Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hillary Is Human, So She Says

On the matter of mis-remembering being shot at, Hillary says, so what, just proves I'm human. If there is as much accuracy in that statement as claims of snipers and saving Ireland from itself, you might wonder if there are circuit boards in her head and a frame of alloy. I'm sorry, lady, lying is lying, or your mental circuits are so badly deformed that two completely self-exclusive events become the same. Do you make that case that you are most fit to be President when an entirely imaginary occurrence becomes your memory? Most of us know that Al Gore never claimed to have invented the Internet, but there is probably no more famous un-uttered falsehood. What is there to make of this one? I'm human? Look here you unprincipled piece of work, I'm human and I live in a small town and if I ran my show the way you do, I'd never have work - I'm not running for President, just some construction work. If I did this, people would not hire me to pound nails into their house.

Put on your victim dress Hillary, people are just being unfair. You've answered, you were just tired, 3:00 AM tired, several times. But the real issue is Barack's pastor said mean things about the USA, his pastor said - you said - there is a difference You said people pick their pastor versus their relatives, did you pick your husband? Did you bail over a blue dress? No? What kind of judgement am I to take that as? Was it love, ambition, power, influence, what? To be sure, the issue isn't your lies, it is Rev Wright saying something rudely true. You haven't learned anything since your days in Arkansas. You've done pretty well counting on us to not have paid attention either.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Mis-spoke Is What Exactly?

I generally am pretty careful with my words, but I've been known to mis-speak, meaning one thing and saying something else. I accidentally referred to Sen. Ron Wyden as Ron Walden (our Republican Representative - someone I spent a lot of time talking about) and corrected without embarrassment. I didn't mean Walden and nobody was supposed to think I did and no one did. This happens to people all the time, especially if they talk a lot about any subject, the brain/tongue connection just shorts out. To call somebody on the carpet for such a thing is nonsense.

There is such a thing as exaggeration, a politician claims to have helped create 'many thousands and thousands' of jobs when the number is actually 2050. We wink at it, we pretty much expect it, "new and improved" is on the box now so it is "new and improved." A car part that you can't get from the original dealership is "rare and hard to find," despite being common in salvage yards. We know this and we just wink. I'm pretty much not in favor of it, but I sure won't blow a gasket over it, either.

Then there is the current - today - version of mis-spoke or mis-statement, the Hillary version. Her repeated version of the landing at Tusla, Bosnia was of one under fire and a hustling off the tarmac. The fact is that there was no fire and the General in charge states there was no threat of it and the film of the event shows Hillary calmly walking down the loading stairs, stopping for a poem from an 8 year old girl as Chelsea ambles at her side and off the tarmac. Plainly there was absolutely no threat, not even an impression of one in her mind at the time, unless you propose that her daughter was dismissed as cannon fodder. This is not a dropped word or a mangling of the English language, it is not mis-spoken, and it is a mis-statement in exactly one sense of that word.

A mis-statement is inaccurate in the face of the facts, although the connotation is accidentally inaccurate, ie: four hundred US troops have died in Iraq when four thousand is the fact. This mis-statement is the stringing together of a number of factually inaccurate statements in a narrative that was repeated. It was repeated as evidence of superiority in credentials for Commander in Chief several times. It was repeated after questions started to be asked. It was, in plain fact, a bald faced lie told repeatedly and today minimized as a mis-statement, one out of millions of words. Fine, millions of words, then how many of those were mis-statements? Is a 3:00 AM phone call a mis-statement? Is a NAFTA re-negotiation a mis-statement? Is a prompt withdrawal from Iraq a mis-statement? Is I'm a Democrat a mis-statement?

Ok, here you go. I've stated repeatedly that Hillary is not and has not been trustworthy nor of the caliber of character generally attributed to her. She is a liar, in the most basic meaning of the word and its nastiest connotations. She lies for personal gain, publicly and repeatedly. It is, right now, smack in the middle of your face a fact that Hillary R Clinton will repeatedly tell an egregious and outlandish falsehood for her gain. When she was caught in it, she lied again, saying that they had to hurry because of the threat, and clearly was not in any hurry; whatever. You cannot mis-remember something to this extent, not with a somewhat sane mind. Being shot at and running for your life is not even comparable to sauntering down a tarmac in any memory storage system of a sane person, not amongst thousands of occasions or lots and lots of years. You cannot get there, not from anywhere.

The media seems determined to be as noncommittal on this as possible, going along with the characterization of mis-statement. She rode in an airplane to Bosnia and got off of it, that much is true, nothing else connected with it is true or remotely an exaggeration of facts. In order for it to be an exaggeration there has to be some inflated element of truth. The English language has a clear word for it, it's short and to the point. Lie. The polite way of putting it is lie. Letting this stuff go makes it difficult to consider any politicians as honorable and that is a serious dis-service to those who are. Both personally for them and for voters.

Obama and Nat Turner

Chances are you don't know a lot about Nat Turner, in reality nobody does. In 1831 a (maybe) black preacher named Nat Turner led a killing spree of whites in Southhampton Co, VA. Apparently 55 white men, women, and children were killed by a group of, perhaps, 60 slaves in a rebellion. Other than the fact that it happened the historical record is a mess, so why does it matter?

Hart Williams over at His Vorpal Sword has an extensive analysis of why it matters and some of why we let it matter. If you've been unable to pick up on the racist overtone in the current election cycle, you haven't paid attention. The blatant legalized racism of the past may be nearly a half century behind us, the issue sure isn't. Hart generally makes closely reasoned arguments backed by numerous cites, and this is the case here, so set aside some time to read this. Take this recommendation with the consideration that I do very little blog plugging.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Shia, Sunni, Al-Qaida, Iran, Terrorists, Bad Guys - McCain

There is a bit of a joke around the intertubes that calls John McCain, McSame. The thrust rather obviously that he's an old George II. I've never entertained the idea that George is retarded, but he certainly has either engaged in some real stupid things or he is diabolically clever at destroying this nation. I don't much lean toward clever. The point of this ramble is stupid behavior is a forte of BushCo.

Now running for President as a Republican, is tiring business, so it would be entirely possible to make a misstatement; you know, like saying Sunni rather than Shia on one occasion. The other day I said Walden rather than Wyden - a complete slip of the tongue. It can happen. What is entirely unreasonable is the conflating of Al-Qaida and Iran, repeatedly, and after being corrected about it, to repeat it. In John McSame's world, stupidity is not a disqualifier, it seems to be a requisite. Whether that is on the part of McSame voters or his part might be debatable. I don't argue that there are people who would like to harm us, I'm pretty sure it has been demonstrated. They are not all the same people, Al-Qaida is not the same thing as the Majdi Army is not the same thing as the Revolutionary Army is not the same thing as Sunnis who are not Shia. If you propose to run for President and not be just another idiot it would be a good idea to get something right about Iraq, especially if you plan to have us there another 100 years.

Plain stupid.

NYT Argues For Ban On Free Press, Sort Of...

The NYT Editorial Board once again shows its authoritarian leanings. Be under no illusion, they will not only step on your rights, but they will engage in blatant misrepresentation to do it. Ah, here's the reasoning:

The appeals court made two mistakes. First, it inflated the Second Amendment into a sweeping right
The second mistake that the appeals court made — one that many supporters of gun rights may concede — was its unduly narrow view of what constitutes a “reasonable” law.
Now what misrepresentation, you ask? The most blatant one:

The decision broke with the great majority of federal courts that have examined the issue, including the Supreme Court in 1939. Those courts have held that the constitutional right to bear arms is tied to service in a militia, and is not an individual right.
Starting with that misrepresentation part, the Supreme Court ruled in Miller that a weapon's applicability in military service was not shown to be represented by a sawed off shotgun. Military service was not in any way tied to the possession of weapons, only that they must possess military applicability. This argument is completely false in regard to who has the right to keep and bear arms. So, charitably speaking, the NYT lied. They also know they lied, Miller has been around since 1939. They have the Freedom of the Press to lie about the BOR and the Supreme Court, they're still liars.

Now with regard to the reasoning and the banning of the free press, the first part of the argument is naturally applicable to kiddie porn, there is indisputable inevitable universal harm to children involved, it is a reasonable restriction on a right and naturally the NYT is exempt provided their advertisements don't get anymore grotesque. Moving right along, kiddie porn is published online and on paper, so the NYT is arguing that bytes and newsprint be banned - so long guys. Oh, I know the editorial is about handguns not newsprint, at least it is supposed to be. It isn't. It is about 'the powers that be' deciding that the perception of security trumps the Constitution. I seem to remember them screaming that CIA considerations weren't sufficient to prevent the reporting of secret prisons...um their sacred cow.

Nobody is conceding one iota to the NYT about "reasonable" restrictions. Does somebody remember the wiggle word in the Fourth Amendment? "Unreasonable" search and seizure... means something different to tyrants than it does to the Framers. RICO would involve hot tar, feathers, and a rail, but that law is still on the books. BushCo would have been hung, despite Adams' Alien and Sedition Law, for which he is still reviled. You see, it is hugely in the corporate interest to protect newsprint and, to a degree, bytes; but not at all to protect firearm owners or the citizenry's rights. If they'd like to sue me for calling them liars, they're free to; a hamster could represent himself in that case, and not on the First Amendment, simply by introducing Miller as evidence. Here you go, corporate lawyers:


Try me out, please, I could use the income from the counter-suit.

