October 31, 2008

I get so tired of the pundits telling me what I think.
The latest is: "Americans like to vote for a split government."
Who are all these people?
I've got news for these folks: I want Obama to be able to fix our country. And, if Congress is Republican, he'll never manage to do it.

Given our current situation, what would be the virtue in a gridlock, do-nothing Congress?

October 30, 2008

Scott McClellan, Bush's former Press Secretary, endorsed Obama yesterday.
Nuff said.

October 27, 2008


From the Huffington Post:
McCarthyism Redux: The McCain Campaign's Calumny Express -- by Menachem Rosensaft

The more popular epithets emanating from present-day Republican apparatchiks and the other flacks associated with the 2008 McCain campaign are "terrorist," "Muslim," and "anti-American," but their intent is the same as the red scare labels used so effectively by their McCarthyite role models: to depict their political adversaries generally, and Barack Obama specifically, as somehow dangerous, subversive, even evil.

Occasionally even the Republican trash machine realizes it has gone too far and they retreat a little.
We finally know the GOP's line in the sand. Comparing Obama to Osama bin Laden is ok, but summoning up Hitler is beyond the pale. Thank you so much for enlightening us.
Click here for the complete text.
It's been obvious for months, now. We ignore the pattern at our peril.

October 25, 2008

This is Frightening

I was just watching BBC News-- They profiled my old home town for a piece on the failure of the economy.

It was surreal to see the old landmarks of Kansas City in this context.
I saw folks browsing around the Farmer's Market where I used to buy fruits each fall to make my favorite xmas gift-- brandied peaches and apricots.
Now, people were hunting for cheaper vegetables than they would find in the supermarkets.

And to see the boarded up homes in Mission and Lee's Summit-- upscale neighborhoods I used to know.

And Westport! Eight blocks from my old house, it was a major artistic community and my favorite part of town. Chock full of art boutiques, vintage clothing shops, restaurants, book shops, flea markets, antique shops-- each one unique.
BBC showed a quick montage but, I think I may have seen Birdlamp Company, The Copper Kettle, The Silver Cricket, World's Window, The Souper, Third Rock, White Light Books, Vulcan's Forge, and on and on-- and so many of them boarded up.

I couldn't help it. I just cried.

October 24, 2008

Saved by the Skin of our Teeth

Civil War on the Right -- by E. J. Dionne, Jr.

For years, many of the elite conservatives were happy to harvest the votes of devout Christians and gun owners by waging a phony class war against "liberal elitists" and "leftist intellectuals." Suddenly, the conservative writers are discovering that the very anti-intellectualism their side courted and encouraged has begun to consume their movement.

The cause of Edmund Burke, Leo Strauss, Robert Nisbet and William F. Buckley Jr. is now in the hands of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity -- and Sarah Palin. Reason has been overwhelmed by propaganda, ideas by slogans, learned manifestoes by direct-mail hit pieces.

And then there is George W. Bush. Conservatives once hailed him as creating an enduring majority on behalf of their cause. Now, they cast him as the goat in their story of decline.
These days, Bush just looks like a stepping stone along the way. . . .
Click here for the complete text.

October 20, 2008

Obama's campaign just announced that his grandmother has moved home from the hospital and is not doing well. So he will be suspending his campaign to fly to Hawaii to be by her side later this week.
I join with, I'm sure, the rest of the country in wishing Madelyn Dunham well and hope she can recover from her illness-- though it seems, her health may be waning.
Yesterday, when called on Palin's spending spree on clothes some spokesperson actually tried to make the issue about Obama's flight to Hawaii -- saying he should have gone by commercial flight to save taxpayer money.

The insensitivity of such a statement aside, Obama CAN'T fly by commercial carrier these days what with the Secret Service and accompanying entourage.

Can you believe these people? The levels they will stoop to. . . .
I had wondered what kind of political hay they would try to make of his trip. Well, now we know.

A Southern Newspaper Comes Out for Obama

The Austin American-Statesman, a southern major newspaper, has made a cogent, succinct endorsement of Obama. It focuses on the facts-- not hype.
It doesn't smear. It recognizes McCain's many years of service-- as well it should and as, I must admit, I haven't over the last several months.
[In my own defense, I can only point to my rage when McCain, after strongly reprimanding Bush on the matter of torture, closeted himself with a bunch of other senators and emerged with a list of 'acceptable' forms of torture. He lost my respect forever, that day.]

Galloping back to the point, here: Here is the endorsement.
And, thanks TexBetsy for pointing me to this.

October 12, 2008

The Removal of the Bottom Tier

For many years [dating back to the late 1970's or early 1980's when the documentary series Connections aired on PBS] I have understood the fact that we reside in a house of cards. However, I always perceived it as a technical matter with the bottom tier being made up of several layers of Federal infrastructure such as roads and highways, electric, gas and phone lines, etc. etc.

That would be bad enough--but the reality is far worse. It turns out that the bottom tier of our card-house was trust. Without trust the economy falls apart. Without an economy, repairs of the existing infrastructure can't be paid for. Without the infrastructure, the shipping of goods [including food, water, gasoline, etc. etc. etc.] becomes impossible.

