. As opposed to the current president who has cut taxes, but run up astronomical deficits that don't even take into account the billions of dollars the wars he dragged us into will cost.
Republicans theoretically won't raise taxes. They'll just spend us into another recession.
No one is forcing anyone to have a baby, nor to have sex, nor any of those things.
Well, when you stop teaching people about contraceptives, or providing them to people who wouldn't otherwise get them, you're forcing them to make a bad decision on how not to get pregnant.
"If you take money from responsible people, redistribute it to irresponsible people based on whichever discriminatory group they belong, you get irresponsible people who get to live for free."
So with a national healthcare system, you'd consider healthy people "responsible" and people who get sick "irresponsible"?
4.26.04 @ 7:10p
If you don't incent them to work, or to take responsibility for their choices, and instead pay for their choices, they will never choose to get out of that system.
Hmm...I see coal plants making a choice to pollute, yet Bush just rolled back a bill that would have made them pay for technology to clean the air. I don't see any responsibility for the polluting being taken.
When Cheney makes a choice to break the law and have secret meetings with the energy people, I don't see him taking responsibility for that.
4.26.04 @ 7:32p
Hmmm...I seem to remember the last Democratic president keeping a balanced budget and reducing the budget, all without some huge tax increase
He did that by counting SS funds as an asset instead of a liability, funds exchanged with US bonds, that the gov't will have to pay interest on. He just postponed the debt and increased it, expediating the demise of that system. I'm not making that up either, and I've mentioned it before.
I don't see any responsibility for the polluting being taken
The bloated US Government is the single biggest polluter and will get worse as democrats strive to enlarge it further.
So with a national healthcare system
Sickness is not a choice, Unwanted pregnancy is. Responsible people cannot avoid the former, but they can avoid the latter.
4.26.04 @ 7:45p
Fast fooding yourself into diabetes can't be avoided? Smoking yourself into cancer can't be avoided? Not drinking yourself into liver transplants is unavoidable?
A large portion of America's medical bills could be avoided.
And saying that we shouldn't spend money on unwanted pregnancies because they could just avoid it to begin with is like saying automakers shouldn't put in seat belts or air bags because you just should't crash in the first place.
So do you really believe that Bush has been as fiscally responsible as Clinton?
4.26.04 @ 9:15p
Dan, has the death toll from Bill Clinton's lies exceeded 800 and still mounting?
I really don't see a reason for America to have started the war in Iraq. Of course I don't see a reason for a lot of the things people do in the name of their gods or to control other people.
4.26.04 @ 10:07p
A large portion of America's medical bills could be avoided
Some portion, but nowhere near all of it. Diabetes is predisposed genetically, incidentally, pregnancy is not. 99.9% of all unwanted pregnancies could be avoided. Furthermore, all you did was describe irresponsible people getting sick. Responsible people get sick too. Responsible people rarely get inadvertantly pregnant, however.
Here's what I'm saying: specialized socialism harms one or more groups exactly as much as it helps one particular group. It's flat-out wealth redistribution, and absent of any personal responsibility, it creates the exact stagnant, wretched, welfare state that we currently have.
Generalized welfare helps everybody, not a bigotously designated subset, particularly in a system that also encourages personal responsibility. You guys just will not address this head-on. You're detailing me to death with analogies I don't grasp.
So do you really believe that Bush has been as fiscally responsible as Clinton
Clinton would have been much worse, had he not blown the Dem majority in Congress back in '94 by pushing Hilary's fiscally irresponsible socialized medicine plan. In fact, if it wasn't for Hastert and the resulting Republicans majority, you wouldn't even have that mis-counted 'surplus' that keeps coming up. Dig into it, that was a bi-partisan effort. So no, I don't t think Clinton was much better.
4.26.04 @ 10:13p
Dan, has the death toll from Bill Clinton's lies exceeded 800 and still mounting?
Obviously not. Clinton was too weak to do anything but fire a missille at an empty tent. At any rate, the death toll does not affect me other than emotionally. As far as the soldiers go, they are re-enlisting in very high numbers, so I let that be the gauge rather than my own emotions. If Kerry wants to use those 800 as some kind of a campaign factoid, so be it, but I doubt that's what they had in mind when they laid down their lives.
4.26.04 @ 10:30p
Dan, at least part of your argument seems to be: I don't want my tax money going as a hand-out to people who aren't responsible with [fill in blank - pregnancy, etc.].
My question is, would you oppose a national health care system because a significant portion of people are irresponsible with their own health?
And I'll completely take issue with "Responsible people rarely get inadvertantly pregnant, however." That's just flat-out wrong. Half my friends were "accidental" babies. A good friend of mine got pregnant while correctly using birth control pills. Condoms break. Things happen. Just because a woman gets pregnant, it doesn't mean they were irresponsible.
"Specialized socialism harms one or more groups exactly as much as it helps one particular group." I'll take issue with this, too. Bill Gates goes out and spends $200 at Old Navy and gives the clothes to a poor family, I guarantee you that helps the poor family a hell of a lot more than it hurts Bill Gates.
And that, in a personalized nutshell, is exactly the way this country should operate. The people who have the most should help out those who have the least.
4.27.04 @ 1:03a
Dan, some soldiers are not enlisting or re-enlisting because of a sense of duty, but out a need for a place to live and a hot meal. They are the responsible ones who can't get a job for one reason or another and choose not to turn to living on the street or robbing their local liquor store. Currently some of the soldiers who were in Iraq and have returned home are strongly campaigning for Kerry.
Now healthcare. I personally have no health insurance. I simply cannot afford it. If I did have it, I still might not go to a doctor because of the gross mistreatments I've witnessed lately within my own family. (BTW my mother was a nurse and I was raised around doctors most of my life).
The last time I was in the hospital for myself it was for kidney stones. I was the ER for 6 hours and my bill was over $7000. During that time I was given several shots of Morphine (I would pay a lot for this, but not 7K), three x-rays, and a couple of $65 Tylenol. The rest of the bill was for the unseen doctors who supposedly consulted on my treatment (drink lots of fluids and a script for percocet).
BTW, did you happen to see that the state of Michigan has a bill either passed or currently on the floor that would allow medical professionals to refuse to treat a patient if the patient is gay or seeking treatment (an abortion) that would go against the doctor's religious or moral beliefs?
The bill would also bar the patient from suing the doctor for malpractice.
I really think if such a bill is passed we need insurance reform in this country as well as an overhaul of the medical industry (I don't think of it as a profession any longer).
4.27.04 @ 11:06a
Is that true? That's absolutely rephrehensible. And 100% in opposition to the Hippocratic Oath as I understand it.
