Click to on the drawing to enlarge


Or, What to Do with the Enormous Mess Left Behind by the Bush Administration

Bush is neither out of office, impeached nor imprisoned yet (although he deserves to be all three). And, we need to continue to concentrate on that fact since in the agonizing months remaining, he unfortunately can continue doing incalculable harm to our troops, our treasury, our health, our economy, our Constitution, our other laws and treaties, our morale, our prestige and our reputation.

Now is the time to insure those seeking the job commit on the things necessary to clean up the political toxic waste spewed behind Bush and his co-conspirators in seemingly unending piles of offal. As much as we would prefer to simply put the unpleasantness behind us, we cannot. If we do not dramatically, publically spotlight and undo the damage, if people are not punished for their attempted putsch to topple us into a perpetual dictatorship controlled by a small group of Neocons, then some successor might someday claim under some pretext that it’s okay to repeat some or all of what the Bushites practiced. There is always the risk that next time it might not be a barely articulate bumbler attempting it. Using the same techniques, but less clumsily so, someone else could have successfully accomplished the coup d’état which is obviously what the Neocons had in mind.

No, we must ferret out and undo everything, absolutely everything, Bush has done since being illegally placed in power by the five Republicans appointed to the Supreme Court. To begin with, expressly repeal every law sponsored by those in Bush’s cabal, officially terminate all his executive orders, and denounce each so-called “signing statement” purporting to amend laws Bush didn’t happen to like. To drive the point home, perhaps we should even ask some of the recipients of his “Medal of Freedom” like L. Paul Bremer III, Tommy Franks and George Tenant, three of the idiots responsible for the Iraq occupation fiasco, to return their medals on the grounds they were awarded the “honors” on false pretenses.

Once Bush’s paperwork is formally canceled and his camp followers removed, we can start over re-examining each item to see which, if any, merit reasoned consideration. This re-examination, the second half of the cleansing procedure or perhaps more appropriately triage, needs to be followed through because we do not want to be like Bush and his Neocons, automatically rejecting for all eternity anything originating from the other side solely because it came from the other side. There might be something or someone useful to salvage.

There is probably little worthy of reclamation. After all, even the titles of many of Bush’s laws are really just deceptions, the exact opposite of what was actually intended by the various Neocon drafters or, more appropriately Neocon obscurers. Egregious examples of the Bush legislative excesses include the so-called Patriot Act, perhaps the most unpatriotic act of all our history. Or, just look at some of the lofty names the Bush folks came up with for their subterfuges like the Healthy Forest Initiative, the Bankruptcy Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and the Clear Skies Initiative. Then, compare how such legislation was used by this Administration once it got it passed. Still, the effort to search for something worth saving must be made. It should be done in an adult matter applying cost/benefit analysis to each and every one which was always missing when the Bush White House was in charge.

In addition to removing the written framework for Bush’s excesses, every single person in the Bush Administration implementing them should be removed. Everyone ever recommended for office during Bush’s tenure must be required to tender a resignation, starting with those in charge of funds, troops, contracts and regulators. Possible exceptions might be those who were in place already prior to Bush’s being crowned king, those who subsequently quit in disgust or disillusionment and those who were fired because of whistle blowing or not being sufficiently loyal to Bush personally. Those removed should never again be allowed in positions of power and trust unless and until they can affirmatively prove they are worthy of it or a reconciliation council is set up similar to the concept used in Mandela’s South Africa working its way out of apartheid.

Yes, it’s “profiling” of a sorts, but it’s not an illegal or unconstitutional profiling since this particular reason for discriminating is not among the constitutionally prohibited list. Consequently, Bush’s favorites can be treated with suspicion that they were active and knowing participants in the attempt to overthrow our democracy. An investigation of their finances and conduct should be undertaken to determine whether that was so. Maybe we can recover some of the trillions stolen, diverted, lost or wasted. Lots of prosecutors and investigators should be hired and their offices fully staffed and funded to facilitate the investigation. To insure the message is received that this should not happen again, let’s convict and jail some for crimes like torture and conflict of interest. Unlike how the Bush Administration has conducted litigation, the defendants here should be allowed the benefits of legal counsel, habeas corpus, bail, confrontation of accusers and all the other civil rights in open court that have been shelved these past several years. Once again, the effort should be to dissuade violations of the Constitution from reoccurring whenever wannabe warlords are squatting in the Oval Office.

Detractors might argue that mass removal of Republican bureaucrats and functionaries would eliminate a large group from the pool of potential public officials and might diminish the general caliber of replacement future appointees. In normal circumstances that might be true, as turned out to be the case when even the most nominally Baathist Party members were banned in Iraq. However, the arrogantly hapless and often malicious ideologues that tended to flock to the Bush banner from the dark recesses of the Republican Party have proven to be so horrifyingly harmful, it would appear replacements selected at random out of the phone book could hardly be worse. Let’s have higher standards for hiring their replacements, although that is a very low bar given all the “Heckofajob Brownies” that were installed. The party affiliation should not be a criteria. In the Justice Department for instance, the hirees should be those with the best grades. For judges nominated, let’s start looking at the non partisan American Bar Association recommendations again to see who will be the best judges, not the best zealots.