The District of Columbia City Council concluded that prohibiting the easily concealable handguns preferred by criminals, and imposing prudent safety rules on rifles and shotguns, was a good, practical strategy for reducing crime, suicide, domestic violence and accidental shootings. Far from a blanket ban, the law strikes a balance between gun owners and the larger community.
Boy did they walk out on a limb here, what they do not have is one iota of evidence that this is the case, nor did they at the time. In point of fact, DC and NYC both defied the national trends in decreasing firearm crime after their bans. They, in fact, became more dangerous despite public perception, the FBI's numbers are clear. The premise is based on the ultimate stupidity, that people who would obey their laws regarding possession of firearms would otherwise violate the law by shooting each other. The legal penalty for violating the bans is considerably lighter than the penalty for shooting someone illegally. You'd think that might enter their minds.

I therefore propose that because the NYT has proven that it will misuse the First Amendment right to Free Press through lies and misrepresentations to suppress the Constitutionally guaranteed rights of the people that they be banned for inevitable universal irreparable harm to the citizenry. Makes as much sense to me.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Judy Trohkimoinen For OEA Region III Vice-President

I have known Mrs T from the time my son was in first grade, he's now several years out of high school, and I've been endlessly impressed by Judy. She is a 19 year veteran of education and advocacy for anything that improves the health, education, and welfare of our children. As you may have noticed, I am rather politically active, Judy is not behind me in that respect, though a bit less, ahem, partisan. Take this in the respect of not being a DPO operative, as I am.
As longer term readers may have noticed, Baker City does manage to bring some political figures to our fair city and I don't miss them, so I know that Judy doesn't either. Two articles down you will find a picture of Sen. Wyden and a couple people including...Mrs T. I've spent over a dozen years mangling Mrs T's actual last name, but that really doesn't matter since it is a matter of a ballot. If you have a say in OEA please go to the link I've provided, and even if you don't, getting acquainted with her is a nice thing.

Monday, March 17, 2008

You Wish Your Name Was Bear?

The NYT reports today on the Bear Strearns buyout made by JP Morgan.

In a shocking deal reached on Sunday to save Bear Stearns, JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay a mere $2 a share to buy all of Bear — less than one-tenth the firm’s market price on Friday.
The cut-price deal for Bear Stearns reflects deep misgivings about its future and the enormous obligations that JPMorgan is assuming in guaranteeing the firm’s obligations. In an unusual move, the Fed will provide financing for the transaction, including support for as much as $30 billion of Bear Stearns’s “less-liquid assets.”

Some things can leave you speechless. The Fed is helping finance a firesale and helping guarantee the debts. When over-extended home owners began losing houses there was a lot of pooh poohing of their straits, essentially their bad judgment should cost them. They did use bad judgment or were defrauded, the historical appreciation of housing was there for anybody to look at and it did nothing to uphold the numbers that were being used. Oddly enough, the same data in more detail was available to folks like Bear Stearns.

The issue is that Bear Stearns is too large as a singe entity to allow it to fail. The rest of you in the same boat are not important enough as individuals to merit the same 'assistance.' Now that does ignore that your individual problems are what sunk people like Bear Stearns. It does ignore that prompt action to shore you up might have avoided this disaster and possibly cost less. That would, of course, be unfair to those of us who didn't buy into the market balloon.

Maybe right now isn't a real good time to make a 'fairness' argument. Maybe right now would be a real good time to understand the difference between plutocrats and you. Maybe right now would be an excellent time to be named JP Morgan Chase. Or maybe better yet, Bear Stearns CEO James Cayne who took home $232 million '93-'06 and will make $13.4 million on this deal. Oh yeah, George II just got done telling us the economy is basically sound - for some of us, he didn't add.

Why's Everybody Always Pickin' On Me?

Peter Daou is Hillary Clinton's internet director. When does the unity part start?

I'm writing this to a group of bloggers. Some of you are Hillary supporters, some not, some neutral.

I want to address a pervasive misconception, namely, that Senator Obama hasn't run a negative campaign against Hillary. I think it's time to put that misconception to rest.

The truth is that for months, the Obama campaign has been attacking Hillary, impugning her character and calling into question her lifetime of public service. And now the Chicago Tribune reports that Senator Obama is preparing a "full assault" on her "over ethics and transparency." To those who contend that Senator Obama is the clear frontrunner, I ask, to what end this "full assault" on Hillary?

Since I'm in no way connected to the Obama campaign, including no dollars contributions and this was sent unsolicited to me, I'll post a short answer

Politics can get pretty darn rough at times and the Clinton camp sure knows it. This guy makes reference to the Power statement this way:

And one of Senator Obama's top advisers (who has since left the campaign) recently called Hillary "a monster."

Yep, she since left the campaign - the next day, which could be contrasted to the 10 days it took for Ferraro's statement to sink in with camp Clinton... Nobody at Obama's place brought up Ken Starr, that piece of stupidity occurred right there at home. Since they wanted to bring that particular mess up, how about that Hillary, what about the stuff that set Starr off in the first place? No, Hillary, not the junk Republican smears, the actual real stuff? I actually tried to sort through this thing, what I got is 'being the victim in the 90's served me pretty well, let's go again.' I do kind of resent being treated like a rube. That also isn't real new. Funny thing, I said that stuff, Camp Obama never has, and they sure could.

I've got news for you, you were never inevitable except in your own mind and some lazy journalists' and you don't have a teflon coating - your stuff is going to stick to you. Whine at somebody else. Better yet, knock off the BS and folks won't have it to hit you with. I tried to leave you alone, but you just can't manage to stay out of the stuff that will put you right back into my pages. Too bad for you.

Sen Wyden (D-OR) Comes to Baker City, OR

Senator Ron Wyden came to Baker City Sunday afternoon to hold one of the Townhall meetings he promised he would hold each (year-correction) [month] in a different county when he first ran for Senate. Sen. Wyden keeps that promise. I told the Senator today that I've been a political junky from my pre-teens and, gesturing at my greying hair, noted that covered some ground and that I don't indulge in political heroes, but that he came very close to that mark. I firmly believe that as long as Ron Wyden wants to represent Oregon, he can.

The Senator began by thanking the audience for coming out and then launched directly into question and answers. The first question was kind of a gimme, how old and how are his new twins? They're 4 mos, doing fine and he looks forward to bringing them back to Oregon.

From there the real questions began and the Senator answered them, with the exception that he didn't want to engage in partisan politics in a Townhall meeting, and he stuck to that. No (R) slams or GWB slams, straight ahead what affects this nation and us at his Senatorial level. Health Care and his Fair Flatter Tax were discussed as well as everything from energy policy to wolves. The Senator wished to make clear that health costs are a huge drag on the economy and that the effects run rght through the Tax Code. He is attempting to get the oil companies to pay their royalties for public resource drilling and to pare down their tax breaks to put that money to use in alternative energy. He sees the current county payments for timber as a stopgap measure, he was interested in my assertion that what the Feds actually owe is some payment in lieu of property tax and that it should be based in some form on the value of the land that is removed from our tax base. He encouraged me to put it in writing - I need more writing projects (after bragging about Blogburst that sounds weak). I'm not going to go into great detail here, the Baker City Herald will have a nice write up of it and I'm not going to step on my friend Mike Sullivan's work - it will be excellent.

Afterward Sen. Wyden and his party came to a Baker County Democrats potluck.

L-R Marilyn Dudeck, Co. Chair, Judy Trohkimoinen OEA, Senator, furface(me) Co Vice-chair

This dinner/meeting was a bit more partisan. Since you weren't there I'm not going to tell you, other than that the Senator was engaging and he answered very partisan and difficult questions in a forthright manner. Even when the answer was not necessarily just what the majority wished to hear he played it straight and explained certain political considerations leading to those answers. It is pretty darn reassuring to have a US Senator in a small setting take you seriously, he left a happy group of not too easily impressed folks. I'm not trying to make all this sound mysterious, but this was a conversation amongst Democrats for Democrats. I will tell you this much, Sen Wyden would like to work with another Democratic Senator and he did not specify whom. He also is an uncommitted Super Delegate. That's all you get. No fodder for blog wars. No Press present.

I'd like to publicly thank the Baker County Democrats who brought food and great attitudes to this get together and the Senator's staffers, Wayne Kinney and Kathleen Cathey, for helping and Senator Ron Wyden for making time for a small Co. Party. It makes a difference out here in the hinterlands. You better believe, that.

Publishing and Blogburst

A short note regarding Blogburst and "Chuck for..." In the past week linked headlines for this blog have appeared on Reuters and Chicago Sun Times in excess of 4,000 times for individual readers with 4 separate articles generating those headlines. Senator Clinton and the Democratic Party, Where Now? appeared over 3800 times over three days. This did not generate huge traffic to the site, but I am astonished to see Reuters pick up one article three times. One article has been showing up on Reuters since November of last year, it has been out of view only a couple times in weekly periods.

