This should be interesting…

Still looking...Been seeing a pretty steady stream of articles suggesting that the Dubya administration way overshot the mark in talking up the existence of WMD in Iraq. Some are even talking about how if the administration (and Bush in particular) deliberately lied about the presence of these weapons, it should be an impeachable offense (and this from John Dean, who should know).

So here are two things I’m going to be looking at as this thing evolves:

  1. Are we seeing a case where people in the administration (including W., who shouldn’t be held innocent in this) knowingly lied about what they knew, or was it more a case of them seeing only what they wanted to see?
  2. If it is eventually shown that the intelligence data was not sufficient to support the administration’s claims, how far will Congress and/or the administration go in calling them on it? Republicans went after Clinton simply for lying about sex. If Dubya lied to get us into a war, that is way worse. Remember, people died and are still dying because Dubya & the gang couldn’t keep their hands off their guns. If they were anything less than 100% honest with us, heads need to roll.

The protesters were right

Ok, so when the anti-war protesters held up their signs saying “No blood for oil,” (remember, way back when?) I pretty much dismissed them as grossly oversimplifying things. I figured that while oil probably factored in somehow, it was only a small part of a whole batch of misguided reasons Dubya & Co. wanted to go play army in the cradle of civilization.

Guess I was wrong. According to The Guardian, none other than Deputy Sec. of Defense Paul Wolfowitz said, “Let’s look at it simply. The most important difference between North Korea and Iraq is that economically, we just had no choice in Iraq. The country swims on a sea of oil.”

My cynicism in the current administration has been restored.

Doing my part to stop the FCC

Despite my ranting here, I don’t often insert myself into the political process. However, the recent FCC rules change allowing greater concentration of media outlets has put a bug up my butt. So, when I got a message from MoveOn.org about writing my congressmen, I bit. (Of course, I did the same thing when they were soliciting comment for the FCC, which didn’t do a damn bit of good…) Anyway, here’s the text of my message:

Dear Senator/Representative,

I urge you to take swift action to overturn the FCC decisions that loosen the media ownership rules.

At the risk of sounding melodramatic, the June 2nd vote to allow media outlets to become more concentrated in the hands of a few big corporations frankly scares the hell out of me.

Let me explain. As a high school student, I had the opportunity to visit the Soviet Union. At one of the hotel rooms I stayed in, there was a radio with a single knob on it for volume. You were stuck with whatever single station was programmed into that radio. Of course, the Soviet Union was never known for its freedom of expression.

As bad as that may have been, I submit to you that the recent FCC rules changes are even worse. By allowing a small group of large corporations to swallow up media outlets, this rules change will maintain the illusion of diversity while in fact stifling it. This may be good for fattening corporate pockets, but it does NOTHING to support the public interest.

At least with that one-channel radio I was under no illlusion what was going on.

Again, I urge you to take swift action to overturn the FCC decisions that loosen media ownership rules.

Sincerely,

Jason Orrill

Maybe not the most cohesive argument ever, and it doesn’t address the huge range of problems with the rules change, but hey, I’m trying to make a living here & I doubt anyone’s going to read it who matters, anyway. The best I’m hoping for is to be a tally mark in someone’s spreadsheet.

But who broke it?

Dubya says the judicial confirmation process is “broken” because he can’t get some of his nominees through. So who broke it? Republicans are trying to fix the problem by changing the rules, but the way I see it they would have better luck withdrawing some of their nominees and putting forward folks a little more palatable to everyone. Remember folks, judges are appointed for life. I don’t think it’s too much to ask to make sure that they’re not confirmed on a straight party-line vote.

Disgusting.

According to a NY Times article, Dubya & the gang are going to time his ’04 nomination close to 9/11:

The convention, to be held in New York City, will be the latest since the Republican Party was founded in 1856, and Mr. Bush’s advisers said they chose the date so the event would flow into the commemorations of the third anniversary of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.

And they wonder why they catch flak about manipulating the “war on terrorism” for political gain.

Going…going…

Got a satellite dish installed last Friday, the first step in wriggling free from the cable company. Step two will be installing DSL, which should happen this week. Why the changes? Well, they’re raising the rates for one thing. For another, the cable company sent a heads up a couple weeks ago hinting at a rate change, but when I dutifully called the 1-800 number a machine told me I wouldn’t be affected. And finally, I’m still annoyed that when @home went kerplooie they cut my network connection speed drastically but kept charging me the same rate.

So…bye bye cable company!

There’s nothing quite like a good conspiracy theory

This one (just click through the ad & get over it) suggests that the Saudis brokered a deal to get Saddam & co. out of Iraq. Since I feel like playing along today, I’ll suggest something the article left out. By sneaking Saddam into Mecca, not only does he get out of the way, but by disappearing him Dubya & the gang can scream bloody murder at Syria without having to worry about them actually producing anyone, and Saudi Arabia keeps the heat off a little longer.

Do I believe this? Not really. But it does make for a fun theory.

How much is too much?

Been hearing about a couple polls recently looking at whether folks in the US think tax cuts are a good idea and whether their taxes are too high. Apparently a majority think their taxes are too high, but at the same time a majority thinks tax cuts aren’t necessarily a good idea at the moment.

The question I have is “too high for what?” I’m sure we would all like to have more money in our pocket, but I think the real question here is what are we getting for the money we give to Uncle Sam (or to our state and local governments)? And a related question: how do taxes fit in with the rest of our expenses? Even in the best of times, it seems our public institutions are strapped for cash, and as a result we get mediocre schools, underpaid cops, bad roads, the DMV (speaking collectively) from hell…the list goes on & on. It’s hard to get excited about handing over our hard-earned money when the benefits we get are so hard to see. At the same time, there are a number of expenses that we have to pay for in addition to our tax burden, such as health insurance, or in our case a streetlight whose electricity we have to pay for that doesn’t even illuminate a fraction of the street in front of our house.

So are my taxes too high? Well, our income is largely dependent on state and federal dollars…so I would say, “No they’re not, but for Chrissakes Dubya, quit nickel & diming education and if you want to bomb someone hold a friggin’ bake sale.

Like charity…

Regime Change Begins at Home

A “rolling end”?

Apparently they’re now talking about a “rolling end” to the war— meaning that there probably won’t be a formal surrender & fighting could go on for a while. While I can see how this might be valid from a military standpoint, the political side scares me a little. Think about it– commentators and politicians are currently hammering any sign of dissent with charges of “treason,” “not supporting the troops,” and/or “not supporting the commander-in-chief in time of war.” Worse, many Americans seem to buy these attacks, effectively shutting off vital debate. So here’s the thing: if the war doesn’t really have a definite end, then these same conditions will exist indefinitely.

Maybe this is the lesson Dubya took away from his dad: don’t stop the war if you can’t fix the economy.

*Sigh* I guess Orwell was 20 years too soon