The dog wags back!

A sometimes funny, somtimes angry, but mostly progressive, blog on the politics and issues of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and America.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Why does the Right fear Democracy?

There is a distinct fear of Democracy emanating from the Right. By the Right (with a capital R) I mean the elite, embittered cabal that sits atop the levers of power. I am not talking about the petty right - the white trash, the suburban xenophobes, the small-time purveyors of hate, bible-thumpers, minimum-wage assholes, lowbrow bigots, race baiters, unfair marketeers, and others of the vast couch potato class that variously make up the bulk (literally and figuratively) of the American voting class.

These are the folks who yearn for the return of the limited franchise - the good, old, old, days when only the landed aristocracy not women, blacks and common laborers, were deemed worthy of choosing the overlord. But then came suffrage and finally the GI Bill that swept much of the great unwashed into a new egalitarian middle class and we began to have a messy Democracy (with a capital D). But this form of Democracy has always been uncertain and prone to pursue lofty idealistic goals.

Not content to bankrupt government through war and tax cuts, the Right has deemed it necessary to undermine the foundations of Democracy itself. Perhaps that is a bit too extreme, but there is no doubt that the Right is anxious about the possibility of majority rule. Not content with the usual tactics of flooding the electorate with an onslaught of tedious irrelevance until we are all literally asleep at the poles - they have turned to actually turning away voters and shutting down the polls.

Donald Rumsfeld has enthusiastically embraced the idea of a limited election in only pacified regions of Iraq. While the pragmatism of this solution may appeal to some, we have to consider the legitimacy of an election, from the perspective of Iraqi participants and international participants. Of course this is not a solution that was crafted in Iraq - on the contrary, it was pioneered in the good, not so old, USA. In 2000, when blacks and other unpatriotic voters couldn't be discouraged from voting in sufficient numbers, they were simply purged from the voter rolls, although in some precincts it was deemed necessary to shot down polling places.

These successes have emboldened a new assault on our Democratic rights and privileges. Purging of the voter rolls continues in Florida, with promises (wink, wink) that those improperly purged will be returned to the rolls after the election (nudge, nudge) when, supposedly, their votes would - no, wait, their votes wouldn't count, it would be too late.

Truth time - I can't really answer why the Right fears Democracy - but I suspect it is because it threatens their hold on power.

Is it drafty in here?

Introduced by Sen. Hollings

The Universal National Service Act of 2003 was introduced in the U.S. Senate on January 7, 2003.

108th CONGRESS; 1st Session; S. 89
To provide for the common defense by requiring that all young persons in the United States, including women, perform a period of military service or a period of civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, and for other purposes.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

A Message from Michael Moore

Words of encouragement if you need it.

Friday, September 10, 2004

And then there is reality

GWB claims that JFK wants to increase the size of the federal government, but it is GWB who has vastly expanded federal spending and overseen a dramatic expansion of federal power at the expense of state authority and individual civil liberties.

GWB also claims to have a prescription for prosperity. And he is right - he has cured prosperity completely. Of course any drug, and his tax cut cure is no different, does not affect all patients equally. His cure works for the elite that he calls his base, but it is killing the average patient, reducing income by $1,500 for the average family.

More Flip Flops

Even more flip flops

  • We're winning the war on terror / the war on terror is unwinnable
  • We must rout the terrorists from Iraq / Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith's plan to use Iraqi terrorists, Mujahideen Khalq to overthrow Iran
  • Zell Miller is speaking at the convention / Zell who?
  • Cut $156 million in Section 8 housing vouchers / as election nears, compassionately restore the money

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Don't fear the public

Why can the public go listen to a John Kerry speech and even criticize him, but not even attend an event of the other guy? In a Labor Day appearance in Canonsburg, PA hecklers tried to knock the Massachusetts liberal off his pedestal. When Senator Kerry commented that wages are down $1,500 for the average family, a heckler was compelled to point out that John Kerry is not the average family. Senator Kerry responded: "No, I'm priveleged, and my tax burden went down. I don't think that's right."

The point is not the eloquence of his response, but the fact that you can attend an event and even criticize Senator Kerry - he can tolerate opposing viewpoints. The other guys, however, won't get within ten "Free Speech Zones" of an anyone who want to point out the facts. Is this America?

Attack Frenzy

The frenzy to attack John Kerry has reached a fever pitch. OK, I'm lazy, but this is a funny article from The Onion.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

How Safe?

A few nights ago on the Daily Show, comedian Lewis Black joked how when he was young they used to practice air raid drills where they had to hide under their desks. How ridiculous to think that you would be safe from bombs, nuclear or otherwise, by hiding under a desk. Now, of course, we've wised up, we know we aren't safe under a desk. So we have duct tape and color charts.