To address the other questions raised: I would personally rather spend a little more of my tax money (and I'm far from being well-off) to fund a medical system in which anyone can get medical care, regardless of whether or not they were "responsible." And I would hope my fellow Americans would do the same for me. I'm a smoker. Sure, smoking is a choice, and a stupid choice, I fully admit. But I don't think I should be denied health care if I get cancer. "Oh, you chose to smoke, so you can just go ahead and die painfully at home."
In addition, the haves helping the have-nots - how is that a bad thing? The argument that it decreases personal responsibility or takes away the will to work, well that might be so, in certain circumstances, but I'd still rather some lazy people get medical care if it means that those who work hard can get it as well. I don't want to be the one to say to someone, "Well, you can't be treated for your diabetes because other people have taken advantage of the system. Sorry."
No one except for the ACLU, NOW and Planned Parenthood is making choices on anyone else's behalf.
What choices are they making? They don't force people to get abortions; they simply keep it legal to do so. I've been to Planned Parenthood. They're professional, friendly, and really go out of their way to make an uncomfortable situation palatable. Only the people who want to take away that choice from women are the ones imposing their values on anyone. P.P. says "it's up to you whether you want to get an abortion. We'll be here if the answer's 'yes'."
It also occurs to me that under the "irresponsible people who get pregnant should be denied abortions" plan, what you get stuck with, Dan, is, by your own argument, irresponsible people who are now parents. I fail to see how that benefits the country.
4.27.04 @ 11:38a
It also occurs to me that under the "irresponsible people who get pregnant should be denied abortions" plan
You guys are twisting my words. I never said anyone should be denied an abortion, I said the government shouldn't pay for them. And as far as the term 'respnsible' goes, I'm talking about 'responsibility for oneself'. What I was saying was not that accidents don't happen, which they clearly do, but that when responsible people get pregnant, they either keep the baby or pay for their own abortion. It is only people who are irresponsible for themselves that need the government to pay for it. I may not have been clear.
BTW, did you happen to see that the state of Michigan has a bill
That bill sounds insane, particularly coming from Michigan.
In addition, the haves helping the have-nots - how is that a bad thing?
It's not, but most of our help is wasted and its not working, due to socialism. Consider, out of the 101 days you worked to pay taxes in 2003, at leasr 50 went to welfare. If you add that to mine, Matt's, and Robert's, you have 200 days of money at our average standard of living, which I assume is quite far above poverty. Why is it year after year, that's not enough to help one family get out of poverty?
4.27.04 @ 11:53a
I can't believe that Adam and I agree on so much...
Dan, you're assuming that responsible people can afford to pay for an abortion. And really, responsible or not, if you can't afford an abortion, is it really a good idea to force someone to have a child - which will be exponentially more expensive?
Robert's point is a perfect example. He's a (fairly) responsible adult who can't afford health insurance. Through no fault of his own he's forced to pay $7000 for medical care. So what does he do if he doesn't have that $7000? Suffer?
And money alone is not enough to get people out of poverty. You need job training, education, healthcare, child care - you need a whole host of things. All things you're opposed to under the umbrella of "Socialization."
4.27.04 @ 11:54a
I've been to Planned Parenthood. They're professional, friendly, and really go out of their way to make an uncomfortable situation palatable
Many corrupt corporations have good customer service. As for choices?
1.These groups have jointly decided that men and women are not equal. This is verbatim in their mission statements, I am not paraphrasing or embellishing. Men and women cannot be equal unless all women have special priveleges. Presumably this is because they can get pregnant, cannot defend themselves against domestic abuse, etc.
2. They have decided that single-income household statistics are irrelevant because they clearly show that households headed by women have a higher median income than those headed by men.
3.They have decided that their wage gap is relevant, even though it doesn't factor in hours worked and thereby count every woman who has chosen to stay at home and let her husband work.
4.They have decided not to factor in that men lose every draw in a child custody case and collect a fraction of the paternity that women do.
5. They have decided to ignore the the fact that there are more women in the general population, and more women in the voting population.
All these choices they have made behind the pleasant guise of their euphemistically named groups, which cooperate toward one goal: social wealth redistribution.
This should bother you, we do not live in a federal democracy and they have no right to decide any of these things for you at the federal level.
4.27.04 @ 11:56a
All things you're opposed to under the umbrella of "Socialization."
I never said I was opposed to any of those things, as long as they are all offered without biased attempts at social engineering.
4.27.04 @ 12:11p
I'd argue that when it comes to pregnancy, men and women aren't equal.
It is only people who are irresponsible for themselves that need the government to pay for it.
Hell, I want the government to pay for it. I'd argue that forcing people who can't afford abortions to instead have kids seems exactly opposed to common sense.
I also fail to see how federal funding for abortions affects paternity awards.
I do see that liberalism taken to its extreme becomes socialism. That's always been the case. The same as how conservativism taken to its extreme becomes fascism. However, I'd prefer to be represented by organizations whose goal it is to help people who need it, even if it means I take home less money at the end of the day. Sure, the ACLU is a little too liberal for me sometimes; but I'd rather see them protecting a Nazi's right to march than abolish them and take the chance of losing my voice, as well.
I don't want the state to fund everything. I inherently believe in Capitalism (or will, until something better comes along). But ultimate capitalism doesn't take into account that not everyone has the ability, the timing, the background to succeed. Gross capitalism created the S&L scandals of the '80s. Federal funding (of the socialist sort) helped the people of Oklahoma City after the bombing. No, we don't live in a federal democracy. But "every man in every state for themselves" isn't my idea of a country, either.
4.27.04 @ 12:24p
I'd argue that forcing people who can't afford abortions to instead have kids
But you would never argue that they should be doing a better job at avoiding pregnancy, because personal responsibility for their actions is not relevant, right?
The same as how conservativism taken to its extreme becomes fascism.
Specialized Socialism, under the guise of Social Democracy or not, is fascism as well. Germany was a socialist nation, Hussein's Iraq was a socialist system. This is how they referred to themselves.
Why should the Federal branch in a republic such as ours do anything other than distribute general welfare allotments and unbiased guidelines to the states (where democracy is designed to occur) to appropriate?
4.27.04 @ 12:39p
Of course they should be doing a better job of not getting pregnant. And the government should be doing a better job teaching not just abstinence, but also the vast array of birth control options out there. That said, what's the alternative? Pay people not to have children? Government subsidies for those teenagers who have managed to check their natural desires to have sex?
Actually, I wouldn't mind if they did. And then each state could have its own battle over abortion, or health care, or whether to allow corporations to pollute their waters. We could build a wall around each state, and you could just choose to live where you wanted, based on that particular state's views on things. Want socialized healthcare? Move to New York. Opposed to black people having the vote? Move to Alabama. We could disband the Supreme Court and the House of Representatives. The President's job would solely be to meet foreign dignitaries and decide whether or not to go to war with the countries they represent. All Congress would have to do is decide how equitably federal funding is divvied up and how much tax to impose on each state. It would be paradise.
