Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Iraq is stable?

An article today claims that Iran and Syria are out to “destabilize Iraq.” Funny, I didn’t know that Iraq was stable at the moment. I thought there were at least three separate sorts of civil wars raging, in addition to the anti U.S. elements. That is, there are the Kurds who want their own way in Kirkuk and are willing to fight for it, there are the Sunnis who are opposed to Shiite control of Iraq, there are at least two different Shiite factions warring against each other. And there are those who want the U.S. out of their country. This is stable? In any case, it seems to me unlikely that Iran and Syria want a destabilized Iraq on their borders. It seems to me they are far more likely to want the U.S. to get the hell out of there so some stability might actually be possible. But, of course, what to I know? Nothing. I only get information from the MSM, the BBC, and the internet, and none of them probably know what’s what any more than I do. Of course this all has to do with Iranian and Syrian “meddling.” What are they meddling in? They are meddling in our meddling. After all, they are Iraq’s neighbors, we are 6000 miles away.

U.S. troop deaths are at their highest level in 7 months. See, everything is working, the surge, our non-existent strategy, our successes in Bagdad, including our successful defending of the so-called “green zone.” Would they dare attack our 750 million dollar “embassy,” with its more than one hundred acres and heavily fortified walls and buildings? Only about every day, I guess. See, it’s just like Korea and Germany where we’ve had troops for sixty years. There is only one slight difference. The Iraqis don’t want us there. Maybe in a hundred years they will learn to love us, after all, we did “liberate” them from the evil dictator Saddam and obviously conditions there are much better than they were. Just ask your average Iraqi.

Oh, and things are going well in Afghanistan, too. There is a claim that al Quaida and the Taliban are massing for an attack on the U.N. troops but we are not even being told about it. Don’t ask why we aren’t being told about it. Afghanistan is a disaster than will always be just that. No nation has ever conquered Afghanistan, not the British or the Russians and now not the U.S. Come to think of it, why would we want Afghanistan anyway? Oh, yeah, the pipe dream of the pipeline that was going to bypass Russia or something. That’s never going to happen. It would cut too much land away from the opium crops which have flourished under our attempts to do the impossible. Why in the world are we still in Afghanistan? It’s not as if we really want to find Osama whats-his-name. I’m not much on conspiracy theories but the longer this goes on, and the longer Osama goes on, the more I am inclined to believe my initial suspicion that he is still a CIA asset of some kind and we don’t want him found.

The deadbeat goes on. I guess no one ever told Bill Clinton that you could go to hell for lying, the same as stealing. Now he’s telling everyone that it is not Hillary’s campaign that has gotten down and dirty, it’s really Obama’s. Come on Bill, even a four year old can do better than that. I confess to finding it amusing that everyday the MSM asks if the Wright issue will go away. Obviously it won’t go away if they keep asking about it every day. It will never go away as long as they can keep asking about it every day. And if they didn’t ask about it every day they might have to actually consider something serious like the “war,” the recession, the torture, other war crimes, health care, education, our rotten superstructure, etc., etc. The Reverend Wright is so much easier. Maybe Spears or Lohan will come through with another ridiculous move to spare us the Reverend for a while.

“It is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man.”
H. L. Mencken

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Wright problem, wrong analysis

It may be the Wright problem, but it’s the wrong analysis. I have become convinced of late that we should do away with so-called news analysts. When something like this Wright problem comes up we should be shown what the people themselves actually say, like Jeremiah Wright, and what Barack Obaama says about it. We should not, definitely not, allow news analysts to say anything. It’s just like that old parlor game (or whatever it was) where one person whispers something to another person, that one whispers it in turn to another, and then yet another, until at the end whatever it was that was whispered in the first place has become totally unintelligible or downright ridiculous. Our news people have made an art form out of obfuscation and distortion. Pat Buchanan is perhaps one of the best examples. When Obama first said he had not heard some of the things Wright had said in his sermons nothing much was said about it. Then eventually Buchanan said he didn’t see how that could be. Then later it was how it could possibly be. Now today that has morphed into something like, “how could a man with an intimate relationship with Wright for twenty years not have heard those things?” Notice the “intimate” relationship and the “twenty years.” The Reverend Wright married the Obamas. He baptized their children. He served as the Pastor of the church they attended (how consistently I do not know). But intimate? How intimate are you with the person who married you? How intimate with whoever baptized your children? How intimate with your Pastor? Buchanan can’t possibly know whether Obama’s relationship with Wright was “intimate” or not, and he certainly can’t know how intimate it might have been. These guys make a living doing this stuff. Chris Matthews is another case in point. He can take the simplest thing and convert it into an entire conspiracy. There wouldn’t be any Wright problem if it weren’t for the demands of the 24/7 news programs. They never have enough news so they constantly manufacture it. We watch car chases in L.A. for hours, we hear for days about the latest Britney Spears problem, sometimes they even manage to drag a story on for weeks on end. They do the same thing with whatever happens to come their way (hence the saying, “a slow news day”). I want to know what the principals said about something, I don’t want to know what Chris Matthews or Pat Buchanan says about it. Whatever the latter two say about something you can be certain that it isn’t what was actually said or involved. A wise old man once told me when I asked for advice about becoming a kind of low-level administrator: “people will come to you with a problem, but what they tell you won’t really be the problem.” How true. Wright is not the problem, the news people are the problem. Some of them are more hopeless than others but even the best are pretty hopeless. It’s their job to fill 24 hours with something and, unfortunately, anything can be called “news.” Have you ever heard any of them say, “there’s no news today.” Of course not. News is what they say, it doesn’t matter what it is, and curiously, it doesn’t seem to matter how many times you have heard it, it’s still somehow considered news. News has become just that noise you hear between commercials. Actually, I once heard a newsperson say “well, there’s no news today.” This was on the Big Island of Hawaii where I lived for a time. The morning news on a local station usually took the form of “Mrs. Ho’s son David, ran over Aunty Sallies chicken.” One morning the announcer literally said, “There’s no news today.” How refreshing!

It appears that the Reverend Wright’s performance at the National Press Club was arranged by a Clinton supporter (with the blessings of the Clintons?).

Justice Scalia says that torture may be cruel and unusual but it is not punishment. How I admire legal minds. Why is it that whenever I see Scalia I feel like I should go and take a shower?

Nancy Pelosi likes George W. Bush. I just can’t get over that. I wouldn’t think any decent person would admit to such a thing.

“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”
Sir Winston Churchill

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Obamaramadrama

Whee! Have you ever had so much fun in your whole life? Here I thought we were involved in trying to select someone to be President of the United States. As it turns out we are really involved in a discussion of Black churches and private interpersonal relationships. The Reverend Jeremiah Wright, according to the MSM, seems to have embarked upon a campaign to destroy his most famous parishioner, Barack Obama. Part of Wright’s problem is that he says things that are true. I was shocked, shocked, to learn that Obama was a politician. Wright said that he himself says things as a Pastor whereas Obama says things because he’s a politician. Jeez, I didn’t know Obama was a politician. I thought he was visitor from outer space who just dropped by for kicks. The problem is that Wright’s identification of Obama as a politician isn’t interpreted to mean he’s a politician. It means he’s “just a politician.” That is, as bad as Hillary Clinton and her longtime sidekick, Bill. Obama has tried to be a somewhat different kind of politician, one who tries to stick to the truth and be honest with the public, but the Clinton’s are determined to drag him down into the gutter politics that are more familiar to them. It doesn’t matter what Wright says in his sermons or elsewhere, he doesn’t speak for Obama. And it doesn’t matter what Obama says, he doesn’t speak for Wright. Somehow, we are being led to believe that the relationship of Wright/Obama is the end/all, be/all of contemporary politics. It certainly does serve a purpose as it keeps us from having to hear anything serious about the “war,” the recession, war crimes, health care, decaying infrastructure, our failing education system, poverty in the midst of plenty, and etc., etc., etc. It also keeps us from hearing anything about Hillary Clinton’s questionable relationships, the dismal performance of her husband, her apparent chaotic campaign and its finances, and so on. It all boils down to race and whether or not the American voting public will elect an African-American to the highest office of the land. We might have actually elected a woman, if she hadn’t fouled her own nest so badly.

Life goes on here at Sandhill. It’s supposed to be spring. Yesterday and today it was almost warm. But it’s been unseasonably cold up until now. I did manage to burn last year’s cornstalks and trash, and I planted peas (by the time they come up it will probably be too hot for them). Mostly I just watch my wife work. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday she puts on her Sociology hat and teaches a course in Sociology at North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene. On Wednesday evenings she puts on her Anthropology hat and teaches Anthropology. On Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday she puts on her Sous Chef’s hat and cooks at a local restaurant (actually, a new and quite good restaurant for Bonners Ferry). She may be asked to teach an English class this Fall (Yes, she is qualified to teach all these subjects – linguistics, too). In her spare time she bakes bread, cleans house, runs an online book business, cooks most of our meals, and chairs the local Democrats. Like I say, I watch. In awe.

I did finish the manuscript for my latest book, Savages and Savagery. As I haven’t heard yet from the publisher I’m not at all sure he is going to accept it (it is most unflattering of Western-Europeans). Speaking of books, let me tell you of a new scam (actually this is four or five years old now). There is a company called Publish America who somehow got a copy of my manuscript for a book called The Cham Stones. To this day I don’t know how they found it as I did not submit it to them. In any case, the offered to publish it, emphasizing they were not a Vanity Publisher and there would be no cost to me. Not having any publishers beating a path to my door I said sure. The book was duly published. It’s not a great book, but its not bad either, kind of a mystery/adventure story somewhat along the lines of The Maltese Falcon. They had told me that I would be responsible for most of the marketing and gave suggestions about doing so. I did not interpret this to mean they would not market it at all. And at my age I was not about to travel around trying to sell it myself. Therein is the beauty of this scam. What they have done is simply change Vanity Publishing into Vanity Marketing. Immediately after The Cham Stones was published I received offers to market it. All I had to do is pay them so many dollars for different marketing schemes. I was so irritated I refused all such offers. As a result The Cham Stones, according to the Publisher, has never sold a single copy (aside from a very few they sold to my friends). As this book has been available for three or four years now, and as it has apparently not sold a single copy, I am thinking of going for the Guinness book of records. As The Cham Stones is not at all like anything else I have ever written, and as I did it mainly to prove to myself I could write such a thing, and as my life doesn’t depend upon the revenue from it, this doesn’t really bother me very much. But I do find it strange that in a country of about 300 million people not one person has seen fit to buy this book, even though it is available online. If I had not already published a few books I think I would have been very upset. One of my former students who published several books told me once that the best advice I ever gave him was, “don’t trust publishers.” I still think that’s pretty good advice. Nowadays it is very easy to publish. But it is amazingly difficult to market your books. Proceed with caution.

