Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Being President 101

Man dives in ocean,
punches shark in the nose,
saves his rat terrior.

I am not comforted by knowing that Sarah Palin is enrolled in Being President 101. Somehow the idea that someone could cram for the Presidency in a few days does not inspire me with confidence. I don’t care how well Sarah Palin might do in the coming debate with Joe Biden, I will never believe that a crash course in being President is sufficient preparation for that all-important office. It’s not like taking Sociology 101, at least not to me. Somehow McCain seems to think this is some weird combination of My Freshman Year and My Fair Lady. Let’s face it, McCain made an absolutely stupid choice for purely short term political reasons and now he’s faced with having to turn his sow’s ear into a silk purse, with very little time to do it. All of the evidence so far indicates that Palin knows nothing whatsoever about Foreign Policy, virtually nothing about American history, nothing about the Constitution, and not very much in general. She does not believe in the theory of evolution, apparently believes people co-existed with dinosaurs, and that the world is a mere 6000 years of age. I’m sorry but this is totally unacceptable in a candidate for the Vice Presidency of the U.S. I don’t care how much of a fool Dan Quale or Spiro Agnew may have been, I don’t want another one of that ilk (and Sarah is far worse than either of them). Sarah Palin is totally unqualified for such high office and no amount of cramming before her exam is going to make her qualified. I do not mean to be unkind to her, but this is far too important to be allowed. She should get off the ticket before she makes a complete fool of herself, but that appears to be out of the question at this late date. I fear that expectations for her are so low that if she survives 90 minutes at all she will be declared the victor. Rumor has it that she has performed miserably in two practice sessions already and is said to be virtually hopeless. I said from the very beginning she was going to prove an embarrassment and so far she has lived up to that assessment even beyond my expectations. You must give her credit for chutzpah, and perhaps she will perform above expectations, but she will still never be qualified for the office she is running for, short of several years of more study and experience (and even that is very questionable).

I must say I marvel at the way McCain and his supporters can look into the camera and tell such outrageous lies. Sometimes I wonder if they really believe the nonsense they spout. One of them today (I forget just who it was) said that McCain has been calling for more regulation for two years and that Obama has done nothing. This is a lie so outrageous, so contrary to fact, that you have to wonder if the guy is taking some kind of drugs, drinking the poisoned kool-aid, or something. McCain is on tape repeatedly railing against regulation of any kind. But these people do this all the time. It’s as if they live in an alternative world, one in which facts are totally irrelevant. Now, having spent days filling Palin’s head with lies of this kind they are about to send her into the valley of doom. If she survives at all she will be acclaimed a hero, at least to those who idolize her because she is just like them (Joe Six Pack). Is that what you want a heartbeat away from the most powerful position on earth, Joe Six Pack? Not me. No thanks. No way. Never.

It appears that Bill Clinton just cannot praise Obama, although he can lavish praise on McCain and, of course, Hillary. I guess he just cannot stand being dethroned and having to give up his position as leader of the party to this upstart relative newcomer. I think this is a terrible development and I would hope the Democratic Party would quickly put a stop to it. Like my mother always said, if you can’t saying something nice about someone, say nothing at all. But if Hillary couldn’t control Bill I guess no one else can either. He is doing a terrible thing and there is no excuse for it other than just plain ego.

The Palin/Biden debate is shaping up to be the hottest show on television in a very long time. No doubt the viewers will exceed probably even the super bowl. And there will be poor little Sarah, picked on by Joe Biden and all the rest of the male bullies, to say nothing of the MSM. Remember, whatever you say will be used against you. It will all be just plain sexism. Jeez, I wonder what she will wear?

Time has got a little bill—get wise while yet you may,
For the debit side’s increasing in a most alarming way;
The things you had no right to do,
The things you should have done,
They’re all put down; it’s up to you to pay for every one.
So eat, drink and be merry, have a good time if you will,
But God help you when the time comes, and you
Foot the bill.

Robert Service

Monday, September 29, 2008

Grand theft narrowly averted

Grandmother steals car, flees police,
arrested, threatens to sue car owners
for tempting her with neglected keys.

A massive theft of taxpayer money was narrowly averted today when some Congresspersons up for re-election became terrified because their constituents were 25 to 1 against the bailout. Voters spoke and for once someone listened. It seems that the voting public has finally caught on to the Brafia scams that have been going on for the past eight years.

This bailout scheme was probably the grandest scam ever attempted. The Bush/Cheney bunch of gangster tried their usual use of fear and panic to stampede us into giving Paulson complete control of 700 billion dollars all by himself, no supervision, no challenges, no questions to be asked. And we were told that if this was not passed immediately the sky would fall, the sun would fail to rise, and the world would come to an immediate end. But, having gotten away with this kind of fear mongering and panic- making in the past, this time it failed. Some Congresspersons actually read the proposal (after all it was only three and a half pages) and saw just what a complete and utter robbery was being planned. But, of course, everyone agreed that something had to be done immediately if not sooner. So, they tried to piece together a proposal that no one liked but presumably would agree on “for the good of the country.” Democrats promised so many votes and the Brafia did likewise, except when it came down to the real nitty-gritty the Brafia welched. Everyone was shocked, shocked I tell you, when this scam failed. No one liked it but it was the only scam going. Now assuming that the world doesn’t end tomorrow (a Jewish holiday so Congress can’t work), they will meet again on Thursday to try again. As everyone seems to agree that they must do something they will no doubt come up with a revised plan that will probably only rob the taxpayers 80 or 90 percent of what the original called for. Do you think they will forge a plan that will make those who have benefitted so royally for the past eight years actually have to contribute to the solution. Don’t be silly. Remember that when there is big money involved they are all on the take and they are not about to kill the corporate geese that lay the golden eggs.

But first we will have to endure the finger pointing and accusations that will fly from both sides. The Brafia will claim it’s all the Democrats fault, especially Pelosi and Obama, while the Democrats will claim it’s all McCain’s fault (too much time has passed for it to be blamed on Clinton). You might think that McCain would feel a bit sheepish, having announced just prior to the failure that he had negotiated the whole deal and what was going to save the world. But having no shame whatsoever, McCain will now try to claim that it was his efforts that queered the deal. He is dauntless. When Palin publicly stated that she agreed with Obama that we should be able to invade Pakistan if necessary, contrary to what McCain’s position has been, he actually said it didn’t count because she was merely talking to a voter (figure that out if you can).

No matter how you try to spin it, the McCain campaign has been nothing more than a Keystone Cops performance. He shifts his positions by the hour, demonstrates his confusion over virtually every issue that arises, tries to avoid the issues at all costs, shamelessly attacks Obama, and, worst of all, picks Sarah Palin as his running mate (soul-mate as he calls it). She, in turn, has said that she really looks forward to her debate with Biden on Thursday, having demonstrated in her interviews to date that she is a true know-nothing who has become a laughingstock. At least she doesn’t lack confidence. Of course by now the expectations for her are so low that if she actually is still breathing at the end of the 90 minutes they will claim a victory.

It is probably too late for McCain to replace Palin on the ticket. Who could he turn to even if he tried. I can’t imagine there is anyone who is anyone who would volunteer for such a task at this late date. McCain has no choice now except to try to bluff it out, insist that Palin is qualified, a “quick learner” and up to the job. There are apparently a few that actually believe this. I saw a bumper sticker today that said simply “Sarah.” It might as well have said “I am a complete moron.” But that’s the way it goes. Will we survive all this? All appears to be chaos. At least one ultra-conservative writer has suggested that Palin should drop out for the good of the country. I suggest that McCain ought to do the same but, then, he has demonstrated no interest in the country and Palin probably doesn’t even understand what it all means.

To predict the behavior of ordinary people in advance, you only have to assume that they will always try to escape a disagreeable situation with the smallest possible expenditure of intelligence.
Friedrich Nietzsche

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Autumn for Empire

Autumn, my favorite time of the year. A time for change as the world slows down for a time, in preparation for the new beginning that inevitably arrives in the spring. Unfortunately, for the neocons dream of empire, there is not going to be a new beginning. America’s century is now coming to a close and the world is not going to be the same from this moment on. Thanks to the incredible incompetence of the Bush/Cheney administration and the lemming-like behavior of our citizens, it is going to be impossible for America to dominate the world as we have for so long. Russia and China have already made it clear that we will no longer be able to control the world economy. We are, to put it bluntly, broke, a serious debtor nation, lacking the means to maintain our position at the top of the world. Our much vaunted military superiority has proven to be not very successful and our troops are weary and exhausted. No matter who becomes President we will have to bring them home, pare down our obscene military budget, and try to pay our debts. We will not be able to rebuild our broken superstruckture for a very long time and there will be little money available for any domestic programs. We are, in short, at the end of our moment in the sun. Our standard of living which has been losing its luster for some time now will decrease even further. We will become simply one nation along with many others, lacking any material or moral superiority, and struggling to survive in a world increasingly leaving us behind. This is the inevitable price for the systematic dumbing down of our citizens. Our sadly neglected educational system, with its disvaluing of learning, knowledge, both scientific and humanitarian, coupled with the devastating effects of our absurd television programming, have turned us into a nation of sheep, following the Judas goat of unfettered capitalism to our demise, a situation of our own making, a fouling of our nest, an act of such irresponsible sloth that would have been inconceivable to our ancestors. Like our current President we are a nation of losers, however much we like to pretend otherwise. We have stood by idly while allowing those in power to emphasize greed and short term profits rather than the national inerest. There seemingly is no national interest anymore, just corporate interests that take precedence over all else. In this system greed has actually become good, “he with the most toys wins,” “shop until you drop,” “just win baby,” and so on. Certainly it must be some kind of cosmic joke that we have been given the ability to reason but not the desire to use it. Thus we are, at this moment in history, beginning to run on empty, and our filling stations are rapidly disappearning. It is, indeed, the American autumn.

