Friday, October 31, 2008

Palin as a Halloween Scare

Halloween is for scaring people, mostly kids I know, but a lot of adults have been scared out of their wit’s end lately.
Today, as I was browsing among my many e-mail news and opinion e-mails, one from the Washington Post, struck me as really scary.
Eugene Robinson, a thoughtful columnist, wrote: “I thought Palin was a lightweight; she's not. I thought she was an ingenue; she is, but only as long as her claws are sheathed. I thought she was bewildered and star-struck at her sudden elevation to national prominence; if she ever was, she isn't anymore. I thought she was nothing but raw political talent and unrealistic ambition; it turns out that she has impressive political skills. I thought she was destined to become nothing more than a historical footnote; I now think that Democrats underestimate her at their peril.
She has more to say about foreign policy besides the fact that Russia is just across the Bering Strait. She has learned much in a very short period.
And she will learn more. I predict we'll have Sarah Palin to kick around for a long, long time”
Now that’s scary. It’s as though someone predicted that in four years, Ahmedinejhad would be likely to assume the presidency of the US. I regard her kind of in that same light. She seems beyond simple ignorance . Her disbelief in evolution, and her Bible beliefs seem delusional and place her in a special category. The fact that she is so certain about everything she says and does, in view of her astounding ignorance, makes her not only scary, but potentially dangerous to the entire world.
I kept hoping that, since her appearance on the world’s stage has been uniformly disastrous, except as seen through the special lenses used by the Christian Taliban, she would sink back into the Alaskan tundra. That thinking, sentient human beings in this great nation would consider her a viable candidate for President is, frankly so disturbing that it fills me with fear for the world.
Maybe Eugene Robinson is wrong. Maybe it’s all just a huge Halloween prank on his part.
Let us hope so.
Trick or Treat anyone??

Thursday, October 30, 2008


"Chutzpah: A term in Hebrew used indignantly, to describe someone who has over-stepped the boundaries of accepted behavior with no shame."
That would be John McCain, when, speaking in Florida to Cuban-Americans, he describes Obama as a socialist equivalent to Castro, Hugo Chavez, or any Latin leader who ever NATIONALIZED a business. This, coming on the heels of the largest Republican-inspired government takeover of American business in our history.
Now that, folks is classic Chutzpah!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Someone left an interesting comment on my last posting, as in "When did "liberal" become a nasty word? When I wasn't watching?"
The reason for that posting, contrasting my view of liberals and conservatives was written in part because I have grown really tired of having "republican-conservatives" fling the word "liberal" at people as though it is a dirty word. It has in fact been happening for quite a while now, although to be honest I'm not sure which "republican-conservative" was the first to heap excrement on the term . . . maybe Newt Gingrich? I don't know. I'm curious.
I only know that, while "republican-conservatives" have been busy over the past 20 years trashing real conservatism through their actions, they have been simultaneously creating this image of liberals as nasty persons, evil, wrong-doers, etc., etc. That was the intent of my posting. First, Liberals have true value in the Republic. We have values worth emulating.
Second, "republican-conservatives" have adopted as their chosen tactic, to accuse Liberals of whatever evil they themselves have been doing.
So, we need to listen to "republican-conservatives" (or more simply for this new breed, "republitives") carefully when they attempt to heap scorn on Liberals and, more generally, Democrats. They are giving us clues to their own actions.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Liberals vs. Conservatives

Conservative Voices:
William Krystol: "McCain has a chance to close this election in a big and positive way. He has a chance to get voters to rise above the distractions and to set aside the petty aspects of the campaign."
David Frum: "The political culture of the Democratic Party has changed over the past decade. There's a fierce new anger among many liberal Democrats, a more militant style and an angry intolerance of dissent and criticism.
Unchecked, this angry new wing of the Democratic Party will seek to stifle opposition by changing the rules of the political game. Some will want to silence conservative talk radio by tightening regulation of the airwaves via the misleadingly named "fairness doctrine"; others may seek to police the activities of right-leaning think tanks by a stricter interpretation of what is tax-deductible and what is not
Peter Wehner: "Republicans and conservatives need to examine what has gone wrong and why. To be useful, those inquiries must be broken into parts. The GOP is in bad shape; conservatism is not. Consider: Political and personal scandals have tarnished the GOP's image. The early years of the Iraq war were badly mismanaged. The financial crisis, fairly or not, is laid at the feet of Republicans.
But it is a mistake to assume that significant GOP losses, should they occur, are a referendum on conservatism. In part, the GOP's problems stem from being seen as less principled (think "Bridge to Nowhere").
And an Obama victory would not signal an ideological pivot. Indeed, Barack Obama is, in important ways, a testimony to the conservative disposition of the country. He resists the label "liberal" as if it were lethal (which it is in presidential politics)".

