Politics: May 2008 Archives

If Obama wins the nomination, we'll have enough people -- two: Geraldine Ferraro and Joe Lieberman -- to start a new organization called LDVPNAO: Losing Democratic Vice Presidential Nominees Against Obama.

I know John Edwards won't join, and Lloyd Bentsen died a couple of years ago. That leaves only Governor Arnold's father-in-law, Sargent Shriver, but he is 93 and has advanced Alzheimer's disease, so he is probably out, too.

Cross-posted on <pudge/*>.

Honestly, McClellan

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A video, apropos of nothing in particular, but it made me laugh to make it:

It seems to me that Scott McClellan's main point is that Bush and the White House were dishonest in how they communicated: spinning facts and using rhetoric to build a case instead of being totally honest.

I wrote in 2003:

... there are so many things to complain about in regard to Bush: his lack of communication, his poor communication, even amounting to misleading ... when he is communicating, he often contradicts himself, if not in word, then in tone or emphasis (was the war about terrorism, or liberty, or UN resolutions, or weapons? the correct answer is "all of the above and more," but you get a different message each time).

I was even saying this before the invasion. And I am supposed to be shocked that McClellan's agreeing with me five years later? Eh. Color me bored.

That's not to say I agree with all he said; I haven't followed it much and I doubt I will spend the time to read the book. I do think, however, that he should have held his tongue until Bush was out of office, though. I would have, were I a member of his administration. Loyalty means much more to me than book profits (if that was part of his motivation for coming out with it now), and at least as much as the other values he cited about honesty and so on.

The McClellan clan (of which I am a member) has a motto: "Think on." McClellan should have heeded this a bit more, both while he was in the administration, and after he left it. slashdot.org

"Christine, Christine, Christine" is a love song about Washington's Governor, Christine Gregoire. You can download the MP3 audio of the song or watch the video:

The song is not autobiographical. It is sung from the perspective of someone who -- unlike myself -- is perfectly pleased to have a governor who will not only care for his every need, but also make all of his everyday decisions for him. He doesn't have to think for himself, because Christine is his Everything.

The song is exactly four minutes long, one minute for each year she will have been in office when she leaves.

Feel free to link to this song or video as you wish. If you wish to use the music for anything else, just ask me.

Lyrics below, including footnotes for non-Washingtonians who may not understand the issues mentioned in the song. And if you want to help defeat Governor Gregoire, support Dino Rossi.

Alone I can't do anything
I don't know what I'll do
Christine, you are my everything
It's all up to you
Christine, Christine, Christine

Christine, I don't have much
But what I have is yours
You'll use it better than I would
I'm totally assured

You know me better than I do
You know just what I need
If it were left up to me I'd be
Driven by pure greed


I quit my job last week, Christine
I know I'll be OK
You'll keep me fed and clothed, my dear
Drive all my fears away

You buy me much more every year
You've got the cash to spend
Next year you'll run out
But you can worry 'bout it then[1]


I have no reason to doubt you
I have no questions to ask
What you tell me adds up nicely
Because you taught me with New Math[2]

Protect me from myself, Christine
Don't let me drive a car
Clog up the roads and force me
To take trains to get too far[3]

Don't let me gamble all I have
Unless it's where you choose[4]
Don't let me smoke[5]
Don't let me not give your campaign my dues[6]



[1] Governor Gregoire and the Democratic legislature have increased the state budget billions of dollars (33 percent) in only four years, asserting that all of this spending is for the citizens, and have left us -- the citizens -- with billions in deficits over the next couple of years that they have no plans to deal with, except to raise taxes (despite Gregoire's assurances earlier in her term that this is precisely what she wanted to avoid).

[2] "New Math" emphasizes understanding concepts instead of the ability to actually solve math problems, and many schoolchildren never even learn basics like long division.

[3] With Governor Gregoire in office, congestion has worsened in Washington, with no signs of significant improvement overall, while the Democrats have been steadily pushing mass transit that few people want and even fewer are willing to use.

[4] Governor Gregoire has opposed expanding gambling to non-tribal businesses, and has supported restrictions on Internet gambling, but has supported expansion of gambling in tribal businesses.

[5] Governor Gregoire and the Democrats have supported making smoking illegal in all public establishments.

[6] Governor Gregoire and the Democrats removed the law -- just before the Supreme Court of the United States could uphold that law -- that forbade the teacher's union, the Washington Education Association, from taking nonmember dues and using them for partisan political purposes (almost exclusively in support of Democratic candidates and causes).

