Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hill Shill Page Gardner Serially Inept

If you like truly bizarre statements that somehow manage to completely miss the truth of a matter you really need to go read Page Gardner's "apology" for being an idiot over at HuffPo, Confusion...Robo-calls. What the supposed deal is that they inadvertently robo-called voters in North Carolina telling them they would receive a registration packet that needed to be returned in order to be registered - well after the cut-off date in North Carolina. These calls seemed to hit African Americans particularly and included many registered voters. This organization is called Women Voices Women Votes.

Such a dropped ball could occur on an occasion, one has to wonder how it has happened in 11 different states. One has to wonder how political pros could get it so wrong, so many times. Political pros? The Institute for Southern Studies has a pretty definitive run down of this. Page Gardner, Maggie Williams (yes Clinton's manager), John Podesta, and Joe Goode are amongst the incompetents who managed to mess this up so spectacularly eleven times. A commenter alleges that they had $4.3 million in direct public contributions so there would not be an excuse about shoe string budgets that frequently afflict registration drives.

Oddly, these difficulties with dates don't seem to have bothered this organization enough to mark them down on a calendar. It might be important to register voters before the cut-off date if one were into that sort of thing. Secretaries of State have web sites with all this sort of information easily available and clearly indicated; because Secretaries of State think it is important. If one were attempting to increase voter participation getting people registered in time would accomplish that end. Speaking to unregistered women would as their target audience would reach that group. They did not get registration dates right and reached quite a few registered voters and male registered voters and confused them. Not registered them, confused them, repeatedly in separate states. Leading people to believe that they are not registered dissuades them from voting, not increases participation.

I'm not going to cut and paste other people's work here, I've given you two sources, including the offender and other links are available both on Southern Studies and Google. I want to be clear, that as one who has pounded the pavement to increase voter registration, I find this kind of behavior most offensive. The robo-calls in North Carolina appear to be felonious in nature and felonious in subject - the providing of inaccurate election information. The intent is not probably provable outside circumstantial without a direct testimony of a principle. Circumstantial evidence would certainly not seem to be on the side of ineptitude or incompetence with it's repeated occurrence. The presence of so many Clinton contributors and previous employees makes assertions of incompetence even more difficult to believe as a causation.

Hillary Clinton has stated that she's having fun now that the 'kitchen sink' approach is out there. We've seen that sink before, it was called Swiftboating and in Florida it was Bush campaign honcho K Harris gutting voter roles with faux felony accusations to depress African American turnout. I don't care if there is a (D) or (R) after the name of someone who engages in this kind of behavior, they are scum. They interfere with one of the most basic values of our country and I cannot sit still for it.

Merkley On The 2nd Amendment

****Cross Posted From Blue Steel Democrats****

Jeff Merkley on 2nd Amendment Rights
The campaign for Jeff Merkley, Oregon Democratic Candidate for Senate, has sent out the following statement on Merkley's views on gun ownership and the 2nd Amendment. It is published here without edits.

For more information, please visit


Jeff Merkley on the 2nd Amendment

Jeff Merkley believes in increasing personal freedom by keeping government out of people's bedrooms and out of their gun cabinets.

Merkley believes government works best when it is promoting personal freedom and responsibility, not trying to impede by getting involved in people's personal lives.

Merkley is a strong supporter of the 2nd amendment and as Oregon's next US Senator he will work to protect the right of individuals to own guns.

He believes we need to focus our efforts on enforcing the laws we already have on the books. And we need to close loopholes that allow guns to get into the hands of criminals. This is why he strongly supports a national law requiring back ground checks at gun shows.

(End of Statement)

***there is frequent cross posting between these sites and this was authorized by the blog admin

Health Care

"Chuck for..." is an advocacy site, really. It may seem like I spend a lot of time bashing certain things or their advocates, but the bashing isn't what it is about. I take great swinging whacks at liars, not because putting them down is my version of advocacy, but because I advocate truth and openness in government. I'm going to take some swipes at all the candidates and health care. Some of you are in a lather about the difference between the Clinton plan and the Obama plan - McCain's isn't worth typing about - and I'm going to tell you a couple uncomfortable truths.

Neither plan means squat, Congress will do what it will do and that will pretty much be it. A President can send a nicely detailed plan down to them and they will make of it what they wish to. That is how that works. Even George II had to let his Republican lackeys play about with his plans and get them past a Democratic filibuster - if they had that much nerve - when he had his compliant Republican majority. Congress has been stalled since the Democrats got their narrow majority and even big wins in fall 08 probably won't ensure a filibuster proof Congress.

The differences between the plans as insurance company "insurance plans" is immaterial. Both are simply shills for health insurers. Rather than actually do anything about the mess, both simply guarantee greater insurer access to the citizenry and to the government's dollars (the citizenry again). Those plans and what is really required are so completely different in scope and reason that the details fade into insignificance. These so called plans are no more than sops to the idea that something must be done.

The horror engendered by the term socialized medicine is real...and utter nonsense. We have socialized medicine today, outside Medicaid and Medicare, and it is called - your insurance plan. If you have insurance you are the source of socialized medicine. People with no insurance are treated on emergency basis and when they cannot pay the hospital must recoup that loss and the source is your insurance. That bill you see with the horrid numbers on it is not what your treatment cost, it is what your treatment cost plus part of what someone who couldn't pay cost. Bad debts or a non-payment are a part of any billing procedure. I give "free" estimates for construction projects, the "s are real. I have to spend time and gasoline to give those and somehow I must get paid for it, so you pay when you sign a contract - and you pay for all those estimates that didn't pan out as well. I have to pay for gasoline and I have to have money to do that and where else can I get money other than from those who agree to give it to me? The exact same thing happens in hospitals except the numbers are a heck of a lot bigger than a few gallons of gas (for now).

Maybe, you think, if we make everybody buy insurance it will work out. No, it won't. What is it you propose to do to me if I refuse to buy your insurance? Why is it exactly that you'll be happy to not only subsidize my more costly needs in insurance but also make sure that somebody profits from them? My wife's pre-existing conditions make her an insurers nightmare, she's alright right now, but this stuff is going to come back to haunt whoever covers her and they know it. It is flatly inevitable that she is going to cost a fortune in medical bills and these candidate propose that you will not only be happy to foot that, but also to make sure that there is a profit available on it.

If you think this idea works out well, ask the domestic auto companies how it is working out as they give a $1500 per vehicle edge to the later foreign owned domestic manufacturers. They went down this route and it is breaking them. If you start out with "that's what they get for pandering to the unions" you've missed the point - it is exactly what the candidates are proposing. A for profit scheme financed on your back either in premiums or taxes. Why exactly are insurers supposed to stop denying treatments and foot dragging on payments when the profit motives remain exactly the same? What, you're gonna pass rules??

How is it exactly that your health became a product? I scoff at these so-called plans. There is exactly one thing that makes any sense at all and that is single payer not for profit health care - yes socialized medicine done openly and straight forwardly as socialized medicine instead of as a shell game. To be absolutely sure, those who can afford to do it will find a way to improve what is available to them versus the general public, that is already how it is done in every venue imaginable. You certainly do not believe everybody lives on Social Security??? The point is to ensure (not insure) that some minimum standard of health care is available to all without penalizing everybody with two nickles to rub together.

I cannot insure my wife, flatly cannot. I am fortunate personally to be extraordinarily healthy. I can get insurance, I don't, there is no point in it. My wife is going to ruin me, not I am going to ruin me. At some point you are going to get the bill for my wife, you may not like it, I certainly don't because I'll get ruined even though you get to pay for it. Do you mean to tell me that you also propose that somebody should get to profit from this mess? These "plans" will still pass the cost on to you through premiums, they won't get passed up the income scale to the plutocrats we all support with our work, they'll get the nice gold plated premiums they have gotten all along at a minimal increase (to them) and you'll get to be whacked once again.

If this sounds like class warfare, you haven't been paying attention. The class warfare has been going on since Ronnie Reagan and if you're in the bottom 3/4 of the income scale you've been losing. (and for god's sake voting Republican??) When the top 1% makes more than the entire bottom 50% put together sympathy for their tax load is a bit misplaced. If you do not see that these plans are a shifting of the burden of the entire population's health and a profit from it through premium increases onto those least able to afford that shift you are flatly crazy.

If you've come to me and criticized one of the Democrats for their health plan and I looked at you with a blank stare, maybe you understand - now. Hey, at least I didn't fall down laughing...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Obama, Wright, Media

Yes, I'm sick and tired of hearing about the Rev. Wright. It isn't as though I don't have some sympathy with what he's said, I'm just tired of it. Rev. Wright was Barack Obama's pastor, not his puppeteer. I, and America, have gotten the idea - the Rev. Wright did some plain speaking that wasn't political. Do we move on now or is this it, the qualification for the Presidency is whether Rev. Wright is your pastor or not?

Has the Reverend been out of the news in the last month? If he has I must have missed it. Has any attention been paid to the hate monger preachers McCain sought out for endorsers? Perhaps somebody might have paid some attention to the bunch in Hillary's little DC prayer group and what they stand for. Is it a conspiracy against Obama?


