Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Ha'aretz tells truths American media won't quite say

Here is Ha'aretz columnist, Amira Hass, with two columns about the Israeli government decision to freeze monies owed to the Palestinian Authority. You'll need to register at Haaretz's web site to read the second linked article (it's worth it as it costs no money to register).

Another article in Haaretz, by Uzi Benziman, states that the Israeli government must follow Moshe Dayan's example of engaging in peace talks with an enemy, in this case, Hamas. The title of his article? "Ignore Hamas? No way."

Suffice it to say that if these three columns were published in any mainstream corporate-owned/dominated American newspaper, the leading Jewish-American organizations would be writing letters to the editor complaining about the "anti-Israel" bias of the columns and some would imply the writers are anti-Semitic or, if they knew the writers are Jewish, "self-hating Jews" who need "to visit Israel to really understand the truth."*

If you want solid reporting about the State of Israel, which is both critical and supportive in ways that don't skirt issues or operate out of fear of being called anti-Semitic, it's worth the time and effort to read, at least every once in awhile, Haaretz or Yedioth Ahronoth.

* I recently had a pro-Likud Party American Jewish person tell me that, because I haven't been to Israel, I can't "comment" on Israel. I told him, "So, I guess, because you haven't been to China, Iran, or Iraq, you can't comment about those nations, either." I give the guy credit, though, for recognizing my point was valid. But, still, I expect better from my brethren than to make such silly arguments.

Personal responsibility and conservatives

Glenn Greenwald writes a nice post about the Terrible President's supporters flailing and blaming everyone but their own poor judgment for the Terrible President's failing Iraq adventure. He ends the post saying that the so-called "conservative" concept of "personal responsibility" ended in 2006 because of this.

I realize he is being somewhat humorous in his statement, but the truth is that while modern U.S. "conservatives" have voiced this for decades, they have really never believed in personal responsibility.

Economic conservatives, for example, love corporations. What is a corporation other than the deflecting and avoiding of personal responsibility? As a lawyer, I have heard so many Republican businessmen (Democratic ones, too, admittedly) who say they are forming a corporation so they don't have personal responsibility if something goes wrong--but they can receive profit. Then, the Republicans ones especially, they bitch about "double taxation" as if they and the corporation are supposed to be one and the same. Um, sorry. You set up a different entity from you to do what again: Avoid personal responsibility.

Cultural conservatives are no better: They are the ones who run around telling us about something they call the Devil, who causes people to do all sorts of bad things. "The Devil made me do it!" is the ultimate avoiding of personal responsibility. Long ago, I concluded the Devil is either a myth or something God allows because, if God is the strongest presence in the Universe, God could zap the Devil out of existence anytime God wanted to. I know if I was God, I would do that. Just take him out. Put the Devil on trial, make the case and give him some divine capital punishment. But no. The Devil is a convenient tool for people to blame someone or something else for what people do. Again, no personal responsibility taken.

Final comment: Hasn't the Terrible President's administration been about avoiding personal responsibility since it became empowered by the US Supreme Court? First, it blamed Clinton for anything that went wrong in the first two years. Then, it blamed the Democrats who controlled the Senate through 2002. Since 2003, it has been blaming "liberals", that amorphous creature that includes anyone who dares to criticize the Terrible President--no matter if the person is a "conservative" in every other way.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Sunday night reading

1. Harold Meyerson, in the American Prospect, provides an important perspective on the Terrible President's sale of American ports to a nation that harbored bin Laden and supported Al Queda. Meyerson reminds us that for the Terrible President, it is about money and oil, not America's safety or economic well-being.

2. Another article in the Prospect, by Barbara Dreyfuss, reminds us that private enterprise is awfully inefficient when it comes to health insurance. Why we can't have a truly national health insurance program is one of the worst failures in US public policy for the past sixty years. UPDATE: Here is Kevin Drum at the Washington Monthly alerting us that one more "pro free markets" fellow has joined the side seeking a government-run national health insurance program. One more is better than one less, I guess.


3. A reason to worry--and still have hope in America
. I continue to believe most Americans have deeply ingested the air of free speech over the past 100 years especially. People know how to stand up for themselves better than in the past, as well. This will become important as the tools of oppression continue to be built in the administration of the Terrible President.

4. An excellent article in the NY Review of Books about Hamas' victory in the Palestinian Authority. I continue to believe this victory will divide Hamas--unless the US and the current Israeli government give the less violent members of the Hamas leadership no reason to publicly disagree with their more violent members. My deeper concern is that Israel's current prime minister, Olmert, does not take Hamas seriously enough to engage Hamas with talk of peace and economic relationship building--and fails to realize that if the Iranians get the A-bomb, and Hamas becomes united as a "government" to attack Israel, the Iranians will use nuclear blackmail to limit Israel's moves against Hamas. Again, the "realists" and so-called "hawks" end up making things worse, not better, for a nation's security.

5. Finally, sweat shops. Still around and producing the products we buy. Does anyone think the reason this doesn't get extensive corporate media coverage the way, say, homosexual marriage, does has nothing to do with extensive corporate advertising in the corporate owned media? No? I apologize if I'm too cynical here. Not.

(Edited)

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Howard Dean was correct...again

The conventional "wisdom" (idiocy) is that Howard Dean is a thoughtless and possibly unhinged individual--unlike, say, the Terrible President or Mr. Other Priorities (I was considering calling Cheney "Elmer Fudd" from now on, but Elmer, unlike Cheney, really was a nice guy deep down).

Here is one more reason to not trust most television punditry in our time.

Thedore Draper: Historian's historian

I hate to turn this blog into a running set of obituary posts, but it is important to acknowledge the passing of certain people who are not widely known, but should have been. Theodore Draper, who has passed away at the age of 93, was one of the finest historians of the 20th Century. He had the ability to write about history as it had just happened (the Bay of Pigs or the Iran Contra scandals) and managed to be both the first historic word--and lasting historic word.

Draper was one of the last of the public intellectuals of the mid to late 20th Century. He took on the neo-cons and the far left with equal ardor, always doing his best to be straight-forward. He was not afraid to be blunt and was yet, willing to concede a former judgment he could no longer defend.