Ahh, the Far Right continues on its course of denial. Krystol will never concede the harm that he and his neo-con co-conspirators have done to this Nation, and indeed to the world. David Frum, ex-speech writer for the right wing, sees Democratic boogeymen behind every door, modeled after his own Republican Party. He attributes to Democrats, all the evils to which his party has succumbed.
And then Mr. Wehner, who refuses to acknowledge that it is more than partisanship that is operating here. He still sees conservatism as being of sound mind and body. I see conservatism as being the problem, because conservatism, like all religions, is never anything more than its practitioners reveal to us through their actions. Its core is represented by the people doing the damage.
Here is one definition of a conservative:
· resistant to change
· having social or political views favoring conservatism
· avoiding excess; "a conservative estimate"
· unimaginatively conventional
· conforming to the standards and conventions of the middle class; "a bourgeois mentality"
· a person who is reluctant to accept changes and new ideas

Here is a definition of Liberals:
· favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs
· favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, esp. as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties
· favoring or permitting freedom of action, esp. with respect to matters of personal belief or expression: a liberal policy toward dissident artists and writers
· of or pertaining to representational forms of government rather than aristocracies and monarchies
· free from prejudice or bigotry; tolerant: a liberal attitude toward foreigners
· open-minded or tolerant, esp. free of or not bound by traditional or conventional ideas, values, etc.
· characterized by generosity and willingness to give in large amounts

Perhaps it is time to revisit this presumption that being a Liberal is just a dirty word. Maybe Liberals are simply people who see the world as a potentially fairer place than it is currently.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Foreign Sightings

I receive regular e-mail updates on something called the Thai-Indian News. It tells me what is being reported in newspapers in India and South Asia. Yesterday's edition led with:
"Sarah Palin and John McCain spent $52,000 on make-up in six weeks."
Isn't it nice that the US election campaigns are becoming the laughing stock of the world at large?
Somehow, I imagine that, had Barack Obama just spent $150,000 on a wardrobe, or that his campaign had spent $52,000 on make-up for, say, his wife, Fox (pseudo) News would have gone ballistic.
Is this what Sarah and Senator John mean when they tell us they are "mavericks"?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Thinking about Mr. Greenspan

“Oops, I guess I was mistaken,” says Mr. Greenspan.
“Excuse me? You didn’t know that giving bankers and investment managers the freedom to do whatever they wanted, and then not monitoring them, would lead eventually to a debacle? Really, you didn’t know that?”
The recent collapse, followed by statements by economists and other wizards, should convince everyone the world over that: a) economics is not a science; and b) unfettered anything that concerns human beings is generally a bad idea.
During the 1972 recession—the Nixon Recession—Alan Greenspan and other wizards said that you couldn’t have a recession and inflation at the same time. Yet, there it was – a recession and inflation at the very same time. Mr. Greenspan, during that very same recession, spoke to a group of welfare workers and welfare mothers in an auditorium at the Department of Health and Human Services. He said to that assemblage, “well, you want to know who is being really hurt by this recession? The stock brokers.” Yeah, he really said that.
Economists seem passing good at statistical extrapolation. They can take some numbers, construct a trend, and then predict that, all things being equal as they like to say, this is where we will be sometime later. That’s it. Economics is statistics dressed up as science, but there’s no real science there at all. So, we need to be careful asking economists to explain things to us, or to construct solutions. If War is too important to be left to Generals, then surely World Finance is too important to be left to Economists.
Now, exactly who constructed this theory that an unregulated financial system was a good idea? I know that Mr. Greenspan subscribed to it, but it seems, on its face, such a crazy idea, that it is difficult to believe that anyone followed it. Apparently, our politicians, being general doofuses on any subject that involves math beyond the point where they can count on their fingers and toes, allowed economists to dictate on this subject. Turns out that’s a really bad idea. But it’s not just a bad idea in finance. It’s a bad idea more broadly.
This country was founded on the idea of checks and balances. We don’t want anyone to have too much power, and nobody should have unchecked power. Our Founding Fathers were clever that way, or maybe they simply observed monarchies and concluded they were a bad idea (except for the monarchs of course).
So, let’s get back to the system envisioned when we constructed this Republic of ours. Let’s start again paying attention to our Constitution, and let’s start paying attention to this checks and balance approach. Hey, George and Dick, we got rid of monarchs here a long time ago. It’s your turn to go.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Scorched Earth Strategy