4.27.04 @ 12:40p
'm a smoker. Sure, smoking is a choice, and a stupid choice, I fully admit.
I'm a smoker to, but my health insurance does not provide stop-smoking assistance. But it does provide birth-control pills for fear of misogynistic reprisals. But it will not supply a vasectomy...
Paternity is relevant because personal responsibity, a requirement of self-government, is being obliviated by socialism. Men are not personally responsible for their kids. If they choose to be, and the woman has an abortion, their choice is moot. If the women chooses to carry, they are ordered by the state to be responsible whether or not they wished to be.
Doesn't it bother you that personal responsibility is obsoleted by specific socialism? Do you want to self govern, or be group governed? Do you want the federal government, which has only disasterous results in regulating industry, to be in charge of something as complex and specific as medicine?
4.27.04 @ 12:43p
We could build a wall around each state
This is a bit of a slippery-slope I think. The Constitution mandates no walls. Any visitor to another state must be given all the rights of any citizen of that state. No state is required to provide the rights of one's home state to any visitor. That is manifest, as is the mandate for no state to violate the bill of rights and other amendments that ensure that states are operated
4.27.04 @ 12:48p
If it's a choice between government guidlines or the healthcare companies and doctors making their own rules, I'm still gonna stick with government. Unless you can figure out a way to voluntarily decide to stop people from suing for malpractice.
And, again, I have to point out that men cannot get pregnant. Our job ends when we ejaculate. Everything else is a personal choice. And until they figure out a way for us to have to carry another growing creature inside of ourselves for 9 months and then eject it through a hole that's usually waaaaaay too small for it, I'm gonna leave that choice up to the women.
I also, and I could be wrong, but I think this is where we're diametrically opposed, but I also believe that birth control is a benefit for the country. Or, more to the point, overcrowding and unplanned, unwanted children are not.
4.27.04 @ 12:55p
This is a bit of a slippery-slope I think. The Constitution mandates no walls. Any visitor to another state must be given all the rights of any citizen of that state. No state is required to provide the rights of one's home state to any visitor. That is almost verbatim, as is the mandate for not state to violate the bill of rights and other amendments that ensure that states are operated democratically.
But we don't need the Bill of Rights anymore. Who do those Federal fuckers think they are to tell me who I have to allow to vote, or whether the police in my town have to abide by the search and seisure rule, or whether people in my state have a right to trial by jury.
You said it yourself: "Why should the Federal branch in a republic such as ours do anything other than distribute general welfare allotments and unbiased guidelines to the states (where democracy is designed to occur) to appropriate?"
And I'm tired of people being allowed to vote who haven't paid a poll tax, dammit.
4.27.04 @ 1:06p
Actually, I think I've changed my mind. I'd like to go in the other direction, it occurs to me. How about the Federal government just gives the money to the states, who just give the money to the towns, who just give the money to the citizens and allow them to spend it however they want? Because I don't plan on getting sick this year, and I could really use a bigger TV.
4.27.04 @ 1:11p
The Bill of Rights are the first form of unbiased guidelines given out. They came from 200 statutes compiled by James Madison in reponse to the anti-federalists in various states when they were trying to form the union.
Our job ends when we ejaculate. Everything else is a personal choice.
Not true. If we decide we want to be responsible for our unborn child, that choice is mooted by the woman's personal choice for an abortion. If we are not or cannot be responsible, our choice is mooted by the choice to deliver and we are ordered by the state, as a direct result of a woman's selfish, personal choice, to pay child-support. Choice has little to do with this issue, and personal responsibility does not factor in on either side.
Or, more to the point, overcrowding and unplanned, unwanted children are not. I agree with this and that birth control is necessary, I've no moral compunctions about any choice. Just the degree to which personal responsibility, a requirement of self-governing, is being compromised.
We agree on this my friend, and like Matt, if I'm not wrong, probably many other core values. That is what makes this discussion instructive.
But we are off-topic. In regards to licking Bush, I'll throw down and offer to vote for Kerry on behalf of you good people, depending on the answer to one of the two the following questions:
Do you favor a Republocratic balance in federal government, and if so how will Kerry advance it? Or, do you favor Democratic control of all three branches, and how is this not harmful to our core Constitutional values?
4.27.04 @ 1:24p
While I think an all-Democratic government would make the country more like I would like to see it, I realize that not everyone would agree with that. So I have no problem with a Democratic president and a Republican congress - as long as they're debating in the spirit of helping the country and not in the petty partisan way they've been doing.
I actually don't have much of a problem with a Republican president and a Democratic congress either. Either way, the President has to be a good leader. And Bush simply is not.
4.27.04 @ 1:28p
Honestly, there was a time when I would have preferred a Democrat president, House, and Senate, with a liberal majority on the Supreme Court. Not so much any longer.
First of all, it's going to be a long time before the Democrats have the House. Second of all, I've come to realize that forced compromise might be the only way a two-party system can run. If all branches were either one ideology or the other, sure, maybe more bills would pass, but a) they wouldn't be representative of the entire country, and b) they might just as easily get overturned if things were to go the other way.
Honestly, other than his personal scandals, I think the Clinton presidency was very successful. Part of that was definitely the balance of power between Congress and the Executive. Sure, it created some gridlock, but I think that for either side of the ideology to go unchecked is dangerous. I mean, do you realize how many damn filibusters the Dems have had to resort to this term just to avoid allowing Bush and an all-Republican Congress to appoint a few Civil Liberty-trampling judges?
That said, I admit that I'd prefer an all Liberal government over an all Conservative. I'd rather try to help the poor and fail than try to help the rich and succeed.
And if a split Congress can't come to any agreements, well, maybe they shouldn't.
And, for the record, I'd prefer a Liberal Supreme Court (by a close margine, of course) no matter who else was in office or who controlled the Legislature.
4.27.04 @ 1:50p
Here's the biggest difference between the Clinton and Bush administrations.
Clinton was great at making most people feel like they were involved. Sure, he had his battles with Newt and Co., but a lot of stuff got done that everyone was at least OK about. When the Republicans didn't think their voices where being heard, they raised a fuss, and then Clinton would compromise and life would go on.
(No, it didn't all work that smoothly, but more often than not.)
With Bush, the only people he listens to are Cheney and Rove, and he couldn't give a fuck about the Democrats. No matter how much the Democrats try to argue the point, Bush will railroad through his very narrow version of what America should be. (And when he can't, he simply lies about it. See: Iraq, war spending, cost of prescription drug plan, energy commission, etc.)