Below are two articles of Draper's (from the NY Review of Books) that are classic examples of his diligent research and dignified and understandable prose:

The first Gulf War


Vietnam War


On Draper's seminal writings on the American Communist Party, I was somewhere in the middle as to his disputes with Maurice Isserman and others. I viewed the leadership of the American Communist Party with disdain, as they were mindless followers of the Stalinist line. However, too many individual members of the Communist Party or hangers-on were decent, pro-democratic and pro-New Deal. These are people who did much of the licking of envelopes, showing up at rallies, voter registration, and union agitation that made our nation a better nation than it was before the 1930s and 1940s. Robert Cohen's "When the Old Left Was Young", a wise and sympathetic portrayal about the student movement of the 1930s and its dalliances with the left and communism, received a positive review by Draper, which told me that Draper probably had more of a personal problem with folks such as Isserman than anything else.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Sid Feller: 1916-2006

Behind many of the great pop singers of the 20th Century, there were arrangers who were just as great: Nelson Riddle with Frank Sinatra and Marty Paich with Mel Torme come immediately to mind.

Less known among "classic" pop fans is Sid Feller, who was the arranger for Ray Charles and many other singers. Sid died last week, though the LA Times published an obituary just yesterday that is worth a read.

Ironcially, Sid Feller was known to me as a child because, in the early 1960s, Feller arranged the music for Soupy Sales' albums that were released on the ABC Records label. There was one children's song, "What did the animals say?" where Soupy goes through many different animals from Africa, but near the end of the song says, "What did Sid Feller say?" I remember being startled by the reference until I read the liner notes that Sid Feller arranged the music. That was my first understanding that someone besides the singer was part of the creation of the sounds I was hearing.

Here is what the LA Times article said about Sid Feller:

"(Ray)Charles, famous for being prickly about his music, 'just adored' Feller, said David Ritz, who co-wrote Ray's 1978 autobiography, 'Brother Ray: Ray Charles' Own Story.'

"Ray told me that 'Sid Feller is as close as I'm ever going to come to having a Jewish mother.' That's how Sid was — very warm and patient,' Ritz said.

"In a 2002 interview with Billboard magazine, Charles said of Feller, 'That's my angel. He … knew exactly what I wanted …. [and] how to make them strings cry.'"

...

"In an appearance on 'The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson' in the 1970s, Paul McCartney was asked which covers of his music he most liked. "He said, 'I love Sid Feller's arrangements of 'Yesterday' and 'Eleanor Rigby' for Ray Charles,' recalled Tony Gumina, president of the Cleveland-based Ray Charles Marketing Group."

Here is another article on the web describing Feller's career.

The genius of arranging music for singers:

Nelson Riddle once explained, in an interview, one of the secrets to becoming a great arranger of music for a singer: Find the instrument in the orchestra that most closely matches the singer's voice--and then write the arrangement as if you were writing with that instrument as the "lead" instrument. Riddle said, after listening carefully to Sinatra's voice, he determined that Sinatra's voice most resembled a cello--and hence, wrote arrangements where the cello would be the lead instrument. It was a remarkable insight, which showed in the wonderful arrangements Riddle created for Sinatra's greatest body of work during the 1950s.

Sid Feller also intiutively had and most likely expressed a similar understanding of Ray Charles' voice and style--and the praise Feller received from McCartney is high praise indeed.

A tip of the hat, then, to the musical arrangers for the great pop singers of the 20th Century--and a special remembrance of Sid Feller.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Republican worries that Gore wins in '08...

In mid January of this new year, I said in a post that Gore reminded me of Nixon. Why? Because Nixon, having lost a disputed election in 1960, entered a political wilderness, and then reinvented himself toward his base, which did not previously trust him--and rode that base to victory in 1968 as the other party's long-term coalition was breaking apart. I said Gore's disputed election "loss" in 2000, his political wilderness, and his reinventing himself toward the Democratic Party's liberal-left base, which did not previously trust him, will possibly catapult Gore to victory in 2008.

Plus, both Nixon and Gore were hated by the elite national reporters who loved nothing more than to spin everything they did or said in ways that reflected poorly on each man.

One difference I noted, though, is that Gore was not as devious and dishonest as Nixon. Nixon did engage in "dirty tricks" in his campaigns and did take monies that were less than legal (Here is a defense of Gore involvement with the West Coast Buddhist monks that makes clear Gore was innocent, not just "legally" innocent).

Now, Roger Stone, a pro-GOP writer, sees something similar. Stone has more sympathy for Nixon than Gore, which leads him to say:

"Moreover, voters view Mr. Gore as a little too glib, a little too slick, a little too calculating, a little too tricky—just like 'Tricky Dick.'"

No evidence is cited for Stone's proposition or what Gore actually supposedly did to earn that "view" from "voters." In fact, people's perceptions of Gore were shaped by a corporate-owned media, including the relentless, partisan and misleading attacks on Gore from reporters such as Kit Seeyle and Ceci Connally from the NY Times and Washington Post, respectively. This doesn't seem to enter into Mr. Stone's world view--he may in fact believe the "liberal" media helped Gore...Anyway, Gore, contrary to those attack-reporters, was largely consistent in his DLC- and right-leaning positions on corporate-labor issues, foreign policy and often the environment. Personally, I had only sadness and anger for Gore, because throughout his career from the 1970s through 2000, I knew Gore knew better--but he continued to listen to K Street lobbyists and Marty Peretz of the New Republic.*

When Gore failed to capture the presidency in 2000, however, he went into a personal wilderness and emerged with his Dad's New Deal-Great Society sensibility, which immediately upset the K Streeters and Marty Peretz. Unlike Nixon, who changed his spots to play to the base, without really believing in anything other than winning, Gore simply jettisoned his too cautious Beltway advisers for his "college student" days and his idealistic views derived from his Dad.

That's why Gore looks better than nearly any semi-declared candidate--I'm talking about HillaryBiden, Edwards, Bayh, and even Feingold. Gore finally speaks with passion because he finally can speak in ways that he really believes--and finally believes he can win with. It was his past refusal to believe he could win by speaking his mind that most burdened Gore. But again, that is very different from Nixon who changed throughout the years for reasons other than personal conviction--and did engage in dirty tricks against opponents.

* For those that wish to flog me, I voted for Nader in 2000: As if I was supposed to know that the Democrats in Congress would be even more weak-kneed than I previously thought. Oh well. I supported Wes Clark and then Kerry in 2004 and...the Democrats still lost the presidency. I wish Eric Alterman would stop with the "Thanks Ralph" (scroll down for reference to Eric A.) stuff because the Democrats in Congress are the ones who didn't fight hard enough against Republicans who made Ashcroft the A.G., passed wasteful and budget busting rich man's tax cuts, and then, supported the Iraq War with Bush, did not filibuster Alito, etc.

(Edited)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

George Will has no shame, but we already knew that, right?

