You are the Speaker of the House. Bush and Cheney are
impeached, and suddenly you are president! What would you do in the
Please understand that I think Mark T has offered a bit of wisdom. Whoever takes over for BushCo will either toe the corporate/militarist line, or they will be little more than a sacrificial lamb. Iraq, and all it's ramifications is *the* elephant in the living room. Forget your global warming, or your universal health care. If the gushing monetary wound of Iraq is not sutured, then the rest is meaningless. Our world standing is in tatters, and our trading partners (who are also our competitors) have us by the real short-hairs. These problems are dealt with by a rational foreign policy ... not by popularity contests, or he-man posturing.
First things first, I'd make a decision. Do I want to retain the office or not? If so, then my path is clear ... campaign my ever-loving ass off based on the promises of what I'd do "if" elected (which might closely mirror what I'm about to lay out.) Of course, being a do-nothing campaigner, I'd likely lose. So, I'll choose to be a lame-duck and actually work for something.
1) Colby's got it right. Pick a VP (and Cabinet). My choice for VP would be Bill Richardson (which he might accept even though he is campaigning). We need experience in the face we show to the world, and Richardson has that. That might kill his Presidential run, but if he gets elected, he's toast in a term, anyway. His success in rebuilding US relations as VP could make or break his political future. Call it incentive. His first assignment would be a Latin American tour, starting with Venezuela and ending in Mexico. If we can't foster Democracy and growth in our damned hemisphere, then we sure can't foster it elsewhere. I actually want a military man as my Sec. of State. I'd offer it to Powell, if he'd accept it. (Only Nixon could go to China.) If not General Powell, then General Clark. I want someone who understands the cost of failed diplomacy, in very real terms, and can articulate that to those nations who think of us as a strike-first kinda place. His first assignment, the Middle East, starting with Turkey and ending with Pakistan ... and there will be a stop in Iran on the way. I could go on and on about appointments and assignments, but I'll table it for now.
2) A public address to the UN. I would explain that we have, quite simply, screwed the pooch in Iraq. I would also reiterate our complete commitment to abiding by the Geneva conventions, regardless of whether our enemies do or not. Torture is for lesser, and we are *not* lesser people. Someone is going to have to take the blame for the Iraqi clusterfuck, and if I'm a lame duck, it might as well be me. God knows, BushCo and CheneyBurton ain't gonna take responsibility.
3) Lobby Congress for an immediate repeal of the MCA (Military Commissions Act.) In keeping with the spirit of this, I would offer full disclosure of all documents (that have survived) of extraordinary rendition to points in Europe, and would move all detainees from Gitmo to US prison camps, where they would be given the full protection and rights of US law ... including the right of trial (by judge ... for there is certainly no impartial jury of their peers here in the US.) If this is a successful effort (a big if) then I would lobby for the repeal of some (if not all) provisions of the Patriot Acts.
4) As many have already described very well, begin a phased withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, accompanied by hard benchmarks for the Iraqi government. Let's face it, people, if the Iraqis want to kill each other, we're not going to stop it ... ever.
5) Open our borders to Iraqi refugees. We broke it, we need to fix what we can. That's simple.
6) Hire a librarian from Stevensville, Montana to run the National Archives. As all of this takes place, there needs to be a record. And hiring cronies to purge the public evidence just doesn't cut it for me. We need to know what's happened for the last 8 years, and transparency is goal number one.
I'm beginning to think that the only thing worth receiving the paper again is that I get to read the wacko stylings of Tammy Hall. Her latest screed is about the dangers of illegal immigration. I'm going to ignore, for now, her threatening admonishments that illegal labor in Big Sky is hurting the Bozeman area (though she never explains how this happens when we have record-breaking employment in the area.) I'm going to ignore her weak logic with dire claims of illegals committing crime in the area, (especially when very legal ex-athletes are committing torture and murder, selling drugs and beating women.) I'll even ignore her bogus numbers concerning the cost of illegal immigration and her unfounded claim that Democrats want illegals to vote for them. The latter is just too stupid to even respond to.
No, what people ought to catch from this windy fart of Tammy's is her gut-wrenching anecdote about her own immigration story, and the rights she is afforded by it. She immigrated the difficult, proper and legal way ... her parents brought her ass across the border and settled here. And she had to prove that, as a Canadian and Amurkin wannabe, she could speak English ... coming from Canada ... speaking English. My very heart bleeds.
No, what really sparks my amusement here is that Tammy thinks that having to swear an oath of citizenship gives her special rights. Disregard, for a moment, that the vast majority of us grew up pledging our citizenship every morning at the beginning of the school day. Tammy is more special (you can say that again) and has special rights. Her words:
The fact that I, like millions of legal immigrants, went through the difficult process of becoming a citizen, gives me the right to protest against illegals who want amnesty.
