Friday, May 30, 2008

Geraldine Stamps Her Feet

This election has been hard fought. Well, in certain respects it has been hard fought. One need only to look at the official statements of the campaigns and candidates to see the differences in strategy. Hillary has played the old style politics and Barack's campaign has hewed to something different, a less evident style of opposition. Politics is a messy business, close attention shows that neither candidate's hands are completely clean and that is exactly what will happen. Has either campaign appealed to race or gender? one a white female and one a black male? They need not even open their mouths and an appeal occurs. Both communities have eyes and what they do with that information is a foregone conclusion with certain members of those groups. Geraldine Ferraro's Op-Ed expresses something a bit different.

Perhaps it's because neither the Barack Obama campaign nor the media seem to understand what is at the heart of the anger on the part of women who feel that Hillary Clinton was treated unfairly because she is a woman or what is fueling the concern of Reagan Democrats for whom sexism isn't an issue, but reverse racism is.

This argument seems odd to make, are any of Hillary's supporters a part of reverse sexism? Geraldine knows perfectly well they exist and not in small numbers, they are in fact clear about it - including Geraldine.
We feel that if society can allow sexism to impact a woman's candidacy to deny her the presidency, it sends a direct signal that sexism is OK in all of society.

That sexism impacted Clinton's campaign, I have no doubt. Did she lose a close election because of sexism? I don't know. But I do know that it will never happen again as long as women are willing to stand up and make sure that it is just a one-time bad experience.
I am quite sure that sexism has been evidenced in this campaign and it needs to not happen, and Ferraro seems to agree.
If you're white you can't open your mouth without being accused of being racist. They see Obama's playing the race card throughout the campaign and no one calling him for it as frightening. They're not upset with Obama because he's black; they're upset because they don't expect to be treated fairly because they're white.

Is there a pattern emerging here?
They don't identify with someone who has gone to Columbia and Harvard Law School and is married to a Princeton-Harvard Law graduate.

Where was it Hillary went to school and what was her parent's economic background? Where did her husband go to school? What was his last job again?
They may lack a formal higher education, but they're not stupid. What they're waiting for is assurance that an Obama administration won't leave them behind.

And Geraldine's contribution to this is what? This Op-Ed?

So Ferraro's argument is that Hillary has been screwed by sexism and reverse racism? So she hasn't benefited from racism and reverse sexism? (really that is just plain sexism) There is an agenda going on here and it is not to analyze this election and it is not to straighten out the malfunctions - it is to create a victim status for Hillary.

I don't fault anyone for supporting a candidate. I think there are basis of support or opposition that are ludicrous and race and gender happen to be two of them. To the limited extent that Ferarro addressed this I agree, the plain fact is that she addressed this in not only a stupid manner, but a divisive manner. She makes it very easy to dismiss her as a spoiled brat stamping her feet. Maybe someone should ask Hillary is she agress with this tripe.

Maria Jimenez Dies For Profit

The Sacramento Bee reports that Maria Jimenez was until May 16th just another 17 year old undocumented farm worker. That is until she died of heat working for Merced Farm Labor pruning grape vines for West Coast Grape Farming. Gov Ahnuld showed for her funeral. Water and shade were the problems, probably compounded by being 2 months pregnant.

Cheap labor is provided by people with no legal right to employment. People with no right to employment and in the country illegally don't have a lot of avenues to pursue with complaints about working conditions. So, there you are; they'll work cheap in bad conditions and not complain. Sounds like a real winner if profit is your god, doesn't it? Oh, that's right, they'll do the work Americans won't. They also won't interfere in the system by voting and stuff like that. Damn good deal for the plutocrats, real rough on the serfs - what do you call right less workers? It also is kind of rough on legal labor, drags wages down something fierce and reduces employment opportunities.

The creation of a serf class in this country is an abomination and a return to the age of the Robber Barons. Democrats and Republicans are equally guilty of this for different and equally short sighted reasons. I oppose it. Maria is one of the reasons I oppose it. You enablers killed this girl, face it, this is what you advocate tolerance of. I keep trying to tell you that there are real serious problems with your tolerance of illegal labor and you keep pooh-poohing. I keep trying to tell you that you harm everyone involved in labor for the benefit of plutocracy and you call me names. That's fine, you go there and tell Maria's family all the benefits of a disenfranchised serf class.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Life In A Bubble, Scott McClelland

I'll be damned, I'm going to do exactly what I said I wouldn't do - say something about Scott McClelland. People have been flooding into this site, sort of, onto an article from 11/07 about the pre-release of McClelland's book. An odd confluence of title, opening words and Google search protocols puts that article #1 in as search result and everybody is interested again, driving site numbers by a factor of 10. One incoming took the time to comment, on a six month old post - I get email notification - so I emailed him and we had a discussion ending with me saying I wouldn't slam or praise Scott McClelland. Some other things have intervened and changed my mind.

I've watched McClelland get slammed for being turncoat traitor to being a profiteering cowardly rat. How could he know this stuff and not say anything OR how could he not know this stuff?

First off, BushCo has turned the Press Secretary job description into information suppression. You have to get that part first. Now of the BushCo dissemblers I liked Scott best, he actually seemed uncomfortable, the rest when pushed:

Ari - pissed off tough guy with spit to back it up - loathed this guy, a good slapping would help

Tony - jokey dismissive we're all pals shut up - oh puke, HS pretty boy jock get away with any stupidity on popularity - laugh hysterically at your hired gun empty suit till you wilt

Dana - blond DUH - take her out, buy her some nice clothes, put her someplace decorative, stuff sock in mouth.

Sure, these are snarky thumbnails but these people aren't to be taken seriously. Come on, these are hired parrots paid to be intellectually inactive and incurious. They do need pretty good memories to keep up with the positions and to be intellectually shallow enough to believe the stuff.

If you're thinking I'm going to set McClelland apart on those grounds, I'm not. He believed for a long time, until his face was pushed in it. So we're going to start out acknowledging a lazy mind. But now I'm going to do something that surprises me, I'm going to defend him, somewhat.

The proposition that the bubble doesn't exist and how could you not know and not speak up misses something important. Very few of us work in a very high stress environment that involves very important issues and very determined opponents. Further, few of us work in such a closed environment composed of not hired guns but believers. This environment is so stressed and so closed that family and social life disappears and the "cult" becomes your family and society. This is true in any Administration and I propose that it is especially true in BushCo. Add into all this the fact of being with the organization from its start and growing with it, growing with an organization that prizes loyalty above all and promotes from within to the very pinnacle of power in the US and you've got something potent.

People are molded by their associations, Alcoholics Anonymous does this, it can be slow or quick and it can be shallow or deep; but the molding occurs. Scott McClelland started out with a small time clique and moved to the eyes of the nation, the mouthpiece of the most powerful man in the world, there might have been some effect. It is easy in our varied life of different exposures to information and personalities and variable loyalties to look at McClelland and not understand. I have functioned inside such a unit and we were relentless - hotshot firefighters. We believed, oh boy did we, because what we did was not reasonable. My life now is completely different and I couldn't understand a bubble from the outside, using today.

Scott McClelland lived and breathed BushCo, seeing it for what it was and is would be difficult, the critics, the unbelievers were all outsiders, the opposition. The opposition had agendas, the opposition were liars and hypocrites. You see and you deny it, you have to, you would be questioning your family and your life. You are satisfied with rationalizations that to an outsider are silly, because you build a structure for them. It is foundated on the personality, George II, and the walls are all your fellows keeping out the raving mobs and the roof you build together out of rationalizations, justifications, and reality to keep out the rain of criticism - you are talking about wrecking your house where you all live if you question.

If you get smacked in the face with the reality that things are not as they seem in one particular instance and your family turns against you leaving becomes real. But it is only leaving and only a single instance and it will take quite awhile for the forced questioning to broaden out into the whole of your life. Questions with answers and outside input generate more questions and more answers and the thing can become an avalanche. It does sound as though Scott has tried to salvage one piece of it all, the foundation, George. Standing in the midst of wreckage something must stand for something. So you get an idea that George had the seeds of greatness before it fell apart.

I expect that if Scott McClelland is honestly trying to make up for his years in BushCo he sees himself as having participated in a pretty sad endeavor and he is a man disappointed in the track his life took. He surely is still trying to have something good left and some excuse. He may well lose those, also. You must figure he's done for in politics and that he doesn't have many Republican friends. The opposition doesn't see him kindly - hell, I don't - and it is an open question how much economic good the book will do him once the initial steam wears off. His reputation is beat up enough that journalism probably isn't too viable, Tony Snow is an aberration. He's not a real smart witty guy who had lots of power, he's a regular guy, nice guy who got to be a mouthpiece, so being a pundit or analyst isn't happening. It's probably a pretty grim looking prospect for him over the long haul. He could have stayed quiet and loyal and gotten table scraps - he didn't.

I don't know if I feel sorry for him, that'd be a bit much. Does he deserve to be slapped around, I don't know, a lot of bad things have happened that he was a part of, but he's also just slapped himself around pretty good. What I do know is that he doesn't deserve to be treated like a piece of human excrement by his former opposition. He didn't make the policies, he wasn't going to change them - just get fired, and chances are real good that his professed ignorance wasn't deliberate. It was a product of a culture he wasn't smart enough to stay out of.

(this site's hits on Tue. was 2x all after 5PM, Wed 10x,Thur @12PM on track for 10x)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

George II Holds Hands With These

folks and kisses them. The President of the United States of America calls these pigs our dear friends. Maybe he wishes to run the US their way:

Saudi Arabia frequently convicts persons for alleged insults to religion. Hadi al-Mutif, who belongs to the minority Isma’ili creed in Shia Islam, remains on death row for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad with two words in 1993; a court convicted teacher Muhammad al-Suhaimi in 2004 of insulting religion for his unorthodox views expressed in a classroom; teacher Muhammad al-Harbi was found guilty of blasphemy in 2005; and a different court charged Rabah al-Quwai’i with apostasy for internet writings in 2005.

