Thursday, October 27, 2005

Nominee finally shows probity the job demands: withdraws

Ironic that until this juncture, nearly anyone who does not regularly visit the west wing sought in vain for signs Ms Miers had, to put it bluntly, good judgement. Whitehouse, howevever is still mired even if there is at last some little thing for which Harriet can be admired.

There is, I hope some have noticed, another lesson in the relief this withdrawal has brought to every politcal quarter except the shrinking turf of the whitehouse: Liberals, having been joined by many conservatives in condemning the spectacularly inept choice by Mr. Bush, should henceforth take care in thinking of or publicly characterizing the conservatives either as a monolith or as unthinking. Breaking ranks in this case may have been compelled by Bush's show of incompetance but break ranks they did...give 'em credit for doing the right thing even if it is for the wrong reason.

Govt takes pity on Wealthiest in wake of Katrina

I have come to expect self serving, lying, illinformed policies and actions from the executive branch headed by Bush. He has a life long record of using his connections and his position far more vigorously than he uses what little brains he has. But I am increasingly dismayed that our congress is just as blind as the whitehouse when it comes to balancing the interests of the little people who voted them into office against the interests of the big people who financed the political campaigns. Today's case in point also shows how quickly the reflexes of the greedy work within the hallways and offices of power...who even noticed that we who will bare the burden of massive deficit spending and reduced governent expenditures on behalf of those who truly need help have all been shafted by a hasty bit of legislating cloaked as national altruism for hurricane victims?

Friday, October 14, 2005

A hard rains gonna fall

While I started this blog around the idea that it would benefit me to rail against the imperialist tendency of the Bush adminsitration, I find most of its policies backward and damaging. One broad strategy, or really lack of strategy, that is not unrelated to the war lust is the neglect of the environment in favor of anything, anything at all to promote the oil business. Plenty of people write that the WMD, no make that the democratization of Iraq is just a front for securing a better oil supply. Why would anyone be surprised? We have president and vice president who were respectively vice president and president of oil or oil service companies. Their stint in industry can't be demonstrated to have given them any special qualifications for the offices they now hold...unless having access to millions of dollars for campaign funding is a qualification. Looks like its a very important qualification apparently.

I have to assume that consiously or unconsciously the Bush and his creepy veepy are in bed with the oil industry as much as Sen Inhofe. They all prefer science fiction over educated explanations when it comes to arguing that [a] there IS global warming and [b] WE are causing it with our burning of all handy petroleum as fast as we can bring it ashore even if we pay a country that prays under their beards for our demise to get us that oil. They prefer oil derricks and roads for the sake of a two year supply of oil to the irreplaceable wild lands under which they think oil may be found. Its a boondoggle and a half since oil drilling is a huge tax dodge..they don't even need to find oil to make out.

This administration has systematically purged or intimidated any government paid scientist who spoke out too loudy for preservation of wild lands and species or urged that the US should sign the Kyoto Accords. Somewhat like the bible thumper's attempts to push evolution out of people's minds, the administration has quietly pushed its effort to erase the words "global warming" from the federal employee's vocabulary and affix the word "alledged" to all printed references. But maybe there are just too many of those pesty scientists for Bush's hacks at the deputy secretary level to find and club them all. They missed one. The National Center For Atmospheric Research scientists just refer to global warming as a fact and move on. Whats next once you can do the science without a gag and blinders? The link descibes predictions of who is going to get wetter [last weeks weather makes this prediction look like hindsight up here in New England] and who is going to bake. Read these before you buy land. Read them before you buy any politicians promise. Read them before one of Bush's religiously correct science policy henchmen cuts its funding for the whole NCAR team for their embarassing lapse into honesty.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Sometime in the middle of the night... personal but objective meter registered the advent of a tipping point: my Bushie Barometer went negative. Note the box in the right presumes that the identical Google search, conducted from time to time measures in a meaningful way the rise in thought and commuication about a Bush impeachment. on Oct 10 the page count for matches was 999500. on Oct 11 it was 999800 and today, Oct 12 it has gone to 1060000. By the formula I offer, Bush is now in negative territory. Never mind the math. By any accounting his political capital is overspent. His mandate is MIA.