In other words, Gregoire signed a law to the literal effect that all public schoolteachers in Washington are forced to contribute money to get her, and other Democrats, elected.

(Out of over $56K spent by the WEA through April 2008, over $48K of that was for helping get Democrats elected (either to candidates, parties, or another PAC), while an additional $1680 went to Republicans and $1600 to a nonpartisan state superintendent candidate.)

Technical Notes: I conceived, wrote, performed, recorded, and produced the song myself. All blame goes to me. See PudgeTunes for more information about my hardware and software setup, and for more music. slashdot.org

It's nothing new that politicians won't take responsibility for their own actions. But the drumbeat for months has been that in Florida, it is the fault of Republicans that the primary was moved up, and that the Democratic voters and candidates should not be penalized for it.

As expected, however, this is entirely and completely untrue.

This was a bill passed by the Florida Republican-controlled legislature, and signed into law by a Republican governor. But the bill was initially approved 37-2 in the Senate, and then 118-0-2 in the House. Every Democrat who voted for it in the House approved of the bill, and two Senators -- not sure which party -- voted against it.

So when it passed with overwhelming support by Democrats, how can they blame Republicans? Simple: they couldn't vote against the bill, they say.


Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) actually made this argument. Liberals Crooks and Liars reported this a couple of months ago, but actually bought her lie:

So the vote total was unanimous, but that was because there was no one in the Florida legislature was going to vote against changing our voting system so that you could have a paper trail and make sure that every vote could be counted, unlike our touch screen voting system right now, which doesn't allow for that.

That is, of course, complete nonsense. It, literally, makes not a bit of logical sense. If you vote for a bill, you are giving your assent to the bill. If you disagree with a portion of the bill so much that you won't want to have your name attached to its passage, then vote against it. If you vote against it because of something sigificant you disagree with, and the bill doesn't pass, great! Now you have the leverage to change the bill and get it passed as you want it. If you fail, great! You still get the bulk of the bill that you want, without having your name attached to what you don't want.

It should be, by definition, harder for a legislator to vote Yes than to vote No. A Yes vote means you assent to the whole bill. A No vote means only that you disagreed with one part of a bill. No one had to vote for that bill. For whatever reason, they DID vote for that bill, and they cannot blame someone else for it after the fact. That is lying.

This is why I supported John Kerry's argument when he infamously voted against the $87 billion for our troops. I disagreed with his reasons for voting against it, but when he said his vote against the bill did not represent a vote against funding, he was absolutely correct. He was in favor of the funding, but in favor of taxing the rich to get it.

Saying Kerry was against the funding was utterly untrue. Unfortunately for Kerry, he has trouble breathing and clearly stating his position at the same time, so he couldn't articulate this very well, and came out with the lovely illustrative phrase, "I voted for it, before I voted against it." You can't easily save a drowning man while he's flailing his arms and legs.

Kerry was right to vote against the troop funding, if he disagreed with some parts of it. McCain was right to vote against the tax cuts, if he disagreed with some parts of it. And the Florida Democrats should have voted against this elections bill if they disagreed with a part of it. Sure, there may be a political cost to it: unscrupulous people may attack you for voting against the part of the bill you supported as though you were against it. But if you can't handle that, if you can't stand up for a No vote based on principle, then you have no business being a legislator. slashdot.org

A fun video from Peter Cowman of MoveRed.org about Obama's Hanford flub has been posted on Hot Air.

But this is where the story gets interesting: Obama actually voted on cleanup for Hanford. Oops.

NB: the Hot Air story refers to a vote on H.R. 1815, but technically, that is not a vote for H.R. 1815 (which Obama cannot vote for, directly, as it is a House bill and he is apparently in the Senate), but a vote to proceed to conference committee to reconcile differences between H.R. 1815 and the Senate version, S.1042. But Obama voted for S.1042, too.

And make no mistake, Hanford was not buried deeply. Well, OK, S.1042 is a pretty huge bill. But S.1045, which originally contained the Hanford text, is pretty small -- about 10 pages -- and it was passed and inserted into S.1042 with unanimous consent (on the same day Obama was there voting for S.1042: November 15, 2005). So that's three votes on Hanford.