As the political silly season (henceforth to be known as the Stupid Season) draws to an end, the republican campaign seems intent on a “scorched earth” approach. We are hearing at every level and in both national and state races, an attempt to separate Liberals or democrats more broadly, who are labeled as Godless, Anti-Americans, from the other side-Republicans—God-Fearing, Pro-Americans. In Virginia, republican campaign spokespeople labeled Northern Virginians as not part of the “Real Virginia”. In Minnesota, Michele Bachman is calling for a McCarthyite type investigation into Liberals and other Anti-Americans. And McCain and Palin continue their assault on Obama’s character, attempting to declare him as “different”, “unknown”, not quite American, and, of course their old favorite “Socialist.”
Labeling Obama as a socialist on the heels of the biggest government bailout of corrupt, mostly republican CEOs in the history of the Nation, is perhaps one more definition of that old time Chutzpah, or simply, the pot calling the kettle black.
Republicans are now famous (infamous??) for taking something they do routinely, calling it un-American, and then attempting to tar the other fellow with it. I guess they know well whereof they speak.
The central problem with the scorched earth approach, of course, is that someone will have to govern after the election, and that someone will need Americans to pull together. Legislators, whether they are republican or Democrat, will need to begin working on solutions to the most catastrophic mess the world has ever seen. It is hard to imagine how George W. Bush could have done more damage if he had been trying. So, there is a lot of work to be done, and much careful thought applied to the world’s problems. Republicans have now made that job infinitely more difficult by their chosen strategy.
It is one thing to attack the opposition’s positions on issues of concern. It is entirely different to focus your main attack on the opposition’s character, patriotism, religion, skin color, or, even, age. Character assassination leaves behind much ugliness, whereas differences on issues leave behind simply differences of opinion, ready to be tested in real life conditions.
It is regrettable that the Republican strategy has deteriorated to this now single focus on the character of the candidates, and even the character of Americans planning to vote their conscience.
Republicans, I hope, will live to regret this approach.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Voting Early

So, Carol and I stood outside the Concord, NC polling place for five hours today, handing out a voter guide for Democratically-leaning voters—taking care to remain outside the fifty foot, hassle-free zone. “Want a guide to Democratic candidates” I would ask. ‘Why yes, thanks,” they would respond, Or, “NO, I want nothing to do with a democrat list,” they would snarl. Mostly people are pretty nice. But I kept wondering why the aging republicans in particular, are so angry. Maybe, it’s because they’re old, and see their mythical world crumbling beneath them., and they can’t do anything about it. Or maybe it’s because they are part of the Grand Old Party that has caused the collapse of the greatest Empire on earth, caused the world at large to hate us, and have overseen the near bankruptcy of this once proud nation. I guess that might make you anxious.
Or maybe because, being in the South, they see this young, smart Black guy poised to take over the Presidency, and don’t that just beat all?
Standing on the line, handing out guides was generally a positive thing, making me feel a part of something important taking place in this once great nation. For a while I connected with two young Black men, both college-age kids poised to vote for the first time. These two young men were working for the Larry Kissel campaign. I thought two things. First, I’m an old white guy connecting on an intellectual level with two young Black kids from Charlotte. And isn’t that a nice thing?
Second, these two young Black men are working for a middle-aged White guy running for the US Congress from a district in central North Carolina. Now, ain’t that something?
All in all, I’d call this a good day.
And, although I wasn’t counting, my mind’s eye was telling me that this very heavy early voting turnout is running maybe 70-30 for the Dems.
I am encouraged that perhaps our long National nightmare flirtation with fascism may be closing out, and that a truly new day is dawning.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Republican Caricatures

