Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Some Things You Can't Make Up

Elizabeth Hasselbeck on the View:
ELISABETH HASSELBECK: Obviously both sides are trying to run and create image. So if we use this as, so they both have funds and are creating an image, making sure their candidates are where they need to be seen, as they need to be. I find it completely then repulsive to then - if we want to look at spending - see how Barack Obama now is going to spend what $3 million on two thirty minute ads that are going to run this week.

BARBARA WALTERS: He's got the money and he wants to win.

ELISABETH HASSELBECK: That to me is, in terms of the economy is - that is repulsive.

She doesn't like Obama's half hour commercial, it' repulsive in light of the economy, the average contribution is about $180 so that's coming straight out of the broken economy. On the other hand, there's Sarah Palin's wardrobe:
ELISABETH HASSELBECK: I brought it up – prior to the clip that you ran… I said in between that I believe the focus on her wardrobe has been deliberately sexist. I said, following that, so let me speak in terms that they – meaning those who have been criticizing her – might understand and then I followed with those examples. And I just wanted to parallel the tone that I thought and had been set by the media and use that right back at them.

Her claim to fame and political accumen? A Survivor contestant with fairly good looks and a shrill and over-amped approach. Someone feeds her talking points, it's obvious since she's on them nearly at the same time as the Republican spokespersons. It is fairly pathetic that this is what the VP candidate has to use for a warm up act. Well, pretty similar on the qualifications end.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lundgren for Senate

Our friend Maren Lundgren has a TV commercial out. Her site is found at Lundgren for Senate.

This is an important race for Oregon Senate and in these closing days any kind of help paying for this ad sure will help.
Contribute will get you into a secure site.

This is Maren and Chuck at Central Oregon Shooting Association and an Uberti .45 Colt SAA with bird's head grip doing instruction with a gun that requires special handling. This is an original patent revolver which means the firing pin is on the hammer and safe handling requires an empty chamber under the hammer. We had enough fun that she's offered to supply ammo for another go around if I can get out that way again.

I'm not in her Senate district so I don't get to vote for her. Since my district is uncontested for Ted Ferrioli I got to leave it blank, I did think Mickey Mouse was a quality opponent but I don't like spoiling a ballot. Given that situation I'll do what I can for a good candidate. This is the big push, so please do what you can to help out.

Moldy Oldies

Turn on the TV or radio to politics and you'd swear a hole had been torn in the space/time continuum. The Republicans seem to find themselves with nothing and running hard on it. Try and name the decade these favorites belong in.

Pro-American/anti-American, heartland, god-fearing, tax and spend liberal, socialist, Marxist, soft on terror, win the war, surrender, cut and run, liberal media bias, elites, god-guns-gays-abortion, enemies, security, and finally and most importantly - "the other."

You could try to make the case that these are classics and that might even be reasonable if there was relevance. It isn't that there are big ideas boiled down to short snappy lines. There just isn't anything there.

Pro/anti-American might make some kind of sense if we were talking about, oh say, the Middle East, but in the USA? What in the hell?

Heartland means exactly what? Heart Land. If the heart is to be considered the central formative influence it isn't the rural farmland. People are the heart of the country - if the Constitution is the law, the brain - and that means you find the heartland where the people are. It is completely stupid and dishonest to tell rural America that it is the heart of the country. I live there and I know better, I know that where I live is the exception. Judas priest, that's why we chose to line here.

God fearing? In a country that professes to be Christian it is to be a good thing to be scared of god? So god is a mean vengeful SOB? OK, not my game, not a fight I want to get into.

Tax and spend liberal...well we've certainly had spend and top tax rates are at historical lows. Oh, and we're broke. I guess liberal holds some meaning, except maybe by what this means at any given historical time.

Socialist. This is a very odd charge to make while the Federal government takes over investment banks. Any tax program redistributes income, roads, fire departments, police, etc and etc are public interest programs paid for by taxes. A progressive tax system has been around since Teddy Roosevelt. Wealth takes the very largest benefit of the system funded by taxes, asking for something proportional to that is somehow wrong? Socialism is the governmental control of business and resources - not exactly something that has been proposed - well, excepting banks... In this case the profits were private and risk socialized.

Marxist - as Joe Biden asked, "Are you kidding?"

Soft on terror - on the basis of what? No candidate has suggested hugging and kissing, rather it all sounds pretty blood thirsty.

Win the war. Which war? I thought you just got done saying we've won.

Surrender - which war? The forgotten one where the terrorist were? Cut and run, same.

Liberal media bias? I could get it if it were called corporate bias. I could understand if McCain hadn't gotten a complete pass through the early stages as Obama struggled with Ayers, Wright, bitter, Muslim, etc, etc and McCain hadn't gotten essentially free advertising by running his past the media.

