Friday, October 31, 2008

Focus on the Family, and the Economy, Me Stupid

I begin by admitting that I like James Dobson. He is a man who gives pragmatic advice to parents, lives modestly, and has found a way to live off of other people's donations for over 30 years. If there is a dark side, its his ambition to be taken as a player in the political field. It's an ambition that can drive a man over the edge, like it has to other public preachers who engaged in excess drinking, drug taking, and the hiring of prostitutes.

Earlier in the year Mr. Dobson said that he would not vote for John McCain. Now, the political arm of Focus on the Family has issued a 16 page flier attacking life under an Obama administration. Heavy emphasis on homosexuality, and the fear that it may engender. Since Focus is a male dominated organization, all of this obsession with homosexuals may indicate a secret, hidden desire for a same-sex relationship, like the one expressed by Dobson's good friend, Ted Haggard. Methinks they protest too much; that Tom Minnery guy looks pretty gay to me...

Good times, bad times for the economy. Good times if you are an oil company, registering record profits during the last three months, over 44 billion from all of the companies combined. Yet, AIG has already gone through $120 billion, they refuse to tell where its been spent, and may ask for more! The Federal Reserve pumped money into all of these major banks, and instead of using it to create loans and stimulate the economy, they held on to it and paid dividends to shareholders, bonuses to executives, and just some squirreled away for a rainy day. The bailout is resembling less like socialism, and more like a dictatorship similar to the Russian economic bailout, where $150 billion has been handed out to friends of Putin, screw everyone else.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Infomercial, RNC, and Rev. Wright

I'm such an easy audience, I'll mist up over a commercial or human interest story on the news. I was inspired by Obama's speech at the Democratic convention, and was moved almost to tears over the stories presented last night. So the 30 minutes were well crafted, designed to pluck the emotional strings and give hope, and succeeded on all levels. Oh, yeah, I used to pour over the books of Studs Terkel and his populist stories, too.

A couple days ago I received a phone call from the RNC asking for a donation. It seems that there was an emergency: that the race in Arizona was tightening up and they needed more money to be competitive. It would be a huge loss of face if John McCain lost. I'll have to start reading some Arizona blogs to see how the newly fortified media blitz is affecting its citizenry.

They could try to send out memos like the Monterey, California Republicans did, likening Barack Obama to a young, if not Black, Adolf Hitler. I think this is in response to the huge, enthusiastic crowds he is drawing, that cheer without being prompted. Let's see, he's been called a socialist, a Communist, a Marxist, a Nazi, a black Adolf Hitler, the Anti-Christ. It seems that all of the negative hit buttons have been triggered and have not worked. If anything, they show how pathetic the old politics has become.

I was waiting for an October surprise, but it looks like all attempts to create one has fizzled out. And the hunt for Osama bin Laden is President Bush's quest; he's contracted since last June with the British Rangers to go into Pakistan instead of our soldiers, and upped the amount of drones flying into that country and dropping bombs on al Qaeda operatives. That is the most elusive man on the planet. It might be better to contract with the Kurds, whom, it is rumored, actually found Saddam Hussein and kept him in that hole in the ground for several days until letting the US forces "discover" him.

Oh, wait, there's still Rev. Wright. The man who was taped saying things that many in the black community have wondered about for years, that whites may find repugnant but are innocuous to people of color. One of the things he said may be correct, that the AIDS virus was genetically engineered in the United States. In an article in the well titled Paranoia Magazine, Alan Cantwell, MD, states that it was created by Dr. Alfred M. Prince at the New York Blood Center for a hepatitis B experiment: "The earliest AIDS cases in America can be clearly traced back to the time period when the hepatitis B experiment began at the New York Blood Center. The Center began injecting gay men with multiple doses of the experimental vaccine in November 1978. The inoculations ended in October 1979, less than two years before the official start of the epidemic. Most importantly, the vaccine was developed in chimpanzees - the primate now thought to contain the "ancestor" virus of HIV. Also downplayed is the Center's pre-AIDS connection to primate research in Africa and also to a primate center in the New York City area. The final experimental vaccine was also made by Merck and the NIH from the pooled serum specimens of countless gay men who carried the hepatitis B virus in their blood.

The New York Blood Center (NYBC) is the largest independent blood supplier and distributor in the USA. In 1970, Alfred M Prince, M.D., head of the NYBC Laboratory of Virology, began his hepatitis research with chimps housed at LEMSIP (the Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery) in downstate Tuxedo, NY. Until disbanded in 1997, LEMSIP supplied New York area scientists with primates and primate parts for transplantation and virus research.

Founded in 1965, LEMSIP was affiliated with New York University Medical Center, where the first cases of AIDS-associated Kaposi's sarcoma were discovered in 1979. NYU Medical Center researchers were also heavily involved in the development of the experimental hepatitis B vaccine, and the Center received government grants and contracts connected with biological warfare research beginning in 1969, according to Dr. Leonard Horowitz, author of Emerging Viruses: AIDS and Ebola [1996].

In 1974 Prince, with the support of Aaron Kellner, President of the NYBC, moved the chimp hepatitis research to a new primate center called Vilab II in Robertsfield, Liberia, in Africa. Chimps were captured from various parts of West Africa and brought to VILAB. The lab also prides itself by releasing "rehabilitated" chimps back into the wild. One cannot help but wonder if some of the purported "ancestors" of HIV in the African bush have their origin in chimpanzees held in African primate labs for vaccine and medical experimentation.

The hepatitis B experiment, which inoculated over 1,000 healthy gay men, was a huge success with 96% of the men developing antibodies again the hepatitis virus. This high rate of success could not have been achieved if the men were immunosuppressed, because immunosuppressed people do not easily form antibodies to the vaccine. The experiment was followed by similar hepatitis B experiments using gay men in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Denver and St. Louis, beginning in March 1980 and ending in October 1981, the same year the epidemic became official.

In the mid-1980s the many blood specimens donated by the gay Manhattan men during the experiment were retrospectively examined for HIV infection by researchers at the NYBC. It was determined that 6% of the specimens donated between 1978-1979 were positive for HIV. By 1984 (the end of the study period) over 40% of the men tested positive for HIV."

Perhaps we might also find out the true story behind sending government made anthrax through the mail...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Obama Snafu, McCain Campaign Demands Video

The funniest story from the campaigns today came from NPR this morning. The Obama campaign had put together a package for early voting for one of the Midwestern states, including a ballot, a picture of Obama, some literature for the local candidate, and a phone number for the Democratic Hotline. Unfortunately, the phone number actually went to a phone sex number. So if you called, not only were you charged over $5 per minute, but you could get really hot and bothered, just not for the candidate. Unless you used Obama's picture while you called?

John McCain's campaign issued a demand that the La Times release a video they had obtained from 2003 showing Obama with Rashid Khalidi,a Pakistani scholar and activist, whom they branded a radical. The Times had already reported the details of the tape back in April, and they said that they obtained it after agreeing not to release it to the public. So what is the big deal? Besides, Pakistan is supposed to be an ally of ours and we are trying to have better relations with them. There are just as many people in the Pakstani military willing to squirrel away billions of dollars in aid just like Pervaz Musharraf did.