Caricature: Noun -- exaggeration by means of often ludicrous distortion of parts or characteristics, especially through giving a serious or lofty subject a frivolous treatment.
Republicans have grown fond of and adept at creating caricatures, or even myths of characters that they then peddle via commercials and a corrupted and distorted press (aka Fox News) to the public as their latest "reality".
Joe the Plumber is their latest myth, but I wonder whether anyone asked Joe whether he wished for this particular version of 15-minutes of fame? What they do, often, is to create the caricature, sell it, then discard it. In Joe’s case, they took a guy who asked a legitimate question about taxation policy and then distorted it and then turned the guy into some huge image of yet another of their “Joe-Sixpack” creations—a made up guy to peddle their false line that Obama will raise everyone’s taxes and that they really care about the working class. Since the Republicans in general and McCain in particular, have no residual credibility on economic policies any longer, many of these caricatures fail to sell. They then discard the image and actual guy. I am thinking that Joe the pseudo-plumber might not have wanted the entire world to know that he is not a licensed plumber and hasn’t paid his taxes. Some things are better left unadvertised. Yet Palin and McCain, uncaring as they are, continue to press this guy’s fake story line, making him even more of a fool than he already is with each retelling. But it is important to stress—they don’t care what they do to real people, so long as they can sell their story line and it aids their campaign.
See, it’s all about them.
Palin has really done the same thing to her home town. Wasilla is now something of a national joke—or at least the butt of many national jokes. And she doesn’t care what she has done to this town of real people with real problems, so long as it furthers her career aspirations. Sarah is and always has been, all about Sarah.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ignorance is Bliss

So, now, beyond her polar bear fetish, Sarah Barracuda is fighting to keep the Beluga Whale off the endangered Species List. What’s with Sarah? Has she run out of Beluga Whale oil to light her Main-Street lights? And she needs a polar bear burger fix? Apparently Sarah has never met an Endangered animal she didn’t want to kill.
The really creepy thing about our gal Sarah is that she entertains no boundaries on her ignorance and, generally, doesn’t know or care just how ignorant she is. She still thinks she should be able to weigh in on important decisions. If she once in a while had some doubts, we might find her more forgivable—pitiable perhaps, but at least more forgivable. She reminds me of what 14th century religious leaders must have been like—entirely ignorant of the world, but completely sure of themselves on all subjects.
Can you picture her on that infamous 3:00 AM call on the red phone? (wonder if it’s really red?)
“Hi, it’s me, the President, ya’betcha. Who’s this?”
“Well, it’s George, your NSA Director, Madame President. We think we’ve picked up some tentative signs that Iran may be moving troops to the border of Afghanistan. We’re not sure yet of their intent, or even if it’s just a defensive maneuver on their part to warn the Taliban leaders in Afghanistan not to start anything.”
“Well, George, I think we should nuke’m. Yep, ya betcha, that’ll send them a message from me. “
“Well, Madame. I think that might be a bit precipitous on our part. We think we should launch some spy drones and monitor them for a while.”
“George, quit being a pussy, and launch me some nucular bomb things.”
“But, Madame . . .”
“George, did I hear a But from you? Didn’t I tell you not to ever But me?”
“Yes, Madame President.”
“So, just get on with it George. And don’t call me again at 3:00 AM. When in doubt, send’em a nucular message from me. Got it, George? Bye now.”
Yep, creepy she is, ya’betcha.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Joe the (sort of, well maybe) plumber

Ahh, the Republicans have come up with a new poster child. How do they manage this sort of thing? This time, their campaign uses Joe (six-pack??) the plumber. Except, he's not really a plumber. He's a sort of plumber's helper (I thought they were little plunger thingies that you used to clear your crapper). Turns out Joe has no license, doesn't belong to a trade union, and, oh by the way, owes back taxes--heaven forfend we should raise the man's taxes, assuming he ever actually got a license to practice his trade. he might not pay them anyway.
Now isn't he the perfect helpmate for a failing McCain campaign? First the dude selected as his running mate a woman who has a witch doctor as her minister, doesn't believe in evolution, or global warming, and has as her main mantra, "drill baby, drill. . . drill now, drill everywhere, just drill." She doesn't read, or know much about anything, but she is really, really ambitious. She advertises her campaign is the Palin-McCain campaign. Hey, John, doesn't that give you pause?
And, now, he wants us to believe that Joe six-pack, the pseudo-plumber is the guy to come in and rescue his campaign.
John, maybe you need to do the decent thing, and just retire to any of your seven houses. Any one will do. Just leave us alone, John.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Socialized . . .

