Sunday, November 09, 2003

The Stars and Bars

Howard Dean is a man that shoots from the hip. He also tends to get shot in the ass. Let's clear up this whole "confederate flags on pickup trucks" issue.

First of all, they exist. I've seen them. In Kentucky, in Alabama, in Georgia, and in every southern state I've been to. Secondly, not all people who venerate the "stars and bars" are racists--no matter what Al Sharpton thinks. Thirdly, Howard Dean is dead on the money (even if he openned an old wound with his comments).

We need voters. These guys and gals are voters. We Dean supporters in the South are not going to concede a single vote in this election. Howard knows that, and that is why he said what he said. He is convinced, and he may be right, that social conservatives in the south have been voting with Republicans because they have been told it's in their best interest when it is obviously not.

Your kids are going to be taught about sex in school...Blacks and Hispanics will take your jobs...Abortion on demand will be the law...They're coming for your guns...The military will suffer...Your taxes will go up...We'll lose our sovereignty as a nation...They hate God...Gay marriage will destroy society...Government will just get bigger and more intrusive...

...All because you vote for a Democrat!

Howard Dean has hit on a nerve. Sure he's gonna hurt some feelings. Black people hate the Confederate flag because it represents the South's defense of slavery. Southerners hate being called out on an issue that is so close to their hearts--especially by a Yankee. But to ignore the issue and pretend it will go away is more irresponsible than taking a little political flak. It was Dean's willingness to concede the issue to his critics that got me upset, but certainly not enough to quit supporting him.

On a related note, John Edwards needs to spend more time in the South if he thinks that this statement offends a majority of Southerners. To borrow his attitude: "We don't need people like John Edwards telling the rest of the world what we Southerners think. Who died and made you President of the Southeast?" Bite me, John!

Monday, October 27, 2003

Kucinich's Blues

Representative Dennis Kucinich is feeling a little slighted, and he may have a good reason. Howard Dean is airing an ad in New Hampshire that, among other things, criticizes his Democratic opponents' support for the Iraq resolution in 2002. Kucinich feels that it is an unfair characterization of his position. So?

Half of New Hampshire doesn't know who the hell you are anyway. You haven't made any headway in the polls because of your all-or-none attitude about every issue. You haven't got the chance of a two-legged cat in a dog pound to get the Democratic nomination for President. AND you look funny (cheap shot), and your name sounds like something coming out of the mouth of somebody sneezing.

I wouldn't doubt that the person who wrote the ad (improvised?) forgot you were still running! These three "special" candidates have raised less money than Jenna Bush, and they have fewer supporters combined than people who saw "Gigli." Perhaps they should reconsider their "professional" goals. I happen to think all three of them have great ideas. I would even consider supporting Carol Mosley-Braun if I thought she had a real chance at beating George Bush, but it is past time for these well-meaning individuals to exit gracefully.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

What a Nap!!

I feel like I've been asleep for over a week. Between trying to get a local Dean movement going and fighting some sort of virus or something, I haven't had time to wash my "whites," much less blog. It was a nice "vacation" regardless.

Lots to talk about...

CIA Leak (aka Plame-gate, Leak-gate, Wilson-gate, etc.)

First thing's first: Can we rename this "controversy"? What happened to originality in the press? Is Watergate really the last big political travesty on which we can capitalize? How about "Plame-Contra" or "Wilson-'S' and 'L' Scandal" or "The CIA Leak-Winski Affair." I personally prefer the last one. It could even be the title of a made-for-TV movie starring Melissa Gilbert and Stockard Channing. Lifetime could show it twice a day for a week.

Yes, this is a horrible situation. People's lives are at stake. But is this the worst we have on the Bush administration? Come on, Bush and Rove can get out of this one easier than a pornstar can get out of a speeding ticket. What about the "big" controversies? Oh yeah, a majority of Democrats supported the President when he lied about WMD's in Iraq. They have sunk to the level of the "impeachers" on this one. Let it go. We can't win this one. It only makes us look stupid and petty.

The California Recall

Voting is wrapping up in California in the biggest freak show since Temptation Island 2. The sad thing is it might actually work. Sure, Gray Davis is the most worthless pile of pig droppings ever to pop up out of the Democratic party, but Arnold? Come on Cali! You wouldn't put Hulk Hogan in the Governor's mans--maybe you would. Arnold Schwarzenegger hasn't taken steroids in over 20 years, but he probably still tests positive. Maybe it's best. If Gray Davis is governor of California next October, it might do the Dem presidential candidate more harm than good. At least Mr. Schwarz. is easy to make fun of.

Bob Graham Drops Out

I know I said I wanted him to, but I must say that I am sad he was the first to give up. It was time, but Carol, Dennis, and Al are still out there sluggin' away. Bob had more money and more experience than all three of those guys! He probably set a good precedent, though. I only hope that the "others" follow suit before they bleed to much time and energy from the more "probable" candidates.

Oh, I'm sure there's more to talk about, but I'm addicted to politics and I have taken precious time away from watching Recall returns (isn't that redundant?) to type this. Perhaps there will be more fodder for my comments tomorrow...there always is!

Monday, September 29, 2003

Bush's Credit Card "Statement"

This is the statement I believe George W. received on September 11, 2001. Enjoy!

Dear Mr. Bush,
Due to recent catastrophic events, the following changes have been made to your account:

You know have unlimited credit.
We have lowered your interest rate.
We have enstated "No hassle billing," just pay when you feel like it.
There are now no income requirements, so if you lose revenues, you will not lose your account.
We will extend your credit limit throughout all times of war or financial crisis.

We have set some limitations on your card, however. The following is a list of items that are no longer fundable by our company:

Senior Citizens,
School Expenses,
Roads, Bridges, Rail, etc.,
Health Care Expenses,
and any other important programs not mentioned above.

If your card is stolen, call "We-The-People" for a new card. You will be responsible only for the first $5.6 trillion charged while the card is out of your possession.
In the event of your death or unfortunate circumstance, the credit on your account will be transferred to your next of kin (or Dick Cheney, if available).
Enjoy all the benefits of this card, but remember, the American People Credit Company reserves the right to cancel your account at any time. Spend responsibly.

Your Card Information (as it appears):
George W Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Card No. 1107 2000 0911 2001
Expires 01/2005

Thanks again for choosing to be a user.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Why Are You Still Here?

Not YOU!

Can somebody tell me why we still have 10 presidential candidates for the Democratic nomination? I have to say I love all of these guys, but they're really "stopping up" the debates and the press coverage.

Carol, we love you, but do us a favor and leave! It looks like the "men's only" sign might just have to stay on the White House for another four years. Nice try, though.

Dennis, we...well, we..., please go away! Your great mind and liberal fervor would be wasted in the White House. Stay where you are or run for a Senate seat. That could be good fun!?!

Al, Al, Al, Al. Mind if I call you Al? You are a spark, a ray of light in an otherwise "dark" field of candidates (if you'll excuse the irony). Perhaps you could be a speech writer for the eventual Democratic candidate. We can't afford to lose you altogether, but I'm afraid you're taking up too much time.

Bob, I don't think there's anything wrong with a VP candidacy. Maybe you don't either, but there you are. Every time I turn on the television, there you are. As one of the most likeable politicians in the country, you have managed to acheive one of the lowest likeability ratings in the group. Whether or not you have any money, you should bow out gracefully before you make a fool of yourself and ruin it for this ticket: Dean/Graham 2004!

Just think. If these four got out now, the remaining "debates" could potentially give up to 16 or 17 minutes of speaking time per candidate. Maybe we could move beyond one minute answers. After all, liberals and left-leaning moderates (and Joe) need more time to explain themselves than G.W. does. We normally don't see the world in black-and-white like he does. We can rarely give a "yes" or "no" answer to any question, yet with the field of candidates at 10, we have very little choice. For those of you who support one of these four candidates, it may be time for a little reality check. There are two things you can't survive a political contest without in this country: Money and voters. These four have little of either. They all have contributed so much to the process and have brought many issues to the forefront that might otherwise have been ignored, but I'm afraid it's time to say "goodbye."

Don't you even think about it, Hillary!

Friday, September 26, 2003

Visitor # 2000

As of today, my site has logged 2000 visits in just a little over three months in existence. That is roughly 10 times the number of visits my previous (now defunct) site received in 2 years. Big kudos to the Dean campaign for allowing an "angry white man" a link on their blog page, and big thanks to those of you who tune in day after day to see what I might have to say. It has been a wonderful outlet for me, and I hope to continue this effort into the indefinite future. Please feel free to e-mail me with questions, comments, or topic ideas. I really enjoy reading them, and I almost always answer--just ask some of the visitors.

So again, I ask you to log on, visit often, and most importantly, get off your ass and VOTE in every election! I want my country back!

Thursday, September 25, 2003

The New York (Economic) Debate

Wow, what a show! I thought Dean was going to blow a gasket, and who could blame him. Almost every candidate on the stage was gunning for him. This should prove once and for all the formidable frontrunner that Dean has become. Now, I give you the traditional rundown of the debate.

10. Gen. Wesley Clark--Why didn't you just send a taped statement to the effect: "I'm not sure what I believe in or stand for, but I'll get back with you in a few weeks." We could have saved 6 minutes for more delicious Gephardt/Dean banter. Welcome to the "party!"

9. Dick Gephardt--For sinking to the lowest level yet. Howard Dean is not a "Gingrich" Republican, although the comparison could help him with the inaccurate "liberal" label.

8. Joe Lieberman--We just can't get enough of that Jewish wit and charm combined with a no-holds barred New England attitude...Oops, sorry I was watching a Woody Allen film just before the debate, my mistake.