The hottest news lately has centered on the probability and possibility that various members of his administration and their hangers-on may be indicted for politically motivated disclosure of a CIA agent's identity. Not Dubya himself mind you but his coterie of cronies and operatives are actually accused. So why is the man himself finally being called to account in the polls? He did not do anything wrong did he? Reagan wore teflon, Bush, like Nixon, may have rolled in some honey somewhere.

Monday, October 10, 2005

What IS a progressive?

As shrill as I may get from time to time, I suppose I should enlist this blog in the PBA and move Thong to more appropriately neutral territory. Just now, I am feeling lazy.

Then again, I have to look around and see what the rest of the world will hear if what I say is "progressive". Lately, Brooks was pining for the Progressive ideals of T. Roosevelt and Dennis of the Moderate Republican took up the call for a Progressive movement. Clearly Brooks had no heart for it and quit his essay with a call for a National Progressive Jugend and rededication to "America's exceptional mission" to ram democracy down the throats of any nation with oil riches. [ok, he didn't put it that way exactly but you might read between the lines...Brooks has been attempting to dillute the meaning of "progressive" for a while now. ]

I can't give you a usable link to the Brooks Op Ed piece itself as NYTimes has taken the unfortunate tack of CHARGING for selected content, mostly OpEd articles [like Brooks was worth it?] so settle for the link to Moderate Republican where Dennis can get in trouble with NYTimes if any trouble is to be had. Brooks ended his piece by saying "When I cut myself loose from the push and shove of today's weary political titans, and go back to basics, I find myself strangely invigorated."
Strangely indeed.

I append my comment to Dennis, confessing my deepest misgivings about the fate of liberals who don't hide their politacal colors. The reason for the post is really that I want to entertain a bit more discussion about what "progressive" means to the average voter. This will be hard since I am not likely in all eternity to get more than 2 or 3 visits to this page from anything resembling an average voter. BUT its an important question or it will become one when the word "progressive" appears next to a candidate's name on a ballot.

========== that comment =============

Dennis and Bullmoose:
Thanks for the longish Brooks quote here. My reading, and my writing, are too often confined to the Progressive Blogging Alliance where many are marching single file into oncoming traffic up the white line dividing the lane and the shoulder. [image meant to convey the idea of being far enough left to mostly become roadkill: brave and lovely people!] I am glad someone remembers that the label progressive once had a meaning. Though I don't know the relative sizes of the divisions, I am under the impression that the recent decades of sound byte journalism have split the body politic into the active minded who read whole articles or even books of political analysis [and read blogs like yours] and the inactive minded who are very much at the mercy of a PR wizard like Rove. While I converse in this medium, I am usually talking to the active minded. I should make that "politically active minded" so as not to imply the non participants are dumb in all aspects...they may only be more burnt out than Brooks complains of being.

There are problems with trying to resurrect interest and understanding of "Progressive" as you and Brooks present it. A small problem would be the turf issue: Socialists who like the Progressive label ["progress" means rational improvements in an unsatisfactory political or social scheme] will say you are stealing their best ideas and their label. Or it could go the other way and oligarchy-conservatives could easily smear a "progressive party" start up of the sort I think you mean with a campaign of "its just a euphemism for the L word". That points to the bigger problem: its just a label. Two labels is all this country has been able to handle. The inactive minded voters will need 4 or 5 Katrina's, a few more Bin Ladens, unemployment of 10% all topped of by 2 or 3 more Enrons and the appointment of Bush's bookie to run the FBI in order to snap them out of the two-party trance. Election reform removing the winner-take-all process that shapes the evolution of two-party politics could only be rammed through legislatures over the dead bodies of the two major parties. McCain has a wiff of the progressive about him when he earnestly trys to pry the grip of corporate money off of party politics...but he has not succeeded.