Moreover, new laws should be put in place to forbid former officials of all sorts from becoming lobbyists for at least six years after they were in office. We don’t want Democrats taking advantage that way anymore either.

Maybe every appointee should be required to pass the same test new citizens must pass and must show they can add a column of figures and come up with the same answer twice running. We definitely should indicate that their oath of office in which they swear to defend the Constitution does not mean party or personal loyalty comes first. We also need to affirm that violations of the oath have consequences.

We must investigate every contract entered into by the Bush Administration with private companies, especially the no-bid contracts that were awarded to companies which were campaign contributors of Bush or were companies in which Bush officials held stock. It will be like turning over rocks to reveal the slugs and bugs skittering away from the harsh light of day.

Corruption, bribery, profiteering and gouging should be punished and severely so for both the companies who profited and the individual officers and officials on both sides of the transaction. Failure to perform timely or otherwise should be grounds for seeking damages for breach of contract. Instead of ignoring costly nonperformance, let’s require it be done as promised or force disgorgement of the ill gotten lucre.

More importantly, perhaps the General Accounting Office should investigate whether we need some of the contracts at all. For instance, why do we need to pay Blackwater guards in Iraq five times what we pay our own troops for the identical tasks? Why should Blackwater employees be given immunity in advance from all laws for whatever they might do? To the extent possible, we should get out of such contracts immediately and move such contractors to the bottom of the list, if at all, for future work.

Lots of regulators should be hired to once again insure the safety of our air, water, food, toys, etc. For each, we should be conservative (small “c”) because so much is at risk with each. Greater conservatism (small “c” again) should be practiced once again with our bank deposits and our resources.

What else should be done to prevent a repeat of not only the tragedies of 9/11, Katrina, Iraq, the Bush Recession, global warming, and the dissipation of our military? For one, we need some new laws to insure no more voting fraud by paperless hackable electronic voting machines. We need some better laws on campaign financing to stop buying of elections. We need some new laws to insure government transparency and less secrecy, at least less secrecy designed solely to cover up malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance. Maybe we need to go back to the old equal time rules on access to the media in political campaigns. We certainly need to find a way to have less centralization of the news, the airwaves and bandwidth. Maybe we need to think about enacting something like the European Vote of No Confidence to oust dangerous Presidents prior to the end of their term. Maybe we need a “None of the Above” opportunity on voting to allow a different slate of candidates to stand for election. We definitely need better debates. Perhaps let the League of Women Voters run some again and ignore the pressure from the candidates. Definitely let the minority parties participate.

We need to start obeying once again our international treaties we long ago agreed to like the Geneva Conventions and the Kyoto Accords. Maybe we should disbar the attorneys who asserted we did not have to do so.

Without question, we need to reduce the temptations for foreign adventuresome. On the top of the list should be a reduction of the need to use petroleum for fuel. Both conservation and alternative sources of energy should get the subsidies and priorities that oil production and ethanol does now.

We definitely need to get out of Iraq. We can save a little face by saying we’ll be back if the country acts up again or actually attacks us or invades Israel or others. That’s probably what we should have done the moment we seized Saddam anyway. It would not have justified our highly illegal invasion without cause, but at least it would not have subsequently revealed our serious vulnerabilities and our utter inability to govern Middle Eastern countries from afar. There will be pain getting out. On the other hand, it will be less than the pain and cost of staying forever. Besides, we got kicked out of Vietnam. They were as fiercely suicidal as the Muslims, but none of them followed us home once we left their country.

Perhaps we should stand up and apologize to the rest of the world for being such jerks for the past eight years. Maybe we should turn Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld over to international tribunals to see if they are war criminals. That might go a long way toward showing we mean it when we say we are sorry.

The bottom line is that it will take effort and expense to eliminate the rot that is infesting us. We must fumigate the entire house so to speak. Unfortunately, unless we dig it all out now, the infestation will spread and the entire house might collapse.



Or, It's Not the Fact We Are Taxed, It's How the Conservatives Waste Our Taxes

Oh yeah. The eternal drum beat by so-called "Conservatives" of no new taxes makes soooooooo much sense. Especially when they are the ones spending taxes faster than the Treasury can count the revenue. Judging by what Conservatives do as opposed to what they say, they apparently want to try and show government can't possibly work. They're right. . . at least as to a government run by what passes for Conservatives these days.

After all, we could be providing health care for all children like most civilized nations do. But, apparently why do that when we can pay trillions instead wasting our troops killing and maiming foreigners so we can occupy their country in a pointless war commenced on admitted false justifications?

And, if we must send our troops to fight in wrongheaded wars, we could provide them with adequate armor, sufficient supplies, enough reinforcements, treatment for wounds, and the post service education they were promised. But, apparently why do that when we can pay trillions instead for wasteful, too often unworkable, pork barrel "Star Wars" projects benefitting only the CEOs of the military/industrial complex?

We could be providing for regulators to insure that stupidity, greed and duplicity does not occur in our financial institutions. But, apparently why do that when we can pay trillions instead to reimburse wall street bankers and stockbrokers for their stupidity, greed, and duplicity?