“My mother used to say there are no strangers, only friends you haven’t met yet. She’s now in a maximum security twilight home in Australia.”
Dame Edna Everage

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Tasers and bullets

Cricket, who won the Chihuahua race last
year, loses badly to Pancho Villa, who goes
to San Diego in August to represent Seattle.

Another young man, 24 year old graduate student, dies from being tasered. He was said to be fighting with police. I don’t know how many people have died from police tasers since they were introduced, but I know they number in the hundreds, including children and old people. It seems to be especially dangerous to look like you might be aggressively approaching the police. I thought tasers were invented as non-lethal ways of subduing criminals. Did someone forget to tell the police?

Is dying from being tasered better than dying from police fire? Three policemen shot an unarmed young black man 50 times as he emerged from a strip club the night before his wedding. Fifty times! He was apparently also drunk. A judge exonerated the policemen completely. Can anyone explain how it could possibly be necessary to shoot an unarmed drunk man 50 times? I’m sorry, but I absolutely cannot see any possible justification for this. Of course, they also fairly recently shot to death a 92 year old woman in a wheelchair. True, she shot at them. They broke down her door and entered her home looking for drugs. It was apparently not the right house. I guess 92 year old women in wheelchairs should not be allowed to own guns. Even so, the favorite prey of law enforcement seems to be young unarmed black men. It appears there is rarely any punishment for this. Young black men who are not already in jail must, ipso facto, be up to no good.

I read somewhere that Nancy Pelosi likes George W. Bush, really likes him personally, or so it was claimed. I guess that’s one reason she doesn’t want to see him impeached. I guess, as they say, “they’re no accounting for taste.” This is a man who as a child enjoyed blowing up frogs. As Governor of Texas he set a record for executions with very little review of the cases, and in one case actually mocked a woman who pleaded for her life. He has failed at everything he has attempted, including the Presidency of the U.S. He has the blood of hundreds of thousands of innocent people on his hands. He has shown no empathy or remorse for any of his war crimes, including torture. He is almost certainly borderline retarded. Nancy Pelosi likes him. If you get the chance, vote for Cindy Sheehan, who seems to have at least a semblance of a brain, unlike Pelosi.

The farce drags on and on. Clinton refuses to give up. She thinks this makes her a fighter. It actually makes her either a fool or the wicked witch of corporate America. What it all comes down to now is whether Americans will elect an African-American as President or not. Obama is inevitably going to win the nomination unless Clinton and her merry band of racists can somehow demonstrate that he is (1) non electable, (2) too inexperienced, or (3) something terrible happens to him before the convention. As they can’t count on 3, and as 2 is simply nonsensical, all they can go for is 1. Why would he be not electable? Because he’s black. That is, according to them, he can’t win the votes of older women and working class men. Why not? Because he’s black. Or, they say he can’t win the popular vote. He’s black. He can’t win the big states. He’s black. No other assumption makes sense. Because he lost some big states to Clinton doesn’t mean he will necessarily lose them in the general election. Just because working class men and older women seem to prefer Clinton to Obama doesn’t mean they will necessarily prefer McCain to Obama. All of their arguments and attempts to change the rules and move the goal posts, and slime Obama, cannot change the fact that he will certainly have the most delegates, and if they play by the rules that means he will get the nomination. If Clinton ;believes that if she can ruin Obama she will get the nomination I believe she is sadly mistaken. By that time, if that time comes, she will have burned all her bridges to the point that she won’t ever get the nomination, not even in 2012.

“The rain fell alike upon the just and upon the unjust, and for nothing was there a why and a wherefore.”
W. Somerset Maugham

Friday, April 25, 2008

Can the crap

Can’t we just cut the crap? This whole business has gone on much too long and just seems to get more and more ridiculous. You can thank the MSM for most of this ongoing nonsense.

First, Clinton has lost. The MSM continues to pretend that the contest between Obama and Clinton is close. It is close if you keep playing around with the figures and changing the rules and etc. It is not close in the sense that Clinton can win. She can’t win, short of kneecapping Obama. If she does that she will almost certainly destroy the democratic party for some time to come. Black voters are not going to be very happy with the Clintons if they destroy Obama. The democratic party can’t get anywhere without the black vote. Not only will blacks be enraged, so, too, will all the young people who are excited about Obama and voting for the first time. Will the democrats just stand by and watch the Clintons destroy the party? I don’t think so.

And can we also cut the crap about Jeremiah Wright? As near as I can tell he hasn’t said anything that is not true, but the country is in such a state of denial they just can’t accept the truth. Did we drop atomic bombs on Japan, killing thousands of innocent civilians? Yes, we did. Are we committing war crimes in Iraq? Yes, we are. Does the bible proscribe such behavior? Yes, it does. Why has this become a problem? Because the Clintons want it to be a problem and the MSM does also. The only place that Wright might well be said to be completely off base is if he said AIDS was created by whites to destroy black people. I don’t know that he said this. But maybe he did. If so, he was completely wrong. However, given the history of medical and chemical research using black people as guinea pigs, both here and around the world, even such paranoia is at least understandable, however wrong in this particular case it may be.

The superdelegates are coming out more and more for Obama. The powerful black leader in the House has warned the Clintons about what they are risking. One of Clinton’s most successful fund raisers has deserted her for Obama. The handwriting is on the wall. Barring some absolutely horrible mistake, or illness, or assassination, or whatever, Obama is going to be the candidate. Continuing as she is does not make Clinton a fighter, but, rather, a destroyer. Her scorched earth strategy is not going to win her the nomination in 2008. It most probably won’t win her the nomination in 2012 either, if that is, indeed, her plan.

We have truly entered the realm of infotainment. The MSM is giving us 24/7 nothing but utter nonsense. Millions of words of utter nonsense. I guess it does keep the pundits busy, and there seem to be almost as many pundits as voters these days. Most of them have been pretty consistently wrong in the past but they go on punditing (or whatever) just the same. Being right or wrong doesn’t matter anymore, it’s just the endless noise that matters, that mindless babble that breaks up the commercials that are the real point of the so-called “news.” Murder, arson, plunder, and rape just go on unabated as always while we are misinformed, misled, mistaken, mismanaged, misguided, and miserable in our apparent helplessness. Those who object were labeled by that great Republican Vice-President, Spiro Agnew (before he was convicted), “nattering nabobs of negativism.” I think we should start an organization, The Noble Order of the Nattering Nabobs of Negativism. When should we get started? What should the dues be? Who will write the by-laws? Oh, pshaw, why bother? If Congress can’t (or won’t) do anything, why should we? You know what, We should just follow Scalia’s advice and just get over it (all of it). Just tell yourself it didn’t happen. The first few years of the 21st century have just been a bad dream. Just forgive and forget (while your children and grandchildren pay for your long nap). War? What war? War crimes? What war crimes? Shhh, just go back to sleep, it’s only a bad dream.

“Dreaming permits each and every one of us to be quietly and safely insane every night of our lives.”
William Dement

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Running while black

Armed with gun, man robs
convenience store, apologizes,
said he needed the money.

We know that people often get stopped for “driving while black.” They even sometimes are stopped for walking black. Indeed, it is not entirely uncommon for people to be stopped just for being black. So I suppose it is not at all surprising to learn they are trying to stop Obama for running for President while black. This was entirely predictable although perhaps not in the way it is developing. The obsessional focus of the moment has to do with statements made by the Pastor of Obama’s church of choice, and today by statements he made in an interview with Bill Moyers. It is no secret that Obama is part black. It is no secret that his Pastor is black. And most of the congregation is black. No one seems to be willing to characterize black churches in general as bad. It is not even this particular black church that is bad. It is even hard to say that the black Pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, is himself necessarily bad. He is, after all, an ex marine who served his country well, has received all kinds of honors, including being invited to the White House, and so on. The major fuss has to do with the Reverend’s saying, “god damn America.” This is the portion of one of his sermons caught on videotape that is being played over and over and over again. As only this portion is repeated endlessly there is no context, or if there is no one wants to hear it. Although I have not seen anymore of this than most everyone else I believe that the little bit we can hear has to do with something it says in the bible. And I believe that just before that he is also speaking of what we have been doing (probably) in Iraq. What have we been doing in Iraq? Well, although no one seems to want to acknowledge it, we have been committing war crimes. These range from our initial pre-emptive attack on a country that was no threat to us (a supreme war crime), the indiscriminate killing of civilians, mostly women and children, war profiteering, torture, hiding prisoners from the Red Cross, using illegal munitions, and more. By “we” here you have to include us all. True, it was the Bush//Cheney administration that led us into this depravity, but neither the House, Senate, or Justice Department has seen fit to do anything about it, nor have we, as citizens, done our part in doing anything about it. If this is true, and I believe it is true, and if the bible specifies pretty clearly that this kind of behavior is very wrong, it would seem to me that the Reverend is perfectly right in saying what he did – god damn America. It would hardly be very realistic at such a time to say god bless America, would it. Unfortunately, even if they were given the complete context of Reverend Wright’s sermon, most Americans would probably still not find what he said acceptable. This is, I believe, because Americans cannot bring themselves to believe that we could ever do anything wrong. Even when it is suggested that 9/11 may have been brought about by our foreign policy no one wants to accept it. Indeed, most become outraged when it is even suggested. When even as influential a person as Rudy Giuliani can claim (with a straight face) that there is no relationship between terrorism and our foreign policy, no relationship at all, he insists, he goes unchallenged. It is not our cowardly and unjustified attack on Iraq that is the trouble with the Middle East, it’s the Iranians, or the Iraqis themselves, or the Syrians or, well, somebody other than us. It is not the quasi genocidal behavior and the theft of land by the Israelis (our dearest allies) that is causing trouble, it’s the helpless Palestinians fault. It is surely ironic that although 81% of the American public think we are on the wrong track, very few think this is a result of our own actions (other than, perhaps, the incompetence with which we have acted). This is the worst case of “my country right or wrong” that has come along for a while. Until we are able to admit what we have done, and hold ourselves accountable, we will just go on repeating it over and over, perhaps in Iran this time. Interestingly, I believe that a white Pastor could have said this in a sermon and it would have been recognized simply as hyperbole. Everyone would have understood the meaning and the sentiment perfectly well. But isn’t it convenient that a black man said it, at precisely the moment it is the most convenient and useful for those who want to shamelessly exploit it for their own purposes. If the Clintons and the Brafia get away with this, it will be nothing less than another (symbolic) lynching. Shame on us, one and all.