 Khalidi is supposed to be a harsh critic of Israel and supporter of Palestine, therefore he is dangerous, never mind that Obama has always supported Israel. That he's willing to listen to both sides and supporters of an issue is a good thing, not something to be demonized.

Jeez, what this big brouhaha about who supports radicals or not, anyway. We were all radicals back in the sixties, and then we grew out of it. Using this argument as a scare tactic or threat that you don't support out country is hollow and bogus. People were radicals because they passionately cared about the direction our country was taking, and they disagreed with the older adults who ran things. When you are young you are supposed to challenge the beliefs of your fathers so you can forge your own; its how you mature. To brand the process as wrong shows a lack of depth and understanding, all reactionary emotions and anger, which is the wrong foundation for life and is the underliying problem with right wing politics.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Getting Tired of Political Campaigns

My brother-in-law is forbidding my sister to watch the news shows when he is home at night, he thinks she's become too obsessive when she talks back to the television. Now that we've voted, we're finding that the constant barrage of leaflets and phone calls is annoying, just please take us off of your list...

One of the things I learned from the Ted Stevens trial, is that cons can pursue and serve political office. This may give our jail population something constructive to pursue in the near future, and we may see the rise of a new political party, the Con Party. And if one won, would we then have to let him out, or would it be like a work release program? Ironically, you can run for office, maybe even serve, you just can't vote.

Every morning we stealthily turn on the television and watch coverage of the political rallies. I've come to the conclusion that you really can't teach an old dog new tricks. Old dog McCain can't stop attacking his opponent personally. Because he's been rich and privileged all of his life and been sheltered by being a Senator for 26 years, he has had no contact with people who work for wages. Instead of being flesh and blood people with lives and histories, we are reduced to caricatures like Joe the Plumber or Joe Six Pack.

And the powerless and defunct right wing is throwing words out like "socialism," as if that's a fearful and scary thing these days after the fall of Russia. It doesn't have the negative connotations with younger people, and doesn't conjure up a bogyman like "communism" once did. Only angry old white men are left to salivate and write boring opinion pieces about how dangerous change can be.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Straight Outta Anchorage

I'm having the most wonderful cup of coffee, made from  a combination of freshly ground Bolivian Peaberry and Kenyan Peaberry beans I bought at High Rise Coffee in Old Colorado City. Along with Serrano's, they are my two favorite places to get good, freshly roasted coffee beans. Now that I have a source for great cigars, I have no real complaints about this town...

Now, on to some Sarah Palin news: the most interesting item is that the Anchorage Daily News has decided to support Barack Obama for President. It's one of the better written opinion pieces that I've read, did it while showing respect for their native daughter.

When Ms Palin first became mayor of Wasilla, she campaigned as an outsider, wanting to upset the good old-boy network of politics. The debt of Wasilla was one million dollars. When she left to become governor, she left the town saddled with a 20 million dollar debt. But, hey, they had a new sports complex built by the same contractors that helped Todd build their house for free.

It's looking like the much touted Alaskan pipeline deal the governor was so proud of may not be built. It was contracted with a Canadian firm, with the pipeline ending in Canada, not the US. Not a whole lot of benefit for us, we may not even get the oil. And now that her pal Ted Stevens has been found guilty, Republicans may not win an office in Alaska this election, and put her chances for re-election in doubt.

Poor Levi Johnson, the beau to pregnant 17 year old Bristol, dropped out of high school to get a job on the oil slopes so that he can pay for the birthing of his child. If I were the Palin's and welcomed him into our family, I would get him a job in Wasilla, maybe even just pay him to finish high school, and make sure that he would go to college. Maybe they are making life difficult for him so that he will divorce their daughter eventually, or maybe he is a stubborn male and has too much pride to accept a helping hand.

The last Presidential endorsement for Obama comes from the Financial Times from London. They have an interesting analysis of the two campaigns and end their piece with a warning:

 "Rest assured that, should he win, Mr Obama is bound to disappoint. How could he not? He is expected to heal the country’s racial divisions, reverse the trend of rising inequality, improve middle-class living standards, cut almost everybody’s taxes, transform the image of the United States abroad, end the losses in Iraq, deal with the mess in Afghanistan and much more besides.

Succeeding in those endeavours would require more than uplifting oratory and presidential deportment even if the economy were growing rapidly, which it will not be.

The challenges facing the next president will be extraordinary. We hesitate to wish it on anyone, but we hope that Mr Obama gets the job."

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Tragic Failure of Democratic Values

I love it. Barack Obama is being called a Liberal. A Socialist. A Communist. And now, a Nazi, who will do horrible things to Jews. I'm waiting until later on in the week when he will be accused of attacking 20 year-old McCain volunteers and carving "B's" on their cheeks, backwards, as if it was done with a mirror. Also, the Democrats are responsible for the current economic crisis because they didn't stop us...

We have had elements of socialism in our government for many years. There are some very good ideas that other countries have adopted and have worked out well for them. The trick is not to force socialistic programs with military force. The same goes with Democratic values, its better to persuade other countries to adopt our ideals by example than it is by occupying their countries. We failed miserably to do this in the human rights department, and seem to be failing to be persuasive in the economic area, threatening to bring the entire world's economy down with us.

The United States may lose its primacy in the world of business. English may give way to some other language as the international lingua franca, and the dollar may lose to the Euro. Which may send us further spiraling downwards into becoming just another third world, tin-horn ex-super power. 

I seriously doubt if Obama can pull off the miracle that is needed to put us back on the right track. It will take the right wing element to give up most of what they have believed in for the last 20 years or so, to acknowledge that their ideas don't work in real life. And the liberal element will have to restrain themselves from promoting social programs that will bankrupt us even more. I haven't heard anyone saying we need to outlaw lobbying, or that all laws need a sunset clause on them, that we need the right kind of regulation of our money industries instead of blanket regulation. 

The Democratic Congress hasn't fulfilled on the promises they made when they became the majority, and I'm afraid that with even more overwhelming victories in November, there won't be enough opposition to call them out when they propose stupid legislation. We need checks and balances, we need polite opposition. We need more than two viable political parties.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Voting Early

Luckily, in Colorado you don't have to have a note signed from your teacher to vote early. Better yet, we had mail-in ballots sent to us, and we could take our time reading the ballots, read and discuss all of the literature for the amendments, and make a more informed choice. Then I drove over to an outpost of the County Clerk and Recorder's Office, dropped our ballots into a box, and have been wearing my "I voted" sticker on my leather coat all week long.

But, it's getting nasty out there. A recent poll taken in Colorado had Obama up by 10 points over McCain. The Colorado Republican Committee has been frantically putting out multiple mailings, all aimed at smearing Obama's character and using fear mongering aimed at the old folks. We got the William Ayers leaflet. We got the Tony Rezko leaflet. We got several ones claiming Obama is dangerously inexperienced. 

