Monday, August 25, 2008

August HART - beats

* It is my opinion that the only rational reason for any Clinton supporter to offer their vote to McCain is because they, Clinton and McCain, both support an aggressive "Endless War - Hawkish" foreign policy... It can't be because of similarities in their health care access, reproductive rights, tax, or energy plans... So if not because of foreign policy ... why else support a conservative now spouting neo-con views... I'm just asking.

* I think John McCain was once ready to lead... I think it was 1973... and in some other country.

* We may agree with most of his premise, the need for alternative energies and to decrease our dependence on oil, but aren't you a little leery of this T.Boone Pickens guy? "I'm an oil me"... Sure

* From the Miller Analogies --- McCain is to Maverick as Bush is to genius

* Did you know that Senator Obama's tax proposals would cut middle class taxes 8 to 10 times more than the Bush tax cuts?... And his proposal would return the corporate tax rate to Clinton era levels?...The most prosperous period for business in the past half century... Sounds reasonable to me.

* The Wall Street Journal last week characterized tax cuts for the poor and middle class as nothing more than "welfare" ... Does this give you some clue as to the level of disdain "they" hold for us...Me and You!

* McCain claims to be a Maverick...I see him more as an Edsel (Ford Joke...Not Gerald)

* I just watched Chris Matthews interview one of these PUMA types (Party Unity My Ass) standing on line at the Democratic convention... Her reason for not supporting Obama..."He went to a Muslim school in Indonesia"... When asked about her source for this info she became belligerent... When pressed further she waffled from "it's a secret" " its from a congressional report" "its from a former congressional staffer". If true I am wondering on whose staff the author of this report might have worked on? Tom Delay? By the way, are these folks just paranoid about Muslims? How does one even approach this? Do they think he is in a terrorist sleeper cell? FDR was right. Fear is the ultimate threat. Try a little Haldol lady.

* Who will benefit from off shore drilling? I guess you follow the money. Rumor has it our local Republican congressman, a big supporter for drilling off of South Carolina's coast, owns quite a bit of land right where a proposed support/refinery site for this drilling initiative would be placed. Coincidence I suppose.

* Finally I have to say, sadly ... The New York Yankees are ruining my Summer!!!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Presidential RACE

Yesterday Obama beat the "CONS" to the punch. He did it when he referenced race in a very matter of fact, almost humorous way. "I don't look like all the other presidents (on those bills)". He offered this comment in the context of what "they" will say to make us afraid of an Obama Presidency - And he was right! (Or, if you prefer - Correct) . Admit it, haven't you heard the uneasy comments in your circle of "friends". Either someone you know or someone they "know"is not certain they can vote for a Black Man. These sentiments are real; they are out there and yesterday Obama named them and the CONS have gone absolutely nuts. "There is no place for this in the campaign" McCaine blustered... No place for what - the TRUTH? Well we already know that! In the world of presidential politics, truth always takes a back seat to innuendo and distortion because truth is not easy. The lazy electorate doesn't have time for truth. They do not have time to review voting records or time to read position papers or even time to listen to speeches. They wait for the next attack add on TV, or the next rumor on the Internet and proceed to remove themselves even further from reality, until they are so confused that even if they do decide to vote, the only real "input" they can use to make a decision with are media generated impressions and perhaps fear That's right, in the so called "Post 911" world, FEAR has become the mother of all "F" words. Yesterday that is exactly what presidential candidate Obama was warning us against.

I think Obama's message was a call to voters to be a little more alert and savvy than we have been in the past. He's trying to give us a more credit than we perhaps deserve. The notion that we might be ready and able to recognize when we are being CONned and perhaps, that we not get "fooled again"...

When you get right down to it the fake outrage coming form the McCaine camp is really a transparent attempt to reach out to those who feel "uncomfortable" about a "Black President" and to give them a way to feel good about their concerns. They, the CONS, are doing this by painting Obama as someone who is mean or libelous towards Johnny, our POW hero. In this way voters can be OK with their Obama discomfort, not because of his race, but because he is talking about race when it is "not really an issue". "See,... he's playing the race card! ... He's a typical politician...How unfair!!!"