The current nonsense about a god that can't seem to take care of himself?
On May 5, the prosecution service in Jeddah charged Ra’if Badawi with “setting up an electronic site that insults Islam,” and referred the case to court, asking for a five-year prison sentence and a 3 million riyal (US$800,000) fine.
And this one:
In a second case, the Mekka appeals court on May 1 upheld Sabri Bogday’s death sentence issued on March 31, 2008 for “cursing the name of God.” Bogday, a Turkish national who had worked in Jeddah for 11 years as a barber, allegedly insulted God during an argument with a Saudi client and an Egyptian neighbor. Bogday, who did not have a lawyer in court, denied cursing God, but the three judges of the lower court regarded the testimony by the Saudi and the Egyptian witnesses as sufficient proof that Bogday had committed the crime of apostasy, or defection from Islam.
Would it be piling on to mention 9 of 11 hijackers Sept 11 were Saudi?

Hey, I have an idea; let's elect John McCain and see where he kisses them...

By the way you savage pieces of camel dung, any god that supports that should be stuffed in pig intestines and left to draw flies... oooooohhhhh that wasn't nice. It certainly is reassuring that there are Muslims who abhore that kind of god and worship a different one - too bad about the name similarity. There are some Christians right here at home that could thake a lesson from this...

Lanny Davis Whines

There are some things you need to know about Lanny Davis. He was one of Hillary's supporters who voted to strip FL/MI of 100% of their delegation. All of them did, but he is the one under discussion here.

He's the guy who wrote and article on a "compromise" for FL/MI that has some really swell reasoning:

One principle is based in law, the second in pragmatic politics.

Watch closely now, we're going to dive off the edge of the world.

In U.S. contract law, the party breaching a contract usually has the right to "cure" the violation during the term of the contract. But if the other party stands in the way of that cure, the breaching party cannot be further sanctioned — and certainly, as a matter of fairness, the party preventing the cure should not stand to benefit.

This will get really strange in a little while, but let's do pragmatism first:

If more than 2.3 million Democrats in Michigan and Florida are told their votes didn't count even though their party leaders were willing to revote, that could anger them, to put it mildly. If they blame Obama for not supporting the revote while still blocking a fair solution by the Rules Committee, essentially not permitting their January votes to count, they are likely to be angrier still — if, that is, he is the Democratic Party's nominee. In a close election that could mean the difference between the Democratic candidate carrying or losing Michigan and Florida.

They surely will get ticked off, you folks have fanned the flames real well.

Now the Obama campaign would say that they neither objected nor approved; they just raised "concerns." That is a fact. But here is an unavoidable inference from other undeniable political facts: Had Obama instructed those supporters in Michigan and Florida who were opposed to the revotes to support them, and joined with Clinton in endorsing the revotes, the new rounds of voting would have occurred.

Here is where this got really strange, the "concerns" were quite valid, like the little matter of the complete illegality of the scheme under one state's laws, MI, and the other state's, FL, refusal to have anything to do with it. Oddly enough there was a completely legal and feasible remedy, called self-financed caucuses - but Hillary doesn't like them and froze the deciding entities, the State Parties. The actual impediment to a solution was Hillary. Does this qualify Lanny as a liar? I know the popular word is spin. (puke)

Or perhaps one Solomonic compromise, more generous to Obama than to Clinton, would be to divide the remaining delegates approximately 50-50 between the two of them, 28-27 (giving Clinton the extra delegate since she led in all the latest statewide polls prior to Jan. 15).
What do you make of the idea that Hillary ought to get not only the votes with her name on them but also the ones that didn't want her? This from an election she said didn't count. So people who cared enough to vote anybody but her in an election that didn't count are hers? I sincerely hope that the Greek concept of hubris bites him. Remember the night of the fake Florida election when Hillary said, "I'll do everything in my power to make sure your votes count?" Who was it exactly that interfered in any possible fix? She lied to those people by telling them she had a power she didn't have. Oh I know all about the wiggle words "my power" since she had none.

How about this, Lanny, delegates at 0.5 vote, uncommitted to Obama, and since the supers interfered along with Hillary (offender shouldn't benefit) 0 super delegates. Besides which, the State Parties deserve none for their willing boosterism of the original offense and the elected officials could have had sway and chose not to.

But wait, this "concerned Democrat" wasn't done making an ass of himself, nope, more stuff for Obama. You see Obama had the temerity to be winning. Four things pissed him off:
1)Edward's announcement stepped on Hillary's WV win
2)majority of delegates speech stepped on Hillary's KY win
3)announce head of VP search while Hillary still breathes
4)Bill Richardson - Judas


Lanny, you are a puke and you guys ran a stupid and divisive campaign and you've lost in delegates and minus a complete bolt by automatic delegates to you it is over. I really like the juxtaposition of your compromise and your political strategy whining. From the time you wrote that stupid compromise post I've been waiting, knowing you couldn't, just could not refrain from further asininity in pathetic rhetoric blaming Obama for a bit more.

Obama has divided the Party, he's mean, he sucks, he deserves no votes, it was our turn, he can't win without our votes and we'll make sure he gets as few as possible and he can't win anyhow and I'm a girl and I can play politics anyway I want and if you say anything I'll cry and...

Holy Cow. Hillary has played a rough game for a Democratic Primary, it is politics and it does get rough, but she's used some Republican boosting methods and then claimed victim hood. Your campaign has been out maneuvered and out PRed at every turn, almost, and you try once again to use the victim card to justify freezing your supporters? Your campaign whines about caucuses and black votes while your candidate would be no one at all without the last name?

I don't find either of you to be the be - all - end - all of possible nominees, but I do find yours to be the lesser. Your candidate has a record of "old news" that was never addressed that goes right to the heart of her qualifications to be a President and you had not one battle on that front. You dragged every possible association and even imaginary ones in on your opponent and you claim dirty pool? You claim the opposition is alienating Hillary supporters? Does this sound like kicking a horse that's down? If it is, you and yours need to not be in any position of power and if this is what it takes, so be it. You ginned up the sexism card while you played on the edge of the racism card. Obama and his campaign have never hit you with sexism, it may have played a part with some, but you've seen to it Obama was blamed for it.

I objected from the beginning to your candidate's short term thinking and I'd say your campaign proves my assertion.

Fix This

I've spent some time on a friend's very reasonable blog trying to persuade a person that voting McCain rather than Obama was a bad idea. I've had some people get rather ticked at me for suggesting some are not reasonable. I've pulled a comment that is rather representative from a Hillary blog and one of the politer ones:

We have been sounding the warning bell to the DNC for months now -- they ignore it at their peril.

People will do what they want to do come November, but I certainly hope, if, haven forefend, this empty suit gets nominated, that voters won't forget or forego their promise NOT to vote for him.

This newbie Senator, with his arrogance, inexperience and his vile and evil campaign does not deserve the Presidency.
ani 05.27.2008 - 11:28 pm #

I won't let people forget. If I have to post the comments of the trolls here on a blog, or the trolls in other places or the Iron my shirt or the condescending remarks made by Obambi -

If I have to post these things a million times a day, I'll do it. we cannot forget. It is time for change, all right. But not the kind Obambi was expecting.

I will actively work against Obambi at every opportunity.

Now I'd like somebody to explain to me just what approach will work with this person. I've already found out what will not work someplace else. Do not, whatever you do, point out that there are serious consequences to such an action. I'll bet you might as well spit into the wind.

The site and commenter are not identified, deliberately. I won't drive traffic there or reward their behavior with "trolls." I also didn't cherry pick or go to the looniest site. You can find any number of them - yourself.

Maybe you can talk to this person who evidently used DPO to CC a lot of people:
Subject: Super Delegates

The voting should be a private primary ballet.

There is too much intimidation and there has been too much money donated to campaign fund for elected Super Delegates. Obama has donated more than $700,000 and Clinton in the range of $200,000. This out spending 3-1 in the state pledges should not carry through in the final SD vote.

The risk of retaliation to voters back home should be a serious concern.

Also, secrete ballet would reflect a fairness needed at this time.

Obama has only won 2 of the last 7 primaries and he has the ego to give a Victory speech in Iowa the same night after the close of the Kentucky primary. Putting out the fire of Clinton's power win and dominating the media exposure.
The same thing was done in WV with an endorsement of John Edwards the next day.

Hillary Clinton has been abuse by the media and her very own Party. I am appalled, and as a 40 year Democrat, I am ready to leave the Party.

I will not vote for Obama in the General Election. He said he did not need WV, KT and it seems FL and MI....... He does not need me either.

He is not our best candidate. We will lose. His baggage is dangerous and the Democrats are too polite to rummage through it.
The Republicans will not be that polite. Clinton's baggage is old news...Yawn.

This latest smear on Clinton about Senator Robert Kennedy is a sham. How can anyone reflect back at that time and not associate the horrible event..... it is burned in our memory.

I regret the direction my Party is taking with this Primary, it is as if the decision was made from the state. Nancy Pelosi has made her opinion very clear and from her seat of power, this is wrong.

The DNC will meet May 31....... If what they are doing is complicated, then what they are doing is wrong. Obama took his name off MI by choice, there was not a rule to do this.
Massive media and radio told voters to vote Undecided if their vote was for Obama or Edwards. 40% did....... Clinton was not the only one on the ballet, how does it make Kucinich feel? He got 7% and Hillary got 53%.
Obama want all of the 40%.

