Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Was It About the Oil?
Have to ask the question. Was the Iraq war about oil? I've always said no. I've repeatedly laughed and ridiculed my "no war no way" friends on the Left out here in California. Saddam was a mean and dangerous sonofabitch. I agreed with the Administration when they said we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud over an American city. They had been caught with their pants down on 9/11, and by god, they'd err on the side of caution in the future. And Saddam has fucking nukes! The President said so, the Vice President said so, and Donald Rumsfeld said so.

So now, this conservative group called Judicial Watch sued Cheney for the notes from his secret meeting of energy company officials back in 2000, 2001 and won. The administration stonewalls releasing the minutes right to the last minute. Meanwhile, Enron goes bankrupt, California faces record deficits and a recall, partly because of the energy crisis of a couple of years back. Man, there's a lot of related shit coming down, all kin to Cheney's group's meeting. The surprise in the minutes, however, is not the manipulation of the energy crisis by Enron and the rest of George's friends, but that they had studied maps of Iraq and had indeed discussed the value of Iraq, especially controlled by the U.S. Am I the only one who wants this better explained? This is from Wampum, my newest addition to my blog roll. I'm learning about her. She writes about autism, Amerindian issues, politics, and probably a lot of other stuff. Hell, I don't even know her name, but I know some of her ideas and several of her opinions, and you know, it's a good start.


For my Neice upon her graduation from High School

I wrote this back in May and intended to post it then. Better late than never.

June, 2003

Dear Megan,

I think it’s traditional to write a real sappy letter full of good wishes, expressed hopes, reminders of shared experiences. That has not been our relationship. If I pretended it were so now, my letter to you would mean little.

Despite our lack of closeness, I have watched you grow up through the eyes of your mother and grandmother. If you were to measure your wealth in terms of their love, you’d be a multi-billionaire.

Besides my well wishes for your success in life, I offer these tidbits of wisdom that have served me well over the years. Take them as you would all unsolicited offers of advice, with a little salt.

Do what you love, the money will follow. You’re going to have to work for the better part of your life. Seek a career that gives you joy. It will energize you more completely than money ever will.

Be good to your mother. You’ll never appreciate how much she’s done for you over the years until you have children of your own. Ditto in regards to your grandmother. You come from a remarkable line of tough and powerful women. The path you choose will be your own. However, you reached that path having been lifted by the love of many incredible women over many generations.

Go, do well, and be proud.

Thinking about the Budget and the Recall

First, a disclaimer. I work for the state of California. My salary is going to be affected by whatever budget or lack of budget occurs. I am probably harmed more by the lack of budget than by any specific budget that may be adopted. That is the prism by which I see this issue.

I am more than just a little bit annoyed at both the Democrats and the Republicans. They are at war with each other and see any compromise as defeat. A pox on both their houses. If I followed their example, every time I got into an argument, I'd just punch the guy's lights out.

I worry whether or not Gov. Davis is in any position to provide any leadership in this mess. He's about to face a recall. He has no popular support to speak of, and he's going into the recall election with the state being brought to its knees by an incredible deficit which he is now accused of hiding (at the worst) or of not seeing it coming. Either charge if correct is enough to recall him.

Can he survive the recall vote? That's a tough call right now. I haven't decided how I intend to vote. I dislike Davis immensely. I dislike how he substituted his judgment for the Parole Board and kept Robert Rosencrantz in prison. I dislike how he "fixed" the energy crisis we had several years ago. I dislike how the only thing of importance to him between his first election and his second was raising money. I dislike how he said that the judges and justices he would appoint were there to implement his vision. God, what arrogance. I dislike how he spent his money to discredit the better Republican candidate. I dislike how his campaign made scurrilous charges against Bill Simon, his Republican opponent.

If the only Republican name on the ballot were Darrell Issa (the Republican Congressman who bankrolled the recall), I'd probably vote the retain Davis. If Tom Delay (the Republican Majority Leader of the House) were the only Republican on the ballot, I'd probably vote to retain Davis. However, the field of candidates promises to be much more interesting than that. The likelihood of Davis being replaced by a clown such as Arnold Swarzennegger delights me. For one, he'll be more interesting and sure as hell won't be any worse than Davis. He won't consider the "other side" to be evil. He will be able to talk to both sides in our political debate. Of course, Arnold is a longshot. More likely we'll get one of the Republican's True Believers and the holy war will continue.

Davis should resign and let Bustamonte be the sitting governor. The recall will continue, but it'll fail because the recall is about Davis, not Democrat hegemony over Republicans. Bustamonte's profile will be much higher and generally more positive than any of the Republicans seeking to overturn Davis. The coup fails.

But what about the budget? Do we do nothing for the next six to nine months? Republicans insist on cutting both the size and cost of government. In the five years of Gray Davis, the budget has grown astronomically. Republicans are insisting that the budget be balanced through spending cuts. Is it unreasonable? Probably. Can they pull it off? Possibly. Do I want them to? Harder question. But I can tell you one thing for certain. I don't care for the process we have in place. We seem to have a dictatorship of the minority. That's plain wrong.