Several weeks ago, Jane threw in her lot with Grover Norquist to defeat the healthcare bill.
But apparently, she didn't mean it. Because now, her website FireDogLake wants Martha Coakley in the Senate so that Coakley's 60th vote will allow the bill to pass—a bill that Jane detested.
Maybe that bill wasn't so bad after all, Jane? Perhaps you were manipulating your readers and the rest of the blogosphere with your "Look At Me" histrionics? Because you can't be for the bill now when you teamed up with Grover Norquist just a few weeks ago to defeat it. The election of Scott Brown will accomplish the EXACT same thing that your unholy union with Grover was meant to accomplish.
Duhbya is retiring young, at age 62. Happily, he has aged dramatically over the past eight years, but not as much as the rest of us.
In five years, 2014, where will he be? The poll below only allows you to pick one, so I've tried to present a range of choices. Choose the likeliest, not the most desirable!
Large Democratic majorities in the next Congress might be able to enact meaningful, uncontroversial reform of our national voting system. Here's what I offer as a basic fix. Let's standardize ballots at the Federal level but avoid the issues of re-districting and campaign finance. (These are important, but fraught with controversy. Let's fix the easy stuff first.) And let's set up a Federal voter registry.
Congress has the Constitutional authority to specify the methods of election to Federal office (Article X). It should use this to establish standards for voting: how ballots are designed, what processes are required for the physical logistics of voting, what safeguards are necessary, how disputes are resolved. It can even establish a national voter registry, with identification standards.
Congress can provide funds to municipalities to reward them for applying these standards to non-Federal races. This incentive will encourage state and local offices to apply the same, defined standards across the entire process, but they are not required to (indeed, the Constitution does not permit the Federal government to mandate how local elections are conducted).
More after the fold.
Why don't the leading Democratic candidates pledge to prosecute the crimes of the Bush administration?
Review the websites of Clinton, Obama, and Edwards. None of them promises to bring the Bush crime syndicate to justice. Perjury, obstruction of justice, conflicts of interest, corruption, unconstitutional behavior, invasions of privacy: for seven years we've watched the criminal abuse of our laws and us. Yet not a single candidate has made an issue of bringing these miscreants to justice, except Dennis Kucinich (1%) and Chris Dodd (out).
More below the fold...
I'm a single-issue voter: I won't vote for any presidential candidate who won't condemn torture, completely and without condition. I've heard Democratic politicians deplore it, but not one has focused on the total elimination of torture as an American tactic. None have declared themselves to be "the anti-torture candidate."
I'm still waiting for anyone to state something along the lines of:
"If elected, I will not tolerate torture under any circumstances. I will direct every agency and department of this government to halt all actions which could be construed as torture and all interrogations which use coercive techniques. From the moment I am sworn in, the United States will abide by every international agreement we have signed regarding the treatment of those in our custody, no matter where they may be. Torture is, vile, despicable and un-American. We won't do it, at all, ever, while I am president."
We haven't heard this yet from any candidate, to my recollection. Why not? (More after the jump.)
If we want to stop Cheney, we should stop funding him. This is simple. The next procurement bill can have a short paragraph stating that "The Office of the Vice-President shall receive no funds beyond those required by law to pay the Vice-President's salary."
If we want to make it rock-solid, let's add: "No funds shall be diverted from other purposes to fund any functions of the Vice-President's office, whatsoever."
This will close Cheney's "office," and some of his power. Don't even give him a secretary. Force him to get his own coffee, make his own copies, and represent himself to the press. The Constitution does not stipulate anything beyond that his salary can't be lowered during his term of office.
This can be done swiftly, and the Congressional Republicans will be hard-pressed to defend the staffing of an office that has lied to them and to the American public.
Attach this to each and every spending bill. Let them filibuster or veto it: Cheney becomes the isssue either way. There is NO downside for Democrats.
Bush's escalation will come with "benchmarks," a favorite buzzword of lazy MBAs. Iraq is the new "No Child Left Behind": we'll measure their progress and reward or punish accordingly.