George Will, in his latest Newsweek column, states, while discussing the prospect of the Democratic Party regaining a majority in the House of Representatives after this year's elections:

"Who then will control the Democrats' crazies? Give those guys committee gavels, and they will be as manic about investigating the Bush administration as Republicans were about investigating the Clinton administration. (Do you remember Whitewater? Can you say anything about what was at issue?) Furthermore, there might be a noisy and not negligible cohort pushing for impeachment of President Bush for such high crimes and misdemeanors as the premise of the war with Iraq and the presence of Dick Cheney. Short-term memory loss being a bipartisan affliction, Democrats probably would not remember that the public was so annoyed by Republican attempts to impeach Bill Clinton for his glandular excesses, Democrats actually gained House seats in the first post-Monica election."

Ah, the tut-tuting of George Will. Sounds as if ol' George was against what the Republicans did in 1998 and the sarcasm is reeking about the misguided souls who would dare demand impeachment of Bush/Cheney for their manipulation of intelligence and misleading the nation into war. But, back in 1998, did Mr. Will have the same view? Did he call Republicans "crazies" for wanting to impeach Clinton for the Whitewater scandal (where Clinton invested and lost $40,000 in a land deal with a constituent-donor) or "worse," sex with an unmarried woman in the Oval Office?

Well, the Internet does go back to 1998...and guess what we find? This is what Mr. Will said back then:

"Clinton, whose self-absorption is the eighth wonder of the world, thinks the current controversy is about the purity of his repentance. He is encouraged to think so by those critics who, steeped in today's confessional culture, say we could 'get this behind us' if only Clinton would come to the front of the tent and testify to having testified falsely under oath. But this reduces an assault on the rule of law to a problem half aesthetic and half pastoral.

"Impeachment is not punishment, it is hygiene for the regime. Is it seemly to spare a president even a Senate trial to consider the Everest of evidence of crimes of a sort for which some Americans are in prison? Is it necessary to avoid a Senate trial, lest the nation be jeopardized? Such a judgment effectively amends the Constitution by repealing the impeachment provision as inapplicable to the modern presidency because the presidency has grown too great to discipline.

"What standard of presidential behavior would be endorsed by the House if it votes that not even a Senate trial is warranted by Clinton’s sustained and calculated “private” behavior, which consisted of lying to the public and in two public (judicial) proceedings about behavior in the symbolic epicenter of the nation's public life, the Oval Office?" (Italics added)

Notice Will was not calling the Republicans "crazies"...probably because Will was one of the "crazies" pushing impeachment of Clinton himself. Notice, too, how outraged Will was regarding a (cough, cough, Democratic) president who lied to the public. And, you know, I like his Jesse Jackson-like phrase in that 1998 essay: "Impeachment is not punishment. It is hygiene for the regime." I also can't help but notice the term Will uses, "regime," as it denotes Will's sense that the Clinton administration was illegitimate.

Finally, is Will correct that the Republican Party really lost ground in any longer-run sense because of the impeachment and prosecution of Clinton? Despite the Democrats gaining seats that year, the Republicans still held on to the House of Representatives. Also, the Republicans used the impeachment proceedings to undermine the public's faith in Democrats generally, which led Gore to distance himself from Clinton. So, thinking strategically, the impeachment proved quite effective for the Republicans in a longer-than-one election perspective--something Democrats should keep in mind if the Democrats regain the House later this year.

Newsweek should provide disclaimers for columnists like George Will by writing an editor's note: We apologize to any new readers of Mr. Will's column. He is being hopelessly and dishonestly inconsistent. He has no values other than 'Republicans Win! Democrats Lose!'"

For more of Will's hackdom, see this earlier post of mine.

(Edited)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Terrible President's support of terror sponsoring nations continues

This issue of letting the United Arab Emeriates buying up crucial American ports shows the Terrible President cares more about private and foreign nation profiteering than our nation's security. Even the often Iraq cheerleading squad at the New Republic is outraged.

As Matt Yglesias says, in linking to John Nichols of the Nation, this is part of a larger ideological drive by the corporate right wing to undermine the essential value of government as an institution.

Can we imagine having a president who is not playing pattycake with terrorist sponsoring nations such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and the UAE? Why this president keeps getting free passses for tough-on-terror is something careful observers continue to wince at. Between the "diversion from Al Queda" war against Iraq to poor grades from the 9/11 Commission to this, at some point some Terrible President supporters have got to be screaming--and at least some Republicans governors and congressmen are screaming against this.

And let's not get started on the whole FISA devaluing, CIA undermining, and military body armor stuff. Though, that is consistent with the above, isn't it?

(Edited)

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Wal Mart is evil, part 1 billion

Just another routine example of evilness from Wal-Mart chief executive Lee Scott.

By the way, I highly recommend the web site known as Wal-Mart Watch, a web site sponsored by the service workers union and Sierra Club, among others. Its issues page is informative enough to convince any good and loyal American to never shop at Wal-Mart again.

My mantra is that Costco (good to its employees in most instances) and Target (not so great, but not obessively anti-union and cutthroat as Wal-Mart) are much better alternatives for consumers as Costco and Target have similar pricing of products and services. If you think the prices are much different from Wal-Mart's prices, then ask why it is that Wal-Mart family members take several places among the top 15 world billionaires (and are among the top 10 American billionaires). The money saved on exploiting employees and distributors, and shipping American jobs to China, goes somewhere--in the Wal-Mart owners' pockets, not the pockets of consumers. Apart from a loss leader in the first 50 feet of the Wal-Mart doors, as reported on the Frontline report interview with a former Wal-Mart manager, the prices are really not all that different among the discount "big box" stores.

"Duke" Cunningham's stunning trail of corruption

Josh Marshall provides us a summary of the outrageous conduct of Duke Cunningham that has been identified in the prosecutors' sentencing phase brief. Cunningham is likely to serve the maximum sentence if this information is not adequately rebutted by his defense lawyers.

And to think over the years, "insiders" would refer to Cunningham as a straight shooter, if also a dim bulb. Here is a list of quotes from Cunningham that have been posted on an often over-the-top anti-Cunningham web site.

Final comment: Here is an interesting article about the reporter for the San Diego Union-Tribune who shined the spotlight on Cunningham. It just shows how far and how fast a reporter, who actually decides to read things and investigate, can go in order to provide the public with important information about official corruption. Unfortunately, most newspapers go out of their way to protect their locally based officials, including blowhard jerks like Cunningham. What made the editors decide to run the original story in the late spring of 2005 remains a mystery to me, especially considering the San Diego Union Trib's long-standing right wing advocacy.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Initiative decision of Cal. Supreme Court fails the test

The California Supreme Court has issued an opinion (Costa v. Superior Court) on initiatives that is troubling because it misapplies a standard known in the law as "substantial compliance" or "substantial similarity." Worse, it focuses on the question of the motives of initiative proponents in a way that will lead to particularly nasty lawsuits separate from the merits of a particular legal dispute over the wording of an initiative.