So, let me get this straight.
Socialized Medicine, where you have your choice of doctors, but the government pays for part of your health care, is BAD.
But Socialized Banking, where the government bails out inept bankers and becomes a stockholder in "Private" banks, is GOOD.
Do I have that right?
Confused in Concord, NC.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Nation Divided

Carol and I watched our usual Friday night Bill Moyers Journal. It continues to be the most thoughtful program on TV. His guests were George Soros, who basically scared me, by reinforcing what I already believe—that we are witnessing another 1930 collapse, and our “leaders” are doing their best to exacerbate the basic problems. Every time I think of the writer who believes that history will rescue George Bush by discovering his "greatness", I gag, and then laugh. I assume, rather, that Shrub will sink like a heavy stone tossed into quicksand.
Moyers also discussed the election once again with Kathleen Hall Jamieson, one of the most thoughtful people in the country on this subject. She decried the foul play of both sides in this miserable campaign. Obama, she asserts, has played fast and loose with the truth about McCain, his relationship with the Keating scandal, and with his role in the collapse of the global economy. She believes that the McCain campaign, on the other hand, has been and continues to foul the air with its repeated assertions that Obama is basically a terrorist—guilt by dubious associations. Using Palin as the main attack dog, but weighing in himself routinely, the McCain campaign left the field of issues-based debate and has focused on character assassination for the past several weeks.
Because we do not watch commercial TV, I am spared these awful campaign ads, but because we read the newspapers, and we subscribe to various news outlets (BBC, NY Times, the Guardian) one cannot totally escape the fetid air of campaign rhetoric.
I keep wondering how the winner, no matter who that might be, will be able to manage the affairs of state after the campaign has run its ugly course. I had thought that no campaign could get uglier than the Karl Rove-inspired campaigns (forgetting of course Shrub’s daddy’s campaign manager—Lee Atwater, who practically defined the world of disgusting politics. But no, along comes the 2008 campaign, and we have a new bottom to this barrel of foul smelling wastage.
Our bottomless barrel theory is alive and well.
But how does one govern after such a debacle? And it isn’t exactly the case that Shrub is leaving a house intact, like Clinton did. After all, he managed to walk into this china shop of a Nation, smash everything in sight, empty the cash register and the ATM machine of any funds, piss off everyone we know, and many who do not really know us, and is now poised to stroll out the door, leaving the mess behind for the new guys to handle. And since the campaign has divided the country as never before, I wonder how we will ever manage to work together on solving the problems bequeathed to us by Shrub and his merry band of high-functioning imbeciles.
It will be interesting to watch.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Palin's Guilty

Palin's guilty.
Gee, what a surprise.
Think she'll take responsibility?
Nah, why do that, when she can simply deny it all, and then go on to the next subject-assaulting Obama's character.
Think she'll do that?
You betcha!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Ugly Campaigh Just Got Uglier

When Muslim terrorists set off a bomb in a crowded marketplace, thereby killing scores of innocents, I wait and watch to see what Muslim clerics will say. Generally, they say nothing. Sometimes, they urge their faithful forward to do more killing, as when they issue their fatwahs. I am appalled.
When Catholic priests abuse and rape children in their charge and the Catholic Church hierarchy says little and does less, I am again appalled. Where I wonder are the true ethical leaders of these important religions? Hiding apparently is the answer. They know nothing.
Now, here in this great land, we are witnessing daily the ugliest political campaign the Nation has ever seen, and still, the leadership says and does nothing. At a Sarah Palin rally, people yell, “Kill him,” referring to Obama . . . and she says nothing. Or people jostle reporters trying to cover the rally and they single out a black journalist, telling him to “get away boy.” And nobody says or does anything.
In this morning’s Charlotte Observer, a reader writes in to say, about the McCain-Palin campaign, “Sarah Palin isn’t speaking to those she knows won’t be voting for her ticket. She’s exhorting the bare majority she hopes will come out on election day and put her side over the top. In such a crucial election, the ends justify the means. If this requires the use of code words and appeals to baser instincts, so be it. Go, baby, go.”
The ends justify the means.
The ends justify the means.
Fateful words.
That’s how we wound up blowing up churches, lynching Black people, shooting leaders like Martin Luther King, destroying villages in order to save them.
The man has outed his party. Win, baby. Win by any means. The end (power to republicans) justifies any means. We have begun to see a few conservative writers, like George Will actually decry the current McCain scorched-earth campaign tactics, But not many and not enough. I hear nothing from the current republican Leadership—nothing. They are hiding also.
I see this period as signaling the arrival of The Real John McCain. The Real McCain has finally showed up—the seething, vicious bully, and his pit-bull comrade-in-arms; the man who long ago left decency and honor behind him in his single-minded pursuit of power. That’s the real John McCain, the family screw-up who is always angry.
And apparently, it has always been the real Sarah Palin.
One final thought for the day.
Sarah Barracuda has been mouthing off about Obama hating America and palling around with terrorists. Yet Sarah is married to a man who belongs to an organization advocating that Alaska should secede from America. The last time we faced secessionist states, we engaged in a long and bloody war, started one might add, by the states trying to secede. Does that mean that Sarah advocates waging war on America? Is that the real meaning of her hate-filled campaign?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Campaigns of Disbelief

