This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 5, 2004 1:22 AM. The previous post in this blog was In perspective. The next post in this blog is Gotta keep those lovin' good vibrations happenin'. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, November 5, 2004

Confessions of a sore loser

I always carry a lot of anger. Enough for two or three people, at least. Over the last decade or so, I've had a lot of help working on it. From family. From shrinks. From preachers. Part of it's good -- it makes me funny. Most of it isn't.

There are several reasons for my being as inherently angry as I am. (Nothing to blog about.) And when anger comes out of me, I've learned to pay close attention.

One thing I've tried really hard to do as I get older is to stop directing the anger at the wrong objects, and to try to understand the real causes. I don't always succeed in putting my finger on them, but at least I figure out pretty quickly that most of the immediate triggers of the recurring storm of negative feelings aren't really the causes.

So as I pass through the Rage of the Bush Re-election, I've been asking myself some questions. Why am I so upset? Because Kerry lost? Actually, no, that was just the trigger. From the outset, I said he couldn't win, and I was right.

What I'm angry with are the political parties -- both of them -- and especially with George Bush and Dick Cheney. I despise what they're doing to this country. Words cannot describe the rage. Not so much with Iraq (although that is such a sick joke) as with what's happened within our borders. The police state. The "ownership society." The social injustice. The fiscal bankruptcy. The hypocritical Bible-thumping. The mindf*cking. The apathy toward all of the above.

For the last several months, all of that anger had been pushed down. As with most elections, by the end of the campaign I had channeled that white heat into advocacy for a candidate, and fervent hope for an outcome. It was a relatively constructive channel for those months.

But that stagecoach turned into a pumpkin at 10 p.m. PST on Tuesday, when Ohio was called for Bush. Suddenly there's no positive way to translate the revulsion I feel for what we as a country are becoming. There's nothing to work for, not for quite a while. And there's nowhere to escape.

And so it is that several months' worth of repressed anger emerges. Am I mad that Bush won? No. I'm mad that he exists.

Comments (56)

As I read your post, I was reminded of a scene from The Matrix:

"Look out that window. You had your time. This future is our world, Morpheus. The future is our time."

The future is the ascension of the conservative movement - and it will be a time to behold. The appointment of strict constructionists to the SCOTUS and further reinforcement of the republican congressional majority in '06 is practically a foregone conclusion.

So, to Jack and others similarly-afflicted, I say: Don't be angry - embrace change. I believe I've heard those words once or twice over the years...

Thanks for saying this. I'd like to add that with the closeness of the 2000 election and given the shock of 9/11, I held my breath for three years, thinking, this is not really America, this is an aberration, things will go back to being like they really are in America in 2004... well, it turns out that I was wrong; Bush's version of America is now normal, and not an aberration.

Rage. Mourn. Then organize. 2006 is not far off.

I have to admit, Jack, I don't recognize the America you describe. I don't see a police state, increasing social injustice, fiscal bankruptcy or any of the other things your describe. I have a feeling you don't really see them either. I think you read about them or hear about them and are convinced they are real.

Don't get me wrong. We still have plenty of problems. It's just that I don't see most of them getting worse. In fact, I think most of them are getting better--maybe not as fast as we'd like, maybe not in the particular way we would like, but overall things are better for my kids than they were for me and I think that's true for most people.

I know people on both the right and the left who disagree vehemently with this, but for the most part they point to things they've read or see on television or (God forbid!) hear on talk radio. If limited to the experience of their own lives, I think most people would have to admit that things are not really going to hell in a handbasket.

Sorry, I didn't intend the triplicate posts. It wasn't registering that the post had been sent the first two times, so I kept resending it. It was not intended as a hypnotic message from Big Brother.

Jack Rob,
Do you really not see those things, or do you choose not to see those things?
The police state.
- Read the Patriot Act. Now, read it CLOSELY. A police state exists when our government can throw people in prison on their "say so" for an extended period of time and it takes the SUPREME COURT to get them out (see also: Hamdi v Rumsfeld).

The social injustice.
- Republican party members have teachers thrown out of a rally for wearing "Protect our Civil Rights" t-shirts.

The fiscal bankruptcy.
- Have you checked the size of the federal deficit lately?

The hypocritical Bible-thumping.
- Look no further than the injection of a specific religion's morals into our fabric of laws.

It'd be a treat to go on, but there's no sense in doing more than a single example for each one of those. Only one example is needed to prove the truth of Jack Bog's assertions.

Mr. Roberts:

I hope you're right. I hope the country rebounds. I hope we pull our troops out of a peaceful democratic Iraq. I hope our economy strenthens and our unemployment shrinks. And I hope America becomes united behind an all-embracing President.

But I seriously have my doubts.

For me, this is the greatest test of the Republican party. If Republican values and ideals are best for America, then the next four years should be complete bliss.

But, again, I seriously have my doubts.

