Monday, November 10, 2008

a (modest) green proposal

I don't understand all I know about such things but when General Motors comes to DC looking for a bailout/infusion of capital it seems to me like a time for a sit down on a number of issues.

I'm fine with loaning them money (or buying a piece of their action) if they will agree to a couple of things.

1. there should be a target for phasing in a requirement that a certain percentage of their production is in hybrid auto technology attaining a certain mileage standard

2. there should be a target for phasing in a requirement that the rest of their fleet attain a different but significantly higher mileage and emissions standard than is now required.

3. that the recipients of this help agree to play their part in the general proposal that follows.

The federal government will also initiate a program to underwrite providing car buyers of a certain (modest middle class) income who want to trade cars of a certain profile (non-green) in for new, greener vehicles with an "augmented" trade-in value to ease the burden of increased cost of the green technology.

The car sellers would destroy the cars traded in and certify their destruction. They would get a tax credit (which perhaps would be split with the car companies) for the documented full amount of the trade in allowance they gave the buyer.

The cost of this augmented trade-in and destroy program would be in part funded by a substantial rise in the federal gas tax and a phasing out of subsidies (direct and indirect) to oil companies.

This proposal would

a. "save" the American auto industry and put it on a sustainable footing, benefiting workers and shareholders, local governments and everyone else who rely on the cash it generates.

b. "green" the auto industry, itself, and result in a gradual increase in the number of "green" automobiles on the road and decreasing the number of "ungreen" vehicles on the road with with them.

c. allow more American consumers access to such cars by increasing production and lowering the cost to them of converting

d. lessen America's demand for and reliance on foreign oil

e. spur green transportation technology

f. decrease driving (although the price per gallon increase is recouped by those who purchase higher mileage vehicles)

I could think of many more advantages, and probably can, over time, come up with ways to hook in more strategies to move forward into the post-petroleum age.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Oh, today's Lily....

Yes, the cynicism doesn't stop...

Dick Armey, a one time (and perhaps a future) member of Congress--House Republican Leader and noted conservative--analyzed the Republican loss in the way Republicans (and Democrats, now that I think about it) are apt to do: we acted too much like them and the voters punished us for not being true to our values.

The idea is that over the last eight years the Republican party left behind the small government, fiscal conservatism and individual liberty type values traditional to conservatives and, because they did the voters turned them out.


Because Republicans acted too much like Democrats the voters punished the Republicans by turning them out of office and replacing them with Democrats?

"Well," said the R voters, according to Mr. Armey, "the Republicans gave up their good guy ways and started to act like the bad guys always do so we decided to kick the good guys out and replace them with a bunch of bad guys who will keep doing all the things we hate, all the things we punished the Republicans for doing."

"What?" I asked from the shower, addressing my radio, from where Mr. Armey's voice came. "Let me get this straight. You're so upset with what you claim is profligate spending, collective security and big government that you've elected a bunch of people who will give you more of those things you hate?"

"Sure," I heard Mr. Armey say, in my head. "Sure. We gotta be what we really are and stop acting like..."

Like I say, I've heard this from both R and D die hards after a serious defeat.

"Well," I said, putting even more words into Mr. Armey's mouth, "Don't look around at what going on. Just go with what you know. And good luck."

Then I remembered who I was dealing with. Mr. Armey is not stupid. He's just in a position that he has to hide what he's really trying to do, along with a lot of things he doesn't know to begin with.

So, the Lily to Mr. Armey for the cynical manipulation of the rank and file of his own party so that he can get them back under his control.

No matter how cynical I get, it's hard to keep up.
--Lily Tomlin

How am I going to know?

I could go on for a while about the election of Bark Obama--what it means and what it doesn't mean to me.

I'll sum it up.

I chose Obama over Hillary because he seemed to be saying that we need to get people together and work things out together while she seemed to be hanging on to the approach that we get things done by consolidating our power and riding down on our enemies to defeat them.