Blogburst's description of its services to publishers follows:

BlogBurst gives publishers access to the best of the blogosphere, and provides editorial management tools that help you filter and select content according to your needs.

BlogBurst's powerful Publisher Workbench helps you discover and source talented contributing bloggers and their posts. You can easily map selected content to specific areas of your site, complementing your in-house editorial content or creating entirely new sections for your readers.

I find being included in such an endeavor flattering, to say the least. You submit your blog and they review it to see if they wish to include you. From there it is up to the blogger to write things that will get picked up. I am in no way a professional writer and in fact most things I do are first drafts checked for spelling and dropped words. I just do not have time to spend large amounts of it on composition and sometimes that shows to my deficit.

If it sounds like I'm bragging, well I don't mean to. I'm rewarding my readers, by assuring them that their small numbers are demonstrating some real taste. OK, that's bragging. This site is 45 on the Technorati scale now, that means it is 177,000th in blogs, for scale Blue Oregon is rated 391 or 11,600th so I only have to pass 166,000 blogs to be competition. That will take some doing... Almost by itself a link from BO can boost this site 1 Technorati point. I think that takes care of accusations of bragging.

If you're a blogger who'd like to boost your exposure and you can write well with an interesting voice, Blogburst might be a real tool for you. I'll warn you that political blogging is nearly the least rewarded - travel, tech, and sports get the best play. It will give you some idea of objective editorial evaluation of your work. I find it pretty hard to be objective about the quality of my stuff, after all, I spent time and effort on it...

My real rewards are my loyal readership and the occasional kudos from fellow bloggers, thanks.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Why Shariah Law ?

Over at the NYT Magazine, Noah Feldman writes Why Shariah an article intended to analyze the attraction of Sharia to Muslims and to defuse some misconceptions regarding Shariah. He notes the outburst of outrage regarding the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams advocating that certain aspects of family law be placed under religious law; with the agreement of all parties. England has no separation of church and state, to begin with, but the idea that Muslims might utilize Shariah really didn't fly. Feldman is a professor of law at Harvard and a fellow at CFR, so he does have some credentials.

One thrust of the article is that Shariah is not what it is popularly considered, rather than an autocratic tool, it was originally a balance to the power of the state, the Caliph. A body of scholars interpreted Mohammed's teachings and applied them to the rules the caliph established. A succession to caliph also depended on the approval of those scholars. The benefit was that Islam's, at the time, rather liberal teachings regarding the people would be respected by government's more restrictive impulses. Historically, it was pretty successful. This accounts for some of the Muslim enthusiasm for it in the face of what passes for government in much of that world today. In actuality the burden of proof in some of the more Draconian measures was higher than some of ours today.

Today, though there are variations, no system that recognizes Shariah follows very closely the historical model. The author notes that there is an inherent weakness:
As one historian has recently put it, although Shariah functioned as a constitution, “the constitution was not enforceable,” because neither scholars nor subjects could “compel their ruler to observe the law in the exercise of government.” But almost no constitution anywhere in the world enables judges or nongovernmental actors to “compel” the obedience of an executive who controls the means of force. The Supreme Court of the United States has no army behind it.
I have a problem with one piece of that, the 2nd Amendment provides for the army in our Constitution, the people. Typical of the thinking that devalues that provision.

While this model may have historical attractions to Muslims, there are problems with it. The Ottoman Empire codified the teachings, essentially removing a living body, the scholars, from the picture. This not only froze the teachings at a particular moment, but also put them in the hands of the government. This gave the government not only the powers of interpretation, but also the authority of religion. A lack of codification allows the application of thought that reflects a changing world, but even in that it allows the institution of narrow and fanatical thought. This is once again, the abdication of citizen responsibility to an unelected and narrow body.

We do not in the narrowest sense, elect the Supreme Court, we do elect the people who nominate and approve them. The Supreme Court has a law based authority, and it has a law based restriction of reach. Decisions are based, or expected to be based, on a narrow field, the Constitution, a document that is subject to change, but with a very high bar to cross in that regard. While the Constitution is highly regarded, it does not have divine authority. It is recognized as a human effort.

The attraction of divine based decisions is obvious, they must be correct, god would make no mistakes. Despite your religious leanings, you will note that there is a human interface in these sorts of decisions. It is easy enough to draw a contract that recognizes a particular body as an arbitrator, if you have a desire to go in that direction.

The most obvious drawback to Sharia, or other, religious law is the lack of inclusion of other points of view. The fence between government and the citizenry is reduced to a single divine opinion. Rather than the citizenry being involved, a restricted and specialized body decides. The system becomes a reflection of that body. In this nation, the dominant religion is Christianity and some would have government become a reflection of that religion. Christianity has a great many permutations or sects, a much more complicated situation than in Islam with the simplest division being between Sunni and Shia. If you were to break Christianity into its simplest doctrinaire components you would have Catholicism, Protestantism, and Greek Orthodox which ignores completely the deep divisions within those. You have now ignored a large segment whose religious beliefs do not involve Christ and effectively eliminated the bar between Christianity and anything else along with ignoring the conflicts within that.

No one can reasonably make the argument that religion can not be formative of philosophy, to claim it as a basis for it is somewhat more suspect. This is the point of elections, to put people of philosophical and policy similarity into an office. Whether a religion has been formative of similarity in these is debatable as some recent scandals have shown. Use of religion as a short hand for values is extremely risky, it makes unfounded assumptions. Really, a better solution for government is to allow religion to function outside government and inform rather than bind the citizenry. The problem is creating a system with the type of respect a religion has within the secular arena and that is a huge challenge in the Islamic world.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Bailing Out The Plutocrats

Hart Williams scares people, Sean Hannity wet his pants on air over some Hart scrutiny. Not that he isn't the loudest mouthed pseudo-tough guy around, but Hart was just looking at him. Now in this article Hart let's the cat out of the bag about just where the Sub-prime mess had its biggest booster, are you going to be surprised that it was that plutocratic enabling BushCo? The machinations to manage that are rather ugly - does your phone click and hum Hart? If you think I'm a rowdy, you don't know Hart and if you don't know Hart you don't know some things you ought.

Hart researches the snot out of the things he covers, he digs and digs and pulls tangled skeins in from places you'd never think to look - and you should have. His Vorpal Sword.

Racism For Real

The Political Cat has story up involving an Australian hostel, Aborigines, Asian tourists, and (shock) racism. This kitty has sharp claws and if you're going to engage in behavior this stupid, expect to get very publicly very scratched up. Good job. It takes a certain mind set by a large portion of a populous to have something like this going on.

This Blog is on record that we're all humans and to act otherwise is unacceptable and stupid. I'm backing the "Cat's" play on this to generate hits. Public interest makes this behavior less likely, if you're going to have stupid ideas, at least don't act out on them.

Deep Divisions

This post has been brewing in the back of my mind for awhile and events the other day finally pushed it up to the top. A political friend of mine got pretty roughly handled on a Democratic friendly site. I do not happen to agree with his choice of candidates and for good reasons. I don't back up an inch on what I have to say about the candidate, but my friend is a highly placed political operative who has demonstrated to my complete satisfaction a sense of responsibility and ethical behavior. One who deserves to be treated with respect no matter that I oppose his candidate. If that candidate has been guilty of poor behavior you would not expect one of her team to trumpet that, and if that person believes it is a tempest in a teacup you would not expect him to issue a mea culpa. You could rightfully expect a polite defense of the candidate, that is what was there. This person is not mindlessly screaming ****** at the other candidate or his supporters, his discourse was polite. This tendency is unfortunate; the candidates are making whatever rhetoric they are; but their Internet supporters are insulting each other at every turn. A good deal of what is attributed to one candidate or the other is actually generated by free lance supporters. And the screaming ensues.

I've heard a bit about Taylor Marsh's site and at some times in the past I'd read some of her stuff so I went and looked. (you can Google her site, I'm not going to give her link credibility) Her rhetoric is pretty heated, inflammatory even. There is some plain junk, but mostly it is her spin with heat. I'm seldom accused of understatement, myself. It is very candidate partisan stuff that I don't find particularly good analysis, but it's not just junk. The comments section is another story altogether. I took the last 30 posts regarding the presidential candidates and found maybe 5 that did not flat out refuse to vote for Obama or to vote McCain if Obama stole the election. The Internet isn't a good measure of public attitude, but the rhetoric was rude and very angry. There was not one proObama post in those 30. Something is afoot.

One of my regular stops is Balloon Juice; John Cole doesn't like Hillary and gets a tad heated. The comments section gets a bit more heated. I haven't bothered to do a count considering the multiple posts from each commenter, but the proHillary segment is under 10%. They are not nearly as angry on the whole as Taylor's crowd, but they are distinctly unhappy and they don't get treated with kid gloves, either. There are a number of posters who will not vote for Hillary, though it is still a minority. Again much of the heat surrounds some things of dubious provenance.