I am in agreement with Jack Roberts. How EXACTLY has my life gotten any worse, or any better for that matter? I can only think of one way my life has really changed. Better - got a better job. Worse - have to pay a rediculous county income tax on my hard earned money.

Do I sit in fear of the police because they can be suspicious of anyone, including me? No, what do I have to hide?

By the way, I can't spell, so no need to make fun of that.

Okay, let's take a good look at what's going on in this country:

(1) A police state? If we really had a police state, the Supreme Court wouldn't have been able to release Hamdi. And it's been about a year since Senator Feinstein asked for a specific example of how the Patriot Act has been abused in practice. I understand she's still waiting.

(2) Social injustice? After years of having their rallies disrupted by protestors, Republican presidents have started holding their political rallies by invitation only. Regretable, but I would argue understandable.

So if some teachers lie about being Bush supporters in order to infiltrate a rally so that they can wear their protest tee shirts, I'm not sure arresting them for trespass (being on the premises under false pretenses) rises very high on my social injustice meter.

(3)Fiscal bankruptcy? The federal deficit is certainly affordable in an $11 trillion a year economy. If we were really living beyond our means, the economy would be signalling this in higher interests rates, higher inflation, or both. It isn't.

(4) Bible-thumping hypocrisy? You're right, we are legislating religious morality: Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness. However, those are not necessarily "a specific religion's morality" but rather are fairly universal values expressed in one way or another by almost every religion. And, like it or not, so is the concept of marriage being between a man and woman.

(There are several faiths that condone polygamy but none, to my knowledge, that condone same-sex marriage. Why is the polygamy lobby absent from this debate over the oppressive power of the Christian right?)

I'm not ignoring what's going on around me, I just see it very differently. Which I guess is why we have Red and Blue States, and Red and Blue voters.

It was David Crosby in the seventies, wailing about "looking in my rear view mirror and seeing a police car". In 2004, after a trip to the slammer and several trips to Whiskey Camp, Crosby is arrested in NYC for possession of pot and a gun. I'm sure he thinks the Ashcrofts are after him,too.

But I'm not giving into fear, I promise myself this year, cause I feel like I owe it to someone.

Maybe the in-pain democrats should rent some copies of Easy Money, Caddyshack and Animal House and ease up. Maybe they could put a couple of dollars in an envelope and mail it to David Crosby...

Mr. Roberts:

First, you've failed to discuss a certain war.(Vietnam 2) A war which is costing billions of dollars and thousands of lives. And for what, a connection between Saddam and Al Quaeda. Guess what, I don't want to go to war for a connection.

Second, with regards to the deficit. An 11 Trillion dollar budget should be able to handle almost any deficit. Except of course when the deficit is 7 trillion, then we get into trouble.

And the economy is signalling this, not in higher interest rates or inflation, but in the complete devaluation of the dollar.

I'm not saying we can't rectify these situations in the next four years. But I think it's going to be tough.

As for the social issues, I tend to agree with you. Beside, Ashcroft is leaving. So, I think we'll be alright.

I agree, overcoming that deficit will be tough. We need another Reagan built ecomomy that the Clinton years enjoyed.

The same one that Clinton also eventually killed.

Jack. Thanks. That post spoke to me and a lot of people.

jack "i always carry a lot of anger" bog - perhaps you could find a bit of solace in the fact that you have two beautiful, healthy daughters and a great wife.
that should take your rage down a few notches.
just trying to help =)
their halloween picture alone makes me smile - and I don't even know them!

Mr. Roberts,

Just to correct you on a couple of your points. You state that you know of no faiths that condone single-sex marriage. I beg to differ since there were plenty of pastors from various faiths performing marriage rites for same-sex couples back in February-March. Unless theri religions do not qualify as "faith."

And I'm sure a certain lawyer from Beaverton of the islamic faith that spent some very undeserved time incarcerated this last year might beg to differ with you on your views regarding abuse of the Patriot Act. But I guess if he gets to sue in civil court that wipes away any memory of having the Feds come to his door and haul him away.

Mr. Roberts,

One more point:
I wanted to thank you for your thoughtful, level-headed contributions to this portion of the blogoshpere. I may not agree with your views. In fact most of the time I do not. But I do listen and you seem to do the same. I sincerely wish this was the norm for public discourse.

Jack B.,

Nice post...I think a lot of us have similar feelings. For me, I can't stand seeing people make decisions based on what I consider to be bad information. Of course, with the kind of stuff that gets trotted out as the truth, it's perhaps not surprising--if no less infuriating.

Jack R.-- Whoa. When did your party stop caring about the federal debt? Is it that more of you are getting close to retirement, and feel secure that you will get your benefits without having to pay for them? Or did you ever care? And I don't agree with you on the effects--the effects have already been severe. The dollar is at a record low against the euro--it hit $1.29 or so yesterday--off 40% from its peak. And that's with China and Japan continuing to accumulate surplus dollars to fuel their export economies.

