Saturday, October 02, 2004
The Elvis Factor
COLUMBUS, Ohio (Reuters) - President Bush said on Saturday Democrat John Kerry's debate remark that U.S. preemptive military action should be subject to a "global test" would give other nations a veto over American national security decisions.
"When our country's in danger the president's job is not to take an international poll. The president's job is to defend America," Bush said.
Bush called it the "Kerry doctrine" and summed it up this way: "He said that America has to pass a global test before we can use troops to defend ourselves." The friendly crowd responded with boos for Kerry.
Let me explain what the "Kerry Doctrine" is for all of our ditto monkeys out there:
Let's suppose that you hit the lottery, and that somehow makes you the most powerful man in the world. Let's furthermore suppose that you have a lot of friends, or at least you think you do. (Trust me, you're not going to be lacking friends with all that power.)
Your friends are going to divide into two groups.
The first group of friends are just going to give you a blank check for whatever you want to do. They're going to whisper sweet nothings in your ear. When you tell them that you want to buy eight pink cadillacs, they're going to tell you it's a wonderful idea. When you tell them that you want to eat a deep-fried loaf of bread stuffed with peanut butter, bananas, and bacon, they're going to tell you that your choice of cuisine is nothing short of brilliant. When you tell them that you think the guy living down the street has a shotgun and that you're going to burn his house to the ground and raise his children as your own, your friend in the first group are going to say,"That's just great! Mind if I come along?"
The second group of friends aren't going to fertilize your weeds with their bullshit. They're going to tell you that you don't have a need for eight pink cadillacs. They're going to tell you that your need for deep-fried cuisine is going to plug up your heart like a cork in a bathtub drain. And they sure as hell aren't going along with your cockamamie scheme of burning that guy's house down, and you can bet money that the second you turn your backs on those kids, you're going to end up with an axe in your back.
The Kerry Doctrine is this: always go with the second group of friends. They like you, you can disagree with them and they're looking out for your best interests. The Bush Doctrine is this: go with the first group of friends, who are now telling you that that second group of people were never your friends at all because they wouldn't give you a blank check. After all, hasn't that been Bush's foreign policy to a "T"?
posted by Green Voicemail 10/02/2004 01:59:00 PM
Blood Pressure Rising in Tennessee Legislature
From the Nashville City Paper:
Leading statehouse Democrats Thursday accused Republicans of taking "dirty money" from a wealthy East Tennessee family and said the GOP should return some $460,000 in campaign contributions.
John Gregory, formerly an executive with King Pharmaceuticals of Bristol, along with his family have donated more than $800,000 to Republican political action committees and candidates within the last year.
King, which Gregory retired from roughly two years ago, is currently under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding drug-pricing questions under Medicaid.
State Sen. Joe Haynes (D-Goodlettsville) and state Rep. Randy Rinks (D-Savannah), Democratic caucus leaders of each house, say the money is being spent to cast influence on the General Assembly and to further the use and inflationary costs of the King Pharmaceutical drug Altace.
"It's dirty money and the motive behind it is really obvious. The motive is to buy power in the legislature so you can keep drug costs high so you can make more money if you're operating King Pharmaceuticals," Haynes said.
The cost of Altace, a blood-pressure medication, has gone from 98 cents per pill in 1997 to $1.89 per pill at present, according to the TennCare Bureau.
They don't tell you WHY the cost of Altace has gone up. In 2005, Altace will lose its patent protection and cheap generic Altace will legally flood the market. Basically, King Pharmaceuticals is trying to buy protection for itself in the Tennessee marketplace through the legislature.
From Knoxnews.com (sorry, prescription required:)
With regard to Altace, Citizen Action contends the price has gone from $96.54 per 100 units in 1998, when King obtained the patent, to $189.60 this year. TennCare confirms this.
However, Citizen Action also claims it is the seventh most frequently prescribed drug covered by TennCare, and TennCare's Elam said that does not appear to be the case. She said the category into which Altace falls is the eighth most frequently used, but could not say what portion of that category Altace comprises.
Since March, King has been the subject of a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation concerning pricing practices for government programs such as Medicaid.
When the price of a drug doubles in 5 years, and members of the state legislature who have influence in Tennessee healthcare and what drugs are covered under the formulary get big contributions from that drug company, I suggest an investigation is in order. Looks like for once, someone is on the job.
posted by Green Voicemail 10/02/2004 01:38:00 PM
Friday, October 01, 2004
1) I think we all know that Wanda of "Words on a Page" fame has some personal matters that she needs to attend to. I'm going to take her link off the roll, even though I hate to. I hope that whatever is going on with her, she can return to active blogging someday. The SECOND she comes back, she's going back on the blogroll.