7. John Kerry--For someone who WAS a frontrunner, your not acting very comfortable on stage. Perhaps you need a viagra?

6. Dennis Kucinich--I admire your moxie, but when are you going to start running for President instead of Wisconsin Governor?

5. Carol Moseley Braun--Easily the most classy person ever to run for President. You need a lot more passion and intensity if you want to get anywhere in this race.

4. Al Sharpton--I think they forgot you a couple of times, but that's nothing new. Your shifty, but your awfully funny.

3. Bob Graham--The most improved performance of the debate series. I saw passion and potential. Your setting yourself up as a terrific VP candidate should you lose the nomination.

2. Howard Dean--Aside from a few brief flashes, you controlled yourself very well in the face of attack. The way you deflected policy "flip-flops" was ingenious and unassailable. This is why we love you.

1. John Edwards--For reminding us to keep our eyes on the prize. You are positioning yourself as a potentially dangerous challenge for the other nine candidates. Thanks for not boring us with the whole "my father worked in a mill" spiel, by the way.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Discussing Liberalism (Part 2)

The liberal economist...

While I don't really classify myself as a liberal when economics are involved, compared to the Bush administration I might as well be Karl Marx. Didn't we debunk "voodoo" economics (a term coined by none other than Bush the First)in the 1980's ? Why are so-called conservative Republicans recycling this tripe? Anyway, I'm not here to talk about the conservatives right now. I am here to discuss liberal economics first (more on conservatives later).

The basic principle of liberal economics is not even an economic principle. Essentially, liberals believe that we must do whatever we can to insure equal opportunity regardless of a person's "caste" in life. They also believe that the federal government should fund all major infrastructure projects (highways, mass transit, education, health care, etc.). The liberal "economist" agrees with the notion that taxes should be a top-down system; that those who make the most should sacrifice the most for the good of the nation. They also believe that taxes should be based on overall expenditure requirements and that tax burden should be a secondary concern.

I know that this may be gibberish to some, but it is important to understand the basic principles of liberal economics in order to decide with which aspects you agree or disagree. One's ignorance of such ideas only leads to confusion when voting for a candidate for public office.

I consider myself a "radical moderate" when it comes to economics. I support the liberal notion of centralized federal funding of important infrastructure. I also support the idea of a top-down approach to taxes. But I am very concerned about the overall tax burden on the American people in all classes and its effect on the economy in general. When asked issue by issue, most Americans probably fall in this category, but consider themselves conservative simply because they want a lowered tax burden. I have no such delusion.

First of all, "conservatives" of the 21st century are not the same as the fiscal conservatives of the mid-20th century. Their commitment to decentralizing infrastructure and eliminating entitlement programs (Social Security, Medicare, etc.) is much the same, but Ronald Reagan's revolutionary tax policies took that commitment one step further. Reagan adopted the idea of job growth/economic prosperity through tax cuts during his tenure as California governor. The basic idea is that all tax cuts are good for the economy regardless of their immediate effects on the federal (or state) budgets. By passing some of the largest tax cuts in American history (although the tax burden was arguably high) the new conservatives hoped to bring about unprecedented prosperity, insuring their continuing control of the federal government. It did not work.

As most "moderate economists" realize, an economy is not the "bitch" of the fiscal policy of its respective government. Whether liberal or conservative or down-right libertarian, government fiscal policy is a way of dealing with budget realities, not economic cycles. Now, does that mean that no effect whatsoever can be felt from "bad" fiscal policy? NO. All it means is that fiscal policy is a very tiny portion of a largely uncontrollable machine that governs the direction of the economy. Economies depend more on consumer "mood," global weather patterns, and the "price of tea in China" (in case you ever wanted to have a response to that inquiry) than on how high taxes are and how much the government spends on infrastructure.

As the political tone of the country continues to "float" to the right of center, liberals are destined to sound more and more like moderates while conservatives are bound to become slaves to the Reagan-omics of the far right. As such I find myself in a position to welcome real economic liberals to the middle. Together we can fight for universal health care, education funding, solvent Social Security funds, AND a lower tax burden. There is a large pool of money available to give back to the American people, and it's called the national debt. If we can use sound fiscal policy to balance the federal budget and pay down the debt, the American people are bound to be the benefactors of politically expedient tax relief.

What Bush and Company have done is dig deeper into the future repositories of American wealth, requiring even greater sacrifices for the next generation. Taxes will be higher, programs will have to be cut, and the economy (as independent as it is) will suffer. Now is the time to stop the borrowing of our children's and grandchildren's future to pay for a little comfort now. Vote for people who will guarantee the fiscal responsibility which we used to count on conservatives to handle.

to be continued...

Monday, September 22, 2003

Bush's Faith-Based Initiative

Just a quick one...

I want to know why conservatives are supporting this idea. Isn't it a major "tenet" of conservatism that money belongs in the pockets of citizens and not in government programs? It seems to me that conservative Republicans have gone against their basic beliefs on this issue in order to please a powerful special interest group: Evangelical Christians.

This is the same administration (and Congress) that wouldn't fund their own "No Child Left Behind" Act. The same folks who cut special education programs because we didn't have the revenue. It appears as though Republicans want to be able to eliminate useful programs on the basis of prinicple, with which I cannot argue, but they also want to be able to insure their survival by "over-funding" wasteful or discretionary programs that appeal to conservative constituencies (defense, faith-based orgs., etc.). But the most asinine thing is they refuse to take tax-payer money to do it, resulting in bigger deficits, potentially higher interest rates, and an uncertain fiscal future.

I just wish they would be honest with the American people. Sure, I know it would cost them elections, but at least they wouldn't make such big "asses" of themselves. That's our job!

Discuss at

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Discussing Liberalism (Part 1)

It seems to me that there may be some misunderstanding of what it means to be a "liberal." Not that any full understanding can be made, but I have seen some gross misrepresentations of "liberals" of late and would like to try and clear the air. The following is the first in a series of "essays" committed to the task of defining, if not grasping modern liberalism.

Merriam-Webster's online dictionary gives some keywords for understanding liberalism, and I think they are quite appropriate. Liberals are openhanded, licentious, loose, and broadminded. With the arguable exception of "licentious," I believe that M-W is very kind to the word.

"Liberals" are openhanded. By the very nature of the philosophy (which we will discuss in-depth later), "liberals" are generous, benevolent, and egalitarian. We believe that all human beings have the potential for goodness if given the proper environment and tools. As a political philosophy, modern liberalism focuses on righting inequality and correcting social status for the disenfranchised. "Liberals" created Medicare, Social Security, and the graduated income tax (laying the national tax burden mostly on the wealthy). Charity is a notable characteristic of "liberals."

"Liberals" are licentious. Essentially, "liberals" are bereft of a strict moral code, particularly with respect to sexual morality. This is mostly accurate. Modern liberalism takes a "hands off" approach to most issues of religious or social morality. We believe, for the most part, that one's personal behavior (assuming that it doesn't interfere with the individual rights of another) is one's own business. We also believe in a fair system of dealing with "moral" offenders. "Liberals" are more likely to support treatment of drug abusers rather than jail time. We are also more likely to provide inexpensive treatment of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases which may or may not be the result of promiscuous sexual behavior. As a general rule, we do not "dismiss" people based on their personal morality or lack thereof.

"Liberals" are loose. "Loose" is a hard word to define, but I believe that this again refers to the moral "flippancy" that is characteristic of modern liberalism. It could also refer to the way we approach most issues, which brings us to the final notion:

"Liberals" are broad-minded. This is probably the best adjective I can think of to describe the philosophical tendencies of "liberals." Most true liberals approach the discussion of all ideas with an open mind and a rational method. Rather than base their decisions solely on ideology, "students" of modern liberalism seek empirical evidence to back-up their assertions--I have often changed my mind on a variety of issues based on the re-working of scientific data and new experiences. Because liberalism does not require specific beliefs, liberals have a much broader range of opinions than non-liberals (conservatives, facists, reactionaries, etc.) within their "ranks." This makes it very difficult to "pigeon-hole" liberal philosophy, but it is still possible to discuss the general basis for liberal ideas.

to be continued...

Email discussion ideas for this or any other socio-political topic, or you can discuss any topics on this website here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

A Winning Combination

For those who think beating George Bush is impossible, I give you...Election 2004!

Democratic candidate* wins tight race with powerful incumbent. Drawing on the deep base of the Democratic party, the candidate won the electoral vote 271-267. Margin of popular vote victory was also close with less than one million votes separating the two candidates. Third party candidates received less than 1% of the overall vote, making it clear that anti-incumbent forces made a rare "pact" to win this election. Florida was not a concern this year as the Democratic candidate* did well in such states as Ohio, West Virginia, and Michigan. In a somewhat expected turn, the Republican incumbent received victories in Maine, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania. Traditional Democratic states such as New York, California, and Massachusetts were won by slim, yet comfortable margins. No state, however, was close enough to have a "2000-type" recount effort or court challenge. For the second time in 12 years, a popular Republican incumbent has been defeated by a populist Democratic challenger*. In other election news, Democratic challengers for Congress were also elected giving Democrats a two vote majority in the Senate and a much more managable minority status in the House. Voter turnout was greater than 70%.

How would you like to wake up the day after the general election in 2004 and read that? It CAN happen. We need Democrats (of all philosophies) to get off their collective ass to make this work. America cannot afford four more years of war, unemployment, and fiscal deficit. Our children cannot afford to pay for mistakes that we allowed to be made because we were too lazy or too apathetic to VOTE.