Have Hillary GIVE some of her votes in Florida. (any split does this)
And TAKE some of Edwards votes in Michigan.

The solution is simple.... Votes given to Clinton are hers and Votes given to Obama are his with a portion of the undecided in MI.... yes, Edwards has endorsed Obama, but those pledged delegates need to be awarded at the convention. He has already sent troops to MI and they have already claimed ALL of the undecided and the Committee has not even met yet.

I am sorry this is so long, there is just too much abuse going on out there.
This rush to pledge SD before the close of these Primaries is strong arming and pressuring Clinton to quit. I, for one, think this is an insult on our system and may leave a scare for a long time.

Thank you,

Madeline Stewart

Now it might interest Madeline to know that Hillary started this out with 100 SD and that apparently wasn't an effort to short circuit the process? She seems to have the idea that publicly denounced as illegitimate votes are somehow extremely valid. Maybe she's open to persuasion that the Primary hasn't been stolen from Hillary. I have made the point that Hillary has used MI/FL in a cynical divisive manner designed to scapegoat the DNC and harden her supporters. Maybe I've made a valid point?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

In Memoriam

A post tonight as Memorial Day passes about what it means. Today has been about those who have fallen in service to this nation, all that they had, they gave. There really is no more to be said for words are insufficient.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Pets, Just Because

A study in contrasts, cute and burly, grace and lumbering, Marlin and Gus.

Yes, this is a 36 inch archway Gus is walking through and I am kneeling, thus face high.
Both of these are intelligent animals, neither cooperates with photography in the least. The photo of Marlin is after 12 attempts spread over 4 hours, the second I would squat down with the camera she would walk up to me, evidently happy to see me down in her region. A photo of Gus laid out is pretty easy to get or one shot from a distance but to get anywhere near him is either an invitation to be smelled or for some reason to leave. Neither is afraid of the camera, although Gus finds it's chirps and snicks peculiar, Marlin shows some interest in the hanging lens cover.

I suppose Gus seems a bit large for a house pet and the first time people see him indoors they are somewhat taken aback. He is a careful animal, he has never knocked anything over, even with his great vast tail (of which he is inordinately proud and extremely reluctant to have brushed). Nothing happens within sixty feet or so of the house that doesn't provoke a warning bark, things vibrate, like window panes and the floor. He doesn't shed much, but when he does it involves great masses of long white hair that the vacuum doesn't appreciate. The real drawback is dog slobber, he drools, shoe strings hanging from his face and when he is pleased he gives his head a shake - I haven't found any on the 9 foot 6 inch ceiling, yet, but some have gotten pretty close. I keep a slobber rag near my recliner that gets regular duty wiping his face. My wife keeps a very clean house so the dog and I are a constant irritant in that respect, but she loves him and tolerates me - most times. Construction workers are filthy beasts after all. One day I'll have to get a picture of Gus sitting in his work truck that he lets me drive, it is a '78 K20 pickup with a utility box, meaning the bench seat is where he rides (one seat, one driver, one dog). Sometimes there's a little shoving regarding shares.

Pyrenees are guardian dogs, their name comes from the Pyrenees Mountains where they guarded sheep. The practice of the time was to take the sheep to the mountains after the snow cleared and leave them and the dogs who kept wolves from being a problem. The dogs were placed with the sheep as pups and they printed on them as the pack. The breed is independent, if you want a fetch dog or immediate obedience dog, find another breed. The dogs are mild tempered and spend a great deal of time lying down, but once they've printed their loyalty is exceptional, protection is to the death. Nothing has ever crossed Gus, so I have no measure of his reaction, it would be a particularly stupid sort of thing to do. Weighing 150 pounds and 31 inches at the shoulder Gus is on the moderately large end of the breed. New Foundland and St Bernard were bred out of the Pyrenees breed. Some sources state they are the oldest established breed, though sometimes mistaken for it, they are not members of the mastiff family. The breed very nearly went extinct and were brought back in the Victorian era. There are two varieties of Pyrenees, the show and the working, Gus is a show, the working variety is somewhat smaller and has a less full coat. The coat is comprised of guard hairs which are long and somewhat coarse and an under coat that is extremely fine, silky, and very dense - it is virtually impossible to find skin - bathes are involved, to understate. Most Pyrenees in our area are show variety used as guardians.

Gus disapproves of all wild animals, trespassing cats, and any square bodied truck and most diesels. UPS, FedEx, and mail trucks are considered particularly bad items, though he cares nothing about the drivers. I've had Gus about 3 years now and he has been a joy. He is as well mannered as can be, stays completely off furniture, is gentle with children, and uniformly friendly with people. His judgement seems good, a drunk once tried to converse with my wife while she was walking him, harmless but unwelcome. Gus' response was to place himself directly between them, and that was all. His idea of a toy is a smashed 12 ounce dish liquid bottle which he has had for these three years, it is quite flat and dented. Nothing else seems to qualify, he is entirely disinterested in balls or other doggy toys and has no clue whatever about catch, if you toss him a snack it will hit him between the eyes.

Well, that's your dog story for the evening.

Kicking Your Friends

"Chuck, we can't allow a flap such as Sen. Clinton's latest become a reason to give up comity between factions of the party.My judgement of the Clinton campaign parallels your own, but this is politics and we have to be able to put behind us campaign tactics that rankle when it's time to close ranks and win.As for Hillary's gaffe, it doesn't matter to me why she explicitly raised the specter of assassination, because she has to have known better."

This is a blog friend of mine and we support the same candidate. He is exactly right in one aspect and exactly wrong at the same time. There are political supporters of both candidates and these folks will be approachable and then there are the Hilloons and Obamabots and these aren't approachable. The don't support their candidate, they have reached a cult like state of mind in which their candidate becomes messiah and through that definition the opponent is evil. (I give you This) It is, of course, utter nonsense, these are two politicians involved in a political struggle and separated by narrow differences in policy outside foreign policy and even there a large degree of commonality exists. Neither is sparkling clean in past and current associations or decisions.

I oppose Hillary Clinton more than I actually support Barak Obama and that is for political reasons. Race, religion, and gender don't enter into my calculations, I flatly don't care. There wasn't a Democrat in the race that I particularly opposed other than Clinton, opposed in a Primary race. That is a distinction. Some of her campaign I find pathetic, some of it I don't care about, and a couple pieces infuriate me. I can leave her alone about the pathetic victim sexism piece, if that's the image she wants to leave, her business. I don't get angry about her triangulation and pandering and short term thinking, I believe it isn't a good thing but I'm not angry and I can address it without blowing a gasket. Then we get to the piece of threatening to blow up the Party and trying to hold it hostage to her ends. That is where it ends with me.

For all its failings the Democratic Party far surpasses the Republican Party on almost every issue I care about and in general philosophy is a hands down winner. I care vastly more about the Party than I do either of these two candidates and I particularly care about the survival and construction of the DNC. Hillary Clinton has decided to turn Michigan, Florida, and the DNC into a political football for whatever advantage she can gain. Politics is a contact sport, whether you're Obama or Clinton you know it and work it from whatever theme your campaign has taken. I think a gas tax holiday is stupid, but it is a political device. Playing the, 'you can't win KY/WV,' is a political device. She may have wandered off from much of Democratic thinking with some comments, but they were aimed at Democratic voters - which is a reality, uncomfortable as that may be, and I figure pretty much useless, but...

There are two strings to the 'blow up the party' strategy and they both involve freezing supporters by establishing in their minds that this election has been somehow stolen. In order for this tactic to work there must be an offender or offenders and an obvious victim accompanied by aggrieved parties. The sanctions on MI/FL offer the most potent source of victim and aggrieved associates. Now, there is no doubt that the voters in these two states were poorly served by their legislators, their governors, and their state parties; there is even less doubt that DNC was going to have to help sort out something that helped smooth the waters, but these voters were not victimized by outside parties, not until Hillary stepped in. Hillary cannot make her stance as co-victim/primary victim of the mess on that basis alone. There is entirely too much involvement on her part and her representatives' part in the sanctions so the victim pose must have broader basis. This has gotten increasing play as time has gone on and she hasn't closed with or passed Obama and culminated in the June/RFK mess. I lost my temper.

The assassination statement didn't cause me to lose my temper, it was simply the straw. It was the last building block in her strategy that I could take. Now I don't care if people have a political or gender basis for supporting Hillary, neither is addressed by a McCain victory and they can probably see that once the campaign is over providing they do not see the nomination as theft. There isn't a 'super' delegate or political analyst that doesn't understand that particular piece and that is exactly the thrust of the Hillary campaign. If there is doubt in your mind that the strategy exists or is working look at the percentages of those who state they won't vote for their opponent in the General and who has what numbers.

I really don't have a problem with the supporters of either candidate, but the loons disturb me because there is something at work there that is not reasonable and as such at least somewhat out of control. That is not good. I have a huge problem with this strategy that the Clinton campaign has embarked on and I'm not about to back off on that. I'll go straight to the heart of the matter and I'll be real plain about it and I don't give a damn if somebody's feelings get hurt. If they cannot see this one, then there is no reasonable approach to them. What my friend I quoted misses is that the approach he advocates assumes the Hillary campaign has any intention of its realization - at any time. I agree with him and I'd love to leave Hillary alone but that is conditional, and the condition is the health of my Party. Not her continued campaign or policy disagreements, the health of the Party. That decision is not in my hands.

Eagle Caps Memorial Day Weekend

***Click for full size***

Shot from about 5500 feet on the eastern slope of the Elkhorns above Baker Valley, the Eagles are about 25 air miles from here. Running N-S they peak at around 10,000 feet.
Shot from the Valley floor, a couple miles closer, this is the same section of the Eagles less cloud obscured.

