Friday, August 31, 2007

Same Sex Marriage In Iowa - Move, Larry

Polk County Iowa Judge Robert Hanson has ruled that Iowa's decade old gay marriage ban is unconstitutional and that the county must process marriage applications by same sex couples. The ruling would apply to any Iowan who wished to apply in that county. Two hours after the ruling was publicized Gary Seronko and David Rethmeier applied for license. From AP , "I started to cry because we so badly want to be able to be protected if something happens to one of us," Rethmeier said.

Deputy Recorder Trish Umthun expects a rush after taking 5 calls from gay couples. County Attorney John Sarcone said the County will appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court and sought an immediate stay from Hanson. House Minority Leader Christopher Rants (R-Sioux City), "I can't believe this is happening in Iowa. I guarantee you there will be a vote on this issue come January," when the Legislature convenes.

Judge Hanson, "Couples, such as plaintiffs, who are otherwise qualified to marry one another may not be denied licenses to marry or certificates of marriage or in any other way prevented from entering into a civil marriage ... by reason of the fact that both person comprising such a couple are of the same sex," on the basis of constitutional rights of due process and equal protection.

This would seem to me to be correct reasoning in demanding that all law abiding Iowans be treated the same under the law. I applaud the judge but I doubt the durability of his ruling, though it certainly would be nice to have Iowa prove me wrong.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Larry Craig and Hell

It looks as though the Sen Craig (R-ID) thing isn't going to "just blow over" anytime soon. If the actual crime were the story, it wouldn't have made it into a tabloid. It is just too common - this is why there are police sting operations - it is annoyingly common. It is, of course, the Who that makes it a story and that Who has made his career on family values. Funny, but bathroom sex seems to miss the family values target. Many Republicans are lining up to kick Larry Craig through the goal posts, and this is something to see.

These folks weren't the ones all over Duke Cunningham, Bob Ney, Tom DeLay, Mark Foley, Ted Stevens, and Abromoff, they certainly kept pretty quiet then. Nope, they're not all over the BushCo for infringing the Constitution, starting a war on false pretences, or using Executive Privilege to cover infractions, they're all over a tacky sex story, a minor misdemeanor. Some things have national impact, some things are just creepy.

So, Larry Craig has spent decades on a political career based on "Republican" values and his colleagues would like him pilloried. His constituents are not happy, the papers and other media are all over him, and he has a family. Wow, for a few furtive minutes in an airport restroom his world exploded. That stuff must have been damned important to him to risk it, a major Idaho paper was looking into allegations of gay sex and others had made inquiries. What his wife knew or knows hasn't been made public, but she certainly knew about the previous allegations and that had to be somewhat distressing. We know nothing about their relationship and all kinds of arrangements are made - in private - but this can't make for comfortable home life. (ok, do YOU know what arrangements the Clintons had?)

I do not know whether Larry Craig is gay or what and I don't care, but it is evident that something pretty damn tacky is important to him. Way more important than all the posturing about "family values." Way more important than being Mitt Romney's best bud. Way more important than the regard of his colleagues. That must be hell. It must be a truly nightmarish life to live with such a nasty secret that drives and drives one. This is the natural outgrowth of the Republican politics of "family values." These things must be secret, they must be furtively pursued, they must endanger things of vast importance to one's life, and finally they must involve some level of hypocrisy for those engaging in them. Terry Schiavo was the ultimate hypocrisy of Republican "family values" collision with individual decisions and they learned nothing.

A part of me would like to have sympathy for Larry Craig, I surely do have some for his family, but I can't work up to it for him. He has profited from his hypocrisy, he has built a life on it. I look at his wreckage and ruin with cold eyes, he worked hard for that and I'm willing to indulge him. He has made a career out of making some ordinary people's lives more difficult, lives that would in the best of circumstances be difficult. There is absolutely no way that heterosexuals can, at the final level, approve of homosexuality, the drive is too basic for either orientation to see it neutrally. So there is always going to be a disconnect between the vast majority and the minority in this and that will make life more difficult for the minority. All the equality under the law will not remove that, and Larry Craig and his ilk have done their utmost to increase that difficulty through the law. They've deliberately and knowingly harmed friends of mine and people whom they know and even employ for the sake of political advantage.

Welcome to Hell, Larry, I think you've earned it, have a nice long stay.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mitt Romney's Gay Problems

Former Gaymarrychusets governor Mitt Romney has to run hard against gays to cover that particular job, oh that and some of his other "previous" incarnations of a liberal sort. Now he has another problem, his co-Senate Liaison Senator Larry Craig (R - ID) who has been dogged by gayness allegations pleaded guilty in Minneapolis to disorderly conduct in a men's restroom. That wouldn't be a big problem other than Larry's anti-gay stance and his support for Mitt. would be where you would go to hear and see Larry Craig share his thoughts on Mitt Romney, it is, however, no longer available. (Gov. Mitt Romney's Videos) is the user who pulled the video, but this person seems to think it should stay, and I particularly like the part about their shared "strong family values." used to have Craig for Romney, seems to have gone away.

Now I personally don't care if Sen Larry Craig likes men, restrooms is tacky, but what kind of frosts me is his record on gay bashing legislation and his runs on "family values" coded as anti-gay theocratic agenda. I'm not real sure those "conservative" Idahoans will much like his arrest and guilty plea. Hypocrisy is what offends me, and the politics of creating "devils" enrages me. This nation has some rather serious issues, even leaving Iraq out, and these people waste time and emotional energy on "better than" crap. Oh well, I'm sure this will all turn out to just be a leftist media conspiracy...

Mitt keeps having campaign people go away for not too nice reasons, that kind of makes one wonder what it is about him that attracts them in the first place. Actually they seem to congregate in Republican circles, but maybe that's just the attraction of unmitigated greed. Watching the majority of the Republican candidates try to out-hawk and out-god each other makes me wonder is they've noticed that Karl Rove has left DC and GWB's polls are in the toilet. While they blame Bill Clinton for everything they manage to make him and Hillary look principled - and that's going some...

Monday, August 27, 2007

Albie In The Mud And Other Stupidities

Albie was "dragged through the mud for political reasons," quoth the "Decider." Well, yes, a big part of it was politics, the difference of opinion would be whose politics it was. George would have us believe that Congressional politics was in play - this from the all politics all the time President. Albie's problem was politics, no doubt, the playing at politics in DOJ where it had no place making politics policy at DOJ.

People expect the President to be political, but they also expect him to suborn politics to the good of the nation and they definitely expect justice to be applied apolitically. One of the basics that separates us from the third world dung holes is the rule of law. That rule of law creates transparency in government, it means that you know what is legal and not - every time. Not depending on whether you belong to the "X" Party or "Z" religion, each and every time. You know that the government will come after you for a violation not for an affiliation and that is important. Albie, amongst others (dragged through the mud others) ignored that.

Another person that seems to have little clue about law is Michael Vick. Today he apologized, saying he was ashamed. Wait a whole doggone minute. As far as I can tell, dog fighting has been illegal for quite some time and in the opinion of most Americans, cruel and degenerate. Michael just now figured this out? He just figured out that it was wrong? What exactly is he ashamed of, getting caught? Losing a boatload of money? Oh hell, we pay people who are of no use to the nation beyond entertainment buckets of money after coddling them through their youth, to play a game.

Vick pleaded out after his co-conspirators testified against him, Albie quit when there was no public heat - what was waiting in the wings for him?

What Wasn't Said

I have a commenter, troll maybe, who loves to tell me I said or somebody said something that was never said. He accuses me of advocating amnesty and anchor babies, when the words that say exactly not that were right in front of him and have been repeated since February of '06. Isn't that odd? No, it's not odd, it is ordinary in the BushCo world of politics. I will state in blunt terms that there are people (terrorists) who need killing and that I don't have a problem with our government being damned dangerous for those people and be told that I'm amongst those who think therapy is the answer for terrorism. Maybe some of you recognize the tactic.

If you have had the patience to listen to the President's speeches those are the "talking points," the arguments he has are with himself. He states that some people say, "..." and then refutes it. The problem is that nobody is saying these things. Some blog research shows that Saudi Arabia offers therapy for those with terrorist tendencies but all other entries are either "liberals" scoffing or wingnuts screaming about it happening because BushCo said so. You can run through the litany and keep coming up with gems like that. Maybe you remember the liberal racists who opposed "No Child Left Behind" or the "9/11 changed everything,"' or "we'll hunt them down where they are," to justify Iraq.

The truly peculiar aspect is to watch people on the right claim they have little use for GWB and turn around and use his strawman positions to attack the left.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Florida Democrats Might Want Their Vote To Count

Florida's Republican legislature moved their Primary Election to January 29th in defiance of Democratic National Committee rules. 210 Delegates are at stake since the DNC Rules Committee has imposed the harshest penalty of refusing seat Delegates elected prior to February 5th. Floridians are crying foul and disenfranchisement, seems an odd notion since the rules were in effect before the offense and it was clearly known. Democratic Party of Oregon had extended discussions on the matter last winter and made its opposition known to the legislature.

