Saturday, January 24, 2004

Strongbad on video games, and you can play them at the end.

We Want Indictments, We Want Disbarments

Can you imagine if the Democrats had done this to the Republicans:
WASHINGTON -- Republican staff members of the US Senate Judiciary Commitee infiltrated opposition computer files for a year, monitoring secret strategy memos and periodically passing on copies to the media, Senate officials told The Globe.

From the spring of 2002 until at least April 2003, members of the GOP committee staff exploited a computer glitch that allowed them to access restricted Democratic communications without a password. Trolling through hundreds of memos, they were able to read talking points and accounts of private meetings discussing which judicial nominees Democrats would fight -- and with what tactics.

This would be the only topic on cable news for at least a couple weeks. The pundits and talking heads would be screaming for indictments and disbarments. They would use this to tar all Democrats as dishonest sleazebags for supporting the people who did it.

So allow me to be the first.

We want indictments.

We want disbarments.

And any Republican who doesn't agree is a dishonest sleazebag.

The Democrats on the Judiciary Committee shouldn't even allow the quorum needed to meet until there are people behind bars.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Fuck You, Chevy Chase

Matthew Yglesias discusses counterfactual scenarios and gives us this:
My personal favorite, however, is what if Nixon had won in 1960 and had to deal with the pressures of the Civil Rights movement. At the time, the allegiances of African-American voters were roughly split. The GOP in the aggregate was more supportive of civil rights than were the Democrats, but the leading civil rights advocates in the government were northern liberal Democrats. There's a fair chance that the circumstances would have forced Nixon to become a civil rights champion (as they forced Kennedy and LBJ), no Goldwater campaign, and no southern re-alignment. You might have seen northern liberals move into the GOP which then would have become something like a European liberal party dominated by Olympia Snowe types while the Democrats became a vehicle for white class politics.

I see this as having been a very real possibility. For much of the 20th century, the Republicans were, on the whole, more liberal on social issues than the Democrats. This is understandable, as most rural areas were Democratic and most affluent urbanites Republican.

This lead to an interesting discussion of other scenarios amongst his commenters (TR wins in 1912, tries to jump into WWI too early, destroys support for him and his economic policies; Nixon wins in 1960, leads us into a bloody war in Cuba, etc).

My favorite counterfactual has always been:
Chevy Chase doesn't make Gerald Ford look like a complete fool every Saturday night, Ford ekes out a victory against Carter and gets blamed for all the badness of the late 70's (and possibly legalizes pot, in accordance with the wishes of many, including a young Congressman named Dan Quayle).

I've always considered Reagan's victory in 1980 to be much more of a reaction against Carter's ineefectual administration and against things completely out of Presidential control rather than a sudden embrace by the electorate of voodoo economics. Of course, the Reaganistas don't see it this way. They seem to feel part of some massive historical tide (a tide, of course, that has trouble actually winning elections without an incompetent opponent).

So, no Chevy Chase on SNL, No Ronald Reagan Memorial National Debt, no decades of neglect for alternative energy, no gutting of labor and environmental law enforcement, no shifting of the tax burden from the wealthy and corporations onto the backs of the middle class. No Chevy Chase, and my kid isn't looking at paying off the 1981 tax cuts for the rest of his life. Fuck you, Chevy Chase.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

How Free? How Independent?

Am wondering exactly how free and how independent we're really gonna let the Iraqi government be.

What if it wants a theocracy?

Closer ties to Iran?

What if it reneges on all Saddam's debts? (which I hope it does, as governments/banks that loan money to bastards like him shouldn't get their money back)

What if it supports Palestinian suicide bombers the way Saddam did?

What if it nationalizes the oil companies?

What if it wants to elect ex-Baathists, as some Eastern European countries have elected ex-Commies?

What if a relative of Saddam came to power

I'm asking because we've deposed leaders for things like nationalizing oil companies, and I really don't see the Bushies allowing the Iraqis the freedom to do stuff that pisses it off. Hell, we once deposed the elected government of Guatemala cause it pissed off United Fruit.

The things in bold are my guess as to what would be deal-breakers in this case. I don't know exactly what we'd do, and neither do the neo-cons (who never anticipated an Iraqi government that wouldn't do our bidding). I just know we wouldn't let things stand if the new Iraqi government reneged on all its debts and started nationalizing oil companies.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

The Era of Big Government Is Back

Bush didn't say it, but should have.

If you like massive government programs that do nothing but buy off voters and contributors, this is your guy.

If you like the prospect of trillion dollar deficits, this is your guy.

And if you don't mind shuffling off today's spending on our kids and grandkids, this is your guy.

Will the last Republican to abandon fiscal conservatism please turn off the lights?

Monday, January 19, 2004

Holy Crap!

Howard Dean was on CNN a little while ago, looking like someone smacked him in the head with a crowbar.

I don't know what's a bigger shock:

1) Gephardt getting bitch-slapped by the voters

2) Edwards finishing a strong second

3) Dean finishing a weak third, getting lapped by Kerry and almost by Edwards

He has the money and organization to take this all the way, but Dean must win New Hampshire or he's toast.

Gratz to the Kerry and Edwards campaigns, you worked for this one.

FWIW: Kerry/Edwards wouldn't be a bad ticket. Not as strong as Clark/Edwards, but still strong.

FWIW, part II: Gephardt would make a fine Secretary of Labor, keep it in mind.

Liberal Oasis reminds us that it's less about how you do in Iowa than in how you spin it.

Who remembers that Clinton actually lost Iowa by 8% in '92, then went out and declared himself the Comeback Kid?

The Most Important Election Is Always the 2nd

The Shia outnumber Sunnis and Kurds in Iraq, and they would dominate any popularly elected government.

Unfortunately, there is nothing is the rehotric of their leaders, nor in the history of the Iraqi state that leads me to believe they'd have any interest in respecting democratic traditions.

Among these are allowing your opponents to be critical of you, allowing them to run political campaigns unimpeded, allowing votes to be counted honestly (a step we've had trouble with in recent years),and actually stepping aside if you lose.

We've seen plenty of mostly honest first-time elections when dictators have fallen or regimes have collapsed. What we don't always see is the winner of those elections ever leave the scene willingly.

I'm afraid that's what we'll see in Iraq. Some mullah or representative of one will take power, and that'll be all she wrote. We'll have either a kleptocracy like in Zaire, a thugocracy like Zimbabwe, or a corrupt Islamic Republic like in Iran.

But no matter what fucked up regime ends up in power, we'll get the blame.

People will forget how bad Hussein was, and they'l focus on the least flaw (or the giant, raging flaws) in the successor regime. And we'll get the blame for every damned thing it does. Count on it.


Never been to a Caucus, don't know much about how the votes get counted. But I got cable specifically so I could watch political stuff, so I guess I'll just keep watching these idiots drone on until we get some news.

Tomorrow, things should be a bit clearer. The latest polls seem to show Kerry and Edwards surging and Dean sliipping a bit, but who the hell really knows.

Strange Bedfellows

Michael Moore and George McGovern are both campaigning for Wes Clark, perhaps the most conservative Democratic candidate other than Lieberman.

Dennis Kucinich, the most liberal candidate, has apparently asked his voters to switch to John Edwards if they don't get the 15% needed to get to garner some delegates. He's about as conservative as Clark.

BTW: Neither of these candidates are anywhere outside the mainstream of the Democratic Party, nor are they in the same ballpark as people like Zell Miller and John Breaux. They're just not the obvious picks for liberals like Moore and Kucinich.

TV "News"

When did MSNBC become wingnut central?

I know I haven't had cable in a very long time, but they seem as bad as Faux "News" now.