Wednesday, June 28, 2006

He Said She Said

I'm often amazed at many journalists fear of stating facts as, well, facts. Rather, they seem content to push the "he-said-she-said" story line. This latest article in the Seattly PI on Christine Gregoire, the Democratic governor of Washington, provides an example:
[Research director of the conservative think tank the Washington Policy Center] Paul Guppy said Gregoire's travels help build goodwill and make contacts, "but beyond that, I don't think it contributes very much."

Gregoire disagrees.

On a trip to Paris last year, Gregoire met with 11 potential suppliers that could expand or bring their businesses to Washington state. Since then, five of those companies have come to the state, she said.
I'm not sure why the author, Chris McGann, feels compelled to let this story become a Guppy v. Gregoire narative. Did five companies come to the state or not? That should be a statement of fact by McGann, not Gregoire. Have companies from other trips started doing business with/in Washington? I think those are relevant facts, whether or not it helps or hurts Gregoire. If the competing view is that these trips are ineffective, why not report on actual numbers instead of some conservative think tank spokesperson--or contributors to Gregoire's 2004 opponent--speak for themself?

This type of journalism, is frustrating to me. Facts are facts and should be reported as such. A journalist need not put their opinion, but objective facts don't need to be "balanced" by opposing views--contrary facts, if they exist, yes. Let the reader interpret. This is the same kind of crap that the Swift Boaters relied on to trash Kerry. Rather than reporting the facts, journalists "reported" the bogus claims of the disgraced Swift Boaters by merely stating that "some say ..."

This country needs information and it would be nice for journalists to report facts, not just people's opinions or statements. After all, I can repeat that I'm 6'5 until I'm blue in the face, but that does not make it so. Only a fool would report that as relevant (unless they were trying to show that I'm crazy).

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Apparently I'm a Conservative

I was struck by these statements from a Washington Monthly article on the failure of American Conservativism:
Odd men out in America's liberal political culture, America's conservatives were never very unified. Alexander Hamilton and John Marshall wanted to see a strong national government created to improve America's economic prospects, even if they retained an aristocratic sense that only social superiors should control that government...

This is not beyond the realm of possibility. Conservatives in the American past--not only Hamilton and Marshall, but Daniel Webster and Henry Clay--were in favor of a strong government capable of meeting national objectives.
Hamilton is my favorite Founding Father and who I would say that I most resemble politically. He was not for "small government" or "states rights" as an end in themselves. He noticed that peoples rights demanded a strong central government, not to mention the economic prospects of the young nation.

Hamilton helped build the national infrastructure, encouraging taxes rather than debt to pay for it while many criticized him (ironically, realizing he was right later on). He was one of the more vocal opponenents of slavery of the founding fathers. He argued important cases as an attorney that few would view as "conservative".

If Alexander Hamilton is a big, bad conservative, then perhaps I am too.

Friday, June 23, 2006

LATE October

A classic from The Note:

5. There will be moments between now and this November in which scary national security developments will occur, and no one should be Surprised if some of these moments occur in October. As in: LATE October.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Lie and Die

I think John Kerry's description of the GOP line on Iraq to be close to the truth (via C&L:
They've found their three words, they love to do that, and they're gonna try to make the elections in November a choice between "cut and run" or "stay the course." That's not the choice. My plan is not "cut and run." Their plan is "lie and die." And that's what they're doing...Our plan is very simple. It's re-deploy to win the war on terror. Change to succeed....
It's time Democrats stand up for an honest debate. There are many different views on Iraq, but the Bush Administration and the GOP aren't allowing an honest debate and it's have disasterous consequences. It's time for a new direction!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Angelides Better Get Going

Angelides won a tough primary and deserved a little break. But the honeymoon is over. I was trying to catch some tennis this weekend and noticed an anti-Angelides commerical on. (It was actually hard to tell if the Westly campaign just forgot to pull their anti-fair tax ads, but that's another story.)

Phil Angelides has relatively low favorability ratings--thanks again, Steve!--and relatively low name recognition. He cannot let himself get branded so early on. What the Bush reelection campaign did effectively in '04 was tarnish John Kerry's reputation beginning the day after it was apparent that he was the Dem. nominee. Schwarzenegger has some of the same advisors and it appears they are going to use a similar strategy.