These front loading states may be making a large mistake in their thinking that they will attract candidates by moving up. The early field may get so crowded that candidates simply will not have the resources to give them the attention they desire. Candidates will definitely have to concentrate their early resources on large delegations if they crowd up. State like Oregon with a May 5th Primary (and a paltry delegation) may well turn into decisive votes if the candidates come out of the early fray bunched up. There are candidate strategies that could turn an early crowd into a low dollar campaign benefit, concentration on the small delegations could turn to advantage as the big bucks brawl in the big states.

The DNC certainly had the right to set the rules and the timetable limits, it is their Primary. Beyond a simple matter of "rights" is the matter of controlling chaos in the process. The practical effect of a DNC cave in on this issue is having Primary elections the day after Inauguration. OK, I exaggerate, but at what point does the thing become ludicrous and fall apart. I'd say it's already become ridiculous. The General Election is November 10th, this isn't a pregnancy, it does not take 9 months from Floridians voting and having an election.

I'd be real pleased to see these numbskulls have to sit on their hands February, March, and April to find out that Oregon just selected the nominee in May. Sure, it might not work that way; but it could and that's something to think about when States consider messing about with the Primary process. Size might not be all, it might get canceled by size, but that wouldn't occur to them - they're big.

BushCo Muzzles Dissenters

I don't think I'll bother to try to improve on this NYT Editorial where they take a dim view of the Executive Branch's attempts to stifle protest. I will note to the President that there is a difference between a gun and a T shirt and assasination and character assisination, though you may have rendered the last moot, yourself.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Disqualified From Expert Rating

Tim Robbins made a suggestion Friday night on Bill Mahr's "Real Time" that deserves serious consideration. "Experts" who have been blatantly wrong about things like Iraq need to be disqualified from using the modifier "expert." Unfortunately there is no National Board of Expert Qualification to revoke credentials or supposed credentials for repeated failures to be even sort of right about an issue. After sufficient BushCo butt-kissing stupidities you'd think somebody would call the "Expert" label into question when one of these numb heads opens his mouth; nope, they're still experts.

I do not doubt that there are people who have spent a lifetime studying an area and who make judgements based on something other than wishful thinking and partisanship, we just don't seem to see and hear much from them. Big media has an unspoken news agenda, confrontation is more salable than discussion, "Shock and Awe" is way sexier than boring footage of UN WMD inspectors poking around in factories; so when experts advocate the sexy stuff guess who gets air time and print space.

In George Bush's Orwellian vision there is no place for the truth in advertising involved in naming his pool of experts "Ministry of Propaganda." I guess it's up to the public to call Bull Shit on them, sometime...

Go ahead and try to find the original voices of opposition to the Iraq invasion, they were right - after all - and you'd think they'd have positions of real experts...sure.

Low Power FM

Some of you are fortunate enough to live in a radio market with some form of independence, stations that are locally controlled. Most of the low population large area communities do not have that luxury, they are stuck with what some media conglomerate decides is programming. This is increasingly true in medium size markets and even large market communities.

There are significant costs involved in broadcasting and a limited number of licenses available. Some of the FCC limits on licenses involve rather fantastic interference regulations, resulting in protection of market rather than signal. Recent history has shown that despite some ludicrous stances on obscenity the FCC is truly large media's friend, or perhaps more accurately - tool.

Low power FM is a community friendly solution, while not cheap, the transmitter equipment is not out of the reach of smaller organizations and with its limited signal reach is not attractive to media conglomerates. There is a bill in the House, House Bill 2802 -- the Local Community Radio Act of 2007 -- which would expand low power FM. You can learn more about low power FM at Prometheus Radio and learn how to help. If you think your community organization or non-profit could operate a full power station, there is a limited window in mid-October to apply and Get Radio has important information.

Americans have got to do something to take back the airwaves from the giants with no concern for or interest in local programming and social benefits. Particularly the political agenda of giants like Clear Channel need to be balanced with the voices of others.

I don't often get the opportunity to promote and advocate and live up to the Blog title of "Chuck for..." so I'm happy to do so here. I don't care what music you like or what your political leanings are, we all benefit from wider perspectives and wider analysis. Don't expect a lot of opportunities like this to come along.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Viet Iraq Nam

Let me see how this works, GWB awol TX ANG along with 5x deferred Dick and the rest of the chickenhawks NOW want to say Viet Nam and Iraq in the same sentence. Not in 2004 when the quagmire aspect started to get obvious, but now a couple weeks before the White House tells Congress what it thinks Gen. Petraeus ought to say. No, despite the BushCo insistence for months that Patraeus would report, the White House will do the report. We are now on the umpteenth iteration of "new and improved" plans that will save the day.

The same team that brought you the war in Iraq tells you that we ran away in Viet Nam and emboldened the terrorists and cost thousands (millions) of lives there and that is what will happen in Iraq, and the defeat will bring terrorist home to us. I really can't think of a much more stupid and dangerous analogy to run with. Not one Admin. ever told the American public the truth about Viet Nam - Tonkein Gulf Resolution/WMDs & 9/11, the SVN government never had wide support with its citizens, that government was corrupt, our troops were never sure who was an enemy outside uniformed NVA, we used conventional troops against guerrilla troops, we did not win "hearts and minds," we won every pitched conventional battle, the American public finally lost patience, the war was primarily fought by the poor and blue collar, we destabilized the region, we spent blood and treasure on a cause that their civilian populace didn't care about, and made ourselves unpopular with our ordinary allies. There was, also, the Domino Theory, you know the one... Each year the war got bigger and bigger and always right around the corner was the final resolution. There never was a political settlement in the country and its army, for the most part, stunk. There are two real big differences, rain and race. Communism is essentially a sort of religion and the Saigon government was one of personality not law - another form of religion government. Most of the people were dedicated to the proposition of staying alive and getting by, not noble causes.

The dead-enders insist the "libbers" lost 'Nam, I'd be surprised to hear that Henry Kissinger ever thought of himself in those terms and Nixon - well, I guess an unpopular war and anti-democracy actions by presidents may go hand in hand, along with patriotism/treason rhetoric Militarists insist that Viet Nam was over managed by politicians, then deny that it is exactly what is happening in Iraq.

I admit it, I'm still trying to figure out how anybody thought invading Iraq was a good idea, I cannot understand the logic. Now that we have a nice little religious civil war going I can't seem to wrap my head around the idea that it is "our" war. GHWB refused to do it, before sanctions had crushed Iraq's economy and infrastructure, but the failed son just had to try to "one up" the old man, and pulled another of his inimitable failures. At election time people chose to ignore that this is the guy that could wreck an oil company - even with all the family oil connections - and a professional ball club, so he became President and now....

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

And You Only Thought You Were Poorer

The NYT Business Section tells an interesting story about average income in the US since 2000, seems it was lower in 2005 for the fifth year running, a record (again) since 1945, it dropped once previous to this BushCo debacle. I'll tell the story their way - and then I'll tell you just how badly you're having your leg pulled. Incomes, adjusted for inflation, have risen since 2002 but 2005 was still 1% lower than 2000.

Here's where it all gets sticky, the number of people making over $1 million rose by 26% from 2000 which is 0.25% of taxpayers and they accounted for 47% of the income gains compared to 2000. They also got 62% of the tax cuts from the BushCo capital gains & investment cuts, the folks earning over $10 million - 11,433 people out of 134 million taxpayers (whew, 0.000085%) got 28% of the savings, that's $21.7 billion for this handful. So you know not everyone else was left out, the 90% who make less than $100,000 got an average of $318 in savings.

Here's where it gets real ugly and NYT didn't tell you the meaningful numbers; since the gains were almost all at the top, those folks dragged the average up, if you were to put the median income (half above, half below) into this equation the picture would be considerably grimmer (unless you're rich) since 2000. In fact you would be talking about a national disgrace, not a 1% shortfall.

Now here's what BushCo's thinking is on this matter:

GWB fall 2006, “I’m pleased with the economic progress we’re making.”

Tony Fratto, White House spokesman, “the significant wrenching hits that our economy took in 2001 and 2002, so no one should be surprised that what a bubble economy created in the late 1990s and 2000, where economic data were skewed, would take some time to recover.” (that skew would be Clinton)((Clinton's fault, Clinton's fault))

Fratto on whose income grew, “is not a very interesting story.” (certainly not breaking news)

Fratto on taxes, “There is no question that you will always have distributional concerns with a tax rate, a broad-based tax rate, at the very top of the income scale.”