The selection of Sarah Palin for VP, and the apparent widespread acceptance of her candidacy is, I believe, a measure of our political degeneration and lack of genuine interest in our affairs of state. Her choice and candidacy are, speaking plainly, pathetic. She is not only totally unqualified for such an office but is, in fact, an embarrassment.This is a woman who doesn’t believe in evolution, believes the earth and everything in it was created only some 6000 years ago, that people existed contemporaneously with dinosaurs, apparently also believes in witches, thinks banning books in libraries is acceptable, abortion should be illegal even in cases of rape or incest, believes she has Foreign Policy credentials because she can see Russia from her house and who knows what all else. This is nothing short of laughable, and yet a substantial portion of the voting public seems to think she is wonderful. To me (and to at least some others) this is not only laughable, it is unbelievable. Yet it is happening. Now, in the 21st century. In a country that pretends to be the leader of the free world it is insane. It is also a lesson in the contempt for the voting public that exists in the corridors of power. If we have any sense of national pride left (which I doubt) her candidacy should not be allowed (curious, in and of itself, that there are no standards for the highest offices in the land). Ironic, isn’t it, that you have to take a test for a driver’s license, or to enter college, or to apply for most jobs, but all you apparently have to do to run for VP is breathe.

The Dylan Thomas lines written for his dying father are just as appropriate for our nation at this moment in time:

Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Like, who won?

Colorado man hires hit men
to kill mother to finance
breast implants for girlfriend.

I did not blog for the last two nights because we were attending the semi-annual Seattle Library Book Sale. It was not very good for us this time. But as a result of traveling to Seattle, buying books, and lacking sufficient time to consider what was going on I just thought it better to pass. Now, after watching the MSM pundits rehash the affair, and reading about it, I have come to several conclusions:

First, you can learn absolutely nothing of value by listening to the pundits describe what happened. When they interview people it is entirely predictable what they are going to say. If a McCain supporter is asked he/she will claim McCain won and is experienced, knowledgeable about Foreign Affairs, security and so on. If an Obam supporter is interviewed they will say Obama won hands down as he demonstrated his own knowledge of Foreign Affairs and the Economy. This is as predictable as night follows day and is a complete and total waste of time.

It is not quite as easy to determine where any given pundit stands but it is reasonably clear. You know if they are from Fox they will be pro-McCain and anti-Obama. If they are from MSNBC they will most probably be for Obama and anti-McCain. In the case of Chris Matthews you might as well not bother to listen. I have come to the conclusion, having tried to watch Matthews for some time that he is actually not very bright, and he is also egomaniacal to the point where the only thing that matters is what he says. Frankly, I have no interest whatsoever in what Matthews thinks Obama did wrong, although he carried on about it at great length. Matthews is a terrible host, constantly talking over his guests and imposing his own opinions on everything. The only observation he made (which I doubt was unique to him) was that McCain refused to look at Obama the entire time. Some have interpreted this to mean McCain has to turn all rivals into enemies in order to deal with them, others say it is just his strategy, still others suggest guilt. I go along with this latter. I don’t think McCain can look anyone in the eye and say things that he must know are not true. Perhaps guilt is not the right word, shame is probably closer to the truth. He knows he has run a campaign so shameful, so inept, so chaotic and changeable on a day-to-day basis as to be little more than absurd. His pick of Sarah Palin was so ridiculous as to itself expose his shamelessness.

And speaking of such things, I gather there is absolutely nothing McCain/Palin can do, no matter how shameful, incompetent, ridiculous, or dishonest, that will dissuade his supporters from their support. McCain has run a campaign so awful in virtually every respect, so given to flip-flops and reckless gambling, so unprincipled and chaotic as to be laughable. His pick of Palin is the most glaring example of his incompetence, and yet he still has supporters. I find this incredible. I don’t believe there is anything he could do, no matter how awful, that would cause his true believers to doubt him. And of course there is no hope for anyone who could stomach Palin for more than a brief momentary loss of brain functioning. Perhaps McCain’s next ploy will be to bounce Palin and add some other nonentity that will keep attention still longer away from any real issues. I am now pretty certain that McCain is going senile. I do think all of his medical records should be made available. I do not believe McCain/Palin to be viable candidates. By supporting them I think the Brafia has conceded the election to Obama, except perhaps for counting on racial prejudice and various electioneering cheats to somehow pull it off.

Having now considered most everything I could find I have concluded that Obama is somewhat ahead, probably more than is apparent. As far as the economy goes I believe Obama is more likely to handle it well than is McCain, although I am not in favor of the bailout which I am certain will benefit the usual fat cats far more than anyone else. This is true of Obama as well as McCain. But McCain’s position is basically hopeless as he obviously just wants to continue more of the same nonsense about free markets, the very philosophy that brought on this calamity in the first place. McCain faked suspending his campaign, went to Washington where he was both unneeded and unwanted and almost managed to torpedo whatever progress was being made. It was another sort of clever ploy in that whatever happens McCain will now try to take credit for it. If it fails he’ll say he tried to stop it, and if it succeeds he’ll claim he made it happen. The fact of the matter is, he did nothing at all except make a bit of trouble for everyone concerned. Obama is for this bailout, I am not. I see no reason why greed and failure should be rewarded. I believe there are other ways to deal with this massive problem, as do many economists (of course economics is truly a dismal (non) science, so you never know). To award a Nobel Prize for Economics, you might as well award one for witchcraft.

We have 2 classes of forecasters: Those who don't know . . . and those who don't know they don't know.- John Kenneth Galbraith

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

He reads well

Bush read his brief speech off the teleprompter. He read it well, at least in the sense that he didn’t stumble over any words or digress. But it was a sort of zombie-like reading, no animation, no gestures, no emotion, just reading what it said with a kind of dead pan expression. I am by no means convinced that he has any idea what he said, or if he did, if he understood it.

Barney Frank reported that they are making progress and will probably get a bill passed in the next few days, but perhaps not by Friday. He also observed that they did not need McCain there poking his nose in and trying to take credit for something he had little to do with. It’s true, when you think about it. What could McCain possibly add to the discussion. By his own admission he doesn’t understand economics, he was part of the problem in the first place, and his presence in Washington would be irrelevant. But it would give him an excuse to duck out of the debate. Behind in the polls, and slipping farther by the hour, he wants to call a time out. I read somewhere that he wants to postpone the first debate so he can then argue it should replace the VP debate (where they fear Palin will expose herself for the know-nothing she is). I don’t know if this is the strategy or not but it does sound credible. It has now been established that Palin is in fact bringing down the ticket. The videotape that has now surfaced showing her being prayed over to protect her from witches certainly won’t help her much (except maybe with those of her followers who are believers in witchcraft along with the rest of their magic). I think it is fair to say now that the wheels are not coming off the McCain/Palin campaign, they are off. It can only be downhill from now on. Unless, of course, McCain can fly to Washington and convince everyone that he alone solved the financial crisis.

And speaking of the financial crisis. The one issue they don’t seem to be debating, although it has been mentioned by some, is whether this bailout will actually even work. What a calamity it would be if they put up 700 billion dollars (no matter what restrictions are put on it), if it won’t work. But, as no one seems to know whether it will work or not, they will no doubt do it. It’s the American way. When in doubt do it. When in doubt throw money. Of course this only works for purely political problems. So, for example, if there is any doubt about the harmful effects of cigarettes, just go ahead an sell them anyway. If there is any doubt about food irradiation, go ahead and do it. If there is any doubt about the “war” on drugs, continue it. Never exercise caution of good sense when dealing with potential health problems. If you can’t absolutely prove something is harmful then it is perfectly okay to go ahead with it. Americans are really quite mad, you know. How else could one explain the election of George W. Bush, twice! Al Gore was probably the single most qualified person to run for President ever, but he was passed over for an ex drunken ne’er do well who had failed at everything he attempted and was pretty obviously of limited intelligence. Many Americans seem to believe that the more a person is like them (uninformed and not exceptionally bright) the better President they would make. Strange idea, that. They also seem to believe that if a person is highly educated, worldly and sophisticated, they should be avoided at all costs. Poor Adlai Stevenson, he never had a chance.

It’s sort of like the talking dog that went into the bar and announced, “I’m a talking dog. Don’t you have a drink for a talking dog?” The bartender said, “sure, the toilet is just down the hall.” (sorry, I just heard this the other day and it somehow seemed appropros).

For centuries, theologians have been explaining the unknowable in terms of the-not-worth-knowing.
H. L. Mencken

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Caught in the act

The Paulson bailout plan is far more than what it appears to be. More than a bailout plan (for the very people who got us into this mess), it is a shameless, naked, blatant, ambitious power-grab so monumental as to be absolutely breathtaking. This plan, presented in three and a half pages, spells out in general the powers that are to be given to just one man, Paulson, power to buy and sell 700 billion dollars (that is billion) worth of securities, mortgages, and what have you, entirely at his discretion, and with no oversight (mind you, a recent loan application for a small loan ran to some 25 pages). Here is the real nitty-gritty:

“Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.”