My favorite so far is the one encouraging you to get out and vote early because " as terrorists continue to plot against freedom around the world, America must stand her ground.." Of course, now that Al Maliki refuses to send the latest version of an agreement to the Iraqi Parliment, we may be standing our ground but it just won't be in Iraq. Go jingoism!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Free Market Economy, R.I.P., Nuclear Future

With the former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan admitting before Congress that a total free market economy is not the best model for the world, and that the recent events have shocked him, we may be morphing into a more responsible way to run our economy. The world markets are reacting with violent swings daily that nobody can predict, and our efforts to stop them and stabilize hasn't done it quickly enough. Will somebody please replace those dunderheads at AIG...

You might think that after the Savings and Loan debacle, which occurred after that industry was deregulated, that some precautions might've been kept so that banks wouldn't be swayed by their managers stupidity and greed; but Mr. Greenspan trusted that the banks had the wisdom to avoid these kinds of pitfalls. 

With the rise of supply-side economic theory, of whom Dick Cheney was one of the biggest supporters, the followers of Arthur Laffer proceeded to put into policy their crackpot ideas so they could get rich at our expense. Phil Gramm, who was one of John McCain's economic advisors, is probably the best example and may be the person most responsible for the current crisis. From Wikipedia: "Some economists believe that the 1999 legislation spearheaded by Gramm and signed into law by President Clinton -- the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act -- was partially to blame for leading to the 2007 subprime mortgage crisis and 2008 global economic crisis.[10]. The Act is most well-known for repealing much of the Glass-Steagall Act, which had regulated the financial services industry. Gramm responded to such criticism by stating that he saw "no evidence whatsoever" that the subprime mortgage crisis was caused in any way "by allowing banks and securities companies and insurance companies to compete against each other."
The Washington Post in 2008 named Gramm one of seven "key players" responsible for winning a 1998-1999 fight against regulation of derivatives trading. Gramm was later critical to passage of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, which kept derivatives transactions, including those involving credit default swaps, free of government regulation.
On October 14, 2008, CNN ranked Gramm number seven in its list of the 10 individuals most responsible for the current economic crisis.
" Gramm was also involved in passing a bill that provided a loophole for Enron, where his wife was on the board of directors.

There are currently 34 applications to build new nuclear reactors in the US. We have 104 currently working, and no new ones have been built since 1978. Facilities to produce components are being built in Louisiana, Georgia, and South Carolina. Unfortunately, we still have not solved the problem of what to do with nuclear waste. The current solution is to bury spent nuclear rods in a salt mine over 2000 feet in the ground in Utah, with another place in Nevada to be approved. This is deemed better than placing them in barrels and placing them at the bottom of the ocean, which is what some countries were doing. The real problem with the underground disposal will be to keep humans from encroaching the areas for the next 10,000 years...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Why Barack Obama is Winning

It just gets worse for John McCain. In a blog post today, Barry Goldwater's granddaughter  made an endorsement for Barack Obama. After Colin Powell's and Christopher Buckley's endorsement also for Obama, there's not many respected Conservative names left to stand up for McCain.

And the Gop in Arizona is having major problems, from accepting $105,000 in funds from an illegal group set up by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, to the credit card of a Republican operative found under a desk at the Democratic headquarters. Asked for comment at a fundraiser last week, a Republican consultant here simply said that the state GOP is in "desperate straits" ( quote from the linked article).

Besides the squirrely tricks more evocative of Monty Python than Gordon Liddy, Arizona is a good example of the ideological battles currently being fought among GOP party members, and why these battles need to happen in order to rebuild. John McCain will come up for re-election in 2010. Will he seek another term, or will he be voted out of office then?

I saw part of NBC's Brian Williams' interview with John and Sarah. In it Sarah came across as the more poised and charismatic of the two. I kept wishing for some good one-liners from John, but I guess his comic speechwriter has gone elsewhere. Now, comparing Sarah with the other potential Vice-Presidential candidates that were bandied about, she seems a much better choice than a nasty Rudy, slick Mit, or suck up Joe. I think that John's gut instinct choice back-fired on him now that people are paying more attention to her than himself, and it also shows the lack of depth on the Republican bench for the big game.

The best written article of the campaign so far comes from veteran political journalist Joe Klein in Time magazine. It describes Barack's meeting with General Petraeus, and the development of the candidate over the last two years. He would do a similar piece on McCain, but the campaign will not let him on the press plane, nor will they answer questions from him. Even the Clinton people gave him press access after they found out he had written the critical novel Primary Colors.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Troopergate, the Reverse Bradley Effect

Today, Thailand's Supreme Court handed down a ruling that their former Prime Minister was guilty of corruption while in office, and plans to try and extradite him from Britain were initiated. Now that the Alaskan legislative committee has found Sarah Palin guilty of ethics violation, and another committee's investigation has begun, I wonder where the Palin family will flee to? Perhaps they will go to "real America," and can we extradite her from there?

The polls all have Barack Obama ahead of John McCain, some by as much as 10 points. Fareed Zakaria, in his book The Future of Freedom, wonders at our obsession with polls. "When historians write about these times they will surely be struck by our constant, never-ending search for the pulse of the people... Pollsters have become our modern soothsayers, interpreting public opinion surveys with the gravity with which their predecessors read chicken entrails." Some news stations and web sites have constant up-to-the-minute updates of the various polls, and go on and on about their interpretations of what we think. Sometimes I wonder if I have a mind of my own...

And in my own mind I've gleaned from all of my readings and news watching the dirty little secret that even Laura Bush supports Barack Obama. Wanna bet on it?

In Kathleen Parker's column , she writes not only about the Bradley effect, where white folks lie to a pollster about their support for a black candidate, but also the Reverse Bradley effect, or whites who would never admit to voting for a black man, but do. She also tells about the many calls and e-mails she's received from conservatives who have also come to the conclusion that they cannot support they way John McCain has run his campaign and made decisions.

She ends her piece by saying "But an Obama victory won't give him a mandate. Many of the Reverse-Bradley ballots won't have been votes cast for Obama, but against a campaign turned ugly. They also will have been delivered with solemn prayers that Obama will govern as the centrist, pragmatic leader he is capable of being."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I Can see Sarah Palin From My Front Porch

Sarah Palin came and spoke at a rally here in Colorado Springs yesterday morning. There was a smaller than expected crowd, and that may be because it was held in the morning. If it was held in the afternoon, I would have attended and brought along my sister's grand-daughter. She's 11 years old, but I've gotten her to sit and watch some of the debates, and she will even ask pointed questions when watching the news.

It seems that the McCain campaign is conceding Colorado, which is sad as I would like to see a good fight to the bitter end. So, they are positioning Sarah for a brighter future. A few more years getting used to being in the national spotlight and they might let her do a news interview on her own. Plus, she will get to have people make up catchy phrases of her own. But right now she is the darling of the right-wing fringe of the Republican Party, and that is the bankrupt part who's ideas have been proven not to work in real time. If she was smarter, she would show a more moderate and balanced view, so she can have a central role when the Party begins to rebuild itself after the election.

She also was interviewed by our local James Dobson over the phone for his radio program. Tom Minnery, the reactionary senior vice president of government and public policy for Focus on the Family, was quoted in the Gazette  " She is smart, articulate, and has a Christian testimony, so we can see why the national media is out to get her."

Why does every Christian fringe group feel paranoid, that the rest of the nation is out to get them? Perhaps its from the romantic notion of wanting to be a martyr. Or it could be anger and frustration because their beliefs haven't become more mainstream. Anyway, it has become part of the institutionalized rant along with the unenlightened and unforgiving nature of the mainstream media, or MSM, in fringe jargon.