While Black makes an effective point with humor, there is no denying that our safety is an illusion. We have done a good job protecting against the last terrorist attack, but what about the next one. We have added so much security to the airports that it has strangled air traffic. We have cut back civil rights, so that the FBI can wiretap at will and citizens can be held as enemy combatants without their family even being told. These steps, we are told, are neccessary to protect us. Meanwhile, only 2% of cargo shipments arriving in the U.S. are inspected. Wouldn't it be easier and more effective to seach these shipments, which could hide tons of bombs and weapons? The current administration thinks it would be too costly and so it has not acted on the proposals to increase port security. It is just reckless to ignore this threat while claiming to be the paragons of security.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

The Ghost of Vice President Wallace Warns: "It Can Happen Here"

'Although most Americans remember that Harry Truman was Franklin D.Roosevelt's Vice President when Roosevelt died in 1945 (making TrumanPresident), Roosevelt had two previous Vice Presidents - John N. Garner(1933-1941) and Henry A. Wallace (1941-1945). In early 1944, the NewYork Times asked Vice President Henry Wallace to, as Wallace noted,"write a piece answering the following questions: What is a fascist? Howmany fascists have we? How dangerous are they?"

Vice President Wallace's answer to those questions was published in TheNew York Times on April 9, 1944, at the height of the war against theAxis powers of Germany and Japan."The really dangerous American fascists," Wallace wrote, "are not thosewho are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has itsfinger on those. The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants todo in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany ina Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence.His method is to poison the channels of public information. With afascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the publicbut how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving thefascist and his group more money or more power."'

Monday, September 06, 2004

Reasons to vote for John Kerry

John Kerry has a plan to eliminate loopholes for the corporations that set up offshore fronts to insulate their profits and reduce their U.S. tax obligations. He would then lower the corporate tax rate to give a benefit to all U.S. businesses who have been paying their fair share of taxes.

John Kerry is also the only candidate talking about the number one issue that is holding back job growth. It is not outsourcing or extravagant CEO pay (though they play a part) it is in fact the rising cost of health care. His opponent doesn't even want to talk about health care, but you can see John Kerry's plan right here:

Winning the peace

Critics have made a lot of noise about how John Kerry would "ask permission from Paris" or "give the UN a veto" on defending America. The contrast, of course, is that the current Administration's reckless drive to war waits for nothing. They claim this recklessness is what protects us. That point is debatable, but what they cannot and will not debate is that this recklessness has made securing the peace in Iraq nearly impossible. Building a just case for war and attracting international support, is not merely wise in the conduct of war, as it was in 1991 for George I, it is critical to securing the peace. Unable to pacify the country, the Administration proposes to skip elections in the unfreindly areas. Exactly the kind of democracy they hope to use here in the U.S., closing the polling places and turning away voters in opposition areas.

In Afghanistan, American soldiers are still dying, Osama bin Laden (remember him?) is still on the loose, and the Taliban are killing those who try to vote. Even though neither Bush nor Cheney like to talk about it, the Taliban are still active in Afghanistan. The so-called Afghan government barely controls Kabul. The reason George II doesn't want to talk about it, and why the Taliban are still a threat to peace is one and same - his reckless drive to war. The White House barely even recognizes Afghanistan, where U.S. soldiers are still dying, but Iraq has its own "Issues" link on the White House web site ( . Three of of the seven links for major speeches have an Iraqi-theme, but not one mentions the other war.


Major Speeches
Iraq Transition
State of the Union
Saddam Capture
UN Address
National Address
Iraqi Freedom
National Address

Is this recklessness making us safer? With our armed forces tied down indefinitely in Iraq, and stretched thin in Afghanistan, how can we respond to the new nuclear rogues, Iran and North Korea, that have emerged under careless watch of the current Administration. Now is the time for a more cautious approach.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Tough Love

The compassionate conservative gloves have come off. Though W may have tried to soften the image of the GOP, the anger and fear of the party in power was evident in the rabid attack by Zell Miller ( and the eerie fear-mongering of Dick Cheney. It is extremely curious that the party that controls both houses of Congress and holds (tenuously) the office of the President is so angry. Usually such anger is reserved for those not in power. It can only be because despite having every lever of power at their disposal (including the Supreme Court) their agenda has failed to win the hearts and minds of the majority of Americans, as a majority think he is not doing a good job (

W's few words about compassion and opportunity offer little comfort to those millions of Americans without work or health insurance. To those "economic pessimists" and "girlie-men" who can't see the silver lining in fewer jobs, lower pay and no health care, Governator Arnold offers the helping hand of the new GOP: toughen up. Perhaps the new GOP slogan should be Tough Love.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Sensitivity Quiz

Take the Sensitivity Quiz:

1. Who said: "Precisely because America is powerful, we must be sensitive about expressing our power and influence.''

Was it (a) John Kerry, (b) John Edwards, (c) Dick Cheney, or (d) George W. Bush.

2. Who said: "Now, in terms of, you know, the balance between running down intelligence and bringing people to justice, obviously we need to be very sensitive on that."

Was it (a) John Kerry, (b) John Edwards, (c) Dick Cheney, or (d) George W. Bush.