So the Democrats have resorted to complete and utter partisanship to try and assert any power they have. Then the Republicans respond, "You want partisanship? We'll show you partisanship!"
And it doesn't help matters any that Bush is currently running a thoroughly despicable campaign against Kerry.
4.27.04 @ 2:00p
Last reason not to vote for Bush - who does this?
4.27.04 @ 2:44p
There's battle lines being drawn.
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong.
Young people speaking their minds.
Getting so much resistance from behind.
I think it's time we stop, hey, what's that sound.
Everybody look what's going down
4.27.04 @ 3:22p
Good song, but a bit trite, don't you think?
Besides, how do we know Neil Young didn't write it? He was in Buffalo Springfield, too.
4.27.04 @ 7:30p
I guess Neil could have written it. How do we ever know anything is the truth anymore? My interpretation of those particular words of the song, whoever wrote it, is that when we spend so much time vehemently spewing out the details of our individual opinions, we may well miss the simple truth of a situation, and indeed all may be wrong.
Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary:
trite: hackneyed from much use: STALE
The song is indeed old. I doubt that it has been quoted much recently, even though we find ourselves in a somewhat similar situation to what was happening at the time the song was written. I have found that definitive solutions to any problem tend to be simple. If too much time is spent in pursuit of useless unrelated details, solutions are rarely found. Everybody seems to complain about everything. It does provide an opportunity for everybody to exercise their writing skills. I am more of a math kind of guy. I like identifying and solving problems. If I am trite and simplistic, so be it.
4.27.04 @ 7:37p
Daniel, I agree. I think most problems are inherently simple. It's just clearing away all the extraneous stuff and getting to the heart of the problem that's tough.
But back on topic: This problem is easy. It's Bush.
4.27.04 @ 7:47p
Matt, I believe that the problem is what Bush represents. I agree that eliminating him could help. I don't believe that eliminating him will eliminate what he represents.
4.27.04 @ 8:01p
True. It won't eliminate what he represents. But it will eliminate the most powerful person in this country from pushing that agenda on us.
That's a step in the right direction.
4.27.04 @ 8:04p
I won't be voting for him. He will carry North Carolina anyway.
My vote never counts where I live. That's kind of depressing.
4.27.04 @ 9:28p
Here's a link to the Michigan Medical Bill story. It is slanted toward the gay community, but the real issue was abortion. Medical Hate Bill
Robert's point is a perfect example. He's a (fairly) responsible adult... Thank you, but you give me far too much credit.
The fact is, a minimal health care insurance not covering pre-existing conditions or first or second day hospital stay, and not covering intensive care or cardiac care stays, for a man my age living in my area, averages between $150 and $175 a month. This is for bare basic coverage of some emergency services.
If I smoked it would be $235 to $255 a month. Again, bare basic. And a pre-existing condition is anything you had within the last five years. So any kidney problems for me would not be covered because I've had kidney stones. THe same would apply to cancer patients if they haven't been in remission for more than five years.
The insurance I do have will cover me from the third day in the hospital, and give me $65 a day toward a room. The average room (a four person room in the local hospital) is $250 a day per occupant.
Now about personal responsibility and pregnancy. Adam mentioned it already. Teach more than abstinence as a form of birth control. Embrace condoms and other forms of birth control, instead of bowing to pressure from the religious right. People have sex prior to marriage. Maybe not everyone, but most people do. Just accept it as a fact and offer solutions to unwanted pregnancy, and STDs.
4.28.04 @ 4:26p
Teach more than abstinence as a form of birth control. Embrace condoms and other forms of birth control, instead of bowing to pressure from the religious right.
That is exactly what I said. I only mentioned that the NEA and PP favor abortion and will not broach abstinance. That is why the numbers have drastically gone up during the watches of their current leadership. I have no moral leanings about any particular method, nor do I think the government should be emphasizing any particular choice, which they clearly are.
My whole point is generalize welfare. Give them general funds and choices. If they choose to abstain from unsafe sex via condoms, birth control, good, if they choose to have abortions, fine, whatever, it's their choice and now also their responsibility to budget the funds. The government no longer tells them what to spend on, or pays for anything directly, merely provides unbiased education, job training, work incentives, and allows people the choice to move out of the system. If they do not choose wisely, they will not get out.
4.29.04 @ 1:48p
Ok, here's a great, great thing.
The database of Conservatives' lies.
4.29.04 @ 2:26p
How about, "here's the database of what our take is vs. the most narrow and biased view of their side, tailored to be as offesive as possible" database.
What a crock of sh*t. Just the sort of thing Matt eats up.
4.29.04 @ 2:33p
Oh I completely realized this comes from a liberally-biased organization. But that doesn't dilute the fact that the administration did say those things. And while not all of them are necessarily lies or purposeful deception, at the very least they're questions that need to be answered.
4.29.04 @ 2:38p
Dunno. Seems fairly well-documented to me.
Plus, I sometimes think that the views of the current administration are "the most narrow and biased view ... tailored to be as offesive as possible."
4.29.04 @ 2:46p
I say, you're both dimwits too eager to embrace anyone who contradicts the current administration, no matter how valid the accusation.
that being said, I'm not voting for Bush based on his religious twaddle and his persecution of homosexuals. However, I will under no circumstances vote for Kerry. He has no solution, and will only raise personal income taxes with no benefit I wish to pay for. If no third-party of any substance runs, I don't care what happens.
4.29.04 @ 3:38p
My whole point is generalize welfare.
Oh, good Gawd no.
The problem with most of the social services programs in place already is that we don't teach people requiring these services to fish: we teach them that these and similiar services are available to them with an unlimited pond to draw from.
From my non-profit and volunteer experience, I've seen this first hand: for every 1 person that wants to learn skills and advance themselves, there are 5 others who don't see any reason to.
The grandmother of my Little Sister works the system really well. A former drug addict, she had a stroke and from that, a nervous breakdown. While the stroke caused some physical discomfort, she is able and functional mentally, and can operate all limbs. She worked sporatically her whole life, was not well educated nor did she seek out any skill-based training, and worked minimum wage jobs until her stroke at 50.
In the 14 years since, she collects SSI, receives Meals on Wheels daily, food stamps, subsidized transportation (but also owns a car), free health care through the local clinic and hospital, utilities and housing assistance, and donations at Christmas from Big Brothers/Big Sisters for gift cards, presents and food totaling $300-$400 a year.
In these 14 years, she's worked 1 job: a p/t phone job calling after animals that had been adopted to see how that transistion worked. She worked that p/t job for 3 months just last year, after she bought a car that she didn't need to buy that needed repairs and needed extra money. She quit the p/t once that money solved the problem -
- and now just sits in her chair watching Oprah and collecting on services. This spring, she will have her enitre home resided, repainted and the flooring redone - all for free.