Being a socially repressed conservative seems to be part of human nature. We have them in every society, and the super conservative evangelical Christians have more in common with the super conservative Islamic folk than anyone else. Their approach to their religion, their application of mores to society are the same. This religious, right-wing approach is responsible for the mess of the Bush administration, the Iranian government, and the rise of the Taliban. If we can promote a moderate, more balance approach to policies and politics, what wonderful changes we could create in the world...

Monday, October 20, 2008


If you think that political campaigning is bad here in the US, be glad that the shenanigans are well reported, and our press has the freedom to be critical or supportive. It was pointed out in a recent issue of the New Yorker, that things are much more violent, claims are much more outrageous against candidates in places like Russia, Zimbabwe, Taiwan, Nigeria, and Austria. In certain circumstances, the allegation that a candidate is a cannibal may be true...

I just wanted to insert my favorite Putin joke here. I heard it on NPR, and was credited as being published in the LA Times. Putin and the newly elected Russian President go into a restaurant. A waiter comes up to them and asks Putin " What will you have?"

"I'll have the meat." Putin replies.

" Very good, sir. And the vegetable? "

"He'll have the meat, too."

So what if Barack Obama's middle name is Hussein? Let's turn the fear mongering argument around and say that it can be a good thing. We have a tarnished reputation in the Middle East right now, and could use some good press. Its possible that a man with the middle name of Hussein might be able to rebuild, and in some cases, initiate better diplomatic relations with Muslim societies. They might actually respond favorably, and a peace process could go forward instead of occupying countries and killing off civilians. Call me a wild-eyed dreamer, but it could work.

It looks like after that know-nothing Colin Powell's endorsement for Barack Obama, that the coffin was nailed shut on poor John McCain. No thinking Conservative in the public eye will stand up for him. The only place he may win is here in El Paso County, and I doubt if he'll even take Arizona. I believe that his decision to select Sarah Palin was more sincere than George HW Bush's cynical one of Dan Quayle. It just wasn't a good choice and called into question his ability to make good decisions under pressure. Next thing we know he's nominating G. Gordon Liddy to the Supreme Court...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fear and Anger Provoked at Campaign Rallies

It's taken a few days, but the mainstream media has had much discussion over the escalating use of epithets shouted out at McCain rallies. During the last Presidential debate John was forced to defend the people who came to his rallies, and it's true that 99.9% of the folks who attend these functions are committed, passionate people who believe in their candidate.

But, what you are also hearing are the death throes of the right-wing mindset, people who are reacting to their personal fears, expressed in angry statements. This fear is intentionally invoked by the McCain campaign. Again, at the debate John said that he didn't care about any washed up, domestic terrorist; but the next day his campaign started making computer generated phone calls trying to link Barack Obama to William Ayers again, trying to establish a link in your mind that Obama supports terrorism against America. It's cheap shots like this that are backfiring against McCain, and has generated declarations of support for Obama from Conservative people like Christopher Buckley and Colin Powell.

Remember, everything that happens at political events these days are scripted. When you see news clips of people cheering or booing in response to what a candidate said, that is not spontaneous. People are planted in the audience to shout out these responses much like applause signs direct a studio audience. It may be that the shouts of "terrorist" and "kill him!" were shouted out by campaign ringers, which makes things worse because they would be premeditated and not outbursts from an angry individual.

It was reported this morning that China has agreed to help Pakistan build some nuclear reactors. Now we know why Pakistan's leader visited China on a "goodwill tour." The other headlines are saying that Pakistan is going broke and needs 20 billion dollars immediately just to stay afloat. Hmmm, something tells me that the poor and starving won't be getting any aid in the next few years, while a nuclear infrastructure is being built, despite whatever is currently being said.

Friday, October 17, 2008

What About Jim and Jane the Veteran?

First thing this morning I came across Paul Rieckhoff's  column, written in reaction to the bogus Joe the Plumber from the last Presidential debate. No mention of veterans came from the debate, and it may become another overlooked issue. Below are the 10 things that the group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America would like the next administration to consider:

1. Ensure Thorough, Professional, and Confidential Mental Health Screening

IAVA supports mandatory and confidential mental health and TBI screening by a mental health professional for all troops, both before and at least 90 days after a combat tour.

2. Advance-Fund VA Health Care

Year after year, the VA budget is passed late, forcing hundreds of veterans' hospitals and clinics to ration care. IAVA believes the only way to ensure timely funding of veterans' health care is to fund the program one year in advance. In addition, IAVA endorses the annual Independent Budget, produced by leading Veterans Service Organizations including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and AMVETS, as the blueprint for VA funding levels.

3. Overhaul the Military and Veterans' Disability System

IAVA believes the military and veterans' disability system needs a fundamental overhaul to streamline the process and provide adequate benefits to our wounded troops.

4. Cut the Claims Backlog in Half

Hundreds of thousands of disabled veterans are awaiting an answer from the VA on their benefits claims. Without this crucial source of income, many are struggling to make ends meet. The claims backlog must be cut in half with the new president's first year in office.

5. End the Passive VA System

The VA offers a wide array of benefits and services - but many veterans do not know what they are eligible for. The VA must do much more to aggressively advertise their services, especially online and in rural areas, and ensure that eligible veterans are receiving the care and benefits they have earned.

6. Combat the Shortage of Mental Health Professionals

The VA must be authorized to bolster its mental health workforce with adequate psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers to meet the demands of returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. IAVA also supports increased funding for Vet Centers to alleviate staffing shortfalls. Furthermore, the next president should issue a national call to service, bolstered by incentives, for mental health care workers in America.

The Department of Defense must address current shortages of mental health professionals. IAVA recommends a study of reasons for attrition among military mental health professionals, and the creation of new recruitment and retention incentives for mental health care providers, such as scholarships or college loan forgiveness.

7. Create Tax Incentives for Patriotic Employers

IAVA supports tax credits for the hiring of veterans, including National Guardsmen and Reservists, and those at risk for homelessness. IAVA recommends tax credits for employers who, when their reserve component employees are called to active duty for over 90 days, continue to support their employees by paying the difference between the servicemembers' civilian salary and their military wages.

8. Fight Homelessness among Veterans

50,000 new vouchers should be issued to house homeless veterans and the next president should end homelessness among veterans by the end of his first term.

9. Give Families Access to Mental Health Support

Military families should have improved access to mental health services, and active-duty families should be given unlimited access to mental health care, including family and marital counseling, on military bases. Families should also be given more effective training in the warning signs and effects of psychological injuries.

IAVA supports the creation of new VA programs to provide family and marital counseling for veterans receiving VA mental health treatment.

Congress should appropriate funding so that the military can formalize and coordinate the current volunteer family support services for the families of deployed servicemembers.