If you are 18 years old or older--even if you are Republican--please, register to vote. Vote often and intellegently. Never in the history of this country (with the possible exception of 1932) has it been more important to let our voice be heard. If you are a liberal or left-leaning moderate and need a reason to vote, read the rest of this blog or link to one of the blogs on the Dean blog. Feel free to contact me if you need help.

*A name has been left out for a reason. I may be a Howard Dean supporter, but I will vote with a clear conscience for any of the Democratic nominees. Come November, we all better "fall in line" because you can guarantee the Republicans will--not you "Republicans for Dean," of course.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Why I Love America--the Stupid

I hope this comes off a little mean. We deserve it!

It's good to know that at least 30 percent of this country has a brain! When I heard the news that roughly 70 percent of adults in this country believe in a Iraq-9/11 connection, I was aghast! Not even the Bush administration, with all of their past deceptions, could have come up with a humdinger like this. SEVENTY percent--that's more than 2-to-1--I, I, I need a shower!

Then it occured to me, this is how George Bush became our President in the first place. A vast majority of people in this country are afflicted with acute stupidity (or they are, at the very least, ignorant). Take Alabama for example (as I often do): A Reagan-Republican, a tax cutting, government-phobic conservative, proposes a tax hike on the wealthiest Alabamians while giving tax RELIEF to the lower class. (Something has to be wrong when a guy like that proposes a class-based tax hike). Again, by an eerily similar 2-to-1 margin, the measure is defeated. The same group defeated a state lottery which, with the most conservative estimates, would have produced around $50 million in revenues for the state government. StUpId!!

So, now, Alabamians with less lucrative careers, will be forced to pay higher taxes (as a percentage of income) than their more lucrative counterparts. And as those lower income residents cannot afford the luxury of private boarding schools, and cannot afford to live in a "nicer" neighborhood; their children will be forced to attend public schools with a dwindling tax base for operations. Class size will increase, school programs and activities will be axed, and teachers will lose their jobs. And just like here in Kentucky, prisoners will most likely be released from jail because they cannot afford to keep them. DUM-B!

Then I found the most asinine display of ignorance in a very unexpected group. A majority of Democrats now believe that George W. Bush will most likely be re-"elected" in 2004. By a frighteningly familiar margin (2-to-1), Democrats believe that, regardless of who gets the party's nomination, the incumbent will survive to reign another four years. What the @#%~! Please tell me that the polls have been rigged! Please tell me that Democrats (the smart people in this country) misunderstood the question. Don't they realize that George Bush's reelect numbers are dismal? Don't they realize the powerful "weapons" we have to use against George Bush? Apparently not.

We "intellectuals" have to do a better job explaining to the American people the atrocities committed by this administration. We have to do a much better job at convincing the citizens of this country that our ideas are better than conservative Republican ideas. If we lose next year, it will be because of stupidity. People who don't vote: Stupid! People who never pay attention to the world around them: Dumb! People (especially Canadians) who can't name the capital of Canada: All too common and just plain pathetic.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

Thank GOD for the Religious Right

I just watched entirely too much of a Larry King interview with James Dobson. I hope this doesn't come off as "ranting." :')

I know I've "gone off" on Alabama Justice Roy Moore, but there is a much larger problem at hand: the "religious right." Once upon a time, they were called the "Moral Majority," although one could argue that they were never "moral" or a "majority." Having said that, the evangelical Christian "lobby" in this country is still a powerful and influential group. They vote consistently Republican (and boy, do they vote), and they are almost exclusively white and sub-"urban". Many of them are "comfortable" financially, although it is not necessarily so.

The religious right ferociously attacks liberals and progressive organizations (ACLU, GLAAD, etc.). This is just a sampling of their common complaints:

1. God has been removed from our country.
2. Homosexuals are dedicated to destroying the American family to promote their own "agenda."
3. The public school system is devoid of religious expression because liberals won't let prayer and Bible reading exist in them.
4. Abortionists are destroying the basic moral structure of our society and bringing the wrath of GOD upon us.

As I am sure you are all aware, Christianity and Christian worship have been banned within the borders of the United States. Gays and lesbians have been given the right to marry and adopt children in 49 of 50 states--Hawaii was the only exception (all marriages in Hawaii were made null and void EXCEPT gay marriage). Atheist organizations have been given tax exempt status, and there is now a Department of Atheism and Agnosticism in the Cabinet. Churches are being downsized every day with public schools taking over the education of religious institutions. All references to God have been taken off the airwaves by the FCC, while the teachings of Buddha are seen nearly every half hour on PBS. Folks, this suppression of Christian moral teaching must stop. I mean, domestic violence is up 300%, the divorce rate is more than 85%, and more than 20 church buildings are destroyed every hour to make room for "gentleman's clubs" and strip malls. If we do not act now, the entire faith system of our country will falter.

This, of course, is total bullshit. Christianity is as strong today (with a few modifications) as it was in the 1950's (the so-called "hay day" of evangelism). New, larger churches are being built in every city and town while the public schools nearby have to hold classes in trailers. Organizations purely religious in nature have tax-exempt status. No laws have been made to expressly ban religious behavior in the school building (spontaneous prayer and Bible reading--initiated by students--are not illegal). What is the big issue with these people? They get mad because a federal judge ordered the removal of a two-ton monument of the "ten commandments." They cry because gay men can have anal sex without fear of prosecution. They blame abortion for 9/11.

The religious right needs to get a clue. Much like conservatism, religious "fervor" is also a disease. Religious people are not bad people. They are mostly average people with the same sorts of problems that you and I have. I appreciate and celebrate the right of ALL people to worship as freely as they please, but they must also realize that an ever-growing majority in this country do not believe as they do, and those others have rights as well. Practice your religion faithfully, but please, don't force it on others. Remember a basic American principle: Your rights END were my rights BEGIN.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

The New Mexico Debate

Welcome to the latest in a long line of Democratic debates aimed at winning the presidential nomination of their party. For most Democrats, this was the first time they had seen many of these candidates. For some, such as myself, it was just another Thursday night with the Dean campaign. If it wasn't obvious, two candidates were acting like frontrunners in this campaign. Howard Dean was one; John Kerry was the other. The only problem: Only Howard Dean is a frontrunner.

Again, Howard Dean did an excellent job going after President Bush and promoting his own agenda. John Kerry has apparently not figured out the value of "platitudes." He is still trying to run his campaign like a chemistry class. Dean has figured out that simple statements, catchy slogans, and the occasional attack on the incumbent are the proper ingredients for winning the "hearts" of Democrats.

I also saw a new Dick Gephardt, tonight. I'm afraid he might be coming off a little desperate, however. He wasn't reprimanded enough for continually going over the time alotted, and looked like a regular ass by answering questions that were never posed to him. To his credit, Mr. Gephardt linked himself to the Clinton administration, but nullified much of his argument by knocking Clinton's passage of NAFTA. Don't get me wrong, in a contest that will be summarized primarily with "soundbites," Gephardt did himself a great service by putting memorable lines into his answers.

Joe Lieberman's attack on Howard Dean was predictable, if not a little anti-climactic. Dean was able to twist himself out with a slight flop, but Joe Lieberman, because he was the only establishment candidate to do so, looked a bit foolish in attacking Dean. Had Howard-bashing been the agenda for the night, it might have been a little more effective. Instead, the attack came off looking like a desperate "cry" for attention. Sorry Joe, people are going to start calling you "Sore Loserman" again if you're not careful.

Al Sharpton gets a 10 again for not showing up in the first place. The field is too large as it is. With the possibility of a tenth candidate (Gen. Clark) joining the race, many Americans may simply lose interest in the whole process until extremely late in the game. It could make this a contest decided in March rather than February. Very exciting! Blah.

So, my rankings are as follows...

8. John Edwards--Who IS John Edwards?
7. Bob Graham--Future Dean supporter?
6. Dennis Kucinich--Angry white man; Socialism never looked so scrawny!
5. John Kerry--His big moment to shine (didn't happen). Need more jokes, less "wonking."
4. Carol Moseley-Braun--Smart woman. I just wish she were from Mississippi.
3. Joe Lieberman--New bad-ass of the party? The RNC forum is THAT way-->
2. Dick Gephardt--Nice to see some fire, Dick. Ouch! No comment.
1. Howard Dean--So nice to be in the lead. Just keep ridding the storm!

Wednesday, September 03, 2003


I think that says it all! GO DEAN-biscuit!

picture courtesy of

Foreign Policy Based On Petulance

Howard Dean has recently begun attacking the Bush administrations foreign policy with a bit of "english major" humor. To use Al Franken's terminology, it is essentially "kidding on the square" or humor with a great deal of truth behind it. Whether Dean thinks he is kidding or not is unimportant. What is important is the truth behind the statement: "...foreign policy based on petulance."

Just to make sure I had a case, I looked up the meaning of petulance. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines petulance as

the quality or state of being petulant.

1 : insolent or rude in speech or behavior
2 : characterized by temporary or capricious ill humor

Although the precise word never occured to me, the gist of the notion had. I remember when we were trying to "court" countries from within the United Nations to support our resolution in Iraq. The Bush administration said that the UN would become "irrelevant" if they chose not to follow the course we had chosen. Then Donald Rumsfeld called France, Germany, and Russia "old Europe" as a jab at their willingness to "veto" the will of the United States (only France and Russia have veto power in the UN). After the whole freedom/french word substitution game and the pouring of French wine down sewer drains, the State Department spokesman has recycled this garbage, calling the western Europeans "chocolate makers". Yes, "petulance" seems to fit just fine.