Scottie, Gus, and I needed to get out of dodge for awhile and the roads into the mountains are fairly recently clear far enough in to make it interesting. So load up some fun stuff, pour 23 gallons of not cheap gasoline into the 30 gallon tank and take off for a few hours. We putted around off the main road for awhile and saw a couple mule deer looking healthy and not much else in wild life. My wife's excuse to me for dumping $80-some of gasoline in the K5 was to go cougar hunting, I have a tag, which I found entirely hilarious and went along with it anyhow - including taking the hand cannon .45 Colt Vaquero. For aficionados it's loaded with 365 grain cast lead/silver gas checked bullets going 1300fps, so I'm not exaggerating. I also took something I thought I might be able to shoot something with - the Fuji digital and I bagged something, above.

If you don't know anything about cats, the reason I found the hunting justification humorous is that cats don't like people and a high performance 350 cid engine with performance mufflers on a mountain road is a fairly large hint that people are about. Cougars are a top of the line predator with a large range they jealously protect and they don't waste energy that must be replaced by a kill by taking walks. They hunt or rest and resting isn't done in places where they're likely to be bothered. You will virtually never track a cat or ambush one, I buy tags for them for use during deer and elk season when the chances of an accidental meeting are a bit higher.

It was a good day, the temperatures were shirt sleeve with the sun ducking in and out. The roads weren't dusty and the air smelled of damp duff and pines and firs. The clean sharp smell of snow flowed down hill giving the air a bite, not cold, just that hint of deep cold snow a few thousand feet higher. The 74 K5 was its usual self, lots of squeaks and a few rattles rough riding but powerful and nimble machine. When I reach the foot of the mountains on the gravel road I lock in the hubs and put it in four low to minimize the shuddering and jumping on washboards and reduce the need for shifting. In 4th gear with the gearing that low it ranges from snarls to growls and only needs the odd shifts to 3rd gear. Second and granny are reserved for pretty special situations. It is a 35 year old truck and one of my favorites, nicely capable on the freeway at 70 mph and yet in town it will turn a corner in 4th gear and accelerate away smoothly, but it certainly isn't real easy on gasoline getting 15 mpg if you don't abuse it.

It was nice to put a smile on my cabin fevered wife's face with an outing to the mountains. She says that if I'm going to maker her live in this forsaken place the least I can do is take her to the mountains. I'm ok with that.

Now I've Goddam Had It

Yes I was offended by Hillary Clinton's comment to the Argus Herald. I was; her conflating herself with RFK pissed me off. A completely gratuitous usage of the assassination of Bobby Kennedy made me feel like my head had fallen off. Mrs Clinton, you have nothing in common with Robert F Kennedy except the sometimes questionable (D) after your name. You have nothing in demonstrated character, speaking ability, political tactics, political strategy, or political experience in common and you certainly are victim of no one other than yourself. Imaginary bullets in Bosnia don't compare with real ones in June 1968. Your supporter Bobby Jr may want your seat and he may honestly like you, I don't give a damn. I care that you use RFK to boost your candidacy of victim hood, that in your desperation to WIN you propose to compare yourself to RFK, MI/FL to the greatest struggles for civil rights, your gender based campaign failures to sexism, your inability to construct a consistent campaign image to media bias, attribute a stupid and shortsighted campaign strategy to an unfair delegate system, and quite frankly every failing you've demonstrated to someone else. I care that you're NEVER WRONG.

People are now starting to talk about the necessity of being nice to you in the interests of Party unity. This is the largest crock of garbage I can think of, other than maybe your repeated efforts to freeze your supporters and blow up the DNC. You, Mrs Clinton are trying to play hardball with a Party that should be able to cruise to a General Election victory and carry along a large down ticket. If you hope to have anything left for you after this Primary you had better knock that shit off. You are not going to win this nomination, you can stop with the phony popular vote nonsense, even the media is starting to laugh at your manufactured numbers and the Hilloons are already frozen; your supporters that operate in the realm of reason won't buy them, anyhow. Finish the Primary votes with some class and maybe a whole bunch of us won't make your political destruction our project after the General Election.

Democratic Senators, I know it's not easy trying to manage with a bare majority and you're tired of being blamed for everything that hasn't happened; but damn it show some nerve and set this woman down and explain to her how easy it is to make a Senator disappear in the Senate. Explain to her that Committee seats can go away, that Bills can go without sponsorship, that sponsoring their Bills can be denied, that earmarks and allocations can just go away, and that in four years another candidate for Senator NY (D) can get all kinds of support. Explain to her that the game of political carnage can be played by more than her and by better and more powerful than her. This is exactly enough of kicking the Party apart for her ambition.

For the Senator from NY to make an incredibly stupid reference and turn around and blame the Obama campaign for calling it "unfortunate" in the face of her attacks on him is ludicrous. 'I've been stupid and it's your fault for noticing' is one of the classics of this campaign. "I made an unfortunate and stupid reference," would work and I'd even let "I was tired," slide. Other than the word 'June' there was NO historical comparison and Hillary Clinton knew it at the time and it has been sufficiently pointed out since and preceding her NY Daily News obfuscation. There's heat in that kitchen, Hillary, and if you can't take it, shut up. It is the fault of exactly no one else that Hillary R Clinton chose the words she did.

If by some piece of insanity the name Hillary is on the Presidential ballot I will mutter to myself, "John McCainJohnMcCainJohnMcCainJohnMcCain," as I hold my nose and throw-up and mark Hillary. And I will never forget having had to do it, never.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Words Count, Really - Candidates

Let's start off with something that seems to get buried under the sturm und drang of political commentary and campaign spins; politicians live and die by the words and Obama and Clinton are professional users of language. Both are lawyers and political office holders. In law absolute precision of language is required, and a keen sense of connotation and emotional loading. In politics precision is less desirable but connotation and emotional loading are life blood. A politician who is too precise in language can easily get caught by moving events where even small adjustments look bad. The perceived meaning of words is how stage craft works, you are reached by the touch to your emotions and the illusion that it is your reason that is appealed to. This isn't to suggest that voters are idiots, this appeal is required by time frames whether they be speeches or interviews, only so much information and reasoning will fit in the time allotted.

Campaigns generally have a broad theme and underneath that, subsets, you are supposed to be drawn to a candidate enough to at least let them bring their subsets to your attention. The over arching theme for Hillary is experience and for Obama it is different politics, this is the hook, come in and see the amazing .... These hooks are very important, they cannot be let out of the control of the campaign, they must stay foremost in the voter's minds so that the subsets can be massaged to fit unfolding events. The media is both your enemy and your friend as a candidate, your words will be available to them for later contrast and comparison and it is important that it all hangs together as a consistent narrative. Thus, the broad theme stays intact and the adjustments to the subsets are justified as fitting it.

Campaigns have both advantages and drawbacks involved in their general theme - they seriously affect practical strategy. Obama's campaign theme of new politics bars some traditional approaches, attack ads and speeches are out. He cannot be seen to use traditional hard core hits on the opponent's character, he would immediately be perceived as exactly what he is campaigning against. The solution is to stay very subtle, primarily deflecting such criticism and making it look small and with an attack to do it effectively but framed so that it is not seen, a bleeding wound with no visible weapon. This puts great swathes of Hillary's own past out of reach and off-limits, a serious consideration when under attack. Hillary's experience theme places her in the realm of politics as practiced, it is part and parcel. It is the element of 'I've been there and know how this is done and how to do it.' Hillary's campaign can take off the gloves and play rough, this is how it's done.

While I may prefer Obama's approach in a Democratic Primary, both these models are valid and neither is something outre'. At some point in a campaign even these experienced propagandists are going to slip up and say something unfortunate, that's just how it is dealing with humans. Real problems occur when these slips fit into the model the campaign is using, "new politics" and "elitism" dovetail nicely and Obama has paid a large price for using shorthand and a partially completed thought expressed as "bitter" and "clinging." Hillary's campaign has walked into a couple buzzsaws, "hardworking white" is old politics of ramping up the "neglected" base and attacking the opponent by framing him as an outsider, and a disinterested one.

The collision between these models creates interesting consequences and outcomes, each candidate needs to validate their model and where they go with that is greatly determined by that main theme. One of Hillary Clinton's validations, Bill, is required by her basis of experience and others require past examples of her politics - especially ones that don't conflict with Obama's change theme. RFK and previous primaries fit that mold, she needs to connect these in the voter's minds and she has some problems. Her campaign is increasingly viewed as outlasting its point and as damaging to the Party and she needs images of the past to help with that. Never mind that politically there is no comparison that works for her, factually, image counts. RFK campaigned in June, he is a popular figure that doesn't offend "change" and most particularly for a campaign that is under attack, he was a tragic victim.

Many problems the Clinton campaign has run into are based on her usage of old politics strategies so the appeal to victimization fits nicely. She is being messed with over regular politics, which is patently unfair because this is the way things are done. Linking herself with RFK would seem to work. But then she got explicit, "assassinated" and things exploded. Obama's campaign can't go farther than "unfortunate" and must leave it lay but the media is under no such constraints.

I don't like Hillary Clinton, primarily for her short term thinking, but I won't have any truck with the idea that she wanted Obama connected with assassination. The connection was a time frame, a popular figure, and victimhood. This isn't some sort of validation of Hillary, I find it offensive that she falsely portrays herself as a victim and links herself to a true vicim. Hillary is a victim of her own construction not the media or Obama or society. Over the past 35 years she has behaved as she has and run her show as she has. Her lack of political experience has shown itself, as has her short term thinking. She has created boxes for herself that she is having problems getting out of intact and the unfairness of it all as a victim along with other victims is an avenue. Bobby, Florida, Michigan, blue collar whites, and any other she can think of at a moment will do. What is necessary is to call her on it and her cynical usage of people like FL/MI voters.