So, you made less than $1 million in IRS declared income and thought you counted with BushCo and the Republican Party? While they're busy flattening your wallet they'll give you WAR, FEAR, BRAINDEAD WOMAN, and GAYS to keep you distracted, and if that fails, some more FEAR. Oh, I know; the list is much longer than that, but I've only so much energy. No wonder Rupe Murdoch loves them, fodder to whip up Faux News and he's way up in that 0.000085% of taxpayers, what do you suppose Wall Street Journal will report on this story? (you'd have to add several more zeros to that percentage to get to Rupe)

Trying to wrap your head around some of these numbers will make your head spin, but you need to. You need to understand how many people are fighting for an infitisimal piece of the pie and what any losses in that group mean. You need to try to understand the colossal level of greed that not only produces these numbers but also produces 12-20 million low wage illegal immigrants to use as a serf class and replaces jobs with cheap Walmart Chinese goods - poisonous ones, to boot. The Republicans asked if you'd like to have your country back, ok, I'm asking. How do you like Compassionate Conservatism? Want some more of this? Well then, squeal and run around with your head up your patoot while they chant , terror, terror; and pay no attention to what's really going on. Pah.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Vice-presidency In Alternate Universe

Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) was complaining that the BushCo hadn't responded to the Senate Judiciary Committee's subpoenas for NSA wire tapping related documents and noted the Admin. had sent a letter asking for time while identifying some documents relevant and providing a Twilight Zone moment, "the administration claims the Office of the Vice President is not part of the Executive Office of the President." I seem to remember bumper stickers, Bush/Cheney '04, and if memory serves from the passing glance this part of the ballot got, their names were linked there.

Now it seems that there are 3 branches of government set out in the Constitution, the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judiciary. Now the VP ain't a judge, Congress doesn't claim him, and now evidently the Executive doesn't want him - I guess we can just dispense with him altogether. Wouldn't this also take care of any of this Executive privilege nonsense?

During the 109th the same committee chaired by Arlen Spector, "In fact, we were about to issue subpoenas then and one of the senators came to our meeting and said that the vice president had met with the Republican senators and told them they were not allowed to issue subpoenas."

OK, my head's exploded, you figure it out...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Credit Crunch Widens

Some bigger names in the credit industry are having real problems, the WaPo reports Capital One will close it's mortgage subsidiary GreenPoint Mortgage eliminating 1,900 jobs with an after tax cost of $860 million. Thornburg Mortgage whose business specialty is jumbo mortgages, in excess of $417,000 for wealthy clients with stellar credit ratings, has sold $20.5 billion in assets to cover debts. Friedman, Billings, Ramsey Group has sold $4.9 billion in mortgage backed securities at a $75 million loss to cover its problems. Luminent Mortgage Capital and KKR Financial Holdings are all scrambling to cover themselves.

Consumers will have fewer and narrower choices in home loans than in the recent past. What that finally means is higher cost loans. This will not help the housing downturn to recover and sadly, the biggest prop for this BushCo economy has been the cheap available credit in the housing market, either purchase or refinance. Bernanke is going to have to scramble to keep this from getting bad.

To a certain extent an unnecessary panic mentality has hit, anyone who has planned to stay in their home for five or more years need pay little attention to this downturn as far as selling their home. Housing pressure will continue, over the long term, people will buy their first homes or move up - it is simply a matter of time. As housing stocks decrease pressure will again force prices back up. If you happen to have very good credit the next 6 months may be a very good buying opportunity. If you see payment problems coming your way, don't wait around to try to get something straightened around. Markets that have not seen a bubble probably have little to fear in lost valuation. The first step is to keep your head and make sure you actually understand what is happening where you are.

Impeaching Gonzales

It is easy enough to forget that impeachment was built into the Constitution for more than just action against a President and this NYT Editorial is happy to point that out in regard to AG Gonzales. Now that Jay Inslee (D-WA) and 5 other Reps have introduced a resolution to conduct an impeachment inquiry it is important to know just what it means within the Constitutional framework.

Treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors are the Constitutional basis for impeachment and while this may be a rather loose sounding list it is so for a reason. While the Founders did not want Congress to undertake an impeachment lightly they also did not want them hamstrung. The impeachment process was promoted at conventions as a means to rein in any office holder who “dares to abuse the power vested in him by the people.”

If you're thinking such a thing would be without precedence the case of US Grant's Sec of War William Belknap was impeached for taking bribes, Alberto might find Congress a bit more polite in that they impeached William even though he'd resigned.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Faux News' Pal

Since I don't follow the Murdoch version of news I have to take these folks at NY Daily News word for it, but it seems Rudy Guiliani has friends there. He's had 115 minutes of free face time on Fox, over half on Hannity and Colmes which is 25% more than any other Republican candidate. You might wonder if that has something to do with his lead and how that would benefit Murdoch. Don't even think this is an accident, there's a bit more to the story.

August 9th in Cincinnati Guiliani held a closed door $250/head fundraiser and had...Sean Hannity do the introduction. "But some who were there - including Hannity's boss at WABC, Phil Boyce - said Hannity was typically effusive.
"He talked about Rudy's leadership after 9/11, about how Rudy had turned the city around and taken people off the welfare rolls," said Boyce "There wasn't anything he said that I haven't heard him say on the radio." "

Just so it is known how Fox looks at the whole thing, " "Sean is not a journalist - Sean is a conservative commentator," said Bill Shine, Fox's senior vice president of programming. "Sean doesn't hide, and never has hidden, his beliefs from anyone." " Now while that might be the case, it does not say anything about the political stance of Fox, how it meddles in politics, and just what it is they are trying to accomplish.

82nd Airborne, A Few Speak Out

I'm going to be very careful with this NYT OpEd piece, because it is from Iraq frontline soldiers and because I don't use block quotes or "fair usage" notices. I encourage you to follow the link and read it for yourselves. Those contributing are: "Buddhika Jayamaha is an Army specialist. Wesley D. Smith is a sergeant. Jeremy Roebuck is a sergeant. Omar Mora is a sergeant. Edward Sandmeier is a sergeant. Yance T. Gray is a staff sergeant. Jeremy A. Murphy is a staff sergeant," and they carefully note: "(Obviously, these are our personal views and should not be seen as official within our chain of command.)"

"To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched. " Quite frankly the article pretty much follows on from there, but I will not characterize this piece, go read it.

DPO Gun Owner's Caucus, Grants Pass, OR

I am one of the Charter members of the GOC but I hold no office within the Caucus other than member. Zach Johnson is the Chair and he put together the shoot/caucus meeting in Grants Pass as well as the Daily Courier piece. Please keep in mind the generosity of the Daily Courier to allow UTube posting of their property and treat it with due respect.

Zach and I provided most of the artillery ranging from .357 and 9mm up to .45 Colt & for the stout of heart 45-70 Govt. A couple people actually tried out the 5 1/2" Vacquero .45 Colt w/300 Gr at 1250fps CorBon. The majority of participants were first time shooters or those of very limited experience, a large portion of the GOC had other Caucus comitments at the time. It is important to note that the experience was intended as a fun outing rather than a competitive style shoot, managing to hit the target was considered a fine accomplishment. Note to organizers (self, Zach) keep targets closer in next time, it's much more fun to hit it.

The video was published on Blue Steel Democrats and I've held off publishing it so it could have a fair run there.

Illegal Immigration Storm Rising

Illegal immigration is repeatedly referred to as a Republican issue, maybe in the big public fights in Congress but I am finding a considerable amount of discontent within the category. It doesn't get to be very high profile and Democratic legislators don't get publicly bombarded by Democrats, but there is a very real discontent with amnesty programs.

At least some of the resistance has its roots in history, Reagan's amnesty was not followed by employer enforcement and opened the gates - again, by demonstrating American impotence on the issue. The progressives who pay attention can see the degradation of wages surrounding the flooding of the labor market, we're talking about a lot wider effect than grass mowing and crop picking; the direct effect runs the gamut of lower blue collar wages from construction to light manufacturing and the indirect effect spread into the middle class. The effects on social services in some locales has been drastic and is spreading widely. The results of an illegal underground society have been making headlines, along with the impotence of local law enforcement. Racism is on the rise, using the cover of a legitimate issue and yet to come are the results of having a disenfranchised serf class living amongst us.

There are several beneficiaries to this mess, racist demagogues get credence, plutocrats widen the disparity of wealth with the worst victims disenfranchised, radical race based organizations - La Raza to KKK build their membership, and ludicrous positions like open borders or police state enforcement get credence in the face of impotence.

Perceived impotence gives rise to stupid legislation like the Kennedy/McCain mess. Employers laugh at "enforcement" and if it shows cry inability to find Americans to do the jobs - which is true, Americans won't do the jobs for those wages; which would be self-correcting minus the illegal flood.

Democrats aren't hearing a large backlash from Democrats and at least a couple reasons seem to be in operation. Democrats tend not to be racist (at least overtly) and recoil from having that label attached to them. This is one of the demagogic tools in the open borders crowd's arsenal, debase all opponents with racism. Another is an appeal to their sense of justice and fairness, it is quite factual to state that the vast majority of illegal immigrants are responsible individuals attempting to improve their and their family's lot with hard work. Another tool is the assertion of impotence to deal with the issue without the institution of a police state and the expense in resources. There is finally local and state inability to do anything in the face of Federal inaction, popular politicians attempt to defuse rising tensions with any tool at hand firing the heat from rabid anti-illegals and shoring the "Party" defences. It is flatly difficult to to push a Democratic local official to take an enforcement stance when he knows there is legally nothing to be done and local problems require action.

