Sunday, December 29, 2002

Another step in the wrong direction

Sorry it's been awhile. I went down to California for Christmas, and saw something on the plane ride that caught my attention. Visa is now offering Visa Payroll, where an employer deposits a person's paycheck, and they have that much credit until they run out of money. No checking account required. Now this sounds neat until you realize that this completely eliminates savings. So, this is the latest way for our government to ensure that we are completely beholden to their Social Security Program, because there will be no other way to have money for retirement. There is one way to fix this. If Visa (or the issuing bank) would pay interest on the amount of money on the card just before the new paycheck came in, it might discourage people from spending every penny.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Ya think?!

Oh give me a break. Of course Bush is going to declare Iraq in material breach of the UN resolution. I could have told you that before the resolution passed. Bush doesn't care if Iraq is innocent or not, he just wants his oil.

Friday, December 13, 2002

Boy, isn't that a surprise?

The White House doesn't think that Iraq is being honest. Why do people develop weapons? For two reasons; Offense and Defense. If Iraq has weapons, that means they are preparing to either attack another country or to defend their own. Nations attack other countries for one reason; to expand their resources. There is NO other reason for sending troops across a border. Oh, sorry. There is one other reason. "The voice(s) of God told me that they were bad people."

The Bush administration wants to do one thing. It wants to make sure that whatever WMD Iraq have does not enter the US or are used against US interests and people outside the US. Oh, and there's oil in them thar hills, but that shouldn't really mean much, should it?

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Teaser is sick...

Teaser is really sick. I've never dealt with a sick cat before. He is getting thinner and has lost both sight and sense of smell. So, not only can he not see that his food bowl is full, he can't smell the food either. Cancer? Looking at all the possibilities, that's actually something we're hoping for. It would be an easier end.

Bush, if you want the world to end in Nuclear War, why don't you just say so instead of calling on Rice and Ridge to write your plans up as a 'response to aggression'. I just hope we survive long enough to get you out of office.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

A Railroad executive?

Railroads? Isn't the railroad industry one of the worst performing industries right now? Well, on the other hand, maybe this is a step in the right direction. There are two ways to efficiently move people and merchandise; water and rail. These two industries are also foundation industries for the US Economy. That's why the original Dow 30 included a lot of Railroad stocks. Maybe Snow can do something to boost the railroad industry and actually get something good going. A nation-wide high speed rail system like the one California is building would be a good thing.

In other news, Bethany, OK has a new gimmick to encourage business within it's city border. An 18 inch wide bright blue stripe painted on the streets marking the town's borders. Wild.

Monday, December 09, 2002

WMD Report is out

Ok, so now the US has a complete copy of the report. Good. Let's hope the report disproves all of the US claims. I don't want Iraq to have WMD, and I don't think they do. Let them prove it so we can go in there and bomb the real problems of poverty, poor heath care and poor education. That will do more for the people of Iraq than anything else.

Sunday, December 08, 2002

Media Violence vs Children

Saw something about Media Violence vs. Children today. It seems like people are so convinced that media violence is the core problem that they're ignoring anything else. Michael Moore's brilliant documentary "Bowling for Columbine" asked these questions, and found that Canadian kids watch just as much violence in Movies and on TV as US kids, and are something like 1/100th as likely to take those violent tendencies into the real world. So something is teaching US kids by example that using violence to solve problems is ok. Gee, Mr. Bush, what do you think that could possibly be?

Saturday, December 07, 2002

Splitting our forces

Frank Rich asks: "If it was a huge risk to split our focus between Saddam and Al Qaeda then, why isn't it now? "

Good question. I also find it interesting that the choice made by the Bush administration on this subject is that pursuing Al Qaeda is mostly a legal matter, consisting of keeping pressure on foreign banks to reveal the total activity of money even remotely related to any Al Qaeda operative. But the war against Iraq (and it is a war) seems totally focused on Bush being willing to flounce the law and go it alone rather than establish a standard law enforcement plan through the United Nations and then sticking to it. Bush has decided not to release any of the secret information that he is using to 'prove' that Iraq has WMD until after the UN Weapons Inspectors have gone through and pulled out the items that would give other countries ideas on how to start their own programs. Don't these two things have enough in common that it should raise red flags? Seems to me that Bush will throw out onto the poker table exactly that proof that the Inspectors have taken out of Iraq's report, canceling out their judgment call on what to release, and then Bush will probably be chomping at the bit to hit Iraq with our military might based on what his security people have made up from nothing in the first place.

If Iraq wanted to really foil the US, they would post their 13,000 page report on the Internet so everyone on the planet can see it. No more questions, no more confusion, and if the US wants to throw something on the table, they would have to post what they have as well.