It's not a conspiracy it is a matter of conflict. The media is all about interest, viewer interest and nothing excites interest like a conflict. How many elements does this story have? It has religion, race, personal connections, and political conflict. How could the media leave it alone? This isn't about bringing Obama down, it is about ratings going up. Now playing on a screen near you...

Hillary's connection with a rather difficult group hasn't been made into an issue, it would take work to get it into the public consciousness, Wright was ready made thanks to Utube - no muss, no fuss. McCain has no credible opposition at this point, not within his Party and only as a side issue with Clinton/Obama so there's no interest. By the time there is an opposition; the nut case endorsements will be really old news. Wright has the added benefit of making himself fresh news lately.

Race and religion and even sexism are nearly taboo subjects unless there is a way to make it a piece of a conflict that is public. Wright was made public and then we were off to the races. Sexism got to be news when some folks were stupidly rude to Hillary Clinton, publicly. McCain has been all over the place on religious issues, from agents of intolerance to hugs for bigots but one set of questions with two answers sufficed. There might have been conflict if the Protectorate of Catholicism Donahue weren't a right wing nut job, but attacking a Republican for having an endorsement from an anti-Catholic bigot is self-defeating, nobody to start a fight leaves the media in the position of having to start one itself; which is clearly evidence of a liberal elitist media.

Media is conflict averse in regards to itself, it certainly doesn't want to offend power and lose access. It certainly doesn't want to seem to not 'support' the troops and be perceived as unpatriotic by questioning the mission. No religious group can be offended, except in passing - you know, scanty clothing and promiscuity, but certainly not in regard to their Books. Races must somehow be treated even handedly, unless of course there is a public issue, say a black preacher saying things that white Republicans don't like, never mind if a white preacher says things as ludicrous and is as politically involved. Would it defuse the religious race issue if we could run an Asian atheist? Well, maybe an Asian but no way an atheist, that would really ignite conflict.

Those looking for a corporatist bad guy in the OWM (see title) are looking way too hard. That would involve issues demonstrating just how badly most of America is screwed over by a tiny minority of plutocrats. None of the candidates are a threat to that group, so they're safe. It is us who are the bad guys in this equation, or at least the media's perception of us. The real problem is that we do so much to earn their disdain. If the 'net is supposed to be the alternative media, the new fresh thing, check it for this topic. Oh, you noticed the title - again?

OWM isn't going to go away, McCain is going to mine it, Hillary is going to mine it as long as it has traction. Traction with us. If Hillary and McCain mine it for that reason the media is going to run with it because we're paying attention. Attention is paid because attention is paid, the loop feeds itself and that continues while we continue to play the game. Perhaps the question really isn't what the media is up to, but what are we up to? It is certainly true that the Republican base doesn't care to question the Democrats rationally, they want flag pins and when they aren't laughed off the stage of media, it continues; but Democrats could play it a bit differently in their Primary. Could is the operative word. If you think it's going to happen, go read pro-Hillary sites and comments.

Expecting the media to surpass our behavior is blaming a car for drunk driving. The media has not made us stupid, we have encouraged it to treat us that way. The media doesn't show us impossible bodies with impossible faces because it wants us to look at that, it does so because we've proven it is what we want to see. If you look at a TV screen and see a monster, you are seeing a reflection of our culture, not its creator. OWM is us, sadly enough.

WSJ Integrity Under Mudoch, Hahahaha-oops

On April 22 Marcus Brauchli "resigned" as Editor of the WSJ, apparently under "pressure." The five member committee established at the time of the Fox purchase to ensure the journalistic integrity of the WSJ was not informed. The committee was unhappy, as the WSJ themselves reports:

The committee said it relayed its concerns to officials at News Corp., which in December acquired Dow Jones, publisher of the Journal. The officials pledged to keep the committee "thoroughly informed" during the search for Mr. Brauchli's successor, the committee said.

So they're a tad upset?

In its chronology, the committee said it "has not been made aware of any issues of editorial independence or integrity either before or since" the April 22 meeting. The committee said it later met "and decided that there was no practical way to 'unresign' Brauchli and start the process over."

You will pardon me if I also reflect the view of one of the Bancroft family

"I expected this paper to be transformed in the way Mr. Murdoch wants it to be, and it will be, regardless of all the window dressing," said Christopher Bancroft, who opposed the News Corp. deal.
If you think Faux News takes this seriously,
Under the terms of the agreement, the Journal's managing editor has "authority over all news decisions," including "news coverage, length, placement and accompanying art" of stories. A Dow Jones spokesman said, "There is absolutely no suggestion from the special committee that the integrity of the Journal's reporting or of its reporters has been compromised in any way whatsoever."
The same kind of deal was reached when the London Times was sold to Murdoch and the upshot was predictable.
The London committee was supposed to have approval over the hiring and firing of the top editors, according to the newspapers' articles of association. But a year after buying the paper, Mr. Murdoch forced out the Times's editor, Harold Evans, igniting a controversy within media circles.
Whatever could the problem have been?
In recent months, Mr. Brauchli had pushed Journal editors for stories to be shorter and get to the point more quickly. At times, he portrayed this as his own initiative; at other times he said these were instructions from the new owners.

Since the News Corp. takeover, the paper has begun publishing more general-interest and political news, including on the front page, and added more news pages. But Rupert Murdoch, News Corp.'s chairman, was impatient with the pace of change, according to people close to the situation.
I'd guess this paper just wasn't getting trashy enough quickly enough. You can soon expect the boring stodgy accurate journalism of the WSJ to be replaced by its Editorial quality content and be no more than a distant memory. In the interests of accuracy, all block quotes are taken directly from WSJ's own reporting and I'd be willing to bet as favorable to itself as possible.

So who exactly is supposed to be the fan base for the Faux Business Channel? Nobody I've ever heard of - and yes - it is billed as a business channel, and generates tons of......derision. Welcome to Faux News Corp WSJ, if you want to keep your jobs you better learn to suck badly quickly.

Regarding Merkley and Novick

Folks, I am not going to engage in activities that suggest either candidate is not competent as a Senator nor unable to defeat Gordon Smith. If you want to make that case, you are welcome to, I don't happen to find it true. I gave Steve an endorsement on a very narrow basis, that of edginess and innovation. The questions Steve would have to address in a General are ones of organization and money, because Gordon has lots of both, they also are questions Jeff would have to face. What the DSCC does in the General is an open question, money and other support exists once it is in hand; before that it amounts to air.

Speaker of the Oregon House does not trump US Senator as experience, it is certainly something, but it is not an end all. Neither does successful EPA lawyer and State Halls insider trump US Senator, nor is it nothing. Trying to trump Gordon on experience is a losing game, he needs to be broken on the wheel of his votes and who he supports, politically and economically. That is the game.

Gordon's voting record is a matter of public record, the Oregonian could have referenced it at any time in the last series of elections, either they liked it or ignored it. Oregonians could have looked at it at any time, they didn't or didn't care. This is the challenge, to make the Oregonian care and to make Oregonians in general care. Eastern Oregon has not done well under George II nor under the policies Gordon has supported. Oregon is not the rest of the nation, but it is not totally different and Eastern Oregon is neither the rest of Oregon nor is it totally different. This is going to be a tough row to hoe whoever is the nominee; so some things that work some places may be misplaced as advantages in this race.

Neither candidate is going to sell themselves to Eastern Oregon as native sons, they're going to have to sell themselves as dedicated champions of the people of this area. First they have to get their attention and then they have to get to their guts and then their heads. The (D) is no advantage with anyone other than (D) and being ignored is fatal; and it is quite easy to be ignored. That's the first barrier, the second is emotional and breaching that barrier takes a bit of shock and a bit of reaching the heart. Getting through those barriers allows for the appeal to reason and intellectual measure of self-advantage. At this point in time the Republicans have created emotional barricades around themselves that have to be broken down, this has been the Democratic failure across time. Reason and numbers all show that this region voting Republican is voting against self-interest, and yet it does. Trying to square this fact with a traditional campaign strategy and behavior means something different must be done.

I've said I'd support and help to the extent of my abilities whomever is the nominee and I don't back away from that. But to make those efforts something other than an exercise in futility means what I've just pointed out needs to be taken into consideration. No I don't believe we can pull off any miracles out here, but anything approaching an even split would nearly guarantee an election - and what works out here works in other parts of the state.

I am going to say it again, some Democrat is going to go up against Gordon Smith and with two such honorable good candidates in the running, offending the other's supporters is poor thinking. There is absolutely no need for it, either candidate can stand on his own merits and need not have the competition cut down for him. But Gordon Smith isn't going to suffer from that kind of competition induced stupidity, should our Democrats?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Novick on Firearms

Statement on Firearms and the 2nd Amendment

Growing up in rural Oregon, I have a deep appreciation of the importance of firearm ownership for many Americans. It is my pledge as Oregon’s next senator to support sensible gun safety measures, while preserving the rights of lawful Americans to possess and use firearms. In addition, it is my pledge to always provide an open door for Oregonians to register their concerns and priorities and that pledge extends to all firearm owners.

Generally, I think that Clinton-era federal laws struck the right balance between the constitutional rights of firearm owners and concerns about public safety regarding the dangerous or illegal use of firearms. I believe that the Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights guarantees the right of individuals to own and use firearms. As I have said frequently on the campaign trail, progressives can’t pick and choose what part of the Constitution they support. If you stand up for the First, Fourth or Fifth Amendments, you need to stand up for the Second too.