We could be providing a small amount for inspectors to insure that we are not poisoned, killed, maimed and cheated by manufacturers, suppliers, importers, retailers and advertisers. But, apparently why do that when we can pay trillions instead due to illness, death, lost productivity and fraud?

We could be providing a sound education of our young and funding basic scientific research. But, apparently why do that when we can lose trillions instead making ourselves uncompetitive at home and abroad.

We could be providing for upkeep on roads, bridges, parks, schools, and other critical infrastructure before the too long deferred maintenance costs us trillions to replace them. But, apparently why do that when we can pay trillions instead for more tax cuts primarily for the already unspeakable rich?

We could be providing a small amount for alternative energy sources which will wean us from oil addiction. But, apparently why do that when we can continue instead to pay trillions filling the treasuries of countries that hate our guts?

We could be seeking better ways to prevent or minimize global warming, pandemics, air pollution, water pollution, soil loss, fishery destruction and the like. But, apparently why do that when we can risk instead trillions in property damage and lives lost?

We could be seeking better protection for cargo ports and points of entry to insure fewer terrorism risks. But, apparently why do that when we can risk instead trillions in losses from just a single well placed terrorist bomb?

Taxes are what get things done which only government can do. But, they can't be done when self-styled Conservatives get a chance to spend them instead on foolishness or lining their own pockets.

Why is it that apparently no Conservative politician or pundit has ever heard of the concept of cost/benefit analysis? Did they all flunk math in grade school? Are they just incompetent or deliberate deceivers or both? Least we forget, alleged "Conservatives" have cost us more money in the past few weeks than all the welfare cheats in all of history put together.

So, the next time a Conservative, whether a Republican or for that matter a pandering Democrat, hysterically tries to shout the usual knee jerk mantra of "NO TAXES!" or wants to peddle you hatred of government bureaucrats for trying to do their job, keep in mind the following counter mantra:

If you truly want to be conservative, you need to oppose the Conservatives.



Or, Debate Yourself

Polls indicate there are many undecided voters even at this late date. That’s understandable. Far too much of the information received from party partisans, the internet, talk shows and even the Main Stream Media tends to be unsupported, distorted, misleading, downright contradictory or even outright wrong. (Examples of complete falsehoods amazingly still circulating include claims that Obama is or was a Muslim and McCain is or was a racist.)

So, for those still puzzling, perhaps they should forget what they have heard or read over the last 20 months from others. Perhaps they should forget the questions deliberately evaded by the candidates on the so-called “debates.” Perhaps instead they should ask themselves a number of common sense questions which are good in any election and which only they themselves can truly answer.

Here are a Joe-the-Baker's Dozen to start.

1. Are you better off today than at the last change of administrations?

2. If not, which individuals, industries, institutions or agencies do you see as having contributed the most toward causing that unfortunate situation? And, which party or party members own, dominate or most strongly control most of those problem entities?

3. Certainly if there was a problem, it must then be asked next who hires, fires, funds and directs policy for any regulators of such entities?

4. Which party seems to you most likely to not only generate or attract new jobs and business for the country, but good wage jobs and business which create things? Perhaps more importantly, which party seems most likely in this era to keep them in this country once created or attracted?

5. Which party seems most genuinely interested overall in protecting your own job and your family’s investments, home, safety, education, and health?

6. Pick an issue to which general knowledge and common sense can apply. Take oil for instance. We all know petroleum is not only a fossil fuel (which means once it’s burnt and dumped in the atmosphere, it’s gone forever), most reserves of it are in countries that seem to prefer to do us harm. If so and those are deemed undesirable, which party is most likely to want to wean us from oil dependence?

7. Are you embarrassed, angered or frightened by any of the recent decisions of the two parties and are they likely to continue those policies if put or kept in office? An example of a major decision, to mention but one of several possibilities, would be going to war. If that is a decision that you feel deserves close consideration, then you ought to then ask were the justifications for the most recent war both good enough and credible, how was the war conducted and what were the results? Other examples of major decisions where such self analysis might be applied include trade, environment, food inspection, social issues or anything else you deem critical to your well being and/or the country’s future. On average, how to those comparative decisions stack up between the parties?

8. Do you perceive there to be competing countries outside the Middle East to which Washington ought to be paying more attention such as China, India, Russia, or South American ones? Assuming you believe other international interests have been neglected, ask yourself if we are really in a position today to do anything about those if they fester and swell up? If not, which party has the most responsibility for that condition? You don’t need to have a master’s degree in foreign policy to ask yourself these questions. At a minimum, you at least know whether or not you feel comfortable about whether those in charge are asking the right questions themselves.

9. A corollary is if you believe we need any allies in today’s world, who do our most important ones seem to prefer head this country? Which party has a candidate most likely to ease their concerns and obtain their full cooperation when and if needed?

10. Although perhaps not as important as some other questions, since it remains these days a distinct possibility that the President could die or be killed, what do you think of the abilities of the Vice Presidential choices of each party?

11. Probably more revealing than politicians and pundits endorsing their own party’s candidate would be whether there are any high profile defectors from the parties endorsing the other candidate? If so, who are they, what are they saying, why have they done so and do you respect their opinions?