I find it virtually impossible to believe anyone thought they could get away with this. There is no excuse for it. It is not just the result of a typo or a clerical error or the work of some mindless subordinate. It was clearly written for just one disgraceful purpose. But they tried. The plan obviously was to railroad it through, just like the Patriot Act, by claiming its urgency and planting the seeds of panic so that Congress would just mindlessly sign on as they have done with such things in the past. If they could hurry it through, with no one reading it too carefully, if at all, they would have given themselves absolutely dictatorial power to control 700 billion dollars of public monies. Fortunately, they have not yet got away with it. Some members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, have made it clear they will not agree to such powers given to one individual. Of course this is delaying the process that the sponsors of this “plan” insist has to be passed immediately or the sky will fall, a depression will occur, at least a serious recession (as if we are not already in one), and so on. When confronted by opposition, that is, caught in this despicable act, Paulson said that of course there had to be oversight, he knew that, everyone knew that, he just didn’t put it in the plan because he thought it would be presumptious of him to suggest such a thing to Congress. Apparently he thinks that an act that “may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency,” is not presumptious and does not suggest anything to Congress. Jeez, even Al Capone and Lucky Luciano were cleverer that that. This is so outrageous and so transparently a gigantic con that something good may actually come out of it. If we listen to Obama and Bernie Sanders, and others like that, we might actually get some genuine and long-needed reform.
Now that even George Will has announced that McCain is not fit to be President we can comfort ourselves knowing that Sarah Palin is right there to back him up. Now that she has actually met a couple of other Foreign leaders (for chit-chat and photo-ops) we know that she has control of Foreign Policy matters. Can you believe they actually tried to ban anything but photos of these brief meetings. When even the MSM balked at that they begrudgingly allowed one reporter in the room for a few seconds. When asked later how it went Palin apparently said “great.” She also met briefly with Kissinger. He was probably advising her how to stay our of other countries when she becomes a war criminal. This Bush/Cheney administration, along with McCain and others, has to be the most despicable, disgusting, unpatriotic, power-mad bunch of crooks ever to be in office. Thank the Great Mystery that the election is drawing near and we may be rid of these shameless criminals at last.


in these high mountains
icy rivers run wildly
nothing contains them
they rage mindlessly
as the hot blood of lovers


Monday, September 22, 2008

I'll say it again

Jealous boyfriend kills
the cat he thinks she loves
more than him.

I’ll say it once more. It’s not complicated. Many have been saying it in one form or another for many years. Some things are too important to be left to the market. The dangers of unfettered capitalism have been known and pointed out over and over again by a wide variety of philosophers, economists, and others. Karl Polanyi said it quite a while ago in a general and succinct way: land, labor, and money are not true commodities. Land, because it is just another word for the environment, labor, because it”s just another word for human behavior, and money, because it is a purely artificial creation. Thus the Brafia has been promoting the so-called “free market” for years and now its terrible shortcomings have come home to roost. Let’s face it, things like energy, water, air, finances, and medical care, when left to the hands of private enterprise serve only the interest of greedy capitalists, not the interests of the people at large. For a long time now in the U.S. the very mention of socialism has caused heart palpitations and panic among those who were gaming the system so systematically. So now, the financial markets collapsing, we are being offered socialism for the wealthy. Having looted and plundered at will for so long the very scoundrels that brought about this horrendous failure now want the innocent taxpayers to pay for their mistakes. They are not offering to return any of their illicit gains and, indeed, want to put someone in charge of some potentially one trillion dollars with no oversight of any kind. I guess they think that like the Patriot Act they can panic us into falling for this ridiculous scam. The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Turn over all control of money to us with no questions asked. Trust us. They really do believe we are all complete and utter fools (sometimes I think they are right). It appears this tactic might not work for them this time, but nothing is definite as yet.

I am becoming absolutely convinced that either the polls are screwy or a good half of the American public is insane. This Sarah Palin thing is a mystery to me. She is apparently drawing large crowds and generating a great deal of enthusiasm for the Brafia. Why, I cannot fathom. She is a completely unqualified candidate for VP, a know-nothing with little experience and political beliefs somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun, unsettled scandals in the frontier state she heads, and religious beliefs so far-fetched they make the mind reel, but large numbers of people seem to find her a rock star. I guess that must be what the right-wingers believe themselves. This is beyond frightening, it’s downright terrifying.

I think that Sarah Palin, like George W. Bush and many other know-nothings in powerful government positions, represent precisely what happens in a culture that succumbs over time to an insidious anti-intellectualism, where learning and knowledge are no longer regarded as values worth promoting. Indeed, people like Bush actually gloat over their ignorance, they lack curiosity and adopt religious beliefs that no matter how silly allow them to think they know all they ever need to know. The world is created 6000 years ago, Moses parted the sea, an ark was built that contained two of all the creatures on earth, the bible is literally true, and so on. Our schools have been starved for years, thus producing poorly paid teachers who teach children who are basically uninterested in learning and just spend their time mostly in busywork and boredom. Huge numbers drop out before even finishing High School and, in fact, it is possible to complete sixteen and more years of school and still know so little you can barely find your own state on a map. There is no value placed on education here. It is no wonder we are rapidly falling behind the rest of the world when it comes to science, technology, and the humanities. I say this not as merely a disgruntled academician, but as one who fears for the future of my country. This lack of a love of learning, and the active denigration of those who are educated, “pointy-headed intellectuals,” carries with it the seed of our own destruction. Even now, people like Barack Obama, who are highly educated and accomplished persons, are denigrated by being labeled “elitists,” and worse. Stereotypes of the “absent-minded professor,” and “ivory towerists,” and such are commonplace in the U.S. and are not helpful. Professors are thought to be essentially helpless in the face of practical problems, and no matter how knowledgeable they might be, their views are regarded as no better than anyone else’s. A good and healthy democracy can only flourish with a well-educated and informed populace. How far we have strayed from this ideal is shocking in the extreme. We are now continually “dumbed down” in our schools and even moreso by our television industry. To turn this around is going to be extremely difficult, especially if we do not start now.

It is only the ignorant who despise education.
Publilius Syrus

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Why are we doing this?

Illinois woman arrested
for bartending –
in the nude.

“U.S. troops hunting for a militant raided a house and killed seven Iraqis, including three women” (Spokesman Review 9-20-08). If this were a one time occurrence one might assume it was just an innocent mistake. But it isn’t, and in fact we see everyday more reports of the killing of innocent civilians in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Why are we doing this? The Iraqis did nothing to us. Certainly their women and children did nothing. The same thing is true of Afghanistan. We see reports now very often about how we have killed innocent civilians, as many as 60 at a time in Afghanistan. Wedding and funeral processions bombed. Homes bombed. People walking down the street gunned down, riding in cars shot, and on and on. Nine men from Saudi Arabia mounted a terrible attack on New York five years ago and we are still killing people by the thousands. Why? What is the point? Basically, even the Taliban did nothing to us (that is, until we invaded their country). Even if it’s true they are hiding and protecting Osama bin Laden (assuming he is still even alive) is that really sufficient reason to go on killing their women and children? So we were looking for a “militant.” What is a militant anyway? Someone who wishes we would get the hell out of his country? And what militant is so important that it justifies killing innocent women and children? We have no business being in Iraq in the first place and committed a war crime when we invaded that country that had done nothing to us. We have no business in Afghanistan either, apart from the questionable hunt for Osama bin Laden, which seems to have been conducted with less than passionate enthusiasm. The Saudi terrorists killed just over 3000 of us. We have now killed more than a hundred times that many, perhaps a thousand times more, perhaps even more than that. And we’re still doing it. Daily.We have now lost more troops than the number of people killed in New York on September 11th. What has it brought us, besides our losses of both troops and money, the former in the thousands, the latter in billions. Now Gates has announced that we have a right to attack in Pakistan. What such “right” do we have. Pakistan is a sovereign nation that has been aiding us in trying to find bin Laden. As they have been unsuccessful does that somehow give us a right to violate their sovereignty? They don’t want us there, just as the Afghans and the Iraqis don’t want us there. We are never going to “conquer” Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and certainly not Iran. Never. It is totally pointless now. It is time to admit it. Time to realize we cannot control the behavior of everyone in the world, no matter how much military hardware we have. And don’t give me any crap about being a loser, or cowardly, or retreating, or unpatriotic, or whatevr. When stark reality is staring you in the face, and the entire world despises what you are doing, it’s time to face that reality and stop blustering and threatening and pretending. We ought to withdraw all our troops, offer the money we are now wasting on them to the countries involved for rebuilding, and allow them to try to rebuild and improve their lives, using their own people and their own labor rather than our cost-plus crooks. Of course we can’t do this now that we have no money. And we have no money thanks to our own crooks of the past eight years who were allowed to plunder at will. The Bush Republican mafia has to be held accountable for the disaster they have brought upon us. Anything short of this will mark us as a pariah nation forever.

There is a great article by Larissa Alexandrovna on at-Largely about the implications of the Bush”bail-out.” Everyone should read it. Things are not always what they appear to be.

McCain’s brain not sane on Spain,
His fallin’ for Palin is failin’ (sorry).

I have been going everyday at 4:00 p.m. to sit outside at Papa Byrd’s Bistro, enjoy a Mexican beer, and observe the passing scene. To my dismay I have learned there is no passing scene here.

To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.
J. K. Rowling

Friday, September 19, 2008

McCain's brain

TreBarbaric, with 78 foot tall trebuchet,
will defend 1,866 ft record on new
3000 foot gourd firing range.

