Thursday, January 8, 2009

Partisan -- "Non-" vs "bi-"

your call. which would you rather have?

this evening (1/8) Nancy Pelosi, on the News Hour, was always referring to "bi-partisan" action on the stimulus plan. which got me thinking. do you remember how republicans always spoke of "non-partisan", as if that were the value. at least the democrats recognize there is another party over there.

which got me further thinking: the republican natural philosophy is to see themselves as the modern federalists: you put us here to make the decisions for you. after all, the modern republican party shares a dimension with the founders: white, male, property holders. of course, we're non-partisan, we just told you so.

and Speaker Pelosi reminds us of one fight it's good that "we won". and that, according to her, according to Bush, was his highest attempt: the attempt to privatize social security. she didn't say it, but I'll give you the two-word refutation of why we need never consider it again: Bernie Madoff.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Future of the Republican Party.

in a just world, we shouldn't root for the challenger for the RNC chair in this article.

but, i'm often reminded how unjust this world really is. can we all stand another lesson?

i'd like to see this edition of the republican party descend lower than the stock markets until it (the RNC) is unrecognizable as anything other than a tax-exempt minor religion.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Welcome to the Beginning!

With this installment, the NewsDarkTime flips its format to complement the election of Barak Obama as President of the United States.

The long dark night of the Bush years is now drawing to a close. While many (hardly residual) problems remain, let's hope the list of casualties of the Bush years includes:
  • The end of politics of division.
  • The death of hate politics.
  • The influence of the religious right,
  • The Old GOP.
Politics of division

The one I paid attention to: use of "the real Virginia". I would hope our media is empowered to speak out when we are treated to this bile, and call it for what it is: a divisive distraction, practiced by those unworthy of leadership. All these ills are thinly veiled attempt to exploit bigotry for political gain. Notice "division" isn't the same as "negative". Is it negative to point out that a candidate who claims to represent "change", had an economic policy indistinguishable from his failed predecessor? Is it negative to point out your opponents claim of "change" is based on no discernable change in the last two years, that your opponent really represents the old tired policy. We will have to re-calibrate our sense of "negative", and replace the negative with "divisive" as the negative value.

Death of Hate Politics.

When a Senate candidate offers her opponent says "there is no God", is this less than hate. It plays on the irrational fears of the so-called faithful. This is a divisive act of another type. The failure of this practice, by itself, doesn't remove the temptation from the desperate candidate. The hope is this approach will diminish over time, again with the support of the major media. Their fear of losing revenue from those pedaling the hate will lead this renewal.

The influence of the Religious Right

This dimension offers some positive signs. The data to come out of this election should confirm the evangelical movement has discovered the call of Jesus to serve "the least among you" is on the path to saving one's soul. It's no longer sufficient, let alone necessary to hector the "unsaved" among us on how we're hell-bound if we don't sign up for a narrow litany. There will be local setbacks along the way; some states will vote unnecessary, if not hateful, wasteful restrictions (e.g. anti-gay marriage), boulders to be soon removed from the road ahead. By and large, the recognition here is there is a progressive evangelical movement, now empowered to staunch the bleeding of reason from religion.

The Old GOP

One first needs to decide "who" is the Old GOP, "old" in this context is the purposeful recognition of the central content of Grand Old Party. The once-grand party is in danger of becoming more than old if not extinct. Last night, when John McCain nobly conceded, he concluded with hope and prediction of Sarah Palin's future in the party. I'm hoping that was little more than lip-service. She represents a new continuity of the divisive, hateful, and narrow direction the party has been heading since losing it's moorings in the post-Reagan era.

Other Signs

The political arena isn't the only place where we can hope to see an improvement in the "background noise", to quote John McCain. I belong to the now-recognizable portion of the liberal community who believe that free speech doesn't cover anything we see in the media. It's more conservative than liberal to suggest commercial censorship can help remove the garbage from the airwaves. I'm not so worried about a particular type of show as I am the confrontational, exploitative, and mindless values in a range of shows. That "youtube" helped us turn an corner in '06, that this form of reporting makes the major media take notice. There is an opportunity for lightness, variety, humor, all tasteful, informative, and, by the way, entertaining, not pandering.