2) Island Dave! Calling Island Dave! Island Dave's having some computer problems, so his Current Events Monitor isn't so current right now. When he comes back, he'll get blogrolled.
3) I've added a new blog called "My Side of the Screen". It's a brand new blog, only one day's worth of entries. It was created by the mother of the long-time friend of my wife. Both of us -- our new blogger and I -- have been wrestling with laptop issues and new blogger issues, i.e., "how in the hell do you make this stuff work"? Go over there now. She's a progressive of long time standing. Make her feel welcome! We need all the left bloggers we can get!!
posted by Green Voicemail 10/01/2004 08:11:00 AM
Thursday, September 30, 2004
MASSIVE Bombing Planned After November 2004 (Merry Christmas, Iraq!)
From The Asia Times:
The new US strategy, then, is targeted at the cities where the guerrillas and their clerical leadership dominate, notably Fallujah, Samarra, Tal Afar and Sadr City, though there are several others that have not been in the news lately. The US method is to negotiate with the clerics, offering extensive reconstruction aid in exchange for calling off the insurgency and perhaps delivering the guerrilla fighters over to the United States. They call this negotiating with the moderates to split with the militants.
If they can get an agreement, then the US marches into town and arrests at least some of the guerrillas, using informants to determine whom to target. If the guerrillas resist arrest, the US annihilates them and the areas in which they take refuge. If they melt into the population, then the Iraqi police and National Guard take up stations within the city to enforce the rule of a re-established local government. US troops outside the city maintain the capacity to intervene against any effort to challenge the police or National Guard.
To force an agreement, the US threatens both economic and military attacks on the city as a whole. Part of the plan is to use brutal air power that can annihilate buildings or whole city blocks in an effort to convince residents and leaders that the cost of resistance is simply too high. The underlying assumption is that the "moderates" will eventually choose to negotiate rather than see their city destroyed. As one marine officer in Fallujah told Washington Post reporter Rajiv Chadrasekaran, the goal is "to split the city, to get the good people of the city on one side and the terrorists on the other".
I don't think that marine officer believes a word of what he is saying. You can't win a guerrila war by bombing a city into submission. We tried that in Vietnam. Didn't work. Furthermore, it's a major violation of the Geneva Convention's "collective punishment" statutes.
Of course, no one will care.
I'll play it out for you:
1. US begins negotiations with Najaf and Fallujah, which go nowhere, since there are fewer and fewer "moderates" with which to negotiate. (Undoubtedly, some of the moderates are dead and the surviving moderates are less moderate.)
2. US tries to arrest militants with help of Iraqi National Guard. National Guard repelled/melts away/joins the insurgents, US forces take heavy casualties.
3. US begins bombing of Najah, Fallujah, et. al. There will be a lot of bullshit about "precision bombing" and "selective targets". There might even be one of those purty pitchers of a bomb going down a smokestack. They fail to mention that building-busting ordinance has a fatality range of 400 METERS, which is almost a quarter of a mile! Hundreds of Iraqis killed, maybe thousands.
4. Resistance dies down, or more likely, melts away.
5. US forces "triumphantly" march into city.
6. Guerrilla sneak back in.
7. US finds itself in quagmire, forced to withdraw.
8. Lather, rinse, repeat.
I'm sure that if this doesn't work, Bush and Friends will start discussing the nuclear option. After all, Nixon thought of it in Vietnam! They'll convince themselves that that's the reason we didn't win Vietnam. After all, they've used the "the liberal media hates the troops" meme long enough, I'm sure we'll hear the "nuke the bastards" meme next.
posted by Green Voicemail 9/30/2004 01:42:00 PM
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Voters in DC Shut Out in Time for Spring
The biggest news in baseball now is that the Montreal Expos are about to move to Washington, DC. They will probably become the Washington Senators (Mark III) and remain in the National League.
As for the ownership group, this article from The Hill explains all:
If Congress or the White House were deciding whom the team's owners would be, you couldn't pick a much more influential lobbying team than the Washington Baseball Club's partners themselves.
Frederic Malek, one of the group's six partners, was a co-owner of the Texas Rangers with President Bush. His relationship with the Bush family and Republican politics stretches back to the Nixon administration, when he was deputy undersecretary of health, education and welfare. He later moved to the OMB, serving as a special assistant to the president and deputy director under both Presidents Nixon and Ford.
The baseball club counters Malek's GOP OMB credentials with Franklin Raines, another partner and the former director of the OMB under President Clinton. Raines, who is under fire as CEO of beleaguered mortgage giant Fannie Mae, previously served at the OMB and the White House during the Carter administration.
Vernon Jordan, one of Clinton's closest advisers and now serving as Kerry's lead negotiator for the presidential debates, also has ties to the team, serving as a limited partner.