I think what they are really "feeling" is... "how dare he speak the truth about race in the good ol' USA." That is perhaps what they are afraid of.

I do not agree with all of Obama's positions and I also am certain that an Obama presidency will have frequent growing pains and more than it's share of mistakes but what I am learning about the candidate during this campaign is that he is not afraid to call the question. Even if it means we all feel a little less comfortable in the process..Think about it. Isn't that how we always feel... just before we change? Maybe this is our moment.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

HART - beats

* Free World Trade can be summarized as follows: We set up factories in China to manufacture goods with cheap labor... We send tons of scrap metal, let's just call it "junk", to China via ship... They use the "junk" to make consumer goods "more junk" and we have it shipped back to us so we can buy the re-cycled "junk". In the process we eliminate 1000's of US factory jobs, help Wal-Mart put 100's of local retail companies out of business and burn 1000's of gallons of fuel in the process...Oh yes, we also borrow the money from China to finance it all. Sounds like Win Win to me! I guess that's why CEOs and politicians go off on "junkets" to the Far East.

* If Obama now supports federal funding for faith based initiatives does he also support these groups in their practices of denying jobs to those who do not accept their religious views? Federally funded discrimination based on faith? (or lack there of?)

* Haven't the oil companies always really wanted $170.00 a barrel oil? Aren't the boys at the top of our government former oil men? I guess it's a coincidence.

* NAFTA pretty much works like this: We export corn to Mexico and put their farm workers out of a job... Those workers now "migrate" to the US to put a new roof on my house.... In the process we have less grain to feed livestock here and food prices go up... Of course the up side is that Canada sends us plenty of MOLSON's XXX!

* When does a surge stop being a surge? When is it just the number of troops now needed to keep Iraq just a really violent place to be vs. a non stop psychotic night mare?

* This is how health care breakthroughs work: Taxpayers fund research with grants for basic science which lead to incredible new medications and technology... We then fund the FDA to the tune of millions of dollars to monitor and approve their use.... Then we pay inflated prices for years and years for super hyped-medications... Hey! Aren't we the original investors? Where are my dividends?!!!!!

* Why is it that any oil in the ground that is owned by the public is the property of oil companies? I got chased out of a park by a cop once for stealing a "rose" from the "peoples" garden. (My Mom cried when I gave her the rose).

* Bill Maher had a very funny line.... "People want to get rid of the penny...No way!...Let's keep it and re-name it the dollar."

Friday, June 6, 2008

Deja Vu all over again!

I drifted off to a restless sleep last night listening to reports that the Senate Intelligence Committee has (reluctantly) released its findings, stating what many were certain of for some time; that the current administration lied to us about the intelligence used to justify the war in Iraq. Ho Hum. But then to my utter dismay I also hear a report, quoting the the Washington Post, that the Vice President, in concert with Israel's Prime Minister, are pressuring the president to join with Israel in an attack on Iran! My first reaction was "preposterous". With the current climate and political mood they would never pull such a stunt. Then I heard the rest of the story and the panic started.

Last year our own country's intelligence estimates dismissed the notion that Iran was working to develop a nuclear bomb. At least 8 separate US agencies concurred on this estimate so I was feeling somewhat confident that they would not have an opportunity to exploit any data. However, evidently the Israeli intelligence group has a different set of data they are pushing upon Cheney who is in turn pushing it upon Bush. Uh oh...Given what we know about Iraq, the Downing St Memo, Joe Wilson and a do nothing democratic party and a sycophantic press, I am very concerned that before the summer is over we will have attacked Iran. What do they (the neo-cons) have to lose? Pelosi has taken impeachment off of the table, Bush is "protected" and the rest of the White House bunch are clearly a group of sociopaths. So just about the time you get your rebate check you can go out and buy a brand new plasma TV, 'cause soon you will be watching MSNBC around the clock. Get ready for the start of the next chapter of the new Hundred Years War: "Iran - what took us so long?"... And you thought the Obama - Clinton struggles were lively!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Endless Presidential Debates...Excess of "Believel"