I like what I saw as the "Obama approach" because it is like (although hardly identical to) what is called "Quaker process."

I wish he would have talked about that more in the campaign but he obliquely referred to it from time to time, frequently enough to keep me going.

Now, we see.

He has won by a substantial margin and only the most partisan would claim that he does not have a "mandate" to move forward as he has talked about doing. But one of the ways he got that mandate was by trying to move beyond the red state-blue state, left-right approach--or at least claiming that's what he wanted to do.

I'll know it's what I voted for if he approaches problems in an inclusive way, listening to those with whom he disagrees and trying to fashion compromises that both get the job at hand done and that build enough support for those compromises to get them implemented.

If a man with a mandate can govern as though he just barely won he can get things done and unify the country.

We have just lived through eight years in which someone who just barely won swaggered around like he had a mandate and we are living with the aftermath.

"Look upon my works, Ye Mighty, and Despair."

Monday, November 03, 2008

what's the right answer?

When people say Obama is a Muslim we jump to say that's not right: he's a Christian.

Why don't we say "So what? A Muslim can't be President?"

Yeah, I know. The "real world" and all that.

I can say it, though, even if the campaign "can't."

But that's not such a big whoop--in fact, it's just an indication of how meshed with empire I am, how my identity in Christ is compromised by my identity with the global capital empire for which this "nation" stands, that this nation serves.

Colin Powell, on Meet the Press a couple of weeks ago, told a stirring story of a gravestone at Arlington National Cemetery. It was that under which is laid a 19 year old casualty of the the Iraq war and at the top of which is the crescent and the star.

Powell was saying that anyone can meet the "test" and that there should be no presumption based on the external indicators. If one can show one is sufficiently committed to this country and endorses the myth of redemptive violence as the means to maintain its pre-eminence in the world then one is in the club.

Most Quakers do not buy into the myth of redemptive violence, at least insofar as its implications in our own lives are clear to us. But we should recognize at the very least that integrity would require those among us who do buy into it to acknowledge that passing the "test" is not based on being part of one group or another. (Of course, integrity would require all who support a war to fight in or actively participate in it as integrity would require someone "supporting" a religion to actually practice it rather than merely tithe...I digress)

Of course, groups (as well as individuals) seek security in redemptive violence and what is "at stake" in the national/spiritual life of most Americans today is dominating one group or another to keep the "American Standard of Living," as our current leaders have sworn to do, "off of the table."

For Americans to realize that Muslims can serve the American Empire as well as Christians and Jews can is really not such a great leap forward.

I guess for me to try to point that out is not only fairly depressing as I realize what it's about but not good for my own spiritual condition. It's a bit like "favoring" gays in the military--advocating that anyone be allowed to destroy the image of Christ in themselves.

But, on the other hand, it's what separation of church and state is about, isn't it?

In school, years ago, I learned that if one is unsure of the right answer one should choose the alternative labeled "C." Having been a teacher, now, I know that's a myth.

But as I cannot help but touch the side of the airplane as I board I cannot help but say, in regard to this, the correct answer is "C."

For Christ.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

that's what it's about, Joe...

Joe S said this morning that when he ran for office the first time his opponent was a man and it was ok for both of them to make fun of one another, to take shots at one another, to be mean and sarcastic to one another. The next time he ran against a woman and he wasn't able to do that. Political correctness had set in.

Can I suggest that the change between the two elections represents a step forward rather than something to be lamented?

Isn't it good that something has happened to increase civility in political campaigns?

The first year I worked in the state legislature I remember a briefing for new comers in the lobby corps that included the re-assurance that one did not have to give members sexual favors in return for support on legislation.

I wondered about that. Why did someone think it appropriate to say something like that?


Because, I now know, there was a lot of "grab ass" of various kinds going on in the legislature before I got there and that there was a change going on.

What caused the change?

The increased number of women who were members of the legislature.