Because if she worked, she wouldn't be eligible for that benefit. Or any of the others.
Now, I'm not saying take these benefits away. But here's a person I know first hand who is abusing the system. And the problem with these services is that too many people do exactly what she's doing, because it's just easier. And also, our government does not do good follow-through on these types of abusers. At any time, someone from SSA could have investigated her circumstances, trained her for reliable employment, and reduced her need for such services.
But then again, what's the point? The personal motivation of such people is gone. They take what they can because it's there to take, and they don't need to try for anything else. Our society has enabled them for too long.
The conservative vs. liberal view is this: having these programs is a necessary and humane part of society (liberal). Managing these programs with fiscal and personal responsibility is mandatory (conservative). Both Dems and Reps can have both conservative and liberal views on an issue - b
4.29.04 @ 3:40p
oops - to continue:
but when the sides oppose one another for the sake of promises made, that's when it all falls apart.
And both sides make promises. Both are backing their own interests. As long as we have a two-party system, instead of no party dominence, it will always be this way.
4.29.04 @ 4:18p
Well, the ultra-liberals scare me as much as the ultra-conservatives. I'm never in favor of my government just throwing money at a problem. But nor am I in favor of the government ignoring it.
Somewhere in there is a happy medium: minimizing the cost, while maximizing the benefit. We just haven't found it yet. And the answer is not to pay for everyone who asks, and nor is it to make the rules so stringent that no one gets help. Maybe the answer is to hire more people to check on who's getting the money. It would create jobs and cut down on abuses. I'm a friggin' genius.
4.29.04 @ 4:22p
I will under no circumstances vote for Kerry. He has no solution, and will only raise personal income taxes with no benefit I wish to pay for
Rock on! But please remember that it wasn't me who use the word dimwits.
Oh, good Gawd no
I thing generalization is the only way to provide welfare recipients with choices and responsibility, to provide them with incentives to work. If the government continues to make choices for them, the exact 'welfare state' problem you outlined above will never be solved in my view.
What alternative is there? Maintain the current system with some 'workfare' additions which will only add to the already huge amount of money wasted? And I'm not only talking about waste from welfare fraud either, I'm talking about the generally irresponsible fashion in which all gov't bureaus operate.
I'm interested in your ideas of what type of a non-general system our unproductive government can efficiently run and how it will encourage responsibility because I can't envision one myself, and I agree with a lot of your other insights above.
4.29.04 @ 4:29p
Maybe the answer is to hire more people to check on who's getting the money. It would create jobs and cut down on abuses. I'm a friggin' genius.
I'm reluctant to abide this. Growing a beurocracy with no guarantee it can pay for itself? Our federal government has never efficiently done anything that deals with private issues. The more specific, the less efficient. Our government can't fire anyone, can't make them work more than 30 hours a week, etc.
I'm saying we need a fundamental change in philosophy. What we have now is the best our current approach can get without more tax money being spent. And what we have now is a stagnant welfare state.
I will say that you are a friggin' genius, just not in politics. ;-)
4.29.04 @ 5:19p
My opinion is based on two things: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. One of Many Links to This Subject, as well as plain old garden variety psychology.
Although highly debated, the summary of Maslow's is that once the basic needs are met - food, clothing, shelter and safety - it is then possible to advance into a more whole human being and level of self-actualization.
Too often, however, too much money and effort is spent just meeting those basic physiological and safety needs, and the recipient is left to climb the rest of the ladder on their own. The follow-through just isn't there.
Since the majority of poverty in the United States is equally united to lack of education, mental illness and various forms of abuse, all issues beyond the physiological are psychological. The circle will remain in high rotation until something stops it.
My belief, and why I chose to volunteer with children, is that there is more promise focusing on the children in today's world in order to break tomorrow's ills. If I can help one young woman - a young woman currently in the position to follow along the exact same path as her grandmother (see above) - focus on her education, not get pregnant before she is mentally and financially capable, see the quality of her potential and the benefit of solid choices, and help her achieve all of it, then that's what may keep her off the system and living in a more productive world.
Our federal government, run by individuals who do not understand poverty, have rarely experienced it, and have no idea how to exist in the "real" world, will not be able to change the system unless more of us force them to do it. But those soundbites never make it onscreen. All the debate we're having on this thread is exactly what we should be doing in front of others.
4.29.04 @ 5:22p
You might want to close that tag...
4.29.04 @ 5:25p
yeah - thanks - caught that. It was a doozy!
4.29.04 @ 5:45p
The government just needs to covertly dope Bud Light and St. Ides with sterility drugs. A veritable golden age within three generations, I guarantee it.
4.29.04 @ 5:47p
Actually, it doesn't even have to be covert, if the marketing's right - "Drink St. Ides and we virtually guarantee your women won't force no kids on you."
As a friend of my brother once commented, "It's not always Colt 45."
4.29.04 @ 6:26p
Oh, to have been a fly on the wall in the 9/11 commission meeting when Bush/Cheney testified today.
This great reminder from an article in Salon.com:
The president did not mention, but we will remind everyone, that the White House historically has made the commission's work more difficult. Indeed, if it was up to the White House, the panel would not even exist. The White House opposed the creation of the 9/11 commission in the first place, and tried to cut its funding after it was created. It has been slow to produce documents from the Bush and Clinton White Houses. Bush tried in vain to speak only to the two co-commissioners, not the entire commission, and for only one hour. Condoleezza Rice initially refused to appear in public and under oath before the panel, and did so only after the White House struck a deal that the panel could not call any other White House officials to do the same. These are the people who have "nothing to hide."
4.29.04 @ 7:06p
The government just needs to covertly dope Bud Light and St. Ides with sterility drugs. A veritable golden age within three generations, I guarantee it.
Ummmm...nope. Gives too many people yet another excuse to overindulge on a regular basis. Besides, overindulging on a regular basis in and of itself is capable of reducing sperm count and mobility. If you want the government surreptitiously forcing birth control on everyone, they should add it to the drinking water.
Better yet, go back to being a society where there's a stigma attached to being unwed and pregnant--too many teenage girls see having a baby as being cool. While we're at it, let's stop rewarding welfare mothers who keep popping out babies with more government funds every time they give birth. Take the profit out of having children.
4.29.04 @ 10:30p
The stipulations of not testifying under oath, and not permitting any recorded record of the "meeting" Cheney and Bush took with the 9/11 commission, it is easy to see how Cheney got away with all he is accused of while running Haliburton. The man is corporate to the bone.
It was nice of them to testify at all, but I wouldn't give any credence to what they said, since they refused to be held up to an oath they would expect others to take.