I am already tiring of the Presidential debates... I ask you; could they be any less Presidential? In fact could they be any less of a debate? I was present at the Charleston Democratic "forum" and I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed the evening. I was entertained by the banter but in terms of debate... as John Stewart might say.."not so much". If anything the questions asked were mainly concrete and frequently impossible to answer in any meaningful way. To her credit Senator Clinton gave the most obvious answer to the now famous "would you meet with the (bad guys) question". Although her answer was cleverly framed to score political points, she accidentally or otherwise exposed these "what if questions" as the lowest intellectual common denominators that they are. These types of questions seem to seek to dignify the answers. Remember the "what if" question that hurt the Dukakis campaign? "What would you do if Mrs. Dukakis were assaulted"? Better yet, do you remember the old Saturday Night Live sketch.."What if Napoleon had a B52 at Waterloo?" Can you explain to me the difference in the two"? What would you do Governor Dukais if your wife were assaulted and you had a flame thrower?

These forums are just opportunities for candidates to state what they say are their beliefs...about everything! Now stating belief is OK to a point; and I guess it is important to know if someone believes in the Easter Bunny (or other myths?), but I would prefer to hear a debate about the issues of the day. To categorically say you are in favor or against something because of your "beliefs" does little to advance the discussion, in fact; it stifles it. On the other hand to debate the merits of a policy or program, in the context of projected outcomes for the country, forces we, the electorate, to think about it. After hearing the arguments we would then apply our own reasoning to these arguments and then decide which candidate we can support. I "debated " this issue with an acquaintance recently. He asserts that these topics are too complex for most people, that they can't make reasonable decisions about these important issues . "That is why we elect politicians" he said.

Every day citizens in this country conduct one of this Republic's most sacred "rites". They sit on juries and listen to opposing arguments. They weigh those arguments and then render decisions as best they can - important decisions - life altering decisions. I think the average person is more than capable of "figuring" out if it is in our best interest as a country to pay for children's health care, to build a wall along the Mexican border or to continue the occupation of another country.

I would love to see a format of debate where 2 or 3 of the candidates take on an important topic of the day: let's say Universal Health care. They can state the facts (as they see them) and present the short and long term cost/benefit of the program or policy. They would actually debate, presenting point and counter point, building an argument... and the only real rule would be - you can't just say "because".

Wouldn't hearing this type of discussion, covering all the important topics of the day be a help to we the electorate? Wouldn't it also give the candidates a chance to think through how the different issues relate to each other? And... wouldn't this format expose the "Ideologue"? - The person who really is only interested in cultural manipulation and not the advancement of the state of the Republic and it's people.

Finally wouldn't it be fun! It would invigorate the process. I am also not against injecting some "theater" as well. I suspect the Lincoln - Douglas debates had their dramatic and perhaps light moments. Nothing wrong with injecting humor or gamesmanship after all; it is the American way. A sense of humor is OK as well. I think a person who takes the job seriously but not themselves, has a better chance of success during adversity. So entertain me if you like, but please give me something to think about... not just something to feel about, because as it stands now we are all certain to be numb by November 2008.

What do you think?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Best Foreign Film ----- 2030

A wonderful film is about to be released on DVD. I saw this film a few months ago in the theater and with it's re-release, I am reminded just how important a film this is. The movie is called "The Lives of Others". It is set in East Germany, in the year 1984 and the story in essence, is about government control and its no holds barred attempt to totally dominate the lives of it's citizens, through the use of the media, "official" intimidation, surveillance, "secret" inquiries and covert (and overt) "actions".

The movie is in German and since I do not speak German, I had to rely on the subtitles for the dialogue. I actually love movies with sub-titles. Perhaps that is why the ever present "crawlers" running under most news programs today does not annoy me as much as other people. These movies are unique to me because I actually find that I get much more out of the acting: The pain in his facial expressions, the way she turns in the doorway, their posture when they learn the "news" of one development or the other. These explicit communications of what "is" rather than what is "explained"- makes the experience so intimate for me.

This is the kind of film that keeps your attention for days afterward. The layers upon layers of message and movement continue to be revealed, long after the reels have run out. This movie transported me to the cold war era. The images and sounds were stark and haunting: grey tones, cigarette smoke, the European police "sirens". It's structure was vague; a "pretend" society where the rules are always present but rarely mentioned. And it's characters were "determined" yet confused. They seemed to me like dancers on a dingy marionette stage who are not quite aware of the strings attached to their bodies. It is a startlingly accurate portrayal of a truly frightening prescription for existence. A way of life that demands pretense and denies "freedom".