It’s getting harder and harder to understand Republican campaign principles.
John McCain withdraws from—read cancels—his campaign in Michigan. He then follows up that pronouncement with a public decision to suspend discussions about the economy so he can focus on the real issue in this campaign—Barack Obama’s character. And he begins that character discussion (assassination?) with a Sarah Palin commentary accusing Obama of hanging around (“palling” was her made up word) with terrorists, that is, people who would attack the United States from within the country. Now Sarah isn’t big on facts--she doesn’t read, remember. And she continues, even in the face of having the real facts made public, to repeat the same falsehoods—lies—again and again. Apparently, neither Sarah nor the Old Guy cares much about Truth. The Straight Talk Express derailed about a year ago.
But what are we to make of this shift? First, this is one of those "be careful what you wish for" things. If the Old Guy has now opened Pandora’s Box, does he imagine that his role in The Keating Five Scandal will go unnoticed? Or that Sarah’s penchant of hiring into high office her old, completely unqualified high school chums will go unremarked? Or that The Old Guy’s reversal of self regarding the Agents of Intolerance, now his bosom buddies, will go unnoticed?
Or that Sarah’s claims about rejecting the Bridge to Nowhere was phony, and that she took the money and ran will not be discussed? It's also interesting that Sarah keeps questioning Obama's patriotism, while ignoring the fact that her husband belonged to an organization that espouses as its mission that Alaska should secede from the Union. Apparently Sarah and her mate don't much like this country, huh?
So, Sarah and Old Guy, your changes have been noticed. And those are changes we can take to the bank (assuming any still exist). That is, The Old Guy and his hot airhead chick will tell you anything so as to distract you from the reality that they are an empty set, and their party has run out of gas. They broke the family piggy bank, spent all the money on eye candy, and now they are sucking their thumbs, hoping that Mommy and Daddy (meaning you and me the tax-paying public) will rescue them.
So change on Old Guy. We know who you are.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Question: Is Sarah Palin a Thug?

Thug: 13th century robbers and killers in India: Thugs preferred to kill their victims at certain suitable places, called beles, that they knew well. They killed their victims usually in darkness while the thugs made music or noise to escape discovery. Each member of the group had its own function, like luring travellers with charming words or that of guardians to prevent escape of victims while the killing took place.

The Statement: Republican vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin said Saturday, October 4, that Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama is "someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect that he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country."
The Facts from CNN: In making the charge at a fund-raising event in Englewood, Colorado, and a rally in Carson, California, Palin was referring at least in part to William Ayers, a 1960s radical. In both appearances, Palin cited a front-page article in Saturday's New York Times detailing the working relationship between Obama and Ayers. CNN's review of project records found nothing to suggest anything inappropriate in the volunteer projects in which the two men were involved.
Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt told CNN that after meeting Obama through the Annenberg project, Ayers hosted a campaign event for him that same year when then-Illinois state Sen. Alice Palmer, who planned to run for Congress, introduced the young community organizer as her chosen successor. LaBolt also said the two have not spoken by phone or exchanged e-mail messages since Obama came to the U.S. Senate in 2005 and last met more than a year ago when they encountered each other on the street in their Hyde Park neighborhood.
The extent of Obama's relationship with Ayers came up during the Democratic presidential primaries earlier this year, and Obama explained it by saying, "This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood … the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago — when I was 8 years old — somehow reflects on me and my values doesn't make much sense."
The New York Times article cited by Palin concluded that "the two men do not appear to have been close. Nor has Mr. Obama ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers." Other publications, including the Washington Post, Time magazine, the Chicago Sun-Times, The New Yorker and The New Republic, have said that their reporting doesn't support the idea that Obama and Ayers had a close relationship.
Verdict: False. There is no indication that Ayers and Obama are now "palling around," or that they have had an ongoing relationship in the past three years. Also, there is nothing to suggest that Ayers is now involved in terrorist activity or that other Obama associates are.
So the question remains: is Sarah Palin just a thug in 21st century guise?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