I think her supporters deserve to have the Primary elections played out, their investment in time, effort, and money shouldn't be short circuited. I don't think Hillary deserves anything. This is a ridiculous proposition, appealing to just deserts. Her misuse of FL/MI would call for her head in that case. Her nonsense that led to the '90s Republican head hunting would be tied around her neck like an anchor. Her Senate career would be over in the next election on the basis of her politically convenient votes. The stupidity of spousal entitlement would be rammed down her throat, this is politics not a divorce proceeding. Her supporters deserve consideration, not Hillary. The idea that her incompetently run ugly campaign entitles her to anything at all is ludicrous. A decent career in the Senate awaits her if she can keep herself in some kind of hand over the next couple weeks. If she decides wrecking the Party is a valid threat, she can be shown that she can be dropped into a Senate black hole.

She has served one very valid service in this Primary, the Obama campaign and Barak himself are improved by her opposition. How her strategy of hardening her supporters is going to be addressed is an open question, she may already have created an unclosable wound.

Some People Like Cats

Click for full size

This is Marlin, she's about 12 years old. No, she's not named for a fish, she's named for a Model 1895 45-70 Marlin lever action. Now who'd name their cat for a gun much less a cannon like that? She is a survivor type and there is a reason. We were hunting elk high up in the Elkhorn mountains driving from one hunt to another in the K5 and watching for signs when over the noise I heard mewmewmew. Looking around I saw a kitten tearing down the opening by the road. I stopped and got out taking the lever with me telling my wife what was up. Her response was, "Oh we have to take it to town." I patiently explained to her that with no animal shelter there'd be no giving it away since there were already plenty of spares available, so if it went into the truck it also was going home and I didn't really want a cat. "Well you can't just leave it," which was true, it was late fall at 7000 ft and real winters and kittens or cats don't belong in the mountains so I responded that I'd just have to shoot it. "Whatever you think is right." Swell. I now had a problem, the kitten was twining about my ankles and that would involve shooting my own foot off. In order to accomplish shooting it in any sort of safe manner I'd have to give it pretty good kick. That tore it, I'd be unhappy shooting the creature but having to kick it was a bit much. So the 45-70 and the kitten went into the K5. Considering the cost of neutering and getting her cleaned up and shots and all that a 45-70 round would have been a pretty good investment. She's a really nice cat and she thinks I'm great stuff so it worked out, but she is named for the gun that didn't kill her, Marlin.

Her pose involves a bug. When someone visits the house she generally comes to see them and get petted. She is quite affectionate and not particularly aloof with my wife and myself. She believes she runs Gus, 150# Pyrenees, he knows better but lets her get away with most things. I also now know something I didn't before we had her, all Calicoes are female and very fertile. Your cat fact for the day.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Politician, Play The God Card At Your Risk

Almost 2 years ago there was a lot of talk about how the Democrats were reaching out to the religious community and emphasizing the role of faith. A year ago I made it clear that while there is no good reason to have a relationship of enmity with religion, there also was no reason to drag it into the forefront of politics. Now John McCain has repudiated John Hagee's endorsement over "mischaracterized statements". ***Update*** Rod Parsley now repudiated *** You know - God sent Hitler to drive the Jews back to Israel by slaughtering them. This straw broke the proverbial camel's back, no, it wasn't a gay parade causing the destruction of New Orleans or even Catholicism as the Great Whore, nope it finally took the slaughter of Jews. McCain's flip-flopping need for the whacked out religious right and his ignorance of it led him right into a bee's nest seeking endorsements from people he called in 2000 "agents of intolerance." Barack Obama's problems with Rev Wright have had a lot of currency and need no expansion at this date to make clear there are problems. Hillary has managed to keep above the fray despite her membership in a secretive fundamentalist Christian cabal in DC.

The real problem with dragging religion into the political fray is that most religion's books don't work well in relationship with governing. There are a whole lot of functions that government undertakes that are aggressively against the rules of the religions. Christianity is particularly troublesome for a couple reasons, it is the vast majority's religion so they are familiar with it and the quoted words of the guy it is named for are downright hostile to most governmental functions; short of the piece about rendering unto Caesar his due. That quote alone shows his recognition of the difference between the aims of each. Compounding the problems in Christianity and government are the schisms within it, you never know just exactly who is going to say what and worse yet what they are going to state as fact about the most unprovable of all statements, the thinking of God.

I am not going to pick a quarrel with religion, it is not the point of this post nor is it something I desire to do, regardless. I do not argue that religion doesn't have a part in forming many people's ethics and morals, it is supposed to. I happen to have a great deal of respect for the moral stances of many religions. I also happen to understand the functions of government and know full well that they collide with religious tenets. I also understand that no version of any religion works for everyone in this country and attempts to jam them down citizens' throats is suicide. Every time the attempts to cater to one or the other faith blows up in a politician's face I cheer. I would like to see it stop, I am tired of references to sacred books and invisible personalities when we are discussing the course and the future of this government. I am tired of the attempts to drag god into the blessing or damning of this country. I do not pretend to have god's mouth to my ear and I have a complete distrust of anyone who claims it. You should as well.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Walking Off A Short Plank With A Long Drop

Way back in yesteryear when this Primary started; the States of Florida and Michigan decided to move their primaries ahead of the DNC schedule, they were warned not to, and persisted. The warning involved a punishment from the DNC under whose rules the Democratic Primary is conducted. That punishment consisted of the primary punishment rule of 50% stripping of delegates and for egregious conduct the additional penalty of 100% stripping was imposed. The candidates all signed agreements with the DNC to not campaign and recognizing that the delegates would not be seated, the elections were not valid. The voters in the states were also informed in the clearest terms what their legislatures and governors and State Parties had done to them, they got to have no Democratic Presidential Primary on that date. So, before a single vote was cast, everybody knew exactly what was going on.

Today AP has a story containing a quote from Senator Clinton threatening to take the issue of Florida and Michigan to the Convention floor if it is not addressed satisfactorily to her at the 5/31 Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting.
Asked whether she would support the states if they appeal an unfavorable rules committee decision to the convention floor, the former first lady replied:

"Yes I will. I will, because I feel very strongly about this."

"I will consult with Floridians and the voters in Michigan because it's really their voices that are being ignored and their votes that are being discounted, and I'll support whatever the elected officials and the voters in those two states want to do."

From the time of the vote in Florida Hillary Clinton began casting herself as the saviour disenfranchised voters, despite signing an agreement stripping them of delegates and acknowledging publicly that the votes didn't count prior to their casting. What changed was that the election was not turning into the expected coronation and then by February 5th had turned seriously against her. She has been beating the drum of Florida and Michigan from the time it looked as though their help was important and beating that drum to the detriment of the DNC.

She effectively stopped any chance either state had of fixing the mess, that fix would have required caucuses. Neither state could afford or were willing to afford another general primary vote and no one else could. The State Parties could have afforded, barely, to hold caucuses but were dissuaded by the hope Hillary held out that their illegitimate primaries would be recognized. Through implication she has demonized the DNC and through her action has driven a hate campaign against them within those states and her supporters. She has convinced her supporters that an unfair advantage has been taken of her by Obama in regard to these states. She and her supporters accuse Senator Obama of cheating her by following the rules they all agreed to. Those supporters are being hardened into a position of either not supporting her opponent in the general or voting for the Republican.

This is a dangerous game to play, the DNC is the official body of the Democratic Party which sets the rules and keeps things going during the off years. The DNC is not the villain in this mess, the legislatures, governors, and state parties are the culprits. Charlie Christ is a lying Republican suntanned snake when he proposes he stands for the interests of all Floridians in this matter, sure as long as they are Republicans he does. Hillary Clinton plays the cat's paw for the Republicans in this and thrashes her own Party in the process (well DNC is no longer the Terry McAuliff big money playground so maybe it isn't her party). There is already damage being done to the DNC by her machinations and she is making noises about making it worse. That existing damage cannot be making the DNC happy and making enemies in politics is a poor practice.

Hillary may think she is putting the DNC on notice that it is her way or the highway by talking about taking the matter to the convention floor but what she is doing is making clear how she plays politics. The DNC and the automatic (super) delegates have it within their reach to knock her silly head off. No super delegate is bound by an endorsement and DNC can ignore her bluff and totally strip the states, a combination of those being flung at her would put her in the position of massive retaliation. If she plays this too far and does lasting damage to DNC and the Democratic nominee she will be finished in Democratic politics. She has taken this to the absolute edge already.

The argument of "I broke this, that Obama can't win, you have to nominate me" won't work, it is done and over unless Obama does something to himself. If Obama loses the General and it even looks like Hillary was responsible there will be a horrific backlash when her Senate seat comes up and the 2012 Presidential Primary would mean a crushing of historic elements. She will spend the next 4 years in the Senate as a pariah to many Democrats and many of her colleagues won't have short memories. "I told you so," won't work, self-fulfilling prophesies are really suspect especially when important voices aren't in the least fooled and John McCain is vetoing bills.

I have made the point over the last year and some that Hillary's difficulties arise from her attachment to short term gain and neglect of long term thinking. The scandals the Republicans tried to gin up against her in the 90s had their roots in that behavior, the Health Care debacle was a victim of it, her vote for AUMF was a symptom, the flag burning vote, and on and on. Her campaign was run with that thinking, have fun spending money, do shock and awe and Feb 5 finishes the deal. What ever damage she is doing to her party, her supporters vision of the process, and the nominee is farther away than her immediate concern of getting delegates she did not earn. Nobody earned delegates in FL/MI, any delegates awarded are an artificial sop to the states and Hillary and there is no way that they'll do her any good, her own actions have guaranteed that - the DNC is not going to reward her behavior.
Floridians "learned the hard way what happens when your votes aren't counted and the candidate with fewer votes is declared the winner," she told supporters. "The lesson of 2000 here in Florida is crystal clear: If any votes aren't counted, the will of the people isn't realized and our democracy is diminished."

