Tue, 14 October 2014
As buildings smoldered and the dead were counted, policy makers knew who was behind it. The idea that a comic book villain in a cave on the other side of the world could have directed such destruction was hopelessly naive. Osama bin Laden could wait. They had to go after the one who sponsored him, who had to have sponsored him.
Saddam Hussein had to pay.
What they possessed in confidence, they lacked in evidence. They knew what they knew, but they couldn't prove it. America had to attack Iraq's dictatorship, but America had to be convinced. The convincing was done with manufactured evidence. They lied because they would not be able to convince us of what they knew was the truth.
It never crossed their minds that they were wrong.
Now a candidate for the United States Senate has revealed evidence that the deception was not a deception at all.
Joni Ernst (R-IA) has revealed new intelligence, unknown to ordinary citizens.
You have got to hear it.
Wed, 8 October 2014
My conservative friend was, as usual, blunt.
"Mr. Deming, do you find President Obama to be a man of his word who governs with integrity and without misdirection and outright lies?"
It seemed a shame to avoid such a direct question from such a good friend. So I invited him for a quiet stroll through the record.
Sun, 21 September 2014
The Georgia state unemployment rate has jumped way up to 8.1 percent. That's according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in a routine list published on September 19, 2014. That's the highest unemployment rate in the nation. It's higher than Mississippi, which had been the state with the highest rate until they got bumped by Georgia.
Governor Nathan Deal hates being blamed for the highest unemployment in the nation. He suggests an alternate explanation. Maybe there is a conspiracy by the folks who put together unemplyment statistics.
It's hard to say just what conspiracy Governor Deal has in mind. He's only pointing out "some influence here that we don't know about." He seems a little indignant about it.
Except, uh-oh, his conspiracy theory was undermined by his own administration.
Thu, 11 September 2014
Voting restrictions are needed to prevent voter fraud, that's all. That's how conservatives justify the new voting changes. But election stealing always happens in backrooms, away from voters. Ballot stuffing, changing total, are what will work for dishonest politicians. Fraud by voters involves too many people. It's too easy to get caught. The penalties are harsh. And it doesn't work. The backroom stuff is what works.
But conservatives keep insisting they just want to prevent fraud. Keeping large numbers of legitimate voters from voting is just the sad price that must be paid. It certainly isn't the reason for making voting harder. That's what they say... except when they slip up and say in public what they are really trying to do.
For example, this case in Georgia...
Mon, 1 September 2014
They are scattered around St. Louis County, seeming at random. The reason these small police departments exist at all has very little to do with protecting the lives and property of citizens.
The open secret, the one never explored by media pundits, provides an explanation for the growing divide between police and the communities they patrol.
The reason they exist raises an important policy question.
Mon, 25 August 2014
Fast decisions with little information, without thinking for more than a fraction of a moment, may have kept our most vulnerable ancestors alive. Our modern term for the process is "common sense."
The ability to think things through took us beyond immediate survival to a greater measure of security. Every major advance in human development, from technology to military defense to law, came from analysis. So did much of spirituality. Our relationship to each other could finally transcend personal survival.
Analysis when things don't yet matter is what prevents paralysis when they do. It allows for rapid response that is thought out. It often allows for intelligent, realistic, compassion.
When "common sense" leads to suspicion, fear, and unfounded accusation, it can bring us to the invasion of wrong countries with loss of life and tragic unanticipated danger. When it diminishes compassion, even for frightened children, it endangers the national soul.
Thu, 21 August 2014
Long before he became President, Senator Richard Nixon went after Democrats. Each was a quisling, "holding a Ph.D. from Dean Acheson's Cowardly College of Communist Containment."
The cowardly containment rhetoric was more than bluster. It was the clarion call of true believers. We were at war, and there ought to be no limits. Conservatives were angry beyond words at the rejection of emotional impulse. The substitution of thoughtful strategy was infuriating.
Turning away from intellect during crisis is a predictable emotional response. But acting on rage can have unintended results.
Similarities of conservatives back then to conservatives today are striking. Containment, and the reactions to containment, are back.
Tue, 19 August 2014
The disconnect with those he ostensibly represents, the disconnect unintentionally expressed Representative Representative Lee Terry, is actually part of a broader picture.
When we picture ordinary people. We usually think of those we see every week, friends, co-workers, neighbors, worshipers at Sunday service, shoppers we meet in line at the pharmacy. Ordinary people.
As a young student studying government several decades ago, I participated for a few months in a special program that put me in Washington, DC.
I was impressed by one detail that I do not recall ever being reported. It is a detail that explains much of why those we elect so easily forget about us.
Sun, 3 August 2014
I know there is humor to be had in Republicans needing approval from extremists for extremist legislation, and it can seem funny that conservatives demand that President Obama issue Executive Orders exactly one day after filing suit against him for issuing Executive Orders.
Obama vs the Republican Lawsuit becomes Obama vs the Empty Suit.
But, as I think of a high school girl I met just once last year, it's hard for me to dwell on the humor.
Thu, 31 July 2014
If families have to tighten their belts during hard times, then government should as well. That's easy to understand, even easier to support. It may lead us into recession that borders on depression, but that's unknown except to those who dwell in the Olympian heights.
Towers of ivory have their expert denizens, but their message is difficult, even when the virtue of clarity is attempted. Government should run deficits during hard times, the bigger the better. Government should pay it back during the resulting times of prosperity. That's the way real mainstream economics works.
What politicians don't understand, especially liberal politicians, is that you can't straddle the fence on some policies. The only way folks will vote for a policy they don't understand is if it is working so well it is not worth thinking about.