My campaign is founded on upholding consistent principles and being honest with voters about the issues and choices we face as a nation. I know from personal experience that the vast majority of firearm owners are responsible, law-abiding citizens who pose no threat to others and regard guns as an important part of their daily life – either for protection or recreation. In my mind, it is also basic common sense to recognize that the realities of firearm ownership are very different for those living in rural communities to those living in our urban areas – yet absolutists on both sides of the issue fail to recognize this distinction. It is my commitment to offer sensible, fair representation of Oregonians when it comes to gun safety and gun rights issues in the Senate.

Unedited direct from Jake Weigler to "Chuck for..."

About Chuck for...

I've had occasion over the past week to tell folks that I'm unimpressed with the impact of this Blog on general terms and particularly regarding endorsements. This place seems to average 100-150 readers per day, and included in that number are the majority who come in for archived articles, most being gun reviews. Readers specific to this site or a recently published article seem to run in the 30s unless a large site links in.

Up in the top corner you'll see BNN Influential Oregon Blog rating, since that rating system has been in effect "Chuck for..." has spent quite a bit of time in the top 20, though I have no idea why. If you look at BNN to see what company I'm in, that is pretty flattering as well. In the last 60 days headline impressions from this Blog have been on a viewed article page 110,265 times on Reuters and the Chicago Sun Times 269 times. Since 8/14/07 the numbers are these: Reuters-271,084, USAToday-14,444, Chicago Sun Times-629, and some other smaller ones, in that time 14 separate articles have been picked up by major newspaper dot coms. Technorati gives the page a 45 rating or a ranking of 212,664th of all Blogs. Some blog friends link in from blog rolls and some have feed listings, all appreciated. But the end measure of all this big time "stuff" is that 30 some people think my nearly daily writing is worth time. A couple of that 30 some are from my own county.

I expect a spike in readership for a day or two with this most recent endorsement, and I can't tell you why that will happen. I don't know why it is suddenly important to know what I think about politics. Obviously I think it is important enough to keep writing about it and some editors take me seriously, but this place doesn't even begin to qualify as a "B list" blog. Since 3/14/08 Reuters has run Senator Clinton and the Democratic Party, Where Now? four separate times at the foot of articles with around 90,000 views, so they evidently think it is important. This kind of thing confuses the snot out of me. More confusing yet was an article I put together regarding problem solving, Asking Questions, which was no more than an exercise in seeing if I could write a readable article that reduced and an extensive conversation into a post, which was picked up by Reuters and appeared nearly 1,000 times and generated more post views/thousand than anything I've ever written. Frequent hits on archives or posts caused me to do some Google views and I was astonished how many gun articles are first page or even top 5 and many political posts follow the same pattern. There are some regular readers that are a little spooky, US Senate Sgt At Arms, US House Infosys, Pentagon; the State of Oregon doesn't spook, it's just flattering...actually the Fed is pretty flattering also.

If you can figure out these contradictions, feel free to set me straight because I have no idea what I'm doing right and wrong that makes these facts happen. I'm quite sure Sitemeter isn't absolutely accurate, but it should be a pretty good measure. Anyhow, for now I'm satisfied to write for a few dedicated "Chuck for..." folks.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

An Actual Senate Primary Endorsement

OK, despite my reluctance to do so and despite my lack of belief that what I have to say carries any weight what so ever, I'll endorse a Senate candidate. Before I get to that, I want to be clear that I'm alright with either candidate winning and I'll go distances to help the winner; all they have to do is ask. Oregon has a surfeit of riches in this campaign and that is why I've kept myself quiet.

Jeff Merkley is a personable, intelligent, and accomplished legislator and has good policy points. He is not Democratic Lite or any such adjective. He has put together a campaign and endorsement list that is enviable and he can beat a Gordon Smith. What Jeff is not, is a sharp edged innovative candidate. That in my mind is the only telling deficit in comparison with Steve Novick. And it is why I'm coming out on Steve's side in this tussle.

Partisans on both sides have had harsh things to say about each and a couple times the candidates have been a bit harsh, but on the candidate's end this has been pretty darn gentlemanly. Some of you unofficial partisans have shown an inability to shut up or to think about working with others, I don't hold you against the candidates, but you are doing harm within the Party and you need to think about it. There is no way that either of these men are not a vast improvement over Gordon Smith and discouraging the other's supporters from your's is stupid.

Steve Novick has shown from early age that nothing stops him, that he fights and he fights smart. I don't discount that sometimes his edginess gets the better of good judgement in a statement, but this will not be an issue with Gordon. The fake moderate guise Smith takes on every six years needs to be punctured and that done repeatedly. He needs to be taken to task in very real terms and not allowed to wriggle out of it. This is going to take a bit more than gentle handling and House decorum. Here's the nub of what I expect, I expect this fight to continue, to be taken right to the US Senate floor and a damn gauntlet thrown down in DC. I'm sick of business as usual and that is going to take a real hard nosed Senator. All of my affection for Jeff Merkley does not assure me of that, I don't think he is weak willed or a go along to get along sort, but I also do not see that hard edge that I see in Novick.

I have had a chance to spend personal time with both of these men and my admiration for both has not diminished over time. Steve gained a slight edge with me, then, that I've never publicly acknowledged in the interests of staying non-committal, but that edge has continued and gained ground. Much of this endorsement is emotion based, a feeling rather than hard facts. I'm alright with that because while the facts about Gordon are clear and available, there is also that emotional nonsense that he's played to appear a moderate. Without an emotional reason, many voters won't stop to look. Without an emotional content behind it, taking a fight to the Senate floor isn't going to happen.

The Comment section is open and is un-moderated and I won't interfere except in very extraordinary circumstances, but I also encourage you to take to heart the blurb in the Comments box. Have fun, I expect to get grief.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Rush Riot

Any time Rush Limbaugh gets caught out saying something stupid, rude, or outright lying he reminds us that he is an entertainer not a journalist. I will agree with him that he certainly is not a journalist, I'm also not too sure about entertainer. He is a rude loud lying sack of excrement but that doesn't seem to deter his listeners or those who seem to take him as seriously as he does himself. There really does come a point where even his "ditto-heads" might take exception and the media might take notice that he's run clean off the rails. Advocating voter fraud is one sort of thing, advocating civil disobedience is one sort of thing, advocating riot is a bit of another. It is, in fact, a felony in many states to incite to riot. It is a felony for a pretty good reason, people get hurt and things get destroyed.

In Chicago in 1968 there was rioting at the Democratic Convention, actually seems to have been a couple riots, a police riot and a protesters riot. The upshot, of course, was destruction of property, injured police and civilians, and a blasted Democratic Convention leading to a Democratic loss. Rush has announced that he thinks this is a very good thing to have in Denver. It is the desired end of his campaign to have Republicans sabotage the Democratic Primaries, the "dream." Cars burning and violence would mean a Republican win and that is all that counts.

As Rush says "That's what we're trying to do. You don't bring them together. We don't bring people together. That's not how this country works. We defeat our political adversaries so that they're in the minority." The object is to conquer, it is not to persuade or demonstrate legitimacy through the betterment of the nation it is simply to crush the opposition. I'm rather unsure that the citizenry of Denver would be pleased to have Rush's dream come true.

If one were to consider the Limbaughian Republican vision to be a functional one, it would begin to seem reasonable that with violence and destruction so integral perhaps the waging of war for political advantage would also seem reasonable. Rush certainly likes to draw distinctions:
We don't burn our cars. We don't burn down our houses. We don't kill our children. We don't do half the things the American left does. We need the American left -- and this is another great thing about Operation Chaos; nothing to do with my ego. We need as many ignorant Americans to wake up and find out exactly who the modern-day Democrat Party is as dominated by the far left in this country. We need that to be seen. Now, I am not inspiring or inciting riots. I'm dreaming. (singing to the tune of White Christmas) "I'm dreaming of riots in Denver."
Perhaps it is quite true that Republicans don't take to the streets, it seems they prefer bombing runs and artillery shelling in countries with third rate military forces. Rather than uproar in American streets Republicans send our kids out to kill and maim and to be killed and maimed. Once you reach the point of view of that a political opponent is so debased and contemptible and dangerous it is reasonable to take any action to defeat them. The truly dangerous and destructive component of Limbaugh's rhetoric isn't that people will riot because he wishes it, it is the creation of the enemy mindset and the rationalization that any means is called for to defeat that enemy. There is an inherent sickness in the concept that there are two Americas, evil Democrats and goodly Republicans, and war is joined. You can be sure that Rush wouldn't be among the first to fall, worm-like he'd burrow to safety, as previously.

Yes, when bullets flew for his generation child of privilege Rush found a debilitating condition to exempt him. Not for sake of principle did Rush stay home, a sore butt and a certain mind set... This is the pathetic doper who beats the war drums and advocates domestic civil strife, an addict who sends his house keeper to do his dirty work and thinks it's great your child is in Iraq - and George II is god's messenger. I don't take him the least seriously, what bothers me is some do - and not for yucks.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Hillary Wins In PA, What Changes?