“What luck for rulers that men do not think.”
Adolf Hitler

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

It's now about race

Arrested for groping woman
on an airplane, man says he
changed his seizure medication.

How could I have possibly forgotten Ronald Reagan’s vast political experience as Governor of California before he successfully won the Presidency several years later? I was actually living in California during part of his Governorship. He certainly was a memorable Governor. I remember his profound observation when the question of saving the Redwoods came up: “If you’ve seen one Redwood tree, you’ve seen them all.” I remember he was also most unhelpful to the University of California (I think he believed it was just full of commies). He cut the budget and raised student fees. When they protested he sent National Guard troops to deal with them. As President of the Screen Actors Guild he was a “friendly witness” to the McCarthy hearings. When this resulted in massive blackballings (including Charlie Chaplin), and the Hollywood Ten going to jail, he refused to defend or help any of them. I remember saying he could never be elected Governor, just as later I said he could never be elected President. I guess standing by as your wife and her astrologer make the decisions counts as political experience. I also said der Gropenfuhrer could never be elected Governor either (at least he turned out pretty good). You see, I am always wrong.
Reagan was certainly a dynamic President. He directed our victorious troops to attack and defeat the tiny island of Grenada (for reasons that were never very clear). He made illegal bargains with Iran leading to the Iran-Contra scandal (for which he somehow escaped blame). He ordered the world’s leaders around like they were naughty children: “Mr. Gorbachov, tear down this wall!” He is believed to have single-handedly defeated the Soviet Union. I remember they woke him up once in a while to make a rousing speech. His so-called Reaganomics ran up the national debt faster than he could say “progress is our most important product.” Oh, he was a real winner. All the recent Brafia candidates for President kept repeating his name over and over like it was a magical mantra that would make them invincible. If his loyal followers could get their way his face would appear on all our money, every main street and airport in the U.S. would be named after him, and his face would grace Mount Rushmore, a fitting tribute to the man who refused action on AIDS, allowing it to become epidemic. What I remember most about dear Ronnie, however, was his appointment of lunatic James Watt as Secretary of the Interior, arguably the worst political appointment in the history of the world. I’m really glad he became a Republican before he did all these things. No democrat could possibly have been that bad.

It turns out that Clinton did not win Pennsylvania by double digits. Her winning margin, depending upon where you look, was either 9.2, 9.3, or 9.5. As this is a minor technicality it is really not very important. What is important, however, is that much of Clinton’s support is coming from white people, especially older white women and working whites without college and making less than 50 thousand a year. Now, as there is virtually no difference between Obama and Clinton when it comes to the major issues (at least there wasn't until she recently announced her crazed nuclear umbrella idea), why do you suppose elderly white women and working stiffs vote against Obama. He’s certainly not more of an elitist than Clinton and, in fact, much less of one. Clinton’s claim of having more experience isn’t very convincing as aside from being the wife of a President her real experience isn’t much greater than Obama’s. So it is pretty obvious that a very important element in this voting is race. It might not be the sole reason but it is clearly one important reason. As Clinton can’t realistically win the nomination fairly, she will resort to whatever means are available to her to destroy Obama, and the one obvious means is race. Thus in an important way the election is going to come down to whether or not the American voting public will elect an African-American as President. As Clinton can’t win no matter what she does the gender issue becomes irrelevant. The argument that only she can stand up to the Republican attack machine is basically a red herring. From now on it will be mostly about race. The racial attack ads are already coming out and will no doubt become worse and worse as this drawn out process continues. This is not surprising. There is no way an African-American could run for President without race becoming an issue. Not in the United States. So will the American public be able to overcome their centuries of bigotry and racism and elect a part black man to the highest office in the land? I sincerely hope so, but I wouldn’t stake my life on it. If it happens it will be a monumental achievement for American claims of equality for all and will send a signal to the entire world that we are serious about our professed values and beliefs. This will be true even if Obama turns out to be less than we might hope.

“Sure there are dishonest men in local government. But there are dishonest men in national government too.”
Richard M. Nixon

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Girl, 17, killed by train while
talking on cell phone. Spokesman
says it appears to be an accident.

Well…I was wrong again. It seems that every time I try to give the voting public the intelligence to make responsible decisions they let me down. It’s amazing. Someone could make a fortune just betting against my predictions. I said Richard Nixon could not be elected President. He was a sleazy paranoid fellow who made his reputation doing Joe McCarthy’s dirty business and later had to resign the Presidency. He was, of course, elected. I said Ronald Reagan could never be elected President. He was a not very exceptional “B” movie actor with no political experience who had also ratted on people to the McCarthy hearings. He was, of course elected, was an absolutely terrible President but is revered by many Americans for reasons that totally escape me. I said George W. Bush could not be elected. He was known to be a failure at everything he had done, had dodged his duty in the Air Force, claimed that god spoke directly to him, and had no foreign policy experience and was of questionable intelligence. He was elected and re-elected (sort of).

Now we have Hillary Clinton who admitted she lied about sniper fire. Who we know lied about her non-support of NAFTA, who a majority of Americans believed was dishonest, was known to have been running a negative campaign, pretended to be a whiskey drinking, beer guzzling, bowling good old down home girl (rather than the elitist she obviously is), and so on. I really believed the voters of Pennsylvania would see through these lies and deceits and vote for Obama. They didn’t. Once again I was wrong. P.T. Barnum was obviously right, “no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.” I should have listened to that wise man long ago.

Then there is Obama. I guess one of his major problems is that he tells the truth. That seems to be a genuine no-no for an American politician. It is well known that Obama’s position on most everything is virtually identical to Clinton’s, they both admit it. Has Obama lied? Has he been deceitiful? Has he not honestly tried to confront whatever garbage has been thrown at him? Are they not going to throw more and more at him from now on? You bet they are. And a lot of it is going to boil down to (I hate to say it) race.

So what can happen from here on out? Clinton is still behind in delegates and the popular vote. It is going to be difficult, if not impossible, for her to catch up in either category (although it is still theoretically possible). Unless for some inexplicable reason all of the remaining superdelegates should suddenly go for her the best she can hope for is to take Obama all the way to the convention where it will become deadlocked. If that happens there is no reason to suppose that the convention will just hand the nomination to her. In fact, she may be setting the stage for someone else to emerge as the candidate – Al Gore, for example. He says he doesn’t want to run, etc., and perhaps he doesn’t, but if his party tells him how badly he is needed could he say no? I believe Bill and Hillary are living in a fantasy world if they think they can truly win the nomination. I think Obama will probably win in the end. But Hillary may have crippled him so badly by then, and the democratic party along with him, they may actually lose to the worst Republican candidate for a long time, who is dedicated to four more years of Bush’s disastrous policies. Bill and Hillary might think this will set the stage for Hillary to run in 2012. I can’t see what else they can have in mind. But like I said at the beginning – I seem to be always wrong. Going by the experience of the last thirty years or so, it seems to be that the more dishonest a politician is the more the public likes him or her.

“George Washington had a vision for this country. Was it three days of uninterrupted shopping?”
Jeff Melvoin

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Devil Came on Horseback - book

Grandpa looks away, gust of wind
blows infant in stroller into 10 feet
of 42 degree water, child survives.

This book by Brian Steidle, with help from his sister, Gretchen Steidle Wallace, will give you a good idea of just how terrible the genocide in Darfur is, and how impossible it is to deal with, especially with the disinterest that seems to be characteristic of the international community.

Brian Steidle, a former U.S. Marine officer, was one of only three Americans hired by the African Union to document the situation in that troubled part of the world. He did this in photographs as well as prose, and is now engaged in lecturing about this obvious genocide in an attempt to get something meaningful done about it. As you doubtless know, not much is being done. I guess there is no oil there and some of the people he approaches seem to take the position, “why should we care if Africans want to kill each other?” This is another terribly sad commentary on the human condition that seems to continue to be: Murder, Arson, Plunder, and Rape. While the book does describe the horrors taking place there in some detail, and this is, of course, an important and necessary task, the book is flawed I think by the egocentricity of the author. It becomes almost a book about him, rather than the plight of the people of Darfur. Before you get to the meat of the book you have to get through his difficulties in traveling and accommodations, malaria, and even his wisdom teeth. And then it seems to be always what he does, how he intervenes and deals with his superiors, and how he feels about the situation. I suppose this might be inevitable in a book of this kind but I found it to be overly self-centered. It does, however, eventually give you a good picture of just how terrible the situation is, and, unfortunately, how little is being done about it. It is certainly not a pretty picture with innocent people, including women and children, being burned alive, shot, clubbed, stabbed, raped, mutilated, and all of the acts you might think should be completely foreign to human beings and human life. But, alas, we know by now, they are not, and these despicable acts of senseless brutality are continuing right into the nightmare years of the 21st century. I continue to believe there is a fatal flaw in the human species, a flaw that gives a lie to even the very idea of “intelligent design.” Not recommended for the overly sensitive or squeamish (although it could have been far, far worse).