Furthermore, the dollar benefits from being the backbone of international finance. As long as foreign countries keep dollars in their central banks, we will enjoy artificially low interest rates and inflation. But if those countries start to shift to euros, for either political and/or economic reasons, we will pay a heavy price. Yet another likely cost of unilateralism.

I tend to believe you when you say you don't see the effects of this down economy. Incomes are up for the wealthy under Bush. It's when you look at the lines at the rescue missions and soup kitchens that you see the real impact. Also, have you noticed that Bush freezed resources going to HUD, and the stress this puts on affordable housing?

I hate to think that anyone would settle for an out-of-sight, out-of-mind solution for these kinds of problems, and your reputation is better than that, so I'd just encourage you to think that simply because you or others might not see it every day in your circles doesn't mean things are okay.

Jack - thank you.

For the longest time I lived in a blissful world if self-imposed ignorance. I didn't vote. What was the point? I think many people of my generation felt the same way and, quite possibly, perhaps what is going on today is an indirect result of my (and others’) inaction. I live with the guilt every day that I, in part, am responsible.

It’s a sobering experience to say the least.

Then came the events of 2000. Or, should I say, then came Florida. Before that, I was neither left nor right, Republican nor Democrat. I was like the countless flotsam of the American tide. But the 2000 election got my attention. Who was this George W Bush? Ok, so he was Former Pres Bush’s son… but who was he? I started listening to the debates and found that I liked this W guy less and less. And, in the end, for the first time ever, I voted. For Gore.

Then came Florida. The rest, as they say is history… well, almost.

Then came Sept 11, 2001. As I walked into work that morning I wondered what all the hubbub was. See, I don’t usually listen to the radio or watch the news in the AM. A co-worker looked to me and said “The world’s on fire.” I’ll never be able to forget that as long as I live. And so the guilt began.

Then the war. It was obvious to me that Bush was carrying out his daddy’s war… but why? Did Saddam really pose that much of a threat? What about North Korea? Ah… oil. It all makes sense now.

All of that lead to Election day 2004. I was far from inactive this time around. I watched every debate. I read every article I could. I tried to look at things from both left and right and still came to the conclusion that W is the worst thing to happen to this country as far as presidents go. Surely all of America saw that too so what was I worried about? Kerry was sure to sweep.

Then came Ohio. Talk about Déjà vu. My heart broke that night. I’m note sure when it’ll be able to heal.

So now we have another four years… a war waged, quite possible, against the wrong people and no exit plan in sight. We have countries all across the globe – once our allies now looking upon us with contempt. We’ve lost what respect we had in the UN because the Cowboy decided to give the finger to them in order to attack Iraq.

North Korea has quieted down. But, in my experience, that is rarely ever a good thing. And Iran is pursuing Nuclear Weapons. Whee! And talking about weapons – we go in LOOKING for weapons and, instead LOOSE THEM! What a sneaky way to arm the Iranians, Iraqis and whomever else needed some. Plausible deniability. After all, we didn’t actually trade arms with them… we just left them there and OOPS! They found ‘em! How clever. How utterly convenient.

Before you chalk this down to the ranting of a far left-wing supporter, please keep in kind that I do not support any candidate because they are red or blue or green. Had Bush actually spoken to me in a way that mattered, I may have voted for him. But he didn’t. Kerry did. Who knows what will happen in 2008? I support those who I feel will better serve this country, regardless of Republican, Democrat, Liberal or whatever. I put any partisan loyalties aside for the better of my Country. And, to that end, I weep when I see what is happening to this Country because of the greed of the few and powerful. Rich get richer and poor get poorer.

But then again, isn’t that the way it’s always been?

Enough of this. Maybe I’ll go back to being ignorant. After all, it’s bliss, right?

It's beaverTRON not Beaverton.

I am with you bojack. It depresses me to think that we have to face four more years of the Bush administration. I realize that the Republicans felt the same way about Clinton. Now they are calling for us to pull together in the spirit of non-patisanship. Where was this attitude when Clinton tried to introduce health care reform. Now Republicans all of a sudden care about the working class. The Europeans understand us. Half of us are idiots. Call me an elitist intellectual who has no moral values and I say thank you. At least I don't swallow the lies and accept the blunders as the price of doing war.

Well said Jack! I heard Lars "fatslob" Larson reading it on the air a little bit ago. Just keep the fire burning. 49% of this country wanted change, but the 51% of the braindead fools couldn't see past their fear and "values" to protect the interest of this nation.

Now, in 2004, we have tons of groups and people with idle hands, fists full 'o dollars and not so idle minds. A light of 1,000,000,000 candle power is going to be shown on the GOP and this administration to illuminated all their iniquities for the American people to see.

(And to all you naive conservatives out there: You think the Bush's first four years was bad with the move-ons, move-ups and the countless others. It just got a whole lot worse. And when you get mad, just think back to those days of the 90's during Clinton's second term and remember that famous old expression: "You reap what you sow")

Welcome to the White House.