I am not a fan type, I do not engage in messianic thinking to begin with and I particularly do not do so with politicians. I have at least one specific reason to be unhappy with both candidates; they both completely and utterly stink in regard to the 2nd Amendment and that is no small deal to me. I also think it speaks to an authoritarian mind set that I don't like. It should be clear that I am not a fanboy. I do not now, nor have I ever bought into the 90s rightwing Hillary hate agenda. I also don't buy into the idea that her persecution by the Republicans gives her a pass on the actual smelly crap she got up to. Those behaviors were never acknowledged as lacking by her nor has she ever shown any indication or regretting them sufficiently to not engage again. Obama's dealings with Rezko show some bad judgment in associations, at least. Obama has been pretty slow to deal with his minister's rhetoric. Frankly, taking Christ's words and measuring the US against them leaves me in serious doubt that "Bless" is the word god would use, but I'm not running for President in a country that makes Religion some kind of test.

I cannot take anything I've heard from the Obama campaign and turn it into opportunistic divisive politics. It would, in fact, be stupid politics for him to do it; there is no payoff in it. It would undercut his biggest campaign appeal. I have not heard it from the campaign does not mean I have not heard it at all. There is a complete difference between what official supporters of a campaign say and what joe schmoe has to say on the Internet. I have not the least difficulty finding some real serious problems with very official Clinton behaviors. If these analyses are at all subjective, they are that in a very small degree. I check things pretty closely before I react to them, and quite frankly I would rather give a Democrat the benefit of doubt. Republicans have not earned that.

I do not have time nor the patience to catalogue the blunders of two campaigns and analyze them in one place. I will take one Clinton piece to use to show that some of this stuff is just overheated reaction by both sides. At a point in this contest it became a silly point that there was a dream team, utter nonsense for the Obama camp at least. Where it actually started I'm unsure, but the media made something of it. The Clinton campaign didn't just pooh pooh the idea; Hillary went as far as to call it something to consider with her at the top. The Obama campaign pointed out that they were leading the delegate race. It is standard politics to diminish your opponent and it is, in that, an insult. It is an insult of the minor sort, it isn't fear, it isn't race, it is I'm best and you're not. That would seem to be the entire point of their contest. It is an assertion that is entirely subjective and it is entire silliness and it is entirely a part of politics. Just as the reaction of 'that's silly we're leading' is also a minor insult and also the way to play it. The messianic thinkers immediately go nuts over the entire thing. Damn people, even if this whole campaign had been pretty polite; it still is not tiddly winks and there are going to be pokes and jabs. It is a part of the process to put candidates under stress and see how they perform. Getting your knickers in a knot over this stuff diminishes the real gaffes.

This exercise is not intended to diminish the import of various things that have happened. It is not intended to indicate that this is not a divisive contest, it certainly is. This is intended to get people to separate the wheat from the chaff and know what is actually going on. If we're going to kick this Party this hard we have a responsibility to not do it on the basis of nonsense. Oddly enough, a year that should be a bonanza for the Democratic Party may be its undoing.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Senator Clinton And The Democratic Party, Where Now?

Before the Texas and Ohio Primaries I stated that without a convincing win in one or both states Hillary should quit. She got that type of win in Ohio, ugly, but she got it. I stated afterwards that she should stay in because there is real value in a contested primary, the voters get a chance to measure judgment and character as well as policies; all the while allowing candidates to grow. A certain nasty undertone had followed the Clinton campaign since South Carolina, it flowered before Texas and Ohio and is now in full bloom. It is the ugliness of political opportunism. I suppose you're ready to read a call for a Clinton withdrawal.

You won't get that. I am sincerely disturbed and angered by the recent tacks taken by Hillary. They are an aspect of politics I'd much rather left to the Republicans, who have worked hard for and earned the disrespect of a large segment of society. They have the potential in this year, of all years, to splinter the Democratic Party and blow away gains in a large non-participatory piece of our electorate. There is a very real chance of serious damage to the DNC and the Dean vision of how to expand the Party's numbers and strength. Democratic dialogue has coarsened and lies and misrepresentations have been validated as strategy. This climate of opportunism run rampant occurs in a year where a campaign of principles and cool judgment and behavior could result in the gutting of the Republican machine. All these negatives outcomes and I'm not calling for a withdrawal or cease-fire?

It is absolutely necessary that this contest goes all the way to the Convention floor and the super delegates hands, with the States of Florida and Michigan right in the mix, however resolved or unresolved. The entire sack of dynamite goes to Denver, with the fuse lit. This is not a horrid foretelling, it is absolutely required by the state of the Democratic Party. We are going to have this out. We are going to use the process for what it was intended, to determine who and what the Democratic Party is. The process of proportional delegate apportionment is going to finally come into its own. The smaller pieces of State Parties are going have a say, the ability of underdog campaigns to flourish in that environment is going to come to pass, we are going to find some things out. We are going to find out where the Party officials and the elected Democrats want to go. We are going to find out what works and does not work in Democratic Party politics. The Howard Dean and the Terry McAuliff visions of the DNC are going to collide. This is going to be a brawl and it will go to the final round and end in a knock out. Sending the doctor into the ring will be pointless, because one is not going to get back up, ever.

That is exactly right. This time the fight is to the end. Some version of the Democratic Party is dead and done in Denver. November has ceased to be more than a coda in this work. The conductor has been chased from the podium by the percussion section and this song is driving hard and fast to the final crescendo. We are going to learn how the notes are strung and the result may be the end of the Democratic Party as we know it. This is the process, this is what all these years of political wilderness and dramatic and slight return of 2006 have been about. The fates of downstream candidates are going to be determined in Denver and the public perception of this latest Congress is going to play larger than anyone may have thought. The dynamics of an explosive confrontation have been building since the Clinton administration.

The elements are nearly worthy of a work of fiction. The victim hood of Hillary, the Bush destruction of what good came of Clintonism, the electoral career of Hillary, the ouster of the McAuliff faction at DNC and the Dean vision engaged. Swirling around these characters was the atmosphere set by an out of control Republican Congress rubber stamping an out of control President who bulldozed a Democratic Congress and there was fear. Fear and naked blatant fear mongering. Narration was provided by the Machiavellian Rove and the politicization of government to its bowels. And there was a new and charismatic black Senator. The mood is set, the characters in place, and the conflict defined.

There are four main actors in two separate and yet linked conflicts. The Dean version of grass roots small money all states bottom up responsibility against the McAuliff autocratic big money 50%+1 wins and consultant driven corporatism is the underlying conflict. The really visible actors are Hillary and Obama, two different visions of political practice. Both are politicians, no mistake, but Hillary offers up a school of political thinking that sees the vote margin gained now, through whatever opportunism, as the end political capital, one vote margin, however gotten, allows the political agenda to go forward with its ends justifying its manner of achievement. Disaffected voters for the opponent are dispensable, the purpose is the win. The Obama campaign predicates its win as based on the enlargement of the electorate and its activation as a political force, and not only its win, but its hopes of governing. It is the philosophy of inclusion to the extent of creating a public force for its agenda surpassing that of the opponent in the General Election. Such a campaign is restricted in scope in a Democratic Primary, it must by definition not be perceived as divisive or opportunistic and it must project an aura of reasonableness and concern for the opposition.

These conflicts would be explosive taken singly, they are not separate but linked and more than that they are each catalysts for the other. The Obama campaign set out on a 50 state strategy, mimicking the Dean operation and built solid and successful organizations everywhere it went. Along with that strategy was the idea that every voter counted and the creation of new voters counted and the only way to get there was to bring them something new and different. Proportional awarding of delegates rewards that strategy, losses are minimized and gains maximized. There is no base, there is the creation of an entirely new base, but this base is deeply skeptical of the old order. They are brought to belief reluctantly and once activated relentless, the fire of converts. They are a dangerous force, almost as dangerous to their creator as the opponent; a single instance of opportunism by their champion laid bare and they're gone. They are fierce in their opposition to perceived opportunism in their opponent.

Hillary was schooled in the nastiness of politics, what lessons of selective ethics she had not already learned before the White House were driven home there. Her hate driven persecution by Republicans over small time ethical lapses and her recovery from it with an ardent base taught the lesson that gains taken through virtually any means are only meaningful if you win. The shady dealings not only resulted in profits but were wiped out by surviving an all out assault. The Republican failure to achieve criminal prosecution became a success, it all went away except with the people who hated her for it and they were just short of a majority. (I am neglecting, deliberately, the skeptics) The strategy of 50%+1 is validated, you need only barely win and everything works out - your husband is reelected, you are a hero with book deals, and afterwards a Senate run. The woman the nasty Republican men tried to crush is victorious. But care must be taken to stay safe and unassailed, the 50%+1 means you are always walking a political tightrope, 50%-1 will not work and you've been a part of a Democratic bloodbath, already. Here is Terry McAuliff, the architect of 50%+1 and big money and master of DNC's string of losses and the evaporation of that money. Congress is a touchy deal, normally incumbency is a safety mechanism, but it you've widely depended on narrow support and the public mood shifts a little, you will be wiped out. Neither Party has sufficient registered voters to count solely on them for a win. The 50%+1 strategy counts on getting your members out, picking up some Independents and suppressing the turn out of the other guy and his piece of Independents. The Republicans have run this one hard. It depends on an enthusiastic base, a partial appeal to the middle and the demonizing of the opposition. The lower the general turnout the larger the effect of your base. The Hillary campaign knows this and runs with near 50% negatives, additional voters are only a threat, unless they fear the demon.