"The people who voted did nothing wrong and it would be wrong to punish you," she added.
This is an absolutely poisonous comparison to make to the DNC. The question that will be resolved is whether Hillary Clinton has done anything wrong and how her actions are addressed. I have gone through the stages of being unenthusiastic about her, through opposing her, to now reaching the point of active hostility. I might find it an interesting project to get past this election and begin a process of helping to destroy her. I don't believe I'd find myself short of allies - and not the Republican type, either. Too bad, Sen Kennedy's health may leave large shoes to fill... I've said it before, making enemies in politics where you don't need to is stupid behavior - ask George II.

Congratulations to Jeff Merkley

While this blog gave a narrow endorsement to Jeff's competitor, I am happy to give him an unconditional congratulations and offer of support. Jeff Merkley is an accomplished legislator and upholder of Democratic principles. He is an able campaigner and with real support should be able to defeat Sen Gordon Smith, Oregon's faux moderate Republican.

You will note the Merkley ActBlue contribution box that still exists on the side bar, please use it as often as you can. Gordon Smith is fat with bucks, and guess where they come from. This guy needs to go, Oregon deserves better and Jeff Merkley is so many multiples of better, exponentially better that we need to get behind him now.

It has been a fine thing for DPO to keep the heat on Gordon while the Primary played out, but now we have a candidate who needs to do it personally. That is going to take real resources, this is a big state and much of Gordon's support in it is in limited media markets where the personal touch of Jeff's personableness and political savvy will play well. Eastern Oregon responds well to retail politics, the personal contact counts heavily with folks whose only other contact is with "in the bag" media. This takes real money and the where to get it is from us.

The DSCC has a lot of races to be interested in, their support will be spread thin, so counting on them is not reasonable. Beyond that consideration is the big one, Jeff Merkley is our candidate, Oregon's - not DC's. Jeff and the national political arms need to know we support him and do so in a meaningful way. Today I'm using that link to send Jeff a congratulatory present, think about it, yourself.

OR Secretary of State (D) Presidential By County

12:27AM 5/21/08

Hillary Clinton Barack Obama Write-in Votes Total
Baker 1,086 47.49% 1,117 48.84% 84 3.67% 2,287
Benton 5,496 30.32% 12,522 69.08% 109 0.60% 18,127
Clackamas 18,179 46.77% 20,419 52.54% 267 0.69% 38,865
Clatsop 2,801 46.01% 3,220 52.89% 67 1.10% 6,088
Columbia 380 10.52% 3,146 87.10% 86 2.38% 3,612
Coos 4,991 53.45% 4,130 44.23% 216 2.31% 9,337
Crook 1,368 51.88% 1,213 46.00% 56 2.12% 2,637
Curry 1,654 46.42% 1,821 51.11% 88 2.47% 3,563
Deschutes 7,046 39.21% 10,731 59.71% 194 1.08% 17,971
Douglas 7,078 50.15% 6,739 47.75% 297 2.10% 14,114
Gilliam 148 43.79% 184 54.44% 6 1.78% 338
Grant 300 38.86% 425 55.05% 47 6.09% 772
Harney 365 48.15% 351 46.31% 42 5.54% 758
Hood River 1,465 39.26% 2,236 59.91% 31 0.83% 3,732
Jackson 9,496 39.57% 14,262 59.42% 243 1.01% 24,001
Jefferson 1,075 47.59% 1,157 51.22% 27 1.20% 2,259
Josephine 5,971 48.84% 6,001 49.08% 254 2.08% 12,226
Klamath 3,267 52.14% 2,775 44.29% 224 3.57% 6,266
Lake 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0
Lane 22,342 38.08% 36,336 61.92% 0 0.00% 58,678
Lincoln 4,437 46.41% 5,123 53.59% 0 0.00% 9,560
Linn 6,738 50.66% 6,387 48.02% 175 1.32% 13,300
Malheur 965 52.59% 816 44.47% 54 2.94% 1,835
Marion 15,834 45.70% 18,472 53.31% 342 0.99% 34,648
Morrow 573 60.06% 353 37.00% 28 2.94% 954
Multnomah 47,094 35.04% 86,613 64.45% 688 0.51% 134,395
Polk 4,792 44.21% 5,946 54.86% 101 0.93% 10,839
Sherman 156 55.32% 115 40.78% 11 3.90% 282
Tillamook 2,495 50.31% 2,464 49.69% 0 0.00% 4,959
Umatilla 3,123 54.50% 2,470 43.11% 137 2.39% 5,730
Union 1,495 43.25% 1,879 54.35% 83 2.40% 3,457
Wallowa 454 39.62% 642 56.02% 50 4.36% 1,146
Wasco 1,915 48.49% 1,976 50.04% 58 1.47% 3,949
Washington 28,315 40.60% 41,032 58.84% 392 0.56% 69,739
Wheeler 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 0.00% 0
Yamhill 5,285 46.20% 6,018 52.61% 136 1.19% 11,439
Totals: 218,179 41.02% 309,091 58.11% 4,593 0.86% 531,863

Deep E OR counties are a surprise for the "hicks won't vote black" crowd
Baker, Union, Grant, Wallowa, Gilliam, Wasco all went Obama. Folks, this is out there country, this is as blue collar as it gets and wide open spaces. You might be able to argue Wallowa and Union, but it would be weak. I don't say these counties would go for Obama in a General Election, but this says something about the Democratic voters in these counties. Some people regard KY as rural, 4.1M pop 101 per sq mi versus OR 3.4M pop 35 per sq mi, and for contrast, Baker Co 16K pop 5.5 per sq mi so you'd like to talk rural? Median income : Baker Co $31.7K, OR $42.5, US $44.3K

****10:55AM 5/21/08****
Clinton 273,472 40.94% Obama 346,169 53.58% 69% Democratic Turnout 606,329

Merkley 45.07% Novick 41.79%
US House
1CD Wu 78%
2CD Lemas 98%
3CD Blumenauer 87%
4CD DeFazio 99.6%
5CD Schrader 53.8%

Secretary of State
Brown 51.54%

State Treasurer
Westlund 99%

Attorney General
Kroger 55.8% McPherson 44%

State Senate
30D 697 Write In

State House
58HD Talley 57%

Ballot 51, 52, 53 Passed

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

How Does Hillary Exit?

I know this question will enrage some Clinton supporters, but the problem for them is that she will not win the nomination minus an Obama implosion and that is highly unlikely. Give me a ration of crap about this if she gets the nomination. The question that exists is how does she exit? This actually matters.

There is a hardness in Hillary voters that exists and some of it will not go away by November if things stand as they do. Hillary has a lot of options, but how they play out narrows them considerably. She could take the hard core course and take this to the Convention kicking and screaming all the way and attempt to deadlock the Convention. She could make a case about the nomination either being hers or it is stolen from her. This course would guarantee that a large number of her supporters would not support Obama in the General. Obama's vote plus some of Hillary's would not equal a win over McCain, anything that promotes that result has outcomes pretty negative to Democratic Party goals. There are a number of scenarios that have that outcome beyond a floor fight at the Convention.

The rhetoric of the Clinton campaign and its surrogates can have that result. While Ferarro is not an official of the campaign her rhetoric carried by that campaign would have the same effects of hardening Hillary supporters. Hinting or outright stating that sexism or Florida and Michigan resulted in the theft of the nomination will freeze those supporters against Obama. Continued insistence that only she is ready to lead the nation may well once again lead to the freezing of supporters by devaluing her competitor. Hillary stated the she is best positioned to win the General moments ago in her Kentucky victory speech as Obama sewed up the majority of pledged delegates in the official DNC count and used the fictional 2210 number which exists only within her campaign. As the official DNC rules as of this moment (the only rules that count) the number of delegates apportioned FL/MI is zero. The Rules and Bylaws Committee will find something to do with Florida and Michigan delegates but it will not be her numbers and Obama will still win the nomination so she is angling for something.

It has been supposed that Hillary is trying to position for 2012 after an Obama loss in 2008. While she might like that, the idea that she is attempting to sabotage Obama deliberately is a non-starter. If that became at all obvious the Democratic Party would turn on her like a pack of wolves and there is no way to conduct such an operation that would not be obvious rather quickly. Her strategy cannot be to actively undercut Obama in the General Election.

It has been proposed that she is angling for the Vice Presidency, the chances of it happening is small. Whether she might accept or not, the offer is unlikely and efforts to force it are less likely to succeed. The reasons for it not being offered are varied, and could start with personal antipathy after this Primary. The most compelling reason not to offer it, is the message of Obama regarding a new politics and a disconnect from the special interests being damaged by her presence.

In the end, Hillary is going to lose, she knows it, and she must have something left afterward. There is a large campaign debt, there is a debt owed her supporters and voters, and there is a matter of her power within the Democratic Party. People who have voted for or sent money to Senator Clinton deserve to have the contest played out, that is not really a question to me, the question is how it is played out.

Senator Clinton can scarcely finish the campaign by lauding Obama across the board, that is not a campaign, it is an independent advertising effort. She has to be a candidate, the method of being a candidate is the crux. It is possible that the resolution of Florida and Michigan hinges on how the Clinton campaign is waged and that may tell much. It would be bad for Hillary to put the super delegates in the position of smacking her after June 3. That would harden the anti-Obama piece of Hillary's support. While the average voter may not take that into account in the future, the political junkies will and the professional politicians will. If Obama's future in November does, Hillary's future depends on her conduct over the next couple weeks. I sincerely hope she lives up to the people who have supported her.