The last is possibly one of the most illustrative and the example of "sanctuary" day labor halls shows what local officials are up against. Cheating employers use day labor pools to cut costs in low skill employment by hiring off the streets. This creates a disorderly and potentially dangerous condition of prospective laborers gathering in one place in hot competition for jobs. The local populous will not tolerate these conditions and in face of real tensions the local officials establish a location for hiring, because quite simply they cannot legally do anything to remove the root problem - cheating employers and illegal aliens. This is a Catch 22 solution, it takes the mess off the streets but is exacerbates the problem of illegal hiring and gives ammunition to the opponents of illegal immigration. The real villains in this, Congress and BushCo and employers, don't get attacked, the attack falls on the local official and if that official is Democratic, the Democrats are forced to back their play, whether they agree with unfettered illegal immigration or not.

While I do not have a comprehensive plan to deal with the mess, and since nobody would do anything with one I developed; I will at least state unequivocally that the Democrats have to face up to this issue and deal with it in a real manner and if that does not address the very real problems facing us they will face a large backlash. The problem has been building since 1984 and Ronnie's refusal to do anything more than an amnesty, some - myself included - have been calling for action for over a decade but this issue is finally hitting its boiling point. The effects have become widespread enough that they are plain to many without demagoguery and politicians that ignore or try to gloss the issue are going to pay in the '08 election. Some on the left have called this a fake issue and wondered why this is now an issue. It is an issue, validly, and even if it were manufactured it would still have to be dealt with, but its validity is demonstrated by articles like this in McClatchy - scarcely a reactionary publication. Some Republicans have already paid for their positions and while that may seem a Republican problem it is not, much of the middle or Independent vote is concerned and upset and within the ranks of Democrats disillusionment is spreading.

A very large portion of the voters are not willing to provide Mexico and other plutocratic racist countries with a safety valve at the expense of Americans. Taxpayers will hold still for some wasteful spending but telling them that they must subsidize plutocrats and corrupt foreign governments will upset them no end. If anyone thinks that Republican candidates will not appeal to this they live in a fantasy world. There is no reason whatever for Democrats to need to appeal to the racist xenophobes, but it is necessary to address the real issues at hand. Americans generally have an inherent sense of fairness, but it takes little to offend that sense - the Kennedy/McCain mess offended it, there is a balance to be struck between reasonable treatment of long term illegals and a total disrespect for law and legal employees - and for that issue - the suffering of legal employers. There also are methods of dealing with largest proportion of illegal aliens, the more recent arrivals, without creating a police state. If one wishes to address such an issue one needs to proceed logically, and the starting point is the reason people engage in an illegal activity, crossing a border without permission. They do not cross that border to sight-see or otherwise vacation, they cross for the improved economic conditions available to them. While some form of control must be provided for the border the actual root cause must be addressed and that is economic. It is not realistic to think that the US can somehow improve the corrupt racist xenophobic plutocratic government of Mexico (and others) short of an invasion, the problem must be most directly attacked domestically and that involves employment and social services short of emergency care. Children born in the US are citizens and must continue to be so, but that need confer absolutely no benefits on the parents - the ability to breed is not somehow a legal entitlement. The ordinary law enforcement contact with illegal aliens occurs at the local level, for the federal government to deny authority and funding for these contacts is ludicrous and encourages illegal activity. It must be recognized that some contacts are very serious and involve people with little to lose and when those people are simply cut loose their behavior is encouraged, that is the most serious outcome, the less serious is the demonstration of simple impotence of law enforcement.

Does this currently rise to the level of crisis? Not in the sense of widespread civil disorder and property damage, but we are rapidly approaching a tipping point in ability to deal with it at all and worse yet the onset of the damages of all the natural outcomes of the creation of a serf class. History holds lessons regarding this type of situation, and the outcomes are universally nasty. Let's see if we can't avoid repeating previous stupidities engaged in here and other countries.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Peter Smith and Al Franken

Peter Smith over at HuffPo has an interesting take on the comparison between Norm Coleman and Al Franken in Minnesota's Senate race. It isn't about policy, it's about style and fundraising. Given the source and that I like it you can probably guess that it's favorable to Franken...

Fred Thompson - Lobbyist

"Don't confuse the lawyer with the client," Thompson told AP . Lobbyists are not lawyers, a lawyer may be (in his case "was") a lobbyist. There is a significant difference and confusion over it leads to stupidity. A lawyer represents a person in a legal conflict with the government or in a conflict between parties before the government in this sort of analogy, a lobbyist attempts to have the government institute policy for the benefit of a group or individual, that is not the same thing. Fred evidently doesn't see the difference between guiding someone in a legal process and attempting to create the process and here's where it makes a difference, in Fred's view influencing the creation is simply a matter of money.

Somehow Fred expects voters to ignore that. You are supposed to forget that when it comes to policy Fred's representation is for sale. I don't actually expect lobbyists to be an honorable bunch, only representing the good of the nation, I just don't expect to have one for President. The tell-tale in this is that Fred Thompson can't tell the difference, he's so sold out and greed oriented that it just misses him.

I'm quite sure we have an over-abundance of lawyers in Congress, but I don't have a real problem with their profession. The courts and law are way too complicated for ordinary individuals to represent themselves in something they have a huge stake, the creation of law is something we all have a huge stake in and lobbyists seldom attempt to represent us all. In fact, the very constituency Fred attempts to appeal to takes a very dim view of the pro-choice group he represented (his campaign originally denied doing, now glosses) and most of us take a dim view of Aristide and his "necklacing."

To get a handle on the level of personal corruption involved in his point of view you only have to think about this, "Thompson said his work on behalf of Aristide was limited to a single phone call. 'I never met with the client. I never met anybody on behalf of Haiti or received any compensation for it.' " Is this something like 'a little pregnant' or 'kind of dead'? Aristide was the kind of guy who said, "The burning tire, what a beautiful tool! ... It smells good. And wherever you go, you want to smell it." Gee, I only made one phone call to White House Chief of Staff John Sununu on this guy's behalf.

This piece of work is tied for second in Republican polls...

Killing America

Steve Culley
August 5th, 2007

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen president George Bush go on television and argue for some new domestic spying law that he desperately needs to “keep Americans safe” from Al Qaeda or Islamic fascist. Always what he asks for is just another little bit of police state that chips away at the Bill Of Rights and Constitution. His requests are usually endorsed and touted by the political right like Bill Oreilly and Sean Hannity and acquiesced too by democrats in congress because they know that in the present political climate that if another 9 11 type attack happened anyone who didn’t vote to give George Bush the “tools he needed” to stop terrorism would soon be out of a job.

All of this reflects the sorry state of American patriotism we have today. Nobody in the mainstream media or for that matter few in the blogosphere seem to be able to distinguish between killing Americans and killing America. They are two different things.

Bin Laden killed Americans on 9 11. The communists killed Americans in Viet Nam and Korea. Nazis killed Americans in Europe and Africa and Japanese militarism killed Americans in the Pacific. Germans killed Americans during World War One. Spain killed Americans during the Spanish American War. Americans killed Americans during our Civil War. The British killed Americans during the War of 1812. The very first Americans to die in war were those Minute Men who stood on the greens at Lexington and Concord to be killed by the most power army in the world, the British empire. That’s when we started to think of ourselves as Americans. Americans died but America was born.

And what is an American? Is it people who live inside a certain geographical boundary? Yes we do or should have borders and a history and a tradition and unique laws. That is part of being American. Americans are the heirs of brave and involved people who decided they would pay the price of being free. You can live in America but America lives in Americans.

I say killing Americans is not the same as killing America. America is an idea that was spawned at those village greens where a “shot heard around the world” was fired. America is an idea. Something that came down from heaven in my view. It’s a simple idea. That common men can run their own affairs without the benefit of royal leaders born with the right to rule. The American way is one of independence from state and for that matter from each other. We might cooperate for the common good in some things like a national defense, some book keeping things for business like trade deals and such and in laws that ensure the rights of individuals against the state and the tyranny of majority rule. A republic if you will.

After the constitutional convention, where Ben Franklin, had looked at a carved wooden figure in the back of a chair of a sunrise or possibly sunset remarked to a man on the street, “what have you given us Mr. Franklin” said “ A republic if you can keep it”. Franklin, during the build up to the revolution that spawned the American idea also said that, “those who would give up essential liberties for a little security deserve neither”.

And now 200 and some years later here we are again. Giving up essential liberty so Americans don’t die even if it means America might die.

There was a time when slogans meant something and were understood by a large portion of the population. “don’t tread on me” , “live free or die”, “better dead than red”. American ideas. The idea that life isn’t so precious that we would slowly give our freedoms and condemn our children and grand children to lives of servitude and bondage just to stay alive.