The initiative in question was Proposition 77, which would have taken the power to draw legislative districts away from the California legislature and placed that power in the hands of retired judges chosen by the governor and legislature (and then having the judges' district lines approved by the voters in a special election). Although Proposition 77 was defeated (I opposed it, I should note), the Court recognized that the issues surrounding the differing versions of the proposition was such that the Court wanted to provide future guidance in what is known as the sometimes arcane area of the law known as "election law".

Unfortunately, as I conclude below, the Court blew that opportunity by rendering incoherent well-known legal principles known as "substantial similarity" and "substantial compliance."

In the majority opinion, the Supreme Court admitted there were "substantial" differences between (1) the initiative voters signed during the circulation process and (2) the initiative submitted to the attorney general and placed on the ballot. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court held:

"In sum, because we conclude that the discrepancies between the version of the initiative measure submitted to the Attorney General and the version circulated for signature did not mislead the public or otherwise frustrate or undermine the purposes underlying any of the applicable constitutional or statutory provisions or threaten the integrity of the electoral process, we find there was substantial compliance with these requirements. For this reason, we conclude that [the initiative was] properly...submitted to the voters." (Italics and brackets added)

The majority opinion then added:

"In reaching this conclusion, we emphasize that a crucial factor in our decision is that the proponents of the measure, in demonstrating how the discrepancy in this case occurred, clearly established that the discrepancy was inadvertent, and that no evidence was presented suggesting that the proponents intentionally circulated a version of the measure different from the version submitted to the Attorney General for preparation of a title and summary prior to circulation. Very different considerations would come into play if a proponent of an initiative measure attempted to manipulate the initiative process by intentionally circulating a version different from the version submitted to the Attorney General." (Italics added)

The Court, in my view, has made a fundamental error in emphasizing that an initiative can be more easily overturned if a group opposed to an initiative files a lawsuit that attacks the intergity of the authors of the initiative. If the Court wanted to provide guidance for the future, it would have been better to re-affirm the Court's function in interpreting statutes and contracts, particularly in the area of formation and enforceability, than in worrying about the personal motives of an initiatives' authors. While a court may always decide not to enforce a contract in favor of a party that acted in "bad faith," such a finding is separate from the judicial function of interpreting and enforcing a law or contract based upon a review of the language in a law or contract--or competing laws or contracts.

Rick Hasen, an expert in election law in California, states the Supreme Court should have adopted a "bright line" rule that said nearly any discrepancy between an initiative as submitted and one that was circulated should render the initiative void and therefore subject to removal from the ballot. Professor Hasen asks, concerning the majority's focus on the motives of the initiative authors and the effect of a bad intent: "(H)ow does one prove that voters were likely to have been misled? How many voters must have been misled before a court should remove a measure from the ballot?"

I understand the professor's concern, but he and the majority of Justices are missing something more fundamental here. The standards of "substantial compliance" and "substantial similarity" are grounded in nearly all aspects of the law, from contracts to tort law. To adopt a harsh, narrow procedural rule when interpreting initiatives would create more injustice than justice--and I say this as one who has long been of the view that the initiative process in California has become so abused by "big money" and "wedge driven politics" that the initiative I would most support is one that says "Repeal the initiative process in California."

Having thus criticized the professor's view, I must say that no legal standard is worth the paper it's written on if a court strains the facts of a case to reach its conclusion. And that is what happened in this instance with the majority of the California Supreme Court Justices. In the Costa decision, the majority of Justices, alas, strained the facts before it and, in the process, undermined the very meaning of the well-established legal phrases, "substantial compliance" and "substantial similarity."

As stated in more detail in Justice Kennard's well-reasoned dissent:

"The majority concedes that the differences between the two versions are substantive..., but then attempts to characterize them as 'relatively minor' when it concludes that public officials and others had enough time to comment on the version to be voted upon at the election...[Contrary to the majority opinion], there are significant disparities between some of the major provisions in the two different versions involved here. The 'Findings and Declarations of Purpose' differed. For example, the [second] version added provisions in the findings and declarations more directly accusing incumbent legislators of conflicts of interest and asserting that retired judges are better suited to apportioning districts in California. The difference is potentially significant because such findings and declarations of purpose are critical considerations in determining the intent of the voters in adopting an initiative and thus may affect how its provisions are understood and construed when disputes later arise. (See People ex rel. Lockyer v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (2005) 37 Cal.4th 707, 716; California Assn. of Psychology Providers v. Rank (1990) 51 Cal.3d 1, 15.) In addition, the December 3 version of the proposed initiative stated that except for judicial decrees its provisions are the exclusive means of adjusting boundaries. The December 6 version added to this statement language saying that the initiative and referendum powers reserved to the people in article II of the state Constitution could be used only as specified in the proposed measure itself. The December 3 version could well be read as allowing modification of the measure by future initiatives independent of the terms of the measure itself, while the December 6 version cannot. In my view, a difference that may restrict the people’s reserved initiative and referendum powers by barring their use to modify a constitutional provision is not 'relatively minor.'"

In my opinion, the Supreme Court's decision used the right standard, "substantial compliance" or "substantial similarity" in analyzing the saga of Proposition 77. However, the Court's majority of Justices failed to apply that standard in a way that had what respected legal scholar Ronald Dworkin called "judicial integrity." Regardless of how one feels about Proposition 77, there was a significant difference between the two versions of that proposition-initiative. One version of Proposition 77 expressly stated the initiative could not be changed by initiative and the other left open that possibility. That is a material difference and, when considered with other differences, including the change in the preamble, the two versions could not be called "substantially the same" nor could the differences be considered "relatively minor."

The majority of Justices of the California Supreme Court failed in this particular decision. Instead of reaffirming the meaning of the law, they have muddied that meaning by straining the facts presented to them. Hopefully, this decision will end up being distinguished and eventually limited with respect to its poor "analysis" of what constitutes "substantial compliance" or "substantial similarity."

(Edited!)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Of Paul Hackett, Sherrod Brown and the young Casey

Paul Hackett's departure from the Ohio Democratic Senate primary is good news because he was running against Sharrod Brown, a long time Congressman who, unlike many Democrats in Congress, is a courageous, excellent progressive candidate. Hackett is still a solid guy and, unlike David Sirota, who clearly doesn't like Hackett, I think Hackett will be a great candidate for another office in the future.