On his website, Angelides still has the announcement that he won the primary. It's time to get over that and get to work. There should be a high visibility statewide grassroots event within the month and maybe a mailer or two. If your image is tarnished, it's hard to get it back. Angelides needs to be the one controlling the terms of his record and proposed policies. And he needs to do it NOW!

Peas In A Pod



George W. Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger are very similar. In ideology, they are government bathtub drowners. No matter the problem, a good tax cut for the wealthy is always the answer. As GOP darling, Tom DeLay would say, "Nothing is more important in the face of war than cutting taxes".

Both Bush and Schwarzenegger have broken promise after promise. But when they are very unpopular and facing the prospects of an embarassing election, they both pander, pander, pander. In the 2003 recall, Schwarzenegger promised to be a different kind of Governor, a uniter not a divider, if you will. Bush showed us what he meant by that when he attacked critics as unpatriotic. We saw what Schwarzenegger meant by that as he started calling critics "girlie men" and "stooges" and heaped nothing but vitriol on our teachers and nurses. All of a sudden, he's trying to play nice? I find it strange that he waited until an election year to do so.

From 2004 to early 2006, California got a different Schwarzenegger than we voted for in 2003. Is the suddenly new Schwarzenegger of 2006 real, or just a mirage like 2003 Schwarzenegger. I, for one, am not ready to trust him for four more years.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

We're in middle school

Banner headline just seen on Fox News: "IS THE UNITED NATIONS TALKING TRASH ON AMERICA?"

Friday, June 09, 2006

Not good news

Everyone was looking at the June 6 primary for clues as to what will transpire in the November midterms. So far, it doesn't look good.

First of all, Francine Busby got just about 1.5% more of the vote than John Kerry did in 2004. The fact that this was Duke Cunningham's home district, where the "culture of corruption" theme should have been the most salient, makes things all the worse. In fact, a former lobbyist was elected. Yes, the NRCC spent $5 million on the race, but I think the reason Bilbray won was that he was talking about immigration while Busby was talking about some vague, distant issue of corruption, which voters see as a bipartisam problem. Democrats can't run on a "mood" or a "trend," they have to talk about issues.

Secondly, the fact that Californians rejected Prop 82 by a wide margin doesn't bode well for Angelides' chances in November. Angelides is running on raising taxes on the wealthy to, among other things, fully fund education. Well, Prop 82 would have done the same thing. Doesn't look like Californians are buying it.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Some Explaining To Do

Repealing the Paris Hilton estate tax means that the children of the wealthiest people in the country get tax free inheritence while millions of Americans go without health care, millions of children live in poverty, college is less affordable and our education system gets overlooked. So I don't understand why Democratic Senators would vote for cloture on this bill. I can maybe understand the Nelsons voting for it since they are up for reelection--and that is a BIG maybe. But Blanche Lincoln? Max Baucus?

Gene Sperling has more. The latest Democracy Corps stategy memo sums it up:
Right now, Democrats are underperforming, but voters are listening and receptive to them, and ready to respond to an effective campaign.1

That any Democrat in the U.S. Senate is considering voting for the repeal of the “estate tax” – an over 700 billion dollar tax cut for the wealthiest one percent – helps explain why Democrats are underperforming. That leaves voters unsure about what Democrats stand for and undermines the main choice in this election.
I think Lincoln, Baucus and the two Nelsons have some 'splaining to do.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Selected results (as of 5:19am...)

Gubernatorial (D-primary):
Phil Angeledes 47.7%
Steve Westly 43.5%

Lt. Gov (D-primary):
John Garamendi 43.6%
Jackie Speier 38.4%
Liz Figueroa 18.0%

CA-11 (D-primary):
Jerry McNerney 52.3%
Steve Filson 28.7%
Stevan Thomas 19.0%

CA-50 (run-off):
Brian Bilbray (R) 49.48%
Francine Busby (D) 45.28%

Economic Conservatives Or Anti-Tax?

From the Times, this graph struck me as odd:
As a result, there is much less debate among Republicans about the wisdom of forcing a vote in the Senate this week on the repeal of the federal estate tax, an issue that ranks at or near the top of the wish lists of economic conservatives.
The article is actually about how many Republicans are fretting the anti-marriage ban for same-sex couples, but this struck me as odd. I was unaware that anti-tax and economic conservatives were the same thing. There is a distinction here.