12. You’ve seen rallies of each party on tv and listened to the crowds. Which crowd and which attitudes of such crowds would make you most proud and happy to be identified as a member? Who in those audiences is the candidate appealing most to and why? Whatever his or her talents in firing up a crowd of loyalists, is he or she genuinely a uniter or a divider of this whole country after being elected assuming you believe that matters in the long run?

13. Maybe most important of all, what will your children and their grandchildren think of your choice?



Or, Who’s Circle is Filled In On My Ballot

If you have read much of this blog, there is probably little doubt who I have voted for. A friend asked if I would vote for Obama because he’s black. I told him no, although I strongly suspect that aspect would (1) go far toward restoring the trust and confidence of the rest of the world in the US which has been so badly lost and squandered and (2) finally offer indisputable proof this country actually means what it says in the Declaration of Independence (certain opening words anyway) and in the Constitution (certain amendments anyway).

Actually, my first choices for President might surprise you. Early on, I wrote to Bill Moyer, a former Republican speech writer and currently PBS journalist, trying to persuade him to consider running. His insight and apparent honesty has always attracted me. My second choice, someone I tried to encourage back more than a year ago was New York Mayor Bloomberg, a former Republican, now officially an independent. My next fallback hoped for candidate was among those who initially announced, the very experienced New Mexico Governor Richardson. And, fourth was former VP candidate Edwards (although he like too many politicians subsequently let his testicles fry his brain). Still, I liked what he had to say. And, at least his was hetro-stupidity rather than what several across the aisle seem to want to indulge in.

I might even have considered the McCain if he was still the vintage 2000 McCain. Sadly he isn't. His choice of Palin really bothered me, but that was long after he had seemed to abandon most of his early principles. Wanna know why that particular decision rather irrevocably turned me against McCain, even if I had not already been so disappointed in him over the last year?

Most Americans and most of our allies in the World would welcome a female US Vice President or even President. Many would prefer it after what has gone before in the past few decades. Me too. Female Heads of State have been quite successful elsewhere (although no panacea) in both war and peace.

And, there are probably hundreds of thousands of very talented, exceedingly bright, highly educated, well experienced, extremely strong American women McCain could have selected. They include judges, attorneys, professors, CEOs, diplomats, politicians, career administrators and bureaucrats. Most are mothers. Most are married with socially acceptable spouses (read: males). A huge number of the possible choices no doubt are registered Republican. Many are fiscally and/or culturally conservative. Some believe intensely in preventing or restricting most abortions.

Yet, McCain chose Palin. Palin of all people. Palin despite the incredibly long list other females he could have chosen. Worse, despite months of opportunity to search, he appears to have insultingly pulled her out of his (hat) after mere days or maybe just hours of “vetting” her supposedly “qualifications.” Was that mere impulsiveness? Was it crankiness, reckless indifference, outright stupidity or a more sinister disregard for the risk to this country which Palin and her “First Dude” hubby may present?

Why did McCain force us voters into such a questionable choice, even for those of us who have supported McCain in the past? Unfortunately, it makes us think of “Heckofajob Brownie” that Bush picked to head FEMA thereby seriously exacerbating the Katrina disaster. Choosing Palin sure speaks ill of McCain’s decision making capabilities as far as I am concerned given the myriad of alternative choices so much better. Who will he select for all the other critical jobs?

We can disagree how good or bad Obama might be, and maybe if Obama is elected we will have to turn him out in 4 years. Frankly, given how badly the Republicans have hamstrung us with debt and sunk us in the Middle East quicksand, a reincarnated Thomas Jefferson himself probably could do little. Nevertheless, of the two Hobbesian choices we have in November, the combination of McCain picking Palin, plus his tar baby adherence to continuing the Iraq War, plus his being a member of the particular party that must be held primarily responsible for the astronomical financial mess we are in, makes me want to insure that there is at least a change of which parties get to appoint people to the regulatory agencies for the next election cycle. And, as a matter of general principal, I firmly feel there needs to be some penalty for what went wrong, something along the lines that the Captain of the ship always ought to take responsibility whether he personally caused the wreck or not. It might make future Captains more careful.

Unfortunately, we no longer have the useful Custer Concept where the leader in charge bears the burden of the bad decision along with all the others he harmed in the process. Now sadly, the person who screws up is the one least likely to suffer.

There is one opportunity available in this fiasco to do something really helpful if we are smart enough to seize it. Let’s use this opportunity to enact new laws that would put on the ballot for each office a choice of “None of the Above” so that if that button/oval/chad is pressed/darkened/punched winning the most votes, a new election is held shortly thereafter. In that new election, the only people ineligible to run again would be those who wasted our time the first time. It might cost more, but maybe there would be savings in the long run since maybe the parties would start giving us better first choices.



Maybe you can help me?

I'm a little confused by some of the news reports. Let me see if I have this straight.....

• If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you’re “exotic, different.”
• Grow up in Alaska eating moose meat, you’re a quintessential American story.

• If your name is Barack, you must secretly be a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.
• If you name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, aah, how cute.

• If you graduated from Harvard Law School, you are elitist.
• If you were third from the bottom in your class, you're well grounded.

• If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veterans' Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.
• If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.