Answer key:

1. The answer is (d) George W. Bush at the christening of the USS Ronald Reagan:

2. The answer is (d) George W. Bush again:

If you answered (d) to both questions then you are a new junkie!

Wednesday, September 01, 2004


"Post Turtle"

While suturing a laceration on the hand of a 70-year-old Texas rancher (whose hand had caught in a gate while working cattle), a doctor and the old man were talking about George W. Bush being in the White House.

The old Texan said, "Well, ya know, Bush is a 'post turtle'."Not knowing what the old man meant, the doctor asked him what a post turtle was.

The old man said, "When you're driving down a country road, and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a post turtle."

The old man saw a puzzled look on the doctor's face, so he continued to explain ... "You know he didn't get there by himself, he doesn't belong there, he can't get anything done while he's up there, and you just want to help the poor dumb bastard get down."

Offer your favorite joke.


George Bush has emphasized that we are stronger with him leading the nation, that he alone has the guts and foresight to deal with the threats against us. I'm sorry but I don't get it. I don't see how fighting a war that we didn't need to fight, against people who had no role in the 9/11 attack makes us stronger. What it has done is stretched our military so thin that we can't deal with the crises at hand, Afghanistan and Iraq, and it has left us too weak to deal with the real problems -- Al Quaida, Afghanistan and Iran. The Bush-Cheney team have done well by the defense industry, but they have alienated our Allies, leaving us more isolated in the world. It is supposed to be the sponsors of terror who get isolated. And he has the nerve to say that he has made us safer and stronger. George Bush is seriously confusing his bravado for strength and his single-mindedness for leadership.

On Leadership

George Bush likes to talk about his steady leadership and criticizes others for flip-flopping. The inability to change your mind in the face of conflicting evidence is stubbornness, not leadership. He has even gotten Fed Chairman Greenspan to flip-flop: First Greenspan said that the Bush tax cuts would not hurt Social Security, now he says that we have to cut benefits to ensure the Social Security system. Adding insult to injury, the Bush Team, including Treasury Secretary Snow say that we need to make the tax cuts permanent. Steady but wrong on the tax cuts and social security. (See Paul Krugman's commentary on these issues).

On healthcare, his brother Jeb has been keeping kids from getting healthcare. Once everyone found out about the problem - the Bush Administration in Florida changed the program - not to fix the problem, but so that no one would be able to tell how many kids would be excluded. This fits a pattern of the Bushies of not giving any information to the public - like the energy task force, Bush's real military records, Bush's business records, Cheney's business records, obstructing the 9/11 investigation, foot-dragging the Enron investigation. Steady but wrong.

Bush also likes to remind us all about the threat of terror and how he handled the country during our time of crisis. What I remember is that in the aftermath of the attack, George went into hiding after he finished reading My Pet Goat and the only visible leader was Rudy Giuliani (see for a reminder.

Now he wants us to believe that we are safer because of what he has done. Osama bin Laden and his cohorts are still out there setting off bombs because Bush-Cheney wouldn't commit enough troops to the pursuit. Afghanistan, the only country with a known link to the attack on the US, has been slowly slipping slipping back into chaos, having been forgotten by the Iraqi diversion. It is North Korea and Iran that have the nukes, while closer to home drug traffickers have taken over Haiti. What leadership is he talking about?

It's OK to be liberal

The Republican Noise Machine constantly attacks John Kerry as a Massachusetts liberal. Although they are fond of history, they seem to forgot that it was a bunch of Massachusetts liberals that founded this country. The Boston Tea Party, the midnight ride of Paul Revere, and other brave Massachusetts liberals founded this country.

Being liberal means keeping an open mind. Changing your mind based on new information or evidence is not in fact, flip-flopping, but rational thought. Being decisive is only good if you are also right, and being consistent doesn't make up for being wrong.

Dick Cheney

What can one say about the beloved Dick Cheney? A man with all of the warmth of a polar ice cap - and no, that is not a bald joke. He may not be a man of strong actions (especially when he has "other priorities) but there is no denying that he is a man of strong words, just ask Senator Patrick Leahy.

But what else do we know about the man who is a fragile heartbeat from the Presidency? Post your comments and insights.

Bush's cocaine use?

What is the truth about George Bush's cocaine use? Well, the truth is that he admitted as much on an FBI questionnaire upon being a nominee for 2000. And the answer was yes. It's in the Dallas Morning News from 1999 and ABC. But they let it all drop.

This might explain the gaps in Lt. Bush's service records during 1972-73 when his commanders in Texas and Alabama never saw him report for duty. It might also explain why Lt. Bush did not take a physical, which included a drug test in 1972. The failure to take the physical resulted in Lt. Bush being grounded and no longer able to fly planes (until the famous Mission Accomplished flight).

We know George Bush did cocaine, but as a man of truth, why won't he admit it?

Bush's arrest for cocaine in 1972 is reported in "Fortunate Son: George W. Bush and the Making of an American President" by J.H. Hatfield.

Staffer of former President George H.W. Bush corroborated W's cocaine use.