What's All This Then?

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Monday, June 13, 2005

As Pogo might say, Friday the 13th falls on a Monday this month, so I’ll be watching for black cats and ladders all day.

A few random thoughts.

I was happy to see the G8 countries forgive all those billions in debt owed by poor countries the other day. I just wish they could have seen their way to expand it to include the few grand I owe. I guess the road to forgiveness is to be poor, owe one hell of a lot and not make any payments on moneys owed. Of course if you try that as an individual in this generous member of the G8, you’ll find your wages attached, your car repossessed and your house sold out from under you. And you can’t get rid of your debt by filing bankruptcy any more. Not under the new laws passed by our generous and compassionate Congress. But not if you’re a big company of course. Then you can file for bankruptcy, cut everyone’s wages, dump any pension plan obligations and take pride in announcing that you’ll only lose three quarters of a billion this quarter instead of the usual billion. I’m going to have to see if the same rules would be in effect for a small company. I think I might resign from the ranks of lowly individuals, incorporate myself as WHATSALLTHISTHEN Airlines and get on a level playing field with United Airlines and Enron. Wouldn’t that be living up to those highly touted "values" of the party in power?

Since this is a random thought Monday - I’m just not in the mood to write an editorial - I suppose I should make a few comments about Howard Dean. I like Howard Dean. I think it’s refreshing to have someone in national politics who doesn’t hold a finger up to the wind before he opens his mouth to say something. In a sense that could describe President Bush - but he and Dean are as different as chalk and cheese in their shoot from the hip remarks. Dean’s mouth may sometimes be working before his bran is in full gear, but what he says isn’t going to send ripples of fear around the world and make strong men cry. What disturbs me most about some of Dean’s semi nutty statements - I know several Republican who have actually done more than a single honest day’s work in their lives - is the reaction from his fellow Democrats. One after another, they’re distancing themselves from their party chairman, saying that "he doesn’t speak for them." No, he speaks for what a lot of them may think - but wouldn’t dare verbalize for fear of being castigated the way they and their gleeful Republican opponents are tearing into the good Doctor. Even Ed Schultz, who fancies himself as the premier liberal radio talk show host, has devoted several segments of recent broadcasts to taking Dean to task.

What’s almost laughable about all of this is that the Democrats are going through one of those periods - sometimes it seems almost like a permanent period - of trying to come to grips with who they are and what they stand for. They have a President from the opposition party who has the lowest ratings of his Presidency to date, with mid-term elections looming on the horizon and a chance to change the numbers in Washington, and they’re allowing themselves to be distracted by a "gotcha" group of reporters who are in seventh heaven with this sort of thing - and of course Republican politicians, led by that paragon of virtuous proclamations and patriotic public servant , Dick, "I had other priorities" Cheney.

What Dean’s fellow Democrats need to do, if his attack mode bothers them, is to tell him so in private - not to sound like starving Republicans who have been thrown a healthy chunk of red meat. And they need to respond to those "gotcha" reporters the same way that Bush has turned his misstatements and mispronunciations to his advantage by making jokes about them - by being self deprecating. Dean should do it too - maybe saying that he throws these statements out to get people’s attention - and it seems to be working.

And maybe they need to counter Dean’s statements by calling attention to his Republican counterpart . Some of his critics say that Dean should be like Ken Mehlman - a person almost nobody knows - operating under the radar. But maybe they should defend Dean by saying, yes, he sometimes makes me wince when he says things that are a little over the top - but who would you rather have - a man of passion who has strong ideas about what his party stands for - or someone who tries to re-write current history in defense of his boss? As he did just eight days ago on Meet The Press.

I can’t resist this. I usually ignore responses to my postings from people who don’t seem to understand what it is I’m talking about and take off on tangents of their own, but once in a while someone says something not unexpected but nutty enough to make me roar with laughter. Last Friday, talking about Guantanamo and the Amnesty International report, I said, within the body of my comments;
"Unfortunately there are numskulls among us who think it’s just fine to ignore the rest of the world - to puff out their pseudo patriotic chests and declare in ignorant clamor that they don’t care what the rest of the world thinks."
Sure enough, one of my regular RWRAR critics came right back with this gem in the body of his comments;
"As far as "world opinion" is concerned, most of them can go to hell"
What would you call that? Confirmation of my cogent observation about numskulls among us and what they believe? An expression of self awareness? The motto of the numskull society of America? The central theme of American foreign policy?

Good for a good guffaw anyway if one doesn’t spend too much time wondering how many of them there are out there.

And finally, always good for a laugh or a perplexed shake of the head on a Monday morning, is the latest view of events through the cockamamie conservative viewfinder of Charles Krauthammer - and he didn’t disappoint on this Monday, talking about the Supreme Court decision on the medical use of marijuana and particularly on the dissenting views of Clarence Thomas, which he believed interpreted the law as the founders intended with regard to the commerce clause. Apparently he was so impressed with the Thomas dissent that he said "I hope Bush nominates Thomas to succeed Renquist as Chief Justice."

At first read, my shocked reaction was that Krauthammer had really lost it. Clarence Thomas as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court???

However much I’ve disagreed with most of his opinions in the past, I never thought that he had lost touch with reality - and after reading today’s column, I thought that perhaps he had indeed gone over the deep end. But on further review - as a judge might say - the concept of a Chief Justice Thomas makes perfect sense for anyone committed to a Bush era Republican type of governance - and that certainly would describe Krauthammer. With Thomas practicing his habitual vow of silence from the bench, - (some believe because he confused the justice’s robes with that of a monk’s habit) - no one will be able to analyze his questions to gauge his thinking during oral arguments, because he never asks any.!! We’ll never know which way he’s leaning or which other justice he’ll side with.

It would be a perfect judicial complement to the wall of secrecy that Cheney, Rove et al have built around the White House. So don’t be surprised folks. It may indeed be coming. Chief Justice Clarence Thomas.

Filibuster anyone???