All I can say is shame on Franklin Raines and shame on Vernon Jordan.
Undoubtedly, this is a done deal. With all the problems that Washington DC faces on a daily basis, the last thing they need is a baseball stadium financed by the unfortunate taxpayers in Washington.
Undoubtedly, Mayor Tony Williams wants the team, and promises that it will cost nothing. Mr. Williams has ambitions to be the governor of Maryland. How this qualified him for that post is beyond me.
From WTOP News:
Still, Mayor Williams says he's confident he has the votes with the current City Council.
Three incumbents, however, will be replaced next year by people disinclined toward spending on baseball. They include Marion Barry.
Mendelson agrees the vote will likely support baseball, and he predicts it will be 8-to-5.
More on this as it develops....
posted by Green Voicemail 9/29/2004 02:09:00 PM
Bob Dole Wuz Robbed!!
From the American Journalism Review:
Rural Tyler County in the western hills of West Virginia lost exactly 1,000 votes belonging to Bob Dole during the 1996 presidential election. In fact, a lot of votes in a lot of places were lost in the past eight years because of inaccurate voting machines, confusing ballot designs and faulty accounting methods.
Dole was reported to have lost Tyler County, receiving only 734 votes. He actually carried the county with 1,734 votes. The mistake went unnoticed for years, even though the obviously errant tally (detectable with mathematics no more complex than division and subtraction) was publicly recorded at the county courthouse, posted on the Internet by the West Virginia secretary of state's office and filed with the Federal Election Commission in Washington, D.C. Nobody noticed because no one compared the total number of ballots cast with the total number of votes awarded to the presidential candidates.
The rest of the article discussed the "undervote". In many cases, there's a discrepancy between in the year 2000 the undervote was 11 percent! (The number dropped to 2 percent with electronic voting machines.) In many cases, the undervote happens because either a voter is confused or doesn't want to choose any of the options on the ballot.
Rule of thumb: the undervote should not be greater than 2 percent (and should not be zero, either -- very low numbers are as suspicious as very high ones). Above 2 percent, someone should be asking questions. Undervotes can be determined with no more than the election results in the paper, a calculator, and some time.
I'll be keeping my eye on the election in Tennessee. What about you?
posted by Green Voicemail 9/29/2004 01:52:00 PM
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
The Name Game
From Knoxnews.com. I'm not going to link it since it's a subscription service. I hate those.
NASHVILLE - The naming of a community college campus this week after House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh has sparked complaints from some Republicans, who say it's political grandstanding before the Nov. 2 election.
Naifeh, who as speaker is the most powerful legislator on Capitol Hill, has been in office for 30 years.
This election season he faces the most serious challenge yet to his seat with the candidacy of Republican physician Jesse Cannon.
Cannon and others say naming the Dyersburg State Community College satellite campus the "Jimmy Naifeh Center in Tipton County" is designed to help the Democrat's campaign get attention.
"They're spending taxpayer money on this at a time when money would be better spent on operating the facility," said Cannon.
Naifeh, said he plans to withdraw from both the college's advisory board and alumni association in protest.
Naifeh says he's humbled by the honor and that politics has nothing to do with it.
"I never asked for anything to be named after me," the seven-term speaker said.
Some Interesting Web Sites: here, here, and here.
When they name a high school, an airport, and a naval attack vessel after Bill Clinton, then I'll start worrying about what got named after who.
posted by Green Voicemail 9/28/2004 06:37:00 PM
Here Comes Bush, All Dressed in Brown....
From the Houston Chronicle:
KNOXVILLE, TENN. - Judging by the bean vote, President Bush could be on his way to a second term. A Tennessee company that has been in the chili business for more than 100 years is selling satirically packaged 15-ounce cans of beans in honor of Republican Bush and Democratic Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts. Every online order draws a vote, and the Republicans were ahead 2,402-2,316 as of Friday. "We don't call it scientific by any means," said Philip Connelly, president and chief executive of Vietti Foods Inc., of Nashville. "But it could be what they call a bellwether, one of those barometers of public opinion."
Undoubtedly, the unmistakable scent of a Bush victory!
posted by Green Voicemail 9/28/2004 06:30:00 PM
Monday, September 27, 2004
So That's Where Those Commercials Went!
From WKRN News (not 'Kornfield Kounty'):
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Political observers say the lack of state and local television advertising buys show Tennessee isn't a battleground state in the presidential campaigns.
University of Virginia Center for Politics director Larry Sabato says Bush would only lose Tennessee if he were losing nationally by a wide margin.
Sabato says in such a case, Kerry wouldn't need to advertise in Tennessee either, because it would indicate the Bush campaign were collapsing.