So, with all this in mind, I'm sitting on my hands until January when a major change is due to occur in this country. If the current downward spiral halts, I'll do nothing. If it continues, I plan to go to the nearest garden center and lay in a supply of vegetable seeds-- everything from corn to bell peppers. And, last month, I bought a small compost maker. I may buy another-- while I can still be assured of delivery.

In fact, I'm one of the lucky ones. I recently moved to Florida and I live in a community that already has a number of citrus trees scattered throughout. It also has a fairly large amount of common ground that can be converted into several cooperative gardens.
Living in the north could become somewhat of a luxury that many of us may no longer be able to afford.
Recently, there has been a lot of talk comparing the current situation to what happened in 1929. However, people don't mention some pretty glaring differences:
Back then, the population of the country was a lot smaller and, mostly, it was rural. Today, this far larger population is primarily urban and, therefore, much more dependent on the infrastructure that, in fact, began being built in response to the last economic meltdown.

If our next president recognizes the efficacy of the New Deal and emulates it, the infrastructure may survive-- even grow. Traditionally, Republicans have not only disdained the New Deal but have worked to undermine and dismantle it. Would McCain do a 180 and embrace it? I find that unlikely. I think Obama may meet the crisis by pushing for a new New Deal both to rebuild the economy by becoming a major employer, as the Federal Government did in the 1930's, and to rebuild the infrastructure that has deteriorated in recent years.

At this point, all I can do is hope for a Democratic win next month that might help me survive the coming whirlwind-- and prepare for a Republican win that would, imo, almost certainly throw me back upon my own resources.

October 8, 2008

Being Thrown Under the "Straight Talk Express?"

I keep returning to two questions over and over:
Does McCain want to lose? And, was that the plan from the beginning?

Let's see--
  • he ran for the presidency despite his recent history with the Keating 5.
  • he reversed his policy regarding torture just six years ago.
  • he seems still not to understand that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. Or is that a ruse?
  • he sang 'Bomb! Bomb! Bomb! Bomb, bomb Iran.'
  • he has talked about remaining in Iraq for 100 years when the country has clearly stated that it is already well past time for our children to come home.
  • he publicly called his wife a pejorative term I won't repeat.
  • does he really have no clue how many homes he owns? saying so certainly increases the perception that he is senile. given how well he can evade questions when he wants to, why did he answer this one?
  • after speaking to her by phone twice, he chose a Barbie Doll as running mate.
  • although he has repeatedly said that he doesn't want to talk about it, he has repeatedly referenced his time in Vietnam.
  • it was clear, before the debates, that McCain had to "bloody Obama's nose." He failed to do so. instead he bloodied his own when he did not even look at Obama during the first debate and, during the second, he referred to him as, 'That one.' These smack of objectification of a Black man -- twice during two debates.
  • he referenced past presidents from Teddy Roosevelt to Reagan -- aligning himself with the past -- not the future.
  • he was condescending toward the audience -- especially toward the Black man who asked him about the economy.
  • he sucker punched the moderator of the debate.
  • he wandered in front of the camera while Brokaw was signing off -- a move that made him look senile.
  • and, he fled the building as soon as the second debate was over -- leaving the floor to Obama.
  • he is as good a sacrificial lamb as his party could come up with: he won't be in a position to run again in four years. He'll be 76 years old by that time. The running mate he has "chosen" will be sent packing to do her cheer leading in Alaska-- never to be heard from again. And she's so stupid, she won't even know how she has been used to 1] drag McCain down and 2] dramatically lessen the chances for women who run for high office in the foreseeable future.
Has the plan by the Republican party all along been to hand this election to the Democrats? After all, the received wisdom is that the next President will get 4 years to repair all the damage the Republicans have done since the Contract On America began in 1992 -- or even since the deregulation that began during the early 1980's. [And, no, my reference to the policy of 1992 is not a typo.]

The fact is-- there is no human on the planet who can accomplish that repair in one term -- even if he has Congress on his side. Given that reality, the Republicans will be positioned to grab back all the marbles in both branches four years from now.

Much of the hard work will have been done by then and they can take credit for any policies that seem to be working while blaming the Democrats for those that don't.
I would have thought such a diabolical plan was beyond this gang that can't shoot straight except for one thing: designing a short-term strategy to grab power is much easier than running [much less rescuing] a country.

October 6, 2008

Addendum [see below]

Oh, and one more:
Did McSame give us a preview of how he would treat other heads-of-state if he were elected?
Just suppose he were required to host someone he didn't agree with?

Even Bush looks at the people he's talking to.

October 5, 2008

Who's Not Going to be Invited to Ebert's House?

For years, I have enjoyed Roger Ebert's critiques in both the Chicago Tribune and his weekly TV program. Because of his ongoing battle with cancer, he is no longer on TV. He is smart, a brilliant writer, and very direct in his opinions; however, in the midst of that he always displays, in my view, genuine warmth and class.