Who’s killing America? Bin Laden? No it’s the politicians and pundits and lazy media news editors who argue for a tough anti terrorism laws even if it’s un-American. It’s the far left that tries to disarm the common man, those men who pledged to be ready in one minute, the Minute Men, who met the British on the Village green, the militia, the common armed man, long before any concept of a national guard who the left wing says are the sole people who have the right to keep and bear arms. Judges who are globalists before they are American who hand out rights to foreigners who arrived yesterday, illegally who never bothered to fight their own revolutions and the real anti Americans, those Americans who reap the benefits of being American but could not tell you anything about Lexington and Concord, The battle of New Orleans, Belleau Woods, Normandy, Iowa Jima, Bastogne, Inchon, Khe Sahn, The Gulf or for that matter Iraq and Afghanistan today. The far right pundit who argues for blind loyalty to a president and the politician who fails to stand up and say’ “ If I vote for this bill it will give the federal government the ability to spy on our enemies, but it will also give the federal government the right to spy on you. It might save your life but there is an equal possibility that it makes you part of a police state. Therefore I will not vote for it. You might die in an Islamic explosion but you will die American. You will die free and America, the idea will live.”

We are 300 million. How many could we lose and still be American? If one person is left who understands what America is, or was, then America lives. But if a majority votes away freedoms to be safe, then America is dead and gone.

Padilla Verdict

Somehow the "right" takes great solace in Padilla being found guilty and somehow finds it an indictment of the left. While I may not cruise a whole lot of blogs I haven't found any who maintained that Padilla hadn't committed a crime, I didn't; but what I did find was a whacking bunch who objected to BushCo's methods regarding detention. GeorgeII had decided that he had the kingly power to decide how an American in America should be treated under the law. That was the objection, that and the detention conditions. If anything a conviction justifies the Constitutionally mandated treatment of Americans, certainly not the authoritarianism of say, Jules Crittenden who proves just what a cretin he is by referencing Geo. Washington's treatment of a British soldier/spy during the Revolution - which in case anybody is as historically ignorant as Jules - pre-dated the Constitution by quite awhile. " Military tribunal, execution." This twisted logic involves John Andre' the British officer caught out of uniform trying to work out Benedict Arnold's surrender of West Point.

By the way, just for Jules' illumination, violating an oath to preserve and defend the Constitution by an officer or government official is treason and since Habeas Corpus is Constitutional law and since GWB decided to violate it he should be given that treatment, apparently. Since I've already stated in other posts that I disapprove of capital punishment I'd be happy with an orange jumpsuit and house of many bars. The Supreme Court wouldn't approve of a George Bush pardon of George Bush so maybe...

I have no particular reason to believe the jury got the Padilla verdict wrong and sending him away for a good long time is a good idea, applying the same principle to some one with considerably more ability to harm this nation - GWB - seems apt to me. I'd almost be willing to bet the jury would come in quicker.

The entire reason the government is so constrained in its approach to individuals in criminal law is simple, it is a balancing of the resources of each, the full strength and resources of the government can be brought to bear on an individual, rightfully or not, and in order to achieve some semblance of justice the individual must have protections from the application of that power. The fear mongers and the fearful would undo that balance, they would just trust GeorgeII, I do not trust him at all and particularly I don't trust his unknown successors down through the years.

During the past two decades this country has become more "rightwing" in the sense of approving of authoritarianism, the paternalistic view that government knows best and I see no sign of rebellion to that course. There is a world of difference between asking the government to help you do something and having it do things to you. Government is an exercise in power and expecting it to not use power is foolish wishful thinking. Government will go where ever it is allowed to, it is the nature of the thing and people which is why people who had lately revolted from the most powerful nation on earth and one intimately connected to their sociology set such high bars for government. We keep forgetting this, gun banners are too ignorant to understand the MAD (mutually assured destruction) component of the Second Amendment and the fearful are too scared to understand that the provisions of the Fourth are one assurance that the government cannot simply become vindictive.

Time passes and sociology changes and fear ebbs and wanes but people do not stop being human and having character defects, at some point those defects will be in operation high within government, it is inevitable; the question being, how much power do you want available to such a person? People will just insist on not understanding that government is not a moral construct, it cannot be one, it is composed of laws and law enforcement - these are not suggestions - these are rules backed by force, which is not a system of morality. The morality is only present in those framing the laws and enforcing them, even the Constitution is not a moral document, it is a series of limitations placed on those who would govern.

When we acquiesce to the fear of a Padilla and allow extraordinary measures we allow the future to run off the rails set in place by the Constitutional Convention, we become subject rather than citizen, we sell our children's future for questionable present gain. Freedom and liberty are a risky proposition, but then being alive is a dangerous business and it is ultimately fatal, oh well, maybe the trick is doing it well - not cringing and whining.

Friday, August 17, 2007

You Say You're Confused?

Suppose somebody didn't fit your preconceived notions, would you try to figure out what they're about or just try to make them fit into your box? My lefty friends will think I've lost my mind, but I'd vote Ron Paul before I'd vote Hillary. Seems real strange, eh? It's a safe statement, the R's will not run somebody as principled as Paul and that is why I'd vote for him. He's libertarian neanderthal on domestic social policy, but he'd do no harm, by nature or political ability. Hillary is something else again.

I cannot think of a single reason that the rich need any help being rich. They already have an entire economic system geared to their wealth manufacturing. Exactly why anyone who is not rich buys into their argument evades me. It is true that there is a non-political balance to the depredations of the plutocrats, but the social disorder entailed in simply taking away the appurtunances of wealth by force seems less desirable than political intervention. I am entirely unconvinced that a paper fiction (corporation) deserves individual standing under the Constitution .

Maybe being for economic and social justice somehow equates to petting terrorists on the head, I don't see it; maybe the idea that a tyranny based in DC is no more attractive to me than any other tyranny, confuses. Or maybe some people are just so blinded by their propaganda that they cannot read or understand plain English.

Let's start out with some things I am not. I am not a pacifist, not even close, but I get to decide who needs killing by me. If I agree with the government we get along fine, if we don't - we are not going to get along. I have the right to say "hell no I won't go" and they have the right to put me in jail for not going (did when I was draft bait, anyhow). If you have the idea that means I'm not able to be seriously dangerous for my own reasons or wouldn't advocate this government be seriously dangerous for reasons I agree with, you cannot read. I also know that war is a nasty brutal wasteful business, to be engaged in only at last resort and then with utmost seriousness and a committed nation - and with real cost to the nation. Sometimes it just has to be done and then you crush your enemy, but it is far smarter to find a way to good results that doesn't involve war. Killing and injuring people and smashing things is poisonous to good aims and good people. Soldiers and nations don't get to walk away from doing it for free, there are long term costs to it. No, I'm not a pacifist; but stupid use of the military not only offends me, it makes me an ardent opponent.

I don't advocate coddling law breakers, but I also oppose stupid laws that create crimes where none need exist and I firmly believe that people can change/reform. Not that they will, that they can. Big pharma is the biggest pusher around, for the most part, illegal drugs are simply competition to be smashed by plutocratic government. Possession and sale of illegal drugs is just a fact of life, the dangerous and socially damaging aspects of drug use is against the law, driving while impaired is a crime, whether the drug is alcohol, pot, or Pharma's creation. Take you pick, it is against the law anyhow. Tax the stuff and regulate its production and take those folks out of the jails. Allow the system to let the people who wish to correct their criminal malfunction to correct it, draconian sentencing and one size fits all offenders is bound to fail and simply will produce a more antisocial criminal with better crime skills. State sanctioned murder - capital punishment fails 2 tests, one omnipotence isn't a human attribute and second the killing moves society to the level of the offender and spreads the responsibility so widely that it is not comprehended.

There are two parts to illegal immigration, one is the entirely understandable human desire to improve the lot of yourself and your family and be willing to take risks and work hard to do it; ignoring this aspect manufactures bigotry. Then there is the aspect of the creation of a criminal enterprise from smugglers to the illegals to the complicit employers and the crushing of wages. I could fill an entire blog page with the negative out comes of criminal enterprises, this is a tad different than 5 over in a 55. The social effects of a disenfranchised serf class are horrendous, from the wreckage of social services to the corrosive effects on the general population of having such a class existing in this country. The removal of the magnet is the first step, hiring and services beyond emergency lifesaving are not the province of those not here legally, two effects run hand in hand, the illegal residents leave and artificially low wages rise. If all farmers have to pay legal employee wages nobody goes broke, they're all in the same position, it is the tolerance of the cheats that bankrupts the legal employer. Sure the border needs controlled, but that becomes a heck of a lot easier when numbers are lower for lack of a draw. Birth citizenship is not something you allow the government to mess about in, but it need confer absolutely nothing on the parents, leave and take the child, leave and leave the child here, their problem to solve. Finally there is the matter of people who have been here for a long time and paid some dues, they need to be dealt with in a manner that recognizes that. I don't have a magic formula, but I would think a decade of residence without other crimes and a demonstrated willingness to repair their records and obligations would have some bearing along with a probationary period. The Bush/Kennedy mess was an affront, there should be some way to approach fairness without giving the store away. I'm not going to spend a bunch of time working out a policy and the nuts and bolts - I don't have the power to do anything about enacting one, so I'll offer concept for consideration.