A few responses to posts responding to mine:

(1) I realize some individual ministers performed same-sex marriages but I'm not aware that any of the religions which ordained them recognize those marriages.

(2) I don't believe the lawyer from Beaverton was arrested under the Patriot Act. I think he was treated abominably, but his case was mishandled; he was not the victim of a bad law.

(3) Republicans stopped "caring" about the deficit and the federal debt in a knee-jerk reflexive manner when the Reagan years demonstrated that strong economic growth could accompany a persistent deficit, and the Clinton years proved that with persistent economic growth we could grow our way out of an apparently intractable deficit (after Bush Sr. and early Clinton proved we couldn't tax our way out of the deficit).

The main reason the recesion was so mild is that the Bush tax cuts were already on the way. The only problem with the Bush tax cuts is that they should have been the Clinton tax cuts. If we had cut taxes in 1999 or 2000 we probably wouldn't have had a recession at all and we would still have a small surplus and the tax cuts today.

(4) I don't stay up nights worrying about the foreign exchange value of the dollar. If the dollar depreciates compared to other currencies, we will export more and import less, theregy breducting our trade deficit, and foreigners who own our debt will be repaid in a less valuable currency. What's so bad about that?

(5) I'm not ignoring the hardship on the poor or the unemployed and I never declared that paradise had arrived. But the truth is that at its peak, the unemployment rate in the recent recession was the lowest of any recession in 30 years. The national unemployment rate today is 5.4%, exactly what it was when Bill Clinton was reelected in 1996, running as the prosperity candidate.

(6) Look up and you'll notice the sky is not falling.

Thanks for the post - good one. I feel that same anger as you, but I guess at least 49% of the people in the country agree with me. I believe over time the midwest and the south will come around and realize you can't hold onto 1950's values forever. I lived in the south for awhile and while the older folks were still extremely conservative, didn't value education much, etc...the younger generation is quite a bit more liberal or at least centrist.

Jack Roberts, what you seem to be saying is "none of these things have affected MY LIFE badly, therefore I think you're exaggerating them." That's a quick and dirty summary, correct me if I shaded it wrong.

OK, obviously a lot of people agree with you. My problem, Jack, is that if any of these things ever get to the point where they affect YOUR life, it's going to be mostly too late to do fix the damage (not to mention by then it will have affected a ton of the rest of us). Heck, if/when it gets to the point where it affects MY life negatively it'll probably be too late, and I'm just a poor working stiff/college student.

So, yes, this for a lot of us was about *preemption*. Preemption was rejected, and if it turns out we were worried about nothing, great, give Cheney or Jeb or Rudy another four years, no problem.

What I wonder, Jack, is at what point you would be willing to admit that YOU were wrong? How bad would Iraq have to get, how bad would the deficit have to get, how much of our civil liberties would have to be taken away, etc., before you say, "OK, guys, this isn't working"? And how much of a mess will be left over when that happens?

Mr. Roberts,

I still disagree with you on Brandon Mayfield's case. His arrest may not have ben effected under the Patriot Act, but the surveillance over and inside his house sure was.

I'm sorry, but the changes in my life since 2000 have almost all been detrimental and/or tangible ones. My anger is hardly theoretical - it's visceral and very very personal. Things aren't better for me now, nor are they better for my children. And 'things' aren't 'better' for those parents who've lost children overseas, and we've many of those parents right here in Oregon, right here in our own backyards.

And yes, the roots of those detrimental changes can all be traced back to the decisions made by the current administration.

Dear Mr. Roberts,

Some of my favorite people are moderate Republicans, like Ty and Deb. They crossed over to vote with the Democrats this time. More than 450 businesses across the state from Pixelworks to Higgins Restaurant supported the Democratic presidential ticket.

The Democrats in Oregon and moderate Republicans can take a punch. Mark my words the 49% of this country who supported Kerry or anybody but Bush, are even more committed to taking back their country.

Hilsy, the surveillance and searches have been legal for years in criminal cases. All the Patriot Act did was expand them into terrorism investigatione. If you and others are serious about curbing these "abuses" then you should be outlawing their use in ALL situations. I'm sure that Organized Crime, Pedophiles, street gangs, drug runners and scary right-wing militas will be more than happy with you.

"Do you know how to cure a chicken-killin dog? Now you know you cannot keep a dog that kills chickens, no matter how fine a dog it is.

The way to do it, is to take one of the chickens the dog has killed and wire the thing around the dog's neck, good and strong. And leave it there until the dead chicken stinks so bad the dog won't be able to stand himself. You leave it on there until the last little bit of flesh rots and falls off, and that dog won't kill chickens again.