Here's Peter's video:


So regarding the death threat scam, I got enough information for law enforcement to do something about it. So I called the state attorney general's office, and they directed me to the FBI. I contacted them, and they told me that because the subject is in another country (even if it is one of our closest allies), they cannot do anything about it, except that I can file a complaint at the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

It sounds to me like they aren't going to do anything. I gave them the information anyway, and I won't post it here, in case it does prove to be useful. slashdot.orguse.perl.org

Last year I wrote a piece criticizing reporter Gary Chittim of KING-5 in Seattle, exposing his bias in uncritically, and ignorantly, accepting the claims of "environmentalists."

At the time what set me off was his blind acceptance, and repetition, of the false claim that PBDEs are "toxic," and his unverifiable assertion that certain workers had no ulterior motives in going public with claims about a military base dumping chemicals.

Today he was on Up Front with Robert Mak, and he even more clearly demonstrated his unprofessional bias. When discussing the presidential candidates and global warming, he told another whopper. And I am not even talking about his assertion that "[cap and trade] has been used successfully in European nations" to reduce carbon, although that was bad enough. As was his claim that cap and trade is a "free market within the market," which is nonsensical (it uses market forces, but they are anything but "free"). But he said something even more obviously ludicrous

[McCain's acknowledgment of climate change] alienates some on the very right wing fringe of the Republican Party. As you get more moderate in both parties, into the middle, everyone kinda says, "OK, I kinda see that we do have a problem here."

Except, of course, that skepticism of climate change, and alienation by McCain's statements on it, is mainstream in the Republican Party. It's typical liberal environmentalist dishonesty: attempt to convince people your opponents are wrong by marginalizing them, pretending that they are on the fringe. This is what many advocates of the IPCC do: pretend that this is the consensus of the best minds in the world, ignoring the best minds that were not invited to participate, or those that were participating and left the IPCC because of its politicization.

I don't know whether anthropogenic global warming is real. I suspect it is likely not, but I don't know. But I do know that no one else knows either, and that the left lacks just about sense of honesty when debating the issue. slashdot.org

"Change" == "Chewbacca"

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In an infamous episode of South Park, famed attorney Johnnie Cochrane used the Chewbacca defense to win a civil case about who wrote a pop song. The case had nothing to do with Star Wars or Chewbacca, but Cochrane makes the red herring argument that Chewbacca is a Wookie, but lives on a planet full of Ewoks, and therefore, "if Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit! The defense rests."

Former Congressman Harold Ford Jr. was on Meet the Press today, arguing with Republican consultant Mike Murphy about Obama's statement that he would meet with leaders of rogue nations without preconditions. Ford said, of course you need conditions; "[Obama]'s made clear, however, that those conditions, he assumed that that was implicit."

Murphy responded, "The mistake was that he didn't make those conditions explicit."

Ford concludes, "Implicit, explicit: change is what Americans want."

The defense rests. slashdot.org

From a CNN article:

WATERTOWN, South Dakota (CNN) -- Sen. Barack Obama linked Sen. John McCain Friday with what he called "the failed policies" of the Bush administration, accusing the presumed Republican presidential nominee and the White House of "bombastic exaggerations and fear-mongering" in place of "strategy and analysis and smart policy."

So what about Senator Obama's own "bombastic exaggerations and fear-mongering" in place of "strategy and analysis and smart policy" that link Senator McCain to "the failed policies" of the Bush administration"?

Just curious. slashdot.org


This is the correct English word to use to describe people who blow up stupid things out of proportion, ignoring truth to push an ideological agenda.

Take, for example, this Daily Kos article, wherein John McCain made a mistake. According to the poster, his mistake "really is a big one."

What mistake? See if you can spot it:

There is a very clear standard in the Constitution requiring not only just compensation in the use of eminent domain, but also that private property may NOT be taken for "public use."

Yes, McCain incorrectly said that eminent domain cannot be used to take private property for public use. On the contrary, as everyone should know, it can ONLY be taken for public use. McCain, quite obviously, meant to say, "private property may not be taken for private use." But he slipped up and said "public use."

Insert wailing and gnashing of teeth.

McCain knows eminent domain far better than the overwhelming majority of whiners at dK complaining about this. His understanding was made clear just a few sentences later, when McCain went into greater detail:

A local government seized the private property of an American citizen. It gave that property away to a private developer. And this power play actually got the constitutional "thumbs-up" from five members of the Supreme Court.

There is no doubt that McCain here is talking about private property for private use. It cannot be more clear that he simply slipped up when he said "public use," which is something everyone does many times a day ... especially politicians on the campaign trail.

