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Saturday, December 06, 2003

Drug War Rant 

I hearby proclaim the Drug War Rant Blog to be outstanding. As promised, I'll add it to the links section.

And I forgot an important anniversary:

December 5th was the day when Prohibition was repealed.

If it didn't work on one drug, it won't work on another.


I Give Up 

I'm gonna just pretend like I'm on vacation and let the new curve do all the work.

Friday, December 05, 2003

The Great Nader Debate 

I was going to post this in the comments under my letter in response to YMSP82, but haloscan is acting up, so I'm putting it here:

I wasn't required to really grapple with the issue in 2000 because I live in Texas. My vote, given the structure of the election process, was a vote for viability of a national Green party, not for a presidential candidate as such. I thought the general was a wrap-up for Gore and that voting my progressive values, and asserting the viabiliity of the Greens, would keep the Democrats from feeling the need to move center (read "right" from my perspective) to get votes...in other words, make them move left to get BACK votes they would have had.

I was wrong.

I'm becoming more aware of political reality as I get older and am confronted with it on a personal level. The Democratic party is in need of some fairly significant reform (again, from my perspective), but I'd rather be reforming them while they sit in office than keeping them from getting there in the first place, especially given the drastic nature of the alternative.

I'm a reformed Nader voter. Will I vote green in the City Council races here in Austin? Probably so. Will I vote Green in the state representative elections? Given the redistricting grab, probably not. I've always prided myself on my pragmatism, and I let it go for a while. Well...I'm back...and there's more like me where I came from.

My problem with the "Nader is a spoiler" argument and Nader-bashing in general is this. If you think he's a spoiler, then how is bashing him going to get his supporters back in your camp? It doesn't make any sense. The more militant the Democrats get against the Greens, the less stability we have as opponents to the Republicans, and vice versa. Coalition-building doesn't happen when either side is militantly anti-the other.

Blame Nader? Fine. Just don't let that be the cause of round 2. Keep it to yourself, and if you get in an argument with a real progressive, try to convince them with reason and pragmatism, not, "Nader's a dick, it's all his fault, and the Green party sucks." That won't get you anywhere.

Not saying that's what YMSP82 was doing, but there's plenty in the D camp that are, including usually even-handed folk like Josh Marshall.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Top 20 Most Annoying Conservatives of 2003 

Via Pandagon. Genious.

Intelligence 

More on that vast gray area and great unknown of "Intelligence".

Now, a former Israeli member of the itelligence community is indicting his country's assessment of the Iraq threat as bolstering the American and British case for war despite a lack of...well...certainty, truth, or viable analysis.

I don't take this as some conspiracy, and nobody else should either. He clearly states the failure was one of mistake and not orchestrated, but a failure nonetheless...and a failure that was used as evidence to support our failure. Sounds like the alarmism just snowballed to the degree that it had the ring of SOME truth, as even most anti-warriors (to steal a term from a friend) conceded leading up that there was likely more there than we have since found after going in (myself included).

I just hope this doesn't give rise to cries from the irrational wing of the American left (read ANSWER) to start spouting off about some Jewish conspiracy. I think Jeff has fairly successfully (if occasionally with more semantic sledgehammering than necessary) tracked on his blog a disturbing strain of anti-semitism bubbling up from the left worldwide. He's (along with others) convincing me, but not so much that I think the vociferous anti-semitism apparent on the extreme right is being overshadowed.

This just adds fuel to the fire that alarmism was rampant...who's to blame? Who knows...it could be totally situational. I do think, however, that Cheney didn't mind it being there (or Wolfowitz, Perle, etc...read neocons and oilmen).

Wrong Address 

Well, at least we're seeking help with less bluster...but this will still do jack shit for our credibilty in the Muslim world (and the rest of the world that isn't towing the line) which is arguably the crux of the problem.

I really hope Powell regrows some balls in light of the recent decline of the DOD's neocon "credibility" and starts practicing the diplomacy I know he is capable of. I used to admire this man more than almost anyone in American politics, but his betrayal of his own doctrine on use of force (the one with his name in front of the word "doctrine") led to a not-to-slight slip (okay...precipitous fall) in my esteem of the man.

Powell...come back to the realm of reason and cultural respect! Let me admire you again!

Terrorism of a Different Hue 

Based on the fact that I live less than 300 miles from where this went down, and still am just now hearing about it...I guess that white supremacist terrorists are less dangerous than the Muslim ones I keep hearing about on the national news.

If these guys had been brown, this would be PLASTERED all over every national news program and cable news network in the country.

Why is this not a huge deal? I'm glad that the administration and the FBI appear to be taking it seriously, but where's the fuckin' media?

And what is this?:

"William J. Krar, originally from New Hampshire, last week pleaded guilty in Tyler federal court to possession of a chemical weapon near the East Texas town of Noonday. He faces up to ten years in prison. His common-law wife, Judith Bruey, pleaded guilty to lesser weapons charges and faces up to five years in prison."