The Bush administration is going to be wired around the neck of the people for four more years, long enough for the stench to sicken everybody. It should cure the country of electing Republicans."
Molly Ivans

I hope I'm not ignoring what's going on around me and simply fixating on me. Nor am I living in a particularly cloistered environment. For the most part, what I'm hearing are hypothetical concerns about how the Patriot Act might be misused and isolated incidents of overreaching by police which didn't start with 9/11 (remember the poor schmuck who was publicly blamed for the Olympic bombing in Atlanta?).

When will I admit I was wrong? When there is evidence I was wrong. I actually opposed going into Iraq, and so far the evidence has supported what I predicted would happen straight down the line. But I don't favor cutting and running--and for that matter, neither did Kerry or Edwards. I also think the Iraq war has been handled very poorly, but I'm not holding my breath waiting for the French, Germans or Russians to come in and bail us out.

I'll say the deficit is too high when inflation starts to reignite, interest rates start to rise precipitously or when unemployment finally gets back down to a level that stabilizing the economy becomes more important than trying to spur growth.

I'll say our civil liberties have been curtailed too much (1) when I see them starting to be curtailed at all and (2) when I believe the cost of curtailment in liberties exceeds the benefits from heightened security.

Finally, I'm not suggesting everyone ought to support Bush. I am suggesting that the doom-and-gloom scenarios are without foundation.

I would have posted this as a separate post but did not see how to do so. If someone can, would you please post this: (Sorry Jack)

Glitch gave Bush extra votes in Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- An error with an electronic voting system gave President Bush 3,893 extra votes in suburban Columbus, elections officials said.



Ask your local librarian how she feels about living under the threat of being visited by the FBI. It really doesn't matter whether they come or not; people's freedoms are grotesquely interfered with by hanging that kind of threat over their heads. The threat of constant surveillance is enough. You're never going to know what abuses have taken place, because the only thing this administration hates more than good science is transparency. I think it is preposterously naive to think there have only been the abuses of the PATRIOT Act that you have heard about. There isn't exactly an effective So You've Been Surreptitiously Surveilled Under The PATRIOT Act ombudsman.

And sure, you can say the increase in security is worth the loss of liberty. For most people who say that, of course, it's not their liberty, because they aren't Muslims, or immigrants, or liberal activists, or anybody else who John Ashcroft thinks should be thoroughly investigated before being allowed out in public. If it's not you they're after, then the high-minded cost-benefit analysis boils down to writing checks for other people's asses to cash, and I think that's unfair.

Mr. Roberts,

Thank you for your thoughtful comments, and your willingness to engage in dialog. I have a few comments on your same-sex marriage statements. I hope that you will consider that there are other angles to approach this issue from, and that you are still willing to reflect on it.

In regards to the religious sanctioning of same-sex marriages, there is official religious recognition. Not all religions have a Pope or a central governing body handing down the rules. My faith, The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), makes decisions by consensus within each meeting, and sometimes in regional gatherings. Various meetings across the country have been recognizing same-sex ceremonies for years. Many of the Quaker meetings in the Northwest struggled with this issue throughout the 1990s. I believe that other churches are having ongoing internal discussions on this issue, and that there are others who recognize the marriages. The pastors performing ceremonies this Spring were, for the most part, doing so with the support of their congregations, if not international governing bodies of their faiths.

This is not an easy issue for many people or for faith communities. However, there are many people who read the Bible, live faith-based lives, and support the idea of two people (of the same sex) being joined together for life with the blessings of God and their community. I understand that to some people this seems new and that is a break from tradition. So was divorce, not so long ago.

I hope that you will consider that most same-sex couples do not wish to marry in order to make a political statement, but for the same reasons that any heterosexual couple wishes to marry. I imagine that most other people's marriages do not have much impact on your life, and I find it hard to see how the sex of the people in the couple would change that. Being a religious person does not put you in automatic opposition to same-sex unions.

Thank you,


found at:


Palm Beach County Logs 88,000 More Votes Than Voters
(November 5, 2004 04:56 PM)

Kerry gave up too soon, I thought we were going to count every vote this time!?

Newsflash, you may be dead right!

"Kerry Won. . .
Greg Palast
November 04, 2004"

"Bush won Ohio by 136,483 votes. In the United States, about 3 percent of votes cast are voided—known as “spoilage” in election jargon—because the ballots cast are inconclusive. Drawing on what happened in Florida and studies of elections past, Palast argues that if Ohio’s discarded ballots were counted, Kerry would have won the state. Today, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports there are a total of 247,672 votes not counted in Ohio, if you add the 92,672 discarded votes plus the 155,000 provisional ballots. So far there's no indication that Palast's hypothesis will be tested because only the provisional ballots are being counted."

Read the rest here: http://www.tompaine.com/articles/kerry_won_.php

It seems, once again, minorities are being discriminated against and uncounted. I wondered how Kerry could lose with 90% of the minority vote. Now I know.

Makes you feel proud to be an American under the Bush Regime, doesn't it?

Mr. Roberts...