Gee, was that a bad thing? The boys could not cut up and engage in horse-play like they used to.

I suppose that some of those good old boys lamented the passing of the times of whiskey bottles in the bottom drawyers and sexually harassing pretty young aids.

But I am not going to suppose that it would be great to go back to that way of operating, or that women should put up with that kind of nonsense going on around them.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Oh, Sigh

"I don't need any lessons on telling the truth to the American people..." said Senator McCain, continuing on to say that if he did he wouldn't seek counsel in that regard from a a Chicago politician.

What's the debate going to be like, tonight?

The Democratic Whatever It Is Committee (the DWIIC?) is now running an ad of the Good Senator saying that the American people are smart enough to know that people who run nothing but negative ads has no vision for the future or doesn't want to lay that out at the present time.

How weird it is that such footage can be played by the speaker's opponents with such confidence in it being perceived as irony by the public! Is McCain's credibility completely upside down?

And Palin. Palin shows they're failin'.

O'bama is "palling around with domestic terrorists" and Reverend Wright...

Maybe Governor Palin knows that her ticket is toast this time and she wants to get as much attention as she can so that in four yearts, or eight, she can come back as a re-invented figure who reads the magazines and knows Supreme Court cases, and such. Will she be the front runner for the R nomination in 2012?

Clarence Page said that Palin knew that the debates are a TV show and she played it that way. She could become very skillful in the medium.

Or will she go back to Alaska in an irretreivable disgrace, blamed for the loss or just with so much negative baggage...

But Nixon had a lot of negative baggage and back he came.

"But You, Governor Palin, are no Richard Nixon."

Oh, the Lily? McCain, of course. He has to know he's not telling the truth to the American people. O'bama is not a Chicago politician. He has not been a part of that machine. If O'bama is a Chicago politician then McCain is a Hanoi politician.

Is this never going to be over?

Could this year be the rhyme line for 1964? Is this another horrendous defeat for the Republicans such that it sets up a countering victory like Ronald Reagan's?

I should stop writing before I start to rival McCain for today's Lily.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Tool of Mavericks

Sarah Palin has a rhetorical tool box that served her well in the debate last Friday, generating talking points interspersed with personable affectations--at least personable as seen by some people's sensibilities.

Unlike the two interviews she did, when the reporters were able to ask her to be specific about something she said and showed that she didn't really say anything, at all, in this debate she was able to skip over the surface like the flattest of flat stones. When Biden called her on things she was just able to to repeat what she said, without any supporting fact or information, and say that Biden was "wrong."

The plan, now, is to keep her away from anyone who can ask her a follow up question.

She winks, she mugs, her folksy outside the beltway style--her beauty contestant personality: she's joined the "Team of Mavericks."

No matter how cynical I get...

Famous Person...

She killed him, was the assessment of the "Famous Person" quoted on the McCain website after the Palin Performance the other night.

The "Famous Person" turns out to be Peggy Noonan, former Reagan speech writer.

What, did someone see her, recognize her as a famous person, and just could not come up with her name at the time and still couldn't get it off of the tip of his tongue before the quote had to go up on the site?

"Famous Person" attribution may have kept us all from knowing the statement was the assessment of a very biased person.

As I watched the debate I knew that Palin was "winning" in the sense that she was allowing her campaign's base to breathe, again, allowing them to say that she was good and capable without those around them spraying whatever liquid they had in their mouths.

Cute, perky and murky with one misstatement after another.

Fact is that she did kill him.

Long before last night she killed McCain's last hope to become President.

At least, that's how I think history is going to write the story.

Lily to the one who put "The Famous Person" attribution on the McCain web site.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

how can she lose?

If the vice presidential debate does not end up with Sarah P. rolled up in a ball on the floor, her crisp suit sweated through and thumb in her mouth, then she will have won.