WHAT?!?! These fuckers should be in Gitmo if anybody should, goddamnit (and nobody should, by the way). If we're gonna have a war on terror, let's take it seriously...stop using FBI resources to investigate protestors and instead focus on putting nuts like these away for a REALLY LONG TIME (with due process).

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Dean's Got It 

Not an endorsement...just a prediction.

PC Retardedness 

Yeah...I said it...RETARDED!

I understand there are sensitive words with powerful meanings that should not be used without consideration and responsibility...but they do have to be used sometimes if a point is to be made effectively. This is one such instance where demanding political correctness is...well...retarded.

The comment they are up in arms about is this:

- Howell reported that the offender "said something like this: 'I can't believe in this day and age that there's a sports team in our nation's capital named the Redskins. That is as derogatory to Indians as having a team called Niggers would be to blacks.'"

Yep...that's a good point...sorry PC warriors.

NOTE: My highschool mascott was the Redskins...of course, it's also Mirabeau B. Lamar High, which makes the name sort of doubly disturbing...
We tried to change it, but were rebuffed by those in favor of "tradition"...I like tradition, too...except where it evokes visions of genocide...then I'd prefer to leave it in the past. Native Americans (might sound PC, but really its just C as opposed to a misnomer based on a total misapprehension of ones general location on the globe) have a painful past in this country, too...arguably the worst if we're going by broad skin-color based ethnicity. Ah hell...point is, the thought police on the left need to give it up when their methods destroy their supposed ends.

Drug War Hocus Pocus 

Real methodologcially sound science has no place in the debate over American drug policy.

This is just another example of that sad fact.

This guy is using taxpayer money to create bogus "scientific" results so he can get more tax money to do the same thing, so that the government can be justified in spending MORE tax money to upkeep a bloated bureaucracy with a self-interest in the criminalization of drugs, which then advertises the bogus science as "education", further obscuring the truth about psychoactives and causing more ignorant users who then turn into abusers, who may or may not die or become infirm because of their miseducation.

The whole issue is a mess, and both sides of the drug war debate are bipartisan. Some of the worst propagandists sit on both sides of the aisle, as well as some of the most ardent reformists.

Dr. Ricaurte has been well known in reform circles for a long time. His "research" has been the government's last recourse for some flimsy evidence supporting their counterproductive and nonsensical policy.

Every fiscal Republican and civil liberties Democrat should be up in arms against the Drug War. It's a tremendous waste of money and, outside of the Patriot Act, the most significant threat to the Bill of Rights, especially where property rights are concerned.

If you so much as drink caffeine or alcohol, and you favor harsh drug laws, then count yourself as a member of the "hypocrite" column in my little black book.

Once again...I'm not arguing for a sudden, complete legalization of drugs (or even a slow, complete legalization). I just want a fair debate about it, free of stigma created by propaganda paid for by my tax dollars. We need to examine and reform the whole way we look at this issue, lest we ruin more lives in the search for the unattainable holy grail of a "drug-free America". There has never been, in the history of the world, a "drug-free" society, and there never will be.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

My Letter to the Nader 2004 Exploratory Committee 

To Whom it May Concern:

My name is Tyler Whitmer. I am a 23 year-old Texan currently seeking my J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law.

I voted for Nader in the 2000 general election, and am an avid supporter of the Green Party platform and Green candidates at both the local level here in Austin and the state level in Texas, voting Green in any and all elections where I have such an option.

I am writing as a friend of the party and an admirer of Mr. Nader and his dedication to public service in an attempt to persuade Mr. Nader from running in the 2004 general election. This is not an easy decision for me to make. I agree with the basic tenet that we need a viable, progressive third party in this country. In light of the current situation politically at the national level, however, I am convinced in the coming general election I will vote for the Democratic party despite my state's lack of "swing" status not as an endorsement of the party generally, but as the most vocal and effective vote against the extreme right wing of the Republican party that has hijacked our nation's highest office.

I feel that the progressives, however distasteful the prospect may be, must unite behind a viable candidate in an effort to unseat George Bush. I do not think of Mr. Nader as a spoiler in the last election, but I do feel that in the current climate, he is widely perceived as such, and that another run will cement the opinion, even of many on the left, of that misunderstanding, which can do nothing but harm the prospects of a viable Green party at the national level.

I will continue to support my local Green Party candidates, but must express my hope that Mr. Nader will, rather than dividing the progressive base, chose to help unite us behind what I can only hope will be a reasonably well-suited Democratic candidate, lesser evil though it may appear.

Respectfully,
Tyler Whitmer

NOTE: I exaggerate my allegiance to the Green Party to some degree for effect. I think of myself as wholly independent, and though I appreciate Nader's service, he has many character flaws and political tactics that are distasteful to me. I think there must be pressure from a leftist third party to reign in the anti-regulatory and trade-policy flaws of the centrists in the DLC and other Democratic party elites, but this is a time to kick ass, not squabble amongst ourselves. I am not endorsing any particular Democratic Candidate yet, and remain undecided as to who will receive my vote in the primary.

