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