It stupifies me to see how willing the public is to let Bush and Cheney get away with mocking laws and institutions, and so-called morality when ever it suits them.
4.30.04 @ 1:16a
I'll choose to ignore yet another petty, biased Salon.com attempt to paint things in the worst possible light, right after the commisioners said they had a successful meeting. They might as well have said: "We'd like to remind you that we don't like Bush and he's guilty no matter what. Please keep in mind that everybody is innocent until proven guity except for republican businessmen, who are always guilty of something."
Since the majority of poverty in the United States is equally united to lack of education, mental illness and various forms of abuse
Good point, but I must add to to it that poverty on a graph is conversely proportional to the number of fatherless homes in a given area, which is proportional to the crime rate. This is true consistently, at least among urban demographics.
The stipulations of not testifying under oath, and not permitting any recorded record of the "meeting" Cheney and Bush took...
What sitting president and vp have ever testified under oath about their current administration's proceedings? Not Clinton. When he testified, as untruthful as he was, it was not about his administration's affairs and it was after much abuse of executive privelege, even though the scope was nowhere near governmental.
It is a de facto breach of constitutional checks and balances to force the executive branch to testify to the legsilative about government proceedings as far as I know.
It stupifies me to see how willing the public is to let Bush and Cheney get away
I think the American public will takes it's lead from the bi-partisan committee who said the meeting was productive, informative, and candid. Perhaps the committee is letting them off too easy, I'll give ya that, but I tend to doubt it. In any case, we already let Clinton get away with it, so there is a precedent. ;-)
4.30.04 @ 2:25a
Dan, you can choose to ignore the tone of the quote I used from Salon. But you can't ignore the facts, which they spelled out very clearly.
4.30.04 @ 8:58a
Matt, there's no incriminating facts in it. It's just a giant insinuation, assuming motive on behalf the lack of cooperation. "We want them to be guilty, those actions seem guilty, so they must be guilty."
There is a very good constitutional reason for Bush to have fought both testifying and producing documents that were classified. I personally never want to have a president that easily capitulates to the legistlature. They cease to be a leader at that moment. Clinton didn't, and neither should Bush.
4.30.04 @ 11:35a
The question isn't whether Bush is guilty or innocent. The question is, why, as President of the United States, are you so opposed to a bipartisan commission whose goal is to determine why 9/11 happened and what we can do to prevent it from happening again?
Bush want to have his cake and eat it too. He wants to be able to run a campaign on "I'm the President who'll keep you safe", yet he neither wants the facts of what actually led up to 9/11 to go public, nor will he even remotely take responsibility or apologize for whatever part he may have had in it.
That's bullshit. And I'm calling him on it.
5.3.04 @ 11:30a
I think I've found a website that pretty much sums up my feelings on the election: link.
5.4.04 @ 12:03p
I'll open-mindly dig in to that link more when I get home and off this cruddy dial-up, it looks interesting, thanks.
You may want to google The Black Conservative and ifeminists.com to hear viewpoints from some very insightful minorities within the minorities. They tend to dissent with the democrats, and are censored, criticized, and ignored by various groups that Kerry represents.
5.4.04 @ 12:24p
Look, at worst, I view the Democrats as the lesser of two evils, which for now is okay with me. The intervention of a third party is what got Bush elected in the first place. Until there are more parties that won't simply steal votes from one another, I'm picking the candidate whose views and intrests, at least on a social legislation level, aren't 100% diametrically opposed to mine.
5.4.04 @ 2:46p
It just keeps getting worse and worse.
First, the Bush administration rammed through the senior prescription drug program. Now we find out that they refused to let the chief Medicare actuary testify to the true cost of the program - billions more than Bush said it would cost.
And now, get this: It turns out that a congressional study found that a one-month supply of the top 10 top brand name drugs cost MORE under this program than if they went to Drugstore.com. (And 60% less if they went to Canada.)
Why would Bush force a drug plan on seniors when it costs them more?
Hmm...well, the CEO of Advance PCS (a company who offers the prescription drug cards), is a close friend and contributor of President Bush. This guy actually helped write the bill itself!
And how did he get to do that? He let Bush become an original investor in Advance PCS - which has made Bush more than $1 million so far.
Excuse me while I go break things with how mad I am.
5.6.04 @ 2:01a
Calm down dude.
Now we find out that they refused
Who is they? It was not Bush, it was theCongressional Budget Office that gave the lower estimate.
the chief Medicare actuary
You mean the guy who's helping it go bankrupt by 2014? I wonder what his political affiliation is...
Why would Bush force a drug plan on seniors when it costs them more?
Uh, it's voluntary man. No one's forcing anyone to do it.
And 60% less if they went to Canada
This is irrelevent. The difference in price is due to the difference in value of currency, and nothing else. It is illegal to import controlled substances, and is equal to stealing from the companies profits. There is no Canadian company that would welcome you slipping out of the country to buy their products at Canadian rates if they offer them here. It's duty, tariff, and excise law, pure and simple.
This guy actually helped write the bill itself.
Come on, man, Bush doesn't write bills, congress does, so there's no way his buddy wrote it.
Where do you get this stuff from?
5.6.04 @ 2:38a
"They" are Bush's hand-picked administration lying to cover Bush's ass. Bush himself sat there in a press conference and told the American people how much this was going to cost. And despite the fact that many people in Congress claimed it would cost more, Bush ignored them and got a bill passed which may not have had the Congress known the actual cost.
True, it's voluntary. But when Bush goes out and tells seniors it will be less expensive, many wil believe him and sign up. Only to find out later that he lied and it's actually more expensive.
Going to Canada isn't stealing from company profits. The Canadian government subsidizes the cost. It's like stealing from the Canada.
And it's pure naivete to believe that outside people have no influence on bills and policy. And the Bush administration has a terrible record of that. Cheney is currently fighting in superior court to hold back records showing how much influence energy company execs in America's energy policy. Bush hired logging and mining execs to run the Forest service.
In Bush's administration, big business is involved in almost every major policy decision. If you can't see that, you're really having the wool pulled over your eyes.
5.6.04 @ 2:45a
Where do I get this stuff from? How about The Boston Globe
5.6.04 @ 11:59a
Matt, sorry for any harshness in my "Where do you get stuff" question, it's just that testifying to congress as part of a budget committee's investigation of a plan does not equal writing the bill. Also, I'm skeptical of all media, particularly slanted rags and the cable news channels. (Not saying that the Globe is slanted, I've never read it much so I don't know.)
I understand that people have outside influence on legislation. But don't forget, medicare is going bankrupt, and at lease Bush is offering them a discount card if they volunteer to privatize and get out, which will be better than the alternative, which is collapse of the program. And the recently revealed increase is not going to cost seniors any more money, it's going to cost tax-payers, which - granted- goes against its purpose.