Elites. Seven houses, wealthy barbie doll wife, son and grandson of 4 star Admirals with a legacy Academy appointment calls elite? Single parent, college loans is elite? Sounds a lot more like ordinary- except for the level of success.

God, guns, gays, abortion. I'm not going to touch this one, the statements are there as is the record.

Enemies... I guess this one is about just how scared you are.

Security, guns and butter is better reversed, guns are real tough if there's no butter.

"The Other," is the big one. All the rest of this mess boils down to it, and there is the issue of middle names and skin tone and just plain exotic. Anything about a candidate that can be portrayed as out of the ordinary can make the candidate suspect amongst certain elements and played just right will carry quite a large segment. The Other has been used about as long as there has been history and regardless of the lack of democratic institutions. It features hugely in most wars, some of them with horrific surrounding events. Certainly you could reach out to the easy one - Nazis - and you'd be missing that their stuff was very late in the day and only another example of the technique. The Romans didn't refer to the barbarians to make them seem like Romans. The Spartans used the technique within their own ruling caste.

This isn't 1968 and nattering nabobs of negativism and damn hippies or Joe McCarthy's witchhunt, oddly enough this is 2008 with a campaign between a youthful black man and an old tired white guy with old tired themes - moldy oldies.

McMavericky Alaskan Corrution Fighter...

We all know that Sarah Palin made her bones in Alaska fightin' against corruption. With Alaska sucking furiously on the Federal teat and awash in oil money there's been an awful lot of money floating around in a pretty small pond. Some fair sized frogs have been caught out and now the big daddy bullfrog himself has been gigged. A federal court jury found Sen Ted Stevens guilty of all seven felonies he was charged with, lying on a gift disclosure form.

Whether Alaskans gave a damn or not, this isn't exactly a newsflash that Ted was dirty. A forty year veteran Senator is a big frog in any pond and big Alaska with its tiny population spread all over the place makes him a monster. If you want to sit on one of the lily pads you'd best see Ted. A moderate sized city in most of the other states would make up Ted's voters, that isn't much of a pond. So maybe it really isn't much of a surprise that an ambitious Republican woman would hitch up with the big croaker.

Clear back on September 1st WaPo's Matthew Mosk covered the Palin coziness with Ted.

Palin's name is listed on 2003 incorporation papers of the "Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service, Inc.," a 527 group that could raise unlimited funds from corporate donors. The group was designed to serve as a political boot camp for Republican women in the state. She served as one of three directors until June 2005, when her name was replaced on state filings.
Such a position might have come in pretty handy in the small world of Alaskan politics as long as Ted was a force to be reckoned with. In 2005, with a Republican Congress and President, Ted was the king of Alaskan pork - a veritable fount of Federal largess - and that equates to serious swat. With the 2006 Governor's election in the works Sarah could always use some more help, and she got it.

Stevens had been helpful to Palin during her run for governor, swooping in with a last moment endorsement. And the two filmed a campaign commercial together to highlight Stevens's endorsement of Palin during the 2006 race.
Sarah's elevation to the original McMaverick's VP slot and Ted's problems becoming public in a national sort of way that became a bit of an embarrassment.
Shortly after Palin was announced as McCain's vice presidential pick, the ad was removed from her gubernatorial campaign web site. It remains available on YouTube.

Damned internet is almost as inconvenient as filmed statements she made touting that Bridge she was for before she was against it after Congress cut that project. So I guess Sarah has been pallin' around not only with witch doctors and violent secessionists but also a convicted felonious public servant. Kind of makes you go, "hmmmm," about her inability to call abortion clinic bombers terrorists doesn't it?

You can put a Palin in a $10K dress and spray paint a tan on it, but it is still a Palin. I sure the hell hope the Republicans decide she's their future... Johnny McPOW is of limited potential for real fun.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Clothing Distractions

The Governor's wardrobe has now become an issue of sexism, in Republican circles. I don't give a damn if she likes to wear jeans, pants suits, dresses, or whatever. Here's the real deal about the clothes, it is about the Republican campaign and their thinking, not what the woman looks like. Her taste in clothing is whatever it is, but the issue of appearance on a campaign trail doesn't mean $150,000 clothing. The reality is that the cameras, the audience, the hand shakers don't see the things that make a difference between those clothes and the knock-offs in other stores. That level of clothing is meaningless except amongst those who do wear it regularly.