Hillary has won Pennsylvania, ugly, but won with 10% roughly and that will certainly keep her in the Primary. She'll gain 15 delegates or so and gain around 200,000 in the general vote cutting Obama's lead to 150 delegates and 500,000 vote. North Carolina will probably pull Obama back nearly where he was, unless something collapses. Indiana looks real close at this time, perhaps essentially another push. Obama currently looks stronger in Montana and Oregon. My current guess is that by the time the Primary voting is done, we'll be about where we were yesterday, Obama ahead by about 165 delegates and 3/4 million votes, somewhere around 1% ahead.

There hasn't been any doubt for some time that this goes to the super delegates to decide. So what do they think now? I'd say they think, "let's wait and see." I'd be willing to bet that some of them are not too happy with the negative campaigning and all of them are tired of being pestered. Oregon's vote isn't for a month yet and I'm tired of it all. Being a political junkie I've paid too much attention to this for the past year and.

What this promises is to be ugly. To get a popular vote in the end of all this requires Hillary to count Florida, questionable to many and problematic with DNC people. Ugly is how Hillary has done it for the last few big states and since it seems to have worked, increasing both their negatives, she'll do it some more. This is problematic with some who don't like to see Democrats beating on each other over just stuff. Obama had two things blow up on him in the run up to Pennsylvania, Rev Wright and the San Francisco bitter statement, the question is whether they will resonate with voters. If no more "bitter" type statements are laying around to bite him, it probably has a shelf-life expiration. Rev Wright probably won't go away, he's too convenient a scarecrow, though the Clinton campaign has to be careful to "frame" it so it doesn't look racist. Hillary is a gold mine of harsh foreign policy statements, contradictions, and outright lies, Obama's problem remains that to mine that mess puts Barak into the same category with the things he's made a mantra of not being.

I guess in July we'll see what super delegates think of all this and let Democrats know what they're going to do with us.

Monday, April 21, 2008

PA Votes Tuesday, Finally

Thank god, these people are finally going to get to vote. I suppose Pennsylvania is a nice enough place and they do have a pretty large delegate count, but I'm a little tired of this hugely important, make or break, gigantimous contest. It seems as though the faux importance of a place and the time spent there generates an inordinate amount of ... I'll catch hell for this ... stupidity. Maybe all this pre-primary run up took care of all the issues, covered all the bases, the candidates got to show they were smart and dedicated and it's all worn out now. Now we need flag pins and shots, little girls with duck guns and bitter, who whined the most, and who said the stupidest thing behind closed doors, and finally is that a bird or an itch. For pete's sake, please vote Pennsylvania, I can't take much more of the media taking this crap seriously. I know, there are other states and lots more opportunities, but the damn scenery will change.

If I hear another candidate's supporter threaten to support McCain in the face of the other winning the Primary, I think I'll puke. Two Democrats are running against each other, Democrats and somehow John, 4 more years, McCain comes into the question? I don't care if I find out that Hillary actually did bite the head off that rat, I'll vote for her. John McCain is a hard core Republican and that's really fine if that is where you're at and where you want to go. You cannot support either Hillary or Barack and pretend that John McCain speaks to you. This enters the realm of absolute fantasy.

For some unknown reason these two have started talking about guns and trying to get their owners to think they're cool. Hillary fired a shot gun as a little girl and what...continuously made the most atrocious statements regarding firearms? The only Second Amendment friendly statement Barack has ever made was that it reads as an individual right. What kind of morons do they take us for? I'll vote for them despite not because of what they believe about firearms because the Republican alternative is too horrid to contemplate. If they become absolute morons on the question then we'll be back in court, again. Please quit insulting me, that's all.

Without changing scenery the newscasters get bored and have to start making something out of nothing. Bored newscasters are dangerous, it's not that they use the unfilled time to start thinking and looking things in depth, they fill with nothing and call it issues. Elevating nonsense to national prominence devalues the entire process and turns candidates into caricatures of themselves. It has reached the point where I find the news from Comedy Central's Daily Show or Colbert Show about as relevant as the major media news.

I realize that it is vastly interesting to watch two ambitious powerful people battle it our in public. It is particularly interesting that we people are their judges, jury, and in one case executioner. Someone's ambitions are going to be thwarted and someone's rewarded; so media attraction is guaranteed. Funny thing though, there is still a lot of importance going on in the world and it matters a whole lot more than lapel pins and shots of Crown Royal. Thank you Pennsylvania for the entertainment, but can we now please move on...

Friday, April 18, 2008

Elitists and Clinging, C'mon

Some things accuracy get very mangled in translation from brains to mouth to media to public, and I'd like to address what I see as real and not who said what. There is a part of America that has not only not done well over the last 20 years it has been trampled. There is the very simple matter that economic forces trump hard work and a large number of hard workers have been very trumped. The economic forces that have kicked the blue collar worker so hard are out of those workers' reach and control. This is important, these folks get up and go to work and work hard and that's what they have control over. For the most part they go to work just to underpaid and devalued by a large number of people and they know it. They can see who thrives while they do not and they have no say in the matter.

In any one's life there are pieces of it that they do have control over and most of us know exactly what they are - we can choose to ignore it. The list contains some things that have recently been in the news, religion, guns, regard of others. These things are seen as being in personal control, no one is allowed to interfere in your choice of religion, the government cannot do anything about your...Catholicism or... No matter what forces are at work that choice remains personal and there are prerogatives that go with it. Your religion gives you a moral standing (that includes lack of religion), an ethical validation and an importance in the scheme of things. Your economic standing may be going in the toilet but you have shown an ability bring to bear influence in that regard with the powerful. The actuality of that influence could be debated, but it is perceived to exist and that is the issue. Contrasting personal helplessness in economics with apparent influence increases the import of exercising that influence, success validates it.

Firearms and the Second Amendment have bit more mixed issue of control. You choose to buy the firearm you choose, an issue of personal control. The outcomes of ownership are in your control, hunting an animal, putting a hole in a target, or defense of your self are all matters pertaining to control of one's own life. Finally there is an issue that surpasses in some regard control, an issue of equal standing - I am an armed citizen, your equal and a dangerous force in the face of your advantages. It is the ultimate enforcer of rights. A firearm becomes a concrete symbol of equality, unlike the words of law it can be touched, it has weight, and it stands ready at choice.

Questions of 'otherness' can vary by regions but there is good evidence that it is strongly linked to economics. People who find themselves in competition with some one new tend to be displeased. If you add economic suffering into that equation the blame tends to fall on the most handy and concrete example. Many groups have suffered from such displeasure over our history and common language and skin color were no bars to it, though obvious differences make that differentiation easier. If an unfair advantage is seen to be conferred on the 'other' the displeasure is increased. If a fall in wages or an increase in difficulty in obtaining a job can be attributed to the other, an explosive mixture is created.

It is important to note that increases in stress on any group with little power exacerbates these tendencies. The sense of powerlessness and disregard bring people together in groups to face down specific issues or support specific causes. Increased pressure on gun owners, both economically and legally brings them together in support of their piece of the puzzle. They will disregard other factors to protect their interest, whether Republicans have any of their interests at heart, promising to leave guns alone will suffice. Practicing the politics of division works to win elections, it also works to leave the very people we are discussing unprotected and more distressed. It could easily be a method of perpetuating the very issues that so stress the bottom half of the economy. Now that might be an interesting concept, divide and conquer?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Debate - Blood In The Water?

This isn't a live blog of the "debate" since by the time this is in front of my eyes it is over. I'll be at the 'time' for awhile, then I'll look at it. This thing is a mess. Obama keeps trying to keep the focus on something other than personal attacks, Hillary isn't exactly going along with the program. It is only a minor exaggeration to say that if Barack has met you, he's responsible for you. Hillary is working this one and by virtue of Obama not going on that line she gets a pass on her junk. If Obama goes there he's violating the tenor of his campaign.

He did a bit of a hit back on Hillary's prodding on his connection to Ayres of the Weather Underground, he pointed out that Bill pardoned two members and that was a bit more significant. The questioning on that line stopped. Something fairly evident is that so far (50 minutes in) this is not tilted in Obama's favor, seems a bit the other way, actually.

The thing has finally moved on to something other than person, now Iraq. Both have committed to a 16 month withdrawal. Barack's answer was a bit more developed than Hillary's in regard to relations between the President and the military but little difference. Obama will talk to the Iranian President she won't.

Taxes, Obama not only won't raise taxes he'll give breaks starting at $75K, Hillary won't raise them. Obama has said we need to look at capital gains taxes, he pointed out that the top 50 hedge fund managers made about $30 billion and paid 15% capital gains, a lower tax rate than their secretaries. Charlie Gibson is playing to the right, consistently. Social Security is turning into a hot button and Charlie doesn't like it. Hillary points to the Reagan/O'Neil SS commission as having come up with the smartest position, it did advocate raising the retirement age and the cap, so called on that by Obama immediately back pedalled.

Gibson wants to talk about guns, both of you have supported strong gun control. Why not now? Hillary: mayor Nutter (Philly) cops, assault weapon ban - cops out gunned because of ban lapse. Fed tracking of illegal guns. She will bridge the divide, give people the feeling and reality that they're protected. Obama just reiterated 2nd as an individual right, but compared constraints to zoning ordinances. He says common sense can be used to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and mentally imbalanced. Does Hillary support DC ban? Hillary supports NYC. Now you know.