And how can Biden hope to do well? He's either going to be accused of beating up on her or patting her on the head. She pats herself on the head, of course, and she beats up on herself. Perhaps Mr. Biden should skip out on this thing and let her stand there and do it all to herself. Even, then, though, she would win. Sarah may be Palin' but she'll win by a TKO no matter what happens.

"I hereby stand by all the mistatements I have made" said Dan Quayle.

Yeah. Me, too.

Miss Congeniality.

Not hardly, but really.

So the Lily today goes to me.

How can I be anything but cynical, today?

it's just so hard to keep up.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Watching Morning Joe

More spent in three days to support the American military establishment than spent on development aid for Africa in a year.

More money has gone into CEO bonuses on Wall Street than the entire world has invested in Africa in a year.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A "Lily" For Our Time

I heard that Congress is flummoxed about what to do in the midst of the financial crisis. They don't know what to do.

It's a whole new game, they say. They don't know the rules.

That's ironic. Of course they don't know the rules. Congresses abolished a lot of the rules and that's why we are where we are. As one commentator put it, the financial world has had no grownups in charge for a while. We used to know how to put real value on financial instruments--you had third parties do it it instead of the people who used the instruments to convince other people to lend them (or give them) money based on that value.

"Well, you know, this here piece of paper is worth a lot of money--cause I say it is."

There's a good start--stop that nonsense.

Just start by going back and looking at the oversight that has been abolished.

This is not a new game. It's a very old game.

The game is called, now "privatizing profit and socializing loss."

My old Daddie used to call it "everyone wants socialism for themselves and free enterprise for everyone else."

And the Republican leadership in Congress is saying that we should all be concerned the size and the frequency of these bail outs.

Sigh. That's why the "Lily" goes, today, to Republicans in Congress. Cynicism on a stick.

When Republicans thought we were over run by crime they didn't wonder whether it was a good idea to pour all those resources into cops and prisons--they were were worried by what is was they said made all those cops and prisons "necessary:" crime.

We should, yes, be concerned about the size and frequency of these bail outs and I think the place to concentrate our concern is on how these became necessary. They became necessary because the ideology of the freedom in the market place displaced the ideology of responsibility and sound financial judgment. And that didn't happen by accident. People made a bundle on making it happen.

How could anyone possibly think that the way to financial strength was letting people make money by creating transactions between people who had money to loan and people who could never repay those loans and then make more money selling the right to collect on those bad loans to someone else?

They couldn't think that, of course. What they really thought was about the campaign contributions they would get from the people they let do that. And now that it's gone gunny-bag they want us to think that the issue is how we get out of the hole they put us in--not about the hole, how they put us in it and how we stay out of another one it the future.

I wonder who will accept the Lily on behalf the the free market ideologues? Herbert? Is Friend Hoover in the house? If not, call the McCain campaign. They have a couple of guys there who were very helpful in creating this climate of letting predators be predators and the prey be, well, prey. Prey--predators call those people "whiners."

The risk of failure was separated from the people making the transactions. I make money doing this and then sell the situation (known, technically, as a time bomb) to someone else. When the whole system goes down I may have to pay a little bit of what I made back to recover from the catastrophe but not as much as I made creating it. And the people I sold the loans to--and the people I got into the loans--will be right there with me paying more taxes to restore stability. They lost everything and they have to pay to recreate the system while I--who made a bundle on their losing--have to pay a lot less than I made to pay my "fair share" in the recovery.

My end of paying the recovery is smaller than what I made and everyone else--after losing so much, has to pay even more.

Is this a great country or what?

It's called "capitalism" and that's how it works.

Uh-oh. People might start to say I'm engaging in class warfare.

Another good question, this one from Barney Frank: how is it than in our "democracy" one person has the power to decide whether or not to loan $85 billion dollars of tax payer money to an insurance company, and to decided, in his own discretion, what the terms will be?

I don't know that it's a bad idea. But perhaps it's a warning to not let things get this way, again. What's gonna happen if someone finds out of that his brother in law runs the company he decided we should all bail out? (in a way, by the way, his brother in law does--his class brother in law).