Either John McCain’s brain has become unwired or he believes the American voting public is even beyond ordinary stupidity. He is trying to blame the horrendous financial meltdown on Barack Obama. Obama, McCain says, has done nothing during his time in the Senate to curb Wall Street and the financial markets. As Obama has been in office for only two years, whereas McCain has been in office for 26 years, this does seem a bit of a stretch. Not only has McCain been there all these years, he has actively promoted the destruction of the very rules, regulations, and laws that would have made the markets safer. He has been, in his own words, “a deregulator.” On the other hand, Obama has spoken out for regulation repeatedly. It is one thing to merely tell lies all the time as both he and Palin do, but even worse is making claims that are so far-fetched they are not even in the realm of possibility. McCain’s financial advisor, Phil Gramm, is one of the most guilty when it comes to all this deregulation and privatization. And while McCain goes on raving about the lobbyists being the problem, most, if not all, of his senior advisors were or are lobbyists, and they are said to be something like 83 lobbyists involved in his campaign. I suppose one might vote out of pity to give McCain his one last wish, the Presidency, as he was a war hero, but he fouled even that up by selecting a VP candidate that is the poster child for the Peter Principle.

And speaking of Sarah Palin, the darling of the “base,” it turns out she is every bit as loony as all the rest. The minister who she claims helped her to become Governor boasts of having exposed and driven away a witch (in Kenya). The church she attends engages in speaking in tongues and the “laying on of hands.” His laying on of hands and praying for her, according to her, is what helped her become Governor. Wheee! As she seems to be every bit as Machiavelian as Cheney, she will no doubt go far in a McCain/Palin administration, which she has already in a slip of the tongue described as a Palin/McCain administration. You can pretty much bet that McCain will never have a moment of peace should she become his VP (in the unlikely and horribly frightening possibility that he should actually win). I have believed from the very beginning that George W. Bush is marginally retarded. I don’t think McCain is, I think he is showing obvious signs of senility. Thus I find the McCain/Palin ticket (or vice versa) to be absolutely terrifying. Neither one of them is qualified to be President.

At one time it is estimated there might have been as many as five billion Passenger Pigeons. Five billion! Within the space of less than 100 years they were extinct. There were so many, people used to kill them by the thousands and feed them to their pigs. In the Kootenai River, burbot (ling cod) were so prevalent they were caught by the wheelbarrow load and fed to the pigs. They are about to be extinct (if not extinct). On Wall Street there used to be billions of dollars, they, too, were fed to the pigs. But not to worry, the taxpayers will furnish more dollars. It’s all part of Intelligent Design.

This is no time for tears. Let us get rid of Bush/Cheney and their Brafia forever. Vote Democratic.

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying:
And this fair flower that blooms to-day,
Tomorrow may be dying.

Robert Herrick

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A brilliant choice?

There are those who have said McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin was brilliant. It energized the base, presumably would appeal to women, and so on. I doubt it was a brilliant choice. Indeed, I think it may well contribute to McCain’s losing the election (it won’t be the only reason but an important reason). I don’t like to say it, and I don’t mean to be cruel, but John McCain is “over the hill,” so to speak. As someone who is actually older than McCain, I believe he is just a shell of his former self. He has become just a sad old man. This is quite evident (to me, at least) in watching him walk and talk and try to engage with problems. He now didn’t seem to know that Spain was a European country and kept talking about South America when Spain was mentioned to him. If this were just as isolated incident one could just attribute it to a misunderstanding or a failure to hear the question, or some such thing. But it is far from an isolated incident. He has repeatedly confused Sunni and Shia, he still speaks of Czechoslovakia (which no longer exists), he doesn’t know the borders of Iran and Iraq, and so on. What I find most pathetic is his railing now about how he knows how to do everything; he knows how to capture bin Laden (but apparently won’t tell us until he is elected), he knows how to win wars, now he claims to know how to fix the economy (which he admittedly doesn’t understand). These are nothing but the mutterings of an old man who believes he knows more than anyone else (presumably because of his age and experience). And he shifts his positions rapidly, depending upon what he thinks people want to hear, like on drilling, tax breaks for the rich, Iraq withdrawal, and so on. He obviously wants to be President so badly he is willing to say anything. What is more frightening is that he obviously doesn’t care what happens after he gets his wish to be President. He is willing to leave us with a completely unqualified replacement, while at the same time insisting he’s putting his country first. I’m sorry to say it, but this is a pathetic performance, just plain pathetic. I’m pretty sure he is in the early stages of senility. He is letting Palin upstage him so that the campaign is turning into the Palin/McCain (she actually said this today. A slip of the tongue? A Freudian slip?) campaign and he doesn’t seem to either grasp this or care (if it will help get him elected). You’ve seen that old saying, “see Paris and die.” I believe McCain’s version has now become “attain the Presidency and die,” with no regard for our future. He has become just a selfish old man who wants to be President and cares little or nothing about anything else. I do not like saying this, even though I am an Obama supporter. I find it truly tragic and very sad and I empathize with him, but there comes a time when you should just admit the truth about yourself and retire to your rocking chair (Senators, and Supreme Court Justices, for some reason, are extremely loathe to do this). Many professions have mandatory retirement ages. I believe we should institute such rules for our politicians. If you are not qualified to be a University Professor or an Administrator beyond a certain age why should you be allowed to continue on as a Senator, even into your nineties? This cannot be in the best interest of the country.
Obama is right when he says “McCain just doesn’t get it.” How many times have you heard people say that about their parents? I’m afraid that is the situation with McCain, it’s true, he just doesn’t get it. He’s too old. Palin doesn’t get it, either. She’s too young and too mindless. It’s a joke ticket. A bad joke.

What I cannot understand is why we let this charade continue. Most everyone (except the lunatic fringe) now is aware that Palin is unqualified. The fact that she herself does not seem to realize this is proof itself that she is not qualified. I wonder if this is not some kind of Brafia death wish, or, more probably just a waiting game until 2012 (after they have destroyed an Obama Presidency).

“As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil they set out to destroy.”
Christopher Dawson

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Young woman bites boyfriend, breaks
picture frame on his face, and attacks
with sword, because dishes not clean enough.

Are we, at last, perhaps seeing the end of our eight year descent into madness? Have McCain and the Brafia finally gone too far even for the American public? Could it be that the events of yesterday and today have finally shocked the media and voters into realizing just how crazy our situation has become? The American people have lived through eight years of the most terrible abuse on record, putting up with one idiotic, illegal, and unconstitutional act after another, too bamboozled by lies and stonewalling to do anything about it. There is little point in reviewing the horrors we have had to put up with, an illegal “war” against the wrong country, torture, profiteering, illegal spying, etc,. etc., etc. The latest outrages against sanity of course being the selection of the unstable John McCain as the Brafia candidate for the Presidency, and the selection of the totally unqualified Sarah Palin as VP. For a while Barack Obama had a sizeable lead over McCain but when he picked Palin they got a bounce and apparently have now caught up with Obama. This is evidence of the madness I am speaking about. But happily (I hope) the last couple of days may have finally exposed the McCain/Palin campaign as the the absurdity it is. When McCain said yesterday, in the face of a 500 plus drop in the Stock Market, the failures of Fannie Mae and her mortgage brother, Lehman, and other big financial institutions, along with any number of banks, that “the basics of our economy are strong,” he may have finally sealed his fate. When you couple this with Palin’s 10 point drop in favorability within just a couple of days it may be the honeymoon with her is over and the handwriting is on the wall. Even the MSM has been exposing Obama/Palin’s lies, along with the chief roviater himself. Obama has produced a six point plan to try to bring our country back to some semblance of normal. McCain has suggested a commission to study the problem. If the combination of McCain’s statement “the economy is basically sound,” along with his pathetic suggestion of a committee, and his thoughtless pick for VP, does not doom his candidacy then we are clearly all mad. McCain obviously has no idea what is going on or what to do about it. His campaign insists he is going to repair things by creating jobs. But of course his idea of creating jobs is to give more tax breaks to corporations and the filthy rich under the stupid and discredited idea that it will somehow trickle down to we peasants.

Bush has lost all credibility some time ago and Cheney is more and more being revealed for the evil monster he is, the Bush/Cheney economic plan (if you can call out and out plunder a plan) has failed in grand style, and even some conservatives have had to admit that Palin was a mistake and is not suitable for the Presidency. Bush/Cheney/McCain have been denying reality for too long and reality has an inevitable way of creeping up on you and destroying your best laid plans. Look for the McCain/Palin poll numbers to start coming down and Obama to look better and better as the election draws nearer. As voters slowly recover from the insanity that has been forced on them for the past eight years, and begin to finally understand the full catastrophe that has been wrought by Bush/Cheney I believe they will finally do the right thing (I am often wrong but I desperately hope I am right about this). I doubt that even racial prejudice can overcome the reality of our current situation. You don’t like a black man? Try a pathological, warmongering liar and his equally lying sidekick. If our country can be rescued from the nightmare years of the Bush/Cheney administration it has to start now. McCain, who is in part responsible for the problem is not about to solve it (unless you have some strange confidence in Phil Gramm).


a cherry red
convertible sports car
I notice
the bald spot

Anne Marie Mitchell

Monday, September 15, 2008

Something smells

The McCain/Palin compaign is on the road telling the same lies over and over. This is very strange. it seems to me, given the fact that everyone now knows they are lies: the MSM, the bloggers, the pundits, even Karl Rove. Why do they keep telling these same lies when everyone is aware they are lies? Do they really believe the voting public is really that stupid? Obama raised 66 million dollars last month. His campaign has apparently registered 500,000 new voters. On the McCain side, he has been publicly exposed as a liar and is supposedly even lying about the size of his crowds. Palin has been exposed as another George Bush, firing competent people and replacing them with her High School buddies, stonewalling those trying to investigate troopergate, greedy for earmarks, ignorant of Foreign Affairs, opposed to what most American women desire, and what have you. Not only that, Palin’s complete inexperience in Foreign Policy has been exposed for all to see. Would you not think that by now voters would have become aware of this and acted accordingly? But apparently not, according to the polls McCain/Palin have been gaining on Obama/Biden. Does this make any sense? Not to me. Something smells, and it smells big time. Unless it’s the case that the polls haven’t yet caught up with reality I do not see how this can be. If they do not begin to change pretty soon you can be certain they are being rigged in favor of McCain/Palin.

