Saturday, February 14, 2004

HTML for Dummies

It's early Saturday morning and I'm sparking on four of six spark plugs, so to speak. The sun is glittering on the patches of snow littered here and there outside. Yes, we actually had real snow (as opposed to icy rain) fall last night, though the accumulation is negligble.

I'm thinking that the presidential campaign is beginning to look like a barn-burner in the making. Bush is attacking Kerry with the usual ad hominum attacks - as is Kerry versus Bush - and the nasty personal smear campaigns are bound to only degenerate into a mudslinging contest of epic proportions, if my bullshit meter is properly calibrated.

When are we going to get a fully-formed Democratic platform that we can examine without haveing to refer to our thesaureses? And when will Bush enunciate his platform (though it's pretty clear he'll simply keep repeating "9-11, 9-11, 9-11" in the clinches, all the while taking sneaky punches to the nuts and hoping he doesn't get penalized for low blows.

I am still not convinced that Kerry (or anyone on the Democratic ticket) can give Bush a solid challenge. Kerry has gained the biggest bloc of Dem loyalists, but they're not going to put him in the White House. It's the undecided, independent and disillusioned GOP'ers who'll give Kerry the push to climb that steep slope, and I haven't heard him reaching out the silent majority (mostly conservative, blue collar workers). And though I do believe that it's only a handful of registered voters who decide elections, and most of them are rich and/or market players who, by nature, are moderate to centrists conservatives, I think that the right candidate can arouse the mass of voters who haven't exercised their right to vote in the past few years, or who, perhaps, were not intending to vote this year. I believe that this year's presidential decision can be an historic event if that portion of the electorate which left-wing conservatives are banking on to continue passing on the polling booths when it comes time to vote. But if the Democratic Party has a snowball's chance in hell of getting its candidate into the Oval Office it must energize that broad base of non-voting slackers (whatever their reason for disdaining the election process) and get those folks to cast a ballot. Of course, they must hope that those long-silent votes will fall into their camp, but what the hell, the more votes, the better the Dem's chance, I think.

And so it goes. Kerry is certainly NOT going to lose too many, if any, of the upcoming primaries and/or caucuses (are there any of those left?) and Edwards and Dean may slog onward into the fog for one or two more beatings, but ultimately they must fold, of this I'm convinced.

And Bush, of course, will shake off the limp-wristed Washington corp of reporters in his usual rough-shod manner, so there's not much hope that the public will be well served by those quarters. In fact, this group of administration-watchers is the worst since pre-Watergate Nixon. The Washington press corps has, in my view, become insipid and useless, in large part, when it comes to serving the public by asking on-point questions that challenge the administration's policies. Witness the meek, mouse-like courage the Beltway-bunch mustered in light of the Patriot Act. I don't believe any journalists challenged the president and his cronies on this fascists piece of legislation, though its far-reaching powers literally created a secret police force in America with unlimited powers to impose legal penalties on innocent people in the name of national security. There are, of course, many precedents in history of despotic regimes using fear and military power to subjugate the public to draconian rule and invasive policies with the public's blessing. But the fourth amendment is all but destroyed by this so-called "Patriot Act," an ironic title given that its effect is to steamroll the United States' Constitution (specifically, its Bill of Rights). And now the fed has put gun records out the public domain by passing a bill that nullifies much of the Freedom of Information Act. More and more, this administration is burying citizens' rights in the name of naional security - used cynically by the Bush gang to rape your rights and slap your families HARD across the mouth should anyone attempt to disagree (in the context of history, does this stuff sound familiar at all???).

All I can say is this: if the American public loses all rights of privacy, all expectation of open access to PUBLIC records or ALL hope of personal rights being protected, we've only ourselves to to blame, particularly if we re-elect George W. Bush.

And that's the way it is.


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