Will he events of this coming Tuesday in Pennsylvania finally curb the Clintons? Will the good people of that state see through the lies and deceits of the Clinton campaign and vote for Obama? How I hope so! Obama may turn out to be not as great as we hope, but “he’s the only game in town.” I don’t have a buffalo skull so I can’t make a prayer to the Great Mystery. I do have a deer skull, do you think a prayer to the Little Mystery might help?

“Those who can make you believe in absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

Saturday, April 19, 2008

What is it with women (or men)?

Twelve foot python attacks pet store owner,
trooper tries to kill it. She says no, its too
valuable. He saves both snake and her.

What is it about women that men seem so unable to understand or accept? Chris Matthews is on the carpet, along with Tucker Carlson, Bill Kristol, Cafferty, and many more, for their misogynistic attitudes and remarks. Many people seem to believe that gender is Hillary Clinton’s biggest problem, her “Achilles heel,” as it were. I don’t know about Clinton, but this has an interesting history that might be worth briefly considering.

An older African informant once announced that, “the trouble with women is they have small, smooth brains. Still another one said that the problem was that women’s brains were farther back in their heads and that is why they were so often wrong. And, of course, for a long time it was believed that as women’s brains were smaller they couldn’t be as intelligent as men:

“In general, the brain is larger in mature adults than in the elderly, in men than in women, in eminent men than in men of mediocre talent, in superior races than in inferior races…Other things being equal, there is a remarkable relationship between the development of intelligence and the volume of the brain.” (from Paul Broca, the leader of the craniometry movement).

Another man offered an evolutionary explanation for this:

“The man who fights for two or more in the struggle for existence, who has all the responsibility and the cares of tomorrow, who is constantly active in combating the environment and human rivals, needs more brain than the woman whom he must protect and nourish, or the sedentary woman, lacking any interior occupations, whose role is to raise children, love, and be passive.” (this is from Topinard).

Gustave LeBon made the link between women, children, and savages:

“In the most intelligent races, as among the Parisians, there are large numbers of women whose brains are closer in size to those of gorillas than to the most developed male brains. This inferiority is so obvious that no one can contest it for a moment; only its degree is worth discussion. All psychologists who have studied the intelligence of women, as well as poets and novelists, recognize today that they represent the most inferior forms of human evolution and that they are closer to children and savages than to an adult, civilized man.”

Even Darwin linked women to a lower state of civilization:

“It is generally admitted that with women the power of intuition, of rapid perception, and perhaps of imitation, are more strongly marked than in man; but some, at least, of these faculties are characteristic of the lower races and therefore of a past and lower state of civilization.”

Lombroso, the greatest criminologist of his time:

“We also saw that women have many traits in common with children, that their moral sense is deficient, that they are revengeful, jealous, inclined to vengeances of a refined cruelty.
In ordinary cases these defects are neutralized by piety, maternity, want of passion, sexual coldness, by weakness and an undeveloped intelligence…”

You might want to laugh at this now, but the literature, even the scientific literature of the 19th and 20th centuries, was full of this kind of nonsense. And even black males were allowed to vote before women. Our laws reflect these same attitudes. For example, men were allowed to sue for “lack of consortium” for years but women were not allowed to do so. Women were not allowed to do many things without the permission of their husbands, and so on. These things have changed greatly but still seem to exist in one form or another. Why is this so difficult to understand and change?

I have personally known four different women, all of whom were counseled in High School not to try to go to college, who not only went on to PhD’s but also became Deans and Executive Officers in major universities.

Closer to home, when my wife and I, who both have PhD’s, first moved here to Sandhill, our house was full of books. One of our first houseguests, a female, took one look and said, “your husband must be really smart.” This kind of thing happens all the time. I have no explanation for why this persists as it does. Have women over the years done something to bring this on? Or is it merely the natural misogynistic attitudes of males? It is obviously completely irrational as we now have a history of highly successful women in all fields, including the very highest levels of government. Because this is so, I find it hard to believe that it is this that is keeping Hillary Clinton from winning the nomination. But it might be. It clearly exists, just see Time magazine on Chris Matthews, the current poster child for misogyny. But he is hardly alone. Everyone nowadays pretty much knows that these attitudes towards women still exist in one form or another. But I have yet to see any valid explanation as to why this is. Is it merely one of those things that is neither rational or irrational, useful or useless, functional or nonfunctional, but just simply cultural with no other explanation?

If you wish to pursue this further, see Gould, Ontogency and Pylogency (1977), and Langness, The Study of Culture (2005).

“Aristotle maintained that women have fewer teeth than men; although he was twice married, it never occurred to him to verify this statement by examining his wives’ mouths.”
Bertrand Russell

Friday, April 18, 2008


Elections. Silly me, I always thought that electing the President of the United States was a really big deal. The past few years have shown me just how naïve a view that is. Today I saw the greatest example of just how incredibly stupid this business of campaigning has become. There was a film clip of Obama somewhere making a speech. During the course of speaking he reached up with the middle finger of his right hand to scratch his cheek. The newscastress (newscastress?) actually spent time trying to decide if he was giving Hillary Clinton the finger. I had thought that with the Wednesday night “debate” we had reached the all time low in newscasting, but I guess I was wrong. Having failed to link him to bombings that occurred when he was eight years old, I guess the next attempt to get Obama will be when he blows his nose and they accuse him of trying to blow up New York City. We’re Americans. We don’t have to put up with this. But we do. But, then, we also spent lots of time watching talking chocolate chip cookies that drive cars and sing, and cars that talk, and insects that talk, and vitamins that explain to us what they do, and contented cows that produce the best (and most expensive) milk, and dogs and cats that eat much better than half the world’s population, and, and, and… If ever there was a culture of the absurd this is it. One last thing, while on the subject of what we watch on our idiot boxes, answer honestly. When was the last time you saw an ad for a motion picture on television that was not violent? There must be some exceptions but if so, they must be very rare or carried on channels so esoteric as to be not very widely watched. Maybe I just don’t watch enough TV (although I confess I think I watch much too much, what with The Daily Show, Steven Colbert, Olberman, and occasionally Bill Maher). Oh, I did watch part of the Master’s, and during football season I watch a game once in a while. This TV watching sneaks up on you.

Clinton is off on another of her absurd attempts to accuse Obama of something she is herself more guilty of – whining about the questions she is asked. She says, quoting, Truman, “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” When do you suppose the last time was when Hillary was in a kitchen. Oh, I bet it was the other day when she was cookin’ the fried chicken and grits for her whiskey swilling, beer drinking, bowling friends. In fact, Obama hasn’t been complaining, merely asking if he could have some serious questions, whereas Bill and Hillary have been whining for years over how they are being treated by the media. This is rovian, pure and simple. Project your weaknesses onto your opponent, turn his strengths into weakness. He’s a war hero who lost three of his limbs, turn him into a terrorist sympathizer. He is strong and keeps his cool, turn him into a whiner (like yourself). Above all, don’t give in to decency or fair play when sliming and lying are possible.

Locally, Larry LaRocco visited today. He spent several hours “working” at Bear Mechanical, during which time some 35 to 40 people must have dropped by to chat with him and have a hamburger. Then this evening he appeared at a local hangout, Mugsy’s, for dinner and drinks, questions and answers. He was very effective. I was much impressed. He knows his stuff, and, having served in the House previously, will have some seniority if elected. As our great “wide-stance” Craig isn’t running again, Larry will face off against Jim Risch, another right-winger, who believes he should be anointed rather than elected to fill Craig’s wandering shoes. VOTE LAROCCO!

“I once said cynically of a politician, ‘Hell doublecross that bridge when he comes to it.’”
Oscar Levant

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Maybe so...

Bored, man decides to hold
up convenience store.
In the nude.

There certainly are a lot of complaints about last night’s “debate.” ABC is catching a lot of flack as are the two moderators, Stephanopoulis and Gibson. People are upset because the first 51 minutes were taken up with useless questions about Obama’s past relationships with his pastor and an ex-weatherman, and so on. Only in the last few minutes were any substantive questions asked. This is true. It was pretty pathetic. It did put Obama on the defensive which, I gather, was what it was designed to do. Some say Obama had a horrible night. I watched the stupid thing. I didn’t think he had a horrible night. It’s true he might have become somewhat peevish, but he handled it well, didn’t lose his cool, and demonstrated he could stand there an take it no matter how absurd it became. Some say Hillary was vicious and “turned the knife” every chance she could. Interestingly, still others say she was showing her more gentle side. I did think it was a more or less waste of time. I thought Hillary was basically okay. She did admit that yes, Obama could win the election against McCain (she sort of had to say this whether she meant it or not). Anyway, there is a big fuss over how bad this 21st “debate” was. My question is: where was everyone during the first twenty debates? I remember remarking time after time that they were a complete waste of time. In fact, there was only one I can remember, I think it was the first one between only Clinton and Obama, that seemed to have any substance at all. These so-called “debates” have been nothing but useless from the beginning. If this last one was perhaps a little worse than others, I don’t think it was that different from the others. It’s true that Gibson was an overbearing lout, and it’s true that Stephanopoulis slipped in a question suggested to him by the far right, but how much worse was that than Tim Russert asking Kucinich about unidentified flying objects? The more they seem to try to stop Obama the stronger he seems to become. If he wins Pennsylvania, which he might, it’s mostly because his opponents, including Hillary and the MSM deserve to lose. She has certainly lost all credibility of late and of course the MSM hasn’t had any for at least the past eight years. Hillary has not set a good example as the first serious female contender for President. Too bad, because in many ways she is a fine candidate.

There was only one thing of importance last night, Hillary’s unexpected announcement of a dramatic change in American foreign policy in the Middle East. Rachel Maddow seems to be the only one who picked up on this absurd pronouncement, or perhaps the only one who was willing to “out” it. Hillary literally committed the U.S. to attack Iran, not only if Iran went after Israel, but if Iran went after anyone else in the Middle East. Happily, this has never been part of our foreign policy before (and hopefully will not become so either). But it didn’t stop Hillary from blurting it out. I don’t know if this was a spur of the moment thing or if it has some basis in the dim, dark secrets of the present administration, but we better hope it was the former and can be soon forgotten and put to rest. Please, let’s get the silly season over with quickly and allow Obama to expose McCain for the Bush clone he is.

