Donald Trump on George Bush


Donald Trump has many accurate comments about George Bush and the people around him. There’s little doubt that if he had George Bush in the board room, this would conclude with “You’re fired.”

Ron Brownstein Enables Rudy Giuliani’s Deceit

Rudy Giuliani has been walking a tight rope, trying to discuss Iraq and 9/11 before Republican crowds and divert attention away from most other issues where they might disagree with him. One role of the news media is to expose politicians like Giuliani who are not entirely open on the stump. I’m surprised that Ronald Brownstein is helping to enable Giuliani’s deceit.

Brownstein reports on one of Giuliani’s tactics, the use of federalism, as if this is really a principle and not a tactic to avoid discussing the issues. Giuliani (and even more so, Ron Paul) tries to distract crowds from controversial issues by claiming they are a matter for the states, and therefore it doesn’t really matter if they disagree with the president. Disagree with me about abortion, gun control, or even health care reform and it doesn’t matter. They claim each state will just do their own thing.

Sometimes such federalism is fine. While there might be advantages in taking advantage of programs such as Medicare and the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program nation wide, there is no fundamental reason why different experiments couldn’t be managed by state governments. It is a different matter when we get into matters of principle. Those Republicans who oppose abortion and see it as murder will not be satisfied with allowing it in certain states and not others. Similarly, those of us who believe that a woman has the ultimate right to control her own body believe that she has this right regardless of whether she lives in New York or in a southern state even if ninety percent of her neighbors disagree.

While I lose interest in Ron Paul when he opposes government action by the federal government based more on state’s rights than libertarian grounds, at least I believe he is sincere in his beliefs. In contrast, Giuliani uses the concept of federalism much as other conservatives do as a matter of convenience. Republicans typically claim to support federalism when they want to ignore federal regulations, but ignore the concept when it is to their advantage. Republicans had no qualms about going to the Supreme Court in 2000 to block a recount in Florida and overrule the Florida Supreme Court. Similarly, Republicans back the Bush administration when they ignore laws in states which legalize medicinal use of marijuana and threaten to revoke the DEA licenses of physicians who prescribe it legally under their state’s laws. Giuliani’s use of federalism is just a political ploy, and I’m surprised that Brownstein allows him to get away with this.

Obama Furthers Offensive Against Clinton

It was bound to happen. Sooner or later Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama would have to stop being so nice to each other and start to have it out. It might be an interesting trivia point in the future to date this back to the CNN/YouTube debate. I’ve already discussed how an exchange during the debate continued into the press the following day. Obama has escallated the exchange:

“I think what is irresponsible and naive is to have authorized a war without asking how we were going to get out — and you know I think Senator Clinton hasn’t fully answered that issue.

“The general principle that I was laying out is that we should not be afraid as America to meet with anybody.

“Now, they may not like what we want to hear — so if I’m talking to the President of Iran, I’m going to inform him that Israel is our stalwart ally, and we are going to do what’s necessary to protect them — that we will not accept a nuclear bomb in Iran, but that doesn’t mean we can’t say that face to face. And obviously, the diplomatic spadework has to be done ahead of time.

“The notion that I was somehow going to be inviting them over for tea next week without having initial envoys meet is ridiculous.

“But the general principle is one that I think Senator Clinton is wrong on — and that is if we are laying out preconditions that prevents us from speaking frankly to these folks, then we are continuing with Bush-Cheney policies, and I am not interested in continuing that.

“I know that she has said in the past that we have to talk to our enemies — well that’s what this is about. And if we say that we will not talk to them unless they meet a series of preconditions, then that’s the same position that Bush and Cheney have maintained over the last six years, and it has made us less safe. And that’s what I think is going to be a significant part of this debate in 2008.

“We responded to her in this situation, and I think there is a genuine difference, if there isn’t a difference, then Senator Clinton should explain it. I think that we should talk to everybody.

“That ultimately is what’s going to create the environment in which we can reduce some of the threat levels we are facing. To fail to do that is the same conventional Washington thinking that led many including Senator Clinton to go ahead with the war without having asked adequate questions.”

There are further responses from Clinton, and the difference between their views does not appear to be all that great despite Clinton’s earlier attacks that Obamas views are “irresponsible” and “naive.” The fact that the two are going after each other like this is far more significant than their actual differences on negotiating with other nations.

Maybe it is time for Obama to point out that he has laid out his health care plan, but Clinton only states she learned from her previous plan and avoids providing specifics. It is time that someone asks her exactly what it is that she has learned.

Late Night Poetry

Here’s a poem which is well worth checking out: The Return of the Liberal.

This says in verse what I’ve often written in posts here: Liberalism as described by Rush Limbaugh and the right wing noise machine is quite different from what liberals actually believe. Following is a portion of the poem, but I recommend reading it in full:

You want what? Another hearing?
Make it quick, I’m short of time.
Just now I’m going crazy
Hanging on to my last dime.

You say you have sound notions
For my paycheck that’s gone flat,
And help for needy elders?
I could maybe vote for that.

You say you’ll lower taxes
For the middle class and poor,
Instead of puffing up the rich
I’m listening, tell me more.