If it wasn't already clear to the American people, Howard Dean has found one more way to bring a case against the policies and statements of this miserable administration. Using "fifty cent" words makes the point even more powerful if not a little bit humorous.

Friday, August 29, 2003

Larry Kudlow's Opinion

Just a few minutes ago, I sent a response to a National Review article written by Larry Kudlow. Per the recommendation of the DDF, I am now posting my response on my blog. E-mail me with your opinion.

This e-mail is in response to the most recent editorial by Larry Kudlow referencing Howard Dean.

Why must you misrepresent the facts? I found no less than three misleading and/or false statements in this article.

1. In reference to Howard Dean's health care plan: Dr. Dean has repeatedly made the point that a "universal," single-payer health care plan (like the one proposed by Kucinich, Moseley-Braun, and Sharpton) cannot pass. Dean's plan is easily the least ambitious amongst the Democratic candidates, with the possible exception of Joe Lieberman who has none. Expansion of Medicare for those who cannot afford insurance (voluntary participation), and a "buy-in" program involving the federal employee insurance plan. That's the whole plan! No dismantling of the current insurance system. No mandates or entitlements.

2. With respect to the deficit: I wish I could understand your mathematics. Perhaps you have a magical calculator or something, but just looking at the numbers I find it difficult to see how $2 trillion in tax cuts over ten years accounts for only one fifth of an approximately $1.4 trillion deficit over the same period. Are you saying that had the tax cuts not been enacted the deficit would only be lowered by $300 billion? Nope my calculator will not do that math. Correction in terms: Deficit becomes debt, which is NOT temporary without a consistent budget surplus.

3. With reference to the "tax cut repeal": While it is true that Howard Dean will fight to repeal President Bush's reckless tax cuts, it is doubtful that this will have the effect you predict. Many predicted the same economic "travesty" when Bill Clinton and a Democratic congress passed the economic plan of 1993 which included major tax increases. The repeal of Bush's tax cuts would render taxes at a level less than that of 1997, at the height of our economic prosperity. Besides, Dean has a wonderful record in Vermont of cutting taxes when it is feasible.

I find it amusing that Howard Dean frightens "conservatives" so much. After all, progressives in Vermont complained that he was TOO conservative. Dean supporters such as myself find themselves in a welcome position: Conservatives call us liberal; liberals call us conservative. That's definitely attractive to the center of this great nation. See you in November!

Jeremy Raines

PS--you can join the Dean campaign at or

I recommend reading the article for yourself and responding if the mood strikes you. All budget data is courtesy of the Congressional Budget Office via Most everything else is common knowledge. :D

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

What a Wonderful Day!

Top two things that made my day:

1. I received my copy of Al Franken's new book.
2. The Howard Dean campaign (my people) met their one million dollar goal.

Al Franken is one of my favorite satirists and writers. His bold, irreverent style help balance the hardcore hate-speech coming from the conservative press. I hope his book sells twice as many copies as Ann Coulter's Treason. In case you're not familiar with Ms. Coulter (click here for a clip from her book), she is a ultra-conservative who believes that liberals are un-American. Democrats, she says, are "preternaturally" prone to treason. Al Franken points out numerous errors--with proof--from her previous work of fiction, Slander. If you have $20 lying around the house, I urge you to purchase Franken's new book. It will open your eyes to the "crap" that's being fed to us daily through allegedly "liberal" media. Now for my favorite part:

I saw Howard Dean in New York on C-SPAN this evening. I had a very busy day--family stuff--and hadn't had a chance to watch the running totals for the fundraising event online. When they showed the tally at the time, I was ecstatic! We actually pulled it off. His stump speech has become very focused and refined. Even after such a whirlwind schedule, he was able to keep his composure and articulate, passionately. This campaign is going to take front-runner status and run with it.

I do have a word of caution for Dean supporters, however. Labor Day weekend is upon us. For some of you new to this game (politics), this is when it "gets ugly". As the official front-running campaign in Iowa, New Hampshire, and most of the nation, expect some very harsh criticism. Don't be discouraged, though. It happens to all major players at this point. Be vigilant. If you see questionable commentary on the Dean campaign or Howard Dean personally, investigate, corroborate (always double-check sources), and then retaliate. Respond honestly and bluntly. People in politics don't respond to weak or unverified arguments. If we tell the truth and are humble in our disagreements, we cannot lose. Get involved and keep contributing. This thing ain't over until the Cowboy goes back to Crawford. You have the Power!

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

This Atheist Nation

I just can't let this "Ten Commandments" thing go. I want my friends in Alabama to toss this joker out of office as soon as feasible. His "civil disobedience" is costing Alabama its credibility and is playing games with state and federal constitutions. Yes, it is true that the U.S. Constitution--the ultimate rule of law when its laws are the more stringent--does not explicitly deny the type of statement being made by Justice Roy Moore. It does, however, explicitly deny the right of Congress to make laws regarding the establishment of religion. It also limits the Congress' ability to make laws denying the free exercise of religion. My problem with Roy Moore's "monument" is not that it violates the Constitution of either the U.S. or Alabama. What bothers me is the "spirit" with which this monument was constructed and placed.

It is obvious to me that Justice Moore wanted to make a political statement. It would have been just as meaningful for his devotion to God to put a plaque on the wall of the lobby or a marble tile inset in the floor; something that would not detract from the well-defined purpose of the building. His agenda was to be a martyr for the very powerful fundamentalist Christian lobby in Alabama. He wanted to turn that courthouse into a media frenzy, attracting the kind of attention and voters that gets one elected to this kind of post. You can't tell me that he didn't expect the order he received from the federal court to remove the monument. In fact, he counted on it. Had they said, "it is perfectly fine to glorify God and the Ten Commandments on public grounds," it would have been an empty victory. No media coverage, no angry mobs, no outraged Christian base. Roy Moore is depending on this protest to keep him in office and donations.

Am I saying that Roy Moore is doing this simply for political and financial reasons? No. I believe that Justice Moore believes everything he says, and that his placement of the monument essentially stems from a genuine desire to serve his LORD, faithfully. That being said, the afore mentioned, less provocative alternatives would have sufficed without nearly the same "hub-bub" and legal wranglings. If Roy-boy thinks that this courthouse belongs to him (even though his name is on the lease) perhaps he should pay to keep it staffed and maintained instead of leaving the "tab" to Alabama taxpayers. 'Nuff said.

We need a change of climate in this country. Fundamentalist Christians are due for a much needed "dose of reality". Their argument--which I recently heard reiterated by the beloved Jerry Falwell--that this is a nation founded on "Judeo-Christian" principles, is flawed. I will concede that the very early settlers of this country were persecuted Christians--of the conservative variety, I might add. It was not, however, those same conservative Christians who so effectively "wove" this nation into the grand Republic she is today. A handful of truly conservative Christians stand out in the rhetoric and debate of the late 18th Century, but for the most part, our forefathers were Anglicans, Unitarians, Deists, and yes Atheists. Although many of our early government documents contain reference to GOD, the Creator, or the Almighty One; one must deliberately stretch the meaning of these references to decipher any mention of a strictly Christian deity. Throughout history--that is, prior to the Enlightenment of the 1700's, deities were used in official documents for the effect of giving the legal a hint of the "ethereal". Arabs, Greeks, Romans, and Britons all used mention of certain higher powers to give their law decrees the full endorsement of the divine. The desired result was unquestioning allegiance from the general public.

Although this practice was dying out by the time our forefathers "created" this nation, use of divine "signature" was seen as traditional and effective. They were right. Had they not used these words, it is likely that some of the more important concepts they wanted to emphasize might not wield the same strength. Lines like "that our Creator endowed us with certain unalienable rights..." would be less effective without mention of the divine. This line, authored by Thomas Jefferson--a Deist, cannot be taken to refer literally to the Christian GOD or Creator, but simply a literary device that highlights important aspects of a legal document. Even our money envokes the power of the divine, giving it far more weight in the minds of the average citizen than it actually has.

Another thing for fundamentalist Christians to remember is this: You already own this country, and there is no need to "win it back". When Fred Phelps speaks in his Westboro Baptist Church--a bastion of homophobic zealots--he does not have to answer to any political authority in this nation. His "church" operates tax-free, he can buy supplies for his congregation tax-free, they don't even pay taxes on property used for religious purposes. As a prime example of a church that would be shut down for its views in a liberal, authoritarian regime, Fred Phelps continues to preach freely regardless of how much hatred he breeds. Churches, which worship freely, are found on every street corner. No one has ever been persecuted for believing in God in this nation, although political dissenters have. Thousands upon thousands of tax-exempt ministries (including media outlets) are pumping pages and pages of religious propaganda into the homes and minds of millions of Americans. All of these, as well as many charitable organizations, operate freely, without regulation, and for the most part without taxation for the ultimate purpose of molding this nation in their image. I fail to feel pity for such a powerful and unrestricted lot.

Feel free to practice your religion, faith, or "personal relationship" (whatever you prefer to call it). Just leave me out of it. When I have to go to the courthouse for whatever unavoidable reason, I want to do so without experiencing proselytization. Put the Ten Commandments on the wall, respectfully, but don't forget to be fair (since it is a courthouse) and place Solon's principles of government, Hammurabi's Code, the Napoleonic Code, and the Magna Carta along side it. Love GOD, love each other, but please respect every American's freedom to love neither.

Friday, August 22, 2003

Leave It to Howard

August has been a fairly boring month in politics; that is to be expected. The story of the month has been the California recall election, in particular, Arnold Schwarzenegger. I know it's important, but I fall asleep every time the pundits say "more on the recall effort when we come back." Give me some news, please.

