Saturday, September 30, 2006

and drank rapidly a glass of water

I caught around ten minutes or so of the Labour Party convention that went on earlier this week in Manchester, England.

You don't have to know about British politics to see how far Labour has fallen in the past decade. I didn't see all that many stiff upper lips amongst the throngs. Instead I saw a hangdog look of cynicism and skepticism in the faces of all who attended. Many people didn't even bother to applaud once.

Gordon Brown, Labour's heir apparent, spouted out rhetorical cliche after rhetorical cliche but it was evident to me that he didn't believe a goddamned word of it. Despite urgings to carry on the good fight and the obligatory mention of job creation, Labour is sorely wounded.

And in my estimation, they have only themselves to blame for it. Blair was probably one of the most conservative Labour PMs in the history of the country and he steered Labour well to the right during his tenure. He time in power lead more and more liberal Britons towards the Liberal Democrats and away from Labour.

And yet, for now at least, the party line is to stay the course in Iraq no matter what the cost. Brown's speech included a deliberate mention that "Anti-Americanism" has no place in a global fight against terrorism. I do wonder what his position will be when he finds himself Leader of the Opposition in two years' time.

British politics are in a bit of a doldrums these days. Come the next general election, Britons will have to choose between the lesser of two evils: a Labour party that no one trusts anymore or a re-vamped Tory party that is still seeking to distance itself from Margaret Thatcher.

I can't say I ever really trusted Tony Blair. It's tough for me to trust a man who never seems to cease smiling. But I distrust Gordon Brown more. His arrogance appears to me to be totally self-serving. (and doesn't he look like one of the guys from Monty Python?)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Dead or Alive?

I want to believe he's dead.

The best case scenario for Democrats right now is if Osama Bin Laden has in fact passed away from natural causes.

If Bin Laden died last month, then Democrats can rightly point out to the American people that despite all the posturing from the GOP about eliminating Public Enemy Number One; Osama was neither brought to justice to stand trial nor killed by American military action.

I admit freely that I dread an October Surprise to end all October Surprises. I'm a bit paranoid that Bin Laden will be "killed" by our forces shortly before the election in a move of Rovian grand theatre.

It unnerves me to contemplate how the current administration has used cheap theatrics culled from bad Hollywood films and sitcoms to keep themselves in positions of power. It is as if the waste products of our own decadence has been used against us.

Ultimately, what we on the left must do in setting forth our position is three fold.

1. We must understand that Americans love theatrics and dramatics. This is why Karl Rove has worked such magic. People want to believe in good versus evil. People want to believe in last-minute miracles.

2. We must utilize this fact to our advantage without sinking to their same level. We must not resort to propaganda tactics to get our points across. We know that people love truth but hate hypocrisy.

3. We must stand unified. Set aside petty differences for now. We must stand firm. If we do not, we may never get the chance again.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Strange Bedfellows

This is the famous David Low cartoon from 1939, written after the Soviet Nonaggression pact was signed between Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia.

Both Hitler and Stalin are bowing over the corpse of Poland.

Hitler bows and says, "The scum of the earth, I believe?"

Stalin returns the bow. "The bloody assassin of the workers, I believe?"

My mind often shifts to this image when I hear how this country has formed dubious alliances with other countries.

This week, NPR ran a series of vignettes profiling the governments of the major South American countries. I was reminded again how the USA has poked its nose into the affairs of Latin America under the pretext of being "Good Neighborly".

Politics do make strange bedfellows, particularly when our "interests" are at stake.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Le Gah!

I am here, I promise.

My new job has been kicking my ass so for the next month (or two) I will only be able to update weekly, rather than daily. Look for updates on Sunday of every week.

This frustrates me, but there's nothing I can do right now.

That being said, look for a new update tomorrow.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


I certainly respect the views of those who argue for impeachment, particularly in light of the recent revelations about secret CIA prisons.

Still, I do not at this present moment believe that Impeachment would accomplish its aims. Has the President committed impeachable offenses? Certainly. If the world was a fair place, he would have been brought to trial long ago.

Even if both Houses of Congress return to the control of the Democrats come November, I do not believe the I word is a worthwhile endeavor. Impeachment proceedings are laborious affairs that prevent important legislation from being enacted; government grinds to a halt. And in this world of global terror, we need some sort of stability at the top. A chaotic, distracted executive branch could leave us even more unprepared than we were before 11 September 2001.

As unpopular as President Bush is, I foresee his trial as being lengthy, frustrating, inconclusive, and counterproductive. I see an American electorate growing as weary of it as it has grown weary of the Iraq war and high gas prices.

I need not remind all of you that even a chief executive as obviously guilty as Nixon fought off Watergate for two whole years until the bitter end. Are we prepared for that again? As uncertain and challenging as times have been recently, do we wish to return to those days?

In crisis situations, people seldom make correct decisions. Instead, they opt for knee-jerk reactions that prove to be destructive in the end. This reaction is the reason why the Democratic party has been in chaos for the past twenty-six years.

Good man, bad President.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

I'm back, bitches!

Communism is like one big phone company- Lenny Bruce.

I have recently started working for a corporation whose name I shall not mention. Suffice to say that it is one big phone company. And in approximately one week of work, I have seriously reconsidered my zest for greater government involvement.

With greater government involvement comes complications, exceptions to every rule, and convoluted regulations.

As regards my own job, I say this:

Does every system, department, and next best thing need its own acronym? Do I need fifty different passwords for fifty different programs, none of which run together efficiently? Do I need nine different bosses?

I know that some will argue than in these increasingly complex times that this sort of phenomenon is inevitable, but it doesn't have to be this way. The very fact that people have discovered ways to make a living by figuring out how to efficiently navigate legalese and jargon speaks volumes towards the way we have become.
Why don't we simplify the tax code, first of all. Instead of loopholes and exceptions and fine print, why not put into play a uniform tax that taxes us all equally?

The libertarians have proposed a 23% across the board sale tax. Their rationale for this is that illegal immigrants will have to pay into the system and not be able to dodge income and property taxes.

I often think we ought to tax the richest of the rich far more than we currently do.

I think also it comes down to strong leadership. Any sort of complicated system be it corporate or governmental will be seriously hampered by bad leadership. So why not keep it simple?