Guess Who's Not Coming to Dinner -- By Roger Ebert [Chicago Tribune]

I do not like you, John McCain. My feeling has nothing to do with issues. It has to do with common courtesy. During the debate, you refused to look Barack Obama in the eye. Indeed, you refused to look at him at all. Even when the two of you shook hands at the start, you used your eyes only to locate his hand, and then gazed past him as you shook it.

Obama is my guy. If you are rude to him, you are rude to me.. If you came to dinner at my house and refused to look at or speak with one of my guests, that would be bad manners and I would be offended. Same thing if I went to your house. During the debate, you were America's guest.

What was your problem? Do you hold this man in such contempt that you cannot bear to gaze upon him? Will you not even speak to him directly?
Do you think he doesn't have the right to be running for President?
Were you angry because after you said you wouldn't attend the debate, he said a President should be able to concern himself with two things at the same time? He was right. The proof is, you were there. Were you angry with him because he called your bluff?

During the debate, Jim Lehrer repeatedly called upon both candidates to speak directly to each other. Obama looked at you. He addressed you as "John," which as a fellow senator is his privilege. His body language was open. You stared straight ahead, or at Lehrer, or into space. Your jaw was clinched. You had a tight little smile, or a grimace, or a little shake of your head.

I had to do two things at once while watching the debate. I had to listen to what was being said. And I had to process your rigid and contemptuous behavior. If you were at a wedding and the father of the groom refused to look at or speak to the bride, how would that make you feel? Especially if you were the father of the bride?

You made a TV commercial showing the moments Obama agreed with you.
Everybody knows he did. Did his agreement show honesty, or weakness?
It is significant that you said it proved he was not ready to lead.
What is the better leadership quality: (1) Willingness to listen to your opponent, and keep an open mind? (2) Rigidly ignoring him? Which of the two of you better demonstrated the bipartisan spirit you say you represent? Was there anything he said that you agreed with? Could you have brought yourself to say so?

I'm not the only one who noticed your odd, hostile behavior. Just about everybody did. I'm sure many of your supporters must have sensed the tension. Before the debate, pundits were wondering if you might explode in a display of your famous temper. I think we saw that happen, all right, but it was an implosion. I have instructed my wife to exclude you from any future dinner parties.
The only thing I can add here is this:
If you say something and someone agrees with you and then you say his agreement shows that he is not ready to lead, what does that say about the thing you just said?

Just sayin -----

October 3, 2008

The Consequences of Crying Wolf

Back when I lived in Kansas City and worked for a living, one of my clients [a 6-year-old girl] had a problem: she lied. It didn't matter what she was saying, the way to tell she was lying was simple: if her mouth was moving, it was a pretty good bet that whatever was coming out of it was false.
Sound familiar?

I told her the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf in order to try to get the concept across that, if your words can't be trusted-- your word can't be trusted. She just didn't get it.

I don't know if anyone ever sat down with G.W. and said, 'Georgie, you can say the Wolf is coming-- when it isn't --once too often; then, when it does come, no one will listen to you.'
If anyone did do that-- perhaps, like my client, he just didn't listen or didn't get it.
So, here we are.
The folks who claim to know what's going on right now say the bail-out is necessary. No matter how bitter the pill, if we want to continue having anything close to the way of life we have enjoyed for 64 years or so, we have to swallow it.
I don't know if that's true or not. What I DO know is that, because the proposed solution has Bush43's fingerprints on it and because HE is the one who is telling us we're facing a crisis-- no one out here in the hinterlands is taking it all that seriously.

And, who can blame us?

October 2, 2008

While We've Been Looking the Other Way

Politics Over Prosecutors -- by Eugene Robinson

With Wall Street's fate hanging in the balance, and with Sarah Palin's incoherence sparking interest in Thursday's vice presidential debate, it was easy to overlook a major story that got less attention than it deserved yesterday. The Justice Department released a nearly 400-page report with this jaw-dropping bottom line:
"Our investigation found significant evidence that political partisan considerations were an important factor in the removal of several . . . U.S. attorneys."

Remember the controversy over the sudden dismissals of nine U.S. attorneys? Remember the allegation that the Bush administration had sullied the long-held principle that justice should be administered in an impartial, nonpartisan way? Remember the questions about what then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales knew and when he knew it? Remember Kyle Sampson, the Gonzales aide who played a key role in the firings? Remember Monica Goodling, the Justice Department's liaison to the White House, who went so far as to ask prospective Justice appointees to wax eloquent about why they wanted to "serve" George W. Bush?
The people who have been running our government for the past eight years have nothing but contempt for government. They believe only in politics and ideology, in that order. First, win elections by any means necessary. Second, once in a position to act in the public good, govern with the ideological conviction that government is either irrelevant or harmful to the public interest.

You can draw a straight line between firing U.S. attorneys for political reasons and turning a blind eye to the ruinous excesses of Wall Street. What's impartial justice against the possibility of gaining political advantage? Why shackle the hallowed free market with government oversight?

And, if you want to draw the line a little further, who cares if the prospective vice president appears to know nothing about anything?
Click here for the complete text.
Yep. If all we want is a puppet government, who the hell cares who we put in charge of it?