Obama, affirmative action, needs to take into account the entire picture, ex. his children shouldn't benefit. Wants to see all children have access to their dreams. Hillary early ed, get rid of No Child, letting people live up to potential.

Gas? Hillary, investigate prices - traders, no more into strategic reserve maybe let some out, windfall taxes, long term energy. Obama, similar to Clinton, fuel efficiency raises, $150 billion over 10yrs on energy.

Use previous Pres Hillary, how GWB? I'd have to think about it, they count. Obama, former important to have advice, he likes the current's father better. GWB has fed divisions.

Pledged delegates and supers? How do you make the case?
Hillary, we need a fighter, take away 50Bil giveaways and take aways and send it to middle. I have a track record. I'm ready to be CiC, take econ back. PA voters.
Obama, point of history, people all parties lost faith in gov, for no spin and PR, change from bottom up not top down, PAC and special interests don't get. His campaign has brought people in, is vital to create new coalition of voters.

The first hour was spent on personal attacks and the second on policy, Hillary looks better and sounds better on policy than attack mode. Obama trumped her on policy, despite her reputation as a policy wonk. Gibson came into this from the right point of view and attempted pretty hard to make Republican points and stir trouble. Stephanopolis barely exposed a Clinton bias in his performance towards the end. ABC in the persons of Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopolis went to great lengths to put blood in the water. Hillary worked hard to meet that end.

In the end this won't change any supporter's points of view, the messianic thinkers will sanctify their candidate and demonize the opponent, and the rational ones will simply be validated in their choice. The undecided voters will have been treated to two different approaches, Hillary is in the attack mode - bring Obama down - not bring Hillary up and Obama was in the 'unity' mode, deflect and defend attacks while gently calling out Hillary's contradictions and leaving obvious attacks he could make unmade. For uninformed little to be made of it, for those with much of any awareness the unmade attacks hung in the air, known from the news coverage and untouched by Obama. There is a huge difference, Hillary appeared harsh and reaching and Obama unruffled in the face of her and the moderators, a sharp tone only in reference to Politics As Usual.

I'm not from PA and I'm not undecided, but I'm also a moderate Obama supporter so I feel I may be seeing something here. This will not help Hillary's negatives, it will in fact worsen them. The Bosnia bullshit hangs there stinking and Obama doesn't touch it, Hillary attacks on the thinnest crap. The contrast is remarkable and obvious. Worse for Hillary is the appearance the super delegates will take from this, it looks desperate and it looks divisive and destructive. To make an appeal to the supers the thing is to look confident and strong, the Party's best hope and that is not accomplished with nonsensical attacks or desperation. The policy lines between them are slim, most definable in foreign policy techniques, there is little to be gained beyond authenticity although it was amateurish for Clinton to get caught out on a basic detail regarding Social Security. This might draw some to Obama, it was a good performance for him, at any rate it won't hurt him with anyone who might vote for him, I don't believe it did Hillary any good and may have done harm. I don't think it was a draw, a meager Obama win, what is doubtful is the effect.

Obama Would Investigate White House

In an interview with Will Bunch at Barack Obama said he would investigate the previous administration if there was evidence of criminal behavior. It was a cautious answer, noting that he would not want his actions to be symptomatic of a political witch hunt.

So this is an area where I would want to exercise judgment -- I would want to find out directly from my Attorney General -- having pursued, having looked at what's out there right now -- are there possibilities of genuine crimes as opposed to really bad policies. And I think it's important-- one of the things we've got to figure out in our political culture generally is distinguishing between really dumb policies and policies that rise to the level of criminal activity.

I am quoting lightly, the article is Bunch's and I have no desire to step on his work. This quote is pulled from the middle of a longer quote with much more content. I encourage you to go there for the entire article.

Obviously my strong concerns for the Bill of Rights and other protections within the Constitution generate some enthusiasm for this outlook. While I am sure that some of the laws passed by the Republican Congress leave a fair amount of wiggle room for the thugs of this administration, there has been quite a bit of wiggling going on. I have little doubt there is dirt laying around. Some have proposed that George II would pardon everybody - including himself - there is a problem with that idea. Self-serving pardons are considered void.

What I found of particular interest was the comments section - it made me really thankful for my comments section participants. There were essentially three points of view, the obvious one being those in favor of the idea and two either against or scoffing at it ever happening. The negative view seemed to break down into two camps: whatever was done for security was justified and the nothing bad ever happened - it's a librul plot against St George. I found the scoffers most interesting: a segment that held that nothing would ever be done to the powerful and the Obama is a liar segment. These are two distinctly different groups, one holding that the nature of power is such that it just won't happen and one which puts the lack of likelihood on Obama in particular. The latter were or seemed to be Hillary people.

Of the anti-camp all I can manage is puzzlement, were the laws violated ones involving say dealing pot they'd be falling all over themselves to hang the bastards (OK, I suppose blowjobs are included) but sainted George II is somehow too good to be pursued (and by extension any of his cronies). Any suggestion that they wouldn't want it done to their children is turned on its head as hate of Americans - somehow the evil left is suggesting it should be done to Americans . The others seem not to have any awareness of the news world beyond the fact that libruls are questioning some imaginary events. I am not talking about a question of whether there is question of legal cover, these things simply never happened. Here's the rub, this group was apparently able to read the article and type comments so they are literate.

I completely understand the sentiment that says nothing bad will happen to the wielders of power, I haven't exactly noticed it being prevalent in our society, either. It is not that I find such malfeasance inevitable, it is mostly the strength of character and will required is rare in such circles. The constant struggle to get votes and financing and pass legislation involves a lot of compromising and it assuredly gets pretty easy to have flexibility slide into spinelessness and weathervane ethics. You will please note that I am not using this brush to tar wide swathes of elected officials, such is not my assertion. Wealth and power confer huge advantages on people in conflict with the legal system.

The Obama deniers I have a bit more trouble with and I'm lukewarm on the guy. I have found no evidence that he is particularly ethically or morally challenged and yet there is an assumption that everything the man says is a lie. I'd be the last to assert that any politician doesn't exaggerate some or put the very best light on something questionable, but this requires a nearly pathological liar. How exactly Hillary and Bill getting caught out on absolute prevarications transfers to Obama I'm not sure. Evidently one's opponent must be Satan for being the opponent. This crap is going to cause real trouble in the General election - what strikes me is that it is so...Republican.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Some Friends Of Mine

...really don't think much of the junior Senator from NY. John Brown comes very near to blowing a gasket about the Hillary campaign and the PoliticalCat is real unhappy to have Hillary going off on a "bitterness" tangent. I'm not going to accuse my pals of excess, but they are pretty pissed off. If Hillary is pretty far down your list of favorite people you'll probably enjoy, go see 'em.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Hillary and Elites and Guns And Stuff

Oh for crying out loud. I'll even admit it, I own guns and I don't own them because I'm bitter. I'll even admit that making attempts to screw with that really pisses me off, and that has nothing to do with being bitter. What George W Bush has done to this country pisses me off, feeling like I have to apologize for my country does make me bitter. There you go, I'm bitter. Funny, it still has nothing to do with guns. I'll admit that George II's shenanigans make the Second Amendment seem a bit more relevant regarding my relationship with my government.

There is a funny thing about people being placed under pressure by people and events outside their control, they become a bit more attached to the things under their control. The things happening with the economy are more than a little bit outside the control of an average American, much less a blue collar American. As conditions worsen that lack of control becomes more evident to those suffering and they react more seriously. These folks have control over where they worship and over their firearms. They can go to exactly what version of religion they chose for their own reasons and everybody else can go hang, it is theirs. That firearm is not only something they can aim and place a bullet where they chose it is also a symbol of their freedom, their equality with those who run the show. If the upshot of the actions of the buttheads running the show is to screw my life to the wall, I'm going to hang onto the pieces I run. Damn, maybe the statement was accurate and its truth holds the absolute crap that passes as concern for the citizens for the past 40 years.

Blue collar wages sag for decades and two things are evident, corporations making lots of money bail on my job and when I look around other jobs are filled illegally and those wages are falling faster and maybe I don't like it one damn bit and I say so. Loudly. I play by the damn rules set up for somebody else's benefit and you reward the rule breakers and I don't like it and saying I might not is somehow bullshit? Now maybe I've put it a tad more bluntly than Obama did, but I'm not saying anything that he didn't point out. If you refuse to recognize this stuff you're going to make stupid mistakes. Like maybe chasing shots with beer and bragging up shooting a shotgun with a record that horrifies gun owners.

With a wealthy textile manufacturer father who could afford to send his daughter to Wellsley, an Ivy League college, and a life in government mansions and then millionaire homes of their own one would be forgiven if a connection to the blue collar might be questioned. It might be questioned in the face of a man raised by a single mother to also attend an Ivy League school, not on the back of wealth but achievement in scholarship. A candidate's inept use of language is fair game, a statement is a statement to be taken advantage of. There is in this a cautionary note, advancing your own cause is not the same as taking a candidate down. It is a real problem if the end result is to make both candidates less attractive since there is another election to follow. In this case the candidate attempting to take advantage of the situation is subject to so much question on the issue that the probable outcome is to devalue both.