It's a start. Let's hold our leaders and media to the rising standards.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

It must hurt!

Dear Ed,

how can a self-respecting supporter of our men and women who defend us, and are in harms way not be led by this most respected soldier-statesman of the last 25 years:

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Before I Forget

The current financial crisis, 3 weeks on, draws out us experts, assessing blame. There are some blame-assessors who readily identify themselves among those you needn't listen to. What are the criteria to gain this list? First anyone speaking with authority on a Fox affiliate, and more generally those who blame the regulators and in particular, of late, those blaming Barney Frank.

The chorus is like this: the legislators pushed Fannie and Freddie to give loans to those who couldn't afford it, those bad Americans (likely of questionable origin) who never were supposed to have a house and were basically handed it by those bleeding hearts in Washington. This would be fine were it not for a few missing details. Notably the identity of the tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people it took to push the bad paper, who were making piles of money for bundling these debts, and calling them assets. Clearly regulation and even legislation permitted, if not promoted this behavior. But let's be a little reasonable here. Do we look at, say, a pregnant teenager or first time drug addict as the culprit. Either of these social ills was brought on with the help of someone else, in the market, as it were, who sold them on their condition.

This problem is not new. I recently read Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle", where the obvious problem is the conditions in the meat-packing business. But for the Rudkus family, it's set against their exploitation by the propertied class. A no-small section details how they are sold this wonderful home, close enough to the factory, but which takes everyone's salary, even the pan-handling children, just to stay in. The terms are all in behalf of the mortgage company, who routinely throws people out, and with another coat of whitewash recycles the property for the next in the supply line of victims of the plant.

Back to our current dilemma: I hear little of the blame laid on the group of people who fill the logical void left by heaping blame on those among us who live beyond their means and the legislator/regulator who allows/permits the extravagance. Those who bloviate on Fox, blame Barney Frank, or regulators overlook this group. After all, what has been a not-hidden agenda of the last two or three decades in Washington? The growth of the lobbyist/consultant class. Who is writing the legislation? Not the people's representatives. The representatives of the moneyed class.

And why is Barney Frank on the hit list? Well, for all of two years he's been the chair of the House Banking committee. And surely, that's been enough time for a turn-around in the debacle that's 3 decades in the making. Watching Bill O'Reilly trying to blame Barney Frank for assuring investors that F&F were now stable enough to rely on as investment advice generated both disgust and comic relief. Frank repeatedly pointed out the quote O'Reilly focused on included more caution than not. I was disappointed Frank didn't challenge O'Reilly on that most sacred of capitalist dictums: "let the buyer beware". _and_ remind O'Reilly that nothing any congressman, much less the banking chairman, can be considered investment advice. No, Bill, those who poured money into F&F after the bailout did so with their capitalist eyes wide open.

A friend in my office (on Wall St!) is a little incensed at Obama for not making this point in the recent campaign. I think Barak is holding back on this because he's smart enough to know the people are smart enough to figure this out for themselves. After all, if Barak were to starkly point his finger at those who've actually raided the treasury, it would be out of his character, and, like all pointed weapons, it's difficult to control the collateral damage. Let's hope the wisdom of the electorate is in fact represented in this year's election.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

opinions are indeed different from math calculations, permitting a wry smile :-)

the letter (about 545 people -- it's really 535, but, as they say, "who's counting") is certainly one worth considering in this most ill-led of times.

on "voting all the bums out", one of the remarkable things about this electorate is we all want to get rid of every bum but our own. i'm working for linda stender, here in the NJ 7th. she ran a close race against mike ferguson 2 yrs ago, and he's _not_ running for re-election, which is one reason he can afford to vote _for_ the bailout. so, here in the nj 7th, one way or another, our bum is gone!

i'm very cautious about throwing all the bums out, just the bad ones. what's a bad one? for me, just about any republican, though i do see a few on the natl tube which give me some hope: chris shays (ct) -- the _last_ republican in the NE, who isn't sure he's in any party; richard shelby (ga) -- a no-nonsense guy who can also _listen_, a commodity in short supply inside the beltway, mitch mcconnell (ky) -- who can, and will compromise when the time demands. so, while i'm as partisan as you dare get, and still hope to retain sanity, there are a few on the other side, heck, i forgot dick lugar (in) -- one of the most _considerate_ people you'd ever hope to have working for the public. notice, _these_ republicans were NOT at the gathering of white people in st paul last month. also, from nj, we sent our two best republicans to dc in the last adminstration; the crowd there wasn't too happy with the performance of christy whitman and tom kean, the former being the indistinguished secy of the EPA and the latter, the ever-popular nine-eleven commission. "say what you want, just not in front of a camera".