More troubling is the young Bob Casey's quest to be the Democratic Party nominee for Senate in Pennsylvania. Casey's anti-abortion stance led him to support Alito's appointment to the Supreme Court, despite the fact that any progressive person who opposes abortion could easily have opposed Alito's record on minorities, executive power, and corporate issues. Casey's main Democratic Party Senate primary opponent, Chuck Pennacchio, is a true progressive.

The key principle to be followed by the national Democratic Party, which is unfortunately not being followed, is to run Democrats who are willing to stand up to business as usual in DC, stand up for the best values of the New Deal legacy of the Democratic Party and run a confident campaign where voters can see for themseleves that a candidate who says what he/she means can be a Democrat and even...gasp...a liberal or even...double gasp...left of liberal. Just ask Bernie Sanders and Brian Schweitzer, who continue to score high approval ratings with politics far left of the corporate media's idea of an economically-based corporate world view.

This can be done in states that do not require mass amounts of money to reach voters through mass media. California is a tougher state for someone on the "outside" to get traction for that very reason, while Schweitzer's experience in Montana shows that if you can walk districts and meet most of the likely voters, you can beat corporate media's framing of "liberal equals weak", "liberal equal elitist" or "liberal equals unpatriotic", etc. I wish Howard Dean would just jettison his deferring approach to the Pelosi-Reid-K Street machinery that dominates strategy in the national Democratic Party. I even called him and of course never received a call back. Pathetic.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Terrible President's misleading web site

Nathan Newman, a pro-labor writer on the web (see links), has posted an important debunker of the latest anti-union nonsense emanating from the Terrible President and his corporate right wing supporters.

Turns out most of the big ticket examples of "union racketeering" were by corporations against unions. "Free enterprise" is alive and well, isn't it?

Monday, February 13, 2006

If Ann Coulter was a leftist...

If Ann Coutler, who has on more than one occasion made public statements about assassinating Bill Clinton, was a leftist, she would probably say something like this about Elmer Fudd Cheney:

"If the easiest and most effective way to remove George Bush would be to send him on a hunting trip with Dick Cheney, somebody should have set up a presidential hunting trip with Cheney years ago."

Now, isn't that disgusting? Yes, it is. But consider what Ann Coulter says on a regular basis and ask why it is that Coulter is seen so often on television while her supposed "counterpart", Michael Moore, whose worst statement* for which he is justly flogged is still not as horrid as many of Coulter's statements, is rarely seen on such television political talk shows.

Let's quote from the Guardian newspaper interview where Coulter proudly reaffirmed her call for the assassination of Bill Clinton:

"What he has in mind are Coulter aperçus such as her 1998 observation that her dilemma during the Monica Lewinsky affair was whether Bill Clinton deserved impeachment or assassination. ('If we were a healthier country, that would have been the only question,' she tells me when we meet for lunch in Manhattan. 'I praised the old British system when the punishment for an impeachment could be a hanging.')"

Let's be clear. I am not saying that those of us who oppose our nation's current president should speak like Coulter. Coulter's rhetorical style is the style of Fascism and Stalinism--and is beyond the pale of rational and humane political discourse.

As for Cheney's negligent shooting of a friend during a hunting trip, we should be thankful the person he accidentally shot is going to survive without much incident.

* Moore's statement about the Iraqi insurgents being "freedom fighters" was, in the context of his other statements, not a defense of those insurgents, but part of an emotionally-laden criticism of the Terrible President's policies, which policies have made a mess of Iraq and contributed to the growth of the violent opposition to America's presence in Iraq.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Bankruptcy of Supply Side Economics, Part One Trillion

Max exposes and destroys the latest misleading argument by the Terrible President that cuts in income tax led to any significant growth in revenues to the federal government. It's a short and deadly post that even novices to the perils of supply side thinking will understand.

If you really want a nice, insider's perspective on the bankruptcy of supply side economics, try David Stockman's book from the 1980s. Stockman served as the head of the Office of Management & Budget for Mr. 666 (Ronald Wilson Reagan). Or perhaps you'd like this book, which also demolishes the supply side nostrums though more indirectly.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Why pro-lifers don't care about poor people's lives

That title is admittedly too generalized. But let's read Ronald Bailey's article in this week's Reason magazine and tell me where was Bill Frist, the Terrible President and screamers on cable television when this Texas woman's life support was disconnected by hospital officials, despite her pleas to keep it on, because she lacked money to pay for it and had no insurance. Note: When the Terrible President was governor of Texas, he signed the bill into law that allowed this event to occur.

Bailey, who despises government-paid health insurance, asks decent, but still sophormoric philosophical questions about how much a nation should pay to keep individuals alive. The answer is less complicated as his own article reveals: Under government run health insurance, the irony is that the government will take better care of those who want to live longer than private insurance companies or hospitals would do without such government provided health insurance. That is what the British story he discusses ultimately proved because, unlike the poor woman in Texas, the little British girl he described is still alive and receiving health care as a citizen of Great Britain--even after local government officials had initially said it did not want to expend further efforts to keep her alive.

Bailey's ultimate point about "how much is too much" has relevance only in a society where we pay for people's health insurance as a nation. Ron, let's have that argument after we pass a national health insurance plan because we will, at that point, be a more just nation than we are now--where untold numbers of Americans die needlessly each year and where, unlike nations with national health insurance, there is no mechanism to discern, with relative precision, who died primarily because of lack of health insurance.

If we enacted a national health insurance plan for all of our citizens, there would be more money to spend on actual care because there would no longer be the need for separate bureaucracies of lawyers, accountants, marketers, salespersons and overpaid executives. Just think of those costs, on a year by year basis, and remember that private insurance companies have an average of at least 13-14% overhead costs.

Kayne West was right and other reasons to abhor the Terrible President

The Katrina Papers, as I guess we'll start calling them, damn the Terrible President and his administration in ways that help prove Kanye West's famous remark that "George Bush doesn't care about black people." Note: West's remarks are still not fully accurate in my view because the Terrible President doesn't care about anyone who is not a rich crony friend of his. That's why he continued his vacation until it became clear there was going to be a political fallout from the incompetent handling of the disaster.

Plus, here is Glenn Greenwald saying out loud what others must say out loud, too: The Terrible President plays on our nation's fears to aggrandize power. The Terrible President is not tough on terrorism. He is, in fact, playing into bin Laden's hands through lies, exaggerations, misdirection (Iraq, for starters) and incompetence.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Walter Mosley's Black Party a naive recipe for disaster

When people ask me who I believe are the best American fiction writers in their prime, I mention three names: Walter Mosley, Barbara Kingsolver and David Liss. Mosley's novels about Los Angeles in the period of the 1940s through the 1960s (the Easy Rawlins and Fearless Jones/Paris Minton series) are extraordinary in their insight, prose and wisdom. Recent faves of mine are "Bad Boy Brawly Brown" and "Little Scarlet."