Friday, December 06, 2002

New Taxes, and other news

A new tax cut package? I'd love to know exactly how that's going to boost the economy. As proven by the greatest economic president of all time, the best way to stimulate the economy is spending. The only way to pay for spending is taxes. That's why the income taxes were invented in the 1930's to begin with! The government is by definition BROKE! No money, unless it is provided by the citizens. Thus, the income tax. Now Bush wants to nearly do away with the Income Tax, and Increase Spending to boost the economy? !

Someone send this guy to Logic 101.

Iraq hands over their WMD records tomorrow. 13,000 pages worth. And they keep claiming that the programs no longer exist. I think (and hope) that they are telling the truth. Getting the economic sanctions lifted is so far and away more important than developing weapons that would do their country no good.

But all I can do is wait, watch and hope. The alternative is unthinkable.

Dear Israel,

Stop it. Every person you kill causes someone else to want to kill one of yours. Break the cycle on your end, and they will stop it on theirs.

Dear Winona Rider (and I can't believe I'm seeing this in the news again),

Get over yourself. You have no excuse. You could BUY one of the Saks stores outright, and you choose to steal from them? ! I hope you come up with a really good excuse, but it won't fly with me.

Monday, November 11, 2002

Behind the Smile - NYTimes

Behind the Smile

New York Times Editorial
November 11, 2002

One of the definitions of slick is "deftly executed; adroit." Synonyms include "sly, shrewd, slippery, wily." These words came to mind as I watched the Republican Party's remarkable off-year election triumph last week. Give credit where it's due. Bill Clinton at his most devious was never as sly or as cunning (or as politically effective) as the Republican Party has become.

I think of the G.O.P. as the costume party. It wears a sunny mask, which conceals a reality that is far more ideological, far more extreme, than most Americans realize.

Among the less meaningful questions being asked in Washington is whether the Republicans, having won control of the Senate and strengthened their hold on the House, will now go too far and outpace their mandate. My question is: Where have you been? In a nation that is divided almost 50-50 politically, the Republicans flew past their mandate a long time ago.

Driven by its right wing and aided immeasurably by George W. Bush's genial smile, the G.O.P. is putting in place profoundly conservative policies that will hamper progressive efforts for decades to come, no matter what happens in upcoming elections.

With the help of Democrats who should have known better, the Republicans have already enacted a huge and potentially hazardous round of tax cuts. In an environment in which budget deficits have returned and war appears to be imminent, common sense would seem to suggest that the government tread softly on tax cuts for the time being. But a key element of the G.O.P. agenda in the immediate aftermath of last week's stunning victories was a plan to make the current tax cuts permanent and enact a new package of cuts.

There is a method to the G.O.P.'s tax cut madness, beyond the obvious benefits to the very rich. Conservatives have long reasoned that the only way to destroy popular programs that actually help ordinary Americans (Social Security, Medicare and so on) is to starve the government of the money needed to pay for them.

The intensity of the conservative opposition to such programs can be startling. To Ronald Reagan, for example, Medicare was an affront to the very idea of America. The historian Robert Dallek noted that Mr. Reagan "saw Medicare as the advance wave of socialism, which would `invade every area of freedom in this country.' "

During a budget fight in the mid-90's, Newt Gingrich, apparently referring to the original fee-for-service version of Medicare, which had become cherished by the elderly, wisecracked: "We don't get rid of it in Round One because we don't think it's politically smart."

The way to cripple such programs without openly opposing them is to bleed the government of the money to pay for them. With the prospect of budget deficits stretching far into the future, and with the first wave of baby boomers already well into their 50's, the day of reckoning for Social Security and Medicare is not far off.

The right wing of the G.O.P. has also proved itself hostile to environmental protection, and to the myriad health and safety regulations that protect Americans against poisonous foods and other dangerous products and practices. One of its most important leaders in those fights, Representative Tom DeLay, will now ascend to the post of House majority leader.

How extreme is Mr. DeLay? When the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to the discoverers of the link between chlorofluorocarbons and ozone depletion, Mr. DeLay mocked the award as the "Nobel Appeasement Prize."

And then there are the federal courts, which are being packed by conservatives from coast to coast, with the big prize � appointments to the Supreme Court � still to come.

Over the next couple of years as many as three (or more) Supreme Court vacancies could open, which could determine the direction of the court for the next 30 years. President Bush has made it clear that he favors justices in the mode of Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia. With two more justices like that, progressive government would be caught in the devastating trap of a right-wing assault from all sides � the White House, the Congress and the courts � with the Treasury drained of all money for new initiatives.

Slick? Adroit? Any number of adjectives will do. How about dangerous?

Why am I posting this editorial on my website? Because it's not enough to throw up my hands and say "It's not my fault, I didn't vote for them." The Republican party is going to do so much damage to the United States over the next few years, it will take decades to recover.