Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Cull Day: A Great Day to be Named Bush, and More

It's already been a long day, and I'm exhausted.

Unfortunately, too much is happening for me to be completely silent today. The Democrats have caved in to Bush, giving him everything he wants with absolutely zero accountability and zero movement towards ending the war. I've already said my piece on the Democrats and their lack of anti-war credibility on my personal LiveJournal. Short version: if you want to end the war, vote Libertarian or Green in 2008- not Democratic, and certainly not Republican.

George Bush has held another fortuitously timed news conference,, announcing the declassification of matters related to attempts by al-Qaida to organize a strike on the continental United States based in Iraq. (Um... is Osama bin Laden really so stupid as to make home base for a strike on the USA in a nation crawling with US troops and militias with conflicting or opposing goals to al-Qaida?)

If the timing of the declassification announcement was deliberately timed to distract from Justice Department aide Monica Goodling's testimony before Congress, it was a waste of a perfectly good propoganda tool. Aside from vague accusations that Deputy Attorney General McNulty perjured himself before Congress and an anecdote that almost, but not quite, accuses Alberto Gonzales of attempting to influence or alter Goodling's potential testimony after she was supoenaed, Goodling opened no fresh cans of worms and provided nothing of any practical use in investigating the rampant corruption in the Justice Department.

However, Keith Olbermann will have much to say on all of this tonight, especially on the failure of Democrats to stand to their guns on Iraq. I'm not going to go into great detail on that... or much of anything, for that matter. I'm tired, I'm feeling burned out for the day, which makes it a great time for the first Cull Day since the return of this blog.

So, let's check the bookmarks and see what stories are a week old or older that don't merit a larger post...

Alabama Calls Libertarians Terrorists - On the one hand, I'm outraged at how a government agency calls people who believe in individual rights terror suspects. On the other hand, I keep remembering how many militia-movement people we had in the party when I first joined in 1999, and how a large number of them were calling for an armed revolution in case of a Gore Presidency- despite the fact that that directly violated both the spirit and the letter of the LP's membership pledge against advocating violence for political change. A lot of our fellow travelers have given the rest of society good reason to be suspicious: time we recognized the fact.

Taliban Releases Kidnapped French Aid Worker - Lesson learned by terrorists (again): Terror works.

Ricky Williams Fails Drug Test... Again - I don't think marijuana should be illegal. I do think the NFL, like any private employer, has the right to set drug standards for employment. Either way, Ricky, when you were already on suspension, continuing to drink and toke and expecting to be allowed back on the playing field was JUST PLAIN STUPID. Folks, this is what wacky weed DOES to you- it makes you think dicking around the people you owe $10 million in non-performance contract clauses is a GOOD IDEA.

Cheney Promises US Will Keep Persian Gulf Open - Two points. First- does anybody believe anymore that Cheney, and Bush and the rest of 'em, are NOT trying to get us in a shooting war in Iran? Second- does anybody in the rest of the world have any respect whatever for anything ANY American government official says, especially Cheney?

Army Offering Bonuses to Retain Officers - Yeah, because, y'know, getting badly underpaid and having benefits cut right and left while being put in ever-longer action tours and ever-shorter time stateside looks SO DAMN ATTRACTIVE to folks who've seen Iraq once... twice... thrice... four times running... Tell me, how do you say, "Not for all the corn in Iowa," in Arabic?

Karl Rove: Re-Open Democrat Voter Fraud Prosecutions, Or Else - I finally got round to reading All the President's Men last week. Today I picked up a copy of the follow-up, The Final Days, detailing how Nixon was persuaded to resign. Between that and this, I'm developing newfound respect for the Washington Post.

Texas Legislature Considers Tax on Nursing Homes - This annoys me. First, a large chunk of nursing home occupants are essentially wards of the state- Medicare or Medicaid is paying for thousands of dollars per month of care they can't afford. For these people, this tax would be a tax on the government- making these programs even MORE expensive than they already are! Second, those NOT on Medicare/Medicaid are pouring their life savings into their care... and this tax would make it even more expensive. Finally, this tax is earmarked... until a future legislature votes to redirect it to the general fund... to "improve nursing home care" by handing the money right back to the nursing homes... that is, those homes approved of by the state bureaucracy. Finally, the law has a provision forbidding nursing homes from passing it on to the consumers directly or indirectly. How in the hell do they expect to prove that a rate hike isn't due to this tax? From start to end, BAD IDEA.

Texas Senate Approves Tying Marriage License Fee to Family Counseling - Speaking of dumb shit from my state legislature, here's this notion- double the cost of getting your government's permission to get married unless you agree to state-mandated, state-controlled, state-chosen pre-marital counseling class. Considering the bill is written by Warren Chisum, the biggest homophobe and anti-sex warrior in either house of the Texas Legislature... just what kind of stuff will they teach in those classes? "Wives, your only proper role is as receptacle for your husband's semen. Husbands, you are not allowed to beat your wives with any stick thicker than one inch in diameter."

Zimbabwe to Head UN Sustainable Development Commission - First Syria chairing the UN Human Rights Commission, and now this. What gets me here isn't that the UN seems determined to prove it has no moral authority whatever to tell anybody to do anything. No, what gets me is that the UN considers Syria, Zimbabwe, and others as democracies, despite their one-party rule with fixed elections and strongmen serving for life. We need to remember that the trappings of democracy, or of a republic, by no means guarantee freedom. Only strict limitations on government power, enforced by the electorate, can do that... and if we aren't careful, what we see in Syria and Zimbabwe could happen here.

$17 Million in Texas Worker's Comp Death Benefits Kept by State, Mostly Paid Back to Insurance Companies - Wow. Government corruption and insurance corporation corruption in the same story. Please note the laws that mandate this were enacted in 1991, back when Texas was still solidly in Democrat control. As much as I'd love to stick this to Bush or Perry, I'll settle for demonstrating equal opportunity graft.

Lawmakers Try to Live a Week on Food Stamps - First, I've had to live on that amount, and I didn't have the help of food stamps. Second, the Congresscritters are very right: you just plain cannot afford a healthy diet on that amount. Third, I don't know that many people on food stamps or other assistance, but: (a) how many states don't supplement the federal food stamp program with their own programs, (b) how many food stamp people don't supplement their stamps with cash, and (c) what role do private charities play in feeding these people? Libertarians need to take an active role in creating a world where (c) adds up to no more need for taxpayers to pay for (a) and/or (b). Until then, let's get past cheap but thrilling publicity stunts like this one-week diet and get some actual facts on the topic.

... wow. That's a lot of stories, and still the list is huge. It's been really thick times for government stupidity, looks like. Probably do another of these before my upcoming business trip.

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