Also, it's important to keep in mind that big business isn't all bad, only some big businesses are bad. This guy from Advance PCS has done nothing bad that I'm aware of. The corrupt Clinton-Tyson affair was very bad, on the other hand, but I thought it was over-reacting to scream for his head over that. So I clearly think it's over-reacting to do it for this, which is nowhere close to the Tyson thing.
I understand your concerns, but honestly I just hate to see you get that worked up. I'm not sure I agree with Bush's plan, but that doesn't mean he is an evil bastard that must be brought down, which is the consistant response I'm seeing from his opponents on each and every issue. There is just NO instructive dialogue on either side of anything anymore, and it's depressing as hell. I'm not lookin' forward to November, at the rate this is going, because many folks are going to be spastically upset on one side or the other, and it bodes very ill for whoever is the next president.
At some point, we gotta bring some sense back to things, we're going to shit here fast and it is just simply not the fault of one administration.
5.6.04 @ 12:33p
Dan, no worries about your comments. It's all good.
What I'm pissed about isn't any one single episode. It's the sum of them. It's the Bush's across-the-board secrecy and sneakiness, and their fuck-you-we-don't-have-to-tell-you-anything attitude. It's the cronyism and the gall to completely sell out to big business. It's the fanaticism and complete disregard for anyone who's not rich.
For all his faults, Clinton was a people's president. I felt like he was on my side. Hell, even George Bush Sr, while not that great of a president, at least didn't have scandal after impropriety after stupid blunder.
But with Bush, it just seems that every single decision he makes is either 1) religiously motivated, 2) mostly benefits the rich or big business, 3) not thought out, or 4) all of the above.
Sure, Medicare is going bankrupt. But instead of truly trying to fix it, he gives seniors a plan that will cost them more while lining the pockets of his friends. Instead of fighting for money to save Medicare, he is about to ask Congress for $25 billion more to fight an unnecessary war - money he promised back in December he wouldn't ask for.
You're right. We're going to shit fast. And while, no, it's not 100% the fault of this administration, they're certainly part of the problem and not part of the solution.
5.6.04 @ 8:58p
One of the main things wrong with George W. Bush is Dick Cheney. Cheney is used to a secretive corporate lifestyle where you lie and backstab on your way to the top position, and cover up mistakes by blaming secretaries.
If Bush could unload Cheney half his problems would disappear. Dumping Rumsfeld and Ashcroft would take care of some of his other problems. Dump Condoleezza Rice as well. Things might improve if Bush were left to actually think for himself.
Okay, that's a stretch. I'm not sure anything would improve if Bush were doing his own thinking. That Texas attitude of "we're bigger, better, stronger, and we'll bully everyone else until we get our way" doesn't play well beyond the playground and 5 year-olds.
5.8.04 @ 3:53a
Matt and Robert- I can't and won't argue either of your last two posts. I understand, I hear you guys. But one of my problems with the Democrats is projection and denial in terms of owning up to their own problems.
While I am not a fan of fox news, I do like Hannity and Colmbs becuase is a bi-partisan analysis show.
If you would, please click on the following transcript from said show, and tell me that you don't see an example of serious dissembling that the Kerry campaign, in my view, enacts on almost every issue.
5.8.04 @ 5:41p
Dan, I followed that link to a link for a quiz to match me up with my ideal candidate. Kerry scored a 77% match up in values, and Bush scored a 16% match up. My main opposition to Bush isn't entirely against Bush himself, it's against Cheney, Ashcroft and Rumsfeld. Ashcroft has actually propsed "detainment camps" for citizens he would deem unAmerican. Not surprising that he included homosexuals in his view of what is unAmerican.
Rumsfeld is just plain creepy. He wouldn't know a straight answer if it smacked him upside his head.
Cheney is a corporate weasel, hiding behind executive privilege to cover his Haliburton dealings, which I beleive will make Martha Stewart's little deception seem like child's play.
Those are my reasons for not liking Bush. Well, those and the fact that Bush proposed the amendment to the Constitution banning same-sex marriage.
I'm not saying that Kerry is my true ideal candidate. I personally don't like any of them, but "none of the above" is not a choice on the ballot machines. If it were, you know that would be the sweeping landslide winner in November.
Nader I won't even consider. He was a good choice back before I could vote, when I was just a kid, but the American people didn't take to him. Now he's just a distraction.
There isn't a politician that I truly respect, but not voting is not a choice either. I just wish there were a viable third or fourth or fifth party choice who was someone that I not only respected, but who could carry an election.
5.21.04 @ 1:50p
This is mostly for Dan, but I encourage everyone else to read this chillingly eloquent letter by Roger Morris - a diplomat who resigned from the Nixon administartion after the invasion of Cambodia.
6.16.04 @ 10:48a
"WASHINGTON (AP) - Bluntly contradicting the Bush administration, the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks reported Wednesday there was "no credible evidence" that Saddam Hussein helped al-Qaida target the United States."
Someone should tell Bush and Cheney, because they keep saying otherwise in the press, eventhough they know the above it true.
I hate saying I told you so. Ok...no I don't.
6.16.04 @ 12:51p
Christ Almighty, this must be how Jules feels at times.I thought you were above this, Matt. I posted this above:
Booting Bush [is] fine, as long as the replacement has something constructive to add instead of the kindgarten na-na-na-na-boo-boo- bunk Dems have been spewing. What is Kerry's exit strategy after he's done with his "I told you so's"?
Oh well, I'm sure you're just fooling about, but when are the rest of the Libs gonna stop acting like sophmoric, stoned, ADHD hippies and come to the plate? Here's some fat ones, swing away:
*What was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi doing in Baghdad in 2002 before the US invasion getting medical treatment? How is this not a link, other than you refuse to believe it?"
*Why do libs stipulate "there are no WMD's" when the only true statement is that "none have been found"?
*Why do libs support the corrupt French, German, and Russian regimes over American's own regime, which cannot be proven to be any more corrupt? Why does anybody respect these foreign opinions, when they were embezzling billions, over that of our own countries, regardless of any minor corruptions?"
*Why do libs doubt that Iraq supports the Baaths in Egypt and Syria which support EIJ, Hamas, and Hezbollah? Why do libs doubt that Al Qaeda supports those same groups, and how is this not a FIRM link?"