Where this contest has gotten was predetermined as soon as Obama started winning. The McAuliff strategy came up short and the inevitable candidacy had turned into a bust as the 50 state every delegate strategy rolled. There was only one alternative and that was the kitchen sink, suppress turnout and demonize the opponent while scaring the base. The party regulars must be appeased so the opponent's successes must be minimized, despite alienating voters. Illegitimate contests are touted, no matter the damage to the Party machinery - it already isn't in line with the campaign's strategy.

One of these philosophies is going to succeed and the linkages between the conflicts means that one or the other is dead as a candidacy and as a party methodology. If the divisive opportunistic philosophy wins, the Party will explode. The Dean and McAuliff models cannot coexist and the scorched earth strategy will not keep the activist new comers and idealists and may drive out long time loyalists who were not in the Clinton base. With the DNC already unfairly stressed by the Michigan and Florida debacles it will only take a little of Terry McAuliff to set off a wholesale exit and loss of income following the loss of reputation. A blown apart Party will not win in November and the chances of putting the wreckage back together will be small, downstream candidates will have suffered and no one will trust the Democratic Party with their visions again for a very long time. The destruction wreaked by an unreformed Republican Party over the next 4-8 years with an ineffective Democratic opposition will be fearful. The numbers of disgruntled Obama supporters who will bail in November is steadily climbing from the initial low numbers and there will be scant arguments to be made to them.

Within the Democratic Party this is a fight to the finish and there are two endings, and one really stinks. The entire Party from voters to super delegates needs to look carefully at where it wants to go and to remember that there are two potential victims in this, the Party and the Nation. The lines are clearly drawn, now.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Vicki Walker, SoS

I've personally known Vicki Walker for several years even though our districts are quite distant from each other. Her reputation as a tireless advocate for governmental responsibility to its citizens is deserved. She has maintained that position whether it was politic or not. I personally know that she will take serious criticism and listen and think about it. This character trait is of great benefit to constituents of a strong natured official, it is in fact, indispensable. No one can reach the level of the candidates for this office with out strong natures, but Vicki's dedication to principles is remarkable and indisputable even in this strong field.

I can state quite factually that Vicki will stand by her commitments even when they are inconvenient and involve an actual political sacrifice. Baker County Democrats put together a Dancing With The Blues event to give all the state wide candidates access to our area's voters before the Primary season kicked into high gear. Vicki agreed to attend shortly after the invitation was extended. Not too far before the event Lane Co, her home county, scheduled their annual dinner for the same date. As a political calculation, that dinner was much more important than our event and considerably more local to her scheduled events. Despite those considerations Vicki appeared at the Baker Co event and it did involve serious sacrifice on her part. Vicki's standing is such that a quite conservative Republican Baker City official is solidly in her camp, despite virtually no congruence with Vicki's Democratic Party stands. The matter for him was her dedication to the good of Oregonian communities and their benefit from that.

We're all familiar with the exaggeration of politician's campaign presentation. I'm going to clip a piece of her webpage and note that I find it quite accurate.
Your vote is your voice. For nearly 10 years Oregonians have been able to count on me to defend their right to be heard in Salem.

As your State Senator, I have courageously and consistently stood up to powerful interests, shining a bright light on waste, fraud and abuse in our state government.

Any campaign needs dollars to run, endorsements help drive the garnering of money, and though this isn't a large forum I'm tossing this out to do what I can to help a candidate I have great respect for. You can contribute here or from a link on the sideboard. You will find very detailed positions on her site as well as the same contribution link. I encourage my readers to step up and help Vicki out, with money and support.

Any of my regulars know KISS is real tough to impress:
While I haven't the bucks to send I do have almost 20 votes lined up for her. With luck I might add some more.
What you have written about Vicki is true. She's a smart and dedicated gal, and tough when needed.
Vicki is what I call a people's politician

Clinton Pushes Another One Away

The Political Cat has had enough and ditched his neutrality in the Democratic Primary. He's another driven away by what Clinton sees as a winning strategy. Unlike me, he was giving her open consideration, well read what he has to say about it.

They're a friend of this Blog, through links and etc, so stop by. Good writing also. The Cat isn't a heck of alot calmer than me, either.

How Tea And Crumpets Taught Me To Save The World, or something...

My wife, an intelligent and inquisitive woman, can name all the tools and tell you what it is we're doing. There's a bit more to it, doing it right, doing it safely, and making a few bucks doing it. My wife can find the phone at 3:00 AM.

Things are never as simple as they could be, knowing the tools and their capabilities and then how to think of them differently allow you to keep moving and do something different.
It looks the same as ever, floor joists and a floor to install, thing is you're now above the roof tops of other buildings and the easily available and inexpensive machine can't do it. You still have to solve it without breaking the budget. A combination of the inexpensive machine and muscle power do it, not what you might have thought.

It is something entirely different to have a rather large hot tub on a building's third floor, you better solve it because if it's not there you can't get it there.

When you took the job on you had ideas, as you move through the process you find that those ideas either work or you're in real trouble, the odd order of assembly to be able to accomplish each piece depends on the the following pieces and still being able to finish the work at the moment. Almost nothing was done in the usual manner, because it couldn't be. For instance, you cannot get to that roof with a ladder and you cannot stay on it without planks, best get this right, when it's too late, it is too late.

At a point everybody expects the result you were asked to produce. They don't know and don't care how much innovation, improvisation, and planning for unusual conditions it took. It looks like a house, it is a house, so what? The what is that you can watch all kinds of home improvement shows and be married to a contractor and have absolutely no idea how to get something like this to, 'it's just a house.'

If you've been around a thing, you may know the names of the tools and you may know where you want to get to, but the devil is in the details so you hire people who can work them out. The owner had the judgement to hire some one on the basis of real experience and a proven ability to complete work in the manner desired. I am not the owner, I am the hired help, I am the details man. Nobody is experienced at being President except serving Presidents and ex-Presidents and only the elected President bears the responsibility. The President hires people like me and you expect him to have that judgement.
I bet you didn't expect a contractor advertisement to be a political commentary, saving bytes. Double click pictures for full sized. Photos by owner. Attaching building is a B&B

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Geraldine Ferraro

I was ready to leave the Clinton campaign alone...

Am I astonished at Ferraro's recent comments? No, I've noted previously that any large system will have things run off the tracks, being composed of humans is inherently a problem and having lots of them involved guarantees some gaffe or the other. The place such a thing leaves you is how you deal with the fact that it has happened. It was pretty darn stupid to call Obama lucky to be a black man in regard to this campaign. There is no up-side to this comment, no place to go with it that is helpful to the campaign. Compounding the damage later by stating that the reaction to the statement is essentially reverse racism doesn't improve things. This is right there with calling Hillary a monster and making it ok. It is stupid.

Or, considering the Clinton campaign response - Obama is making an issue of race, maybe it is a calculated stupidity. Obama as the affirmative action candidate might play in PA. There is a delegate lead that is in all probability unassailable, only a blow out in PA and maybe IN can be used to persuade Supers to re-think delegate counts. Short of a complete implosion of the Obama campaign there is no catching him. This means whatever complete nastiness is required should be used in order to get those "big" state numbers. There is always the issue of Hillary looking like a traitor to women by tossing Geraldine. Hmm sexism or racism, which to choose? I cannot crawl into the Hillary mind and make statements, I can say what it looks like and I don't like it.

Hillary, you keep adding fuel to the fires of crappy short term campaigning in a Democratic Primary. Some of us are Democrats who actually care about the Party and the downstream candidates. Some of us have a vulnerable Senator named Smith who would be better campaigned against in the atmosphere of a popular and highly regarded Democratic Presidential candidacy. One that doesn't look like "anything goes." Trying to make a case against slippery Gordo isn't improved by having slippery at the top of the ticket. To be sure, winning is a very good thing, but how it is done also has consequences outside the simple fact of winning. It is, every passing day, more difficult to make the case that whomever the Democratic candidate is; that person should be voted for in opposition to McSame. I'll still, at this discouraging point, make that assertion. At some point it will become futile if Hillary is it, if her actions continue on this downward spiral. Perhaps she can afford to lose those voters and still win, maybe. If she actually managed the damage to the Democratic Party would be immense. Those voters will be gone for good, not just in that election and not just for Hillary. Every downstream candidate will suffer from having voters driven away. Everyone will suffer in two years and a second term Hillary run would continue the damage in the fourth year and sixth year and on. This is the Terry McAuliff version of the Democratic Party and how to lose and lose and lose.

Damn it Hillary, either play this straight up or get the hell out. Whatever happens to you, a whole bunch of us would like to still have a Party when this is done. This is important, the idea of having a well functioning growing Party. Of all the years available for this Party to expand and enlarge its influence this one is maybe the very best since FDR. Can you wrap your head around the size of the opportunity? Do you honestly want to throw this away?

If your answer is for the Clinton campaign to keep on as is, your answer is clear and it stinks.

The heck with it. Speaking of affirmative action, Geraldine & Tip and Geraldine & VP, a fine argument made by a fine exemplar.

Upholding White House Standards

PoliticalCat has a good story about Tim Goeglein, the White House theocracy liaison doing some real serious plagiarizing and the implications. Go visit.

