I thought I’d drink some koolaid for this weekend’s posting. Some off-the-wall stuff to ponder and either call brilliant or way silly. But in any event, different than you’ll get elsewhere.
Dateline WASHINGTON - A former congressman and delegate to the United Nations was indicted Wednesday as part of a terrorist fundraising ring that allegedly sent more than $130,000 to an al-Qaida and Taliban supporter who has threatened U.S. and international troops in Afghanistan.
I’m sorry, but will somebody, somewhere, please connect the dots? Across the last fifty years, please find me the names of any infamous American traitors, who unambiguously sold out their country to its enemies in ways that did it grievous harm...
...who weren’t dedicated, lifelong Republicans?
Seriously, make your own list.
Aldrich Ames. Robert Hanssen, The Walkers, the Moscow Embassy Marine guards, Bernard Kerrick (oops, that one is for later revelations and history to decide). And now, Mark Deli Siljander. Yes, I know this causes cognitive dissonance. Ostrich Republicans can hypnotize themselves into ignoring such patterns, while liberals and moderates consider it demeaning to tar whole groups with the sins of the few. And yes, that’s right. It is more honorable and noble and fair not to go there, since the percentages are still so small as to be insignificant...
Except, that is, in a situation where we moderate Americans keep getting hammered, year after year, by holier-than-thou super patriotism, mouthed by folks who are really good at flag-waving, but darned lousy at recognizing clear patterns. Patterns that are harming the country they are supposed to love.
If there’s any treason going on, it ain’t on the side that’s accused of “allowing flag burning.” Go tend your own house, and examine your own side of the culture war. A war you folks started, by the way.
Want to hear a dream?
California's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, one of the nation's most popular Republicans, will almost certainly get to make a speech at the Republican National Convention. They have no choice. To refuse him will be impo,ssible, even knowing that he'll likely ream the neocons.. Oh, he’ll also attack Democrats and liberals, for the sake of balance and to retain GOP cred. Fine. If the Republican mainstream still did that kind of talk, it would be called “politics” and not “culture war.”.
Still, that speech is the tip of the iceberg, compared to other things Arnold could do. Things to make up for his being forbidden the presidency.
Here's what I wish Schwarzenegger would do.
Call a meeting of all 50 states.
Yes, there's an annual National Governors' Conference. A tepid and emasculated thing. I propose that Schwarzenegger could take advantage of his potential as a bridge-builder and problem solver, at a time when the federal government is proving ever more irrelevant at solving the problems of America and its people. In fact, the Governors’ conference could be just the place to try something radical.
If I were him - knowing this would be my one chance to change things on a truly national level - I would insist that the governors bring their top legislative colleagues, from both parties, and I would drop in their laps a pile of ten urgent things that the states could decide to do themselves, bypassing our crippled federal government.
Do you think states can’t act nationwide, or are hampered by federal supremacy? Guess again. There are plenty of precedents. For example, most states use the Uniform Business Code, which was negotiated among the states and adopted by sovereign treaty(!) many years ago. There are few laws more important to the daily regulation of commercial and corporate matters, affecting all our lives.
Look, most Americans - of both parties - have no longer any hope vested in the federal govenrment, to pragmatically address today’s domestic problems. We can blame the opposing party... and indeed, I do! Still, the fact is that paralyzed rigor mortis has set in. Even if the democrats win by a landslide, come November, the rump GOP will set about making life a living hell for the next President and Congressional leadership. Culture War ensures that no large endeavor can be undertaken, without it becoming a matter for bilious hatred, suspicion and total blockage
State officials - in contrast - are often more pragmatically oriented, no matter which party they come from. They have firm budgets to balance and schools and roads to maintain. There are matters the people want attended-to. Would it hurt to try to bypass the mess in Washington?
(Note, none of the following items requirtes a Constitutional Amendment. Indeed, the meeting should be gin with a vow to leave Constitutional matters alone.)
Top of the list?
1) Cure gerrymandering. Seriously, it can only be done on a multi state basis. Anyone who proposes doing “fair redistricting” one state at a time is just a lying political hack who wants to cripple his opponents in a state that they control, without ever touching states run by his own party. Again, anyone proposing to fix re districting in just one state is a lying hypocrite who should be run out of office. Flat-out. No exceptions.
But across the board? Or if California agreed to do it, in exchange for neutral districts in, say, Texas plus Florida? Then the overall party numbers would not change much. No single party or mass of Americans gets is side’s ox gored. Partisan self-interest fades. An this monstrous injustice can be dealt with at last.
2) (---- INSERT YOUR OWN TOP PRIORITY HERE!---)
3) Push environmental needs, bypassing the (currently) corrupt feds, the way leaders like California have done. Only forge a united front in favor of states’ rights - especially the right to experiment.
4) End bidding wars between states, for factories, sports teams etc. The taxpayer always loses! Time for the states to come up with an agreement to stop falling for this trap.
5) Stand up to the neocons over the National Guard! Take back our state militias, in time to get our citizen soldiers back to their families and jobs and training to actually protect and defend us. If our nation must fight a protracted war overseas, let the federal government come to the people and ask for money. Ask for a bigger regular army!
6) Threaten to fix health care, if Congress won't. (Just the theat of states doing this, in a group-organized manner, would make the HMOs and insurance companies sweat so much, they might be be more willing to cut a deal on the national level.)
7) .Work out a sane approach to Native Tribal gambling. One that helps tribes far from cities, ensures fair distribution and services and supervision. And one that lets the nation re-evaluate the whole deal again, top-to bottom, in 20 years, after a whole generation of this weird wealth-rebalancing has had a chance to redress old wrongs..
8-10) These are just the ones off the top of my head. Do you have your own suggestions?
Key point. It would let Arnold do some Presidential-level things and - in fact - BE our president, in a small way, without necessitating any Constitutional changes or the stress of actually running for the office. How cool.
And how weird it is, that we have turned around so that liberals and moderates are the ones pushing for “states rights”! Just one of dozens of reversals that the democrats should point out, hammer and exploit, this year.
That is... if they only had a brain.
Final political note
Again, I got no beef against Hillary. She’s smart and would appoint great people... especially promoting them from the ranks of the much-abused civil service and officer corps, ending the brutal war that has been waged against our professionals, by the Bushite cabal.
Still, consider how many millions of demoralized Republicans will drag themselves out of a resigned stupor, and slog through sleet and hurricanes, to the polls, if she’s the democratic nominee. Let’s not energize them. Let em sit home and sulk. Frankly, they deserve it.
Also, recite the chant: BUSH BUSH BUSH CLINTON CLINTON BUSH BUSH CLINTON CLINTON. And that just takes us from 1980 to 2012! Do we really want the world to see us as a nation of dynasties? The Romans went down that road. Please.