And now that I think of it, when Congress gave the power to do that, how much was that like giving George Bush the power to go war if, in his sole discretion, he wanted to do that?

How many times can Congress be talked into giving people so much power? I guess the answer is as many times as they get scared into doing it.

And they were right to be scared, in both circumstances, because both the foreign and financial policies in which we have been engaging for a long time could not help to lead, regardless of short term gain for some of us, to long term disaster for all of us.

You can't be a Quaker and not know that. You can't be a human being with a moral compass--other than making money by exploiting others--and not know that. Which, I guess, explains why so many people don't seem to know it.

It's hard to figure out which of our testimonies is most implicated, here. It's an example of how we can use any one of them to analyze most any human plight. Start with simplicity, head into rest. Choose equality or integrity, community or peace. The lack of (respect for) any of them in our policies (and public morality) is a good way to come to understand the situation.

You cannot have KISS without SPICE.

And just remember, boys and girls, there are those who can with a straight face and a modicum of persuasiveness, tell us that the war in Iraq and the unfettered capitalism are examples of simplicity, peace, integrity, community and equality.

I will be surprised, frankly, if they don't.

As Lily said: "'s hard to keep up."

Friday, September 12, 2008

class warfare

So, Bill O'Reilly says to Barak Obama that restoring the taxes on the top margins to the pre-Bush levels would be "tax warfare."

One of these days I'd like someone to say, in response to this "argument," that the changing of those marginal rates downward by the Bush administration was also "class warfare." The destruction of unions, the tax structure favoring the wealthy, the subsidies and tax credits handed out to people and corporations who are in that $250,000 a year + class while similar breaks and subsidies for middle income families are cut--all that amounts to redistribution of the wealth and class warfare that is waged by the "side" wearing the same colors as Mr. O.

There is no other answer that has integrity and in the end none that really make ssense.

You cannot win that argument, Barak, until you frankly say that groups are constantly vying with one another in this economy about how the income is divided and that this is a legitimate vying and that we need to acknowledge that and put it on the table where we can openly engage in some rule making to govern the process and make it fair. That would simplify all this considerably, wouldn't it?

The way it is right now it's an unregulated war and a denied war--so those waging it aren't scrutinized or held in check by concepts of fairness applied to their behavior...not exactly harmony, is it? Peace? Equality? People who have it can portray themselves as exploited by taxes and never have to explain how they exploited others by using the government to get it, in the first place.

Our incomes are not "ours" in the sense that no one else contributed to our making it. We are part of a system and we take our incomes out of a system, benefitting from the efforts and investments (especially public investments) of others. We all owe the system so as to keep it working for us and for others as it does. We are all in this together. It's an interdependent community.

Why is it so radical to propose that people who take more out of this economy--and have the power to structure it so that they do take more out than others--should not be required to pay more to keep it working for them?

Who is offended when people who sit in the best seats pay for the highest priced tickets?

Class warfare? Duh!

Say it, Barak. Own it. It's true.

And as long as we deny it then it cannot, as it is the function of the truth to do, set us free.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

This is a test...

Will half truths and outright lies, spoken over and over, at high volume, become truth?

Or will the truth, spoken plainly and often, be recognized and vindicated?

That seems the test before the American electorate at the moment.

I am, as they say, "in the tank," for Barak Obama.

Even in my partisanship, however, I can say with integrity that the McCain-Palin campaign is so far off of the farm it can no longer hear the rooster crowing.

I understand that the people who are in charge of that campaign--the people who are now in danger of losing control of Washington, DC, a control they enjoyed as the result of being in charge of the Bush Administration--believe (as I guess we all do) that if they lose power the world will be a much worse place. So they justify what they do...

The ends justify the means.

A lie repeated often enough will become the truth, and the bigger the lie the more likely it is to become the truth.