• If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.
• If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a paragon of virtue and honor.

• If you advocate womens’ choice, you are a murder.
• If you favor the death penalty, pre-emptive attacks, extensive bombings and shrug off hundreds of thousand of civilian casualties as inconsequential, you are a realist.

• If you insist all the Constitution be defended as required by oaths of office, you want to endanger the country.
• If you support spying without warrants, imprisonment without counsel or trial, and that torture is just a word easily redefined, you are a man of honor.

• If you dare to question a policy or ask for less secrecy or accountability, you have committed treason and probably support al Quida.
• If you oppose dissent and are afraid to talk to the press, you are tough.

• If you seek to find out what went wrong in order to correct the problem, you are stuck in the past.
• If you insist that despite what your opponent says about cutting taxes for all except the uber rich he must be lying because his party always raises taxes, then you merely drawing appropriate inferences from what has gone before.

• If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control and warnings about sexual predators, you are eroding the fiber of society.
• If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you're very responsible.

• If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America's.
• If your husband is nicknamed 'First Dude', with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

• If you change your mind on how to fund your campaign, you are a foppish Flip-Flopper.
• If you abandon all your previous stated principles from the prior decade in order to solidify your base, you are a pragmatist.

• If you long ago was on a large committee with someone who once advocated bombing to protest war but never actually harmed anyone or did jail time, you nevertheless consort with terrorists who can never ever change.
• If you share the same stage in the last year with someone who advocated assassination or on a radio program with someone who illegally ran guns to terrorists and welcome their endorsement, well . . . people should be forgiven.

• If you make any observation you are black, you’re a militant, black power racist.
• If you remind everyone your opponent is black and allow buttons to be sold at your rallies saying that if a black man is elected we can no longer refer to it as the “White House,” you are merely being fair and pointing out the obvious.

• If you favor getting allies to support positions and seek international accord before invading, you are a wussy.
• If you have a nasty temper and threaten Russia despite having no military resources to back up the empty threat, you are macho.

• If you favor getting out of a war that has lasted longer than any other except the Vietnam one based on a timetable that your allies and the President agree on, you are a surrender monkey.
• If you chose to ignore all your allies including those you placed in power, you are an independent thinker.

• If you pack stadiums both home and abroad, you are a worthless celebrity.
• If you are a female Republican doing so, you are merely interesting.

OK, much clearer now.

(Note: Normally, everything in this blog is my own musing, but thanks are due and a tip of the hat for some of the above bullet points to an anonymous internet item in circulation.)



Or, Why Are Republicans Really Attacking Non-Profit ACORN?

John McCain insists that ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, and it’s efforts to register low income and other under represented residents encouraging them to turn out for the vote will somehow be the biggest voter fraud in history. An astonishing claim.

As supposed “evidence,” Republicans like Senator McCain and the pundits in their pocket cite that some petitioners have signed voter registration cards with names of non-existent people such as “Mickey Mouse,” conveniently forgetting of course that anyone actually showing up on November 4 claiming he is Mickey Mouse will have to produce ID to that effect. As usual though, little in the way of genuine hard evidence to support the Republican’s theory and wild speculations is ever produced as to any actual voter fraud that resulted from such silly false names. And if any is trotted forth, it typically is exaggerated and anecdotal at best. In other words, there are never any verifiable totals provided which even remotely hint this really is any sort of a significant problem.

Ignored entirely is the efforts of ACORN itself to prevent fraud from occurring and the fact that many such instances were only exposed because it was ACORN, not Republicans, who revealed them so they could be deleted. It is even possible in light of prior dirty tricks by Republicans that some of the false names may even have been submitted covertly by Republicans hoping to discredit ACORN. In any event, false signings may be a fraud against ACORN, but it is not vote fraud against the state unless and until it is attempted to be used by someone to actually vote in an election. There are already laws against that.

And, have you ever noticed how it is almost exclusively Republicans, who mantra is usually to loudly assert their party is the one supposedly all for “freedom” and “democracy” When was the last time you heard about anyone other than Republicans attempt to prevent others from voting? Yet, the mere suggestion of the remote possibility that Mr. Mickey Mouse might show up to ask for a ballot is sufficient for Republican legislatures to quiver and pass laws making it increasing difficult for poor, new, elderly, disabled and/or minority voters (i.e. those who would likely vote Democrat), and only such potential voters, to exercise their rights.

In contrast, the far greater possibility, in fact the proven opportunity, of hackable electronic voting machines with their secret “proprietary” software built and often serviced exclusively by Republican zealot owned companies like Diebold is completely dismissed. Dismissed despite tests showing again and again how quickly and easy it is to do so with such no-paper-ballot generating machines. Also, largely dismissed by the same Republican legislators and pontificating pundits is the unquestionably large number of legitimate votes by low income groups almost routinely blocked or thwarted by misinformation given to prospective voters either deliberately or inadvertently, by purging of rolls without timely alerting the voters purged, by direct and indirect nuisance intimidation of such groups though use of police or press or partisans, or by unequal treatment of voting stations regarding maintaining a convenient number of voting machines and polling staff available which adversely affects length of time and stress on voters election day. And, have we forgotten difficult ballot formatting (remember the Florida “butterfly ballots”)? All of these tactics tend to punish or totally disenfranchise primarily the poor, new, elderly, disabled and/or minority voters who tend to vote for anyone other than Republicans.