And I wondered why I wasn't seeing any Kerry or Bush commercials in the state. Actually, I'm quite glad, to tell you the truth, given the kind of ads that Boy George is running.
posted by Green Voicemail 9/27/2004 02:26:00 PM
Sunday, September 26, 2004
From the Political State Report:
"Polls have shown that Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Alan Keyes is heading for a major blowout in Nov. -- but just when you think Keyes' support couldn't get any lower, it does. A Chicago Tribune poll published today shows that Keyes has about 17% support -- down 7 points from a similar poll last month."
17 FUCKING PERCENT?
Jesus. I remember when Nixon blew out McGovern, or when Johnson blew out Goldwater (actually, I don't remember, being 7 years old and -1 year old, respectively). Even the worst candidates can get 40 percent in a national election -- and believe you me, McGovern and Goldwater were about as bad as they come.
But 17 percent? Seventeen percent is a joke. If even hardcore Republicans won't vote for Keyes (Makes me wonder WHY they won't vote for Keyes? Is he just too hardcore even for the hardcore? Is it his carpetbagging ways -- you know how Republicans feel about that, y'know? Or is it some other reason?), why is he still on the campaign trail?
If I were the head of the Republican Party in Illinois, I'd just simply make a speech about how Republican values are important in Illinois, talk about stellar Illinois Republicans -- past and future -- and cut off Keyes's funding. No sense in throwing good money after bad.
posted by Green Voicemail 9/26/2004 01:00:00 PM
From "The Daily Howler":
"People just never warmed to [Gore], Marshall writes. And they liked George W. Bush. Any chance that the press played a role in that process? Take the first Bush-Gore debate, the event which decided the election. Six different networks took instant polls. Gore won every single poll -- and then your press corps got busy. They decided that Gore's very-troubling sighs were the evening's extremely important Top Story. For the next several days, they played loops of Gore sighing (with the volume cranked), and the polls, they were quickly a-changin'. Meanwhile, the corps focused on trivial errors by Gore -- and ignored a string of major Bush howlers. Bush misstated his own drug plan; misstated his own budget plan; and crazily said that Gore had outspent him. But forget about Candidate Bush's budget plan. The press flogged that school desk in Florida."
Bob Somerby, the Howler writer, names some of the Usual Suspects.
Jeff Greenfield at CNN. Peggy Noonan. Chris Matthews of Hardball. Frank Bruni and R. W. Apple of the New York Times. Bob Schieffer of CBS. Guys who regurgitated a standard line that somehow Gore lost those debates while neutral audiences and polls shortly after the debates had Gore winning the debates. To this day, "standard wisdom" is that Gore lost the debates, which goes to show you that what the press reports can sometimes be different from the actual definition of reality.
Someone stated on Atrios that one of the reasons Gore was buried by the press was that the press went "all in" (to use a poker term) on Clinton being impeached or being forced to resign. When that didn't happen, the press had egg on their faces. If they couldn't bury Clinton in his second term, they'd bury Gore in 2000 in exchange. Even then, the plan failed and if it weren't for a bought and paid for Supreme Court, we'd be reviewing the policy successess and failures of President Gore's first term and Boy George would be a guest voice on Futurama.
And guess what? The press also went "all in" on Iraq as well. And it looks like, guess what, the press has egg on its face again. Remember all those breathless reports of weapons of mass destruction? Remember how the press refused to ask any of the hard questions? Remember 911 and how on the job our press is about that?
Myself, this is how I predict the debates will go:
a) Kerry will win every single debate. He will win them factually, his points will be better and stronger than Bush's. In independent groups of undecideds watching the debates, Kerry will win. He will also win in polls of voters taken IMMEDIATELY AFTER the debates.
b) The press will figure out some way to spin Bush as the winner of the debates. They will take some action of Kerry's and spin it into some sort of massive disrespect. He coughed when Bush was answering a question. He wore a green suit when today was "Support the Iraq War By Not Wearing Green Day", institued two hours before the debate in Chippewa Falls, Iowa. He "insulted" the president. He "insulted" the intelligence of the viewers. No manner how stubby the nail, the press will find a way to hang a costume on it.
c) Bush's "lead" will evaporate soon after, although you will see a lot of bogus polls saying how big Bush's dic--uh, how big his LEAD over Kerry is:
(You can read this article by World Net Daily, and THIS article from World Net Daily, and this article from Newsmax. No one can claim I don't use conservative sources, eh?)
d) Bush gets big surprise in November 2004. If this turns out to be Bush/Gore II, press spins furiously to ensure Bush victory. If Bush wins, "conventional wisdom" is justified. If Kerry wins, what the press did to Clinton will just be the warmup.
After all, if we lose the war, somehow, we have to win it in the press.
posted by Green Voicemail 9/26/2004 11:50:00 AM