We have met the enemy and he is us

I’ve been receiving many comments about the VP debate and about Sarah Palin. Perhaps the most thoughtful is one by Eve Ensler, the author of The Vagina Monologues. Eve is horrified, maybe even scared by the prospect of Sarah Palin becoming VP. Ditto me.
Why am I so horrified? I guess that Sarah Palin represents, for me, everything that is wrong with America. A woman who revels in her ignorance. She doesn’t believe in evolution, and her pastor, who she credits with helping her to attain the Alaska Governor’s position, is a literal witch doctor. He hunts witches. Excuse me, but is this AD 1208 or AD 2008? What, I wonder would the “liberal” media have made of a finding that Obama’s pastor was a witch doctor?
Palin says that she will recruit people from all political parties . . . so long as they graduated with her at Wasilla High. She can’t recall what newspapers she reads—apparently she reads everything—The Witchcraft Daily, Who’s Who Monthly in Rapturing, What’s New at Our Wasilla Stupidhead Parties. She doesn’t miss a trick.
But she’s a Governor you say.
Yeah, but it’s Alaska, I respond.
What else do you need to know about Alaska beyond the fact that they elected this bimbo airhead HS cheerleader Governor? Oh, and the fact that she still pronounces it “NUCULER”!
And she winks at the TV monitor. Is that because she thinks she’s flirting with us? Or is it that wink that says, “hey, my friends, I’m conning you . . .”
She appears to believe that the world is going to end and everyone, except Wasilla residents of course, will all die. Wasilla residents will still hang around of course, because they’re the only good guys. They will deserve each other.
Sarah Palin may be what we get, but surely the United States of America deserves better than this.
Or do we?
Remember :
We have met the enemy and he is us

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Flying Metaphors

To bail, or not to bail .. . that is the question.
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous press releases,
Or to take arms against a sea of financial idiocies,
And by opposing end them?
When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is, Stop Digging.
Well, when you see a few ships that look to be capsizing, you don’t drain the entire ocean (swamp??) to save those ships.
The metaphors are a’ flying all over the land.
And our Congresspersons, the ones we elect ritually to bring the bacon back to our part of the Nation, while decrying the pork going to all other parts, are engaged. They are on the case . . . of metaphorizing the issue—you do remember the issue, don’t you? The collapse of much of our financial house of cards, as our President put it so eloquently recently.
As citizens, what are we to do?
The question that keeps floating to the forefront of my limited brain is, how would I know whether the most recent bailout proposal is good, or bad? My wife and I are retired, so it matters a lot to us whether we will have any money next month. Should I send an e-mail, call my Congressman, rally the troops for a march on Washington?
Mainly, I just keep wishing that our Congresspersons would stop treating us as idiots, even if, in this instance, we are. It’s really hard to trust someone who keeps up this endless stream of idiotic metaphors, or, even worse, blaming the other side of the aisle. Yes, we know there is a lot of blame to go around. Later, guys, much later.
Right now, we need you to begin fixing the problem. We know that “Rome wasn’t built in a day” (I feel ever so much better knowing that) but how about a start?
It would be really helpful If someone in a position of trust would lay out first a serious definition of the problem. I know that banks and insurance companies are collapsing all around us. But that’s an effect of the problem, not The Problem. We all pretty much know now that many banks made many, many bad home loans, and that they packaged those loans into bundles, mixed with some good ones in hopes that investors wouldn’t notice. But is that the whole problem? I mean, if we’re attempting to fix The Problem, it would be helpful if we understood what The Problem is that we are all trying to fix.
Then, it would be helpful if someone could lay out the alternatives, ranging from doing nothing (sounds like a really bad one) to forking out $700 billion to somebody, currently undefined, to buy something, currently undefined.
Now the someone could be Congress, or it could even be the Press (I hesitate to mention “The Media” because that would include all the TV idiopundits). We need a little leadership here guys. Is anyone resembling a leader out there?
And have you heard that Obama is the Anti-Christ . . . and Sarah Palin is a witch (or is she a witch hunter??)
Confused in Concord.