Then, today, as I am cruising my regular sites on the web, I see that the "bat" is back on! For those of you new to the Dean campaign, the "bat" is a new twist on an old fundraising tool. Most commonly, fundraisers (Easter Seals, Salvation Army, etc.) have used a technique I call "SFFE" or self-fulfilling fundraising effort. The organization will present a symbol (typically a thermometer or mountain) to show progress in a particular fundraising event. Much like the cheering at a sports event, the more the fundraising succeeds, the more people are inclined to contribute to help it succeed. The Dean campaign has discovered the immense potential of such a tool and has combined it with the power of the internet. This is the third time that they have used this tool, as far as I am aware. It helped to give Dean's campaign the best fundraising quarter of all the Democratic candidates. It showed that we could challenge Dick Cheney's fundraising machine by raising more money from more people. Now, we are apparently going "toe to toe" with one of G.W.'s million dollar fundraising events. August just got more interesting.

If this event is as successful as I think it will be, the press should eat it up. The rest of the Democratic field will have to look in horror at the insurgent candidate taking the lead, again. The third quarter will look better than the second. We will prove that Bush is vulnerable, not just on the issues, but on grassroots fundraising as well. Leave it to Howard and Co. to make politics fun and meaningful for a great many disaffected voters. Happy contributing!

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Chief Justice Roy Moore

In case you weren't aware, I lived in Alabama for four years while my wife earned a professional degree. I am quite aware of Judge Roy and his antics. It seems the rest of the country is now getting equal media coverage. See the NY Times article that was released today. (Free password/login required.)

This "waste of environmental resources" called Justice Moore believes that he is taking a "moral" stand for all believers (Christian fundamentalists). What he is doing is much more sinister. He is thumbing his nose at the federal court establishment and subjecting the state that voted for him--yes, that's right VOTED--to fines of five-thousand dollars a day, allegedly in the name of religious freedom. What Justice Moore fails to recognize is that a great number of people (the South included) find little or no inspiration from his GOD or his "ten commandments". Alabama has multiple reminders of the power and might of the Christian religion. There are churches of numerous denominations on every street. Birmingham, where I resided for the term of my "imprisonment" in Alabama, probably has MORE churches than streets. My point is this: With so many reminders of GOD and the power and influence of Christianity in the state, Roy's expression is infantile at best.

I don't know whether or not it made national news at the time, but Judge Moore had this immense two ton plus "monument" moved into the courthouse under the cover of darkness, and ultimately, at the taxpayers' expense. At the time, I thought there would be a public outcry for his removal from office. There was not. However, a case was brought to a higher federal court in Alabama. On November 18th of last year, a judge in that court ordered the monument's removal by August 20th of this year: TODAY. The federal judge should be applauded for standing up for religious freedom, not Roy Moore. Unfortunately, however, the "religious right" in this country will stand behind the Chief Justice and will give him faithful martyr status regardless of the outcome.

Any expression of religion that crosses that invisible wall between itself and publicly financed interests should be fought furiously. It is in the interest of all parties involved that we refrain from mingling public law and private religious opinion. Religion defines all of us in one way or another, and removing it from our decision-making would be impossible and unnecessary. However, when religious opinion becomes one's sole reasoning for policy positions, we have to question that person's ability to make sound, rational decisions. Alright, I have to quit before I get a nosebleed.

This nation is not a democracy. The majority, real or imagined, does NOT have the right to inflict its will on the "minority". This is an essential part of the American legal tradition and one of our greatest "gifts" to the laws of other countries. The fact that our forefathers made it a part of our Constitution unequivocally proves that they were visionaries. But that's another topic for another day.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Mr. President: Get Your Ass Back to Washington!

President Bush's month-long vacation in Crawford, TX is disturbing to me. We have troops being attacked in two theaters of war, the Palestinian-Israeli peace process is facing uncertainty, and John Ashcroft is trying to pass an "addendum" to the Patriot Act that would make us less free and no more safe. I think it's time for Mr. Bush to get back to the White House. This is no time to attend fundraisers for a "no contest" primary. This is not the right time to get photo-ops in front of staged haystacks. As terrible a president as Bush is, he should do his best in the seat of power to control the situation. Come on! You're the President! Act like it!

Friday, August 15, 2003

The Media, Conservative Pathology, etc.

I love the news media! Somehow, they manage to raise the ire of every single political philosophy. Liberals say they're too "conservative," conservatives say they're too "liberal," libertarians and independents say that the media "panders" to the two major political parties, but what is the truth? The truth is, every media outlet has conservative, liberal, and independent-minded journalists and anchors.

Ann Coulter is a conservative. Al Franken is a liberal. They both have books on the shelves of your local bookstore. Your bookstore also has Garfield comics, Harry Potter, and Bibles. All that we can clearly say about media bias is that it isn't clear. Books and journal articles about media bias always tend to glare over one very crucial issue: The bias of its author. There will never be enough "liberal" press for liberals, there will never be enough "conservative" press for conservatives, all we will be able to appreciate through our narrow world view is the mirror image of our own political ideology. Fellow liberals, stop saying that the media is conservative! It does no good. Fox News will continue to exist, if only to make us more angry. Watch CNN, listen to NPR, but continue to check in on conservatives once in a while. If we are ignorant of their motives and their agenda, we will be ill-prepared to defend against it.

Bonus Topic:
Conservative Pathology

We liberals must remember that conservatism is a disease. It is not one easily, but one that needs to be understood. "Conservatism" is an old word with new meaning. Well-meaning conservatives who stand for fiscal responsibility and "American" moral values are not the people of whom I speak. I am talking about the "neo-Reaganites" who, in the name of economics, are lax on deficit control as long as the tax burden is lowered, quick to the "trigger" on foreign affairs, and repressive of legal rights for people who do not share their restrictive moral views. They are scared, oppressed, under-educated people who are easily "led" and rarely "lead." I'm not talking about President Bush. I'm talking about the "droves" of zealots who "elected" him, and also elected hundreds of other conservatives in Washington, D.C. George Bush is just the latest in a long line of people to capitalize on this disease.

People who have this disease believe their leaders without question. They decry any attempt of liberals or moderates to indict these same leaders. If George Bush says "jump," they say "how high"? What is most sad about this pathology is the ridiculous extent to which those affected will go to defend obvious problems with their leaders. George Bush can do no wrong. Ted Kennedy, on the other hand, can do nothing right. Even when the two are in agreement, those with this illness will "spin" the agreement as a political ploy of the "left" to compromise the purity of Bush's plans. These are slaves without physical "masters." It is the saddest of epidemics, and liberals should lend a hand to stop it. Through electing another Democratic President AND Congress, liberals/moderates can prove once again that we are better at governing than ultra-conservative leaders. We can give them the things that they need and relieve their fears about the future. We can offer them peace and equality without compromising their basic freedoms. I am hopeful that we will find a cure for this disease in the near future. As of the current moment, however, the disease is spreading unrestrained and most affected are unaware that they have it.

If you or someone you know has this disease, get help. Inform me if you see this terrible disease in your own neighborhood.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

The Sheet Metal Worker's Forum

Last night, seven of the Democratic presidential hopefuls participated in a discussion forum in Philadelphia. The event, sponsored by the Sheet Metal Worker's union, was televised in part on MSNBC and in full on C-SPAN.

As you already know, I have thrown my support (and my money, however limited) behind Howard Dean. He did not steal the show last night, however. Don't get me wrong, he did fine, but he looked very tired. Al Sharpton showed the most vigor and passion on the stage full of sick, hungry career politicians. I will never forgive Sharpton for things he has done in his past: his anti-semitic remarks, and accusing innocent police officers of wrongdoing even after they are acquitted. But Al looked like a real "contender" last night, typically a role I reserve solely for Dean. Al Sharpton will never get the Democratic nomination, but I hope he stays in the race simply for his ability to get the crowd "worked up" about George Bush's failed policies.

The REAL disappointment for me was John Kerry. At this point last year, I was an ardent Kerry supporter. I thought his criticisms of the President as well as his speaking style were a perfect fit for me. What I saw last night was a different man. He was boring, he was long-winded, he was patronizing, and worst of all, he was co-opting Dean's platform. I have news for John: If people want to vote for Howard Dean's ideas, they will probably vote for Howard Dean.

Lieberman was predictable. He has been on a media blitz of late, labeling Howard Dean and party progressives as "outdated". Of Dean he said that following his extreme ideologies would lead the Democratic party into the "political wilderness". Sharpton also took offense to the Senator's remarks and quipped about the "exodus" story from a different perspective. In my own opinion, if Joe Lieberman wants to compare himself to Moses, that's fine. We must remember, however, that Moses lead the Hebrews IN the wilderness for 40 years and DIED before he could see the "promised land". Not a very positive analogy if you ask me.

The rest of the pack--Moseley-Braun, Kucinich, and Gephardt---said pretty much what I expected. They all approved some form of "universal" health care like we tried to do ten years ago. Kucinich's stance on NAFTA will win him points with the extreme left of the labor movement, but even Dick Gephardt has apparently "tweeked" his stance on the trade issue to appear more centrist. Carol was the most eloquent speaker on the panel, and as usual brings a good deal of civility to all of these discussions. If she were from the South, I would tout her as a VP possibility for Howard Dean. As it stands, however, only Graham or Edwards (neither of which were at the forum) could choose her, and their chances for getting the nomination seem more distant everyday.