The New, "New GOP"

You have to hand it to the House GOP, they have ideas. The House Republican Study Committee is thrashing around looking for ways to undo the damage they've done to their Party and calling their stuff new. The NYT details some of their thinking and the causes.
“Clearly, we have been sobered by three special election losses in a row,” said Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas, chairman of the group of more than 100 Republican lawmakers. “We are sobered by the massive cash advantage that Democrats have to get their message out.”
It is obvious to many that the Republicans face serious problems in this election and potentially elections past that. Their reactions tell a lot about just how much they do not get it. Here are what they propose as solutions:

present a seven-point proposal calling for a constitutional limit on federal spending, a new simplified income tax alternative and a proposal to require recipients of food stamps or housing aid to meet work requirements.
If you're still standing and have recovered from your laughter, let's actually take a look at this.

A Constitutional limit on Federal spending sets the bar for enactment pretty high. The Republicans need to persuade the Congress to send this out to the fifty states for ratification and persuade the people of those states it is required. This would seem by any measure an odd group to sell themselves as responsible parties to present this. It would seem that this is the bunch who passed tax reductions and are the biggest boosters of the budget busting Iraq War. What I wonder is what level of stupidity on the part of voters it would take to buy into the GOP as the savior on this issue and why the GOP assumes the voters are that stupid? I read this and my brain screamed to a halt trying to figure out what alternate reality I'd stumbled into. It seems a tough sale to paint the Democrats as reckless spenders at this point.

A simplified federal income tax system from the Republicans conjures up pictures of the plutocrats managing to pay less taxes and shift more load onto the rest of America. A simplified tax system would mean that their core constituency would either pay more taxes or be seen obviously to be the beneficiaries. One of the virtues of the current complex system for Republicans is that it is good for hiding tax breaks. Loopholes are there to favor pieces of the country's citizens without drawing general attention. Most Americans have a general sort of awareness that they get screwed in the tax game and general system but that isn't quantified by actual knowledge. A tax system that does not require volumes of books would make very clear the tilt of the economic system - either the Republicans are lying or they're suddenly suicidal.

As the economy wobbles on the edge of a recession with the poorest job growth in decades and negative wage growth throughout the Republican administration the Republicans propose to place work requirements on poverty aid. These are the people who have reinvented the concept of welfare for wealth and the socialization of capitalist risks. They will stand there in front of the public and bring to the fore once again the image of Cadillac driving welfare queens. As the architects of policies that have increased poverty in the United States they actually believe they can get votes by kicking the poor around some more? They would like you to believe that food stamps and housing assistance are the big budget problems of this nation.

This is today's GOP, the Party of big ideas.

The conservative proposal seeks tax credits for buying health insurance, more domestic energy production and a streamlined terrorist surveillance program. The draft also said that House Republicans should extend existing welfare work requirements to food stamps and housing assistance “so that those who are not old, young or disabled are either working in the private sector or serving in their community.”
“We have to get back to our core identity,” Mr. Hensarling said, adding that “there is work to be done.”

The work that needs to be done is the removal of these cretins from any proximity to the levers of power.

Not This Woman Isn't Not A Woman For President

There seems to be a generational split amongst white women regarding Hillary Clinton, boomers seem more likely to be her staunch supporters and to be offended by Obama. Never having been female and working mostly very physical jobs I have little experience with their lot, despite a common age. I have never been denied promotion or consideration due to my gender, I have been dismissed by people not of my acquaintance as lacking in intellect based on my type of work. Not quite the same thing. I happen to not like Hillary R Clinton.

The things I dislike about Sen Clinton have not one thing to do with her gender. I would not like a man who had demonstrated the same character and judgement. Now I do not propose to you that men and women are the same, there are vanishingly few women who could manage the physical demands of my work, a simple matter of muscularity which is one thing, but it goes deeper. There are species specific evolutionary forces at work, a huge one being the neoteny of our offspring and the long and debilitating gestation period. Species survival demanded coping mechanisms for this and placed large demands on the female and to a great extent determined familial work divisions through much of our time. There are cultural imperatives and then there are genetic dispositions and confusing them creates confusion. Female submission is a cultural force but a different framing of world view is easily affected by genetic dispositions. Differences do not equate to inequality, they enrich us when they are not denied and expecting men and women to behave the same or to hold the same view point denies us access to wider understandings.

Many find the failures of the Clinton campaign to be the result of gender politics. I do not, and I do not wish to demean women by asserting that gender had one thing to do with it. Hillary's femaleness did not cause her to fail and by my best measures had virtually no net effect on her vote share. The failures lay with the person. There is exactly one boss in a campaign, the candidate, and whatever failures her managers and advisers may have had their boss, at least, let it happen if not willingly and actively participated. If any vote preference was determined by gender it appears on the balance to have fallen in Hillary's favor. If some in the media didn't like her dress, her voice, or her cleavage these were matters of taste, about as relevant as lapel flag pins and probably of less result in votes. The measure here is not perception of slights but voting results and no candidate gets away scott free with media in regard to stupid insights.

Few Primary candidates have started where Hillary started. Her advantages were huge in name recognition, media attention, and money at hand and fund raising organization. What she also had that was remarkable was large unfavorable perception numbers. Very seldom has a candidate so much as entered a race with such high negatives much less been competitive. Certainly a good sized portion of those negatives were created by the Republican smear machine of the 90s, but a goodly portion were also earned. Beneath the smear was reality and that reality wasn't pretty and the candidate reinforced those perceptions with her Senate career and then brought them into focus in the campaign itself. Vehement Hillary supporters don't like this kind of talk, but the candidate is responsible for it and has paid for it. There is undismissable reality underlying her increasing negatives over the campaign and these were not of someone else manufacture. They consisted of her own words and official statements of the campaign.

This is not the stuff of Ferraro statements or "iron my shirt," or any number of stupidities committed by others. Geraldine Ferraro is an idjit, of the sort who will call Obama incredibly sexist and doubt her ability to vote for him in the General Election. Obama and the Obama campaign have done nothing of the sort beyond beat her. In an election someone will not win, being beaten only means that. It does not signify more. Michigan and Florida are held up as some kind of example of unfair play where Hillary is concerned, the problem with that analysis is that the status of those states was known and acknowledged by all parties before campaigning actually started and agreed to by all parties. To treat those states differently because Hillary had one outcome or another in them due to her gender would be blatantly unfair to any candidate and true sexism in operation. Part of being treated equally is having to follow the same rules as everyone else.

I can understand disappointment with the loss of a candidate one supported, I can even understand the frustration and anger of, "why can't they see?" but I cannot understand the revulsion for the winner that is evidenced by so many. In general terms the candidates' policies are very similar and certainly more closely allied than either with John McCain. The idea of punishing the Democratic Party and its voters by voting for McCain or staying home spites the very things either candidate stands for. Whatever kind of President either candidate would make, this nation cannot afford four more years of BushCo policies and politics and neither is that. There does exist within one campaign's supporter's forums Republican operatives sowing hate and discontent, their names are Villareal. However this Primary shakes out the most important aspect of it now is winning the General Election, neither candidate is poison to Democratic voters' interests. If you think they are, you have been played for a fool by those without your interests at heart.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Barack Obama In Pendleton, Oregon

If you're going to go see Barack I suppose you ought to show your colors, my wife's SSR.
Opening speaker Barbara, whose last name I missed.
From twelve feet away you can get a pretty good impression of body language and expression.
I have now spent better than an hour and a half with in speaking range of the man likely to be the next President of the US. That proximity of course does not count as acquaintance but there is a wealth of information available the is not from a television screen or across an auditorium. I was invited to sit in the VIP section, I gather, due to my Democratic Party of Oregon roles. As with Pres. Clinton I wore no campaign gear, only my Grassroots Democrat pin and my DPO Gun Owners Caucus hat. Oh hell, I clapped a lot and cheered and made no pretence he isn't my candidate. Senator Obama arrived on stage shortly after 6:30 PM Pacific in Pendleton, Oregon.

Pendleton is famous for a couple things, the Pendleton Roundup if you're a rodeo fan or Pendleton Wool. The town's population is right around 14K and it sits in the northeast corner of the state, slightly south of the Columbia River on the Umatilla River and somewhat west of the Idaho border at the foot of the Umatilla Mountains, a part of the Blue Mountain Range. Not far from town is the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Wildhorse Casino and a forward looking tribal council have brought a measure of success there. Pendleton's climate is fairly mild, more strongly influenced by the Columbia River Gorge than the mountains. Blue Mountain Community College has its home there but the town is more a blue collar town than a college town. The crowd, I estimate at over 2,000 (***per AP-over 3500***), was over 90% white with Native Americans the largest minority group, ages ran the gamut, but the majority over 30 years age. The crowd was enthusiastic, in the mood for lots of clapping and cheering and standing ovations.

The opening speaker pictured above is a local waitress, a minimum wage earner who did a nice job with something outside her ordinary experience. She emphasized the struggle working people face and her belief Obama is the person to deal with it. She recently lost a grown son to an aneurysm shortly after he'd finished a letter to Sen. Obama, a large reason giving the opening was so meaningful to her. As you can see in the picture the Senator gave Barb his sole attention.

The Senator spoke for less than an hour and then took questions from the audience. The speech was one he has given before, I had watched part of the Portland Waterfront speech on CNN and recognized lines, but it was tailored to the part of the country he was in. Any references to Senator Clinton and her campaign were moderate and for the most part conciliatory, though contrasts were drawn, particularly in regard to future foreign policy - though even there the emphasis was on John McCain.