Bush Family Tried to Bring Fascism To America Even Before Bush/Cheney Took Power

From Dick Cheney’s Energy Task Force to Bush’s shifting of Medicare dollars to Medicare Advantage Plans to the K-Street Project, the economic policies of modern Republicans are much more characteristic of fascism than of capitalism. Larisa Alexandrovna shows that fascism may be “genetic” in the Bush family.

The connection between Prescott Bush and Nazi Germany has been well known. A BBC Documentary shows that Prescott Bush was also part of an attempt in 1933 to overthrow FDR and replace him with a fascist government:

The coup was aimed at toppling President Franklin D Roosevelt with the help of half-a-million war veterans. The plotters, who were alleged to involve some of the most famous families in America, (owners of Heinz, Birds Eye, Goodtea, Maxwell Hse & George Bush’s Grandfather, Prescott) believed that their country should adopt the policies of Hitler and Mussolini to beat the great depression.

Mike Thomson investigates why so little is known about this biggest ever peacetime threat to American democracy.

Since the 1930’s there have been three serious threats to our democratic system of government: the 1933 coup attempt, Watergate, and the erosion of liberties under George Bush. The Bush family was directly involved in two out of three.

Religious Right Equates Athiests with French Reign of Terror


The video above appears to be a satire of the paranoia of the religious right, except the producers believe this is a “brilliant 2-minute commercial.” From A Fool’s Heart:

American Vision is launching a relentless and systematic response to militant atheism. We’ve produced a brilliant 2-minute commercial that we plan to broadcast globally via the Internet and Television. Atheists present themselves as enlightened and civil. But this new commercial will reveal the shocking truth to viewers. The French Revolution, Communism, Nazism, etc. have taught us that the atheistic worldview will inevitably lead to the persecution of Christians and the killing of anyone who gets in the way. What’s worse is that atheism is paving a wide road for Islam to advance in our nation and around the world.

Among the absurdities of this commercial, they take a tremendous leap to compare modern atheists to Robespierre and the Reign of Terror in France. The major flaw in this argument is that Robespierre was a believer in god who sent atheists to the guillotine. Of course we cannot expect any sensible arguments from people who put out a commercial which expresses disagreement with the view that “evolution is a fact” or sees atheism as paving a road for Islam.

Barack Obama vs. Ron Paul on Separation of Church and State

I’ve written several times recently about the manner in which the Democratic candidates are trying to go after the religious voters who tend to vote Republican. In an ideal world, I would prefer that the candidates answer questions about religion as the fictitious Republican candidate Arnold Vinick does in this clip from The West Wing. Unfortunately the reality of current political life is that no candidate would so clearly respond as Arnold Vinick did in differentiating religion from politics. Vinick concluded by offering that “every day until the end of this campaign I’ll answer any question anyone has on government, but if you have a question on religion, please, go to church.”

One of those who asked a question at the CNN/You Tube debate shared my concern about the manner in which the Democrats are going after the religious vote. He asked, “Am I wrong in fearing a Democratic administration that may be lip service to the extremely religious as much as the current one? And if so, why?”

While hardly matching Arnold Vinick’s answer, Barack Obama had an acceptable answer:

OBAMA: I am proud of my Christian faith. And it informs what I do. And I don’t think that people of any faith background should be prohibited from debating in the public square.

OBAMA: But I am a strong believer in the separation of church and state, and I think that we’ve got to translate…


By the way, I support it not just for the state but also for the church, because that maintains our religious independence and that’s why we have such a thriving religious life.

But what I also think is that we are under obligation in public life to translate our religious values into moral terms that all people can share, including those who are not believers. And that is how our democracy’s functioning, will continue to function. That’s what the founding fathers intended.

Besides outright standing up for separation of church and state, which is essential as many Republicans deny that this is what the founding fathers intended, Obama makes another important point which I’ve also noted here many times. Separation of church and state is not just a current liberal idea. Separation of church and state was an important idea to the founding fathers, and historically many religious groups also recognized the importance of this principle. The rights of everyone to worship, or not worship, as they choose can only be preserved if there is strict separation of church and state. As in so many other areas, Republicans demonstrate that their rhetoric of skepticism towards government does not translate to their policy decisions when they allow the government which they claim to distrust to become intertwined with religion.

Obama’s statement here on separation of church and state is clearer than anything I’ve heard from the other Democratic candidates, and obviously is a sharp contrast from the theocratic views of many of the Republican candidates–including GOP maverick Ron Paul. The Lippard Blog points out that Ron Paul is far closer to the Republicans as a social conservative than might be expected from a libertarian.

The social conservativism emanating from Ron Paul is a sign of the deleterious consequences of the failed attempts at conservative/libertarian fusionism. While I sympathize with Paul’s opposition to the war and some of his other positions, his absurd claim that “The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers” prevents me from considering him as a candidate, or believing his rhetoric of being a strict defender of the Constitution. Paul has supported keeping “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, has co-sponsored the school prayer amendment, and supported keeping the Ten Commandments on a courthouse lawn. As with the other Republicans, Paul shows that he will cite the founding fathers and the Constitution when convenient, and ignore their principles when not. Barack Obama, a former professor of Constitutional law, shows a better understanding of this fundamental liberty than the candidate who is considered to be the most libertarian.