NOTE ON THE NOTE: I sound like a pantywaste. Fuck Bush and the disenfranchisement and nepotism he rode in on. Thank you.

To send your own letter (not you Patrick) to the committee, the address is info@naderexplore04.org or click here.

Oh...and never mind the typos and convoluted language...I fired that off a little too quick I guess.

Spike Lee on Rap 

I can't agree more with Spike's indictment of the direction rap's taken in the last couple of years.

The article does him a disservice, however, by not making clear that he is criticizing only a subgenre, and not hip-hop culture as a whole.

Links list 

Is growing slowly...mostly lefty political blogs...a few middle-of-the-roaders. I would add some right-wing pulp blogs, but I only like shriekingly obnoxious over-the-top ridiculousness disguised as political discourse when I agree with it...

Still trying to keep from procrastinating with this thing...

Monday, December 01, 2003

No Blogging Today 

I'm gonna try really hard not to use this thing to procrastinate today. Wish me luck.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

Frightened 

Please help me...the Constitution has already eaten my left leg and it's working its way up...

The stress level in the house is not helped by the fact that my roommate's master's thesis is due tomorrow.

Oh...and if our apartment's speed falls below 50mph it'll blow up.

I hate finals.

Plame 

Not a name you see enough these days what with all the important noseless kiddypokers with amusement parks in the news...but Matt Drudge, a guy I don't always agree with, but can always be relied upon to push a story if it means people will pay attention to him, has linked to an interesting article on the outing of the CIA officer by our "ever-so-concerned about national security until it runs afoul of our political goals" administration.

Here's the part I like best, and Drudge puts on his site as well:

"LARRY JOHNSON: Let's be very clear about what happened. This is not an alleged abuse. This is a confirmed abuse. I worked with this woman. She started training with me. She has been undercover for three decades, she is not as Bob Novak suggested a CIA analyst. But given that, I was a CIA analyst for four years. I was undercover. I could not divulge to my family outside of my wife that I worked for the Central Intelligence Agency until I left the agency on Sept. 30, 1989. At that point I could admit it.

So the fact that she's been undercover for three decades and that has been divulged is outrageous because she was put undercover for certain reasons. One, she works in an area where people she meets with overseas could be compromised. When you start tracing back who she met with, even people who innocently met with her, who are not involved in CIA operations, could be compromised. For these journalists to argue that this is no big deal and if I hear another Republican operative suggesting that well, this was just an analyst fine, let them go undercover. Let's put them overseas and let's out them and then see how they like it. They won't be able to stand the heat."

------------

Here's the link to the whole thing...really quite informative.

As long as we're talking intelligence...here's a report on how the CIA didn't find any evidence that Saddam was trying to arm terrorists.

I know, I know. It's not what happened, or was happening, but what might possibly happen perhaps in the future that matters, smoking mushroom cloud, preemption and all that.

I'm for keeping lunatics with explosives out of my country as much as the next guy, but this isn't the way to do it. Are we going to occupy Syria, North Korea, Iran along with Iraq and Gannystanny all at the same time? Besides, we're just pushing them around, not eliminating them. Shit...we can't even kill that really tall one that really did already attack us. Even if you're for preemption, I don't think it's wise to start preempting till you're done postempting. Ever tried to mop a really dirty tile floor without sweeping first? Ever refinished a table before you sanded it?


Big Neil 

Neil Bush...crony fornicator extraordinaire.

I'm not saying scandals involving siblings of the president should necessarily be news, but this would be getting alot more coverage if he was Neil Clinton.

Oh...did I mention possible commie sympathizer? Where's all the McCarthyite Red Scare chest beating and character assassination?

UPDATE: Oh, right. I forgot to read the menu, and Pinko is no longer the "heathen enemy du jour".

Twain on War 

I'm totally addicted to this Mark Twain quotation site I found recently...link in the post below under "wisdom".

Here's some for the hawks:

To be a patriot, one had to say, and keep on saying, " Our country, right or wrong," and urge on the little war. Have you not perceived that that phrase is an insult to the nation.
- "Glances at History," 1906

An inglorious peace is better than a dishonorable war.
- "Glances at History," 1906

----------------------

I studied Twain pretty extensively in my undergrad education, including doing some sociological research on why people insist on trying to ban him. Genious unparalleled in the history of our nation. Twain is to me, in many ways, the quentissential American...and this website I found makes it WAY to easy to quote him. So get used to it.

Constitutional Law I 

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!!!!

BLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!

the end.

On Tax Cuts 

An interesting article on the effects of the Bush tax cuts.

I'm not an economist, and I try not to pretend to be around people who could tell I was putting on, but this sounds solid to me.

The deficit should be a big issue. I think the Democrats would do well to redirect their criticism of the economy (which appears to be showing signs of life) onto the deficit in a subtle Rovian way. That's the best political play. What's the best thing for the country? Like I said...I'm not an economist.

Lighten the Mood 

Alright. Here's something so I don't stay up in a philosophical stitch:

Good tunes.

Wisdom.

A laugh.

And a cry.

Sorry...couldn't help that last one. ;)

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