This speech consisted of 3 pieces, who Barack is and why he is running, why John McCain must not be allowed to persist in George II's policies, and what Barack Obama intends to do. He entwined the three pieces in both his speech and his answers to questions. Much of the speech was his stump speech, he is running now rather than later because of what MLK called the 'urgency of now," the idea that the country is at a historical crossroad. The economic failures of BushCo cannot be perpetuated on the workers by John McCain and the war in Iraq must be ended and Afghanistan prosecuted in a manner leading to success.

I won't replay a speech that most have heard most elements of, the questions may have been more original so I'll try to address them in the abbreviated manner available to me. Sen. Obama took about six questions and used nearly 45 minutes answering that many and two were the complimentary gimme sorts of things, ie: are you going to do more to get the "Colbert/Stewart bump" and will you come back after you're President. (yes and I'd like to) Other questions received detailed answers, much too extensive for me to cover here, I was seriously impressed by both the quality of the questions and particularly the detail and extent of the answers. There may have been a sound bite available in the answers, but the detail and range of the answers defies a simple blog post much less the MSM approach.

A question of what will you do about Cuba? The transfer of power from Fidel to his brother may offer new openings, but the simple fact is that our policy of 45 years has not resulted in a freer or more prosperous citizenry and persisting in the same actions and expecting different results is the definition of madness. The US could make opening moves by easing the travel restrictions on families from the US and on remittances but from there it would depend on Castro. This answer also broadened into the concept of talking to our adversaries to find elements of common ground to ease tensions.

A question about the recent Farm Bill and subsidies creating an atmosphere of dependence from a beef rancher. You have to be ready for a ride with this one, Barack voted (***supported-I misunderstood the thrust of the words***) for the bill but doesn't like some aspects of it but regards it as an improvement over previous ones. He disapproves of the benefits accorded agribusinesses, subsidizing the Fortune 400. He would like to see the emphasis more on catastrophic protection, natural or the bottom falling out of a market and the encouragement of a more varied food production. He believes that the epidemic of childhood obesity is linked to the Farm Bill, through food offered in schools and the food stuffs subsidized which links into health care costs and educational success. Yes, the Farm Bill gets you to health care and education and you've got enough information to do the connection work without me spending six paragraphs on it. Like I said, these were not simple sound bite answers.

A question about what he would do about the Hanford cleanup. His answer, you won't hear this from a politician very often, but I don't know the issue; and I will by the time my plane lands in Montana tonight. My estimation is that he meant that and wasn't pleased he didn't know it.

Regarding your stance on alternative energy, what about nuclear? He said some answers don't please everybody and this one may please no one. He wants to invest money to study it, in particular the waste disposal, but "some times you have to pick your poison" because nuclear energy doesn't create carbon waste. You have to know what your options involve, realistically. The same regarding coal, "we are the Saudi Arabia of coal," but it is one of our dirtiest fuels. Research is needed on cleaning it up, a role for the federal government.

I have stated repeatedly that as a political junkie of many years standing I am not given to fandom regarding politicians. I recognize that these people have thrived in a flawed system, some have thrived sufficiently to be realistic candidates for President, but I came away impressed. I was not impressed by rhetorical flourishes, I was impressed by the depth of thought and the range of it. I was impressed by the ability to naturally interconnect seemingly disparate items into a coherent chain of thought. I am pleased by the impetus to change the way business is done in DC, to drag health care negotiations with Congress onto CSPAN where you can see what we're doing and who won't and why, but the hope of unity is trumped by how he thinks.

I am satisfied that my vote for Obama was well placed and tonight I am happier with it than previously. Thank you Senator for coming to Eastern Oregon, I hope our hospitality made the trip worthwhile. I'm tired, it has been a long day, 100 miles each way, home after midnight, and now this post - goodnight - or good morning...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

McCain's "Rebranded" GOP

The GOP unveiled its new slogan, "The Change You Deserve" and ran right straight into the drug company Wyeth's product Effexor which uses the same slogan. Effexor is an antidepressant and carries this warning:

Suicidality and Antidepressant Drugs

Antidepressants increased the risk compared to placebo of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, teens, and young adults. Depression and certain other psychiatric disorders are themselves associated with increases in the risk of suicide. Patients of all ages who are started on antidepressant therapy should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior.
Seems appropriate to me to monitor the GOP since I'm not sure I want anymore of what they seem to think I deserve. Let me see which pieces I'm sure I deserved:

Unending Middle Eastern War, war profiteering on massive scale, torture, detention without Habeas Corpus, blown away 4th Amendment, gas through the roof, economy through the floor, falling wages, brain dead women legislated in Congress, disaster non-response for poor people - particularly poor black people, lobbyist written laws and rules, politicization of the entire Executive Branch, massive disenfranchisement of legitimate voters, Congress filibustered to a standstill, socialization of all plutocratic losses, for profit government services - I'm running out of tolerance here, maybe I'd better stop before I need that drug.

But the GOP is already drawing together to pull this off under the McCain banner. That's the ticket, they'll get shed of the crap that is sinking the GOP by going McCain - you know, Mr Hundred Years War (he didn't say that? yes he did, we'll keep fighting until we're not dying and then stay, I'd expect 100yrs of dying under his management) who was against tax breaks for the rich before he was for them since they've worked so well. But really, here is the McCain change:

Two aides who lobbied for the Myanmar military junta or how about a finance co-chair like Tom Loeffler former GOP TX congressman who took millions from the Saudis and others with military contract business as a lobbyist still active and even paying Susan Nelson, an employee, while she was a McCain finance director? McCain energy advisor Eric Burgeson was just let go, it seems his relationships with lobbying and plutocrats finally managed to offend even McCain's grubby little mind - or more likely the potential media fallout offended. What you have to get is that even scratching the surface of McCainism reveals the plutocracy in action.

***Update*** apparently Loeffler has now gone bye-bye. What? Did McCain just figure out who these people are? How'd all these nasty lobbiest people sneak in there? Bad as rats, one little hole and the place is infested....Keeeeripes, people will buy how ethical McSame is now...

The picture gets worse as you see the Grover Norquists of tax no rich man fame and drown government agenda teaming up with Limbaugh to castigate McCain. Tancredo is furious about illegal immigration and McCain throwing up roadblocks. Where does this leave Sen McSame? He cannot afford to have the conservative wing going away in search of his mythical "Change" GOP. McCain's biggest problem is that the GOP has taught the George II 28%ers that all the stuff he's talking about is evil Democratic communistic garbage. When John McCain says, "global warming" their fingers go in their ears and their tongues come out and yet he turns around and tells a public that disapproves by 80% that tax breaks for the ultra-rich are a good idea - in the face of a record setting deficit and a tanking economy. The truly unfortunate aspect is the news media showing the plutocrats walking away from the credit meltdown with profit and glee as the government subsidizes their losses and leaves Joe Schmoe losing his house.

The GOP wants to re-brand itself, they actually expect to have some kind of results from a new slogan, as though getting what they wanted and running the show or stopping the show for seven years isn't some kind of evidence that what they do is massively stupid for most of America. A slogan undoes the work of seven years of Presidency and more as a Congressional majority? After all these years post-Hoover they finally got to put their junk into action again and now that it has worked out the way it has we're suppose to believe - what? That a 72 year old shot down fighter jock can wave a magic wand at their stuff and it will change into gold? It isn't that one or two pieces of their ideology (cough) failed, the whole concept is bankrupt. It isn't even a coherent body of thought beyond the idea that the rich and the connected deserve all the pie, it is a hodgepodge of junk that serves the interests of almost no one and the results show that. Other than rich is goodness there is no consistent informing thought, personal responsibility my butt, only if you're poor. Individual freedom from government interference, only if you don't count the legal system. Nothing is there. They cherry pick the Bill of Rights much worse than the Democrats have ever thought of, they even go into the body of the Constitution and strip out Habeas Corpus - only respected since 1215AD. They junk every good idea the Clinton administration had and ran with all the bad ones and then blame Clinton. A Party of Values? There is not a single American value beyond greed that these people have not offended. Morality? Where and when? They threw the idea of ethics off a cliff and waved a Bible in your face as they violated every tenet ever espoused by Jesus Christ - every one. Read his direct quotes and show me where they've followed one, just one. There is no Republican ideology beyond the words, "greed and fear," and I defy the most informed Republican to show me where there has been consistency beyond those words. I have friends I think the world of with (R) after their name and what they believe and what the Republican Party is could not be more different or I would loath them rather than be their friend. That Party needs to be broken on the wheel of the public good and gutted out so that something at least half way responsible can take its place. I'm an advocate of opposition parties, they are necessary, but they also have to stand for something.

I understand that here at "Chuck for" I'm preaching to the choir, if the right wing noise machine's adherents were coming around here the "Comments" section would be filled with rude screeds involving words like socialist, communist, and various profane references. Some of you profess to be "Independents" and that's how that is, though what you come down with is absolute disgust with BushCo and anger that the Democrats do too little. Well then, here is your chance, 2008, get behind the person most likely to do something, as President, Senator, Congressman, hell - City Councilman. This is what Primaries are for and it's winding down fast - now. If you're too late, since there are only a couple states left, there is an election again in 2 years, that's exactly right, Senate and House seats will be up again in 2 years. No, you won't have the drama of Clinton, Obama, & McCain to drive your interest, but you cannot drive change unless you start pushing where it begins - having a candidate and then having a nominee. If you don't like the same old politics; run, recruit somebody, work for them, canvass, register voters, re-register voters, write, speak out, DO NOT GIVE UP - NOT EVER!