I don’t have much faith in the polls as it is fairly easy to get the responses you want, depending upon the questions you ask, and who you ask, and when, and so on. There is one fairly consistent polling result we keep hearing about that indicates McCain is running even, more or less, with either Obama or Clinton. As McCain is running on the failed Bush policies, and as 81% of Americans think this is a wrong track, and as Bush’s ratings are lower than any President in history, I do not see how McCain could possibly be doing that well. Perhaps it is because the democrats are still pretending to fight over the nomination. If these poll results stay the way they are after a democratic candidate emerges, it will indicate to me they are media driven and meaningless.

“An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens.”
Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wishful thinking?

I had an interesting experience this evening. I saw the Olberman/MSNBC comments on the democratic debate before I saw the debate itself. I might not have watched the debate afterwards had I not seen the comments. As usual, I did not see some of what others seem to think they saw. I think there was a bit of wishful thinking on the part of some commentators. Several remarked that they thought Obama had a bad night. Perhaps I am so biased I am not responsible but I can’t see why Obama had a bad night. Actually, I don’t think Clinton had a bad night either. I thought the two interrogators didn’t do very well with the candidates. They seemed on some occasions to think it was their job to argue with the answers rather than simply elicit them. Anyway, I didn’t see much that was new or different except one thing, terribly important, that might go unappreciated. That was Clinton’s brand new proposal to have some kind of NATO-like organization in the Middle East whereby all the nations there would somehow agree to defend each other from Iran. She seems to want them to commit to “massive retaliation” in the event that Iran does something or other. I thought this, apart from being far-fetched, probably impossible. Actually, I thought it was weird, given the fact that the last time Iran acted aggressively against anyone was probably more than two hundred years ago. She said, quite specifically, she did not merely mean in defense of Israel but in defense of others as well. Did she just suddenly think of this at the moment, or does she know something we don’t? When I heard the first comments, before hearing the debate, I had the impression that it must have been Hillary and ABC versus Obama. Having seen it now, I don’t think so. I don’t think they were much easier on Clinton than Obama, except they may have tried to argue with him a bit more. I will be very surprised if this debate resulted in any significant changes in the vote. I do think Obama proved once again that he keeps his cool under pressure and that attempts to rattle him by unfair or ridiculous questions don’t faze him very much. I think they are both great candidates even though Clinton has proven to be untruthful and willing to go to any lengths to win, the result of which has made me (and many others I’m sure) very disappointed in her. I am sure this will cost her some votes in the future. Again, I think Obama may well win in Pennsylvania or come so close as to make it impossible for Clinton to realistically continue (not that realism has had much to do with her campaign up until now).

I have finished the manuscript for my book, Savages and Savagery. The publisher still can turn it down. Naturally, I hope not, but it does not present a very flattering picture of European colonialism. I have just started reading a book on Darfur. If I were younger, and if I had more energy, and if I didn’t have to constantly get reference materials through interlibrary loan, I would start a more ambitious project. All I have at the moment is a title, Murder, Arson, Plunder and Rape: The History of the Human Species. Sorry, but my last few months of research has pretty much convinced me this is a perfectly accurate description of what we have been doing to each other from the very beginning It is decidedly not a pretty picture.

“Against stupidity the Gods themselves contend in vain.”
Friedrich von Schiller

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Pennsylvania. I’ve only been there once, to Philadelphia. I attended a meeting. But all I can remember is seeing a couple of people huddling over a steaming manhole cover. It was November. Cold. Other than that I know little of Pennsylvania. Even so, I’d bet that the people of Pennsylvania are every bit as smart as people anywhere else in the U.S. That is why I will go way out on a limb and predict that Obama will either win Pennsylvania or come close, much closer than anyone thinks. They will see through Clinton’s absurd claims about Obama being an elitist and herself being a down home country girl. Since she became desperate some time ago now, she has behaved in exaggerated ways to express herself, ways that I believe are so transparent as to be almost laughable. For example, her dramatic claims about her reaction to the assassination of Martin Luther King, her tale of sniper fire, and her attempts to mock Obama’s speeches, and now her downing shots of whiskey followed by a beer chaser and bowling. Some even believe her tears are false (I don’t, I’ll give her that as genuine). I believe she’s a great candidate when she sticks to the real issues, she’s obviously knowledgeable, has done her homework, comes across as a serious and thoughtful person. But when she attempts to be dramatic or sarcastic or mocking, she just falls flat. Whoever advised her to attack Obama instead of just doing what she does best, gave her some bad advice. I believe that for all intents and purposes her campaign will be over after Pennsylvania. Even her supporters like the Governor and Barney Frank are hinting it’s over. I think Bill and Hillary have badly damaged themselves in this campaign. How badly remains to be seen.

Michelle Obama was on the Colbert Report tonight. She was great. If Obama can survive the roviating he is being subjected to, and actually makes it to the White House, I will be incredibly proud of my country for the first time in years. Think of the importance of this. An African-American President with a black wife as first lady in the White House. Even if Obama should turn out to be a terrible President (which I doubt) it will send a message to all the world that we are not as bigoted and racist as they might think we are. It’ll be the greatest thing since the invention of making fire. And more importantly, Obama may in fact be the rare person who can actually end the “war” and also make progress on the intractable and endless Israeli/Palestinian problem, the root cause of most of the trouble in the Middle East. I may end up disappointed but for the first time in a long time I actually feel hopeful. I feel my natural cynicism beginning to fade. Naturally, if something goes wrong and Obama is denied the nomination I will be crushed. But I won’t be alone, the majority of the American public will feel the same way. What this might do to the country I hesitate to even contemplate. I feel the Great Mystery may have once again sent us a White Knight just in the nick of time.

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work. You don’t give up.”
Anne Lamott

Monday, April 14, 2008

The utterly absurd

Well, I think we may have done it, reached the utterly absurd. It’s hard to see how anything could get much more absurd that what is passing for a nomination battle. Here we have Hillary Clinton, daughter of a wealthy businessman, educated in the best schools, Wellesley and Yale, a successful lawyer, first lady of Arkansas and then first lady of the United States, now a Senator, who has, with her husband, earned 109 million dollars in the past few years, trying to paint her opponent, Obama, as an out-of-touch elitist, and herself as a good ‘ol gal’ that is in touch with the working class and chases her straight whiskey with beer. She apparently expects people to buy this ridiculous B.S.
Her opponent, by the way, was raised by a single mother and his grandparents, went to school on the GI Bill and scholarships, worked in the slums of Chicago helping the poor, and eventually became a Senator (in spite of being an African-American).

If this isn’t absurd enough, consider his other potential opponent, John McCain, not one to pass up a free ride when he sees it. McCain is the son and grandson of two Admirals (not exactly working class stiffs), he is married to an heiress worth apparently 100 million dollars or more and is reputed to own eight different houses. Piping in like an echo he, too, says Obama is an elitist. The MSM eat this up and are doing everything they can to keep the controversy going. Clinton, McCain, Obama, and the MSM all know this is complete and total crap but, of course, the MSM, Hillary, and McCain, think they see advantages in it so they just keep pushing it, all the while accusing Obama of “talking down” to ordinary citizens and “patronizing” them. Think about this. Can there be anything more patronizing and insulting to ordinary people than Hillary and McCain thinking they are stupid enough to fall for this line of complete bullshit? How stupid do they think we are? The answer is pretty godamn stupid. Anyone who becomes a candidate for President of the U.S. is either an elitist, surrounded by elitists, and on his or her way to becoming an elitist. I wish I could say some of my best friends are elitists but, alas, I have no such friends. In any case, I do not subscribe to the silly idea that what you want for President is a non-elitist, whisky swilling, beer drinking, bowling alley patron, who is just like me. I would like someone smarter, better educated, knowledgeable, on top of the issues, charismatic, and endowed with leadership capabilities. You want a President you’d like to drink beer with, count me out.

I feel I would be remiss in my (imaginary) duties if I did not refer Mr. Obama back to my blog of March 10, 2008. I suggested that what Mrs. Clinton was saying about him was basically irrelevant. Her whole strategy is to drive him crazy if possible. It is the illogic and unreasoning that is the core of her strategy. There is no point in trying to answer her charges because she will just introduce more irrationality into the exchange. Whatever Obama says, however sane and rational, will be met by even more irrationality on her part. If this were a domestic dispute it would eventually dissolve into a situation where either a frustrated Obama would result to physical violence or would withdraw into separation or divorce. Hillary is just goading, goading, goading him, trying to frustrate him to the point he’ll make a mistake, do something he shouldn’t, and then she’ll have him. With this strategy she potentially wins either way, he’ll be forced to give up or do something to disqualify himself. I fear that Obama may be getting sucked into this nasty business, he’s starting to answer back which will only provoke her to more absurd accusations and etc. On the other hand, I think Obama is aware of what she’s trying to do and so far has avoided being completely entrapped.

McCain, of course, is enjoying this no end and just going along for the free ride. If Hillary says Obama is an elitist, McCain just parrots it back. Why not, it all to his advantage (however damaging it is to the democratic party). Hillary can’t win, all other things now being equal, all she can do is try to ruin Obama. I don’t think she is going to succeed but if the public buys into her cornball image who knows?

I heard on Hardball, which I don’t usually watch, that Bill and Hillary are saying in private to the superdelegates that Obama can’t win against McCain because (1) he won’t get the Jewish vote, (2) he won’t get the blue collar vote, and (3) he won’t get the Hispanic vote. If true, this is just more Clinton nonsense. All three of these groups typically vote democratic in Presidential elections, there is no reason to suppose they will not do so this time whether it is Obama, Clinton, or whoever. It must be hard for the Clintons to have their “sure thing” turn out to be a failure, but it will be the best thing for our country. We don’t need dynasties, Clinton, Bush, or otherwise.