and not every democrat gets my knee-jerk support (mostly because my knees are so arthritic, one needs replacing), i've found these two truths about the republicans, one personal, the other i believe is general:

i've never met a republican who _needed_ my vote, and ...
never has an increase in public cynicism failed to benefit the republican.


On Tue, Sep 30, 2008 at 11:39 PM, Dan Callahan <> wrote:

By Charlie Reese

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

On Sun, Sep 28, 2008 at 9:48 AM, Maura Domashinski <> wrote:


I am curious to read/hear your thoughts on this.




i was disappointed they didn't put "support capital punishment" in between say, abortion and euthanasia.

if you live in a state that has capital punishment, by inferrence, you support it. that's why i'm finally proud to be a nj citizen.

and as to "non-negotiable", all i can say is "who says?"

while it's most heartening people bring their religiously-born values to the public forum (see Stephen L Carter for all the wisdom you need on that point), it's quite another to say that "my list is non-negotiable".

one of the frustrating things about being a liberal is defending people's right to hold such views. certainly there are any number of people who will accept exactly that list because it's dressed in ecclesiastical garb; i grudgingly admit the view than you can bring a list of non-negotiable items to the public forum; i don't accept it on it's face. nor do i categorically endorse any of the five non-negotiable positions, though generally disagree with the stand against stem-cell research, and homosexual marriage (and generally agree with the others). if the catholic church doesn't want to sanctify same-sex marriage, it won't cause me to leave; if the state of nj were to pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting it, i'd think about relocating.

on the subect of who says this with what authority, since that aspect is important to a catholic, you will note the lack of official seal (imprimatur) on the document. while there are lots of quotes from cathoic teaching, they are editor's quotes, and selected to make political, rather than faith-based points. which is why no teacher of the faith (a bishop) has put his (sadly, only male) signature on the document. there are a handful of bishops who do endorse these points, and may consider this as the one non-negotiable list. though i'd chuckle to think if you considered those bishops of like mind that could all agree (without negotiation) the contents of the non-negotiable list.

and why hasn't this happened? becuase a sufficient plurality of catholic bishops, already financially strapped, would be loath to see the likely challenge to their tax-exempt status should anyone claim promulgating this list crossed the line of endorsing specific candidates. while they've cleverly avoided specific candidates, their implicit (and selective) endorsement by withholding sacraments is about as close as they dare go.

+=+-- dad

cc: cta-nj

Tuesday, September 16, 2008



   without reading your reply, something i failed to mention in my last letter:   recently on one of the movie channels, we saw Dr Zhivago.   it was big when i was a lad, possibly before your time.   as you know, it was written by boris pasternak, and if ever there was one to talk about the repressive soviet system, that evil against which we all struggle, it was pasternak. (or, ok maybe solzhenitsyn)  well, there's a moment in the movie, when the ... family, with ralph richardson as the father and geraldine chaplin as the daughter, where they are herded onto a cattle car, "only 50 to a car, we don't want you crowded",   and after the horrid sanitary rules are spelled out, a policeman shackles one of the "passengers", played by klaus kinski (i just checked) who has the line:  "I'm the only free person on this train", as he struggles with his shackles.

  so what did pasternak mean?

  i think you confuse "freedom" with "security".    those herded onto the cattle car not in shackles were simply going along.  the prisoner was the only one fighting for "freedom".   and, consequently, he was the only one who was free.  i'd observe the defenders (and occupiers) of freedom, are those who struggle against the closer evil.    it was _really_ interesting, the few lines in the movie, where the policeman/guard was assuring the human cattle that "the line is clear", sounds too much like the hollow assurances given by this, and a (not too likely) future republican administration.  "the battle is far away, don't worry. "

  i've put the movie "1984" on our netflix queue; it's not currently available.  i wonder why?   is it the news of the day looks too much like the perpetual state of war "far away".  that's the thing which most disturbed me about this administration's raison d'etre:  "we'll fight them over there so they don't come over here".   that has much more to do with a false sense of security than anything passing for freedom.