To sum up, Dean gets an 8.5 (not his usual 9.9) for looking "tired" but being intelligent regardless, Sharpton gets a 10 for his use of humor, Kerry gets a zero for exceeding his time limits and boring us to tears, and the rest of the pack gets a 6 for being on message but failing to peak our interest. Next time: Fewer candidates and fewer time restrictions--that's my nickle's worth of free advice.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Why a "Dean-style" Campaign Is The Only "Style" That Will Beat Bush

It's all about beating Bush. We know that. The Democratic party primary will boil down to finding the best candidate to accomplish that feat.

Taking a look at the current evolving political environment we see some disturbing developments.

1. The California recall election: Two likely scenarios could play out in California. One possible outcome: Gray Davis is not recalled, and an unpopular Democratic governor remains in office. Another outcome: Davis IS recalled, and a Republican most likely takes the governorship. Either way, the Democratic presidential candidate will have a hard time getting positive help from the executive branch in California.

2. Money: Bush is a veritable fund-raising juggernaut. Democrats raising funds from our large contributors will never match the incumbent President. Large contributors (outside of Hollywood and Labor Unions) are sparse and undevoted within the Democratic party--we simply refuse to cater to their interests (tax shelters, off-shore incentives, etc.).

3. The South: President Clinton made modest inroads into the Southern vote in '92 and '96. His charisma and style won him points with suburban mothers and youth in the southeast. One could make a similar case for the Midwest in that case. But the only major special interest groups in the South that support Democratic candidates are those of minority groups (organized labor is virtually non-existent). Not to prejudge the coming election, but minorities don't typically vote in large numbers. They are less than enthusiastic when it comes to politics. Very few minorities are directly affiliated with special interest groups, anyway.

So, what's the solution? I think it involves two ideas, both with the same basic concept at their base: Grassroots organization. A grassroots movement will both insure good voter turnout (statistically favoring Democrats) and widespread fundraising efforts. Republicans make up approximately 40 percent of voters; the same as Democrats. The difference is voter turnout and party loyalty. Republicans can depend on that 40 percent in their favor. It is a credit to Democrats that this is not true for us. We are more open-minded and inclusive. This produces a natural inequality, however, that must be made up by increasing the total number of Democrats (and Independents) who turn out at the polls. Thus far, only one Democratic candidate has proven adept at doing this.

Howard Dean may not beat George Bush in 2004, but he must be given the chance to run against him "head to head". Gephardt may have labor, and Joe Lieberman may have the DLC, but Howard Dean has more ardent supporters nationwide (in the South, also) than any other candidate. He is the only candidate that can give George Bush a "run for his money" (pardon the expression). He is the only candidate that can inspire new voters and the disenchanted to vote for a major party candidate. Democrats must realize the need to support this candidacy; our very future depends on it.

A "Just" War

So far, two top-tier presidential candidates for the Democratic party have defined their positions on the Iraq war AND have stuck with them. These two candidates: Howard Dean and Joe Lieberman. Obviously, I have sided with Howard (as we affectionately call him), but I appreciate Joe Lieberman's consistency as much as I disagree with it.

What defines a just war? Is it the "ends" the "means" or something more ethereal, more abstract. Apparently for Mr. Lieberman, "just" war is a war from which a positive result is attained. For Howard Dean, a "just" war is a war that has at its heart the best "moral" interest of the United States and the world. I agree with Joe (as does Mr. Dean) that ridding the world of Saddam Hussein was a justifiable goal. However, timing and TRUTH are everything in this matter. Not only was this the "wrong war at the wrong time," but misrepresentation of intelligence as well as an unwillingness to compromise on the world stage has cost us the "moral" leadership of the world--too high a cost for any outcome.

Perhaps the Senator does not realize the importance of truth-telling in foreign affairs, not to mention telling the truth to the American people. President Bush "fumbled the ball" on this war. We were spending billions of dollars on a "justifiable" war on terror, from which our attention has now been averted. The President lied about pursuing "diplomatic" solutions through the international community. The immanent threat of Iraq to the American people is now in serious doubt. Intelligence was manufactured, or at best "twisted," to best defend a shaky case for invasion. More billions of dollars will be spent re-building a country WE destroyed and there has been little or no "liberty" brought to the Iraqi people.

Hopefully, for the sake of our nation, freedom and prosperity will come to the Iraqi people in the near future. Our soldiers fought a "beautiful" and successful war, but unless peace is maintained, Iraq could be left in worse shape than we found it. If we want real progress in the Middle-East, we must elect a leader who will not misrepresent our interests around the world. Apparently that is NOT Joe Lieberman.

Sunday, August 03, 2003

Broken Promises; Irresponsible Actions

If anybody out there still doesn't think that the Howard Dean campaign can "take it to Bush" on the economy, let me give you a flashback to some comments from President Bush's 2001 State of the Union address. Keep in mind that these statements are prior to 9-11 and the war on terror. They are powerfully damaging nonetheless, as you will see.

My budget has funded a responsible increase in our ongoing operations. It has funded our nation's important priorities. It has protected Social Security and Medicare. And our surpluses are big enough that there is still money left over.

Many of you have talked about the need to pay down our national debt. I listened, and I agree. (Applause.) We owe it to our children and grandchildren to act now, and I hope you will join me to pay down $2 trillion in debt during the next 10 years. (Applause.) At the end of those 10 years, we will have paid down all the debt that is available to retire. (Applause.) That is more debt, repaid more quickly than has ever been repaid by any nation at any time in history. (Applause.)

We should also prepare for the unexpected, for the uncertainties of the future. We should approach our nation's budget as any prudent family would, with a contingency fund for emergencies or additional spending needs. For example, after a strategic review, we may need to increase defense spending. We may need to increase spending for our farmers or additional money to reform Medicare. And so, my budget sets aside almost a trillion dollars over 10 years for additional needs. That is one trillion additional reasons you can feel comfortable supporting this budget. (Applause.)

We have increased our budget at a responsible 4 percent. We have funded our priorities. We paid down all the available debt. We have prepared for contingencies. And we still have money left over.

Now, look at some segments of the 2002 State of the Union address. Remember that we were fighting the war on terror in Afghanistan at the time--as we still are today; Osama bin Laden was "enemy number one". Iraq was supposedly not a concern in the 2001 speech. Also keep in mind that the President promised that there would be "almost one trillion dollars" over the next ten years for such an eventuality as increasing defense spending. That's about $100 billion per fiscal year. Read on...

The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax, and nerve gas, and nuclear weapons for over a decade. This is a regime that has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens -- leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead children. This is a regime that agreed to international inspections -- then kicked out the inspectors. This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world.

America will do what is necessary to ensure our nation's security.
We'll be deliberate, yet time is not on our side. I will not wait on events, while dangers gather. I will not stand by, as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons.

It costs a lot to fight this war [on terror]. We have spent more than a billion dollars a month -- over $30 million a day -- and we must be prepared for future operations. Afghanistan proved that expensive precision weapons defeat the enemy and spare innocent lives, and we need more of them. We need to replace aging aircraft and make our military more agile, to put our troops anywhere in the world quickly and safely. Our men and women in uniform deserve the best weapons, the best equipment, the best training -- and they also deserve another pay raise. (Applause.)

My budget includes the largest increase in defense spending in two decades -- because while the price of freedom and security is high, it is never too high. Whatever it costs to defend our country, we will pay. (Applause.)

Regardless of what this country went through on September 11th, to say that President Bush's tax cuts were irresponsible and dangerous is an understatement. The President was well aware of the price tag of war. It is also easy to infer that the President was willing to go to war with Iraq much sooner than the administration will admit. I am tired of this kind of "leadership". It's time for the American people to stand up to an administration that supports failed foreign and domestic policies, no matter how sincere in its intentions. Vote for Howard Dean.

Saturday, August 02, 2003

Gay Marriage Part 2

Pardon me if I go on another "rant".

What in the world does the Bible have to do with legal rights in this country? Where in the KJV# or NIV## or NJB### or NKJV#### does it mention freedom of speech? Where does it mention freedom of the press? Where in the hell does the Bible call for people of African descent to have equal voting rights? Where am I going with this?

I spent the better part of my life as a Southern Baptist, the single largest "conservative" Christian denomination outside the Roman Catholic Church. We were taught that homosexual behavior is "sinful"--a belief to which Bush alluded in his recent press conference. The legalization of "gay marriage" would purportedly "sanctify" homosexual behavior to the nation and lead to a steady deterioration of heterosexual marriage. What Bullshit!!

First of all, this country has a long-standing tradition of separating "Church" and "State." Many of our forefathers (Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, etc.) believed that allowing religion to seep insidiously into governmental policy would bring about a stagnant nation not unlike ancient cultures that put ideology over substance. Sound familiar? Today, less enlightened reactionaries* would seek to boldly infuse religious teachings that have no basis in scientific fact on the general population, and the American people are "eating it up".

The problem is threefold: The institution or practice of "marriage" is neither sacred nor unchanging, the government has a responsibility to ensure the basic freedoms and equality of its citizens regardless of religious affiliation, and gay marriage, as a legal right, doesn't infringe on the rights of legally espoused heterosexuals. Christians don't like homosexuality. The leaders of conservative religious organizations are afraid that allowing legal gay marriage will "soften the appearance" of gays and lesbians to young people withing those organizations, thereby creating more and more subsequent tolerant generations. God forbid!!

This is an issue that will eventually be played out by the court system. Unless by some "prohibitionist style" revolution the amendment being proposed by congressional Republicans passes, gay marriage or an equivalent right will be upheld by the Supreme Court--even as conservative a court as we have, I guarantee a 6-3 split in favor of gay marriage. The Constitution is silent on marriage, as it should be. Therefore, the Court will choose to obey the Constitution and leave it as a matter for individual states to decide how to best provide equal rights for its citizens.