This is the biggest problem I have with the Clinton campaign, their tone-deafness in this regard. I am entirely uncertain that they flatly don't care who is hurt, that somehow seems a bit Machiavellian even for them. It would seem unreasonable to think were it not for the fact that my voice in this regard is only one of many more well regarded and influential. At some point this Primary will be decided and the nominee will have to deal with John McCain and the Republican attack machine.

The idea that either of these candidates is a friend to gun owners is ludicrous, these are not friends, at best they are tolerable opponents. Obama has stated that he views the Second Amendment as an individual right, not a stretch considering the historical record but the rest of his record is not reassuring. Hillary can claim to have learned to shoot a shotgun as a child but given her record and advocacy she would have been better served to simply keep her trap shut. No aware firearm owner is going to find her agenda acceptable, and rubbing their nose in it is self-defeating. Leaving that issue entirely alone doesn't ignite a firestorm, but she's already managed to call for the reintroduction of the assault weapon ban and that is going to fire up opposition. NYC may not find her agenda so insulting as to vote against its own economic interests, but that is not the case of much of the country.

The Democratic Primary should really be about removing George W Bush and all his ilk from power and influence in this country. The damage they have done to the fabric of this nation should be the over riding agenda, it should drive every aspect of the Primary and it is not. The Republicans have shown the lengths they are willing to go to for the sake of winning, the Democrats really ought to be able to demonstrate the restraint they are capable of for the good of the nation. I'm not going to hold my breath.

Hillary Wishes She Could Say

I don't mind politics, I engage in it, but I do get a bit twisted by out and out nonsense. Politico runs a story "What Clinton Wishes She Could Say" that asserts that the Clinton campaign regards Obama as a trainwreck as a nominee and she is trying to save Democrats from themselves because of all the things she can't say in a Democratic Primary and Republicans will say. There certainly is a reservoir of Republican 527 attacks that haven't been made against Obama. What is entirely neglected is the Hillary/Bill reservoir.

I'm not going to do their work for them. I will point to the Republican extra-electoral campaigns against them during the 90s and to Hillary's record since and let you do your own calculations. The two defences that Hillary has that Obama does not is that she is white and female. The Muslim thing is meaningless in regard to anyone who would vote Democratic. Hillary can set a narrative that the Republicans can use her own words to validate later, what she says is public record and quite available for use in a 527 campaign or even a McCain ad. Her campaign would be well served to remember this as they move on in the Democratic campaign.

I'll be even more frank, neither of these two should talk about guns. Obama has made it clear that his analysis is that the 2nd Amendment is an individual right, OK, say that and shut up. For Hillary to go anywhere near that topic with her record is completely stupid. The chances of that being something that will be missed by anyone who cares in the least about the Second Amendment is vanishingly small. STFU.

Neither candidate is going to be free of attacks from the Republican attack machine. Hillary's negative numbers are what they are and Obama's are what they are and they are not the the same - hers trump. I cannot begin to see what advantage her campaign imagines they gain by bringing up Republican attack ads. I stick entirely to facts and don't exaggerate them and I have little difficulty posing problems for her, serious problems, with anyone who is not totally committed to her. They get angry with me, but they cannot debunk.

For anyone, Politico, to propose that the super delegates (gads I that term) are unaware of Clintonian baggage versus Obama's is ludicrous. These are actual dedicated political people. Their backgrounds make clear that they will look closely at political calculations of strength and weakness and do so with fairly clear eyes. This is not a "wish" that is frustrated, the supers already know, this is a 'leak' for effect. She doesn't wish she could say, she's said it sufficiently through her leakages of supposedly private concerns. If Politico, for pete's sake, runs it out it is out there and not accidentally.

So what? Really quite seriously, this is some kind of story that gets these hacks onto television? I realize that my two bit blog calling Politico hacks might seem a bit uppity, but damn. This mess, honestly, generated just short of 2200 comments. My entire output for a week doesn't get that many readers, and frankly, if I had to that stupid to get them I'd rather not. I'll leave truly stupid to those guys and feel grateful for my readership's quality.

DPO Platform Convention Platform

The Democratic Party of Oregon met this weekend to put together its 2008 Platform. The document is broken into three parts:

Platform and Planks - general statements of the philosophy of the DPO
Legislative Agenda Items - specific legislative goals attached to planks
Statements of Democratic Principle - the specific principles informing the legislative agenda

The Platform and Planks was approved in record time, this reflects the hard work of the Platform and Resolutions Committee headed by Leo Schulman and their ability to fold interested parties into the process preceding the convention. It also shows the wisdom of breaking the document into separate pieces, keeping specific agendas out of the general philosophy retains that character and allows for the more hot button issues to be addressed separately in more compact forums.

The Legislative and Principles sections were addressed in individual breakout sessions allowing a concentration of interested parties who were required to register for two sessions. Items were amended, edited, or added in those sessions prior to being voted upon by the convention. This in general also moved along smoothly. The results will be available on Democratic Party of Oregon in about 3 weeks.

It may seem odd that I keep stressing the smoothness of the Convention; this is actually quite a big deal. Platforms are considered the guts of the Party and anytime activists are dealing with the basic statement of a party there is a large opportunity for dissension. How this is dealt with says a great deal about the party and has large impact on its ability to function well. It is wise to remember that the primary goal of the DPO is to elect Democratic officials and support Democratic ideals. It is not the purpose of the DPO to write legislation.

The Democratic Party proposes to be an inclusive Party, that is to represent a broad range of individuals' interests. Anytime such a thing is proposed there will be conflicts of interest which need to be ironed out. Because an organization like DPO is composed of the activist elements of these interests, there will be strong feelings and strong commitments to those interests. It is the goal of a Platform to unite those interests. I am happy to report that this Convention succeeded.

I am known within the organization as a plain speaker and one who sticks to principles while attempting to work with others. I'm also pretty easy to find in a crowd. I am a lightning rod for complaints. I didn't experience anything of note. In a contentious Primary season this is something for the DPO to be proud of and to take home to their County Parties and voters with confidence.

Out Here

I left Eugene, OR for Baker City on OR126 which turned into OR26 and then I picked up OR7 to Baker City. These roads run across the center of Oregon and are one of two main routes, a trip of 340 miles. Scattered along the route are towns of several thousand, but none of any particular size to city folks. There aren't many places in this nation you could drive 340 mile through so little population.

As I drove along I got to thinking how few cars I was seeing as I drove along, so after I reached a certain point that I thought was meaningful, a place called Prairie City at 7:30 PM Sunday which is 70 miles from Baker City on OR26. I counted the cars I met over that last 70 miles, all ten of them. Of that ten 3 were within 2 miles of Baker City and there was at least a 35 mile gap in which I met no cars.

It gets pretty lonely out here, if crowds are your thing. It would get very lonely if you were to have bad problems on the road. This was pretty decent weather, low 50s light overcast spring day and clear pavement and pretty much nobody else on the road. There is no cell reception so a 35 mile gap means it would be at least a half hour before somebody had a chance to see you standing beside the road. If that sounds a tad lonely there is this consideration, for over 2/3 of that 70 mile distance if your car was to go about 40 feet off the road it would be essentially invisible at night and pretty unnoticeable during the day.

This is - out here. You are no longer there, you are out here. Nothing is close by. If you have a problem you have you to count on. If you are going to drive out here it would be a good idea to know what is in your trunk and that should be the things you'd need to survive for awhile on your own. This is really nice country to visit and a great place to live if you can put up with some things, but it is a really bad idea to get stupid...out here.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Asking Questions

I had a conversation with a lady tonight who asked me a question which startled me and actually distressed me, "What should I do with my life?" It was asked of a stranger, a person not personally involved but with a certain reputation for thoughtfulness and forthrightness. I was startled and distressed because the person who asked was obviously intelligent, articulate, and well educated - a person I would ordinarily expect to have a pretty good idea of an answer. I expressed my surprise and we talked. The question was asked quite seriously and what became evident was that a couple pieces of the puzzle were missing.

When we are faced with a puzzle some things are very important to its solution. First is what is the measuring stick, who is the questioner and how do they measure things. This may seem odd, but we cannot ask meaningful questions if we do not understand the basis of the questions, which is the questioner. I cannot meaningfully ask what I should do if I do not know who I am, who is asking it. I need to have an honest assessment of who I am and that requires the work of finding that out. I cannot see the world I wish to ask about if I don't know what my perception is based on and perception creates our experience of reality and reality counts - hugely.

If we've set ourselves up to know how we're asking a question we start to get into a position to know what question to ask. What question to ask is not as simple as it seems at first blush, to exaggerate it would be entirely pointless for me to ask how I, a fiftyish smaller man, can become a professional football linebacker. Wrong question. If I ask myself what I consider to be a desired outcome in the very large measure and come up with an answer, I may have an unattainable goal, but that is only the starting point. It sets a direction. That large element is composed of smaller pieces and those of smaller pieces. At some point of reduction a point is reached where the questions yield achievable ends. The system of reducing the scale allows the asking of meaningful questions.