"They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty nor security"

My comments regarding same-sex marriage weren't meant to deprecate those relationships or even to express a substantive view on that issue. I was simply trying to explain why I didn't think the votes of 11 states on this issue necessarily represented "the injection of a specific religion's morals into our fabric of laws."

Ironically, even though voters apparently aren't ready to recognize same-sex marriage, there is surprising support for civil unions (i.e., from George W. Bush and Gordon Smith), a position which just two years ago marked Howard Dean as a way-out leftist. One more reason, I think, not to assume that we are in the midst of a huge reactionary backlash.

[And as to the reports out of Ohio and Florida, it sounds like this time we did count every vote--and then some! :-)]

For those of you who are complaining about the PATRIOT ACT, where were you during Waco and Ruby Ridge? Or did them right-wing nut-jobs just get what was coming to them?

For those of you who cried foul over Waco and Ruby Ridge, where is your voice now? Or are we just giving them A-rabs what's coming to them?

For those of you who applaud the government's actions at Waco and Ruby Ridge, and support the PATRIOT ACT, you have my anger the same way the Bushies have our host's anger.

You said it very well Jack. I was just thinking this morning that I have never felt so angry after an election. And I lived through Nixon and Reagon.

Those of us who believe that leaving a legacy for future generations is also morality need to rise up and beat the christian fundamentalists and their economic conservative allies. The right does not own morality. This country was founded by humanists. We need to return to those values not the values of bigotry and hatred that Bush espouses.

A note for Jack Roberts- Uemployment rates only represent the number of people actually receiving benefits. Thus the many people who have gone through their uneployment benefits and are still unemployed are not counted as part of the official figures.

To mirror Lilly's comment re: unemployment rates, she is spot on. Those who are no longer receiving benefits are no longer counted, regardless of whether they are employed or not.

The system is borked. But what else is new?

The labor force participation rate has declined since the beginning of 2001, after increasing steadily in the last half of the 1990s, but it is not clear how much of this is due to people running out of their unemployment insurance. At most, it might have masked another 1 percentage point of unemployment, still well below recent recessions.

I do agree that our economy is still operating well below capacity--which is why I'm not too concerned about the deficit at this time. I'm more concerned with keeping the recovery going (which the latest numbers suggest is happening).

"Ironically, even though voters apparently aren't ready to recognize same-sex marriage, there is surprising support for civil unions (i.e., from George W. Bush and Gordon Smith), a position which just two years ago marked Howard Dean as a way-out leftist. One more reason, I think, not to assume that we are in the midst of a huge reactionary backlash."

Exactly. But ohhhhhhhhhhhhh noooooooooooooo, it wasn't enough nor fast enough. So the gay community pushed it to the top & over, this of all years, inspiring exactly the backlash easily predicted by anyone not too busy courting politically correct favor with it, and boom. More than any other factor, I credit the gay community with electing George W. Bush. I credit them with that even more than with the amendments in 11 states banning same-sex marriage. The battle was brazenly fought -- and brazenly (by the other side) won.

So be it. Own it.

Leave it to a couple a "Jacks" to spark a post election debate resulting in much needed therapy for my post-election anxiety disorder. All my close friends will receive a forward with encouragement to read the comments!

(1) I realize some individual ministers performed same-sex marriages but I'm not aware that any of the religions which ordained them recognize those marriages.

The issue isn't a religious one--it's a legal one. Prefering one group over another before the law is a symptom of the creeping religiosity of our laws. It doesn't matter if a religion "recognizes" gay marriage if the state and federal government do not.

(2) I don't believe the lawyer from Beaverton was arrested under the Patriot Act.

Absurd. The Patriot act isn't a "law"--it's a network of provisions that remove Constitutional protections from men like Brandon Mayfield. The government may now enter your home without your knowledge and without a warrant and gather evidence against you. They may then hold you without charging you or detailing the evidence against you. They may prosecute you secretly by a jury of marines. All of this--and much of it happened to Mayfield--thanks to legislation contained in the Patriot Act. Jack's language about "police state" may have been intentionally hyperbolic, but his characterization was closer to the truth than yours.

(3) Republicans stopped "caring" about the deficit...

This qualifies as absurd as well. Do you not recall what Reagan was forced to do once his recovery did not pull the country out of massive deficits? He raised taxes.

The main reason the recesion was so mild is that the Bush tax cuts were already on the way. The only problem with the Bush tax cuts is that they should have been the Clinton tax cuts. If we had cut taxes in 1999 or 2000 we probably wouldn't have had a recession at all and we would still have a small surplus and the tax cuts today.

Again, this analysis is beyond credulity. Whether or not the recession was in place when Bush took office (the debate rages), what we are currently experiencing isn't the Clinton recession, it's the Bush recovery. The country has been in this "recovery" for most of Bush's tenure. Worse, your notion that the deficits are Clinton deficits--laughable. Care to name a single economists who supports that howler?