However, when Mosely writes non-fiction, it's like he's Superman standing next to Kryptonite. Mosley's last non-fiction book, "Workin' on the Chain Gang: Shaking Off the Dead Hand of History" was incoherent when it wasn't shallow. Now, Mosley has written an article in the Nation entitled "A New Black Power" that makes him seem like he's been sleeping for the past 15 years. Say Mosley:

"What I'm talking about here is the beginning of an American Evolution, a movement that will create a series of political interest groups that will transform our two-party system into a kind of virtual parliament. We could construct smaller political groups based on specific interests. There could be Black Party Congress members from Watts, Harlem, the Motor City and a dozen other inner-city bastions. All we have to do is have a fair representation in the House of Representatives to have an extraordinary impact on the wheels of government." (Emphasis added)

In the article's very next paragraph, he proceeds to tell us it's okay to have "white power" groups and other identity group parties, Mosley writes:

"Farmers, women, the aged, angry young white men and, for that matter, true Republicans might create their own small parties/interest groups. These groups would not only have direct representation in the House of Representatives but would also begin to make deals with those people running for senator and President, police chief and mayor." (Emphasis added)

Does Mosley think there is already a parliamentary system? Does he think the structure of our mass media wouldn't end up creating more Republican Party seats as progressives and other disaffected voters splinter?

Why this proposal sounds like something any rational, well-informed human being would promote at a time when fundamentalist Christians in the US are pushing Americans to say "Merry Christmas" and protect embryos at the expense of live, after-birth children; when fundamentalist Muslims riot over a cartoon depiction of the Prophet Mohammad while screaming with orgasmic lust over cartoons in various Arab nations' newspapers that depict Jews and Judaism in ways that Nazis would approve, etc. is something the editors at the Nation might have asked Mosely before publishing this naive, embarrassing article. And, practically speaking, how does Mosley think his proposal will be any more successful than the Green Party or any other third party has been in this wedge-driven political era?

Sadly, Mosley's article gets even worse. Mosley naively believes an official or even unofficial "Black Party" will promote progressive values, as if the African-Americans who would more likely flock to such a party would somehow not be sympathetic to Louis Farrakhan "black nationalists" rhetoric that will end up skewing right wing in the sense of "We're going alone and forget whitey and the queers!" Here's a real-world analogy: Look how Pat Buchanan and his nativist followers took over and then destroyed what remained of Perot's Reform Party. Mosley writes:

"What we need for this group is a short list of demands that define our political aspirations at any given point. These demands might change over time, but at any given moment we should have no more than eight expectations of the candidates or legislation we vote for. I am not positioning myself as the leader or even as a central designer of this group, but let me put forward a list of possible demands that our unit might embrace:

(1) A commitment to revamping the legal system and the penal system to make sure that citizens of color are getting proper treatment and that all inmates are given the utmost chance to rehabilitate and re-establish themselves in society. (This rehabilitation will include suffrage for all ex-convicts who have served their sentences.)

(2) An expectation that there be equal distribution of all public wealth and services among the citizens, no matter their income, race or history.

(3) A demand that a true accounting for the impact of slavery be compiled by all government bodies in authority over records that give this information.

(4) A universal healthcare system.

(5) A retirement system that will assure older Americans the ability to spend their later years in relative comfort and security.

(6) A commitment to assemble a general history of our nation in both its glory and its shame.

(7)

(8)

I left 7 and 8 blank because I think you should fill these out. This is, after all, a communal effort meant to bring our intelligences together."

I really winced at that last part--he "left 7 and 8 blank..." Was he channeling Shirley MacLaine or some '60s hippie when he wrote this article?

But let's look at his platforms 1-6. The economic platforms are no different than most progressive Dems and Greens would and should support. In fact, many Americans support this in poll after poll over the years. Still, that platform hasn't been implemented because too many Americans won't step out of the two party system ("If I vote for a third party, then the 'other side' will win...") and because the official Democratic Party organizations are still taking too much money from K Street type lobbyists (not Abramoff, thank goodness for little things...). This continues to dilute the message. The web, however, as other Nation articles have stated over the past two years, continues to grow as an organizing and fundraising tool--and this is starting to have an effect, though there is much work to be done in both organizing and fundraising.

What personally galled me were Mosley's remarks in belittling the memory of Robert F. Kennedy, Malcom X and Martin Luther King. Mosley writes:

"I've been told so many times that the problem in this world is that so-and-so died too young. A couple of years ago I heard another public figure say that it was because Robert Kennedy died that American liberalism lost its way. What might Martin Luther King Jr. or Malcolm X have achieved if assassins' bullets had not cut them down in their prime?

"If only we had leaders now like we did back then, so many lament. It's hard for me to write these words without a hint of sarcasm. Nostalgia belongs in the retirement home. Any organization, movement or people who rely solely (or even greatly) on a charismatic leader for their strength and their motivation are in the most precarious position possible.

"'Cut off the head and the body will fall,' their enemies murmur. This is a way to let those enemies dissolve your context. Just put all your belief in one leader, and sooner or later you will be lost."

Excuse me, Walter, those leaders did have promise and made millions and millions of people believe and do things that could have been immensely successful had they lived--RFK particularly as he was the last person who could have held the New Deal coalition together. And when they were killed, particularly RFK, many people lost faith in the system and their ability to change things. The reason I wrote my alternative history about RFK surviving 1968 was to help people see a way to revitalize our best values and to learn from RFK's, FDR's and Martin Luther King's legacies. Let's put it this way: Those who persuade the majority of Americans as to how our nation should see our past have the best chance of changing the future.

Mosley's article offers nothing but platitudes and empty rhetoric as if African-Americans would primarily be better off if they broke from the Democratic Party. The truth is that blacks and particularly poor blacks won't be better off. What will make most Americans better off is if the bloggers continue to agitate and fundraise, organize mass emails to Congresspeople, and helping Andy Stern revitalize labor unions here and abroad.