The BOR, whoa lefties and righties, I'm in serious favor of the stringent limits the founders tried to put on the government's ability to interfere with the individual. The idea that the government gets to be the only armed entity isn't passing muster, but neither is the idea that those hambones get to have "extra" tools to prosecute and enforce. The 9/11 fear card is nonsense, they had everything they needed to stop it, except competence. Their inability to get out of their own way has no effect on my liberties or my insistence on them. The Second also says I get to insist if the system fails. Don't bother with "what are you going to do with an armored division?" nonsense, we have good evidence of how dangerous an angry and armed populous is. BushCo is more dangerous to this country than all the terrorists put together, they can't take a damned thing away from me but my life, his ilk gets us to take our way of life away.

I am not a political place saver, I work within DPO to help the Democratic Party but that does not mean I'll work for Democratic candidates or plans that I disagree with, rather I use whatever status I have to advance what I believe is correct. Sometimes a political favorite such as Hillary may come along and appeal to quite a few in the party, that does not mean that there is one thing I'd do to help her cause, I don't like her version of politics.

Take a deep breath folks, I ain't just exactly what you may expect, so deal with it. Read the words I write, not the ones you hear in your head; there may be quite a difference.

By the way, I am not running for any office and I will not run for any office.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

White House's "Petraeus" Report

Buried deep in the LA Times report is the meat of the story, the long "anticipated" report by Petraeus and Amb Crocker will be no such thing, it will be written by the White House. With input, of course. Apparently the debate is how to credibly claim progress, credibly...

Al Qaeda in Iraq has overplayed its hand in Anbar, mimicking the BushCo stupidity of forgetting how tribal Iraqis are. Foreign fighters might manage to avoid resentment IF they keep to the "enemy of my enemy" school but as soon as they start acting like conquerors they're screwed. So they move along to where they're not already poison. And US troops somewhere else and Iraqis somewhere else have to deal with their depredations.

Meanwhile the Iraqi government (such as it ever was) is falling apart. Moktada's Mahdi Army is splintering out of whatever psychopathic control he had and US troops are pressing them. The Shiite militia faction in the Iraqi govt is way unhappy, the Sunnis are bailing, and there's nobody there with the glue to hold it together. Too much payback on the Sunnis for them to want to risk playing, the Shiite militias' government cover is inadequate so they're unhappy and Maliki has no credibility anywhere. Iran knows better, BushCo is tired of being burned, and Iraqis in general would like some power and water and maybe some sanitary services (oh hell, and to not be shot at for awhile).

BushCo worked real hard to have this war, they're not going to just lay down for Congress, they'll spin something. And Congress will just take it. They'll just take it because some of them honestly believe in this mess, because Lackey is too nice a word for some, because some have little to no nerve, and because for some there just aren't the votes - thanks to the other categories. BushCo will have this war for just exactly as long as George II stays in office, the reality on the ground in Iraq and in the US has no bearing, not now and not ever. The ones who might have had some ability to sway this are gone and have proven what butt kissers they actually are - Colin Powell springs to mind - and what's left are a band of incompetents. Condi Rice may be able to play piano but she's definitely not up to even mid-level management in government, Karl is gone (so much for the political end), Albie will cover BushCo as long as he can (conscience won't get in the way), Gate doesn't have the power, or the will, yep our kids will continue to die for the ego of the neocons and GWB for the foreseeable future.

Monday, August 13, 2007

No More Rove To Kick Around

My Post on Karl Rove from March makes pretty clear that I do not consider him to be a genius. There is a difference between ruthlessness and complete disregard for opponents and political genius. There is success to be had with the complete aggression game strategy, but that success is generally short term and to work must succeed before the paybacks start. Payback comes when your over run opponents begin to build coalitions against you, it is the game version of the enemy of my enemy is my friend. The other problem is that in politics you will have some enemies, but they are not the same thing as opponents, an opponent is a sometimes proposition, your opponent on one issue can be an ally on another, an enemy is always an enemy and Karl Rove has made dedicated enemies of too many people.

There are very real differences between Democrats and Republicans without manufacturing issues and engaging in complete disrespect. The engagement of ideas will produce results which are to the benefit of the nation, reducing the opposition to the role of traitors and "commies" rather than providing well reasoned alternatives may work in the short term but kills the chances of putting ideas together to get a result. Very seldom is one version the best, multiple visions provide the variables which do not occur while preaching to the choir.

I have learned in politics that it is entirely possible to treat dedicated opponents with respect and gain future ground and mute the current opposition. I also have learned that politics can poison places it does not belong, there are institutions the tone of an ideology may bring respect to that party but naked politics create backlash and the poisonous charge of things such as justice by politics. Rove's idea that government is all politics all the time contains seeds of disaster.

It seems that August might be a good time for Mr Rove to leave, Congress is out of town and for the most part seems to be lying low (probably a good idea - considering), the Plame story has had time to drift out of consciousness, the Justice Dept. firing mess is out of the headlines and the 06 elections are old fact (no matter the math). Do the Democrats need to worry about Rove? Chances are not, Rove is not popular in the electorate and the 06 losses did not endear him to Congressional Republicans and unless something very unexpectedly good happens around the BushCo policies the Republican presidential candidates will keep their distance from all things Bush. Expect a book of revisionist history political spin and lots of paid talking - a Faux News special?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Bush "Pioneer" Indicted, Romney Guy Now

Back in July I noted that there are natural consequences of the Republican stance regarding success. Seems the latest example of the outcome of greed as morality is Alan Fabian, Bush Pioneer and Romney fundraiser who has been indicted for 23 felonies including fraud, money laundering, bankruptcy perjury, and on and on. Thirty two million dollars was the basis of contention.

Things like pools, private jet, real estate purchases, the kinds of things $32 million might buy. This doesn't look much like an accident since it included things like leasing non-existent computers from one company to another sister company and obligating another independent company for debts. While one cannot blame these actions on the candidates that are supported by this sort of person, it is interesting and instructive to note what sorts they attract.

Christian fundamentalists are fond of saying and writing that one cannot have a moral compass without religion. I don't agree with that particularly, but what I do know is that one's personal philosophy tends to drive action and if that philosophy is "greed is good" one will get this sort of outcome. An underlying tenet, sometimes even spoken, of the right is that greed is good for the system. Since I make clear that I am of the Left persuasion it is obvious that I do not agree.

I do agree that hard work should be rewarded, I do agree that hard smart work should be rewarded, I also state that the system is rigged to work best for the wealthy and that there needs to be a counter-balance to power and wealth. You don't suppose George II will pardon him? Nah, $100,000 only buys just so much influence...and Alan isn't nearly as silly and Waspish a name as Scooter.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Mitt, RVing Equals Soldiering

Somehow campaigning for their Dad Mitt is comensurate with soldiering in Mitt-speak. I'm not sure if I would be a war-resister in this conflict or not, it isn't a choice I have to make. I have little to no enthusiasm for anybody's kid being in Iraq, except for maybe GHW Bush's kid. But for a war booster to equate his son's campaigning for him with soldiering frosts my pumpkin. There is a natural outcome of soldiering in Iraq, people try to kill you and if you're going to back that play you should be willing to risk something, even if it is just telling the truth - we're rich and my kids don't want to soldier in Iraq and I want somebody's kids to do it.

Mitt, you're a double dealing punk, you lie about why we went to war, you pump your theocratic agenda and won't tolerate for your theology to be a topic, and you rich people shouldn't have to sacrifice anything, not to mention that the list of what you were for before you were against it is mind-boggling. pah

Gay Rights: Where the Right Is Wrong

Patrick Edaburn on Central Sanity has a post of this title that makes a great deal of sense. I will only excerpt a very small portion to whet your interest:

"Earlier today I was driving home from a work and happened to tune into one of our local talk show hosts, a hard right kind of guy.

(I won't mention names but those in Northern California may have an idea of who it was)

The theme of his commentary today was how awful gays are and how gay rights are horrible, etc. The usual talking points.

Listening to it prompted me to write this commentary of my own. I have many good friends who side with this host on the gay rights issue and have often been part of discussions on the topic.

I have often tried to convince them of why they are wrong on this issue, and will offer my views as follows."

So go on over there for a good analysis.

Greg Walden Speaks, No Really He Did

Greg Walden (R - 02 OR) has done the unthinkable, he's said something in national media. What Greg is up to is an investigation of the CDC and its propensity for losing equipment. They have lost a lot of stuff worth a lot of money, but Greg actually saying something is odd. Greg keeps quiet and votes the BushCo or Republican line unless he has permission to do some meaningless vote, ie. the vote will be defeated but gives political cover in Oregon.