10. Repeal the Waiver of High-Deployment Pay

IAVA opposes the Secretary of Defense's use of national security waivers to avoid paying servicemembers "high deployment allowances" of $1,000/month. The high deployment allowance should be enforced, and should include servicemembers who are currently in a combat theatre and have served more than 365 days in a hazardous duty zone over the past two years (for active-duty troops) or over the past five years (for those in the reserve component)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mail In Ballots, Iraq Asking Brits to Leave

This weekend we are going to sit down and fill out our mail-in ballots. According to today's New York Times, about half of Colorado's voters have requested them: "Campaign workers and elections experts say that having so many people voting from home alters the chemistry of the election. So far, 1.4 million of Colorado’s 3.2 million registered voters have requested mail-in ballots; voters can request them until Oct. 28. (In 2004, about 668,000 voters requested the ballots)."

Our local County Clerk has been in the spotlight recently, he is one of the radical right wingers in an office that is supposed to be neutral politically, so we're not sure if using the voting machine is advisable. We want our vote to be counted and this will be part of a paper trail, hopefully more valid than committing ourselves through the ether. Besides, I just voted not to automatically retain 18 judges, and I'm hoping many more folks will do the same...

Iraq's Prime Minister For Life has asked Britain to remove the whopping 4200 troops they have deployed there. He would also like the US to withdraw, but there are current negotiations to have our troops stay after the Dec. 31 deadline, which signals the end of the previous contract. 

After all this time we have been in Iraq, it is still in a shaky shape. There is a recent scandal where local officials bought outdated chlorine from Iran and put it into the water supply south of Bagdad. A major outbreak of cholera happened during the last two weeks. The Egyptian Times reports: "the scandal is a reflection of the the way Iraqi politics works. The ruling parties monopolise jobs and contracts. It is impossible to find work at any level in most ministries without a letter of commendation from one of the parties in the government. The enormous Iraqi government apparatus, employing some two million people, is a patronage machine. There are now more state officials than under Saddam, but it is unable to supply electricity, food rations and clean water, despite Iraq's $80bn in accumulated oil revenues."

So, it looks like it has become a democracy in name only, and has reverted back to the feudalistic patronage system so popular in tribal societies. Add in the Kurds doing a little reverse ethnic cleansing in retaliation, and the government arresting the tribal sheiks who are members of the Anbar awakening as a thank you for turning against Al Qaeda, and you have one fine soup brewing up. There is no way to win this "war," it will never resemble the US type of government, and we will never be heroes outside of comic books.

The Great Debate

I always enjoy being proved wrong, and last night's Presidential debate turned out to be a really good one. We should let Bob Shieffer host all of the debates from now on, he controlled the candidates well, asked pointed questions, and the time flew by. It was a sit-down debate, so John McCain couldn't wander around the stage while Obama was speaking. I could have listened for another 90 minutes and not gotten bored. For the life of me, I can't think of a single Joe the Plumber joke this morning.

John McCain had his best debate. He was impassioned, feisty, looked at his opponent, blinked a lot, wrote copious notes as an emotional outlet, and avoided being contemptuous. Was it enough to turn around popular opinion of him?

Barack Obama upped his cool and gracious factor, by not attacking Sarah Palin, letting many of John's jabs go by him, and giving more information in his answers. To win, all he had to do was continue to project himself the way he had during the previous two debates, and the polls of independent voters would tip the balance in his favor.

There was a lot of give and take between the two, with the most detailed critiques of each other's economic policies. The problem with this is that things are changing so fast from day to day, that by the time one gets in office, their ideas won't work or will be outdated. But it gave us a good snapshot of how the two campaigns would approach the crisis. John McCain got off the best lines, saying, "Senator Obama, I am not President Bush, if you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago."

The worst part for Senator McCain was during the segment on Obama's past associations with Weather Underground founder William Ayers. Since this is a ridiculous charge in the first place, John came off whining and looking petulant, while Barack gave a cool, calm explanation. It got worse when Barack brought up the threats yelled out at rallies of Sarah Palin's, of "terrorist" and "kill him," and she did nothing to diffuse the situation. John just went into a defensive ramble about the quality of people attending his rallies.

A lot was said about the two's approach to health care and education, and I think Obama had the more substantive approach. Things could have gotten heated and weird when we had two males talking about abortion, but it was surprisingly civil. Neither did enough to convince anyone watching to change their mind on this issue, but it was nice to see it on national television.

Again, all of the polls of independent voters had Obama winning, even Fox News grudgingly reported it in their own poll. While John McCain gave his best performance, it seems that people prefer the demeanor and personality of Barack Obama. The race may tighten up within the next couple of weeks, but I just don't see how John McCain can come up with any winning strategy. If he weren't Republican and using tired, old Republican tricks, he would stand a better chance. But, people do want a change and seem willing to give Obama the chance to produce it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tonight's Debate, Ho-Hum, Pakistan

Probably less people will watch the presidential debate tonight than the two before, leaving only the truly interested and those of us who thrive in playing drinking games. It's touted as John McCain's last hope to turn the tide of public opinion against him, and pundits are debating over what mavericky plot he will use next.

Barack Obama has turned out to be a mediocre debater, I thought that he would be better with his oratory skills, but McCain isn't smart enough to capitalize. I would have fired McCain's campaign staff a long time ago; they can put lipstick on a pig but that won't make it attractive to an intelligent public. So, this evening will be exquisite torture, in a non-water boarding way.

The formal agreement between the US and Iraq that allows us  to deploy American soldiers ends this December 31st. Unless a new one is reached, it will be illegal to have US troops stationed in Iraq. I guess we now know which time-table the Iraqi's are in favor of... The US will also have to turn over 21,000 prisoners. And, that will free up a large amount of troops to send over to Afghanistan.

And, eventually, Pakistan. It seems that Pakistan's history of bilking the US for over 10 billion dollars and giving strong talk about fighting the Taliban, while really supporting it, has come back to bite them in the tukkus. Now, the Taliban want to liberate Pakistan too, and the country is in a shaky financial situation because Musharraf didn't share.

To remedy the situation, the Prime Minister has gone on a goodwill tour of China, hoping to be everyone's friend except India's. The situation is more explosive than Iraq and Afghanistan combined because Pakistan has nuclear weapons. As for Osama bin Laden, he's adjusting his sunglasses while lounging by a swimming pool at his home in Saudi Arabia...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

McCain's Economic Speech, Sarah's House

Today John McCain released his economic plan for the economy if he's elected president. From the Washington Post: "Under his plan, unveiled as he campaigned in a suburb of Philadelphia, seniors would pay lower taxes when they tap their retirement accounts and people who sell falling stocks could write off more of their losses. Those who are out of work would no longer be taxed on the unemployment benefits they collect. And those who make a profit by selling long-held stocks would pay only half the capital gains taxes for the next two years."

This whole notion of cutting taxes to provide relief comes from supply side economic theory, which has been the darling of right wing thinkers, along with the deregulation of everything. Herbert Walker Bush called it "voodoo economics" yet his son, George Bush, took on a major proponent of supply side theory with Dick Cheney as his running mate. Unfortunately, this theory has not turned out to be a healthy way to establish stable markets, as we have recently seen. Simply put, anytime you are using other people's money, you need to be responsible and accountable for how you are using it. And, if we don't like what you are doing, we should be able to stop you.