+=+-- Citizen Marty McGowan  & @
"you were so funny, it was all i could do to keep from laughing"

Monday, September 15, 2008

Re: ?? Obama on BAIPA

 other than your first two sentences, it was all drivel.  i heartily agree that freedom is in jeopardy.

the biggest threat to our freedom is right here.,  bush-cheney in their campaign of fear and abridgement of civil rights in the name of "safety" have been the biggest threat to freedom.

stop listening to those arguments which are UNcritcal if you want to find out about loss of freedom. 

your slavish alignment with this past administration is well detailed in "It Can't Happen Here", published > 70 yrs ago.  _exactly_ the same arguments were being made by people as un-equipped as yourself to see what was really happening.

cheney and karl rove set out to increase, if not aggrandize the power of the executive.  you would say "good, we need a strong firm hand on the ship of state."   to which i say, "not unless it's aware of the waters it's sailing in"   a subject manifestly clear to anyone who's ever taken even a dingy out of the smallest slip.  

my motto:

     reality over ideals
     people over things
     practical over all.

you still have yet to address how mccain represents change.  or is he lying to us?  are you willing to tolerate the lie?

McCain brings us

   a. same campaign staff
   b. same foreign policy, and
   c. same domestic/economic policy

as the most miserable 8 years in the nation's history.

When you respond to this one, then we'll examine how (or not) your president (surely NOT mine) increased our freedoms over his tenure.  

Since you took the trouble to write, I'll spare you the screed you deserve, except to offer this little insight.   I'm not feeling too sorry for the boys down on wall street who were packing their bags today, especially the rather large number who applauded elliot spiitzer's demise.   i feel badly, of course, of his betrayal of the public trust, but, i feel even worse that his demise, and loss of regulatory muscle was even a bigger tragedy for your daughter, my children and theirs than you care to acknowledge.

I hope you don't think the people who needed more regulation were likely Democratic, rather than Republican voters.   I'll give you any odds you want that the boys who gamed the system, inflated the values, and passed on the risk while skimming the cream were at least 3 to 1 republicans vs democrats.  Suggest i'm wrong there.

finally,  since you raise the subject of "values", we can work on that one later; you've guessed that i'm no more "reasonable" than you are, and deal my arguments from "faith" as you do.  _except_ i like my faith, which i "believe" really puts people first.


On Mon, Sep 15, 2008 at 3:01 PM, Wronka, Edward <> wrote:
In my own words....

I believe that the freedom that we in the United States enjoy isn't
guaranteed. Indeed, mere circumstances prevented Hitler from directly
attacking our freedom--i.e. he was separated by an ocean and the
Japanese army woke our nation up to the threat he posed before Hitler
was in a position to overcome the distance of the Atlantic ocean.

When I look at the world I see a huge divide between the haves and the
have-nots....those which have human freedom and those who do not.

      when i ride the NJ Transit NE Corridor from Linden thru Elizabeth and Newark,
    I see more "have nots" than you can imagine.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Re: ?? Obama on BAIPA


it's not that you are dumb; you've accepted your side's arguments on faith, which is not to be denied, a sound basis to take a position on, except, you refuse to admit it (therefore, i conclude you believe that somehow faith < reason)

the republican party is not dumb, indeed very smart, since it relies on it's ability to fool a great number of people to take positions contrary to their own best interests.

i'd be much more interested in your positions, faith-, and/or reason-inspired, if you told me what it was _costing_ you to take that position.

what i'm trying to tell you is that you're endorsing the positions of power brokers, who are asking _our_ people, yours and mine, to do the dying and financial sacrificing.   to the extent you refuse to consider that possibility you are not dumb, simply ignorEnt.

    ignorent:  (adj)  willful disregard of facts.

from Marty McGowan's Dictionary of Political Observation. 

i'm really only interested in what _you_ have to say, not some self-serving quote from anywhere.  you are yet to take on my observation that wrt the mccain campaign:

  •     the staff is Rove re-treads  (lincoln missed this one:  "you can fool enough of the people enough of the time" -- K Rove)
  •     the foreign policy is indistinguishable from the last 8 years,
  •     the tax policy is           "                         "                 "  (mega-dittos -- B. F. R. Limbaugh)

and that somehow these facts = change.  I don't think so.