I can't read his mind, but unusual behavior could signal a case of nerves. He's been a loyal BushCo acolyte on war, taxes, environment - well you name it - so he doesn't have a real workable record with folks dissatisfied with BushCo, and 08 is approaching. Greg's approach to economics seems completely adverse to the conditions in his district, 02 CD OR

Because I've run in a Democratic Primary to oppose Walden-bush and I live here in his CD I've paid attention to his stuff. When the opportunity to stand on levies with Klamath Basin farmers in front of cameras came, he was there. But he was nowhere to be found on the issue of finding a responsible and useful solution. Nope, the largest fish kill was the direction he went, there were other ways to do it, but Cheney, Smith, and the rest of BushCo saw political opportunity.

He needs to go.

China Will Kick Our Butt

China holds an estimated $900 Billion in US bonds and has foreign reserves of $1.33 Trillion and seems to be saying it is ready to use it to wreck the US economy if it pursues sanctions to force revaluation of the yuan. Apparently if you cede control of your economy to foreigners there is every chance they'll use it. This is according to The Telegraph UK .

Hillary Clinton, who has called for restrictive legislation to prevent America being "held hostage to economic decicions being made in Beijing, Shanghai, or Tokyo," may have finally gotten something right. The big question is whether it is a bit too late since China has the economic power to force a recession and hammer the US housing market.

Alleged currency manipulation by China has prompted a group of Senators, backed by the Senate Finance Committee, to call for trade sanctions. US Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson has said such action would undermine US authority and "could trigger a global cycle of protectionist legislation". Hmmm.

The answers to who is right and what their actual agenda is could probably be found by following the money. You sure can bet that it isn't trailing off to the manufacturing workers, maybe BushCo has someone else in mind.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Pissant Award

Jim Martin at The Impolitic tagged me with this I'm almost unsure if it's a compliment or not. I'm going to just steal his definition of the "award":

1. The award recipients are pissants – i.e., they're not the biggest bloggers in the 'sphere, they're not Kos or Hewitt or Sullivan, but they make up in attitude what they lack in size/readership.

2. They are provocateurs – i.e., they provoke other people into thinking about and responding to subjects they might not otherwise think about and respond to.

3. By virtue of the first two traits, they advance the intrinsic value of a government that is closely, evenly divided between partisans, so no one party has outright control of the outcomes, recognizing that (a) divided government honors the check-and-balance intent of the founding fathers; and (b) divided government tends to work better; reference the Reagan and Clinton years versus the Carter and Bush #43 years."

This is where this came from

So, in the true spirit of pissantness and in recognition of Pissantitude par excellance we recognize:

1-5) Divided We Stand, United We Fall which should help his pyramid scheme right alonggggg

tired tonight and not running for anything

A tough day of ladder work and then trying to disuade people about me running for HD60 has left me with little time for writing and a need for bed. Seriously, folks. I am not running for any political office and will not run for any in the foreseeable future. I've had a telephone conversation with someone who should have reason to want to know and made myself clear, I cannot afford to serve in Salem.

It is not a question of whether I think I could do my District and Oregon some good in Salem, I believe I could. It is not a fear of losing an election - after all, I asked for the opportunity to try on Greg Walden-bush. It is simply a matter of economics, the salary paid our legislators precludes me from such service. One session would cost me my house and most of the rest of what I "own." I work for a living, if I am not there banging nails my business and I go under. With little to replace that a disaster occurs.

As a state we need to consider that particular situation, our citizen legislature is in reality a rich person's hobby - that or a private contractor such as a lawyer or accountant. I suggested some time ago that we ought to look at using a standard such as HUD's Oregon median income family of four as a salary, it is not so attractive as to encourage long time careerism but not so low as to preclude ordinary citizens from the service. It is supposed to be service, but service is not martydom.

The interest is flattering and I appreciate that compliment; and I'm sorry to disappoint.


Monday, August 06, 2007

Terrorists and the Phoney War on Them

Let's get something straight, there are a fair number of people using guerrilla tactics against us in Iraq, that we don't like IEDs or lack of uniform doesn't make them terrorists, the actual terrorism in Iraq is being waged against Iraqis. Every now and then we get one or two of them and the BushCo goes off on a tear about how wonderful they're doing. There's a serious problem with calling that a war on terror. The terrorists who are a danger to the USA are somewhere else.

We have a pretty good idea where those who are a threat are hanging out, but George II has created a monster in Iraq. It's not Al Qaeda in Iraq, the second the US isn't in the way the Shiites will hunt down and slaughter them, the ones the Sunnis don't get to first. The monster he created is the perception of US troops as occupiers and "Crusaders." The way to deal with terrorist organizations is with small tightly focused and targeted operations utilizing specialists moving at high speed. What is wrong is that no Muslim nation with Iraq as an example is going to allow US troops in to conduct such an operation.

Yes, the BushCo "War on Terror" is a fake. Law enforcement had all the tools and all the information to stop 9/11 before it happened, legally. The fact that they didn't had nothing to do with spying on Americans or Habeas Corpus, it had everything to do with turf wars and incompetence. Afghanistan had everything to do with State sponsored and protected terrorism, BushCo tried it "on the cheap," and then took their eye off the ball with Iraq. If all that weren't bad enough they announced to the terrorists that they were coming and didn't use the previous resources available. (we had a lot of CIA, etc. in Afghanistan during the Soviet excursion).

We have, within the military and other, skilled, trained, and equipped people to deal with small scale terror organizations and we have the tactics. They are not utilized. What we have is George W Bush busy wrecking our military in Iraq on a mission they were neither designed for nor equipped for that has not one thing to do with terrorism. The specialized units are being misused in an environment they were not designed for and using tactics that are foreign to their function.

There are people in the world who would use terror tactics to harm the US, that is undoubted, but using them as an excuse to wage war in Iraq and on the civil liberties of Americans is criminal. Allowing them to exist unmolested for political gain is unconscionable. Using their existence for political purposes is...well, I have no polite words. BushCo and the Republicans are not tough on Terror, they take power and gain from it and do little to nothing to combat it, they are, in fact, its beneficiaries and allies.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Race, Immigration, and Illegal Immigration-Updated

I just finished reading a NYT article Our Town about Carpentersville and Illinois town whose demographics have undergone a significant change in An estimated 40 percent of its 37,000 residents are Hispanic, a jump from 17 percent in 1990. recent years, "an estimated 40 percent of its 37,000 residents are Hispanic, a jump from 17 percent in 1990." The result has been a backlash with proposed ordinances mirroring Hazelton's. Estimates vary, a priest estimates that 50% of his Hispanic parishioners are here illegally.

The tone of the article is somewhat disapproving of the ordinances and the fallout, tensions between residents have risen and village council meetings are testy. A local businessman, Tom Roeser, president and owner of Otto Engineering thinks the council people driving the ordinances are essentially racists and troublemakers. He states that he is careful about legal hiring and only allows English in the factory, with the goals of assimilation and productivity, but there is an issue, wages on the assembly line range from $7.95 to $10 with some benefits for long term employees. Carpentersville is 40 miles from Chicago which would make those wages rather pathetic, with revenues of $77 million last year from supplying switches to NASA, the USAF and others those wages seem low. The accusation about town is that while he may hire legally his interest in keeping wages low drives his opposition.

The gulf between the more affluent and the low income in town is growing, driven by language, culture, housing conditions and a perception of advantage for those who are illegal. Racism is one of the louder accusations and evidently some opposition to the illegals is race driven or most favorably xenophobic. Legal Hispanics feel discriminated against, in some cases rightfully.

So, this is the straits we're being driven into. Perfectly legal contributors to our society are lumped with law breakers, law breakers are held up as examples of contribution and victimization of racists, wages are depressed and cultural assimilation is brought to a screeching halt by suspicion and fear. Racism is justified by criminal behavior and opposition to criminal benefit of illegal behavior is labeled racism. It goes around and around. It is the natural outcome of the condoning of illegal immigration by the federal government until the numbers become so large that social dislocations begin. It is now beginning to tear communities apart.

As the BushCo ramps up fear of "the other" with its phony war on terror, skin color becomes increasingly relevant in people's lives, this approval of (denied) racism by BushCo becomes a larger approval, brown is bad. The presence of so many "brown" law breaking illegal immigrants fuels the reaction. All this race nonsense obscures the very real consequences of creating a serf culture. Places like Carpentersville demonstrate the beginnings of what may become a tide of behavior.

There is no easy feel good solution to this problem, that is the very first recognition that needs to be made. No matter what approach is taken someone is going to get to suffer for it. It is not a case of some minor sacrifices, any solution is going to result in very real pain. Get over the idea that it won't, there is absolutely no scenario in which that happens. If you brace up to the idea, you can begin to think about realistic solutions.

First of all it is not economically feasible or legally desirable to begin a round-up and deportation of all illegal immigrants, the creation of the required police state apparatus would make this into a country we couldn't recognize - except maybe as a BushCo wet dream. Outright amnesty (a la Ronnie Reagan) would blow social services to pieces and crush wages completely and encourage a further influx, or rather, flood. It would once again leave agriculture as the beginning phase of further illegal hiring.