Actual Monster - Radio Fear America

My regular readers know I'm perfectly willing to kick the NYT on occasion and do it where it hurts. I also find things there I'd like spread to those who don't read it regularly. Radio Fear America is one of those things and for more reason than they might have intended. They put the money right in the opening paragraph:

Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia read the funnies over the radio to cheer up New Yorkers during a newspaper strike. President Franklin Roosevelt gave “fireside chats” to bolster Americans during the depression. President Bush used his radio address on Saturday to try to scare Americans into believing they have to sacrifice their rights and their values to combat terrorism.

You certainly have read here enough times that fear mongering needs to be resisted. Yes, I've implied if not outright stated that there are too many scaredy cats in this country. A little truth telling doesn't hurt:

Mr. Bush announced that he had vetoed the 2008 intelligence budget because it contains a clause barring the C.I.A. from torturing prisoners. Mr. Bush told the nation that it “would take away one of the most valuable tools in the war on terror — the C.I.A. program to detain and question key terrorist leaders and operatives.” That is simply not true. Nothing in the bill shuts down the C.I.A. interrogation program. It just requires the C.I.A.’s interrogators to follow the rules already contained in the Army field manual on prisoners.
So in the first two paragraphs the situation is made pretty clear. It is in this particular context and they back it up with some more facts I encourage you to peruse. If I have a problem with the Editorial Board in this one is that it stops short. It stops right at BushCo terrorism. What the NYT stops short of is addressing this in its larger context, the Bills passed or vetoed on the basis on nothing but fear mongering and not facts nor civil liberties.

Back in the bad old days of Mafia pre-eminence in crime and control of legitimate business they were backers of the RICO Act. You see, the mafia were nasty people and were misbehaving in a major way, so special tools were necessary. The problem is that such laws not only apply to Mafiosos, they apply to us all. There is real conflict with the 4th Amendment here, not only in theory, but in practice. A fear driven piece of legislation the NYT did nothing to help block.

NYC has some of the most restrictive firearms regulations in the US, what they don't have is a fall in crime or firearm violence matching their introduction. The NYT lately bemoaned the possibility that the Supreme Court might restore the 2nd Amendment in such localities. What they don't have are any facts to back up their fear mongering. New Yorkers will die in untold numbers because...well, because it's a scary prospect.

What we have is very selective outrage. These are only a few instances of the disconnect between their stands depending on whether it is their pet issue or simply one of principle. I understand the difference in immediate impact on the NYT of freedom of press and right to keep and bear, but what the NYT seems unable to do is make the connection to people of the retention of their individual rights.

How Do You Get As Mean As Rep. Kerns?

If you're a Democrat and you're so wound up by this Primary campaign that you're considering not voting, here's some of what you get courtesy of OK Rep Sally Kern:
Representative Sally Kern said that gays are a bigger threat to American society than terrorists on Saturday.

"I honestly think it's the biggest threat even that our nation has," the lawmaker said. "Even more so than terrorists or Islam, which I think is a big threat."

"I'm not gay bashing," Kern said in the recording, "but according to God's word, that is not the right kind of lifestyle. It has deadly consequences."

Kern said that the education system is indoctrinating children as young as two years old into the gay lifestyle. "The homosexual agenda is destroying our country," said Kern.

"Studies show that no society that has totally embraced homosexuality has lasted more than a few decades," she said.

If you've got the stomach to listen to it you can go here but it will only make you angry. I don't get it, the meanness of Sally Kern. It is as though someone was trying to do something to her. The reaction is more in line with a physical or verbal assault being committed on her. I can understand a level of discomfort in regard to homosexuality, hell I don't 'get' the attraction between same sexes. I'm wired wrong to understand at more than a rational level, but I do not understand what is upsetting about it. I cannot eat liver, not at all and on a serious level, but I don't get angry if you eat it - understand I'm not allergic to it, it is so absolutely repugnant that I cannot be where it is cooked without a gag reflex taking over. It's not the same thing, I know. But look, if you tried to force it on me I'd hurt you; you'd get the same reaction forcing sex on me.

What is it about the existence of homosexuality that sets these people off? This is not nearly as stupid a question as you might think. I know about "repressed homosexual tendencies" and I think for the most part that's a lazy shorthand toss-off line, like "guns are dick enhancers." Maybe in some cases, but there's too much of it (there are way more guns than inadequate penises). America is a strange place, but it would be a truly queer nation if those numbers matched up. Maybe it is the xenophobic reaction to "the other." Maybe a lot of things.

What I do know is that it takes tremendous amounts of energy to carry around that much meanness. It is that. Meanness. Hate is not a good word, it is too big, too meaningful. This has an inherent smallness to it, a cowardly aspect. Something spoken of with those in agreement and it's rejection not met with fury but with dismissal. "Political Correctness" says I shouldn't tell you this... No, Sally; it's not about political correctness; it is about you being a mean natured bitch. Democrats, this is another face of your enemy and it needs to be defeated.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Stupidest Book Since Liberal Fascism?

I was all set to write something really scathing about Doug Feith's new 'book' and ran across Tim F's piece over at Balloon Juice. Rather than try to not plagiarize him while writing the same thing I've given you the link. Feith was a pathetic person given more responsibility than he'd have merited if he were twice the man he is and he's now been particularly pathetic excusing his patheticism. Oh well, go on over there.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Some Things Are Just Cool

No, it's not better than sex...or a good meal; but an interesting road, a good machine, good company, and wind in your hair at speed - that's cool. Last summer blasting across Oregon after a DPO meeting with my 80 year old mother in the SSR carving curves with hot tunes and a thrumming 300 horsepower small block as accompaniment was nice. Much nicer to do than reflect on the current state of American politics. Posted as a relief for me, and you if you care to play along. Go away snow.

Bush The Sadist

In order to preserve his kingly right to torture any peasant he pleases, George II today vetoed legislation specifically banning waterboarding. This should end all debate over whether they only did it because its illegality was debatable. It is now beyond argument that in order to satisfy their Faux 24 movie magic sadism they will keep internationally abhorred torture methods on the table. If you do not understand the guilty sexual pleasure obtained from misusing another human, you're not alone. It is classified as sexual deviancy of an obsessive nature and in many quarters, incurable. Its forerunners are the torture and maiming of creatures and a typical symptom is verbally abusive domination, typified by humiliating nicknames for intimates. It is truly sick when practiced on the unwilling, victims. Alcoholism and drug addiction are frequent accompanying disorders.

There is no longer any reason to wonder if our government asserts the right to torture you, Bush says they have it and will use it at his direction, and the Attorney General. People, including Americans, have spent considerable time in jail for waterboarding. It is criminal in most of the world, including places you wouldn't want to visit. I want you to note the vote was 222-199 in the House and 51-45 in the Senate. You do understand the implications of those numbers, this means that the Senate Republicans voted as a near block as did the House Republicans to allow this cretin to torture. You need to read Here's the Enemy, Democrats if you wonder how I feel about the Republican Party and their crap. If forced to be physically dangerous I would be a very nasty foe and hurt you very badly with little or no guilt, but I find this absolutely stomach turning. I feel an immense guilt to call myself an American in the face of this official American policy. It is no wonder these filth object to Michelle Obama not always being proud of her country, they place no limits on our behavior. George II's words leave no doubt, it is not simply waterboarding he wants on the table, he wants no limits. This is a truly sick individual who heads a Party of similar minded pukes. George, I promise not to travel to any place you are and you stay the hell away from me because I'll spit in your goddam face if I'm ever that close to you. I didn't think anybody could ever get my blood hotter than RMN and I'm astonished by how wrong I was. goddam damn damn damn...arghhhh

Here's The Enemy, Democrats

This is the face of the enemy we face, this is not about policy this is about hate, racism, theocratic impulse, and fear mongering. This is, in fact, Representative Steve King (R-IA). AP:

"The radical Islamists, the al-Qaida ... would be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on Sept. 11 because they would declare victory in this war on terror," King said in an interview with the Daily Reporter in Spencer.

"His middle name does matter," King said. "It matters because they read a meaning into that."
If that was insufficient to get the idea across of what these people are, here's some blasts from the past:

In a statement issued by his Congressional office following the release of photos depicting prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, King referred to the maltreatment of prisoners at the infamous Baghdad prison as "what amounts to hazing."
For the just plain personally offensive:

"There probably are not 72 virgins in the hell he's at," King said about al-Zarqawi, in a recording transcribed by Radio Iowa. "And if there are, they probably all look like Helen Thomas."
Untruths and minimization squared:

Well I by now have a feel for the rhythm of this place called Washington, D.C., and my wife lives here with me, and I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, she's at far greater risk being a civilian in Washington, D.C. than an average civilian in Iraq.
Just to cap your disgust fest with the blatant war mongering and utter stupidity with no end I give you the undefined ever shifting victory:

"There are implications that have to do with who he is and the position that he's taken. If he were strong on national defense and said 'I'm going to go over there and we're going to fight and we're going to win, we'll come home with a victory,' that's different. But that's not what he said. They will be dancing in the streets if he's elected president. That has a chilling aspect on how difficult it will be to ever win this Global War on Terror."
This is the face of the enemy in November, it is also the enemy now - today in WY as it was in OH & TX and will be in PA. This is what we're up against, oh it has the personal name of McCain but the generic label Republican. It is not Democratic, it is not Clinton or Obama, it is not only a governing philosophy of small government and low taxes; it is a mind set of hate, fear, and greed. It is the idea that anything and everything can be said in the pursuit of winning. If your Democratic candidate doesn't win the nomination and you can stomach the idea of not voting against this, I don't know what to say to you. I do not know on what possible basis you can claim a Democratic candidate inspires your support. It certainly cannot have anything to do with the facts of the Democratic Party.