Now, all we need is a gay couple to try and get married in Mississippi (random conservative state). The court system will take it from there.

#KJV--King James Version (Holy Bible)
##NIV--New International Version (The Bible, the new favorite of conservatives)
###NJB--New Jerusalem Bible (Holy Bible, catholic style)
####NKJV--New King James Version (All the poetry of the KJV without all the calories)
*reactionaries--political philosophy to the right of conservatism; based on the principle of a "return" to an idyllic age of virtue (for example, the 1890's and the 1950's in America)

Friday, August 01, 2003

Classic "W"

Get a load of this!

I've asked Congress to fund $100 million for the Compassionate Capital Fund. That's a fancy word for providing money for organizations like the Urban League to teach some of these small faith programs how to apply for grants, how to help manage and train their staffs. In other words, I fully recognize that some of the programs in some of the neighborhoods need management help.

That's a fancy word... I guess his audience (mostly black Americans) isn't smart enought to know what the word "fund" means. This guy expects more than 9% of the "black" vote in this country? He'll be lucky to get 9% of the "white" vote at this rate.

What about a little "truth in advertising" once in a while?

Words in "italics" quoted directly from the speech transcript on

Thursday, July 31, 2003

Progressives Unite!

You are more powerful than you think. Whether you're a Democrat, Independent, or Green, more than likely you dislike the direction in which this country is headed. Most of all, you dislike the man who was "elected" to be its leader in 2000. We must put aside differences and stand together. Republicans and conservatives seem to have no problem uniting behind a common cause, regardless of the differences of opinion. Just look at Rudy Giuliani and George Bush. I know that they have huge differences of opinion, but I also know who Rudy will be "pulling the lever" for in 2004. We have to have that same kind of unity in order to rid the White House of this tyrant who has worn out his welcome. Save your protest votes for 2008 when Washington is no longer held hostage by the extreme right.

For an extended argument on this topic follow this link to read a well thought out article quoted from The Capital Times.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

GLBT High?

Maybe I'm off base here, but when did we start segregating students by sexual orientation? I've been reading the articles about the new PUBLIC school in New York City that will offer a gays-only environment. The argument is a good one: due to safety concerns (because homosexuals get abused by other students), a program was started to give gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender (GLBT) students an academic program of their own in which they wouldn't necessarily have to mingle with students who were hostile towards them. This program grew into a large enough movement that the creation of a school was proposed. And as far as I can tell, the school will receive public funds.

Now, I don't oppose security for all students, and I don't oppose the right of GLBT students to get a quality education; but what kind of message are we sending to other children in the NYC public school system? I'm afraid that this could be a dangerous precedent that leads to further division within student bodies on the basis of race, gender, and religion.

We are taking three steps backwards in the cause of human rights. I don't know what GLBT organizations are saying about this, but if they are truly concerned about fighting for equal rights, they should propose some alternative to this plan. In the future, I want my child to meet people of all different types when she goes to high school, not just the people who are like her.

I need positive and negative feedback from other progressives on this issue. E-mail me with your opinions.

Monday, July 28, 2003

Hey Joe!

What is wrong with Joe Lieberman? Is he being blackmailed by the same people who are extorting Bill Clinton? The recent remarks he made concerning Iraq were at best confusing. Its not okay that the President misrepresented intelligence to the American people, but because the war is somehow "just," we should get over it, and not worry about "16 words" in the State of the Union?

Republicans and some "conservative" Dems like Lieberman harshly scolded former President Clinton about lying to the American people. Congress voted to impeach the President for committing perjury on a matter of sexual behavior, but it's okay to send troops to Iraq for so-called "security" reasons which have little or no basis in fact. I'm no longer certain where Joe's loyalties lie.

Bill Clinton is no longer running for public office and has the luxury of making off-hand, snide remarks about people in his party, but when you run for the Presidency of the U.S. in a major party, you have to be sensitive to the mood of the majority in that party. Only in a handful of states can Republicans vote in a Democratic primary, but most of them will vote for Al Sharpton of Dennis Kucinich, knowing that it would only be too easy for Bush to win against them (obviously a debatable point).

To be fair, if Joe Lieberman truly believes that the war was justified regardless of the mishandled or overplayed intelligence report, then that's fine. I just wouldn't expect to win the nomination from the party.

On the whole, we are tired of the lies (yes, I said "lies") and shady practices of this administration. We don't need our "representatives" out in public defending it. We will not let this subject go, because it has at its roots the very fabric of integrity and morality of government. We cannot afford to further lose confidence in the ability of our leaders to tell the truth, especially when war and human lives are at stake.

Perhaps the conservatives in our party will join together and find a way to put this man on the Democratic ticket. He will lose. It's like Harry Truman said, in a very "cola-taste-test" fashion, "When given a choice between a real Republican and a fake Republican, the people will choose the real Republican every time." If you wish to vote for the "Republican wing of the Democratic party," Joe may be your man.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Bush’s Fiscal Policy

I am confused by the so-called “Jobs Growth” package passed by President Bush. I thought we had already debunked “trickle down” economics. Here is a hypothetical situation that illustrates my point.

Let’s say that every one of the Fortune 500 companies is given a one million dollar tax cut. Now suppose that every dollar is used to create 40 middle/lower income jobs paying an average of $25,000.

Assuming that all of President Bush’s tax cuts are still in effect, the average tax bill for these workers would be less than $2,000. Forty employees paying two thousand dollars in taxes is $80,000. The government has lost approximately $920 thousand in tax revenue per company.

In fact, it would take the creation of roughly 500 jobs per company to pay for a “small” 500 million dollar tax cut. If a company is not to lose money on its payroll--which most refuse to do, that means each would need to see an additional increase in net profit of $12.5 million. Who is going to contribute to such a staggering figure if only 20,000 median income jobs are created per year.

The White House estimates that its economic policy, along with general economic cycles will create over 5 million jobs in the next year alone. While this is a fantastic prospect, the solvency of our federal budget is still in question. If each of the 5 million jobs created made the liberal figure of $30,000, they would still only generate around $30 billion in tax revenue (also a liberal estimate). The deficit this year alone is $455 billion. It would take ten years and a modest increase in GDP* every year to accomplish paying off the new debt created in one year by this administrations economic policy. Most disturbingly is the administrations own estimate that the budget deficits will only gradually decrease over the next ten years. Hmm?

The big lie is that massive tax cuts are passed as “economic policy.” The truth: massive tax cuts starve the federal budget, making it necessary to cut entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

We have seen the President playing both sides of the field. He passed some of the largest tax cuts in history, then he proposed pseudo-progressive reform of Medicare. If he is re-elected, he will no longer have to “fear the reaper.” The budget deficits will continue to climb, the national debt will soar, and social programs will no longer be safe from the “axe.” Once the American people realize they have been duped, the Democrats will have to take over and raise taxes and increase spending to salvage important entitlement programs, again setting ourselves up as the bad guys. It’s a vicious cycle that could go on for generations unless the people of this country step in and do something about it, now.

This is why I decided to support Howard Dean. As President, Howard Dean has promised to repeal the Bush tax cuts and rescue entitlement programs while fighting to balance the budget. I have a baby girl who will have to deal with the consequences of our actions. We need a responsible leader who won’t spend our children’s inheritance on risky tax schemes. In fact, the damage may be so severe that many of us in our twenties and thirties will feel the first long-range effects of these decisions. If things do not change, our taxes will go up further than ever, and Social Security will no longer be assured when we retire. Help those of us who care about the future of this nation and our own well-being by supporting Howard Dean for President.

*GDP–gross domestic product

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Something Positive

If you are like me, you watch lots of political programming on cable news. One common complaint I hear from conservative pundits is that there is a lack of message from the left. It does appear that this is true, considering how much all of us (progressives/liberals) hate the Bush administration. But just to show that it is possible, I offer my positive vision for the future of America.

I see a future for our nation that involves every American. A future in which different views are allowed and not censored. I see a time when the government listens to its boss: the people.

I see a future that leaves no one sitting on the street, wondering from where his or her next meal is coming, and where he or she can go to escape an encroaching thunderstorm. The people of this great nation will join hands in the common goal of ending homelessness and poverty for all those who do not choose it.

I see a future in which the sick are given adequate treatment regardless of their insurance. All Americans will be guaranteed health care by the government, both preventative care and care for the treatment of illnesses. No longer will tax payers be required to pay a premium for their own insurance and pick up the "tab" for those who cannot pay.

I see a future nation that brings out the best in its citizens by encouraging them. A citizenry that believes, in the face of adversity, that all is not lost. A people who look foward to tomorrow without fear of destruction.

I see a future in which I and my children will be able to visit foreign nations and be proud to call ourselves "Americans." A future world that is more unified by the common cause of peace than divided over ideological views of defense. A time when we see the end of "Wal-Mart" patriotism* and a return to real "moral" purpose.

I see a future nation that grants the same opportunities to all of its citizens, regardless of race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation; not as a privilege, but as a birth right. A nation that recognizes the freedom of all people to choose the "how" and "what" of their lives at will, as long as it does not conflict with the freedom of others. A country that leads the world in human rights instead of "bringing up the rear."

I see a future populace that values schools more than prisons, the environment more than a "quick buck," and peace more than war--a nation of individuals who, with few exceptions, have their priorities in order.

I see a future in which we will celebrate each other. Difference will be considered a value. We will spend more time in discussion than in argument. Love will cross all boundaries and philosophies.