As the movie concluded and the credits rolled, I retreated to my own thoughts. Quite abruptly a woman rose in front of me and spoke, rather loudly. She made one awkwardly cliche' comment - "I am so glad I live in America". Then she smiled and walked out of the theater. For months now, her simple affirmation, as well as the complexities and nuance of the film have been bouncing around in my head.

This film told the story of the dreary existence in Soviet controlled East Germany. During that time we in the USA, more precisely my parent's generation, seemed to be aware of what was happening in the GDR, and I suspect we also could not understand why the people of the East Germany just tolerated it. We scratched our heads and wondered " just when will the people march?" Then we saw the tanks roll in and watched the armed soldiers at the "wall" . Then we held our heads and wondered "just when does it become too late to stop it. "

These people were wiretapped and they were blacklisted. Their careers were threatened by politicians. Women were exploited and forced to "cozy up" to the "bosses". People were threatened with prison without trial and resistors of any type were marginalized, often via the state run media. And others... Well, some others just disappeared.

I am certain that we are all aware of the irony of a movie like this coming out at this point in time, in this country. So I will not "over emphasize".... But I do hope, with more than a dash of skepticism in my mind, that our current society is not the subject of a "docudrama", to be released somewhere in the not too distant future... I hope that the script for the best foreign film of 2030 is not being drafted today... "I Am So Glad I Live In America"...

Be lucky!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Martha, Paris and Scooter "Justice in America?"

President Bush, the made a decision today. He decided to be an "Activist Executive" and commute the sentence of Scooter Libby. He essentially made it clear that if you obstruct justice in the name of protecting his administration you will not serve time in jail. Just as I noted in my previous post, the decision by Gerald Ford to pardon Nixon was a outrageous act - with long term consequences and today's decison will also impact generations of Americans to come. Because once again the word on the street will be, do whatever you want to do, lie to whomever you want, and as long as it benefits a Republican, we will make sure you never see a day behind bars. (G Gordon Liddy must have really ticked someone off). If you've "made your bones" in the GOP you are set for life.

Is this enough for you? Is this enough to make that call? Does it not strike you as odd and distorted, that Martha Stewart and Paris Hilton each have spent more time in jail than Mr Libby?


Does this not outrage you? Does this not make the bile rise up in your throat? Is this your idea of justice?

Read any non partisan opinion regarding the sentencing of Mr Libby, they all conclude that it was standard and just.
I guess what is so ironic about the commutation is not that Bush actually did it, but the in reasoning he gave. It is his right to act as he did but to say it was because the sentence was too harsh... well that is rich! What is this? The 3 bears? Too much- too little -just right? It seems he has to lie, even when protecting a liar. He should have just said... "I commute his sentence because I can" because that is the truth. When any president grants pardons as he leaves office, I do not believe he gives a reason. We all know the reason, he is doing someone a favor or paying back a debt. Too harsh a sentence? Give me a break! This from a man who as governor of Texas refused to pardon or commute the death sentence of a single person ... even if he or she was mentally retarded. Too harsh a sentence indeed. How does he sleep at night?

What happens now? Will Congress act? I believe that if the executive pardons a person with whom he is criminally connected then that is grounds for impeachment and trial by the Senate. I think Libby lied to cover up for Cheney and Bush in the Valerie Plane case. To avoid the information getting out that by "outing MS Plane, they compromised CIA agents and their assets in the field, and thus compromising national security.

Ask yourself this question... If you were lie to the FBI or a federal prosecutor under oath, to protect even an innocent person, even your 85 year old grandmother, would your sentence be commuted?

So tomorrow is the day you need to make up your mind to act.... Call the White House ad tell them how outraged you are.
Then call your Congressman and tell him or her that you are concerned that the Chief Executive may be gulty of high crimes and/or misdemeanors and that it is the duty of Congress to begin the impeachment process. Do it because it is the right thing to do.

If something is not done to stop this administration... who knows what else they will do - just because they can.

Be Lucky........we need it.