“If you go in for argument, take care of your temper. Your logic, if you have any, will take care of itself.”
Joseph Farrell

Sunday, April 13, 2008

She doesn't get it

Teen goes for Guiness record,
blows up 213 balloons with his nose
in one hour. Mom and Dad help.

Hillary Clinton doesn’t seem to get it. The more she carries on about Obama’s “bitterness” remark, the more ridiculous she becomes. Obama likened her to Annie Oakley. Sorry, she’s no Annie Oakley. She doesn’t shoot straight. She’s desperate. Very desperate. You can see it now in her eyes and her demeanor, she’s “losing it” I think. I’m beginning to feel sorry for her. I wonder, will the guys in the white coats have to come and take her away. She’s become a danger to herself and others (especially Obama). Sorry Bill, there’s not going to be any Clinton dynasty (or Bush/Clinton dynasty if that’s what you are really up to). You should give up now while you still have at least some semblance of respect.

Have you noticed how often John McCain says “my friends?” He says it a lot. When I hear it now it always comes across to me as “my uninformed friends,” or “my gullible friends,” or even as “my friends, the suckers.” Whatever, it certainly doesn’t strike me as being in the least bit friendly. It’s like, “my chumps,” let me tell you how things are, or “my inferiors whom I would like to think they think they are my friends,” for this particular business at hand. In any case, to me, this is the most insincere affectation being used these days by politicians. But, then, what would you expect? They are politicians. I am beginning to have renewed respect for used car salespersons.

I hadn’t realized that John Yoo was a tenured professor at Berkeley before he was called to Washington to write the torture memos. I should have. This explains why he is still at Berkeley despite his abominations. Tenure is a tough nut to crack, because tenure, contrary to what many believe, is not designed to insure permanent employment as such, but, rather, to guarantee and protect free speech in our universities (which is far too important to be taken lightly). Yoo is being called to explain to Congress the legal basis for his torture memos (which is highly questionable to say the least). Thus it will be most interesting to see how or if this will affect his professorship. Free speech is one thing, rampant dishonesty for political causes is another thing entirely (or at least it should be).

The wheels of justice turn slowly, it has been said. They certainly do. When it comes to justice in the U.S. one wonders if they are turning at all. Here we have a criminal conspiracy that has been running the country for the past eight years, blissfully ignoring the laws of the land as well as the Constitution and International Law as well, and nothing is being done about it. At least nothing that seems to be measurable in any way. Of course there have been and are investigations of various kinds, committees to look into this and that, threats of subpoenas, and so on, but nothing ever seems to come of any of it. Henry Waxman himself must be involved in dozens of different investigations, seems like a new one every few days, but I guess they are merely for show as once they supposedly begin we never hear any more about them. Our much vaunted separation of powers, designed for the three branches of government to oversee each other, doesn’t seem to function as planned. Perhaps because the founding fathers never thought there would be a situation in which criminals would take over all three branches, plus the Justice Department and the Supreme Court. Maybe, if we ever wiggle out of this morass, we should pay more attention in the future.

"The dead cannot cry out for justice; it is the duty of the living to do so for them."
Lois McMaster Bujold

Saturday, April 12, 2008

That's it?

It appears to be true that all the big honchos in the Bush administration, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, et al, met in the White House to discuss the particulars of “intensive interrogation” (torture). That is, what techniques could be used and on whom. It seems strange to me that they would have done so. I mean, why couldn’t they just leave it up to the CIA, or whatever organization would ordinarily be responsible for such things? I can see no reason for their doing otherwise unless, perhaps, they were worried about the legality or illegality of what they were doing. As they seemingly didn’t mind ordering the worst, this would not seem to be the explanation. So were they, perhaps, just reveling in power, getting their jollies by doing this? Interesting that although Ashcroft knew what they were engaged in was improper he participated anyway (after all, he was only the Attorney General of the U.S.). He apparently said, “history will not look kindly on this.” I guess he must have felt like Bush, by the time history judges us we’ll all be dead. Bush has admitted that he knew about this. So that’s it? People at the highest levels of this administration participated in discussing and ordering torture, a clear war crime, and the President has now admitted to knowing about it. So that’s it? I mean, doesn’t anyone find this disturbing? Shouldn’t people be outraged? Shouldn’t these war criminals be brought to justice? Oh, I forgot, justice is no longer part of the democratic system here in the U.S. I confess this is about the most outrageous thing I have ever heard of and no one seems to care much. Maybe by the time the Bush/Cheney Brafia have all retired on their fortunes from war profiteering, someone, some historian, may actually inquire about this apparently not very important episode during the Nightmare Years. I guess in the interim the participants can meet annually to giggle about the “heady” old days when they had so much fun. Nothing “sick” about this, just good clean sport. More fun than shooting those pen raised, wing-clipped pheasants or shooting your hunting friend full in the face with buckshot. Hahahahaha.

I recommend that the candidates for the Presidency spend the rest of the time before the election arguing about whether people in Pennsylvania (or elsewhere) are bitter or not. Obama seems to think they are, Clinton and McCain don’t really think, they just grasp at straws. As one of the main definitions of bitter is “hard to accept or bear,” and as many of them have lost their jobs and in some cases their pensions as well, and more are probably losing their homes, you might think that would be hard to accept or bear. But maybe not, maybe like Clinton says, they’re just optimistic and hard-working people (apparently oblivious to their plight?). I guess they could spend a lot of time on whether or not Obama is just an “elitist” (like them), or whether he was “speaking down” to them (by pointing out the obvious), or whatever. Oh well, what’s another completely pointless and ridiculous argument, when there’s nothing else to talk about, like, Iraq, recession, health care, Iran, Israel/Palestine, or etc. Anyway, pay no attention to me, I’m just bitter and angry and I’m not even out of work. I’d like to say, I’m not going to take it any more, but what choice do I have? No one seems to be able to curb these people no matter how egregious, illegal, or unconstitutional their behavior becomes. I guess our new American motto has become, “just grin and bear it.”Aaaaagh!

“There are men in the world who derive as stern an exaltation from the proximity of disaster and ruin, as others from success.”
Sir Winston Churchill

Friday, April 11, 2008

Sociology 101

Rats kept to feed her snakes
escape, multiply, take over
house. She is removed.

Barack Obama made an observation reflecting an obvious sociological truth: where you find anomie you find people bitter and angry and lashing out at the conditions they believe have something to do with it. Fortunately he did not use the term anomie itself. Had he done so the response probably would have been even more ridiculous. What he actually said was something to the effect that people in Pennsylvania, who have lost jobs and pensions over the past twenty-five years, under the past few administrations, are bitter and angry and that’s why they cling to (read vote for) guns, religion, and anti-immigration laws, etc. There are really two parts to this issue. First, are the people of Pennsylvania really angry and bitter. As fully 81% of people in the U.S. believe we are on the wrong track and desperately want change it might be reasonable to conclude that yes, they are angry and bitter. If you talk to them, as Obama obviously has, it no doubt brings this point home. The second part of this is more abstract, and this, I believe, is where Obama could have done better. That is, the connection between people voting for guns, against immigration, and turning to religion during periods of anomie, while doubtless true, probably cannot be explained easily in a few words to most people. Obama momentarily forgot to say it in a language that would have been more appropriate: people are pissed off as hell and won’t give up their guns to an administration that has screwed them over for years. Furthermore, they don’t want immigrants coming and taking the few jobs that are left to them. And gay marriages are an abomination against the bible, etc, etc., which is one of the few comforts left to them. Given what has been happening to them for years these sentiments are not hard to understand. In fact, they are entirely predictable.

Hillary Clinton, not one to fail to grasp at any passing straw, no matter how fragile, immediately accused Obama of “talking down” to the people of Pennsylvania. I guess that according to her they are not angry or upset at all, but, rather, optimistic and hard-working (those that still have jobs, I guess). Obama is portrayed as some kind of elitists, out of touch with the working class. If we are to take this seriously we have to conclude that Clinton has encountered a population entirely different from the one Obama has encountered. You also have to believe that telling people who are angry and bitter that they are angry and bitter, is somehow talking down to them. As presumably 81% or so of Pennsylvania citizens are as upset as the rest of us, it’s a pretty good bet they are angry and bitter. If not, the citizens of Pennsylvania are much better off than everyone else. And as far as Clinton and McCain accusing Obama of elitism goes, I doubt they are in a very good position to judge. Obama, raised by a single mother, with modest means, and years of experience working in the Chicago slums, is out of touch? I guess Clinton’s background of elite college, law schools, and years of living in the White House has kept her closely in touch with the “working class.” And McCain, the son and grandson of Admirals, with all his years in Congress, no doubt is also closely in touch with working stiffs. Who are they trying to kid? When you don’t have things going too well I guess any straw is better than nothing. This isn’t even a tempest in a teapot, but watch the MSM play it to death in the next few days. Obama said something intelligent, if slightly abstract, apparently too subtle for the average mind to grasp, and he will now be punished for it. Remember Adlai Stevenson and all those other “pointy-headed inellectuals” from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and places like that, what do they know. Is it any wonder that Obama’s supporters tend to be better educated than most? Watch out, we might elect someone with an education and a brain (for a change). Obama can’t even bowl, what kind of President could he be?

“America believes in education: the average professor earns more in a year than a professional athlete earns in a whole week.”
Evan Esar

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Worth it?

I have often wondered how we determine how things become “worth it.” For example, let’s say you’ve been eating a particular candy bar for years at, say, 25 cents. But then the price is raised to 30 cents. Okay, you will buy it. But how about 40 cents? Or fifty cents? Or even more? At what point do you decide it’s not worth it. And why? Is it a purely financial decision or do other things enter into the equation? Let me suggest a more complicated example. A number of years back a woman shot her husband to death as he was asleep on the couch. During the trial it turned out the man was an absolute bastard who punished his children so severely they would wet their pants. And he beat and abused his wife. She finally got sick of it and shot and killed him. At her trial she was acquitted, even though everyone knew she was guilty of murder. Of course you could argue special circumstances as, indeed, many did. But the prosecutor didn’t agree and insisted she had to be tried again. After some thought the county refused to try her again. Not because they thought there might not be further questions about her guilt and the circumstances but purely because they said it would cost too much money.