(4) I don't stay up nights worrying about the foreign exchange value of the dollar. If the dollar depreciates compared to other currencies, we will export more and import less, theregy breducting our trade deficit, and foreigners who own our debt will be repaid in a less valuable currency. What's so bad about that?

Nothing, if it works. Except that the dollar has been weak for two years, but exports and manufacturing have not seen gains. So what gives?

(5) I'm not ignoring the hardship on the poor or the unemployed and I never declared that paradise had arrived. But the truth is that at its peak, the unemployment rate in the recent recession was the lowest of any recession in 30 years. The national unemployment rate today is 5.4%, exactly what it was when Bill Clinton was reelected in 1996, running as the prosperity candidate.

Again: this is the Bush recovery. Which is it, a kick-ass, red-hot economy, or one that has never really recovered, despite nearly a trillion dollars of federal heft. One could argue that the trillion might have been more ably spent than in giving the bulk of it to the wealthy, who hoard it because they, at least, recognize the actual sick health of the economy?

(6) Look up and you'll notice the sky is not falling.

Give it four years.

Jeff, let's take this point-by-point:

(1) My comment was based upon the allegation that Republicans were responsible for the "injection of a specific religion's morals into our fabric of laws." If you agree the issue is not a religious one, then my point has been made.

(2)If the Patriot Act isn't a law, then what did the members of Congress vote for and what did the President sign? Of course it's a law, but it is only a statute and by definition cannot "remove Constitutional protections from men like Brandon Mayfield" as you allege. Brandon Mayfield was abused in that officials misread evidence, namely fingerprints, which caused them to wrongfully believe he was involved in a terrorist act. If they had been right, I'm not sure that he was treated badly. In any event, I still don't know what the Patriot Act had to do with it.

(3) The deficit was a larger percentage of GDP every full fiscal year that Reagan was President than it has been any year that Bush has been President. (It was even larger during the Administration of Bush I after his tax increase than it has been during Bush II after his tax cuts).

I never said the deficits are Clinton's deficits. I simply said we would have been better off if Bush's tax cut had been Clinton's tax cut and we had avoided the recession altogether.

(4) The dollar was overvalued during the late 1990s, hurting our exports (particularly in agriculture) and the decline in its value the last two years has helped somewhat, although the weakness in foreign economies has kept them from buying more from us even with the cheaper dollar. Again, the fluctuation in the value of the dollar mirrors what happened in the 1980s to a great extent (an unsustainable rise in value being followed by a significant decline in value).

(5) I've never claimed it is a kick-ass, red-hot economy. Because the Bush tax cuts and Greenspan's interest rate reductions occurred almost simultaneously with the onset of the recession. it has been a much shallower recession than most but the recovery has also been milder and more prolonged. But would it have been better for the economy to have fallen farther so that it would bounce back stronger? I don't think so.

(6) The sad thing is not that you believe the sky will fall in the next four years, but that you so desperately seem to want it to just to prove your side was right.

Jack, no reason to respond on substance I think--we've come to a rhetorical cul-de-sac here. You seem keen to flatly refuse to see anything other than the glass is totally full. That's your prerogative, of course.

But I think this comment merits something:

(6) The sad thing is not that you believe the sky will fall in the next four years, but that you so desperately seem to want it to just to prove your side was right.

One's argument is always weaker when asserting what the other person believes. I find it appalling that you imagine lefties wish to drag down the country, but then that's been the Rove schtick for 4 years, so I shouldn't be surprised.

But let's be clear: what's already happened has been catastrophic. You may feel that it's pure goodness, but from where I sit, the country is less prosperous, far more unequal, less safe, and far, far more divided. For you to suggest that my love of my own country--which is exactly the reason I so lament these things--is a "desperate wish" for harm is exactly the kind of evidence that the country has been headed in the wrong direction.

But you're making exactly my point. It's exactly the Crossfire-ization of political debate that I'm criticizing. You don't have to believe that either everything is great or else everything is going to hell in a handbasket.

I thought we made a mistake going into Iraq and I'm not sure how we get out of it. I do think our economic recovery is sluggish and our continued loss of manufacturing jobs is a significant structural problem in our economy. Social security needs to be dealt with in a fair and balanced way. And we do need to decide how we balance our civil liberties and need for security in a world where terrorism has been brought home.

But none of these problems was caused by George W. Bush and if John Kerry has an answer for any of them it was the best kept secret of the campaign. That's why I think all the doom-and-gloom handwringing is pure partisanship.

Did anyone else hear? I just heard a report that alarmed me considerably. If my numbers are off, someone please provide the correct info.

It seems that there are more bsuinesses now under the Cowboy's administration that are being fined and investigated for working with known terrorist orginizations.

Also, it seems the fine amounts for such violations have DROPPED in the realm of 200%* during the Cowboy's administration.

Yeah... he's really going after those terrorists, isn't he? Oh, wait... he must be confusing "Fighting" with "Funding". My bad.

* Numbers taken from news report on 620 AM Air America.