Not, by the way, consistent with the faith and practice of Friends.

So, the wall of noise is built and the test is before the American people.

I believe the moral condition of the American people is such that there is an odds on chance we will fail. Our culture has so compromised us that we cannot see the truth--or refuse to see the truth in all its difficulty and inconvenience--when it's in front of us. We like the lies. They make us feel comfortable.

As a contemporary prophet once wrote: "your corrupt ways have finally made you blind."

And when we reach the end we see that the means were really all that ever meant anything, anyway.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Giving them what they want...

No, no, no...

Charlie Black saying that a terrorist attack would help McCain has to based on some fairly complicated logic or a lack of integrity.

If there is a terrorist attack on this country won't it show that after all these years of grandmothers being frisked and illegal phone taps and putting panties on the heads of Islamic men we are not safe from terrorism?

We have had red alerts and orange alerts, we have had the administration telling us about this or that planned terrorist attack being foiled, attacks about which they were not free to elaborate for national security reasons. If there is no attack then McCain can say, "Hey, it's working, that's why I want to continue what Mr. Bush has started." So, if there is an attack he can say that we need to stay the course?

Seems to me that another attack shows the bankruptcy of the "war" metaphor, the proponents of which try to humiliate anyone who says it's a law enforcement problem (like the fist World Trade Center bombing--the perpetrators of which are where, now? Oh, yeah, in prison.)

Not that an attack would not work that way. It has worked like a charm in the Middle East. All the extremists know that any time a settlement is imminent all they have to do is attack one side, or the other, and the victim will throw over the settlement table--in fear of its own people who demand revenge and whose war mongers will say that they were right, that "going soft" invited the other side to attack them while pretending to be talking peace.

It even keeps the violence going when the "fundamentalist" Jewish guy kills the Jewish peacemaker--because it replaces Israel's peace guy with Israel's non-peace guy.

So, yeah, it probably would help McCain if there were another terrorist attack. It just shows that most of the American people don't get what's going on, here. If you think that winning a "war" against the United States is in your interest then do what is necessary to make sure that the people who want to fight you get or stay in office. To not attack makes the people who want to make peace with you stronger. And if you (we) are manipulated this way we end up giving up on peace and giving the people who thrive on this nonsense what they need to keep going.

Peace is in the interest of neither Al Qaeda or John McCain's election.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Madame Prosecutor and the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy

I dunno what Hillary wants to do.

She was my choice going in but I got Obama-ized very early by the echo of Bobby Kennedy I kept hearing in what he had to say, by the fact that his approach was more near to the Quaker approach that Hillary's was.

I wish her well and I really hope that somehow, someway, she could be named Attorney General. I can imagine her pursuing justice (and perhaps a little something on the side, for herself) in going after all the people who should be in the dock over what they have done in the last eight years.

I'd love to have Dick Cheney watch her argue to a jury, the jury called to hear the evidence against him.

One can dream.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


The reporter asked the vice president--after he said the "surge" was generally acknowledged to have accomplished a great deal--about the fact that the vast majority of both the Iraqi and American people wanted the war over, wanted American troops to leave.

"So?" he replied.

She quickly asked "You don't care what the American people think?"

He pieced together a reply to the effect that one cannot guide policy by the changing winds of public opinion.

I would have liked to have seen the reporter let that "So?" hang in the air for a good long time, a silent civics lesson, a silence underscoring the vice president's frank and stark revelation of the essence of what's going on. Mr. Cheney is a practiced interviewee, he might well have sat the silence out, demanding the next question without a word. How great would it be, after a minute or so of silence if, not getting another question, he just stood up and left?

Of course, he might have elaborated on his rhetorical dismissal of the criticism implied in the question. The reporter's second question was, after all, just an elaboration of her first.

For a long time I have wondered about how the American people have turned against this war and yet that makes no difference. The rejection of the policy is apparent in public opinion polls and in the last election. It's been clear for quite a while, now. Yet the war goes on as though it still had high approval ratings.