I bring this up now because on Buzzflash today there is a short piece about the possibility of bringing war crimes charges against Bush/Cheny/Rumsfeld/Rice/et al, who are now known to have held meetings in the White House detailing how prisoners should be interrogated (tortured). If this is true, they would clearly be guilty of serious war crimes. Of course they are already known to be guilty of war crimes because a pre-emptive attack on another nation that is no threat to you is a known war crime, as is torture, renditions, war profiteering, hiding prisoners from the Red Cross, etc., etc. That is to say, there is no doubt they are guilty. But some are arguing that trying them for war crimes, or even trying to try them for war crimes, would not be “worth it.” This is not an argument that has anything to do with the financial cost, mind you, but, rather, with the cost in time and energy that would be involved. That is, they argue, it would take valuable time away from, say, passing universal health care, or trying to save the economy, or so on. One could argue, I suppose, that it would, in fact, be too expensive (in money). But what is the difference in the question of cost, money or time? And, more importantly, what about the morality involved? It would seem to me that in a case of war crimes, when you are speaking of the deaths of thousands upon thousands of people, including non-combatant women and children, there is a moral imperative involved. The cost in time and/or money has to be completely irrelevant in this context. How could anyone excuse the illegal mass murder of thousands, and the torture of who knows how many, on any grounds whatsoever? To quote someone or other, “this isn’t beanbags you know.” To me, even the suggestion that such monsters should go unaccountable for their actions betrays a moral bankruptcy so profound as to be virtually inhuman. To excuse such behavior on the grounds that we don’t have the time or money for it is totally unacceptable. Congress has already used this as an excuse for not impeaching Bush/Cheney, will they be allowed to just walk away from this more powerful moral imperative? If so, I believe there is no hope whatsoever for the U.S. to be forgiven or to ever take their place again in civilized society. This is a rare case, I believe, where it is absolutely and unquestionably “worth it “

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
Edmund Burke

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


C’mon Nancy, be reasonable. Nancy Pelosi has got her dander up (so to speak) about Tibet and the way China is violating Tibertan civil rights and such. Perhaps that is very commendable, but what about civil rights here at home? Bush/Cheney are known war criminals. Virtually the entire world knows this. It is quite clear-cut, not doubts about it. But Pelosi has gone out of her way to protect these war criminals. Her famous line, “impeachment is off the table,” is well known. One might well ask, isn’t it just a teeny weeny bit hypocritical to be so worked up about a dispute between China and Tiber over civil rights while actively protecting such violations here in the U.S.? It might also be pointed out that had Pelosi and Congress acted two or three years ago (or even more), thousands of lives would have been saved and millions of people would be by now far better off than they are. Not only has she refused to consider impeachment (which, I believe to be a violation of her Constitutional duty), she has also been complicit in funding and refunding this illegal “war.” Congress could have, and should have, cut off funding long ago which would have ended this miserable and unnecessary business. Our troops could have been home and our much depleted military could have been revitalized instead of barely hanging on and doing repeated tours of duty (now having to fight alongside 10% of troops that shouldn’t even be in the military). Perhaps she believes that by fussing about Tibet she can draw our attention away from her disgraceful performance as leader of the House. Bush/Cheney are war criminals. Pelosi has been defending them. What does that make her?

Billions of dollars have been wasted in Iraq. Even assuming that the billions that have actually been spent for tanks and planes and such, have not (in some sense) been wasted, billions more have truly been wasted. No one even knows where they have gone. Most of those billions can probably be traced to war profiteers of one kind or another, wasted in that way. But there are some that literally are unaccounted for. Indeed, the Pentagon loses a billion or so this way every year. It just seems to vanish. With that in mind, reflect for a moment on the fact that at this time 44 cents of every tax dollar is going for defense. Well, you say, defense is important. Well, yes I agree, it is important. But it is also important to know what it is we are defending ourselves from. While I am hardly an expert on national defense or the military I simply do not believe we need to spend almost half of all our tax dollars defending ourselves from “terrorists,” probably armed with box cutters or screwdrivers, or perhaps even a small explosive device in the heel of someone’s shoe. In fact, it is obvious that all that money is being spent on armaments and equipment to defend us from threats that don’t even exist. No nation on earth is preparing to attack the U.S. with planes, submarines, battleships, or nuclear bombs. None. And as it is highly unlikely we are about to be attacked from outer space by squadrons of flying saucers, perhaps we should reconsider how we are spending our money. Of course with unemployment rising and people losing their homes and the price of oil and food escalating to the speed of sound, if not light, soon no one will be able to pay taxes. So hurrah! The problem will solve itself. The free market has a way of making things right, right? Right.

Another feature of American culture I find absurd has to do with venison and wildfowl, especially Canadian geese. You very rarely can find a restaurant that serves venison in the United States, and if you do the venison probably comes from New Zealand. Yes, in New Zealand deer are raised commercially and pretty commonly served in restaurants. Even in Germany and Austria and other countries you can often find venison on the menu. You can also find wild boar. Why can we not have venison in our markets here, along with pork, beef and lamb (and wild boar)? You can once in a great while in specialty restaurants but they are few. Surely this is not because we have a shortage of deer. Indeed, thousands of deer are killed on the highways every year, many thousands. In some parts of the country, like here in North Idaho, there are so many deer they are basically just pests. It’s true that people hunt them both for food and sport, but this doesn’t seem to keep their numbers down. Why shouldn’t people be able to raise them for food? We do, of course, have a few Elk farms but, interestingly enough, you hardly ever see Elk on a menu either. Part of this, I guess, has to do with their designation as game animals. So you can hunt and kill them for sport or food but you cannot sell the meat (even though road kill is often picked up and donated to various restoriums and such, and I’m sure it is even illegally sold at times). As there is such a surplus of deer it seems absurd that we cannot enjoy venison. A similar situation arises in the case of Canadian geese. There are so many of these delicious creatures that they have become a genuine nuisance in many areas. People have tried all kinds of ingenious ways to get rid of them but they continue to thrive and foul parks and gold courses and lawns and whatever. They are very different from domestic geese in that they have virtually no fat and thus are much better for you than the domestic variety. Why should they not be raised commercially? Of course if you were to allow people to hunt and kill deer and geese for sale it would have to be regulated. People, being what they are, would otherwise quickly bring them to extinction like we did with the Passenger Pigeon and almost succeeded in doing to the bison (we’re doing a pretty good job of extinguishing the salmon, too). Anyway, we have these creatures in abundance, even in superabundance in some areas, so why not. I chalk it up to just another of the absurdities of American culture. By the way, we have succeeded beyond expectations in bringing back wolves. People here can’t wait to get out and kill them. We don’t eat them, we just kill them after we bring them back from the edge of extinction. This is considered “sport.” I guess the sport consists of find one to shoot. If you find one it’s like shooting a dog. Oh well, I guess hunters who get their jollies by shooting captured Elk and other “game,” in game farms, probably do the same by shooting dogs. Hey, now that I think about it, how come we don’t raise dogs for food? Some people do. Go figure. We do raise some horses for food. We don’t eat them, we just ship the meat to France. Oh well…

“The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced.”
Frank Zappa

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Deja vu

Yes, yes, I’m afraid it’s true. Déjà vu all over again. General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker put on their performance for Congress today. They could have just replayed last year’s performance. Yes, some progress is being made, but it is very slow and not uniform. Yes, al-Quaida is a big threat, but not as big as it was. We need to take a pause for 45 days and then assess just where we are before we can say anything about withdrawing troops. Some political progress is being made but it is still not satisfactory. Iran continues to meddle in our meddling. No, we don’t have any idea when we can withdraw our troops from Iraq, it depends upon things on the ground. No, we don’t know how to define success. We should just stay the course and figure it out later. No, the agreement we are seeking with Iraq to maintain troops there for an indeterminate time does not need the approval of Congress. We’re not seeking permanent bases in Iraq, just an enduring presence. Let’s just leave it all up to General Petraeus (and to hell with anyone else who has a different opinion, they are all expendable). No, we can’t just pull our troops out precipitously, that might cause chaos (instead of the order we have now in Iraq). There might even be a civil war (as opposed to what is happening now). I know they’re sending mortar rounds and stuff into the Green Zone, but it must be the Iranians because we know the Iraqis really want us to stay and occupy their country.

In other words, nothing much has changed in the past year, we still don’t know what the hell we’re doing, so we’ll just stall for more time (and lots more money and deaths). Besides, McCain still hasn’t figured out the difference between Shia and Sunni, maybe if he has more time. At a pro-war rally today (can you believe it, a pro-war rally) a McCain supporter said “you’ve got Tiger Woods but we’ve got John McCain.” I still can’t figure out what the hell that is supposed to mean. But if that’s the choice, give me Tiger Woods every time. Was the guy equating Obama with Tiger Woods because they’re both part black? Was it meant to be a racial slur? Was it just his mouth working without engaging his brain? Whatever it was, McCain liked it enough to give the guy a hug. Weird goings on. How could anyone attend a pro-war rally? Why not a death and destruction rally? A let’s kill a lot of women and children rally? How about an, I’m a warmongering ghoul rally? A pro-war rally has to be the sickest most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard about). It won’t be long before they stage their pro-torture rally, or their let’s poke their eyes out rally, or maybe their let’s blow off some arms and legs rally. Where do these kinds of slavering sadists come from?

You don’t think this gambit to delay any further decisions about what to do in Iraq has anything to do with Bush’s obvious desire to pass the problem on to the next President, do you? You don’t think his desire to cut a deal with Iraq to let us maintain an ongoing troop presence there is designed to commit the next President to this unpopular “war,” do you? You don’t think all that oil in Iraq has anything to do with it, do you?