Knowing why and who is asking the question and then moving the questions into more manageable scales results in the asking of the correct question because both the reason for the question and the goal of the question have moved into a definable arena. If we want answers that are meaningful we must have a scale we can deal with to give us directions.

Much of the failure of policy over the past couple decades has not been a failure of morality, it has been a failure to know what coloring the questioner was laying on reality and then asking questions that did not reflect reality or ends of attainable goals. This is a matter of ignoring too many pieces of reality. It matters if a person of extreme wealth is asking a question of tax policy that is aimed at the GDP thinking it will have something to do with American's quality of life, that question completely ignores any other aspect of tax policy.

Not understanding the questioner's lens and asking the wrong questions has left us in Iraq with no WMDs, and a very large laundry list of other failings. It doesn't work in personal life and it doesn't work in business and it doesn't work in politics. We keep getting examples and I keep wondering why we keep doing it. It is understandable to start to wonder at age 30+ what the heck is my direction, it is not understandable to run a country this way.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

"Chuck for" on the Road - Democratic Platform Convention

I'm in the Hilton in Eugene, Oregon for the Democratic Party of Oregon's Platform Convention. I'll have some actual duties to fulfill but hopefully enough time to give my readers a sense of what is going on.

Chelsea Clinton is supposed to address us Saturday afternoon I'll go. I'll go because it's a short elevator ride and I've already paid for the dinner. I can't think of what a 28 year old investment banker daughter of an ex-President could possibly have to say to me, even if I didn't dislike her mother intensely as a candidate. We're Democrats so I won't ask her any uncomfortable questions, in fact I'll just keep my trap shut.

Somebody from the Obama camp will be around Friday night, I'll go. Congressman Abercromie (D-HI)

This laptop is a battery killer and Hilton's wireless broadband is an expensive pain in the butt. We'll see how this goes.
***Edited for date corrections***


I've heard the word "win" used a lot lately by Republicans regarding Iraq. They use the word as though the conflict was a football game. Win. The problem is that winning a football game has a well defined process. Chances are that they mean something a little different in respect to a war, maybe they have in mind something like WWII. We made win pretty clear in that conflict, Unconditional Surrender. Unconditional Surrender. The meaning was pretty clear, you stop all opposition and we'll stop killing you and blowing up your stuff. To be clear, we blew stuff up and killed them very thoroughly and made the alternative pretty attractive. We engaged in terror on a large and effective scale and made it pay off. Oh, stop the bullshit, take a look at the pictures of German or Japanese cities immediately post war and try to tell me that was not an application of terror. Apparently we're nicer, now-a-days.

Taking the WWII model means that all Al Qaeda are either dead or out of Iraq. It means that all the militias stop shooting at and blowing us up. It means that the criminals stop hiding their actions behind resistance. (I mean criminals, extortionists, thieves, kidnappers, etc - criminals) This seems pretty unlikely, unreasonable, oh heck, extremely far fetched.

Al Qaeda seems able to get into Iraq pretty much at will and nothing shows that Al Qaeda is shrinking, on the contrary they seem to be successfully recruiting. There seems to be little we could possibly do in Iraq that would dissuade Afghanistan/Pakistan Al Qaeda from continuing. Saudi Arabia and Syria seem to provide plenty of avenues and applicants for the job. Turning Iraq into a sea of glass would do nothing in that respect.

The militias in Iraq have their agendas, the Sunnis seem to have reached accommodation with the idea that the Saddam days are over, being a despised and oppressed minority doesn't seem to be in their plans, however. The Shiite militias have all sorts of agendas. The Sadrists seem to want us out, mainly, amongst other aims. Other militias seem to be driven most by power concerns. These people are either going to have to be disarmed or persuaded to stop. The Sadrists figure violent opposition to the US presence is entirely reasonable, so either you kill them or persuade them to knock it off until we leave (McSame's 100 years?). Killing them gets difficult without blowing Sadr City to pieces along with Basra. Sadr City is a bunch of poverty in one place (that's saying something in Iraq) and blowing it up would look bad. Basra is a very big piece of the oil infrastructure and that would work how for the oil drenched Republicans?

Criminals are criminals and they will do what they please to do. Covering themselves with something other than simple criminal motives works, they have no reason to do otherwise.

The place is awash with weapons and ammunition and particularly willingness to use them. Weaponry is not really a problem in itself, it is the willingness to use it for violent ends that is a problem. You can make people afraid to use weapons or willing to forgo their use. Scaring them means real force, by us and their own neighbors. That means making it very dangerous to be in any way involved with using force against us. The only other means is persuasion and what tools do we have in that regard?

The Iraqis might stop killing each other, but we are not going to force them to stop. We can't kill enough of them or blow up enough of their stuff to make up for the resentment recruitment factor. They will stop when they get tired of it. They will stop when the possible gains from violence are outweighed by the pain of its continuation. We make the continuation possible by damping down the levels of violence to just miserable rather than horrid. The Republican Party of Personal Responsibility cannot seem to get this - it only applies to poor Americans.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Who Exactly Is Taylor Marsh?

Apparently Hillary shill Taylor Marsh is who she claims to be, sort of. Kind of like the candidate she espouses she makes mountains out of molehills, sufficiently to be paid attention to. John Brown over at Prepare Yourselves For A Settlement took a looksee for himself. Curiosity got the better of him when she started showing up all over the place. It wasn't her writing or her thinking that prompted it, he finds her as tiresome as I do, but she just showed up and that's odd.

There is a queer sort of confluence between Hillary's Bosnia stuff and Taylor's claims, the sort of thing that goes with Hillary was in Bosnia and there was an airport... Go check the pseudonymous John out for the details. I don't even care that much about Taylor, but I enjoyed his writing. He's the newest addition to the Blogroll.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

No Messiahs

I read the news, read the blogs, read the polls and one thing I've found is that there is a serious complex going around. It is the messianic complex, generally one that afflicts someone in a leadership position, in this case it is the supporters who have it. It is one of the most ludicrous of afflictions to befall people in an era in which so much information is available. My candidate/leader can do no wrong and any criticism is 'the devil's work.' Let us try on some reality: George W Bush, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama are politicians. These people have managed to thrive in what can best be described as a flawed system. They happen to have the additional flaw of being human beings in a stressful occupation.

Hillary Clinton has told out and out lies, Barack Obama has at the least exaggerated rather heavily, John McCain doesn't seem to know what is going on, and George Bush is, well, George W Bush. You see these people as something other than flawed humans at the very real risk of huge disappointment and possibly worse supporting their blunders by virtue of their identity. Since this blog doesn't have great right wing traffic I will take the 'safer' course of using George II and his 28% as an object lesson. Despite lies, distortions, blunders, blood and wasted treasure these people can see no wrong. If this support base disappeared George II would be truly alone and might even have second thoughts. If you cannot see that blind adherence to a person is faulty thinking and probably destructive to our body politic, you have lost your mind. By the same measure, there are supporters who cannot see that their opponent is not the devil incarnate. I do not like Hillary Clinton and I particularly do not like the idea of her as President, but by no stretch of imagination do I find her as offensive to me as John McCain and he is not as bad as the current occupant, not quite.

This messianic thinking leads to insults and hurt feelings amongst people who will later need to cooperate. The close advisers and staff of these candidates do not engage in such thinking. They may be loyal to a fault, they may repeat dubious talking points, but they do not mistake their candidate for the messiah. I am not talking about advocacy, I am talking about blind hostile protectiveness and vile attacks.

I admit to being no more than a lukewarm Obama supporter and a rather warm Clinton opponent, but I base these positions on verifiable facts. I don't let an "as far as I know" interjection following several clear statements color my view. I don't let scurrilous emails color my views. I do let 40 years of paying close attention to politics and social conditions influence me. I have not learned that playing dirty is the only way to succeed, but I have learned that it can pay off in the short term at least. I have learned that there is an art in compromise, one that frequently leaves very ardent supporters disappointed, but has the virtue of accomplishing at least part of an aim rather than none of it. I have learned that creating enemies is foolishness and self defeating and yet quite common. I have learned to expect people to fail, and to forgive them for the occasional failure. Finally, I have learned that the only person who is going to completely agree with me, is me (and I'm not sure of that at times).

Duh Moments

John McSame cannot get straight who Al Qaeda is regarding Shia, Sunnis, and Iran and is insistent that Iran is our enemy. We are going to win or lose the war in Iraq and the Democrats will assure our defeat with reckless lack of responsible leadership. Hey John, Al Qaeda is Sunni, Iran is Shia, Iraq is majority Shia and by the way, we won this thing 4 years ago. Try to pull your senile old mind together, Iraqi army destroyed, no WMDs, Saddam toppled, all BushCo's military agendas accomplished, four years ago. Now the fact that you keep moving the goal posts has nothing to do with what you said was the goal at the time. YOU said, old man.

More duhs, mine this time. I was getting ready for some business meetings when the Petraeus hearings were going on, I had time for a bit of it and I did get to see Hillary ask intelligent questions make important points and, of course, see John McSame kiss butts. What got me stuck for awhile was Sen. Norm Coleman confusing me with a series of questions that left me wondering what was going on. My memory at the moment was stuck on this guy being one of the real hawks at the outset of George II's inclinations to invade Iraq. The questions seemed to be a pleading for some happy answers and not getting them. I was stuck, what is this? Later, thanks to Dan Abhams, the light, named Al Franken. Norm is running against Al, funny guy politico turned serious Senatorial candidate. Norm was looking for something to take home to Minnesota and wasn't getting it. Stay the course wasn't what he wanted, but it sure was what he got.