The Kindergarten Left can close it's eyes, pretend the bully's not there, then open them to find the bully gone and say "I knew it!". You can deny cause and effect, but only in your own reality. Because of this delusion, the left has let us down as much as the right in recent years. If the left had a stronger, more mature leaders than McAuliffe--who refuses to sac up and admit that Gore got beat--and Blix, Chirac and those other punks who did business with Hussein, than things would have turned out better. But the Worldwide Left, including in the US, France, Germany, and Russia --a coalition with no feasible, reasonable bond-- let everybody else down, including the hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqi's that enabled them to profit so richly.
6.16.04 @ 1:05p
Dan, the only things I'm arguing are these:
The reasons the President gave as to why we absolutely could not wait and must go to war now were:
1) There was PROOF that Saddam had WMD was was prepared to use them on the U.S., or give them to terrorist groups to use o nthe U.S.
2) Saddam supported al Qaeda (and he tied them to 9/11.)
3) Iraq was an imminent threat to the U.S.
And despite many countries, every single U.N. inspector, and the U.N. itself telling us there wasn't a compelling case, we went ahead and invaded anyway, setting a dangerous, dangerous precident for preemptive war. Now of course we know that;
1) Bush lied about his "proof" of WMD. If you have proof they exist, show it to me. There were supposed stockpiles, labs, etc., etc., etc. Nothing has been found.
2) As the 9/11 commission reported, there was no link to Bin Laden. So what if a terrorist was known to have lived in Baghdad. There were 9/11 terrorists living in this country, too. What does that mean? We should invade ourselves?
3) There was no imminent threat. Never has been since Bush has been in office.
It's crystal clear right now that Bush lied about the reasons for going to war. Lied and exaggerated his "proof." Lied about the expected cost - both in dollars and human life. Ruined our international relations by going to war over idealogical reasons, not security ones. And ended up spending hundreds of billions of dollars on a poorly planned war with no exit strategy.
Any single one of those points above is enough reason to vote for a fucking chimpanzee over Bush.
6.16.04 @ 1:08p
Why do libs stipulate "there are no WMD's" when the only true statement is that "none have been found"?
So you're saying there might be unicorns and Easter Bunnies, but "none have been found"? Come on Dan.
6.16.04 @ 1:33p
I'm getting tired of going over the same old ground. Are you now saying that you're trying to just penalize Bush? Because it seems like you're justifying you're entire viewpoint from the beginning, regardless of the order of events, and actual cause and effect. You want your vote to be the right vote, to justify it, which is understanbable, but not actually possible as far as I am concerned.
So you won't accept that EVERYBODY believed Saddam had WMD's. You call Bush a liar without proving it, because there are still stockpiles that are unnacounted for, which doesn't mean they don't exist. But You'll espouse typical, Clinton-esque technicalities over what is and is not a 'link', and what is and what is not 'proof', and basically support anybody with a similar anti-war opinion, like those of France et al., regardless of whether or not they are valid, which they weren't.
You are allowed to criticise a president, but you should be more careful than to insinuate that every American who doesn't agree with you, or the adminsitration itself, is some vile, ignorant, villainous beast. It's particularly insulting when you sell out those Americans while turning your cheek to the real scumbags of the world, most of who are totalitarian socialists like Hussein himself. And Chirac. And Blix. And Annan. And Schroeder. And Putin...
I'm close to buying a slice of pie. With my own money, that I worked for and paid taxes on. And I'll happily share it. As long as you don't elect some incompetent, litigious democrat who'll bow to bush-league foreign opinions, compromise democracy, and raise taxes to build a beaurocracy to regulate pie-sharing.
6.16.04 @ 1:57p
Ok. We don't need to rehash this all again. But definitely not "everyone" thought Saddam had WMD. There were plenty of entire nations that didn't believe it, not to mention plenty of citizens of this country.
And it's not just me and my anti-war friends espousing Clinton-esque technicalities over what is and is not a 'link'. An entire non-partisan 9/11 commission came to the conclusion there is no link.
What I'm trying to get at here, is this: I know there several people on this site who will vote for Bush in November. And I am curious to hear people explain that vote based on all we know know about the war in Iraq and Bush/Cheney/etc's role in it. (Or based on anything else I wrote about in this column.) I'm curious to know how you rail on Dems for supposed tax raises, but don't seem to care that Bush has wasted hundreds of billions of your money to fight an unnecessary war.
I want to know where people stand, because that's my ultimate measure of a person. Someone who cares more about an extra few hundred bucks in taxes a year instead of a deadly, expensive, lie-filled war isn't someone I have a lot of respect for.
6.16.04 @ 2:55p
I'm curious to know how you rail on Dems for supposed tax raises, but don't seem to care that Bush has wasted hundreds of billions of your money to fight an unnecessary war.
I'm curious to know why you slant questions with loaded words like 'unnecessary' and then expect others to straight-forwardly answer them.
Hey, I respect you for throwing all that down above. But I don't respect basing an entire judgement of a person on how they vote for something as abstract as the President. That is a tad moralistic, and politics are amoral. They are the bane of our existence, below philosophy, below science, and below art. They are why people sum up complex things into phrases like "a few extra bucks in taxes a year," or "There are no WMD's," or "Abortion equals choice." In my view, what you are requesting is that people admit to whether or not they agree with your prejudgements of various situations.
No one who investigates things fairly can vote with any real confidence this year. But regardless of how they do vote, that is but one small part of the proponderance of choices that actually make up how they govern themselves.
Dislike of political ideas should never preclude respect. I will continue to respect you and others for what you value, and not for whichever arbitrary side you vote for this year.
6.16.04 @ 3:07p
Very true - it is not really about who someone votes for as much as it's about their values.
But it does say something about a person's values if they'd rather spend money fighting a preemptive war instead of spending that money on...say...education, the environment, or helping the poor.
6.16.04 @ 3:34p
Well I agree with that, and as moderate as Bush is in many areas, he has been spending a lot of war money.
A fair bit of it is actually going to Iraqi's by the way, like that cab driver who was interviewed by the AP who is paying .05 for a gallon of gas and who thanked all Americans for the subsidies that are now giving him a job. Also, the new Iraqi government, which is getting a ton of cash.
But none of that is helping our poor as of yet.
As far as education goes, the Fed has only fucked that up, hanging agendas on dollars. They should just dump all that money to the states and let them be responsible for it, like the Constitution stipulates. It boggles my mind that anyone could assume that federal beurocrats have a better view as to what's going on in some city or school district than the people who are actually there. I mean think about it: Your tax money is collected from your pocket by the IRS, sent through a dizzying beurocracy, soiled with undemocratic agendas, and then plunked back through your state board into your local district. How could that ever be efficient, cost-effective?
The environment is screwed. We don't even have efficient rail system. We use diesel trucks. Everybody drives a car. Good luck fixing that.
6.16.04 @ 10:41p
The sad thing is, this whole 9/11 commission you keep bringing up could have been prevented.