Hoping to calm the US citizens, John went on to say: ""I know what fear feels like. It's a thief in the night who robs your strength," McCain said. "I know what hopelessness feels like. It's an enemy who defeats your will. I felt those things once before. I will never let them in again. I'm an American. And I chose to marry a rich woman, now I have 13 cars and 11 houses!." OK, that last sentence was mine...

It's not looking good for Ms. Palin. First, she was found guilty of abusing her power, now it looks like she had her house in Wasilla built for free by the same contractor buddies of the First Dude, who were then granted the contract to build a sports complex. I said before that her compulsion to tell white lies would get her in trouble, and I shudder to think what ones she would tell if she really was in office as the Vice President. Good thing it's a cosmetic, powerless position.

On to the last debate!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Iraq Sells Oil, Cindy McCain's Shoes

Probably one of the least reported news items happened today, that Iraq was putting 40 billion barrels of oil reserves up for bid on the market out of London today. This is the largest sale in history, the next largest being 4 billion barrels when the Soviet Union fell and shattered.

The major setback to this deal, is it's not clear who in Iraq has the authority to approve the sale, and if the current government should fall, all previous contracts could be declared null and void. But all of the major oil companies will submit bids, along with China's national oil company, and a couple of other governments disguised as business concerns. It still hasn't been determined if Iraq will be asked to help pay for the war we are waging for them, or what kind of thank you's we will receive. I guess the thought of them going forward as a strong democracy is enough for us.

Recently, in a speech in South Carolina, Cindy McCain stepped up to the microphone and said that the day that Barack Obama didn't vote for a bill to fund the troops, it sent a cold shiver down her spine. John Stewart of the Daily Show replied that it would have to be a very cold shiver in order she would feel it. She also invited Mr. Obama to trade places and be in her shoes for a day. Hey, I'd trade places for a day, but only if I could have full access to Cindy McCain's millions. Guess what John? Suddenly, 10 of your houses and 12 of your cars would be sold, the profits going to homeless shelters across the country, supporting gay right groups, advocating medical marijuana, and investing in solar panels for the residents of Arizona, to help lower their utility bills and have the companies pay them for electricity generated...

See, there are changes that can begin right at home. Thanks, Cindy.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

As Colorado Springs Goes, So Goes Colorado

It's sunday, I'm lazy, here's a link to a good article on the political climate in Colorado Springs from an outside point of view, from the Huffington Post .

The Huffington Post was started by Ariana Huffington, who has had a weird public life. She began as a writer, wrote a book on Pablo Picasso, and was accused of plagerism. She then married a rich,  conservative politician Michael Huffington. They moved to California, where he got elected to Congress, then ran for governor, and lost. She got big bucks in the divorce, and it came out that he was gay. She then stopped pretending to be conservative, and since has tried to be a liberal activist. These stories can only happen in America...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

McCain May Not Have the Killer Instinct

At a rally yesterday, an old woman told John McCain that she didn't trust Barack Obama because he was an Arab. Instead of agreeing with her, or feeding her fears even further, he balked. He took the microphone from her and told her no, that Obama was a decent family man whom he just had some differences with, and that was what his campaign was about. Later on, when he also told the audience that they had nothing to fear from a President Obama, he was boo'd.

Hopefully, this was a sign that John just didn't want to go along with bashing a person's character any more, showing his basic decency. Now he is getting conflicting advice on what he should do next. The worst part for him is that only right-wing hatemongers and crazies seem to be showing up at his rallies. Yeah, he'd be so comfortable here in Colorado Springs...

So Sarah Palin officially abused her powers as governor of Alaska. It was a legislative finding, having no real weight, and she was within her jurisdiction to hire or fire department heads. But her husband was obsessed with trying to get his ex-brother-in-law fired, and constantly used the governor's office to do it.

What might happen if Sarah's sister married a secret service agent, and Tod Palin was left to wander around the White House on his own? 

Here is a link to Meghan McCain's Blogette that gives a behind the scenes look at the McCain campaign, with many photos.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Bush on Financial Crisis, Hispanic Vote

This morning President Bush gave a speech on the financial crisis, and didn't say anything beyond please don't get anxious, because anxiety leads to more anxiety, though he could understand it. I think he's taken to drinking again, or has had some serious meds prescribed, because the poor man just makes no sense when he talks. I don't think we'll be hearing much from this guy after he retires, he should be in a permanent state of depression after being in the state of denial for the last eight years.

Speaking of states of health, John McCain still hasn't released his past medical records, and Cindy McCain hasn't released last year's tax records. John has had four bouts with skin cancer, and his face was swollen during the time of his acceptance speech, which may have meant round five. Cindy should have nothing to hide, we know she's filthy rich, with 11 houses and 13 cars. We know that the price of gas doesn't affect them, and even though John professes a kinship to the man on the street, it's a fictional one.

Much here has been made of the old white guy vote, and the evangelical Christian vote, and even the black vote, but it seems that Coloradans ignore the Hispanic vote. Maybe they discount them as all illegal aliens without any rights and dignity, but both Democrats and Republicans haven't designed any campaign ads targeting the Hispanic population. I'm sure it's different in California and Texas. We have diversity festivals, a few ethnic restaurants, and the Olympic training center is located here, but by and large the city caters to us Caucasians. The Presidential race is close here, and if the Hispanic vote got together and decided as a group who to vote for, it would swing Colorado. 

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Mail-In Ballots, Race Baiting

I just received my mail-in ballot, and was surprised by the many political parties that had a candidate for president: Constitution, Libertarian, Green, HeartQuake '08, Prohibition, Socialist Worker's, Boston Tea, America's Independent, Socialism and Liberation, US Pacifist, Socialist USA, Objectivist, and two Unaffiliated. Other than a paragraph in last week's Rocky Mountain News, I haven't heard or read of any of these parties or candidates. How fun the presidential debates would have been if some of these candidates were invited. Clearly, our media and reporting sucks.

I realized that I have a lot of anger when I was reading over the ballot, so I voted not to retain any of the judges, which amount to 18 no votes and was very satisfying. Judges need to campaign, or at least tell us why we should retain them, how responsible to the populace and the law they have been, what their judicial ratings have been, and if they are some kind of crackpot or not. Throw the bums out...

In a speech yesterday I saw a clip of John McCain refer to "my fellow prisoners," instead of "my fellow citizens." He didn't realize his gaffe. It seems that I was right that when under stress he automatically refers back to the most stressful time of his life, his POW experience, and often doesn't realize he is doing it.

The velvet gloves have been taken off, Cindy McCain is now making speeches and accusing Obama of conducting the dirtiest campaign in history. I think this is in response to the video that was released documenting John McCain's history of having an explosive temper, which also may relate back to his POW experience. Or, it could be the video that shows McCain's role in the last saving and loan bailout, his involvement with the Keating 5. This hits close to home because both Cindy and her father had investments with Keating, and had stayed as guests at his home in the Bahamas. So, it maybe a case of the mother hen trying to guard her eggs.