All the sound and fury sure on this subject looks like nothing more than Republicans attempting once again to divert attention from their own propensities for potential voter fraud. In psychology, the trait exhibited by the Republicans touting this latest anti-ACORN theory would be known as "projection." In litigation, when you have the facts or the law in your favor, pound them. If not, then as used here by the Republicans, the tactic becomes just pounding the table. Loudly. Accuse others and maybe they will neglect to investigate you.

Over time, it is becoming increasingly clear that Republicans would apparently secretly prefer that the only people who should get to vote in America are white, elderly, males who are registered Republican . . . and sit on the US Supreme Court.



Or, If Obama Is a “Terrorist” or Has Terrorist Leanings, Then McCain, Palin and Their Boss, Bush, Surely Must Be Too

Let’s see if I correctly understand the Palin/McCain theory about Obama’s minor association with William Ayers (who admitted once upon a time having maliciously damaged some buildings with explosives back in the turbulent 60s era but is now a respected professor and certainly not in jail or under indictment). The Republican theory, fed as raw meat to engage (enrage?) supporters at rallies, is apparently that:

(a) once a “terrorist,” always a terrorist since no one can ever ever ever possibly change and

(b) anyone whoever has ever had contact with a “terrorist” is probably a terrorist too or at least a supporter of terrorism.

I don’t understand the Palin/McCain obsession with the subject because if the theory is valid, then it would seem to follow that McCain, who all his extremely long political life (except for the past few weeks) loudly supported deregulation of the Wall Street must be LYING to voters when he says he now wants to re-regulate them and throw the bums out. The same for all his other numerous what-could-only-be-called 180 degree “flip-flops” on abortion, fundamentalists, etc., which he only started to espouse since he announced his latest bid to run the US? If Ayers cannot be trusted to ever change on anything, then how are we expected to believe McCain can or has?

As to supporting or consorting with those advocating terrorist ideas, which is the other half of the Palin/McCain charge against Obama, how about McCain’s new buddy, the self-declared “man of God,” Pat Robertson? Robertson, the man who openly called for assassination, yes, assassination of foreign leaders? Robertson has appeared on stage with McCain, yet McCain doesn’t seem to be branding him as terrorist or asserting he can never ever change? I guess the difference is that Robertson is Republican and, by definition, Republicans are supposedly incapable of either terrorism or torture.

Maybe the Palin/McCain ticket was only referring to terrorist acts against Americans, not foreigners. (Say, I wonder if Timothy McVey was a Republican?) But, using the Republican definition, isn’t that precisely what some of the things G. Gordon Liddy was doing and more recently than Ayers was last doing things? Least we forget, Liddy, unlike Ayers, was convicted and did jail time. Liddy is as equally unrepentant as Ayers, but a court formally confirmed Liddy’s guilt. Ayers merely made an “admission against interest” as it is now in the rules of evidence. No prosecutor choose to indict him for his “confession” those. If McCain truly believes his mantra he is claiming, why then has McCain, unlike Obama, never thoroughly repudiated that acquaintanceship with Liddy?

Interestingly, if the Republicans want to assert that the supposedly criminally inclined can never change their (prison) stripes, then Liddy, not Ayers, would actually be a better argument for that theory. After all, Liddy in his radio program and in print seems to still be advocating from time to time various reprehensible acts of murder and mayhem on fellow Americans.

Perhaps Palin and McCain were only referring to doing harm to American property. Well then, how about the Alaskan Secessionist Movement that the “First Dude” was in until his wife got crowned the GOP VP nominee? Loss of Alaska would certainly diminish the assets of the US. We haven’t heard if that group (which Palin welcomed in a speech while serving as Alaska’s Governor) advocated domestic violence to serve their cause, but Republican Lincoln certainly considered advocates of such secessionist causes to be dangerous to the United States. Did Palin perhaps forget her oath of office to defend the Constitution which doesn’t have an escape clause for states? No one (at least no Democrat) is saying the Alaskan’s First group doesn’t have a right to exercise free speech, but it sure sounds like consorting and aiding at least. Why then for consistency isn’t McCain denouncing his partner’s actions? Why isn’t she denouncing the sessessionist group her husband was in? Oh yeah, that’s right. No one can ever change if McCain is right.

Moreover, what is to be made of President Bush’s decision recently (while Palin and McCain were loudly ranting about terrorists never changing) to proclaim that North Korea, a supposed charter member of “Axis of Evil” club, has changed and is not conducting state sponsored terrorism anymore? Remember exactly what recent act it was by North Korea which prompted Bush to hurriedly lift the ban on North Korea? It was North Korea’s decision to reopen it’s potential nuclear bomb making facilities. So apparently, Bush has decided a terrorist country gets declared a non-terrorist country only if does something truly terrifying. Does that mean Bush favors terrorists? Shouldn’t then McCain be advocating Bush be immediately impeached as a traitor?

Well actually, maybe that last thing would be a good idea.