Final comment: I support Mosley's call for a historically and economically based analysis as to how slavery made trillions for the white elite in the US in the 19th and 20th centuries. However, "reparations for slavery" are silly as most white folks today in the US can't trace their "American" ancestry before 1890. Instead, we should, as a matter of national pride, support rebuilding our cities and rural areas with a primary emphasis on improving the economic well-being of the people who live there. Spending money to train people to work in higher tech industries, reformig labor laws to help workers help themselves against management, using tariffs to restore our manufacturing base, and investing in research and development along a variety of lines, including biological-medical, environmental, and general health, are real policy solutions. Notice, though, that I am discussing policy proposals through a lens of national pride and strength of community--not color of skin, religion, age, or ethnic heritage. That is the essence and legacy of the New Deal, RFK, Martin Luther King, Jr. and others we have lost including Paul Wellstone...a legacy to help us fight today and for the rest of the 21st century.

(Edited)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A must read on the monarchy of the Terrible President

Glenn Greenwald, who is fast becoming a top constitutional scholar, has written a great summary (though long by blog standards) analysis of the Terrible President's claim that he can spy on any of us at any time without seeking court approval.

Glenn's most powerful point for me, that should be kept in the minds and hearts of all Americans as we challenge this lawless administration, is this:

"We remain a strong country -- and we become stronger -- not by allowing Al Qaeda to force us to abandon the defining principles and values of our country, but by defeating Al Qaeda and any other threats while insisting that our Government abide by the constitutional structure and principles on which our country is based."


Readers of my blog know that a significant criticism I have of the Terrible President is that he largely abandoned his war against Al Queda in order to invade Iraq. While I believe Al Queda should have remained the priority from a military and diplomatic (in the sense of maintaining support from other nations to stay the course with us against Al Queda) perspective, Al Queda is not an enemy the same as say Japan or Germany during World War II. The fight against Al Queda is a twilight or Cold War. The difference between a Cold War, on the one hand, and the Revolutionary War against England, the Civil War, World War I or World War II, on the other, is that, in the latter wars, our nation mobilized as a society and everyone knew every second of the day that there was a war on. That did not happen throughout most of the Cold War nor is it happening (nor likely necessary) in this War against Al Queda--or even against Iraq. Therefore, the stupidly phrased citations by the Terrible President's Terrible Attorney General as to what Washington, Lincoln, Wilson and FDR may have done are not applicable to a Cold War type of situation in which our nation finds itself.

Just as Truman wasn't allowed to seize steel mills during the "police action" of the Korean War,* the Terrible President's aggrandizing of his power is similarly without constitutional basis--and more dangerous in terms of what the Terrible President has been doing and wants to do.

With Arizona Republican Senator John McCain deciding it's better to diss the young Senator from Illinois in what looked like a perverse version of a "Sister Souljah" moment in trying to show white racists still in the nook and crannies of the Republican Party he can be tough on "black people," I guess it's up to the rest of us to lambaste our congress people and other senators to stand up to this lawless administration. For this is an administration that can't be bothered to provide sufficient body armor for our soldiers it sends to war and has to admit that its warrantless wiretaps didn't make us any safer--yet cynically abuses the rhetoric of "national security" to justify its illegal actions.

*In Youngstown Steel Co. v. Sawyer 343 US 579 (1952), the Supreme Court held in part:

"The (Truman seizure of the steel mills) order cannot properly be sustained as an exercise of the President's military power as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. The Government attempts to do so by citing a number of cases upholding broad powers in military commanders engaged in day-to-day fighting in a theater of war. Such cases need not concern us here. Even though 'theater of war' be an expanding concept, we cannot with faithfulness to our constitutional system hold that the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces has the ultimate power as such to take possession of private property in order to keep labor disputes from stopping production. This is a job for the Nation's lawmakers, not for its military authorities."

(Edited)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

They Shoot Zebras, Don't They?

As Dan Jenkins would understand, this game should be remembered for one thing:

Worst. Officiating. Ever.

I feel great for the Pittsburgh Steeler's Jerome Bettis, a great player and person who can retire finally reaching his dream. I also have been very sympathetic to the Steelers in the past 10 years, especially in the Kordell Stewart days when the Steelers came close to winning it all a few years ago.

But Seattle's Seahawks were beaten less by the Steelers than by lousy referee calls: From the incidental contact in the end zone that took away a Seattle touchdown, to Steeler's quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's non-touchdown "touchdown," to the non-holding "holding" penalty which would have put Seattle on Pittsburgh's two yard line and where Seattle had the momentum to regain the lead.

Paul Allen, the owner of the Seahawks, has done a fantastic job in building a sports franchise that made its first Super Bowl appearance.

Final comments:

1. Haven't the commercials at the Super Bowl jumped the shark? I'd rather watch Super Bowl without commercials.

2. May the networks please spare us "Rolling Stones, Incorporated" from any nonpaying television so we can safely avoid them.

3. I sure stink at Super Bowl predictions.

(Edited)

Super Bowl or Sunday night reading

Just as I sit down to watch the Super Bowl, I should provide a bit of Sunday night reading.

First up: Newsweek's article about the wonderful Stephen Colbert of the Colbert Report.

Second up: Newsweek, again. This time to tell us Valerie Plame did serve overseas in the past five years, which means Libby could have been indicted under the intelligence agent act. However, I still think that might have been a stretch under the limiting language of what defined a "covert agent" under that particular statute. As I wrote last year, Plame was clearly a covert agent in the usual sense, but not under the statute. Now, though, she might have been even under the statute. Hmmmm...Glad I just re-upped my subscription to Newsweek. They have really been excellent in the past year especially.

Third up: The Terrible President says: "It's okay to deal with the Saudi government, but not the Cuban government." Even our oil companies are scratching their foreheads on that one.

Finally, Super Bowl prediction. Seattle. Pittsburgh has been gritty in their post-season play. However Seattle has been tough all year and being seen by betting folks as the underdog has given Seattle focus. Of course, my memory is that I don't predict Super Bowl winners very well when teams are close to evenly matched. See ya...

(Edited; somebody had told me the stadium was outdoors, when I kept saying indoors. Should have googled first on that! I originally wrote that Pittsburgh's best chance is if the cold weather got to Seattle. Sheesh! What a putz!)

Betty Friedan (1921-2006): Connecting the dots between support for women and creating a more equal society

Betty Friedan died on her birthday, a rare event for a rare person. The linked article from the Washington Post is worth reading because it provides us with some of the information we need to understand why the women in the US who grew up in the 1930s and 1940s led the rallying call, during the 1960s and 1970s, against culturally confining and sometimes outright oppressive treatment of women that began in the late 1940s after World War II.

Betty Friedan's mother was a newspaper editor (think Kate Hepburn or Barbara Stanwyck), and Friedan herself was a high achiever in school. Friedan attended a prestiguous "women's" college (along with another tough and intelligent woman, Barbara Pierce, later Bush). A recent article (couldn't find the link) articulated how, in the 1930s, Hollywood often cast women as tough speaking, tough acting and confident--though with some cultural restraint even we mere men may discern. This was not Hollywood attempting to change culture, but as usual, it was reacting to the culture that had begun to change positively for women in the 1920s, following women being allowed to vote in public elections. Don't think this did not reenforce Betty Friedan's thinking along with millions of other women of that era.