It may well be due the fact that the executive branch controls the making of policy to the exclusion of legislative direction. Does "the president controls foreign policy" mean that the legislative branch--which is the policymaking, as opposed to policy executing, branch of government--have no power over the President in this regard?

Apparently Dick Cheney thinks so, as so does the President. They think so because they have the power, apparently, to keep going despite what anyone thinks, and because they think that they have the legitimate Constitutional authority.

I have no doubt that they really do think they have the authority, and they really do think they are doing the right thing for the country and for the world.

He claims to be creating a shining city, while standing amid the rubble, the mounting carnage, and then, when asked about the fact that few others see anything other than the smoke and the death, he replies "So?"

Imagine, during the 2000 election campaign, that he was asked "What would you say to the American people if the vast majority of them opposed a war that your administration was prosecuting and that had cost billions of dollars and almost 4,000 American lives?"

Would he even be vice president today if he had replied, then, "So?"

My follow up to "So?" would be...

Is what we are doing consistent with the values we espouse? Or do we cast those aside as idealistic and unworkable in this "real world" situation?

Is what we are doing creating an inclusive framework of relationships? Or are we building a world that leaves some people out?

Is what we are doing providing benefit to all from the system of which they are a part? Or are we exploiting some for the benefit of others?

Is what we are doing careful of what we have, using as little as needed to do necessary things? Or are we wasteful of resources or of lives, using them extravagantly in things of no lasting value?

Is what we are doing making people easy with one another? Or are we making people afraid of and angry with one another?

(Of course, the question is "is what we are doing" not "are we claiming/intending/hoping that what we are doing." The answer to the question is the result, not the stated intention.)

It's a good framework of analysis for most any political question, for any question. Integrity, community, equality, simplicity, peace. The Fruits of the Spirit. They all describe love; charity, mercy.

It's the faith and practice of Friends.

It's not so different, if different it is at all, from the faith and practice of most all spiritual traditions. It's just so different from how our cultures have conditioned us to actually live.


Friday, March 07, 2008

Make sure half the voters in my state get their voices heard...

The Republican Govrnor of Florida wants the illegal primary results in his state to count and says he is fighting to make sure that the voters of his state have their votes counted, even if those voters are from the other party.

I wonder if he thinks that the voters of the other party in his state had their votes counted in 2000?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Oh, George II--oh, the rest of us

No matter how cynical I get it's just so darned hard to keep up.

The hope that dwells side by side with that cynicism, and is larger than it is (most of the time) pushes me back where I belong but sometimes I just want to dwell on it.

Now we have the President saying that if the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is not renewed now there will be a "gap" in our security because he won't accept any more extensions and he will veto any bill that gives the telecommunications companies immunity from civil suits.

Leave aside who it will that is responsible from any consequences from a lapse in the law if he uses his veto pen, at least for a moment.

No, let's not. One thinks of the hero of Blazing Saddles holding a gun to his own throat and threatening the crowd "One more step and the ______ gets it." When the crowd steps back, one of them saying "Wait a minute, Boys, I think he means it," our hero retires and asks how they can be so dumb. It's a question that reverberates through the decades.

But there will be no gap if FISA in its current form expires. FISA in its current form foresaw a future stalemate and, by its terms, its provisions remain in place until this summer even if it is not renewed.

So, who's so dumb here? Is it George in that he doesn't know this? Hmmmm. No. It's us because we don't know it. We're dumb because our news coverage hasn't been telling us this since Congress and the President started lining up for this game of chicken.

It's about the hero and the villain (you choose which is which) fighting on the brink of the canyon, where the river wends its way a thousand feet below. Except they really aren't on the brink of a canyon and the "below" into which one or the other will fall is three feet or so and there's plenty of padding to break the loser's fall. It just looks dramatic and dangerous because of the camera angle from which we are viewing it.