Or, It Must Have Been That Evil Clinton Again (Bill, that is)

I have been trying to figure out how the Republicans would finally manage to blame the last thirty years of Republican financial irresponsibility on Bill Clinton. After all, they have blamed everything else on earth on him. At last, the answer.

According to the latest explanations by Republican shills, apparently he “pressured” the poor defenseless Republican CEOs of the Republican owned banks to assist more low income people get into home ownership. Supposedly, they instantly capitulated and made loans to everyone who walked through the door no matter how risky it was in doing so. Yes, they made obscenely huge profits in doing so, but it was practically entrapment. They had no choice except to line their pockets and endanger the nation.

Yes, the Republican dominated stock market seeing the huge profits wanted some of it and made stock and insurance bets disguised by a bunch a phony names, but that only magnifies Clinton’s guilt for putting the idea in their heads. The fact that the Republicans making all the critical decisions were deciding in essence either (a) nothing could ever possibly go wrong or (b) they could stick the Treasury with the bill for the bet. . . . Well, that was irrelevant.

Shame on that nasty old Clinton for tempting them that way. Didn’t he know the Republican CEOs weren’t capable of resisting the greed? Didn’t he know they would over react and take his literally without restriction or restraint? Didn’t he know those heads of the big corps weren’t sufficiently educated or experienced in financial or security matters to see the danger or where it might lead? Didn’t he know they didn’t have the smarts, the tools or the guts to obstruct, let alone effectively resist a man whose guts they so thoroughly hated? Didn’t he know the Republicans had dismantled or controlled any regulatory agencies and laws that might have spotted or prevented the problems? Shame shame shame on Clinton for taking such terrible advantage of the Republicans’ weaknesses and utter ineptitude.

Is it too late to impeach Clinton in absentia for his high crime and misdemeanor of giving those poor innocent Republicans an excuse to rape our economy? If it’s too late, then maybe every Republican CEO, banker, lender, stockbroker, pundit and“regulator” at least ought to start wearing blue dresses to subtlety remind the rest of us how Clinton forced all those thousands of Republicans to their knees in service of his favor for subprime borrowers.

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Or, Some Questions to Ask About the Bailout

NEWS FLASH: Republican leaders and their PR department announced the sun rose in the West yesterday. The Main Stream Media, in their daily effort to prove they are not now and never were the slightest bit scientific oriented (since that might be construed as liberal or elitist), promptly publicized the announcement about the sudden new direction the sun has supposedly taken. Republican voters and many independents who depend on letting others do their thinking for them immediately looked West waiting for the sunrise. Textbook publishers revise astronomical charts rather than risk loss of sales.

Apparently, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank and the Democrats are to blame for the economic meltdown we are facing, at least according to the latest Republican press conferences. Perhaps before accepting that at face value, blaming what will ultimately be a multi-trillion dollar debacle solely on the gullible Democrats in Congress, I would recommend voters review some pretty unquestionable history and ask themselves some simple, relatively common sense questions. That way we can find out who to debit and who to credit, or at least who has less credibility.

Start with asking what party was in control of both the House and the Senate over most of the last 30 or so years? What party had the strongest or actual control over most of the period? For instance, wasn’t the latest switch in supposed “control” of the Senate close to a single vote in favor of the Democrats (i.e. little real “control” at all) and wasn’t one of those supposed votes giving Democrats finally control someone who was also a keynote speaker at the Republican convention? In a criminal court case, that would be who had Opportunity?

Meanwhile, who controlled the White House over most of that same period and not only proposed new laws, but controlled submission of both the budgets of the regulatory agencies and appointment power dictating who is hired and fired at regulatory agencies and what their philosophy of enforcement or non-enforcement will be? Have voters read the report out in the past few days regarding the Justice Department in the Bush Administration and see what such appointment power can do? Those are only the first questions. In a criminal court case, that would be who had Means?

During that same period of the last three decades or so, which party had as its platform the free and unrestricted market place, especially in financial and trade matters? Which party had and still has as its platform a goal of small government and massive deregulation? Which party sought the most deregulation and proudly announced each success in doing so? What party appointed all the current federal regulatory commissions and agencies? In a criminal court case, that would be who had Motive?

How many years have they been on the job? Wasn’t seven years long enough to spot something like that? If the party that did the present regulatory agency appointments and gave directional control to such agencies wins the election, isn’t it likely that will continue for additional years? Who will they likely appoint to the federal regulatory commissions and agencies if they are given the chance? In a criminal court case, that would be who had the Last Clear Chance?

Maybe the question should be, how many such debacles can we afford?

Certainly ask, what party do the CEOs and senior officers and directors of most of the financial institutions, public and private, especially those that have had either bailouts given them or sought bankruptcy law protection, belonged to? What party demanded that lobbying agencies hire Republicans as lobbyists? Who is it contemplated that will receive all or almost all the “bailout” funds? How long have they been in their positions? Were any indicted or jailed for fraud? What party did most of them belong to? Who did they give the most campaign contributions to? Democrats or Republicans?