Economic conservatives are agaisnt deficits, at least as far as I understand. Anti-taxers want to cut taxes, plain and simple. If you are both anti-tax and an economic conservative, then you want to cut taxes and cut government programs, regardless of need or puplic support. This is Grover Norquist's America. Alternatively, if you are anti-tax and don't care about deficits, then you are a borrower and spender. This is GOP America and is not economic conservative.

If you support government programs and taxes to support the necessary and/or popular programs, then you can still be considered an economic conservative. This is the category I fall into. It also happens to be what irked me most about Westly's campaign. (More on that later.)

Looking at the state of the economy, we are facing massive deficits and there has been little to no big cuts in government programs. One would have to question the economic conservative credentials of those who want to repeal the Paris Hilton tax--I mean estate tax--in this economic environment.

I've been up all night working so I lack the energy to answer the tax and spend liberal critique. Maintaining the estate tax is not increasing taxes, it's keeping it the same. Not hard to understand, really.

Phil Versus Schwarzenegger

It looks like we have our challenger to face Schwarzenegger. I was a little off in my prediction, but if you include only San Francisco, then I was pretty close.

As it became apparent that Angelides was going to win, I started browsing the websites of the two candidates to look for a concession. When I saw Westly's picture I couldn't help but feel a little sad. I know I've been extremely critical of the guy, but I really do think he is a good person and would have been a big improvement over Schwazenegger. I have bones to pick with Westly's campaign, and how his campaign hurt Democrats nationally, but I'll leave that for another time. Instead, I encourage everyone to find out more about Phil Angelides. If you go beyond the primary spin, you'll see he's an impressive leader and worthy of the endorsements of all his supporters.

For those who doubt Angelides' ability to win, you should ask yourself about his positions. Are they extreme for California? Are they extreme for the nation? If we don't believe deep down that our positions can win most elections, then we may as well give up. I'm not ready to give up. I'm ready to fight.

I'm ready to fight for better schools, better health care, more college opportunities, a healthier environment. I'm ready to fight to decrease poverty and ensure equality. Are those really "liberal" or "left-wing" goals? When asked about political ideology I say I'm a moderate because I reject the notion that these are not issues the vast majority of us agree on.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Election Results

No, I'm not going to badmouth Westly anymore. I just wanted to point out the cool scrolling election results provided by the secretary of state.

I'm working all night so I may drop by later to either gloat or lament...

Monday, June 05, 2006

Pre-Election Prediction

Phil Angelides: 52%
Steve Westly: 44%

Low voter turnout gives Phil an advantage and undecideds break heavily for Angelides.

I'd be interested in other predictions.

What I Want To Know

What I want to know is: When did the principle of fair taxation become left-wing?

What I want to know is: Why are candidates who are for fair taxation considered unelectable?

I've already talked about how the lowest income Californians pay more in taxes than the highest income. That's well known and even Warren Buffet decries this sorry state. Angelides is honest about his plan to fully fund and expand education by making the state tax system more fair and that is considered left-wing and unelectable.

The fact is, there was a federal tax cut that went predominately to the super rich--not just the wealthy, but the hyper wealthy (to use David Cay Johnston's term)--and Congress is trying to repeal the estate tax that only the heirs of 5 in 1000 will have to pay and put billions more in the pockets of the super wealthy. All this while we are at war, millions are without health care, more and more children are going into poverty, the cost of going to college is beyond the reach of more people and corporations are posting record profits. Despite all that, we can't be vocal about requesting fair taxation? Is that the state of our country and state?

The progressive cause has no hope if proposing fair taxation means a candidate is unelectable. The fact that even Democrats are scared of the "T" word means that the GOP has succeeded in pushing the dialogue so far to the right, it's about to fall off the scale--and this is California! Angelides is only calling for fair taxation. This is not left-wing, it's common decency. I'm voting for Angelides because he's the better candidate with more experience and is already a nationally recognized leader. But if Democrats are afraid to fight for their values, we have no chance. Angelides can beat Schwarzenegger. And he can do it without running away from, or downplaying, his principles of social justice.