A few clues that might dissipate that pompous fog you live in, Tammy: All citizens have that right. Every frickin' one of the 300 million of us. The only difficulty I faced in becoming an American was being born here. I hope you'll understand that I don't think it was much harder for you, cupcake. Protesting? Having an opinion? It's kinda guaranteed in that Constitution you hear so much about, and many of us have read ... some of us, many times. You didn't need to do anything so brutal as learn US history, and hell, most of us haven't ... apparently. You have no special right to protest, 'cause we all got it. Come on down to America, Earth. And here's the special part, Tammy, those illegals ... until they are arrested, deported and/or convicted, they have the right to protest too. Isn't that just the most marvelous thing about our Constitution? Whoops ...
Second, quit trying to pretend that your situation is the same as a migrant from Mexico. It doesn't make you look noble. It's really kinda stupid in fact.
Third, running your ass across the Rio Grande is not the same as rape or selling cocaine. Most folk actually see that. Why do you insult us so by assuming that we don't? I'm not so sorry in pointing out that a Mexican guy who comes here to hang dry-wall, is not a potential rapist any more than a white guy born in Broadus, regardless of your fantasies/fears. You can make the point without the fear tactics. No, let me amend, maybe *you* can't.
Regardless of where anyone comes down on the immigration/amnesty issue, I have to ask ... why do we have to put up with the stupid like Tammy Hall?
I can be an ass. Don't say I didn't warn you, 'cause I did. It's not usually because I'm mean; it's more likely that I just don't prioritize well.
I dropped Dave Merriman from my blogroll when his site went dormant a while back. Since he's started posting again, I meant to relink him. Then I meant it again, and again, and I'm certain a few times after that. Consider the situation rectified.
Hi. How are you? It's good to see you. There's something I've been meaning to talk with you about, and I think it's about time, okay?
See, you've been putting me down and I'm tired of it. No, you ain't been insulting me to the friends, or telling my mother anything she doesn't already know. Instead, you've been putting me in a box ... yeah, that one you got in your head that says I'm supposed to be what you want me to be. I'm a little tired of it. Role-playing is nice, but you've lost sight of what's real and what ain't. And here's the thing, it just ain't that much fun when you do that. So let's establish a few rules. Are you good with that? Good.
First, whatever idea you have in your mind that tells you what a blog should be ... forget it. It's truly pointless. No one gives a crap what you expect, least of all me. For every plaintive little whine you offer about what should be written, or worse still, how it should be written, I can offer you a hundred examples of someone who will defy you. Seriously, you're never gonna peg us down to your satisfaction. Go tilt at another windmill.
Second, my motivations are mine. You don't know them, and you likely never will. Not because I won't tell you; I do, on a fairly consistent basis. But you ain't listenin'. No, it's more comfortable for you to put us all in a group that you can handle within your tiny little scope of fear. Get over it. There's tens, possibly hundreds, of millions of us. To think we're all the same in motivation and desire and need is just frickin' goofy. Quit being so narrow.
Third, I like you. I really do. But that doesn't mean you're my friend. Myfriends are people I choose, not you. If you've met me, and chosen to be my friend, that's terrific. But quit thinking that we have this big group hug because we share experiences online. I'm likely (very likely) to say shit that pisses you off. Quit investing so much in it. It isn't personal, 'cause you probably ain't my friend. You just thought you were. You read my site, and that's awesome sweet. But let's not pretend that we're obligated ... leading to ...
Fourth, I don't owe you anything. Quit expecting me to do so. If there is one foundational principle to blogging, it is that we do it for ourselves. When we start to do it for others we become lame, apathetic, pathetic, joyless ... or worse, we become Michelle Malkin. I'm not so sorry, but I won't go there. Not for the people I care about, and certainly not for those I don't.
Fifth, and this is really the biggie, you have the right to tell me when I'm acting like an ass. And I have the right to tell you when you're acting like an ass. Ya' see, the whole point of this online thingee is that we have the right to say what we want. Anything we want. It can be foul, it can erudite, it can be pornographic (and much blogging is just political porn). But the one stumbling block you have to get over is that we have the right to post and present it. And you have the right not to read it. The odds are on our side that you will. Question our motivations all you like, but people chose to read the blogs. That's truly what's right, and just, and Democratic. It is just people coming together.
Really, I'm glad we cleared these things up. This is the Intertubes, and the world of the bloggers. We aren't going anywhere, and attempts to control us will fail. For the very same reason that attempts to manipulate us will fail, we will simply be in a world that allows it. There's too many of us, and we have too much chutzpah. In all it's organic creation, our voices, images and impact will be heard.