I don't get this.

First you say: "The sad thing is not that you believe the sky will fall in the next four years, but that you so desperately seem to want it to just to prove your side was right."

And then: "It's exactly the Crossfire-ization of political debate that I'm criticizing."

I actually offered reality-based arguments up-thread. It's as if analysis and critique are themselves the problem--or something other than a perfectly rosy take on the facts.

Anyone tempted to think that record federal deficits aren't that big of a problem, as Jack R. argues, might want to check out former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin's comments last night. He warns that there could be more downside for the dollar.

If there is anyone in a better position to argue credibly about the intersection of Wall St., currency markets, and US fiscal policy, I'm not sure who it is.

Waiting until the trouble is upon you, as Jack R. implies is the best solution, is like vowing to put on the brakes after you hit the wall. Movement away from the dollar will be hard to reverse after the fact.

We have record deficits only in nominal dollars. As a percent of GDP, the deficits are not as high as they were in the 1980s or early 1990s. And the decline of the dollar has only offset the run-up in the value of the dollar in the late 1990s.

The idea that a rising dollar is always good and a declining dollar is always bad is exactly contrary to (and as equally wrong-headed as) the notion that a trade surplus is always good and a trade deficit is always bad.

I respect Secretary Rubin a lot and I think he was an outstanding Treasury Secretary. But he didn't become Treasury Secretary until after we had fully recovered from the recession of the early 1990s and his experience with lingering deficits and a prolonged decline in the value of the dollar when he took office may not make him the best guide for our current situation.

Here are the figures from the Congressional Budget Office.


If you isolate social security, which is the right way to do it, 2003's deficit was 5.0% of GDP. You are right that the 2003 deficit of $536 billion is not a record in terms of % of GDP: 1983, 1985, 1986, 1991, and 1992 were worse. The record from 1962-2003 was in 1983, at 6.0%.

But not being a record year isn't cause for celebration. The debt is cumulative, and the threat that it poses accumulates, as well. 5% annual deficits simply are not sustainable, and there's nothing Keynesian about the Bush approach to deficits. It's not like we're selling T-bills to fund capital projects like roads, schools and housing. We're fighting wars and cutting the top marginal rate, and that is not a successful formula for a good economy.

No one said that a strong dollar is always good. But the supply side practice of delivering annual deficits of 5% of GDP is irresponsible. John McCain is right that we should be paying our bills, instead of pushing them off on future generations.

Grover Norquist may be right that a deficit never cost anyone an election, and his strategy of curbing spending by crippling the federal budget may ultimately "work", but this doesn't mean it's the right thing to do.

52% of the American public didn't think this country is sprouting the infernal flames. (Try again with the 49% folks, it's not even close).

The anger you seem to feel, Professor, has been echoing around the liberal/Left circles (I know you're not a Leftist, but the two groups are closely aligned) for a week now. It's as if a sound trouncing of your values just cannot be comprehended.

Oh, and I have to agree with Sally, gay marriage lost in Oregon because of the utter strategic bumbling of the gay activists. Democrats should take note that gay marriage passed BIG, even as Kerry took the state. It's not all mouth breathing, bigoted, redneck troglodytes now, is it?

"60 million idiots" the Brit tabloids screech. "Jesusland" is coined by some wag. The country is made up of bigots and ignoramouses! Constructive? Obviously not. True? Not by a long shot.

People have seen the liberal ideal and simply rejected it.

If that causes you rage and despair, well, frankly, good.

Combative interest group politics has been all the Dems have offered for 20 years or more at a national level. The Dem candidate this year floated by on the ABB venom without any governing plan. Where should the rage be directed, Professor?

Those who, like you to a degree, HATED Shrimpchubcobu$hitler with a degree of animosity far removed from sanity.

I'm sorry to be so antagonistic, but I wasn't terribly happy about voting for Bush this year because of the deficit situation and his spending. But the Democrats utter lack of moral seriousness left absolutely no other option.

Oh, and

I posted this on another thread, but meant to post it here. So... here it is:

Well, the Cowboy's going to have a LOT of more apologizing to do. I'll say this for the old so-and-so, he sticks to his guns.

U.S. policy unchanged after climate report


President Bush is holding fast to his rejection of mandatory curbs on greenhouse gases that are blamed for global warming, despite a fresh report from 300 scientists in the United States and seven other nations that shows Arctic temperatures are rising.


Alaska oil drilling back on agenda


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republican gains in the Senate could give President Bush his best chance yet to achieve his No. 1 energy priority -- opening an oil-rich but environmentally sensitive Alaska wildlife refuge to drilling.

Being a former resident of Alaska (25 years) this last issue really bothers me. Mostly because I can see both the good and bad in it. I guess if I actually trusted him, and didn’t know that his overall agenda was to line even more pockets, I might have even voted for it if I were still a resident. As it is, I’ll be getting in touch with my old friends and challenge them to fight it all the way.

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