I am socially liberal, I don't mind paying taxes, I expect my country to be as careful with its checkbook as laws and banks require me to be with mine. For somewhat different reasons, I pine for a Progressive movement as much as Mr. Brooks.

Different reasons? I am with him all the way down to this paragraph:

"I know, having learned it from Lincoln and Roosevelt, that individual initiative should always be tied to national union. I know we need a national service program to bind our segmented youth through citizenship. I know we need to protect the natural heritage that defines us. I know America has to persevere in its exceptional mission to promote freedom, and the effort to promote democracy in the Arab world is one of the most difficult and noble endeavors any great power has undertaken."

Suddenly the very articulate Mr. Brooks goes all vague. What DO these mean:
  1. national service program [how long did Mr Brooks serve in the armed forces?]
  2. protect our national heritage? In the Boston area that would mean stopping development of Hanscom AFB so that Minuteman National Park would not shudder under the glidepath of jetliners.
  3. America's exceptional mission: excuse me? The constitution sets forth our mission and the first, and by most accounts the most revered steward of that document urged us in strongest terms to avoid foriegn entanglements...and THAT George W meant avoiding political and military interventions and adventures, not trade, which as a colonist he knew damn well we needed desperately. The next "mission" that turned up in American politics was "manifest destiny" , an election slogan of Jackson Democrats prior to the Civil War. Shouldn't we finish up one mission before going onto liberate the entire world? I say annex Canada! [and we'd recoup all those draft dodgers!...yes, I am having a hard time taking his suggestion seriously]

The comparison by commenters of these vague solutions to political devices of the Nazis does not surprise me. I do not recognize those 3 programs as the "Lost tradition of American politics". I wish he could get back to the topic. At that paragraph, I conclude Brooks only meant to raise the issue of the absence of a progressive choice on ballots and then drop it for another topic. I too write good like that much them NewYorks Time pay Mr. Brooks?

What, after all, has Bush got to hide?

I just can't understand how a president so allied with the righteous of our nation, so identified with the goodness of Christianity, would feel a need to hide from the public even his papers that were NOT subjects of national security. Kitty Kelly of the NYTimes has reminded us clearly of just how dubious Dubya is about his record as president. I once blogged about the difference between a man who wants to do right and one who needs to "be right". How naive of me! What if the man knew he was wrong? Wouldn't he just hide the facts if he had the power do so?

Kelly's most salient point, aside from what a rotten coward we have in Dubya, is that analysis of why this administration has formed and pursued the policies it has will be seriously hampered. This is not just a hardship for scholars and political commentators: the sickness that is Bush league politics will remain hard to cure until its filthy workings are exposed.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

If this proves I'm a sick SOB, too bad...I needed to laugh.

Apparently its a LOOOONNGGG way down when you are going to hell!

Joe sent me that link. I has provided much needed relief and cut into my productivity in a most enjouable way.

Whats new? Whats with the name?

Nothing. Its 1968 all over again.

I live in a country that has always overspent its generous endowments. Now, signs of rot the like of which have not been afoot since the latter days of Rome grip my nation, even while its nurturing and fair gifts still hang like tattered garments on its corpulence. Elsewhere, I blog and vainly attempt not to have an upset, shrill political voice. That has proven impossible. I have not the energy or skill to bring much news to the world or original insight...but count me, like a vote, as yet another voice on the side of humane reason, joining the growing crowd that will not disperse when the new American fascism calls upon us to look the other way, to burn more oil and to send more boys to war.

My anti-war ranting is drowning the sensible voice in which I would rather speak.

So mostly what I expect to do with this blog is add my two cents to the commentary on Bush league policies and particularly what seems to be their policy for turning middle eastern dictatorships into demoncracies: "Bomb a Nation" into democracy. "Me too" is contribution enough for me if I can just be another voice for peace.