And how will we punish them: by withdrawing, or by refusing to leave? The same question applies to the reward: will we leave if they behave, or will we stay if they don't?
This crystallizes the illogic of "we'll stand down as they stand up," a mantra adopted by a number of clueless Democrats who saw it as a safe haven while not thinking out the implications. It has let them evade the core question: Who are WE to set benchmarks and issue ultimatums?
All this talk of holding Iraqis and their government to any sort of standard ignores the essential fact of this war: we invaded them without... (more after the jump)
I'm a firm believer in small statements if big ones are unavailable. For me, Bush's upcoming State of the Union Address is an opportunity. If he can't be seized and dragged to a waiting flight to the Hague, then how about some fart noises? Some untraceable hissing?
I can't bring myself to watch another Kremlinesque farce, with craven Congresspeople leaping to their feet, multiple standing ovations before the dope has even opened his mouth, and the pack thrusting their hands (and mugs) forward to be patted and kissed.
I know that "respect for the office" trumps political pettiness, but this is a man who has shown amazing contempt for the other two branches of government. At what point do they get to return that institutional disrespect?
What should we petition our representatives and senators to do, especially if they are of the Democratic persuasion? I've got a few suggestions after the jump...
Over 60% of Americans oppose the Iraq war and occupation, but our voice isn't yet an angry roar. Perhaps that's because we haven't had to pay the cost, yet, unless we've had a family member or friend die. BushCo has hidden the bodies and put the cost off-budget. The incoming Democrats are trying to put it back on- budget, but they run the risk being accused of ballooning the deficit if the public isn't crystal-clear on what is being paid for.
It's time for a War Tax. Until now, all we've been asked to do is go shopping. Now, we should do the math on this debacle and let everyone know the out-of-pocket cost to each of us in dollars.
I propose both a fuel tax and an windfall-profits tax on petroleum products. (We've done each before.) For the latter, we can allow a 10% return on the actual cost of distilling oil into gasoline, heating oil, jet fuel, and other petroleum products. The government, representing us, should take the rest.
More after the break...
There are motives on all sides. Pierre Gemayel was assassinated last Tuesday, Nov. 21. His murder occurred as the U.N. authorized an inquiry into the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the popular former Prime Minister of Lebanon who was blown up in February, 2005. If you follow Lebanese politics a bit, please vote your hunch. If you don't know what religion Gemayel was, please don't vote.
We've won the Senate, but with a margin that puts us at the mercy of a bitter, vengeful, pissed-off Joe Lieberman. Given his history as a drama queen, he'll make sure that we know: It's All About Him.
How should we approach this unstable, self-pitying, narcissistic dweeb? The answer is coded into our DNA, whether we're nerds or football heroes:
NOOGIES!! And wedgies, swirlies, and swooshies!! All Democratic Senators must promise to tackle the Lieberdweeb in the Capitol corridors, surround him and noogie off what hair he has left. Then, grab inside his pants for the elastic of his briefs (he's not a boxer guy) and hang him from the nearest door closer. If he's got a briefcase, steal it and hide it behind the radiator! Endless fun will ensue!! If it doesn't work, drag him to the boys' room!!!
Respect? Never! He craves abuse, and we should give him all we can.
Republican Lt. Gov. Kerry Murphy Healey has been demanding a 1-on-1 debate with Deval Patrick, who is now leading her by more than 20 points in their race for Governor of Massachusetts. She wants to exclude Christy Mihos, a hometown Libertarian, and Grace Ross, the Rainbow-Green Party candidates. (Both poll about 8% between them, but they've been fine agitants in the three debates to-date, needling both candidates on their lapses and getting in some good zingers.)
It turns out that a Roxbury civic group is happy to host a 1-on-1 debate--in fact, they've extended 3 invitations so far, and Patrick has accepted. The problem? Healey is trying to live down her notorious black-rapist-lurking-in-a-parking-garage ad. There wouldn't be awkward questions that she's trying to avoid, would there?