Now as for Obama,  let's try civility for a while, even though his positions may represent some tired old liberal themes, not all that new (or liberal, according to the ubiquitous "some") , _except_ they haven't been tried for 8, or 28 years, take your pick, so i call it "change".

to mis-quote someone,  "it all depends on what your definition of ``change'' is"

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Are the Republicans Cynical

I was think of sending this one to Ed, but he's a little fed up on my rhetorical challenges of late.

Are the Republicans cynical when they use arguments, that could be turned against them, when they hope that voters can't play a little mental role reversal.   Let's see if this doesn't help answer the question.

The now-disgraced Phil Gramm had it right when he said we are a nation of whiners.  Actually there aren't that many.  Just enough to crowd into  (fill?) the Excel Center in St Paul.  As the Republican's listen to their red-meat wing, we are supposed to believe it's the media, and the sexist reportage that is the source of any anti-Palin sentiment.   For some time, I"ve felt if someone was calling you a {something}IST, you should pay attention. Am I a sexist, racist, capitalist, communist, .... ?   It used to be worth a gut-check.    Maybe the criticism is justified.   Not any more when it comes from a Republican.   "Let me tell you what you are, I know.  w.r.t. Palin any objection you have is because you are sexist.  Don't bother me with any facts.  That's the way it is."    Isn't that whining?

but why cynical?   a handful of people who orchestrate such simple drivel have thought it through;   "We can use this argument since the Democrats don't _dare_ use it's flip side:  they'd have to whine that the objections to Obama are racist.   They're not that stupid."   So that's where it lands.   "We can whine sexist and they don't have a comeback"

And, the good news is:  we stay off the issues.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Before we Get Carried Away


    before ... , i'd like to spend some more time on why you don't like Al Gore.

    I think we will be able to conclude you don't like him for no other reason than you don't like him.

    you won't like the conclusion i'd make as to the source of your dislike, but in the liberal spirit of all minds being open, you'll have to hear it.

    and, i'll offer this much before we open the can of worms:  you can apply my reason for "disliking so-and-so" to any republican(s) you chose, and you'll find the argument wanting.   or stated more succinctly,    you will not be able to use my argument against me, that "i don't like so-and-so because ... "  for the reason why i don't like __________ (you can fill in the blank). (*)  Lest you think i'm being unfair, you can conduct the argument in reverse.  

that was issue #1.

issue #2.   going back a month or so, you offered a vision for america and the world,   the kind of world i'd like to live in.   my current beat of the drum is,   "and what do you expect of our government to make that happen?"   and it's first corollary:  "what do i expect the government to ask of me?"   or   "what am i willing to do if the government should ask?"

you can see where this may be going.

(*) an example:  
         You claim:    A.  "I don't like Al Gore"  
         i get to fill in the blank:  e.g.   B. "Ed you don't like Al Gore because he wears green socks"
         you can claim    C. "Marty, you don't like George W Bush",
         then this will have to be true:   D. "Marty, you don't like George W Bush because he wears green socks".
   I will supply the "because he wears green socks"   reason  which will make D either patently false or absurd, where statement B won't be observed false by a simple denial.   Get it?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

RE: [Lib. like Christ:] Bush GIve Away State Secret!


Today in Thailand, on the eve of the Bejing olympics (small Oh, please) G W (double-you) Bush gave away America's dearest State Secret:

 "If you expect to grow into a 21st century, modern, world-leading country, you will have to allow your citizens full and unhampered free expression"

Holy Cow!   I hope the Chinese weren't paying attention.

__._,_.___ And I hope the American corporate media WAS paying attention.


Harry Coverston,


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Bush GIve Away State Secret!

Today in Thailand, on the eve of the Bejing olympics (small Oh, please) G W (double-you) Bush gave away America's dearest State Secret:

 "If you expect to grow into a 21st century, modern, world-leading country, you will have to allow your citizens full and unhampered free expression"

Holy Cow!   I hope the Chinese weren't paying attention.