I see a future that has as its base the defense of freedom. No one will call for limits to liberty, and everyone will support the liberation of the oppressed throughout the world. Military might will no longer be used for invasion, but for assistance.

*"Wal-Mart" patriotism--The type of "patriotism" that is expressed by a $15 flag, a $2 bumper sticker, and gratuitous recitation of The Star Spangled Banner and "The Pledge of Allegiance."

I hope that Democrats and liberals in general start talking about these issues soon. Trust me, I understand the desire to destroy President Bush, but there are more important things. This vision points to general, optimistic, progressive themes that we feel are crucial. They represent the best thoughts of a majority of Americans. We have the best platform to ensure the realization of this future, and the American public needs to hear that.

Friday, July 25, 2003

Yoda for President?

Follow this link for proof positive that Dick Gephardt is "literally" turning into Yoda.

"Against the war, I was."

photo courtesy of C-SPAN

Osama who?

Has anybody else noticed the convenient absence of Osama bin Laden from nightly news coverage? Man! This administration is good!

I remember less that a year ago how hard it was to go through 30 minutes of cable news coverage without hearing something about the "most wanted" terrorist in the world. Now you would think that Saddam Hussein magically absorbed all of Osama's "evil," and killing him will end the threat of terror.

At least Uday and Qusay are gone. Maybe George Bush will absorb their "evil" and become our "Uber-lord." Come on, when the American people wake up and realize that this entire operation was a political attempt to divert our attention from a less than successful "war on terror."

Thankfully, not all of us are fooled.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Clinton and Bush

It is not all that surprising to see former President Clinton defending the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. After all, Bill Clinton is still trying to build a legacy. A legacy that doesn't judge him too harshly on his dishonesty and personal failures. For Clinton to "call out" George W. Bush for lying would be like the "pot calling the kettle black." Neither is the former Prez worried about hurting the public standing of the Democratic presidential contenders. It would be a lot harder for Hillary to run against an incumbent in the primaries in 2008.

Don't get me wrong, I love Bill Clinton (platonically, of course). But I have never said that everything he says is the "gospel." He needs to get used to the fact that he is no longer the leader of the Democratic party. Bill, thank you for making this country a better place in which to live. Your recent statements, however, might convince enough impressionable individuals to cast their vote for a man who is obviously leading our nation down the wrong path. If this continues to be your PR mode, perhaps it is best that you stay out of politics until WE call you.

Thank You,
"The Democratic wing of the Democratic Party"

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

The New Conservative "Spin Doctors"

I remember the Clinton years very fondly. As I have said, I didn't agree with many of President Clinton's positions, but he had an eye for economics, and the passion to get things done. During these years, however, the moderates and conservatives in the press called the administration officials who "cruised" the talk-show circuit, "spin doctors." Conservatives in particular were hostile with these so-called "doctors," and tore them apart on conservative-friendly talk shows.

We have now seen a switch. Democrats have lost control of both the legislative and executive branches of government. Their voices are hardly a whisper compared to the booming rhetoric coming from the "right."

Now that Democrats have decided to question a Republican administration on their policies, Republicans are hitting the talk-show circuit becoming "spin doctors" for the Bushies.

Friday, July 18, 2003

misStatement of the Union

Recent controversy over the President's "State of the Union" address prompted me to investigate the speech further. I have presented some of the more disturbing moments and, just for fun, have added some commentary. I will admit that some of my points are "picky," but hey, we hold the President to a higher standard (or so I've been told). Enjoy!

We will work for a prosperity that is broadly shared, and we will answer every danger and every enemy that threatens the American people.

We won’t share with the poor, the homeless, and the non-tax paying lower class. People of unfortunate circumstances don't deserve our prosperity...they didn't earn it.
Every danger? We attacked Iraq without physical provocation, yet North Korea builds nuclear weapons that could be attached to rockets that could reach California.

...we will not pass along our problems to other Congresses, to other presidents, and other generations.

But it’s okay to have a $455 billion deficit and increase the national debt to record numbers, because no future government will have to deal with that.

To bring our economy out of recession, we delivered the largest tax relief in a generation.

Funny, our economy came out of recession just fine after Bush (41) and Clinton passed sweeping tax increases. Yet our economy continued to falter after both Reagan and Bush (43) passed record tax relief packages. Hmm, maybe there’s something to this "fiscal responsibility" thing after all.

...we are holding corporate criminals to account.

Yep, that Martha Stewart really had it coming...what was she thinking giving herself a .0001% raise and deceiving investors. Mr. Lay’s day is coming, about 35 years or so. All he did was ruin the lives and retirement accounts of a couple thousand people.

The tax relief is for everyone who pays income taxes -- and it will help our economy immediately...

Did you hear that: immediately! Like ten years from now. Semantics!

Our plan will improve the bottom line for more than 23 million small businesses

Someone needs to inform Bush that most businesses don’t look at income taxes in their bottom line. For a definition of “bottom line”: gross income minus gross expenses. State license fees, yes. Operating costs, yes. Income taxes (although painful) are a springtime inconvenience for most companies, even small ones.

It's fair to tax a company's profits. It is not fair to again tax the shareholder on the same profits. (emphasis mine)

The old "double taxation" line! Dividend taxes are only “double taxation” if based on direct profits. Dividends typically come from profits based on stock performance, related to, but not directly attained from sales. Any money that changes hands is potentially subject to taxation. That also goes for the so-called "Death" tax.

The best way to address the deficit and move toward a balanced budget is to encourage economic growth, and to show some spending discipline in Washington, D.C.

I couldn’t agree more.

I will send you a budget that increases discretionary spending by 4 percent next year

Wait a second, wouldn’t that be around $80-100 billion in increases. There’s more than that outlined in this speech, not to mention the cost of occupation in Iraq and the exorbitant increases in defense spending that have recently been discussed.

Yet for many people, medical care costs too much -- and many have no coverage at all. These problems will not be solved with a nationalized health care system that dictates coverage and rations care.

Valid statement, if taken ideologically, but "nationalized" health care by its very nature would cover all citizens of the U.S. and control costs.

To improve our health care system, we must address one of the prime causes of higher cost, the constant threat that physicians and hospitals will be unfairly sued.

The “primest” cause of higher health care costs is greed and unchecked power. Certainly, there are frivolous law suits against health care establishments, but not enough to cause a significant rise in all health care costs. Besides, who is to define "fairness" except the justice system? It is the place of courts to hear all law suits and judge those cases based on their merits.

I ask you to protect infants at the very hour of their birth and end the practice of partial-birth abortion.

Oh, yes, I think it would be much better for them to die outside the womb and possibly take the mother with them. Our priorities for human life are skewed. We (meaning the general populace) tend to put more importance on the life of an infant or fetus than we put on its parents.

And because no human life should be started or ended as the object of an experiment, I ask you to set a high standard for humanity, and pass a law against all human cloning.

Truth be told, most of us started as the object of an experiment (big laughs). Honestly, what is the big stink about human cloning? One day, cloning technology could be more important than the toaster.

We have confronted, and will continue to confront, HIV/AIDS in our own country.

Yet it goes against principle to increase funding for AIDS research.

...outlaw regimes that seek and possess nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons...could also give or sell those weapons to terrorist allies, who would use them without the least hesitation.

First of all, nobody is going to “give” these things away. Secondly, if Saddam Hussein is suspected to have sold weapons to terrorists over the last two years, why haven’t they tried to use them? I guess it depends on your definition of “hesitation.”

Now, in this century, the ideology of power and domination has appeared again...And we accept this responsibility.

Yes, this was taken out of context, but it’s pretty funny that the words were so close together...continuing.

...the course of this nation does not depend on the decisions of others.

Apparently not.

The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.

First sentence to be proven wrong from this speech, although the administration still calls it “technically correct.” There will be more, I assure you.

Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production.

Questionable intelligence? Some intelligence people have dismissed this claim as well. They cite reports that conclude the tubes could be used more readily in conventional weaponry.

He clearly has much to hide

Of whom are we speaking? If it’s Saddam, he hid it so well that noone, not even people who worked with him, can find anything. I wonder if Saddam could have found the weapons to use them.

The only possible explanation, the only possible use he could have for those weapons, is to dominate, intimidate, or attack.

First of all, I don’t want to come off like I’m defending Saddam Hussein, but he did rule a country in the Middle East. Weapons are usually a security item, not simply for use in domination.

Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications, and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al Qaeda.

Yet again, a case that’s hard to prove. Luckily for Bush, it’s also hard to disprove, which is why it was such a big part of the case for war.

[speaking to the Iraqi people] Your enemy is not surrounding your country -- your enemy is ruling your country. And the day he and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation.

Now as far as most liberals are concerned, this should have been the case for invasion. It would have immediately put us in the role of nation-building (which the President condemns) and given the Iraqi people something for which to hope. The WMD “distraction” was a way to make war more palatable for the nations neoconservatives who will ultimately decide the fate of George Bush's political life.

Sending Americans into battle is the most profound decision a President can make.

Apparently not so profound as to bring forth a good case or iron-clad evidence.

We seek peace. We strive for peace. And sometimes peace must be defended.

This is just bullshit! No president ever got re-elected for refusing to go to war.

And if war is forced upon us, we will fight with the full force and might of the United States military -- and we will prevail.

Very true, except war was not forced upon us. We forced war upon the world.

The liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world, it is God's gift to humanity.

Just a disagreement on the nature of God here. God apparently got in no hurry to extend liberty to the world. After all we are arguably the first “free” country in the world, and we are only 226 years old. Technically speaking, "liberty" was the gift of the "Enlightenment" age which had a distinctly "anti-religion" vibe to it.