Case in point: a prominent Barack Obama supporter, Mayor Doug Wilder of Richmond, Virginia, was on "Face the Nation" on May 4 (PDF transcript), and said this:

One final thing I wanted to say. Evan pointed out that Obama voted for this gimmick, this gas tax. Yes. When he was in the Indiana state legislature, and he is the first admit that he learned from his mistake because it was wrong. That's why he knows that this is a gimmick that can't work.

Astute readers will recognize the obvious fact that Wilder incorrectly stated that Obama was in the Indiana legislature, when, in fact, he was in the Illinois legislature. And we don't even have (as we did with McCain) an example in the same interview of Wilder getting it right. He did not correct himself, nor did anyone else correct him. But obviously, he simply misstated: he is talking about Indiana, with a well-known politician from Indiana, and he just misspoke.

But McCain? Oh, he made a HUGE mistake! He doesn't know the Constitution, or he forgot it because he is old! Even though he correctly stated it just a few seconds later when he went into greater detail!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: "reality-based community," my ass. slashdot.org

Lies about McCain

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I will be glad when the Democratic nomination fight is over, so we can focus more on the general election. Obama and Clinton are getting free rides on their far left platforms, while being free to frame the public perception about John McCain with lies.

Something I've been hearing for awhile now, but has really picked up steam in recent days, is that McCain would be a "third term of George Bush," and that McCain is no longer the "maverick" that he used to be and that he has been "hijacked" by the right wing. What they mean by that is all lies.

They mean that McCain would represent a continuation of Bush's "failed policy in Iraq," when, in fact, we only started to see successes in post-invasion Iraq when Bush's policies matched what McCain had been saying all along, about increased troop levels and holding gained territory and so on.

They mean that McCain "wants to stay in Iraq indefinintely," which as we all know is false. This is the basis for the DNC ad, which falsely implies that McCain thinks being at war for 100 is acceptable, when in fact, McCain said precisely the opposite.

They mean that McCain is in favor of tax cuts for the rich (that is, extending existing cuts), even though he voted, and spoke out, against those tax cuts previously. But they are entirely aware of the fact that McCain will not vote for raising taxes -- especially when the economy is bad -- even if he was against the cut in the first place. Indeed, if he voted to raise taxes now, he would be pandering.

They mean that McCain is "in favor of torture," because he voted to not force the CIA to follow the Army Field Manual. That's about as honest as saying that I am a vegetarian because I don't eat bear meat. The Army Field Manual is not the only means to be against torture. He has steadfastly been opposed to torture, but just thinks, and for good reason, that the Army Field Manual is not the best tool to use for the CIA. He has reiterated -- and the law backs him up -- that the CIA is not allowed to use torture.

They mean that McCain panders to "right-wing Christians," simply because he has talked to them without attacking them. Apparently it is OK for Obama to want to do that with Iran and North Korea, but not for McCain to want to do that with Americans. Frankly, in 2000, I thought McCain was being extremely immature when he attacked some on the "religious right," and am glad that he has grown. You can be cordial and even friendly to people you disagree with.

They mean that McCain has "flip-flopped" on immigration. This is not true, at all. In all of his public speeches, McCain has never said he was wrong about immigration (much to the chagrin of many conservatives). What he has said is that he recognizes that his plan is politically infeasible. There's too much opposition. He hasn't changed his mind about what is best, but he realizes he needs to change his actions in order to make progress. This is what an intelligent politician does.

Pretty much everything that the left is saying about McCain is lies. It's not unexepcted, of course, but it is disappointing. As with the AARP in the previous post ... is honesty too much to ask? Maybe it is. slashdot.org

The AARP is pretending to be non-partisan with its "Divided We Fail Platform. The basic message is: "let's put partisanship aside, and just agree with the Democrats." Which, incidentally, is largely Barack Obama's basic message, come to think of it.

"All Americans should have access to affordable health care, including prescription drugs, and these costs should not burden future generations."

While I believe this is essentially true, the Republican is very different from AARP's. The AARP's answer is "government should pay for much, if not all, of it for many, if not all, of Americans." This is the Democratic view, not the Republican view.

"Wellness and prevention efforts, including changes in personal behavior such as diet and exercise, should be top national priorities."

I don't believe that at all. I think our national priorities should have nothing whatsoever to do with any of that, except to the extent that the federal government should work to prevent epidemics of communicable diseases, and I do not believe the government should ever try to change anyone's personal, non-criminal, behavior.