I knew that these things were waiting in the wings ready to be released if the McCain campaign played the race card. It seems the strategy here is to get as many secondary figures to make claims against Obama's character, doing the Muslim thing again, and generally trying to incite the crowds. The problem with this is that it smacks of the crowd manipulation the Nazis did during the rise of one Mr. Hitler, and it could end with an assassination attempt on Barack Obama. We are nothing if not a cruel and barbaric people. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

2nd Presidential Debate

Personally, I was expecting new material from both debaters, and wanted to walk around onstage bopping them upside their heads whenever they resorted to memorized tidbits. I would have been playing whack-a-mole all night long... It turned out to be a retread of the first debate, with the results from polls taken afterwards mirroring those results. The professional political watchers were bored by it or gave it a draw, which translated into a loss for John McCain, who had to shake things up if he was going to turn the tides running against him.

I think it again came down to the intangibles, how each candidate portrayed themselves to the audience, how they reacted to accusations from their opponent, how they projected their voice. And another curious thing: cameras showed Barack and Michelle Obama staying afterwards and shaking hands with each audience member, long after John and Cindy McCain were gone. They had pictures taken with the audience and talked and listened to them. It shows who is willing to go the extra effort and actually connect with people.

Because Democrats are out-registering new voters at margins of five to one, and up to fifteen to one, over Republicans, its assumed that this Presidential race is pretty much over. Young people are calling up their grandparents, asking them to vote for Obama, and they're giving this credit for turning places like Florida and Pennsylvania into new Democratic strongholds.

Even though both campaigns claim a win again for this debate, the nod was given to Obama by the viewers. Now I can concentrate on our local Colorado races, where you can barely breathe from all of the bs that being slung around.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Becoming an Object of Ridicule, Tonight's Debate.

To begin is a story I heard on the radio, an NPR story about Paul Newman. A reporter related how he got a call in his office from Paul Newman and he thought it was a prank call. It really was from Mr. Newman, he had a couple of ideas for stories that he wanted to talk about, and invited him over to his house. While he was there, the reporter went into the bathroom and found a famous actor's face printed on each piece of toilet paper, with the phrase "Greetings From Robert Redford!" printed below...

After watching the Saturday Night Live sketch of the VP debate, and Tina Fey's portrayal of Sarah Palin, I got to wondering how it must feel to become an object of satire. Its part of the price one pays for becoming a public persona, you loose a large amount of personal privacy and freedom, and on a slow news day people can make stuff up about you to try and garner extra attention. In the heat of a political battle it can get ugly when your opponent begins to smear your character, and you have to face them as if nothing hurtful has happened. Because it's all done on the public stage and each excruciating moment is reported by the newspapers, I can see where one would lash out at the messenger and become contemptible of the Mainstream Media. And if you yourself are the source of embarrassment, then lashing out is more acceptable than pointing back at yourself and may explain why most public figures tend to be shallow figureheads lacking in any self-introspection.

Tonight's debate is in the town hall format, and supposedly the questions are coming from the audience and submitted via the Internet. Of course there will be ringers from both parties who will be throwing softballs for their candidates to hit. It could be a good format and will test Barack Obama when John McCain will constantly attack him in person, now that the gloves are off. Though I wonder if John will be wearing Naughty Monkey heels like his running mate does.

So tonight's drinking game will be for the number of times an economic question is ignored and instead unleashes a personal attack on the other guy. My only problem is that I will be playing by myself and I don't want to appear sloshed in front of grandchildren. So, I may cheat and use non-alcoholic substances, measure the volume amount instead. Life is no fun when you try to be responsible...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Drivers, Start Your Engines...

I knew that the presidential race was going to get nasty real fast, but I'm always surprised when I'm correct in any predictions. It looks like Sarah Palin has found her role in the McCain campaign, that of attack weasel, though wearing really expensive heels. She gets to say the real mean things, while keeping away from any reporters, who you know, do nasty things in return, like ask questions that need answers. But this means that those pulling the strings already see her as disposable, so might as well throw her under the bus. I guess we can scratch Alaska off the list as the place where wounded elephants go to die...

Of course, what she said was silly and lightweight, that a neighbor of his was a terrorist 40 years ago, when he helped found the Weather Underground. The association here is that Obama is a radical Black man, who helped capture Patty Hearst...

And how does the Obama campaign hit back after a personal slander on their candidate? Why, John McCain was erratic in his handling of the economic crisis, erratic I tell you! I'm waiting for the gloves to come off here and have them bring up the dirt again that Bush's people uncovered against McCain: the gambling, being a member of the Keating 5, his public shows of anger and contempt towards women, and his claiming to be clueless during his wife's fight with drug addiction. Man, let's bring back some of the wonderful slander of yesteryear and start asking when did you stop beating your wife?

A couple of entries ago I had written about the dangers in Iraq posed by depleted uranium, including birth deformities. Turns out the articles I'd read had to do with the first Gulf War, not the current one, and the jury is out on whether the claims of birth defects are linked to depleted uranium. It's a product considered safe in the US, and is used in false teeth to make the enamel look brighter, along with giving them that nice glow in the dark.

I received an email from Roger Helbig who stated: "DU has not been used to reinforce any Hummers, trucks or troop carriers. It is used, sandwiched inside welded steel plates, thus not exposed to the environment, to bolster the armor of some M1A1 Abrams tanks – one of those “heavy armored” tanks in the Gulf War, protected its crew when it was attacked by three Iraqi tanks, all of which fired the first shot, before it successfully killed each of the three Iraqi tanks in turn with one shot of the DU kinetic energy penetrator “magic bullet”. The third round killed the third tank after it had hid behind a sand berm. You can read about this at

Tab - F - Use of DU in the Gulf War
The effectiveness of DU as an anti-tank munition and as armor is vividly demonstrated at the top of this page

Far as the deformed children, those are the heart of the myth. Very clever, and exceptionally effective propaganda. Some of the photos, though, clearly are of Harlequin Fetal Syndrome (Harlequin Ichthyosis) a very rare genetic skin disease that results from both parents having a recessive gene. The first case of this disease which generally killed the affected fetus or infant was noted in 1750. Still, it was so rare that it took in even Dr Siegard Horst-Gunther along with the peace activists who flocked to Iraq to see for themselves the terrible effects of the UN Sanctions. They wanted to believe and they did. They never asked if it was true. Unfortunately, there has been no effort to find out what the real condition that is behind each of these grotesque photos, it is just taken on faith that it is DU. "

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Good-bye Republican Party

I've just read a couple opinion pieces that the Republican strategy wasn't to win the Vice Presidential debate, but to position Sarah Palin for the next election in 2012. With John McCain pulling his campaign out of Michigan, it looks like they are conceding the race unless some economic miracle happens within the next month.

It also looks as if very few House Republicans will win a seat, except in places like El Paso County, Colorado, where the odds of a Democrat winning are still 50 to 1. Now that right-wing ideology has proven to not work in the real world, and we are hearing the screaming, gnashing, and hate-filled blog entries from a beast in its death throes, will the Grand Old Party have the guts and determination to rebuild itself? Or will it retire to a darkened corner in a musty, old parlor, spending its last, bitter days sitting in front of an empty fireplace, muttering "horseshit," and " damned left-wing donkeys...?"