I feel better now ... except that I know that many won't get it. No, many won't get it at all. I certainly hope that you do.
It seems our resident REO fan has to take issue with Senator Baucus because Baucus procured funding for the rebuild of the Going to the Sun highway, without making certain that all the money would come to Montana companies. Montana companies that apparently don't have the qualifications required are ... unhappy ... about this turn of events. How tragic. The Federal Highway Administration has set the baseline of requirements so high that Montana firms are excluded from being the general (prime) contractor on the project. It looks for all the world like only two US companies have the qualifications required. Jack the Blogger (who annoyingly refers to himself in the third person) appears to think that this is some kind of outrage on the part of our Senior Senator. Wulfgar the Blogger's response is a hardy "SO WHAT"?
Here's our points of agreement:
1) The Going to the Sun road needs repair/rebuild.
2) It is, exactly as Kaiser described it, a "unique project because it's so mountainous, it's environmentally sensitive, and it's dangerous."
3) Montana firms will get considerable amounts of subcontractor work out of the 10 year project.
The points of disagreement are rather more telling.
A) Glacier National Park is Federal property. They (the Feds) can require whatever they wish in a contractor to rebuild Federal property. If they want a contractor who understands rose hybridization, they have the right and duty to request such. Baucus has no say in that.
B) It's kinda icks me out that Montana business persons would whine so much about not receiving pork.
C) If Baucus had procured rules that favor Montana contractors, it would be seen (and really would have been) nothing more than a pork project. Does Jack the Blogger really favor such things?
D) Jack writes:
the Feds have written the language so restrictive that Montana
companies cannot compete for the job as prime contractors. They can
only pick up slivers of the multi-million contract as subcontractors.
??? Slivers? It's a 50 million dollar project. I'd take "slivers" of that in a heartbeat. Subcontractors can make significant amounts of money on any project. Please, let's define the slivers before we bitch, okay?
E) Bird in the Hand. More Montanans will get jobs out of this project. Period. That's a given. But Jack laments:
hundreds of jobs for Montanans are lost over the next 10 years because of the “more powerful” Federal Highway Administration.
How in the hell do you know that? You don't. There's nothing in the article written that says that. The Montana contracting firms interviewed are pissed because they could have made more money (profit) as the general contractor. There is nothing to suggest that Montanans will lose jobs (or more accurately, job opportunities) because of this. Get real.
Nope, I think if you look at it rationally, Jack is playing party politics. If we had Burns in place, then the fantastical might have happened. Who the hell knows. What is certain is this. The GTTS rebuild will bring tourist dollars. Montanans will get jobs rebuilding the road. Montana firms will prosper because of this project. And, we all agree, it needs to take place. I'm having a hard time seeing the downside here.
I mean that in all seriousness. He has done little but base his run for President on the dead. He feasts upon the memory of their corpses, except ...
Rudolph Giuliani's membership on an elite Iraq study panel came to an
abrupt end last spring after he failed to show up for a single official
meeting of the group, causing the panel's top Republican to give him a
stark choice: either attend the meetings or quit, several sources said.
Giuliani left the Iraq Study Group last May after just two months,
walking away from a chance to make up for his lack of foreign policy
credentials on the top issue in the 2008 race, the Iraq war.
Anyone who knows anything of the history of Montana knows that it was built on the labor of those who live here for the benefit of those who Judy Martz proudly claimed to be a lap-dog for. Others have come and bought our state and our lives, because ownership here isn't about use but about control and exploitation.
I could not have been more happy to read this story about PacifiCorp settling the lawsuit against them for ownership of the state's lands. Before anyone starts, please hear me clearly. I don't don't give one salient shit about the fact that the land is a muddy river bottom. It's ours, and if you want to profit from it, you ought to have to pay for the privelage. PacifiCorp will pay a pittence (really) in order to use our land to generate profit. I am, honestly, proud of them and of our AG McGrath, for recognizing that our state does not stand alone in offering itself for others to plunder. It's good to be the Treasure State, but not when others are pillaging the treasure.
PP&L, on the other hand, still have no problem with geographic slavery. (Yeah, that's probably a bit of hyperbole ... just cope.) As long as Washington DC told them that they own Montana's ass, they're perfectly happy to use our state at will for their gain. Their spokes-tool had this to spew:
"We still firmly believe these projects are governed by the federal
licenses that have been acquired," spokesman David Hoffman said. "We
really do think it's a federal pre-emption issue."
Well, there you have it. As long as the Feds have said it's okay to rape the state, they're damn well going to do it. It's a "federal pre-emption issue". Montana owes the country our land and service, just as it did in the days of the Copper Kings. Seriously, Montana, haven't we had enough of this shit?
Do I really need to point out that this wouldn't have been an issue under Montana Power? No, I didn't think so.