Frankly, I'm sick of having leaders NOT talking about social justice and common decency. Angelides' refusal to stand down while Westly is attacking him for his positions (which Westly is going to have to do anyway, if elected) is refreshing. I think Angelides and Westly are on my team. But I only see Angelides wearing the uniform proudly. Angelides is the only one who is standing up to Grover Norquist's America. And I'm glad there is a leader who is willing to do that.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Tolerance

In between experiments, I came across this heartwarming advertisement:



If you actually go to their website, you can find other such lovely shirts that demonstrate a "deep commitment" to tolerance, such as the one that says, "Rope. Tree. Journalist. SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED." I'll admit some people on the left are just as intolerant and that bothers me equally.

Personally, I think this sort of thing reflects the sorry state of our national political dialogue. But the site and their designs seem almost like a parody, so I had to click the FAQ and have a look. One thing caught my eye:
Are your shirts made in America?
Sometimes the blank shirts we buy from Champion, Hanes and Gildan are assembled in Central America. But the design, printing, and processing are all done by entrepreneurial Americans in small businesses. There's not much we can do about the blanks if we want to continue providing the highest quality shirts at a decent price.

People often ask why we don't use American Apparel, whose factory is located in Los Angeles. Several reasons: 1) Their products are too expensive. 2) They openly admit that half of their workers are illegal immigrants with phony documents. 3) They support amnesty and open borders. 4) They are a "progressive" company whose stated goal is to infuse socialism into American capitalism. And 5) They donate money to the Democratic Party.

All other Made-in-America apparel we are aware of comes from similar "alternative/progressive" companies, mostly using union labor. As you may know, labor unions are an arm of the Democratic Party. (See here: How Socialist Unions Rule the Democratic Party). One of these companies even sells a line of Kerry/Edwards products alongside their blank apparel.

The point is, supporting the idea of "Made in America" involves more than just the location of factories. So we stand by our capitalist, union-busting apparel.
I'm still not sure if the site is a parody or the real thing.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Pants On Fire

I recently lamented Westly's campaign and compared him to an emperor with no clothes on. I was wrong. Apparently, he does have pants on...and they are on fire.

The CA League of Conservation Voters, Vote the Coast, The Sierra Club, and Clean Water Action have written a response to Westly's misleading ads on Phil's environmental record. Basically, the Westly campaign has been taking "liberties with the truth":
There's a good reason the California League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, Vote the Coast, and Clean Water Action have all endorsed Phil Angelides for Governor. It's because we believe that he has a much greater in-depth knowledge of our issues and a deeper commitment to them than other candidates for Governor. Unfortunately, Steve Westly's response to the endorsement of Phil Angelides by these environmental groups, has been to launch a barrage of negative television ads against Angelides, portraying him as anti-environment. This tactic breaks a promise Westly made to keep this campaign clean and will make it more difficult for the winner of the primary to beat Schwarzenegger in November.

These ads are an insult to all of the environmental organizations who endorsed Phil Angelides. Vote the Coast, the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV), Clean Water Action all gave sole endorsements to Angelides. The Sierra Club gave a dual endorsement. There is no way any of these organizations would endorse someone without checking out the candidate thoroughly. All of these organizations ask the candidates to fill out an exhaustive questionnaire and then appear for an in-depth interview. (In the case of CLCV, the interview was a televised face-to-face debate.) As part of that process, they check into anything they hear, even rumors, that might be indicative of where someone actually stands on environmental issues and what type of an elected official he (she) might be. During the endorsement process, Steve Westly made many of the very charges against Phil Angelides that he is now airing on television. These allegations were checked out very thoroughly and found to be distortions or falsehoods.
I highlighted two parts. The first is what I have been saying for some time now: Phil Angelides is the more competent of the two. That should go without saying--unless you're listening to Westly's ads. The second highlights the fact that Westly is peddling tabloid nonsense in his ads. The same is true for Westly's "pro-tax Angelides" ads. Truth, no matter the issue, does not seem to be factor for this campaign.

I'm not directly involved with either campaign so I don't have emotional attachment in that sense, but I will be quite disappointed with a Westly win. Not because he isn't a good person, but his campaign has been so filled with lies and distortions, has underminded the Democratic Party by perpetuating the stereotype that Dems aren't fiscally prudent, and has not, from my perspective, shown the slightest interest in the specifics of the issues. Westly's campaign has been one of the most atrocious Democratic campaign I've witnessed in the last several years and is an utter disappointment. He couldn't win on the issues so he had to run around with his pants continually ablaze.

Field Poll: Angelides, Westly are neck & neck...