The "path to citizenship" that ran into so much opposition is a form of amnesty (don't start BS), but if set into motion with some rather stringent requirements and enforcements might have some results; there have been illegals here for an extended period who have paid taxes and maintained an otherwise legal life and an absolute denial of such is both unfair and unrealistic. That bar must be set rather high in order to pass muster with the citizenry and to act as a bar to further incursions. Giving employers a real system of verification and then enforcing very real and painful sanctions for violation is a beginning. The denial of any and all social services beyond actual life threatening ones and the reporting of all such false applications and illegal usages will remove some draw. Placing all law enforcement officers into an enforcement of the applicable federal law will begin to make a dent. Rigorous enforcement of the laws regarding false documentation with stringent penalties will discourage the manufacture of such documentation and its usage. A child born in the US is a citizen and that must not be interfered with, that fact however also must not be linked to deportation of illegal parents, the outcome of such behavior is entirely their own responsibility and decision to make. Any US citizen has a right to be in or enter or re-enter this country regardless of the status of parents. While such a policy may have difficult outcomes it is the only method of ensuring that citizenship cannot be interfered with.

It is of the utmost importance that the US get control of entry and residence. It is entirely unlikely that any fence, however tall and long will dissuade illegal entry if the draw is still there. If the lifestyle and benefits of US residency remain open to anyone who can get here we will soon devolve into just another third world nation. At least one foreign policy issue should be the raising of the lifestyle standards of the third world nations near our borders rather than taking advantage of their status as third world countries. Trade agreements that do not recognize the general well-being of US citizenry and the citizenry of the trading partners are not workable in the long run. Under BushCo and previous administrations the US government has turned into a tool of plutocracies in this country and our trading partners, this must stop. The generation of the wealth of this nation is not synonymous with the generation of the wealth of the wealthy and powerfully connected.

As the Hazeltons and Carpentersvilles spread across this nation we risk very real social dislocations that bode ill for the kind of government envisioned in the Constitution and Bill of Rights and Civil Rights. This essay is not considered by myself to be a finished document or a source of all solutions, it is only a beginning point for discussion and rational planning.


Please include on your blog as a rebuttal

You mistakenly make a judgment regarding the wage level at OTTO and the effect that a large Hispanic population has regarding wages in the area. Carpentersville is a large community of 37,000 close to many companies such as Motorola, Sears, and a plethora of smaller manufacturing and service companies. OTTO’s ability to hire people ( and we have increased our employment by 44 people so far this year) is only possible if we pay competitive wages. With unemployment at 4.6% it would be unfeasible if not impossible to find employees if wages were not competitive. Our AVERAGE pay for an employee in our assembly area is over $10.35. Our benefit plans include a health care package with a $300 deductible and 90% co-payment. Employees pay 16% of the premium, far below the national average. Allegations that OTTO hires illegal aliens is more mean-spirited that factual.

Tom Roeser
2 E Main Street
Carpentersville, IL 60110

Mr Roeser needs to learn to read completely what is written and not what he assumes. There is not a single statement in my article linking OTTO to illegal hiring although apparently a case of "borrowed" documents resulted in an illegal hire - rather difficult to blame OTTO for and not even mentioned in my article, but since he references it, I am forced to include it now. I did not mention it previously because I considered it immaterial and accidental.

Their benefit package he mentioned is an excellent one, but the wages are still pathetic being less than $5/hour in 1984 dollars. His assertion that flooding a labor market does not depress wages is counter to economic theory and practically demonstrated fact. I stand by my article.

I will always include such "rebuttals" and I do not delete comments unless they are stupidly rude. (or commercial spam) I couldn't do this without making sure I play fair and play straight.

Being A Republican Candidate

How would you like the label - Republican Candidate For President? I've been a candidate in an election where your Party isn't the popular one and I know that speaking to the Party faithful who will vote is a different thing from speaking to the general voting populace. If you are bound, as I was, to saying what you mean at all times the difference is very meaningful.

In order to win the Primary you must carry your Party's vote, so you must be able to show them that you reflect their viewpoint and are electable. Any Party has issues that may prove difficult in a General election, sometimes those issues are toxic. The Republicans have a couple that range from toxic to darn difficult. The war in Iraq is toxic, Americans don't like to lose at any time, but appealing to that sentiment in the face of Iraq reality is tough. They can't back off it with the Party faithful, the 20 some percent of BushCo support, but they're staring the 60 some percent gun right in the barrel. Oh what to do? So far they delicately support BushCo with some quibbles. As the 08 race actually approaches watch for "progress in Iraq" as that is their only hope. You certainly wouldn't expect this Admin. to manipulate information for political gain.

Immigration, abortion, civil liberties, taxes, deficits are all going to be difficult. Tax policy still seems to be the same - you're over taxed; deficit seems to wander from it doesn't count to "eeek!"; abortion is truly odd - I was/I'm not now/I wasn't/who knows; immigration seems to be moving toward enforcement of some sort - what the plutocratic base will make of that is open to question. They can actually play some form of these to the independents but their party has toxified the discussion - to their deficit. How do you nuance something your Party has made into virtual hate rhetoric? What you say to the base is going to be an issue in the General and the chances that the General will be civil are very small.

Rovian politics is not dead and the passing of BushCo will not kill it. The all politics all the time practiced in BushCo will not go away as the election approaches, expect it to expand and get uglier. The manipulation of intelligence and information and media spin will get ramped up. BushCo really cannot afford 08 to produce a large Democratic Congressional majority and a Democratic Presidency, there are too many debris floating around the Executive branch that won't look good, or may even be actionable. If you have some idea that there have been some ugly campaigns in the past, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

Anybody Have Live Memory Cells?

Awhile ago the NYT reported - actually it was 9/28/04 - something rather astonishing, somebody who knows something told GeorgeII what was what:

"The same intelligence unit that produced a gloomy report in July about the prospect of growing instability in Iraq warned the Bush administration about the potential costly consequences of an American-led invasion two months before the war began, government officials said Monday."

"Last week, Mr. Bush dismissed the latest intelligence reports, saying its authors were "just guessing'' about the future, though he corrected himself later, calling it an "estimate.'' "

They were just guessing? How about:

"significant chance that domestic groups would engage in violent internal conflict with one another unless an occupying force prevented them from doing so."


"rogue elements from Saddam Hussein's government could work with existing terrorist groups or act independently to wage guerrilla warfare," and that, "war would increase sympathy across the Islamic world for some terrorist objectives."

This from "January 2003 by the National Intelligence Council, an independent group that advises the director of central intelligence."

Condi Rice, pianist, "the national security adviser, have contended that some of the early predictions provided to the White House by outside experts of what could go wrong in Iraq, including secular strife, have not come to pass."

So now she's Sec State and what about coming to pass? These are the people running the show. Does anybody get it? I mean other than my loyal and well informed readers...

(of the above words, 59 are mine, the rest NYT)

Now the House...

You have to be kidding me, the US Congress is going to let George freakingW Bush, Albie, and DNI McConnell decide whether BushCo is spying on Americans? Now I've got Waldenbush (R-OR2) for a Rep so that's a moot point of just how bootlicking it gets, but supposedly there are a batch of elected Democrats in the House. Supposedly.

So George II threw a tantrum and threatened to veto what he didn't like and they folded like an old deck chair? What happened to passing good bills and standing by them instead of temporary pieces of junk that get a life of their own? Patriot Act? rush rush screw it up rather than look soft

I understand veto proof and non-veto proof majorities and an inability to things accomplished but this is something entirely different. Bush would have taken what he could get rather than have nothing. Polite words fail me.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Terrorists Everywhere

Oh boy these terrorists, all the time wanting to bomb something in somebody else's countries.' Mostly they seem to hang in the Middle East but the do seem to be around in some other places, like the US. CNN reports:

Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo’s campaign stood by his assertion that bombing holy Muslim sites would serve as a good “deterrent” to prevent Islamic fundamentalists from attacking the United States, his spokeswoman said Friday.
“This shows that we mean business,” said Bay Buchanan, a senior Tancredo adviser. “There’s no more effective deterrent than that. But he is open-minded and willing to embrace other options. This is just a means to deter them from attacking us.”

Do you suppose he knows Saudi Arabia has Mecca in its borders? Let's see, when Ossama wants to knock down things in the US because Israel is our ally he's a terrorist, when Tom wants to do it in Saudi Arabia because some terrorists claim to be Muslims he's a responsible US Representative and Presidential Candidate? Look here, virtually nobody - including me - claimed warmongering when Afghanistan got whacked for sheltering and supporting Ossama, I complained that it would be done "on the cheap," not completely doing the job. That seems to be the case with BushCo, doesn't it? Half-way measures done half-assed.

War is terror. Deliberate targeting of citizenry is supposed to be discouraged. Collateral damage is supposed to be discouraged. But blowing things up and shooting in populated areas is terror, whoever is doing it. A car bomb and a smart bomb off an F15 both blow things up and that tends to be bad for women and children and other growing things. But for pete's sake, whacking things in a non-combatant state is plainly terrorism. I'm thinking BushCo got some laws passed about that. Don't expect to see Tom in jail - he's the wrong color and Party for that.