One hears, perhaps, Friedan's mother's voice saying to her young daughter in the late 1920s and throughout the 1930s: "Betty, you can do anything a man can do, dammit!" Isn't that the essence of the voice of Betty Friedan's "The Feminine Mystique" (1963)?

The Sixties women's movement did not begin like the Big Bang or Genesis. The movement was a resurgence of an earlier women's movement from the 1910s and 1920s. The Sixties movement was also a reaction to the late 1940s and 1950s tightening of cultural traditions against women entering the outside work force. Plus, with the advent of "the Pill," women could truly achieve autonomy with regard to sexual activity--meaning, not to be passive and having to submit to a male's decisions in that arena.* As Barbara Ehrenreich made crystal clear in one of the best sociological books I've ever read, "The Hearts of Men" (1983, first edition), the Sixties feminist movement was a reaction to that cultural stricture that began in the 1940s, and was galvanized by the Playboy culture men began to create in the 1950s--where "first wives" were left behind with the children and had to enter the outside work force, where they were devalued further. Anyone who sees feminism as simply women acting selfishly is viewing our society through the wrong end of the telescope and not even bothering to check the microscope.

Betty Friedan was a New Dealer (on the left side of New Deal) at heart, as the article notes she became a labor reporter in the 1940s and later in life, an advocate for senior citizens of both sexes.

Friedan, therefore, did not come to her feminism by seeking a libertine or narcissistic version of autonomy. She wanted equality and autonomy for women in the economic and cultural spheres because human beings deserve respect and dignity--and because we owe duties to each other in society, not merely receipt of rights. Friedan was not anti-male and her slow, sometimes halting support for the so-called "lesbian" wing of feminism in the early 1970s was based on the recognition that some of the leaders at that time espoused a message of hatred of things male. When she found a way to support lesbians in terms of fighting against discrimination, Betty Friedan was there, front and center. This is no different than a white "radical" supporting Martin Luther King, Jr., but not supporting a black nationalist who espouses hatred against whites. And let's also recall that Mother Jones, another "radical" of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, supported socialist-labor causes, but believed women's sufferage (voting rights) was a diversion. We need a bit more humility in "rating" people and giving them more benefits of the doubt for the main things such people fought for.

Betty Friedan, if placed in the longer context of American history, which includes labor and women's history (starting with Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 and the New Deal of the 1930s), becomes a larger personna than any of the so-called "mainstream media" articles that are being written. She is an important part of a continuing thread of Americans who have sought and seek human dignity for all and a more just and more equal society. She is already missed.

* What makes most of the anti-abortion forces abhorrent to me is that they appear more interested in punishing women for getting pregnant ("Abortion? She should have thought of that before she had sex!") than saving the life of a baby. It is why I cannot support criminalizing abortion and agree slightly more with Katha Pollitt than William Saletan on this (Too bad both got into the argument about "abortion rights" after we reach a societal utopia of equality...since they agree about everything else. Where Pollitt is more cogent, though, is her sensitive insight that society treats preganancy as solely a woman's problem--and an outside marriage pregnancy being a comment on the "morality" of a woman--and the failure to include the man in such a discussion).

(Edited)

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Eye of the beholder

To too many in the so-called Muslim world, this cartoon is so offensive as to result in violent protests and outrage.

Somehow, this series of cartoons is okay--and Qatar is supposed to be more friendly to Western interests than other nations in that immeidate region. Does anyone else notice the similiarity between the first of these cartoons and the cartoon published in the newspaper in Denmark?

Oh, and David Bernstein at the Volokh Conspiracy reminds us of another political cartoon in a European newspaper that reminds us of Europe's bloody history of libeling Jews as baby eaters (known in Jewish history as the "blood libel" where certain anti-Semitic Christians accuse Jews of killing Christian babies in order to make matzoh bread).

It's fine to be upset at and to challenge hateful cartoons through argument and peaceful protest. It's another to want to ban the cartoon and to threaten violence against the artist or the nation in which the newspaper cartoon appeared. Sometimes the excessively religious, no matter who or where, are unable to tell the difference.

Addendum: I wonder how many of the Muslim people so outraged about the political cartoon in the Danish newspaper are the ones who also support the commission of violent acts (including sucide bombers) in the name of Mohammad...

(Edited)

Friday, February 03, 2006

Reconfirmation brings us more support for impeachment

Kevin Drum at the Washington Monthly has come down with beltway-itis on this one: He wonders what the big deal is with the latest British leaks that the Terrible President fully intended to invade two months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Yes, Kevin, those of us who saw the folly of this war had good reason to know the Terrible President was lying when he was saying he saw war as a last resort. And yes, there is other evidence out there that the Terrible President had already decided to invade Iraq as a first resort during that run up to the war.

However, there are still lots of folks out there who still don't know this information. Therefore, every time a new re-confirmation comes out from an inside source, this is news to a lot of people. And in the face of pundits who refuse to acknowledge the lies and incompetence of this current White House administration, each reconfirmation gives those pundits one more opportunity to repent and maybe join the majority of Americans who do not trust the Terrible President and the growing number of Americans who favor impeachment proceedings.

As for these insider pundits, see the latest from Eric Alterman, where he insightfully compares the inverse reactions of the elite pundits (not reporters) in the corporate owned media to Clinton's private scandal and the Terrible President's public scandals. That alone is reason enough to require front page publication of a re-confirmation of what remains very important information about war and peace.

(Edited)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Keynesean New Deal wins over supply side--as usual

Per the Economic Policy Institute, the Terrible President has barely created more jobs than the normal growth of the economy--thanks to increased jobs in the pulic sector. So all those tax cuts for wealthy private individuals went into their pockets and investing in jobs overseas. The Terrible President practices a sick and twisted sort of Keynesean New Deal while handing out goodies to his rich cronies spouting the "supply side" theory that they will invest in creating jobs within the USA.

Thanks, Mr. President. You have shown us once again why you are a traitor to the working people of this nation.

(Edited)

The policy behind the speech: What he meant

In the previous post, I compared what the Terrible President said to what he meant. Here are the latest reasons not to believe the Terrible President to the extent he says anything hopeful or helpful to our nation.

The Terrible President's idea of alternative energy is really nuclear energy. In that respect, at least, he is like the French and, increasingly, the Iranians.