Of course the big news of the day is the economy. The stock market dropped more than 500 points, the biggest drop since who knows when. Unemployment is at a five year high. Banks are closing. Huge companies are going bankrupt. People are losing their homes in record numbers, and on and on. McCain says the economy is basically sound. When challenged he says the basic economy really consist s of American workers, and anyone who criticizes it is criticizing the American workers. Talk about Alice in Wonderland! But, as I say, the polls say he is gaining on Obama. Something smells. It is perfectly obvious that all of this trouble with the economy (and most everything else you might think of) is the result of the Bush/Cheney failure to regulate anything and thus let the corporate bandits get away with murder. Their mantra of privatization has been a disaster. Of course to these nitwits any regulation suggested at all is socialism and of course socialism is to them the worst thing that could ever happen. Mention socialism and they bring up Cuba and China, never Norway, Sweden, or the Netherlands, where socialistic types seem to be living the good life. Of course we can’t have anything like that, the obscenely wealthy and the corporations might have to pay taxes. If it is not obvious by now what unregulated capitalism does to people I fear there is no hope for the future. When they talk of privatization and deregulation someone should quickly lock them up before they can do any more damage.

McCain and his followers have been making points about how the media is unfairly attacking Palin, yelling sexism at the drop of a hat. They apparently believe that because Palin is a woman she has no need even to be vetted. Olberman and others fell right into this trap today when they started bitching about the fact that Palin has installed a tanning bed in the Governor’s mansion. This really is stretching criticism too far and making it appear to be true that she is being unfairly picked on. Of course she has a tanning bed, everyone in Alaska does tanning. It’s Alaska, remember, the land of the midnight sun, which doesn’t exactly give one an even tan (or even much sunshine). Palin has so many shortcomings wasting time on her tanning bed is just plain silly. No matter how much lipstick they try to spread, or where, she cannot be made to be prepared to be President of the United States. And McCain’s insult to the American public by picking her should make him equally unsuited for the job. But the polls, the polls, the horror…

The less their ability, the more their conceit.
Ahad HaAm

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Road kill, etc.

What I am about to say may well strike some of you (or even all of you) as disgusting (if not worse). But I can’t help it. It’s Sunday.

As you know, roadkill is a problem virtually all over the country. Thousands of deer and other animals perish each year trying to innocently cross our highways. All kinds of animals, deer being very prominent, but animals of all kinds: moose, elk, cows, coyotes, dogs, cats, porcupines, possums, raccoons, skunks, snakes, and who knows what all else. If these bodies are allowed to sit by the roadside and decompose they attract other animals, scavengers, which in turn helps to attract even more road kill. In some places certain kinds of roadkill (deer, moose, elk primarily) are salvaged and the meat is donated to “homes” of various kinds. But this is rare and even when done conscientiously cannot account for even 1% of the problem. There is, of course, the billions (possibly more) insects of all kinds that are destroyed every year by automobiles. Contrast this, if you will, with the behavior of certain monks who carefully sweep the ground in front of them lest they kill a single bug. But I digress.

Because roadkill is such a problem, the state of Oregon has begun a campaign of composting roadkill. Rather than allowing all these various corpses to decompose naturally, thus attracting even more trouble, they have decided to compost them. They have constructed a site enclosed with concrete so nothing can disturb the process. They lay down a layer of dirt and vegetable matter upon which they discard these various bodies that are then covered over with more dirt and vegetable matter. In three months they have valuable compost which they intend to spread along their highways to enhance what they have planted there and thus also enhance the beauty of said highways. At first blush one might think this is a terrific idea, and so it is, except for one fatal flaw, for thousands of pounds of material they only realize a small amount of compost. At least one state that tried this gave it up for just this reason. I have a solution for this dilemna.

Why should we not encourage people to donate their bodies to this fine cause. After all, disposing of yourself can be a problem. Burial, for example. No one these days just gets buried au naturel, that is without being placed in a coffin of some kind, usually metal. And the coffin itself is often enclosed in concrete. I don’t know exactly how this custom came about but I suspect it is a very old idea that has to do with making certain your ghost cannot escape to harm the living. In any case, what good does your body do when it is encased in a metal box and buried under cement? For me, being hyper-claustraphobic, the idea of being boxed up and buried underground is terrifying beyond belief (yeah, I know, you’re dead, but that doesn’t matter to me. How do you know what dead really means). Anyway, because such burial for me is out of the question (my living will deals very carefully with this) I am opting for cremation. Cremation, however, raises still other questions. When you are cremated you apparently leave only a few ashes. While these ashes, if strewn over the mountains or in the oceans, might do a bit of good, it seems like an awful waste. And they clearly don’t do any good encased in an urn and placed on your mantelpiece or kept under the bed. Some cultures just leave their dead exposed on trees or rocks or someplace where various animals and insects can feast (indeed, in some cultures your survivors eat you). This would seem to be much more of a contribution than cremation. Similarly, if you are buried at sea, the fishes and other creatures also get a feast. If you donated your body to composting you would at least be feeding the vegetation and enhancing the beauty of our highways. You would also be helping the problem of not enough compost. I should think environmentalists, in particular, should be interested in this. I do not think that being cryogenetically frozen or having your remains shot into space are very useful alternatives.

Just think, too, of all the money people would save by donating themselves to the composter. Funerals, as we are told often enough these days, are very expensive, running into the thousands of dollars (for fancy caskets, flowers, ministers, and so on). Not only would you save money, you would also save your survivors from all the confusion and problems involved in making the decision as to what to do with you (I know from experience this can be a real problem). There is also the problem, at least in some places, of space to bury all the bodies that accumulate during the course of time. I have heard of cases where people have ended up burying people on top of the already buried. Also, in other areas, there is no suitable burial ground because of ground water, flooding, or whatever. By sensibly offering your body to the composter you would be helping to eliminate all these problems. Just think of it as a community service. You would become a kind of martyr (of course you might not want to give up the 72 virgins who are waiting for you in heaven, or the wings and harp, or whatever). Maybe Congress could strike some kind of medal to be awarded posthumously to your survivors. And think of all the thousands of acres of land, especially in Europe and Asia, that could have been used for productive purposes instead of littered with the corpses of soldiers killed for lies and stupid reasons.

Mind you, while I think this is a great idea, I am not prepared to be the first volunteer. However, if the idea caught on, and other people were doing it, I would consider it (I fear I am a follower of fads rather than an inventor or innovator). I guess when it comes right down to the real nitty-gritty, I’d go along with anything except being buried in a small box in the ground, aaaagh!

“Little white flowers
will never awaken you,
not where the black coach of sorrow
has taken you. Gloomy Sunday.
(Billie Holliday)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Seven deadly sins

As nothing much, newswise, seems to happen on weekends, especially during football season, my mind often turns to things that puzzle me, although they are more often than not, not very important things (depending, I guess, upon your perspective). For example, today my thoughts have turned to the seven deadly sins (don’t ask me why). In case you may have forgotten the seven deadly sins are said to be: pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth. There is much for idle minds to think about here. Why, for example, are they described as deadly? I suppose it is theoretically possible to die from any one of these, but it does seem unlikely. I should think murder would be much more deadly but for some reason murder is not listed. I think they may have been attempts to include murder under wrath but this seems to me unsatisfactory. I guess you could just consider murder, along with arson and rape, to be crimes rather than deadly sins. But I should think they really are sinful. Apparently way back when, there were eight of these sins. Fornication was among them. I don’t think it is surprising that fornication as a sin didn’t catch on. I guess with real effort you might include murder under wrath, rape under lust, and arson probably also under wrath. This seems to me too much of a stretch. Someone once wanted to include deceit and fear as deadly sins, but this didn’t catch on. It’s kind of hard to think of fear as a sin, but I should think deceit would be a candidate. As I guess I have some personal familiarity with all of these sins, I feel they should be re-examined and quite possibly expanded and elaborate on. Early in 2008 Bishop Gianfranco Girotti listed what he called seven modern social sins: environmental pollution, genetic manipulations, obscene wealth, the infliction of poverty, drug trafficking, morally debatable experiments, and violation of the fundamental rights of human nature. I believe these were published in a Vatican newspaper. They don’t seem to have made much of a splash. Probably, I think, because they have become so commonplace they aren’t considered sins. They are, of course, somewhat problematical. For instance I should think genetic manipulation would clearly fall into the morally debatable experiments category. The infliction of poverty might be clear-cut in some cases but seems to me too complicated if pursued in detail. And as we don’t know what the fundamental rights of human nature are, I should think that a difficult category as well.

