Friday, September 16, 2005

Big government Conservatism

Faced with a humanitarian crisis mostly of his own making, last night President Bush offered the same solution he has given to every other problem: throw lots of money at it. The amazing thing is, Republicans used to be the party of fiscal conservatism, and Democrats the party of tax and spend.

Then Clinton ran on (thanks to Perot) fiscal conservatism, and balancing the budget. That was so early 1990s. Nowadays, Bush can't spend fast enough. Hundreds of Billions every month are spent on Iraq, and the security situation has hardly improved. I haven't heard much about the water supply or electricity or schools or oil, but if you can't go outside without worrying if you are going to be blown up, what's the use in all those things?

Bush has never vetoed a single bill let alone a spending bill. Spending has increased dramatically since the halyclon days of the Republican Revolution of 1994. Sure 9/11 greatly effected spending, but tax cuts and the Iraq war were both voluntary and a big chunk of that. Don't forget the massive farm and transportation bills, so stuffed with pork that it puts the gigante burrito I ate the other night to shame (but at least I got a free desert for finishing it, where is US's free desert). Same goes for the energy bill and the prescription drug bill, more corporate welfare for hundreds of billions.

And the Federal government under the GOP feels just fine in spending this money to tell people not to smoke medicinal mary jane, even if your state says it is ok, or to clothe Justice, or to keep emergency contraception behind the counter (despite its own medical panel saying otherwise), or trying to keep alive a brain dead woman, or to prevent research on human blastocysts to prevent diseases. In short, the GOP government is happy to step into your home, your bedroom and tell you what you can and cannot do.

Oh and don't forget the tax cuts for the rich during an elective and non-elective war, gotta have those.

What happened to the Libertarian Republicans of old? Who didn't try to bribe various voting blocs into supporting them? Who wanted to make government as small and unobtrusive as possible? What happened to those Republicans that wanted to balance the budget and get rid of departments, instead of creating new ones?

They only surfaced when Katrina's price tag game in, and Rove decided the best way out of the political mess was to exponentially increase it. "They will for get our screwups when our political allies have contracts to clean the mess up," thought Karl. Cronyism abound, but that is not what spooked the GOP congressmen, it was the price tag. And not the amount, but that the largess wouldn't extend to their districts and states. They are fine with boondoggles that take money from blue states and redistribute it to red states, but heaven forbid that everyone pay for one ravaged area.

It seems they misunderstand the purpose of government. It is not a tool to give money and jobs to your cronies, or to reelect you, but rather, it is a system by which society demonstrates its values through actions. Americans have said that we value the hard work of our elders, and would be happy to make sure they have adequate health care and income in their later years. Americans have said that poor children shouldn't go hungry at school. Americans have said that children shouldn't go uninsured just because their parents can't afford it. Americans have said that discrimination, whether by race, religion, or physical impairment should go punished no matter if the offender is a person, corporation, or state. Americans have reached out with our blood dollars, clothes, food, and homes to those effected by Katrina. We all want to help. We don't want to segregate those who have survived, we don't want to slash their wages while they try to repair their homes. And we certainly don't want people to make profits off of all this suffering, especially when their only claim to this profit is that they were roommates of some guy who is a big donor to the President.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Photo of the day

courtesy of Wonkette

This is a note from President Bush, to Secretary Rice during a UN meeting. I hope he had to get one of those keys they give you at gas stations with a brick attached.

My question for Roberts if I was on the Committee

Senator Oldenburg: Judge Roberts, why am I here? Why are you here?

Roberts: Senator, I don't understand your question.

Oldenburg: Well, franking Judge Roberts, I don't understand your answers, or should I say non-answers. Why are we wasting our time here if you feel free to take the 5th and only answer questions that are politically safe?

Roberts: If you feel that this is a waste of time Senator, we should just have the vote now.

[chuckles in the room]

Oldenburg: You wrote the book on giving evasive answers and non-answers, yet your scant record contains lots of troubling issues. You dismiss them by pretending they aren't your opinions but then feel free to pretend your politically beneficial work does reflect your views, which is it? Why don't you feel compelled to explain if and how your views have changed in the last 20 years?

Roberts: Senator, I don't feel it is appropriate to comment on cases that might come before the court.

Oldenburg: And you are the arbitor of what might or might not come before the court? it seems like every "live" issue you fail to discuss with us happens to be one which are politically sensitive to say the least.

Roberts: My job here is to...

Oldenburg: and my job here is to advise the president on whether his nominee is proper for a lifetime appointment to the chief justice of the Supreme Court. And you are being supremely unhelpful to put it kindly. Our job as Senators is not to rubber stamp this president's nominee, but to thoughfully consider you and give the president our advice on what to do with you. That's what President Washington did. That's what President Clinton did. Why is it so difficult for you answer our questions?

Roberts: I feel compelled to prevent what I say here from prejudicing the outcome of future cases.

Oldenburg: Assuming we confirm you. Look, I am tired of the this Kabuki theater. We all know what is going on here, you have the votes to be confirmed, but maybe not to get out of committee if Senator Spector here grows a conscience. I will tell you right now Judge Roberts, I intend not to vote for you. I don't need to pretend to ask you tough questions and you don't need to pretend to answer them any more. I give up.

NYC dems are a joke

How can you out number the other party somehwere approaching 75-25 and still repeatedly lose the mayoral race and the governorship? New York City Democratic Party will show you how. It is a mix of race-baiting by folks like Al Sharpton, late and divisive primaries, terrible candidates, and moderate to liberal NY Republicans.

The Congressmen from the city and environs are more concerned with lining their campaign coffers and their district than helping get a majority in the House. The local office holders are happy to be corrupt or to make a GOPer look good as long as it makes their primary rivals look bad.

Yesterday, the NYC dems had their primary for November's mayoral election (that's right, the second week of September) and the guy who was the losing nominee for past two or three times barely got 40% if at all. The local congressman who was running has been pressured to concede, even if he can't by law. So their might be a fake run off. Meanwhile billioniare Mike Bloomberg is willing to spend or do whatever it takes to win (after all, he used to be Democrat, but didn't want to go through the primary and kiss the rings of folks like Al Sharpton) re-election.

It looks like Democrats will finally recapture the Governor's office, seemingly the first time since Rockafeller. Of course, it takes a TIME magazine Man of the Year. If only the Utah Republican Party was so inept, Democrats would have the governor and maybe two congressional seats.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Questioning Roberts

I had the idea that the law school might be interested in watching the confrimation hearings of Judge Roberts, so I asked to reserve a room and broadcast CSPAN off the internet. Yesterday, I had 10-15 people. Now today, when there are actual questions by voting members of the committe, I only have 7. I think it is because of all the techical difficulties I had yesterday.

But still how can only 7 students care about the next potential chief justice of the sumpreme court, who will in all likelihood sit as chief for the next 30-40 years.

As sad as that is, even sadder is the softball questions of every republican save the chairman of the committee. I wish partisanship would not trump senators pursuit of their rights as members of the senate. Demanding that the burden be on the 8 democrats and not on Roberts, demanding that his resume and the appointment alone is enough to confirm him.

Roberts seems to be giving a Constitutional Law lecture for several hours now. He sounds like a conversative con law professor. He is wailing against Kennedy's use of foreign law in such cases like Rooper. He is obviously extremely smart, but I don't know if he is in the mainstream. But I am tired of the "questions" that really are compliments.