The real duh moment belongs to the media. What gave these people the idea that Senatorial hearings were moments to be Presidential? The answers were predictable and predictably evasive and those questioned were a 4 star General and a ranking Ambassador. Using these two as political targets is incredibly dangerous - that is why they're there and not George II who belongs there. He gets to hide behind someone's uniform and service. The only candidate able to use this to any advantage was John McSame who kissed butt adequately. If that is an advantage with anyone sane...

Stay The Course

Defining moments, missions accomplished, success, victory, bullshit. You expected what? Something, anything to be said that amounted to more than the BushCo mantra? Why would you think such a thing? The people sitting in front of Military and Foreign Relations Committees today were Gen Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker, two Bush shills with a Bush line to sell, or rather parrot. The line no longer sells with much more than the 28% Bush dead-enders, 61% of Americans now prefer a timeline for exit from Iraq.

John McCain got to fawn over the BushCo doctrine and once again confuse Shia and Sunni and relations with Al Qaeda. Hillary got the chance to point out that the BushCo agreement about continuation of forces would be in front of the Iraqi Parliament and not the US Congress. Barack managed to try to get the pair to acknowledge that there is no exit strategy or achievable end. In the end it was the same story, we're doing this - suck it up. We're staying the course.


The appellation of warmonger was applied to John McSame the other day by a radio host doing a warm up for Barack Obama, creating a storm of criticism. I decided that rather than just going off on a partisan rant or some such I'd consult an expert - of sorts. Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary has this to say, in full:
war.mon.ger n. (1590) one who urges or attempts to stir up war
Now I have no particular use for John's politics, but then I have no use for the politics of the administration he intends to perpetuate, but calling names is considered childish. There is, however, a difference between accurately naming something and just being rude. John McSame was one of the most vocal boosters of going to war with Iraq and he is today one of the most enthusiastic supporters of that war. He also is one of the most vehement advocates of making military threats against Iran. Now if Iraq qualifies as a war, then being Mr Booster for for its prosecution and continuation directly qualifies as urging war.

So let's be exactly accurate in our language, Iraq was invaded by the USA under false assertions, those assertions were debunked and the reasons for continued warfare were modified - repeatedly. John McSame claims the Democratic nomination candidates are guilty of failure of leadership for suggesting we leave Iraq. John McSame repeated the false assertions of BushCo, enthusiastically stoking the war fever.

Speaking in absolutely accurate language, John McCain is a warmonger. Nobody need apologize or retract or modify or denounce or in any manner deny accurate usage of the English language. That is absolutely nonsensical, I don't care what John McCain did in Vietnam, he is a warmonger, by definition. If you want to call him a hawk, that's fine, it means the same thing, you just think it's politer. It isn't, politics is a strange business, lying is called spinning or mis-speaking, all that amounts to is remaking the language, not changing facts. The English language doesn't need the politico's help, it is one of the most expressive and accurate languages in the world. Warmonger means what it means and the fact that Webster neglected to put picture of John with the definition doesn't mean you can't put the word under his picture with no fear of being inaccurate.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

John McCain / McSame - Four More Years !!!

John McCain, VietNam Vet / POW with his Straight Talk Express as full of self-satisfied media as bullshit is supposed to be some sort of Republican Maverick. Now I'll certainly admit that back around 2000 the guy showed some signs of independent thinking, that was then and this is now. In VietNam John demonstrated service to his nation and physical courage in the face of an implacable and ruthless enemy, that qualifies him as a brave and honorable man, but he's not running for a sign on his lawn or the town square, he thinks he's Presidential material.

People remember McSame opposing BushCo tax cuts for the rich, they seem to miss his adament refusal to do anything about them. McSame opposed torture, for about two weeks, then he caved and caved so dishonestly as to let people think we don't torture. At one time he tried to hold the Religious Right nutcases at arm's length - no longer - now it is virtually spit swapping. He's claimed distance with BushCo over Iraq, what complete nonsense, he voted for everything George II asked for and his only complaints were that he wanted more of the same than GWB did. There was no difference in policy or philosophy, just degree. John McCain seems to have left all his nerve and honor someplace inaccessible since BushCo whacked him in the Primary.

It's politically dangerous to not swap spit with the wingnuts so he does, it's politically dangerous to swap spit with George II so he doesn't. It is also politically dangerous in the Republican loon party to do something different than BushCo so he won't. If you want George W Bush in intellect (5th from bottom at Annapolis??), honor, candor, policy, fear mongering, and considerable more years of corrupt associations John McSame is your guy. The rest of it is media fostered political campaign mythology. To be sure, I have a low opinion of Hillary Clinton, but next to McSame she's a paragon of virtue and change - insult by association, I'm afraid and yet given only that choice I'd vote Clinton in a heartbeat. (nose held, gag reflex suppressed)

An Unhappy Nation

George II's approval is still stuck at 28%, some rock headed bunch that can't count past ten with their shoes on still think he's the best thing since *something*. This number continues to astonish in the face of the NYT/CBS Poll just released showing 81% believe the country is on the wrong track. George Bush's magical ability to turn gold into lead has been in evidence since very shortly after the 2000 election but defied rational thought as late as 2002 when 35% doubted the nation's direction. (does that 1/3 now look prescient?) The Iraq debacle has played its role, but now the economy is trumping in with the dissatisfaction spread across all political parties, races, essentially all demographic groups. I suppose 81% makes that pretty inevitable.

People's perception of the country's welfare is nasty, 78% say the nation is worse off than 5 years ago and only 4% (who are they?) think it has improved. Surely 4% of the country are not big oil executives and shareholders or military contractors. A five year spread lands the impact squarely in the BushCo era, and people tend to lay blame on the government. There is a question of how Congress will be held to account, the slim Democratic majority of the last year certainly has not resulted in much more than gridlock.

This poll shows some of the oddly mixed results you really should expect from polls questioning conditions in general, regarding the mortgage crisis 40% blame regulators, 28% lenders, 14% borrowers and yet 53% advocate helping those with interest problems and 41% oppose it. Matching percentages of 43% advocate larger government with more services and smaller government, the advocates of larger government a high since 1991. 58% approve of raising taxes on households with income in excess of $250,000 and only 46% believe their children will do better than themselves.

The huge numbers of dissatisfaction are oddly juxtaposed with desired solutions and economic conditions in existence during BushCo. Wages have been flat or falling during the entire regime, deficit spending has skyrocketed during that period and the advantage of wealth has exploded. These are very nearly historical levels of inequality of advantage and governmental irresponsibility. These facts seem slow to sink in with the American public. The costs of Republican ideology are not born equally and the advantages are also one sided and this seems to be beyond the ken of average America. John McSame, the epitome of "four more years," polls about 5% behind either Hillary or Barack. There is a very nearly straight economic line from Saint Ronnie through George II, with slight hiccups in application. You note this at serious risk of being labeled apostate regarding either RR or WJC and yet it is nonsense.

There is a convincing case to be made that much of the current difficulty is due to government policies and action or inaction. Trade in itself is a good thing, but when the application is simply the relocation of industrial facilities that is not trade, when the trade involves near slave labor conditions it is not trade, it is profiteering. When the government's response to illegal hiring is either a wink or outright encouragement servitude is the outcome, with the attendant losses in wages moving upscale as the bottom is cut out. When the government incurs debt, the money supply is tightened or the value of the money is undercut, one or both must necessarily occur. A certain amount of debt is tolerable or sometimes even beneficial, but there are serious upper limits to that and BushCo blew the doors off the limits long ago. Out and out greed has serious consequences, the fact that you can gouge to a certain extent doesn't mean it is desirable, social stability is affected and that stability and confidence is necessary to the accumulation of wealth over the long term. In many ways loss of confidence is a worse outcome for wealth than outright chaos, in chaos the system is broken along with the rules in which case the advantages of wealth are extreme - if personal survival happens - in the case of broken confidence the system remains intact but the economic engine dries up.

Somehow, eight years of Saint Ronnie managed to create a suspension of disbelief unlike any other period in this country. Economic and social fantasy took root and ruled. Bill Clinton followed pieces of that fantasy although to his credit he allowed some crumbs to fall off the table of wealth. The idea that regulation was evil had some merit in pointless bureaucratic rules but that extension to the elimination of basic regulation ignored the consequences of unlimited greed. The idea of the unseen hand of the market assumes the existence of a market, a historic inaccuracy in this country. Theory meets reality and loses, the system is rigged and has been since George Washington. If you are in doubt, see the battle between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, even then the question was in whose favor the rigging would be. Jefferson lost, because the rigging worked fairly well for most and particularly well for the elites history course books celebrate Hamilton.

There are, of course, no Presidential candidates who make more than a pretence of addressing the root problems, the somnolent public would object to being awoken to reality. In the end run, those responsible for this unhappy nation will not be held to account nor will the conditions be addressed short of a major cataclysm.