Were they at least on the job while the supposed chicaneries of the bare majority Democrats was going on? Why didn’t they object over the years if that was true about the bare majority Democrats? Did they not see it (in which case they are effectively incompetent and should be replaced)? Or, were they gleefully in favor (in which case they are essentially co-conspirators and should be replaced)? Who pocketed the most profits that was obtained by the supposed chicaneries? If they were pocketing money knowing what was happening, what happened to the concept of Country First? Has that really been applied over the last several years if greed was an easy alternative? What party do you suppose most of the investors, speculators and shareholders of such companies belonged to when the money was flowing in during the go-go days? In a criminal court case, these would be cross examination Weight of Evidence and Credibility questions.

Didn’t they stop to wonder whether the Adam Smith’s Law of Supply and Demand had actually been magically repealed? Why didn’t they speak out or go to the press if debt was being given to homeowners with little means to repay the amounts? For that matter, why didn’t they notice or report debtor banks taking debt with little or doubtful security? Who devised the complicated financing schemes and the bundling that has lead to much of the unfettered disaster? Who was basing their action on an apparent assumption the bubble could not bust and housing prices would always go up? In a criminal court case, that would be more credibility or Veracity questions.

Yet, what party has always declared for public consumption at least it was the supposedly conservative party while simultaneously insisting it is always a good time to lower taxes, especially for the rich, no matter what the economy happens to be doing? In a criminal court case, that would be Admissions Against Interest.

Weren’t there any signs this could happen as a result of such policies? Were they truly that ignorant? Weren’t there some Democrats arguing for more and closer scrutiny? Who shouted them down as ignorant claiming nothing could go wrong? Where there any Republicans arguing for more and closer scrutiny?

What Administration was in power during the similar, albeit smaller scale, destruction of the Savings and Loan Administration? That only cost billions. Wasn’t the tactics back during that crisis, such as inflated appraisals, poorly secured debt, etc. much the same as has been going on now? Didn’t the bill for that implosion get stuck with the taxpayers too? Does the word “Enron” ring any bells?

Weren’t any lessons learned? Doesn’t anyone remember or at least read history and economic textbooks?

What Administration and party took away the power of the bankruptcy court to adjust mortgages of individuals to real market value and interest, but refused to restrict credit agencies in any way, shape or form? What Administration thought that it was a good idea to send manufacturing and jobs overseas?

What Administration proposed the initial “bailout” plan unveiled a few days ago? How long has that Administration been in office? Why didn’t they see this coming so such a bailout would not be needed? If it was not their job, then who?

Did the bailout first proposed by the Republican Administration have a single restriction on the Treasury Secretary’s powers or even freedom from prosecution? Why not? Did the bare majority Democrats draft that proposal?

What industry did the Treasury Secretary come from? Does he strike you as credible when you listen to him and watch his face? What college degrees does he hold? What degrees does the President hold? MBA and business degrees, right? But, somehow it was the bare majority Democrats cleverly conning them all? Do the bare majority Democrats strike you as genius that way?

Where did the $700,000,000,000.00 bailout figure come from? Wasn’t it admitted that was pulled out of the air? Are anyone convinced more won’t be needed? Do anyone have confidence in those in charge in the Administration who will administer whatever bailout plan is approved? Remember when we were told that the billions on the bailout of AIG and Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac probably wouldn’t be needed just days before they were bailed out using all the money set aside? Who told us that? Who is now claiming we must act immediately and without question?

Feel free to question the bare majority Democrats. Use “enhanced interrogation techniques” so favored by the White House. Use them on all residing in Congress if you want so long as the same techniques are used on those in the Administration. But, for the moment voters should ask themselves who is trying to divert attention by claiming even asking any questions about the plan specifics will somehow destroy the nation? Who is trying to say we must not look at blame before acting even though finding out the cause might be important to deciding what to do for a cure? Why would they not want us to know such information? Who would benefit the most if there was no inquiry into blame?

Has this Administration proven itself credible on most other warnings and predictions it has made? Come to think of it, has this Administration proven itself credible on any major warning or prediction it has made on any subject?

Why wasn’t anything other than the “nuclear option” of the huge bailout even seriously discussed by the Administration? Has the Administration been persuasive in their evidence? Is it sufficient for such a price tag? Do you feel there has been adequate debate allowed? Even with the cosmetic changes the Democrats and some Republicans have added to the bailout of the subprime lenders, do you believe it affects any systemic changes so this won’t happen again?

So.......voters should ask themselves those questions. Most of them truly are just common sense, gut credibility, elementary math, and basic history questions. They should be asked no matter what their party affiliation is. Voters should think of themselves as a jury. Was it crimes of passion or just greed? In any event, did those in charge honor their oath of office?

Then, voters should ask themselves if it really was just the bare majority Democrats as alluded to by those who want the Republicans to continue as the sole appointers and suppliers of the regulators. If it was not just the bare majority Democrats as the excusers would like us to believe, then in light of all the circumstances does the Republican Party genuinely deserve a kiss and four more years? Like the captain of a ship, shouldn’t there be some consequence to being in charge when the ship runs aground? Unlike the criminal law system, those questioning do not have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. The test is mere preponderance of the evidence.

Criminently (yeah a silly pun)!

Still no doubts? None at all gnawing?

If not, then I guess I am really lucky on the Oregon shore where I will be able now to watch the sun come up over the Ocean.