Calling Coyotes by Cross-Country Communication in all Counties

Friday, January 10, 2003

Columnists I read, or did read, often:

Molly Ivins- Progressive Liberal, perhaps the only columnist really proud to call herself a liberal, good expository pieces

Cal Thomas- Religious Right Columnist, Pulse of the Religious Right

George Will- Mainstream Right Intellectual, as George Carlin would say intelligent, but full of ____. I do try to keep a varied diet.

Ann Coulter- Crazy Racist Blonde. I read her when I need someone to be outraged at. Very right-wing

Arianna Huffington- Radical Moderate. ex-Republican, shares some progressive tendencies of Molly Ivins, distaste for both parties.

Michael Kinsley- Used to be funny. Leftist, former editor of

Colbert King- Columnist on WaPo not afraid to say what he thinks.
Flash Point in North Korea is Near:

Junkyardblog has a good take on the military situation. I think he has an overly low opinion of the Democrats to say that they will obstruct Bush in taking action here, but if I'm wrong I'll be shouting about it from the mountaintops.

"All through the day; I me mine, I me mine, I me mine...All through the night; I me mine, I me mine, I me mine..."
-"I Me Mine", Let It Be, The Beatle

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

This from an article in Slate.Com:

There are other equally awkward reasons that might support invading Baghdad but not Pyongyang. Oil is an obvious factor—not so much in a crudely Marxian sense as in a general sense that everything in Middle Eastern politics is wrapped up, to some degree, in oil. U.S. officials tend to avoid mentioning this factor, in part to avoid appearing overly pecuniary, but in much larger part to avoid explicitly entangling the issue of Iraq with precisely those larger issues of Middle Eastern politics—those issues being the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the future of Saudi Arabia.

Once again a mainstream writing echoes a point I made earlier. I'm not sure what "pecuniary" means, but trying to pretend that it has nothing to do with the "larger issues" doesn't make it so. These issues have much more to do with regime change in Iraq than anything else. If the Middle East did not wield such disproportionate influence by controlling the flood of oil, Zionism would be a non-issue in the U.N. The reason most of the world supported a resolution condemning not only Israel but the whole existence of Israel was European nations and petty third-world dictators terrified of losing access to Middle East oil. The Saudis and OPEC have been using their near monopoly on oil production to try to impose a new world order in which the Arab world is omnipotent. Small, resilient, democratic Israel stands out in the middle of the Arab world as a contrast to the rot of the totalitarian and Islamically oppresive governments that are typical of said Arab world. Jihad isn't a war. It's a political movement.

Some rant...

Monday, January 06, 2003

As they say in Russia, Glasnost!
How To Reform Our Political System In Two Easy Steps

Still with me? Good.
Why is inter- and intra-party politics such a problem? Frist has been solidly backed by the Republican party to be the next Senate Majority Leader. Do we know why he was chosen over Santorum or Mitch McConnell? No, of course not. All the important talk over Lott's sucessor was done on the inside. Is there anything wrong with this? No, unless he was chosen for reasons that could not be stated openly. The same goes for Pelosi's rise. In Cheney's meeting with Kenneth Lay of Enron, this issue played out most obviously.

My grandmother was elected to the Rowley (Massachussets) board of selectmen in the '50s. Her only campaign method was a flyer that read as follows, "I shall insist that all matters of town and local brought before regular meetings of the board. I will not deal privately with any elected or appointed official, nor with any citizen on civic issues. In all matters, other than those protected by law, I shall insist upon open meetings with public and press welcome. Only in this matter may the true picture, pro and con, of any issue be presented to the people-the taxpayers and citizens-whose business town government is.[my emphasis]"
What can be drawn from this is that the concept of open political dealing is only a memory, illustrated by the Bush Administrations complete refusal to reveal the details of Dick Cheney's meeting with Kenneth Lay as part of the formation of the Bush/Cheney energy plan. On another note, it is utterly hypocritical for the Republicans to defend Bush's decision not to release a transcript of the conversation, even though they were absolutely outraged that Hillary Clinton's health-care committee worked in secret. (And many Republicans in Washington are the same Republicans who were outraged in '94) Does anyone really know what goes on in the leadership of the Democratic and Republican parties? There should be a saying that people only hide things when there is something to hide. If we had open record of party dialogue, maybe it would have been clear that Trent Lott was a racist, maybe we would know things months ago we don't even know now. Maybe the budget would have less pork in it because it would look embarassing for a member of Congress to lobby for it.
In summary, I am proposing two things. 1) Voters pressure elected officials to release transcripts of meeting with lobbyists they accepted campaign donations from, and transcripts of political dealings with politicians in private, or demand that such dealings be done in public, and 2) Voters pressure political parties to reveal all major intra-party political discussions, so that there will be no back-room dealings that have major effects on the party. The first of these will be difficult to accomplish by voter pressure alone, but the second one would be easy with enough pressure. The Democratic and Republican Party are so large that if they begin to operate transparently it will be hard for them to keep anybody from revealing when they have covered up something. I think this is a good place to stop, so I will close here with the hope the that a new era of political transparency begins today, or next month.

Note to self: Bug Republican and Democratic Headquarters and send the tapes to the New York Times and Washington Times, respectively.

Thursday, January 02, 2003

You heard it here first!

A Columbia University professor weighs in on the dangers of an attempt to depose Saddam Hussein.