Interesting that Bill Clinton is involved in some way with the proposed Columbia trade deal and/or is all for it, whereas Hillary is opposed to it. You know, the one that her main advisor, Penn, was trying to get as a client so he could promote it, even though Hillary was against it. He was supposedly fired, but wasn’t, and is still active as an advisor to her. You don’t think Hillary is devious, do you? I wonder how many other things Bill and Hillary disagree about. Can’t you just imagine them in the White House again, bickering constantly about money and policy. A big potential for domestic violence and abuse there. I suggest that if Hillary should miraculously end up in the White House as our President, she should have to have Bill put into a blind trust so he has nothing whatsoever to do with anything.

“You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.”
Jeannette Rankin

Monday, April 07, 2008


Bubblehead: So nice to have you back. I worried that something might have happened to you. I don’t know what the world would do without your absolute dedication to the facts. Obviously I should have said Admiral Fallon rather than General Fallon (I confess that in most contexts Admirals and Generals are all the same to me, not being a dedicated military person). It is true, I believe, that Fallon was a superior officer to Petraeus. I believe it is also true that Fallon resigned (probably forced) because he resisted the Bush/Cheney desire to (perhaps) go to war against Iran. He also is on record of not having a very high opinion of Petraeus. As many believe Petraeus may be more amendable to such a strategy, in that sense he is presumably replacing Fallon in the eyes of Bush/Cheney. That he is not taking over the entire Command is not really the point although I suppose I should have made that clear (frankly, I don’t see that it matters much with respect to the Iran situation). I, Morialekafa, did not say I thought we were going to war with Iran, merely that some people do. Personally, I don’t think even your beloved Brafia is that stupid (although going by past experience they might be). In any case, if Morialekafa is not up to your obviously higher standards of truth and beauty, perhaps you should stop reading it.

Getting away from the ongoing absurdities of the “war” in Iraq and the equally absurd election campaigns for a moment (not an easy thing to do these days), let me fantasize about my idea for the Personal Experience Recovery and Preservation System (PERPS). I have always been an avid reader of biography and autobiography. It is perfectly obvious that no biography or autobiography can possibly deal with the entire life experience of any individual person, no matter how “average” or “inconsequential” a person may have been. A complete account of any person’s life would require the equivalent of several thousands of volumes, and may or may not be worth the effort. Thus all biographies are selective, extremely so, just focusing on things that the biographer or autobiographer thinks were significant. At the same time they invariably omit things the person does not want other to know about. No one could ever write a completely truthful biography or autobiography because everyone’s life contains experiences that were embarrassing, illegal, inappropriate, gauche, stupid, unconscionable, or whatever. Thus the sum total of a person’s experience is lost when they die. It is not their soul that leaves the body but, rather, all those experiences they have had. Why is this important? Because of culture. The essence of culture is that human experience and knowledge can be transmitted extragenetically from generation to generation. It is this capacity that makes it possible for naked apes like us to actually survive and compete on the world stage. It saves us time and energy as it makes it possible to not just have to discover things new over and over again. Things that were solved by experience in previous generations can be transmitted to us, thus enabling us to avoid having to do that. But because of the limitations of biography, fully 99% (perhaps even more) of a human’s experiences just evaporate when they die. So think of just how more powerful culture and its transmission would be if we could recover all that personal experience instead of a mere fraction of it, and preserve it for the following generations. Naturally a lot of it would be repetitive and superfluous, but there would doubtless be some true gems of knowledge and experience that would otherwise be lost. We need some kind of machine or device or system for capturing and sorting this lost experience, something that could be hooked up to the person just before death that would record and preserve all the best of it for mankind at large. This assumes, of course, that the experience a person has during his or her lifetime is preserved somewhere, however consciously, unconsciously or subconsciously, in that unusually large brain (this might not work for members of the Brafia). Fantastic? Of course. But more fantastic than time machines, black holes, people from outer space, world peace, or Bush/Cheney telling the truth? I don’t think so. Instead of spending billions more on clever and diabolical ways to kill each other, let’s work on it.

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”
Alan Kay

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Just another liar?

Hillary Clinton. I fear the truth is not in her. Now she has been caught trying to tell us she was a critic of the Iraq war before Barack Obama. Not true. This was after she gave us her account of landing under sniper fire in Bosnia. Not true. She has been using an anecdote about a pregnant woman being denied care because she didn’t have the $100 for a visit. Not true. She has claimed she did not support NAFTA when it was introduced. Not true. She has lied, or at least grossly exaggerated her experience, claiming to have been involved in the Irish truce procedure. Not true. She opposes a trade agreement with Columbia while her chief advisor was meeting with the Columbian Ambassador, who was hiring him to promote it (he has as of today finally been fired). She has also claimed all along that she is better prepared to be President from “day one” than Obama which, depending upon how you want to look at it, is also probably not true. And when she claims Obama is not ready to be President she overlooks the fact that neither was her husband or Ronald Reagan. In addition to all this, she has been doing everything she can to change the rules in the middle of the election game, making claims that are both far-fetched and false. She pretends to be for the working stiff while pulling down millions with her husband. And she is also financed heavily by the very corporations she says she will challenge. So what do we make of this? She’s a politician, but not a very good one? She certainly doesn’t deserve the Presidency (unless you desperately want another George W. (prevaricator supreme) for the job.

There is more talk now about a “war” with Iran. Some believe that General Petraeus is going to lead the way next week now that he has replaced General Fallon who was his superior officer and wouldn’t do as Bush/Cheney wanted. If this should happen, god forbid, it will be another completely illegal war against a nation that is no threat to the U.S. I would like to know just who is going to fight this war – our exhausted troops in Iraq? Probably not, they’ll be too busy trying to stay alive in Iraq when Muqtada al-Sadr gives the word to attack our troops there. Will any European nations provide troops – they don’t even want to provide them for Afghanistan. Is this talk of war just that, talk. I sincerely hope so. If not, it will make the worst foreign policy blunder in American history look like a brilliant decision.

How much longer will this Hillary farce continue? The only reason I can see why she continues to behave as she is, is because she wants Obama to get the nomination and then lose to McCain, giving her and her corporate sponsors a chance in 2012. They can all afford to wait it out, they’re all rolling in dough after conning us for the past eight years. Let’s get rid of the DLC once and for all. Vote for Obama!

Our Congressman Bill Sali is the most consistent fellow around. He always, well, almost always, votes “no.” And he’s always in a minority. Now he voted against a bill sponsored by some Republican that would have funded conservation and management of ocean resources. I guess he didn’t think that was a good thing (this vote was passed 308 to 60).. He also voted against a bill to fight Aids, tuberculosis, and malaria. Well, I suppose that’s not a good thing either (it passed 308 to 116). Don’t you wonder just who it is Bill is voting for? Does he have a constituency somewhere in outer space that we don’t know about? VOTE LARRY GRANT FOR CONGRESS!!

“False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.”

Saturday, April 05, 2008


I hope I saw this wrong. Or perhaps I was having a bad dream. Maybe I was hallucinating. I could, I suppose, simply be losing my mind entirely. Anyway, I thought I saw yesterday somewhere (probably either on buzzflash or the smirking chimp) that Congress had sent a letter to Bush pleading with him to not leave the war to the next President. Yes, “pleading,” was the precise word I saw. I am having trouble believing this, hence my confusion over my state of mind. First, why should Congress be “pleading” with Bush? They could demand he not leave the war to the next President. They could order him not to do so. They could suggest he not do so. They could even take action to insure that he not do so. So what’s with this pleading crap? Is our Congress so mealy-mouthed, so timid, so afraid, so senseless, so ridiculous, so stupid, so helpless, they have to “plead” with the worst President in American History, with the lowest ratings ever, not to do something? This I find unbelievable. They could have ended this disastrous “war” a long time ago. They could just have withheld any further funds which would have brought the troops home quickly. They could have impeached this pitiful excuse for President and his Rasputin-like sidekick a long time ago. They have done nothing, nothing, to end this ridiculous, nonsensical “war.” And now, at this relatively late moment, they are pleading with Bush to end it, knowing full well he is going to do no such thing. Of course he’s waiting to pass it on to the next President, that’s been his obvious strategy for a long time. If this is true it has to be the most cowardly, timid, asinine thing I have ever seen or heard about. Please tell me I’m hallucinating, I can’t stand any more.

Books. I love books. I love reading books. I love having books, touching them, holding them, admiring them, owning them. I have been an avid reader all my life. Thus I am distressed to learn that fewer adults are buying books this year than last year. I am even more distressed to learn that only 51% (I think it was) of adults bought books year before last and only 49% this year. I learned today that the book business has become so bad that Borders Books, a huge chain of bookstores, is trying to sell out. And of course I have known for a long time that small bookstores have been closing for years. This is partly due to the fact that the big box stores like Cosco and others have been selling books so cheap that even the huge Bookstores like Borders can’t compete. But there is another, more insidious reason, Americans just don’t read much. It is part of the overall anti-intellectualism that is such a part of America. Book larnin’ just ain’t a good thing in American culture. Teachers are not a good thing (people who can’t do something themselves teach it, so the saying goes). “Pointy headed intellectuals,” college perfesssors, types like that think they know it all. I know a man, and I think he is not atypical, that boasts he has never read an entire book in his life. I’m sure his friends don’t read either. Whatever it is they think they know they get from Rush Limbaugh and pass it on between themselves. Of course TV and the internet have something to do with it. But I think this may be overrated. I don’t doubt that many people just prefer watching TV to reading, that has to be true, but I don’t think many people actually read books on the internet, even people who do read. Even with the advent of laptops I don’t think taking your laptop and reading under the trees is a real substitute for books. I find the idea of having a non-reading public actually frightening and I wonder what will happen to us. When you also consider that about 50% of urban high-schoolers don’t graduate you might truly be frightened. Anti-intellectualism has been rampant in America for a long time. If we truly wish to survive in the modern world, and compete with other nations, we had better do something to reverse this trend before it is too late.

Books are readily available, more available than ever before. You can buy great books, books of all kinds, through the internet, for peanuts now, for one dollar, bargains galore. They are great entertainment as well as informative and useful. And they are less expensive even than going to a movie. Perhaps one good thing might result from the current recession – people might begin to read more. Books are our friends.

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”
Charles W. Eliot