It will take enlisting the help and energy of the younger generations, grafting ideals that they hold dear, and running campaigns based on truth, not on dirty tricks and attack tactics. Reasoning with the electorate, not trying to manipulate them with fear based strategies. The Republican Party has never cared for working people, and used patriotism in a jingoistic fashion. Which is a shame, because it was founded on providing equality for all people, as an anti-slavery, anti-corruption party, electing as its first President, Abraham Lincoln. There have been other attempts at revitalizing the GOP, but each time it devolved into corruption and immorality itself, right Newt Gingrich?

We need more than a two party system. It will be interesting to see what develops to fill the vacuum. And like the old Irish joke goes, I'll have a few good drinks in your memory while standing over your grave; you don't mind if I filter them through me, first?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Thoughts After the Debate

John McCain should have picked me for his running mate. I'm better equipped to debate and handle the job than Sarah Palin, and I'm a better feminist. I'm more of a Washington outsider, and I don't put on fake folksy ways, a plain straight talker. We could have made real history, the Maverick and the Nobody, heck, I could even change my name to Zelig...

I get two newspapers in the morning, go to about 6 or 7 newspaper websites, read forums and blogs and the responses to the blogs, along with constantly using the local library to read magazines and books on current events. I try and view as many diverse opinions as I can, digest them along with a couple cups of fresh ground, fresh brewed coffee, which helps savor each moment.

I live in one of the most Conservative Congressional districts in the US, thanks to all of the retired military that live here. It is also the self-proclaimed Evangelical center of the US. My local Representative doesn't have to campaign or debate or do much of anything other than say that he's a loyal Republican Party member. And yeah, it drives these old guys nuts that Barack Obama is winning.

For over 12 of the last 16 years we've had the right winged zealots of the Party be in charge of the government, create public policy, appoint federal judges, end federal oversight and regulations, and practice their vision of how things should be run. They have bloated the government, politicized places like the Justice Department, spent our money like is was going out of style, and left us trillions of dollars in debt.

 They have lied to us to get us into a war for no good reason, killing over 4200 of our children, maiming more with head injuries and missing limbs. Over a million civilians have been killed, the injured have not been counted, nor have the deformed children born from exposure to radiation in the depleted uranium used in bullets and to reinforce hummers , trucks, and troop carriers. They have guaranteed a new generation of terrorists from our intrusion into the Middle East, just the opposite of what was intended, and they have ruined the reputation of our country as a fair and just people. Now, the world economy is going to hell in a hand-basket thanks to their inane economic policies, losing trillions of dollars, many banks and insurance companies, and countless jobs.

 Now that their ideology is being proven that it just doesn't work in the real world, they are pointing their fingers and trying to blame left-wingers for it all. I'm ready to get my shotgun and take back this country for us moderate folks, who weigh all possible choices before making decisions. Its time to start a middle of the road revolution!

Back to John McCain. I know all politicians are different people than their public persona, but John is turning out to be an ugly man. More than saying "horseshit" during Barack's speaking at the first debate, he was also overheard by members of the press, calling his wife Cindy a "cunt."
His inherent disrespect for women puts Sarah Palin's choice as his running mate in a new light, along with throwing $100 chips around a crap table to make that choice, of someone who would do as he says without demanding his respect. Unfortunately it backfired a bit, and for a short time, she was more interesting than he was. 

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Judging the Vice Presidential Debate Like Everyone Else is Doing

The consensus from viewers polled after the Vice Presidential debate, was that Joe Biden won by a healthy margin. I'm just as surprised by the margin here as I was with the Presidential debate, I thought people would see it a lot closer.

Is it funny or a sad commentary when we think that Sarah Palin wins if she makes it through the debate without embarrassing herself or her candidate? It was obvious that both she and John McCain were coached by the same team, they had similar scripts and stuck to the template, even if the questions asked by the moderator got in the way. She was perky, trying to evoke the folksy image of Ronald Reagan, and constantly on the attack. Biden, to his credit, didn't respond by going after her record as a governor or mayor. To solve the campaign's biggest problem, that they are Republicans running against a Republican administration, they came up with the idea that the Bush era is old history, and its time to move on.

Joe Biden had a better grasp of facts, as expected, and did a good job of linking McCain's voting record with problems in the administration. He also provided the most human moment, almost breaking down and crying when reminded of past deaths in his family. Insensitive guys like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly will make fun of this, but it was genuine and showed more about him than any scripted straight talking to the American people provided.

I don't think this debate swayed any minds, and its clear that McCain is behind almost everywhere in the US, that he won't be able to pull a rabbit out of that Western hat. So now the campaign might as well pull out all of the stops and get really ugly; its why you are paying those Rovian disciples the big bucks. Keep Sarah Palin away from unscripted interviews, and keep changing the message of your campaign, enough so that we become confused as to what you believe in. 

VP Debate Ruined For Me

It's that freaking Katy Couric's fault, with her lightweight interviews with Sarah Palin that's ruined my expectations of tonight's debate. She asked questions that even I could answer, yet Ms. Palin was left like a moose caught staring in the headlights. So, the McCain campaign took her to one of John's 11 properties that he owns, to practice outside by a creek. I hope they gave her a paddle of her own...

It's expected that more people will be watching tonight than watched the conventions, but will they be watching in support of their candidate, or to see someone royally screw up and break down in the national spotlight? It's not even a question of who will win the debate, the trophy has already been awarded to Joe Biden; but just how badly will Sarah Palin do?

To tell the truth, I feel sorry for the lady, hope that she will pull a John McCain and give the debate of her life. And instead of Joe Biden as her opponent, I'd like to see Michelle Obama debate her. Then you can't use gender or sexism as an excuse, oil them up and put them in a ring, er, well, never mind...

John McCain has a naturally mean and condescending way of speaking to people, it showed up in the first presidential debate, and again in an interview two days ago where the interviewer was a woman. He comes across as a big jerk when he does it with the opposite sex, and I can't help wonder how he treats his wife or daughters whenever they have conversations. I imagine that if Cindy can battle back from drug addiction, then she's picked up a few tools to handle John...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Meaning of Bailout

I hadn't realized that the turmoil in Congress is over the meaning of the word "bailout." To some, it means a rescue. To others, it means bailing water from a boat that has sprung a small leak. And to John McCain, it means to eject from the fighter jet because he's crashing yet another one...

I want to know the information that Paulson told the heads of the banking committees that made them jump and bend over backwards trying to get this legislation passed. It seems that it wasn't passed on to the rest of Congress, and kept hidden from their Republican brethren.

Because there's been a lot of whining and finger pointing about why the bailout didn't go through. It seems that my fellow Americans want to get a lot more in value for their money, maybe televise a few people jumping to their deaths from window ledges, or marching some Wall Street wonks from town to town to be tarred and feathered. Real life has to correspond to the gore and violence of video games until we're satisfied. Which is why Iraq is a good war...

So Congress will try again today and maybe the markets will stabilize. One of the best criticisms is that we have become too reliant on bailouts to save the mistakes made by private industries: banks,insurance, loan companies, auto makers, airlines, farms, oil, not to mention the foreign aid we give to other countries. We need to rethink the whole way that we are using government and spending taxpayer's money, from the ground up, line item by line item up for public debate. I doubt that either reformer running for president will have the gravitas to do what needs to be done, but will apply a little pancake makeup and hope you don't notice that it's cancer.