"Our children and grandchildren should have an adequate quality of life when they retire. Social Security must be strengthened without burdening future generations."

Social Security is unconstitutional and should be phased out over time.

"Workers should be provided with financial incentives to save, should have access to effective retirement plans, and should be able to keep working and contributing to society regardless of age."

Government should have nothing to do with any of that.

"Americans of all ages should have access to tools to help manage their finances, and save for the future and better, easy to understand information to help them increase their financial literacy and manage their money wisely."

Government should have nothing to do with any of that.

I don't mind that the AARP pushes these things. Anyone can push any policies they want to. But I do mind that the AARP is dishonestly pretending that they are not marching in lockstep with the Democrats, and against the Republicans. You can push your agenda without being dishonest. slashdot.org

When the Supreme Court decision in favor of the "Top Two" primary came out, which allows anyone to designate themselves a Republican or Democrat in the primary, I humbly suggested a somewhat crazy idea:

About names. Why not create a new party, called "Republican Nominee"? That is the name of the new party. And if someone who is not the actual nominee of the party uses that name, well, they are falsely claiming to be the nominee. Now the confusion argument that Roberts, Alito, and Thomas said wasn't obvious, is perfectly obvious. So not only could I-872 be overturned on such grounds, but anyone not the nominee who uses that designation could be sued for misrepresentation.

Normally, you couldn't have a party called "Republican Nominee," because the Republican Party would sue over the confusion. But in this case, obviously, the party would choose to allow it, since it would be used for their benefit.

Apparently, the Washington State Republican Party is doing this, in the nomination system they approved last week:

Authority to Use the Name "GOP Nominee." Only candidates who shall have been nominated pursuant to these rules shall be authorized by the Republican Party to designate themselves as GOP Nominees or have Party approval to appear on the election ballot or in other election documents using the designation "GOP Nominee." slashdot.org

WA State Rep. Hans Dunshee (D-44) was on Up Front yesterday, defending pork projects. We have more than a $2 billion deficit for the next budget, and a Washington Policy Center -- the "Piglet Book" -- identified more than $160 million of pork that could be cut. It's a good start.

But Dunshee was hearing none of it. When Robert Mak asked, regarding the state regulation of animal masseuses, "isn't this the way government grows and grows, by getting involved in these things?," Dunshee shrugged and said, "people come to ask us to do things, you know?," as if this in any way actually responded to the question. That was his response to pretty much every waste: "if people want it, and they come and ask for it ... ." The idea that he could, let alone should, say "No" was completely absent in his mind. He reminded me of the government officials in Ididocracy:

Joe: "For the last time, I'm pretty sure what's killing the crops is this Brawndo stuff." Secretary of State: "But Brawndo's got what plants crave. It's got electrolytes."
Attorney General: "So wait a minute. What you're saying is that you want us to put water on the crops."
Joe: "Yes."
Attorney General: "Water. Like out the toilet?"
Joe: "Well, I mean, it doesn't have to be out of the toilet, but, yeah, that's the idea."
Secretary of State: "But Brawndo's got what plants crave."
Attorney General: "It's got electrolytes."
Joe: "Okay, look. The plants aren't growing, so I'm pretty sure that the Brawndo's not working. Now, I'm no botanist, but I do know that if you put water on plants, they grow."
Secretary of Energy: "Well, I've never seen no plants grow out of no toilet."
Joe: "Okay, look. You wanna solve this problem. So why don't we just try it, okay, and not worry about what plants crave?"
Attorney General: "Brawndo's got what plants crave."
Secretary of Energy: "Yeah, it's got electrolytes."
Joe: "What are electrolytes? Do you even know?"
Secretary of State: "It's what they use to make Brawndo."
Joe: "Yeah, but why do they use them to make Brawndo?"
Secretary of Defense: "'Cause Brawndo's got electrolytes."

The whole Up Front segment is worth watching. I especially love that Dunshee said he is "sort of insulted" that this $160 million is considered "priorities," because the real priorities which get most of the money are education, health care, and so on. Well, I am insulted that he thinks my tax money is not valuable enough to spend on more important things, and that the Democrats are wasting money on these and other projects while claming there's no more money to fix U.S. 2. If you are spending my money on these things instead of other more worthwhile things, then yes, it is a priority, by definition. And I am insulted that he is insulted almost as much as I am insulted that he is wasting my money. slashdot.org

<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page is a archive of entries in the Politics category from May 2008.

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