I confess I would think deceit (lying) should be considered a sin (I don’t know about deadly). It doesn’t seem to fit under any of the original categories. Of course if lying were considered a sin, and if people were really punished for their sins, everyone would be in big trouble. Perhaps that is why deceit never caught on. Another thing that should probably be included under deadly sins, is jealously. In fact, jealously is probably more likely to be deadly than most of the other so-called deadly sins. I think some may have considered jealousy under the category envy. I do not think this is quite right. Envy, as I understand it, is the powerful desire to have and possess something you don’t have. Jealously is qualitatively different, being the profound fear that you will lose something you do have (love, affection, etc.) to someone else, a rival. I suspect it is easier to control your feelings of envy than it is to control jealousy. If we were to include deceit and jealousy we would have nine (not very deadly) sins. This makes sense to me. But then, I am not very comfortable just considering murder and arson under wrath and rape under lust. What about torture? We would have to put torture under wrath also. That seems to me asking wrath to cover way too much in the way of sinning. But what the hell, as no one nowadays seems to pay any attention to sin, why bother? The idle mind, like idle hands, is the devil’s workshop. I need to stop thinking, like Sarah, and just accept what I am told. Do you believe that Sarah and Calamity John worry about sin?

“As nearly all great fortunes in America are made on land stolen while the public’s back is turned---and by people who want money and don’t want to work for it…”
Jimmy Breslin

Friday, September 12, 2008

Issues? Who needs issues?

Fake vacuum cleaner salesman
steals $25,000 in jewelry,
asks to stay for dinner.

I’m sorry to be so blunt, but what I have seen of Sarah Palin’s much-touted first interview with hand-picked softball interviewer, Charlie Gibson, only proves to me she is not much more than a mindless twit. She is obviously not given to serious thought, opting instead to just mouth the Bush/McCain policies (when, that is, she understands them). Although she doesn’t seem to grasp Bush’s illegal pre-emptive strike philosophy, she otherwise seems to just fall in line with the standard neocon policy and propaganda. For example, she repeats the false charge that Russia invaded Georgia (with the implication that they started the hostilities, a lie). She also goes along with encouraging Georgia to become part of NATO, so that if Russia attacks them we can go to war. She says this as if Russia is no more than a recalcitrant child who, if it misbehaves, can just be punished (by going to war). I see no indication that she thinks going to war with Russia is any more or less than disciplining some banana republic. She continues to insist that she is ready to become President should that become necessary, but there is nothing about her experience to date that would indicate this is so. She seems to accept that because Alaska is geographically close to Russia that somehow counts for Foreign Policy experience. She also seems to uncritically accept the idea that Muslims are out to destroy us at all costs (evil Muslims that don’t like our freedoms?). She links 9/11 to Iraq, a claim that even Bush himself has given up, and she thinks we are on God’s side in what we do (I would think God would be a little more non-partisan when it comes to war and killing). And she mouths the standard nonsense about Iran and how dangerous it is to the entire world. She also thinks that should Israel attack Iran we should not question their judgment because we are friends. Frankly, I find her outlook on world affairs so divorced from reality as to be terrifying. Of course she is being tutored by the belligerent warmonger McCain, who would also treat Russia as just another pebble in the way of American empire, throwing them out of G8, threatening them with war, and etc. They are talking about deliberately provoking Russia and going to war with them, as if Russia is just another Grenada. Cheney at this very moment is traveling around Europe trying to stir up trouble. Happily, everyone seems to be ignoring him. There is one very sound piece of advice that has floated around Britain and Europe for years: DO NOT PROVOKE THE RUSSIAN BEAR! I guess the Russians must be shaking in their boots, what with Israel telling them what they can and cannot sell to Iran, and our telling them where and where not they can pursue their national interests. All in all I think it is true to say that Palin has flunked VP 101 (of course nothing she could do would alter the idolatry in which she is held by her lunatic fringe base).

Issues? Who needs issues when you have Typhoon Sarah and Hurricane Ike on your side. With a bit of luck the Brafia may manage to get all the way to the election in November without having to discuss a single issue (they are no doubt praying for more hurricanes). I thought for a while that shifting the attention from Obama to Palin may have been a mistake for them. But after a little reflection I have concluded that it doesn’t matter as both foci take our attention away from any serious issues. Obama and his staff seem to cling to the outdated idea that people care about the issues. It is pretty clear from the last few elections that the issues, as well as qualifications for office, are basically irrelevant. What counts in personality and likeability. Obama could well lose, not because he doesn’t have a nice personality, but because he is seen as aloof. People would be inhibited from having a beer with him. Of course McCain, with no personality to speak of, doesn’t fare much better. But unfortunately Palin does. She may be a mindless twit who can’t think for herself, but she’s our mindless twit. I’m pretty sure that many women, watching Palin, can see themselves, working, struggling with the kids, working hard and climbing up the ladder towards that longed for glass ceiling. On the other hand I doubt that many identify with killing wolves from helicopters or shooting moose (or even eating moose stew). How much she will help McCain probably hinges more on how many loonies are out there than on her abilities. Calamity John can go comfortably to his grave now, knowing he has pulled off his last and most sadistic joke. What a guy!

Bush/Cheney have now managed to get our ambassadors kicked out of Bolivia and Venezuela, respectively. Venezuela provides quite a lot of our imported oil. Chavez is threatening to cut us off. Venezuela is also entertaining a couple of Russian bombers. Much of South America is thumbing their noses at us. Great job, Bush/Cheney! We need McCain/Palin to carry on your benevolent, thoughtful, and successful approach to Foreign Affairs. By golly, we’ll show those Russkies too, just wait until our ten million man army lands in Georgia.

There is something wrong with a culture that needs so much storage space.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lipstick and pigs

How fun! Lipstick on a Pig. No doubt if you have been anywhere near a television lately you are aware that Barack Obama, speaking of McCain’s policies, referred to them as being basically Bush policies that were being dressed up by “putting lipstick on a pig.” The McCain campaign immediately responded by claiming Obama was talking about Sarah Palin and that this was a kind of personal and gender insult. This interpretation, being pushed by McCain, is totally far-fetched. It is perfectly clear that Obama was not speaking of Palin in any way. Why then, would McCain be so sensitive about it and respond with such emotion. Most seem to think it is because McCain wants to keep from having to discuss any serious issues, which may well be true. He does gain a couple days of relief from discussing anything of importance by this absurd interpretation. Given the fact that McCain doesn’t seem to think too clearly these days, could it be the case that he is so sensitive about such a statement because it could well be true. Metaphorically speaking, you could very easily say that the McCain campaign, by selecting an individual clearly not qualified for the job, is trying to put lipstick on that individual to make it appear that he/she is qualified. This says nothing about Palin’s personal appearance or physical characteristics, merely that she is not qualified and is trying to be prettied up. Obama pointed out an alternative explanation that could also be a perfectly reasonable interpretation. Namely, that Palin is herself the lipstick they are trying to put on the McCain campaign. McCain himself commonly employs this phrase, indeed, according to his daughter, he uses it quite a lot. He once used it in connection with Hillary Clinton’s failed health care plan. No one at the time interpreted it to be a reference to Hillary herself. I think McCain may feel guilty because he knows that is what he is trying to do with the Palin pick, and is therefore so overly sensitive he jumped to conclusions. But maybe not.

It seems to be common knowledge, at least among those who follow these things more closely than most, that the McCain campaign has degenerated into one of the sleaziest, slimiest, most despicable rovian attacks ever. Trying to link Obama to child molesters because he favored a bill (that failed) to protect children from predators is about as low as it gets. He lies blatantly in his ads about Obama’s tax plans, uses 9/11 as a political tool, and has even attacked Michelle Obama (so far he has spared the Obama children). It is also common knowledge that McCain is doing this because he has no defense whatsoever for the Bush/Cheney administration and their record of dismal failure on all fronts. As he has no record of accomplishments of any kind he has to resort to this sleazy, disgusting campaign. And as Palin appears to have some potential undesirable baggage, and is so clearly unfit for the vice-presidency, they have to keep her under wraps (this didn’t prevent her from making the mistake of thinking Fannie and Freddie were government entitites). But if McCain/Palin are so bad, how is it they seem to be running neck and neck with Obama/Biden? I have been pondering this for the past few days and I confess I cannot understand it. McCain is a terrible candidate for President in many ways. Palin is a terrible candidate for Vice-President in many ways. So how do they apparently manage to do so well in the polls? It could be, as I mentioned previously, the polls are being manipulated to keep the race fairly close because otherwise it would be too difficult to steal it outright as they have done in the past. The polls could be easily manipulated by the corporate powers that be. Another explanation that has crossed my mind is even more terrible than the above. It might be the case that after almost eight years of Bush/Cheney the voting public can no longer distinguish between lies and the truth. Bush/Cheney and their supporters have seldom told the truth about anything and have, in fact, lied outrageously. The MSM has never challenged them on this. We have lost the so-called Fourth Estate which has developed into nothing short of partisan hacks just repeating whatever they are told to repeat. Lies repeated often enough come to be believed. Now when McCain and others repeat their lies no one knows whether they are lies or not. It was primarily the MSM that did in Al Gore and John Kerry and they are going to do it again to Obama if they can. It might not work this time, partly because of the internet and partly because they have at last been losing credibility.

During my lifetime the basic distinction between the Republicans and Democrats has been pretty simply that the former have always favored business and the latter have always favored labor. But there was never a time when both parties, however much they differed, did not have the well-being of the nation in mind. For the first time we have a corporate culture so strong and influential that one party is willing to sacrifice even the national interest to maintain it. What was always the Republican party has changed into nothing less than a criminal conspiracy, the Bush/Republican mafia (Brafia), dedicated to maintaining power and wealth for themselves, forever, if possible. Brafia interests take precedence over all others, even those of our nation. The military/industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about has now become the military/industrial/political complex and is not going to relinquish power easily. The McCain/Palin campaign is one demonstration of this. The fact that they are at this very moment scheming to purge voter rolls and tune up their voting machines are others.

