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February 27, 2004

Give'Em Enough Rope

One piece of advice I got in my mock trial competition last weekend was to play nice with uncooperative witnesses. Don't press them on their evasiveness or implausible answers. Instead, give them a couple of chances to come clean, and if they don't, just keep moving. The idea is that if you just give some people enough rope, they'll hang themselves.

The same may be true of the Bush administration. Since day one, beginning around the time of its abrupt withdrawal from the Kyoto Treaty, I've been thinking/hoping the Bush administration would press its perceived advantages too far, doing things so outrageous that even its staunchest supporters would be forced to withdraw their support. So far, it hasn't happened. No matter what awful new outrage the administration propounds, it still seems to maintain support from around half the country. However, in just the last few days it's been piling outrage on outrage:

Secretary of Education Rod Paige called the National Education Association (NEA) -- the teacher's union -- "a terrorist organization."

Bush''s chief economic advisor thinks jobs at McDonald's should be reclassified as "manufacturing jobs":

In [Bush's annual economic] report last week, Bush's chief economic adviser N. Gregory Mankiw called the definition "somewhat blurry" and asked whether it should be changed. "When a fast-food restaurant sells a hamburger, for example, is it providing a 'service' or is it combining inputs to 'manufacture' a product?"

Yeah, right.

And now Bush is backing a Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Of course this is a political ploy. One of the best things I've heard from John Kerry is that Bush is "playing politics with the Constitution." But why Bush is taking this position is not as important as the simple fact that he's taking it. The POTUS is asking that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation be written into the Constitution.

Again I say: Yeah, right.

All of this has caused L's dad to write to our dear POTUS to complain. The last line of his letter pretty much says it all:

President Bush, even if you personally shot Osama bin Laden tomorrow, I still would not vote for you in November.

And this from a man who voted Bush/Cheney in 2000. You gotta love that.

Posted 06:55 AM | Comments (8) | election 2004

What's Happening in Haiti?

Why is the democratically-elected leader in Haiti under attack from armed rebels? And why will no one step in to help settle the issue? From the AP we get general summaries of events that don't tell us too much about why any of this is happening. On the surface, you'd think the Bush administration, with its constant talk of strengthening democracy around the globe, would want to help Aristide. But that's not what we're doing. Instead the U.S. is stalling and more or less saying Aristide should bow to the so-called rebels. Why?

The AP keeps talking about "flawed elections" in 2000 that caused Aristide to lose the support of the international community. Hmm. Maybe. The AP claims that Aristide hasn't been helping the people of Haiti as he said he would. Again, it's possible. But according to this from an apparent Aristide supporter, around 90% of Haitians support Aristide. So why have the "rebels"/"terrorists" been able to make so much trouble? The same source says it's because the U.S. has been funding them. And why would the U.S. do that? Possibly because Aristide's policies aren't good for corporate America.

So what do we believe? There seems to be plenty of evidence in the historical record of U.S. involvement in small developing nations to support the idea that the U.S. has been largely responsible for supporting the trouble in Haiti. Apparently Congresswoman Maxine Waters believes that. Then again, it's always possible that Aristide has become a power-hungry, anti-democratic demagogue. What do you believe? Why?

Posted 06:25 AM | Comments (3) | general politics

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