People like this should excite disgust and revulsion in the public mind. A Party that embraces this should only feel at home meeting in moldy basements and caves. I want these people run out of office wholesale, I want the coattails of the Democratic Presidential candidate to be miles long and involve the grinding into dust of this version of the Republican Party. I want them to learn that being the Party of the fear mongering racist greedhead theocrat is dangerous to your elected future. I want it clear in their minds that the Constitution and Bill of Rights are not just pieces of paper and you ignore them at the risk of severe censure or jail time. I want a Democratic axe taken to these Republicans until they realize how to run a political party in a responsible manner that is somehow aimed at the good of the actual America.

This is not bitter cutthroat partisan politics, it isn't about politics, it is sociological warfare. I refuse to watch America turn into a mean hateful place and name it Republican. I refuse to stand still for the existence of a political party that gives Rush Limbaughs, Hannities, and Hagees a position of power and influence. I want it politically futile to try another BushCo and criminally dangerous to try the corruption of Republicans and their allies. I want to see such an electoral blow out that my not yet existent grandchildren will not have to vote against such a mess. I don't care if the Democratic candidate isn't a saint, this is what you face.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Democrat Foster Wins Hastert's IL 14th Seat

That is the outcome of the story about the fact a story exists, Denny Hastert's seat has gone to a Democrat in the special election. Bill Foster, particle physicist Democrat, beats Republican Jim Oberweis, who had the backing of Hastert and McBush-er-McCain with 52-48 margin; 556 of 568 precincts reporting.

The changing demographics of the area played a role, but this has been former House Speaker Denny Hastert's safe seat since 1987 and a simple matter of demographics and lack of incumbency aren't enough. This shows the growing Democratic strength and the power of backing from someone like Obama. Foster did not have a reputation as either an inspiring orator nor did he have a political background.

I'm willing to bet there are some Republican strategists with stained drawers tonight. Congratulations from Oregon, Bill Foster.

Cyreena Boston for HD 45

***Repost from earlier date***

This is my friend Cyreena Boston who is running for HD45

I've known Cyreena for 2 years, since she came on board DPO as Constituency Director, and known her as a talented intelligent woman who cares deeply about the people of Oregon. She has the ability to reach out to almost any group of people and show them that she understands their interests and cares about them. Her job with DPO was very demanding and involved all kinds of political calculations in its performance. She carried it off magnificently.
I'm pretty sure an endorsement from small town NE OR isn't of great import in N Portland, but some of my readers are active and care that good representatives are elected whether in their HD or not. So I give you this link to Donate . Like any Democratic candidate, money will be an issue so see if you can step up. Find her campaign site here .
There is also an ongoing Contributions link on the side bar.

Site Note

If Hillary Clinton can avoid some egregious action for awhile, she is going to fall off this site. I'm real tired of her, you probably are, too.

Senate Endorsements

I've been encouraged from a couple quarters to make endorsement in the Merkely/Novick race and I will at this time make this endorsement, we've got two real good guys running and it's time to start taking their measure. They need some bucks to make their play so getting some of that out there would be a good idea. I've done some bit for the campaigns and I'm still looking and kicking tires. It is embarassing that it was easier to pick a Presidential candidate, who is now gone and I've moved on, than it is to pick a Senatorial Candidate. It certainly isn't that one race is more important or more on my mind, it is that the choice was clearer.

That says a lot about the caliber of men we have running, these guys each make such a great candidate in their own specific ways without disqualifying policy statements that a political junky like me is stuck. I'll point out what I see as each one's most distinct advantage with the qualification that neither is a deal maker for me. I expect to see each grow into the role as time passes.

Jef Merkley has a good organization, they're good at what they're doing and have significant backing. This is a real plus for a campaign, boy do I know what a plus. Some serious hitters in the current political scene are on board and the machinery seem well oiled.

Steve Novick has an edge when it comes to rhetoric. He's sharp, witty, and appropriately abrasive when called for and able to lay out a personable reasoned discourse when called for. It is never of any doubt that you're in the presence of a fighter and an opponent better come well armed. That fighter aspect properly gets less play in regard to Merkley, but a Gordon Smith will get no quarter.

If you take these minor reccommendations as criticism of the other candidate, back the train up. I'm talking about what seem the most outstanding advantage of each as of now. Jeff Merkley is an excellent speaker, particularly in the presentation of a personable concerned individual. Steve Novick's organization is not crippled, it has in fact been quite successful.

I have minor policy quibbles with each, neither has managed to create an advantage with me in that respect. If I have a major problem, it is with both and it is that neither proposes that it is required to make illegal hiring sincerely unattractive for employers to indulge in. There is quite frankly no matter more important in blue collar employment than having your wages gutted and hiring opportunities slashed by the presence of people with no legal business in the market. Health care falls off the radar when the problem is having a job or meeting very modest bills because you are in competition with illegal labor. In the face of ruinous fines and jail time and real enforcement the practice will stop and we will gain control of the labor market and be able to set reasonable immigration policies to fill vacant employment slots. I really have no idea why Democrats can't seem to get that one, but they don't and the Republicans just play closet racists.

Gordon Smith needs to go back to Pendleton and play with frozen peas, I'm sure he'll get to wear his nice clothes. Meanwhile we Democrats need to back our guys and sort them out. Giving them financial support and time to show what they've got will result in being able to make a decision superior to eenie, meenie, minee, moe; caught a Gordo by the toe. There are contribution buttons on the sideboard, use one or both.

Was It PMS?

You explain it better, RNC talking points, lauding the established Republican candidate over your own Party's, attempting to explode the DNC, using discredited CBC NAFTA reporting. You can say, hey that's really sexist. I think it is less insulting than the other alternative.

The other alternative is that it doesn't matter in the least to Hillary what happens to the Democratic Party in general. The Congressional campaigns can go hang. If the nominee isn't her he can go hang. What matters is getting Hillary votes. You like that one better than PMS? I can tell you that Hillary is a veteran of the dirty politics game - and not just as victim. She and her team know how to do it. What has gone on for the last week or so is dirty politics, not rough and tumble politics, dirty.

I'm tired of the BS, this is a Democratic Primary. I've already said there is value in having a contested Primary, I didn't say a bloodbath. There is value in the process of having a discourse about policy and vision. There is absolutely no value whatever in having a Republican versus Democrat fight in a Democratic Primary. There is no value in kicking apart the DNC with rhetoric about issues that everybody agreed on rather than finding a fix. I am a Democrat, and I am a Democrat who has put a lot more time, effort, and money than I had into helping that Party get better and I am seriously pissed by deliberate efforts to wreck it.

Maybe the machismo Neanderthal PMS sounds better now?

Friday, March 07, 2008


Politics is in some ways a peculiar endeavor, you must not get caught telling a bald faced lie, but telling the truth can be a mistake, also. Candidates are allowed to exaggerate a little, well, a lot, but not in ways that can be directly refuted. Candidates can speak clearly and plainly as long as it involves somebody or something everybody is upset about. What you absolutely must not do is give vent to anger and frustration over another candidate's lies and misrepresentations and use of the opposition Party's junk. And call that person a monster.

Barack Obama has a problem, he's up against a political pro. The experience that Hillary has that amounts to something is having been a part of old school politics for a long, long time. He is trying to run a campaign that is different in a game that isn't, yet. Hillary will not take responsibility for any mistakes, hers or ones she was a part of and she will throw anything she can to see if it will stick; and not care if it harms the Democratic Party. Barack cannot and keep his mantle of politics with a difference. He cannot allow his surrogates to get into it. Despite some of the junk on comments on various sites, he's kept to that line. Samantha Power stepped right over that line. Facing Obama was the choice of trying to smooth the roiled waters and appear to play on the same level as Hillary or let Samantha go. Bye Samantha.

I know the problem unscripted moments can bring, I let myself get a bit wound up and that combined with a tooth ache and too many hours of too little sleep had campaign speech slip into calling the Republican Representative Greg Walden "a pinhead" in front of the press. Understandably they reported it. So the choice was wear egg on the face or make an omelet, so I wrote a letter to the editor of the paper and apologized to all pinheads everywhere. I could do that, I was running in 16" logging boots and a beard and plain talking. Barack is running as a nice guy who can unite us and that is not congruent with calling the opponent a "monster."