A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.
Friedrich Nietzsche

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Sarah Palin and "Country First"

John McCain keeps insisting on how he puts his country first. I’m not quite certain how he does this with a straight face, but I guess once you are accustomed to lying that may come easily to you. Consider his choice of a running mate, Sarah Palin. Most everyone seems to agree that the very first prerequisite for picking a Vice President has to be that they are capable of stepping into the Presidency should anything untoward happen to their President. There cannot be anyone, outside of the true loony tunes of the “base,” that believes Sarah Palin meets that test. She was obviously picked for purely political reasons, namely, to consolidate the base, which she seems to have done. Everyone knows she was picked only for this reason or other purely political reasons (she might appeal to Hillary voters, the middle class, etc.). Thus it would appear that McCain did not truly think of country first when he picked her. Indeed, given her rather severe religious beliefs, and lack of experience, I should think he showed nothing but contempt for our country.

Mary Matalan, political whore if ever there was one, when interviewed by David Gregory today, said that Palin was just an ordinary Christian woman and not like the media was trying to portray her. Really? Do most ordinary Christian women believe abortion is wrong even in cases of incest or rape? Do they attend churches where some of the parishoners speak in tongues? Do they believe the “war” in Iraq is “God’s war?” Do most of them believe in the “Rapture?” If so, we are in much bigger trouble than I thought. Of course in addition to her bizarre religious beliefs, Palin is an obvious liar. She has certainly lied about “the bridge to nowhere” and firing her cook. This is slowly becoming more and more obvious, and she most probably has other problems as well that are also slowly coming to light. She has no Foreign Policy experience to speak of. This hardly makes her suitable to step right in to the Presidency should something happen to Calamity John (which is not at all a far-fetched scenario). He picked her having met her only once and then talked with her on the telephone. She clearly was not thoroughly vetted which the press is trying to do now, and the McCain campaign is doing whatever they can to prevent it, interfering apparently in unprecedented ways and shielding her from the press (why?). She’s supposed to be Vice President but she can’t even speak to the press? This whole sordid business makes a mockery of McCain’s claim to put country first. Palin is such a terrible choice you might well think McCain is trying to destroy our country. A woman who believes in the literal truth of the bible now in the 21st century, who presumably could be in charge of the most dangerous weapons in the world, and who may actually believe in the Rapture (I don’t know if she believes in it or not but she did suggest that Alaska would be a refuge). I should think this pick is more in the way of a bad joke than serious but, alas, it doesn’t seem to be just another of McCain’s bad jokes.

There has been a 20 point swing towards McCain by white women since the convention. I find this truly puzzling. Matalan seems to think these are independent suburban women who are interested in jobs and women’s rights. This makes no sense at all to me, why would women switch to McCain who has voted against equal pay, is opposed to choice, and is a known sexist. If these are disaffected Hillary supporters they are certainly not being true t Hillary who has repeatedly asked them to vote for Obama. Could they have really switched because he added Palin to the ticket (she being a woman)? Do they identify with her because she is a “working soccer mom?” This doesn’t seem right to me. I suspect maybe there is an element of racism involved which is now bubbling slowly to the surface. As I cannot see why any woman, outside of the Churches of the Altogether Bonkers, would vote for McCain, I find this most mysterious. Maybe Matalan is right, maybe most Christian women are like Palin. Anyway, look for the McCain/Palin bump to start to lessen.

Elk are threatening to take over Longview, Washington. The animal revolution spreads.

Favorite (short) poems:

In the dusk the path
You used to come to me
is overgrown and indistinguishable,
Except for the spider webs
That hang across it
Like threads of sorrow.

Izumi Shikibu

Monday, September 08, 2008

Church and state

Does it please you to know that Sarah Palin, McCain’s choice to be his VP, has been a member of one of the Churches of the Altogether Bonkers? Well, she has been (maybe still is). She apparently attended (attends) a church where they speak in tongues. They also believe in the Rapture. They also believe homosexuals can be converted into heterosexuals (through prayer, I guess). Palin herself (and I guess maybe her church as well) believes that God intended us to go to “war” with Iraq. She also implored her churchgoing friends to pray for her pipeline. Is this someone you would like to have as a potential President? Apparently there are substantial members of the American public who do. Unbelievable. I doubt there is any other literate country in the world that would take such a person seriously as a candidate for their highest office. This is, after all, the 21st century (at least to most of us), not still the Dark Ages.

The separation of church and state is no longer a reality in the U.S., if, indeed, it ever really was. Palin’s appeal to voters is based precisely upon her religious beliefs (I’m not at all certain she has any others). The base of the Brafia party is known to be Evangelicals, right wing religious zealots who believe in the Rapture and the more or less imminent reappearance of Christ. They don’t believe in evolution but, rather, in the biblical account of creation, a completely nonscientific and irrational belief that has no place in the 21st century. That such a believer could become the President of the United States is, to me and I’m sure many, many more, completely inconceivable. But according to the current polls apparently half the voters think this is just fine. And after all, they voted for George W. Bush, a self-proclaimed “born-again” who also doesn’t believe in evolution (or at least says his mind isn’t made up about it). Such people don’t believe in science and even denigrate it, choosing instead policies and regulations that are clearly not in our best interest and based upon their religious beliefs rather than anything else. These are dangerous people and have no business in responsible public offices.

A couple of times a week now I go to Papa Byrd’s Bistro (our best restaurant), sit at an outside table, and enjoy a Mexican beer (which I personally find far superior to most American beers). I close my eyes and pretend I’m in Paris, or Rome, or anywhere but Bonners Ferry. It doesn’t work, as when I open my eyes I realize that I’m still in the land of the unabashedly unattractive and the willfully ignorant. Of course this isn’t true of all the people in town, but it is unfortunately true of many, probably a majority. Many seem to have no interest either in their appearance or their health (poverty does not excuse this). But the willfully ignorant bother me more than the others. There are many here who do not read (they know how to read, they just don’t read). I know individuals who boast they have never read an entire book in their whole life. As a result of this they get their information, such as it is, from Rush Limbaugh (who is really big here) and others of that ilk, and they pass it on to their friends who thus remain just as ignorant as they are. They vote Republican even though it is pretty clearly not in their best interest to do so (many tend to be homophobic, racist, sexist, anti-abortion, and unthinking). So, why do I live here? Well, it is beautiful. There are many fine people. We have great food. There are no hurricanes, earthquakes, cyclones, typhoons, tidal waves, poisonous snakes, or other such things. We have a great library and a great book store. More importantly, I can afford it (at least for a while longer). I even like many of the people whose politics I abhor. Life is like that. Basically, Bonners Ferry, Idaho is a great place to live (but not quite in the 21st century).

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?
Mahatma Gandhi

Sunday, September 07, 2008


Intruder rubs sleeping man with spices,
hits another in the face with sausage,
flees in underwear. Dog eats weapon.

I don’t know what is going on with the polls. According to the latest Gallup tracking poll McCain is leading Obama, and according to the latest Rasmussen poll they are even. I don’t believe it. On the one hand they claim this is a result of a normal bounce after the convention, but some of this polling was done prior to the convention. In any case, even with Palin’s support from the ultra-right base, I cannot believe 50% of American voters will vote for McCain/Palin. What terrifies me is the thought that I may be wrong (as I often am). McCain is such a terrible candidate, and the Bush/Cheney record that he represents is so dismal, and the facts seem to me to be so obvious, I just cannot understand how the polls could claim the two candidates are even. Especially as just a couple of days ago Obama exceeded 50% for the first time. It is generally conceded that the Gallup tracking poll is not very reliable so perhaps it is premature to worry too much about it. If McCain/Palin should win (heaven forbid!) by ridiculing and roviating their opponent rather than offering a constructive plan for the country we should all hang our heads in shame. I am not ordinarily a conspiracy buff but I confess that I suspect the polls are being rigged to keep the race close because otherwise it would be too difficult for the Brafia to steal another election. And remember, polls can basically show anything they want, depending upon the questions and the groups polled.

It’s Sunday again. Nice to know that nothing whatsoever is happening anywhere in the world except in our football stadiums. Whoever said “religion is the opiate of the people” wasn’t aware of American football.

Obama and the “Big Dog” are scheduled to have lunch on Thursday. How I wish to be a fly on the wall for that one.

The animal revolution continues. A couple of elementary schools are in danger of being taken over by prairie dogs. Wolves are reappearing in Germany, apparently following an influx of foxes and the aggressive and rapidly multiplying raccoons.

Favorite (short) poems:

The years have touched me.
I worry that I grow frail with age.
But I only need to see
Your flower like beauty
For all anxiety and heaviness
To leave me.

Fujiwara no Yoshifusa

Saturday, September 06, 2008


Let me make clear from the beginning, if it is not already clear to readers of this blog, I am one hundred percent behind Barack Obama. I believe he has the potential to become a truly great President. If he is elected President I think it will be one of our proudest moments. It will indicate to the world that we truly live up to our values of equality, justice, and fair play. Until I learn otherwise, I believe he is sincere in his desire to help our nation overcome the nightmare years of the early 21st century. I do not believe he will merely continue the status quo with the rich becoming richer and the gap between rich and poor increasing yearly. I believe he is, in fact, on the side of the middle class rather than the corporations and the obscenely wealthy. And I also believe he will appoint decent non-partisan Supreme Court Justices. I embrace his message of hope and change.

