Monday, March 13, 2006

Weakens or strengthens?

I just cannot believe that Republicans keep insisting that questioning the president somehow weakens America, and no one calls them on it. The reason America is strong and North Korea isn't (to take the other extreme) is that in America you are supposed to question your leaders. The president is not the pope and therefore people in his own party should admit that as a human, he will make mistakes, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Questioning your leaders is what gives them a chance to realize their mistakes and change course when need be, if not you can (in a democracy) just change leaders.

Friday, March 10, 2006

South Dakota's ban, opportunity for Dems?

The South Dakota abortion ban presents a big opportunity for Democrats to turn a "wedge" issue into political gains in the next election. Just as Republicans used gay marriage during the last election (and seem to be angling for gay adoption for 2006) the Democrats can propose a constitutional amendment that explicitly grants the right of privacy. Most people are in favor of legalized abortion (with restrictions, but legal) so a push for a constitutional amendment would give the Democrats the upper hand in such a polarizing debate.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Abramoff seems poised to return to front page news

He's back! And it seems that Abramoff will be living up to his promise of naming names. This is just about to get very very interesting. I just hope it leads up to real lobbying reform, for we need much much much more transparency in government.

Gitmo's detainees

History will not be kind to what America is doing to its many prisoners in Gitmo (and elsewhere). The point of due process is to imprison the guilty and let the innocent go, but the set of rules set up in Gitmo are a mockery of traditional American rule of law. One cannot pretend that errors will not be made in the rounding up of terrorists and a process HAS to be in place to correct them. I am very worried because of the lack of outrage by the public at this administration's repeated bending of the rules (at best) and Congress' complete deference and lack of oversight.

Checks and balances?

President Bush's domestic spying program is very likely illegal. But a congress controlled by his party is doing everything it can to regain some oversight completely ignoring the question of what has been going on over the last few years. The Constitution separates power so there can be checks and balances, however it has become clear that unless opposing parties control the White House and Congress those checks and balances are undermined by politics. I guess I always believed that integrity and a sense of purpose (and what is best for the country) would trump politics on big issues, but I was mistaken

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Elections '08

Much is being said about a possible McCain vs. Clinton 2008 presidential contest... Although fun to make conjectures and look at polls it is soooo early in the political process that it makes most of these polls irrelevant. I think we are best served paying attention at the 2006 elections where a lot will be at stake.

A way out of Iraq?

Very interesting and thoughtful piece by Barry R. Posen Exit Strategy... I agree with his analysis, I just wonder if it is politically feasible.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Line item veto

The line item veto the president is seeking might be a very powerful tool for an already powerful and extremely partisan administration. The administration claims it will reduce earmarks, and we are all for that, however in such partisan times the cherry-picking of earmarks (for rewards and punishment) could be scary. I am hoping the earmark issue will be dealt by congress for it is clearly very fertile ground for corruption.

On Michael Brown

The ex-FEMA director's episode is a clear example of what spin can do to publics perception. Yes Michael Brown was not the man for the job, but he was only part of the problem, and as more and more evidence comes out it becomes clearer and clearer that although Brownie wasn't doing a heck of a job, those above him were doing even worse.

The surprising congress

It is clear that a congress from the same party of the president, will tend to back his policies, however there was always the impression that congressmen and senators have a conscience and are interested in what is best for their country. It is scary that congress has followed the line of this administration's repeated mistakes without any sense of pride. I am shocked that so many senators would think so little of there office as to not be outraged by the repeated snubs by this administration, it is shameful. However the coming elections will provide a chance for the American people to right this wrong, will they show they have more pride and dignity and more respect for their civic responsibilities than their elected representatives? Here's hoping...

Friday, March 03, 2006

A better democracy

The best way to improve accountability in government is through competitive elections. There can only be competitive elections when an independent body determines voting districts and oversees elections. It is obvious why politicians don't want this, but why aren't more people pushing for this?

First Post

I am an avid reader of political columns and blogs, and feel that I might be able to contribute something.... as Depeche Mode said:

If you change points of view
You may change a vote
And when you change a vote
You may change the world