I don't work for Obama, I'm not a contributor, and I've been a frequent critic. Hillary is a monster, at least in the frame of the Democratic Party. She'd probably be right at home and quite admirable within the Republican Party with her behavior. I don't much mind politics of the rougher sort, but I do insist on truth and not playing to fear - ie terrorism. Hillary's version of politics has been played to death by Karl Rove and the rest of BushCo. One can hope that the fuss over "monster" will bring to the front of voters' minds the tactics of HillarCo. No, her head is not stitched on nor are there bolts sticking from her neck, that would make identification easy, paying attention is harder.

Charlie Christ Is A Disengenuous Liar

Republican Governor Charlie Christ of Florida went on Chris Matthews tonight and laid out the perfect Republican trouble making lying rant. He claims to represent all citizens of Florida and to advocate for not disenfranchising Florida Democrats. He says they held an election and the delegates should be seated or the DNC should pay for a new one. He presents himself as the white knight victimized by the DNC.

The Florida legislature voted to move the Primary date up in front of the allowable date set by DNC. Charlie Christ signed it. Charlie Christ and the Florida legislature all knew exactly what they were getting up to when they moved the date. They did it in the face of the facts, their election was not going to be valid and they knew it. It was to their political advantage to play hardball with DNC. The Florida Democrats went along. (a really truly stupid move)

Their efforts are bearing fruit, Floridian Democrats are angry with the Party, Hillary Clinton is bucking the national party, and the Florida delegation is not going to be seated before the nomination is decided. The DNC is not going to spend election campaign and organizational funds to pay for Florida's cockup. Christ says Florida is not going to pay. Nobody is going to pay. Charlie Christ gets it all, he gets to look like a champion who is fiscally responsible and at the same time do everything in his power to destroy the Democratic Party in a year when there is little reason to think they could lose. Well he doesn't get to do it in front of me. He's a lying sun tanned Republican snake.

The DNC might have to spend some bucks in FL to counteract Christ's propaganda, but it would be worth it. It should be little trouble to make the case that Christ is directly responsible for his state's Democrats' dilemma. The fact is that there are long term benefits for the Democrats in Florida to show him up as the snake he is, a Democratic Christ voter might think about it when his term expires.

At this point the only realistically affordable process is caucuses. Hillary will hate that and fight it. Considering that she has made herself a part of the problem rather than the solution, it is a fair pay back, she deserves to be screwed to the wall. The State Democratic Party of Florida played the Republican game against their own Party, these idiots need to go. Florida Democrats should take matters in hand and get rid of these people, they have the power, quite easily.

Back to Lying Charlie. If you'd like to touch on the inability of these so-called political reporters to deal with issues, Chris did point out possible Christ motives but he missed the absolute kiss of death to his lies. He did not point out that as the "advocate for all Floridians" Christ could have vetoed a bill with known results, in the end run that legislation's passage is his fault. But the game of gotcha has rules and one of the rules is giving the rat a hole to duck into. Even if the hole is imaginary, it didn't get blocked. I'm sorry Chris, it wasn't that hard to kick his lying butt back into his cabana.

It is time for the DNC to go on the offensive with the liars, the trouble makers, and the deliberately uninformed media. This mess is not of the DNC's making. The solution does not lie in DNC's hands. DNC bears not one iota of responsibility for it and cannot solve it. It is up to the State Parties in MI and FL to deal with. Those Parties bear the ultimate responsibility to the members of their Parties and while economics may prevent their preferred solution of another election, they can certainly caucus. I will state with absolute confidence that if the little Baker County Democrats party had to caucus we'd manage it in a County that dwarfs the eastern state counties.

Every progressive blog in the country should be calling for Charlie Christ's head on a pike after tonight. We could provide Chris Matthews with a butter knife for the removal process, since he obviously can't be allowed sharp tools.

Being Alive Is Risky

Being alive is risky and it is ultimately fatal. Get used to the idea. There may be no point in rushing the ultimate consequence of living, but it is equally ridiculous to pretend that we are at any time safe. We aren't. We fall down stairs, we slip in the tub, we have all sorts of misfortunes befall us. You over reach on the step stool and go over with your head making contact with the countertop corner and it's all over. ooops. You might be a victim of a stranger crime or a personal crime or you might get it in the armed forces. A foreign or domestic terrorist might get you or just plain old age body failure. Something at some point is going to take you out of it and pretending to yourself it won't is nonsense and wishful thinking.

We aren't running the country that way any more. We've allowed the government to take unprecedented steps in the search for security. We've allowed the militarization of our police forces. We've funded a pharma empire in search of...a little more. We hook loved ones to machines and persecute anyone whose lifestyle isn't "healthy." We are virtually pharonic with our dead but hunting an animal is disgusting, our dead animals aren't food, that comes in plastic and styrofoam container. Somehow we have become that strangest of all possible creatures, fascinated by faux violence and scared spitless of our own risks.

We claim to love our American form of government and cherish our rights, then we spit on them in search of security. We elect those who spit on us as a people because they say they'll keep us safe. We allow elected people to offices defined by the Constitution to pervert that document. We allow the media to manipulate us and and ignore it at any time it tells hard truths, in fact when the media bothers to tell the truth we penalize it. Roads designed to be used at speeds well in excess of 70mph in cars designed to function well at higher speeds have reduced speed limits to keep us safe, as though 15mph wouldn't be much safer. We watch shoot em up movies full of fakery but fear the actual firearm. We willingly swallow almost any kind of nonsense if it is called a threat and feel reassured when the government deals with it. This includes the most pathetic individuals who are led into stupidity by government informers.

In the midst of all this fear we forget how to actually live. That's right, that wonderful tasting marbled steak may not be as good for you as tofu, but exactly how long do you propose to eat tofu? An extra year or two? Speaking your mind openly and enthusiastically may draw attention to you, do you propose to cower somewhere instead? How many hours of extra life do you waste in airline security checks that are primarily designed for feelings rather than effect? When you check my 81 year old 4-10, overweight mother as a security risk I know you aren't serious, you're doing it to look like you're doing something. My Crest is not going to explode and anything you could mix up that would will stink to high heaven. You buy it. You stand sheep like in an endless line to prevent the most unlikely event. You condone the torture of fellow humans because there is an off chance that you might get some kind of information, you are more likely to get hit by lightning than have that work out...shouldn't have mentioned lightning, now you are scared. The bloodshed and economic toll on our highways in a couple years exceed the total death and economic wreckage of 9/11, minus the fear induced losses. You let the President walk us into a war in Iraq because somebody said "smoking gun...mushroom cloud." Hillary Clinton can run a Republican ad and gain votes, from Democrats for god's sake.

Now I'm not trying to persuade you into my lifestyle, I use heavy power tools, walk on walls and climb trusses; I hunt and fish in bad terrain; I drag race (on a track); I live a decidedly edgy life. That doesn't mean I'm full of it or reckless, I measure risk; but I'm not paralysed or driven to nonsense by risk. Freedom of speech is a risky proposition, things you may not like are liable to reach your ears, things you don't like are liable to reach your eyes and finally people are liable to say dangerous things. Somebody might tell you to quit cringing. Somebody might call one of your Congressmen a cowardly traitor...

Ah, get back in bed and pull the covers over your head, it still isn't safe here.

Feminism and Me

There are elements of feminism that plainly irritate me, the idea that politeness involved in opening a door is not really that but a male dominance enforcement offends hell out of me. It also offends me to be told that gender equality means any woman can do any job. If you want to come out and play with me on my job an inability to carry a 90# bundle of shingles two stories up a ladder and safely put it on a roof, repeatedly is required. It is not negotiable and no, there is no gender requirement, just the muscularity and agility to do that. If you are 105 pounds and 5-2 this is past you and if you happen to be female, it includes you. I do not want to mess with the English language, an indefinite pronoun is he or him or his, I do not propose to call manholes person holes and I can just barely tolerate chairperson. But guess what, just because I dislike the stupid attributes of feminism doesn't mean I'm a Neanderthal.

Here we go, the idea that a woman is emotionally or intellectually unable to deal with any position of authority is absolute nonsense. The idea that there is some inherently male dominance trait that enables males to better run things is flat out stupid. Equally as stupid is the idea that being male or female entitles anybody to anything. Human beings are just that and widely variable in ability and competence. The fact of gender has nothing to do with it. Gender has been used as a measuring stick in wage and promotion and that is flat wrong. It is as intelligent as using eye color as a qualification.

Now I do not like Hillary R Clinton for specific reasons and not one of them has to do with her sex. I would not vote for nor oppose anyone on such a foolish basis. The facts of historical prejudice regarding women, blacks, or any other in high office do not make someone a good or bad prospect. That fact means that we need to keep an eye on our decision making processes and advocate the same.

I am a staunch advocate of equal rights and responsibilities for all law abiding Americans. I find it incredibly frustrating to be in opposition to the first woman to have a credible shot at the Presidency, well that has a lot to do with the candidate. I can't help the who of it.

Readers may wonder if this blog is a cyber-personality, an artifice of of the impersonality of remote communication. I can assure you it is not, I am exactly as presented. Oh, admittedly a bit more profane in everyday language, but I am as opinionated and ornery and hard driving as is presented to you, everybody gets the same thing. I tell you this to validate this point, I like strong natured women, I am married to one, it is necessary. I am strong natured and dealing with me in a close relationship requires the same. So Hillary, I don't like you and I wouldn't like you if you were a man or a green martian.