That being said, I do not believe he is the Messiah or that he walks on water. I fear our expectations for him may be unrealistic and some of his goals unobtainable. Further, there are areas in which I fear we may disagree. I will review these one by one, but not in any particular order of importance as they are all of great importance to me.

Afghanistan. I believe continuing the “war” in Afghanistan to be a lost cause and sending more troops there may just be the first stages of another Vietnam fiasco. As far as I can see there are only two reasons for our presence there, to try to capture Osama bin Laden and to rescue Cheney’s pipeline. I do not believe either of these goals is worth even one more American life and that any attempt to control Afghanistan, or even to capture bin Laden, is doomed to fail without reinstating a draft and raising a million man army and all that entails. While this may be a bitter pill to swallow, remember than the 9/11 hijackers were not Afghans, but Saudi Arabians. If Pakistan and Afghanistan want to continue to give them refuge, so be it. They can’t harm us much from there (if, indeed, that is actually where they are).

The Drug “War.” This is apparently not an issue for anyone in this election. It should be. This is a completely failed enterprise that is doing far more harm than good. It is every bit as bad, and perhaps even worse, than prohibition. Our current drug laws are simply absurd. We have made drugs a political issue instead of letting them remain a medical problem. Drugs should be legalized and their abuse put back in the hands of the medical profession. As Joe Biden has been in the forefront of this for some years, and has authored some of the laws, I fear he and Obama may resist taking any action to rid us of this unnecessary, expensive, and terribly damaging, failed :war,” which is mostly based on lies and false propaganda in the first place. Can you believe they are still showing Reefer Madness?

The military. I am absolutely opposed to any increase in our military or pentagon budgets. In fact, I sincerely believe we could cut our expenses in half and still remain sufficient strong to handle anything that may happen. Our current military/industrial/political complex has little to do with national defense and mostly to do with corporate profits. We are not being challenged anywhere on land or sea, and are unlikely to be in any foreseeable future. We should withdraw most of our far-flung troops, largely in places where they don’t need to be, and attempt to get along with others on this tiny planet. This would allow us to strengthen ourselves at home by investing in our infrastructure, schools, research, health care, retirements, and what-have-you. If we are strong at home we will be strong otherwise. We should be promoting peace, not war, and we should stop our belligerent attitude towards anyone who doesn’t agree with us, and try to seriously use diplomacy.

Health care. I commend Obama for wanting to establish a system of universal health care. But his plan, like Hillary’s, includes the insurance companies. I do not believe in any plan that includes the insurance companies. We should have a single payer universal health plan which could be accomplished much more efficiently and cheaply without the insurance companies. Besides which, what business do insurance companies have meddling in health care? Why should they decide whether or not you can have your appendix removed or whatever. Leave health care to the doctors and nurses and other health care professions. I hope that Obama’s plan will eventually lead to this more sensible solution. It might.

Energy. I think Obama (like most everyone else now) will try to increase our amount of energy through windpower, solar, hydro, and other renewable sources. I believe he is much more sincere and dedicated to this than McCain. I do not believe any amount of drilling is going to make any appreciable difference in the next few years. And hopefully, after that, we shouldn’t need as much oil and gas. I do not like the fact that Obama has capitulated a bit on offshore drilling. And I am not sure where he stands on nuclear energy. I know he has said he would favor it only if we could figure out what to do with the waste. As my non-scientific brain cannot imagine what one might do with the waste, short of sending to Russia (or Idaho) I think this is a dead end. Besides, nuclear is fantastically expensive and would have to be taxpayer funded and this has proven to be just one boondoggle after another. I think anyone who promotes nuclear energy basically has no respect for life on planet earth.

Accountability. I want to see our war criminals held accountable for their murderous and torturous acts. Obviously many people were complicit in the criminal “war” on Iraq, some much more directly so than others. It is unrealistic to assume than everyone who participated in this terrible tragedy, in relatively minor ways, or without full knowledge of what they were doing, should be held accountable. But we know who the principals are: Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Perle, Hadley, and a few more, and they should definitely be held accountable for their lies and unconscionable behavior. Obama has said that he would have his Attorney General look into this, and Biden has more recently suggested some action. I hope they will follow through on this, partly because it is the right thing to do, and also because I don’t think we will gain any respect from the rest of the world without doing something along these lines. I cannot imagine in a situation of this magnitude, with the enormity of the crimes involved, simply letting bygones be bygones.

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so.
Bertrand Russell

Friday, September 05, 2008

Who is "you," White Man?

Through a happy confluence of events I was unable to watch John McCain’s acceptance speech last night. Just as well, I guess, as I see by comments today that it was a pretty bad speech that featured, as I knew it would, his years as a POW. I confess I was surprised, however, when I picked up our local bundle of wood pulp that sometimes pretends to be more than just another Republican “rag.” The headline on the front page, in bold one inch letters, read “McCain: ‘I Work for You.’” I assumed he must have been addressing the oil companies and the corporations whose lobbyists surround him and serve on his staff. Who else could he have been addressing?

Surely not the millions of veterans he has voted against time after time after time.

Nor, I suspect, could it have been the thousands of people who lost their savings and pensions as a result of his economic advisor, Phil Gramm, when Enron collapsed.

I don’t believe it could have been the millions who have had their homes foreclosed as a result of further actions by said economic advisor, Phil Gramm.

It probably wasn’t our troops in Iraq who have voted 6 to 1 for Obama and want to return home, troops McCain would like to keep either there, in Iran, or elsewhere, presumably forever.

I also suspect it was not the rising numbers of the unemployed who find themselves in that situation as a direct result of the tax policies, regulations, and corporate loopholes promoted by the Bush/Cheney administration, that he, McCain, has voted for 95% of the time.

I rather doubt it was the millions who slave for a most unsatisfactory minimum wage, held there for years because of the unyielding resistance of his party.

And I don’t imagine it was the millions of brown and black faces so conspicuously absent from his nominating convention, a pitiful few lost in a veritable ocean of white faces.

Doubtless it was not those untold thousands upon thousands who might benefit from stem cell research that he and his cronies oppose.

Perhaps it was the thousands of women, both single and married, who might have compelling reasons to require a legal abortion, who he wants to drive back into the alleys with their coat hangers. No, I don’t think it was them.

Certainly it wasn’t the 47 million Americans who are without health insurance that he seems completely indifferent to.

As most Social Security recipients do not want it privatized, as his party desires, it couldn’t have been them.

I guess the “you” that he was speaking to, in addition to the oil and other corporate interests, must have been those, like himself, who can afford $500 shoes, multiple houses, million dollar parking lots, and $300,000 for their wives’ convention attire. He has said he would like everyone to be rich. Unhappily, there aren’t that many heiresses to go around. But don’t be misled, these people are not “elitists.” To be an elitist you must have gone to college and law school on borrowed money, graduated, and be “uppity.” These are strange times we live in. The McCain everyone knew and admired in 2000 has morphed into a candidate as phony as the proverbial 3 dollar bill, and has also, I think, fatally compromised himself, probably into extinction. Let’s hope Palin goes with him as quickly as possible.

Favorite (short) poems:

Weathered dock
half as long today
I too
have wished to vanish
into winter mist

Fred Donovan

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Convention and Hatefest

The Democratic Convention and the Republican (Brafia) Hatefest are now over. What a contrast! Obama spelled out in some detail what he has in mind for our country. The Brafia concentrated basically on one theme only – destroy Obama. For me, the audience for Palin’s speech struck me as not very different from a lynch mob. I don’t think they even paid much attention to what she was saying after her introductory remarks about her family. It was just all lies and hate and then more lies. McCain/Palin represent exactly four more years of the Bush/Cheney administration, built upon a fabric of lies and cover-ups and obfuscation and foot-dragging delays. They even admit they are just going to attack Obama as they have nothing else they can do, no record of accomplishment, just one disastrous failure after another. Obama is going to be roviated in such a way as to make what they did to Kerry look like child’s play. I guess they won’t be able to claim that he fathered a white baby after a secret tryst with Hillary Clinton when he was surfing in Hawaii and singing Tiny Bubbles on Waikiki. Too bad. But don’t worry, they’ll think of something even more ridiculous that their base will swallow just like kool-aid. Not only will they swallow it, they’ll regurgitate it back endlessly, word for word. Happily the minority attending the Hatefest cannot be taken as representative of America at large.

As I was in a meeting I was mercifully spared having to listen to Calamity John. I’m pretty sure I could tell you what he said, but I’d better wait and see if I am as prescient as I think. Jon Stewart has done such a great job at exposing the blatant hypocrisy of various Brafia members I’m surprised that anyone still supports them, but apparently they do (of course those are the very ones who would never watch The Daily Show in the first place). I read somewhere that Palin is not going to (be permitted) to give any interviews, only speeches. McCain himself has already stopped giving interviews and being so palsy-walsy with the Press. Does that not fill you with confidence in them? Are they just afraid that Palin is too dumb and McCain is too senile? What is the story behind this strange decision? Obama is said to have raised ten million dollars since Palin’s speech, the RNC only one million. I hope this means what I think it means. I still look for an Obama landslide unless white supremacy will prove too difficult for many to give up. An Obama Presidency will do more for rebuilding America’s image than any other thing that could possibly happen (short of, perhaps, abandoning the neocon dream of empire and minding our own business for a change). This will be true even if Obama’s Presidency turns out to be mediocre. We have to go with hope and change rather than hate and more of the same. Palin has had her fifteen minutes of fame, it will be all downhill for her from now on. McCain, like all old soldiers, will simply fade away.

The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.
Sir Winston Churchill