This is where the argument really is, not about some woman's clothing. This is how the RNC sees the world and the country, spending fortunes meaninglessly on their type is a good thing. It is trickle down economics made simple. The plain folks benefit by the rich and influential getting more and more. It never seems to occur to them that the question is where that more and more comes from. I don't have a lot of sympathy for RNC contributors seeing their money wasted, this is their agenda, but the blindness that leads to this kind of junk is an issue.

This clothing is a stage prop, nothing more - unless Sarah plans to keep it, somehow. The RNC has real electoral problems and candidates whose campaigns might benefit from a chunk of $150,000. They're down the food chain, like most Americans, and thus dispensable. There is such a thing as coat tails but the only use that clothing has is within the social circles of elites. Not the phony elite of thoughtful well rounded people, the elite of those who can afford to toss money at that kind of clothing. You have to remember that Sarah is pallin' around with a guy who wears $560 loafers. Give me a break, I wear $360 custom built 12 inch logging boots because I spend huge amounts of time on my feet in treacherous difficult conditions and damage to them means I go broke - and they will get re-built. At $560 those shoes have nothing to do with practical considerations and everything to do with status. You buy those shoes because you can.

I don't care what kind of clothing Cindy McCain wears, but it may bear on the selection of Sarah's clothing. Cindy McCain lives in that elite of moneyed interests who can spend that kind of money and not notice and those two will spend time together. Sarah and her family must be dressed to that level if they're going to hang with those folks. Whether Sarah Palin was a part of the idea to do this or not is immaterial, the fact is that the idea existed and she went along quite willingly. Blindness to the outcomes of wealth coddling policies is exemplified by this stuff.

Sex has nothing to do with this unless you take the Republican tack that she needed clothes. How does this thinking go? A woman needs $150,000 worth of clothing because...she's a woman? In order for a woman to be a credible candidate for VP or any office she has to have clothing of that level? I am married and I do understand that women's clothing costs more than men's, but holy mackerel, nobody thinks it involves this kind of level. What is it that they think they're appealing to?

I like nice looking buildings and I am in favor of some ornamentation, but hanging all the geegaws in the world on an outhouse doesn't make it something else. Sarah Palin is what she is whether she's wearing jeans or the most upscale designer clothing. The idea that it is reasonable to use resources like this is telling. People complain to me that they have to buy Obama yard signs rather than have them handed out. Yard signs make for a sense of community but do not drive votes, advertising, speaking, publishing, ground troops make for votes. The usual vanity of having more signs out than the opposition isn't of import to that campaign - real results are. The contrast in judgement couldn't be more stark.

It isn't about whether I could afford these clothes. It is about philosophy and judgement and the use of available resources. The one thing that a Presidential campaign shows, for absolutely sure, is the level of competence and judgement and philosophy of the candidate's team. All the campaign promises to the side, that is reality. Extend that to actual governance where the decisions made aren't of the miniscule effect of some woman's dresses and what is it you get?

The McCain team?

Balloon Juice

John Cole of Balloon Juice used to run one of those Bush-backing conservative sites that drive some of us nuts, not the crazies Jon Swift skewered the other day, the ones where you watch an intelligent person behaving in ways that make no sense. The cumulative blows of Katrina, Iraq, and the Schiavo tragedy convinced him the Republican Party wasn't for him anymore.

John finds interesting stories and writes really good posts. They are literate and well reasoned - well usually. I stop there daily. The real fun starts down in the comments, this is not ground for the faint of heart, iconoclastic is a mild description. If you're going to go there, be careful what you take seriously and post with care if you have delicate feelings. Comments run 70-100s and frequently contain interesting links.

If you're wondering why this 'endorsement' is happening, it is a pay back. I did a little blog-whoring over there that delivered quite a few readers to this little site. For the uninitiated, blog-whoring is using another's site to drive readers to your own.

Balloon Juice is worth your time and I'm glad to return the favor of sending readers.

I Had No Idea You Could Pile It This High

I don't know how many of my readers frequent that Reasonable Conservative Jon Swift and I doubt the handful I'm sending his way will take down his site but you really do need spend a few minutes on this one. I'll snag a paragraph to get you started:
Some of the stories below are shocking and even hard to believe, but they weren’t published on crazy, fringe websites. They appeared on some of the most distinguished and well-respected sites on the Internet. The bloggers and online journalists who published them have staked their reputations and their sacred honor on the veracity of these reports. To doubt the truth of their findings, you would have to believe that an entire segment of the blogosphere has suddenly been gripped by hysteria and gone collectively insane, which is a pretty unlikely scenario.

This stuff gets tossed out piece by piece, but you have to admire a writer who would risk his sanity to gather it up in one place... Be careful - the knife is sharp.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Palin's Future

Starting with an assumption about the outcome of the November 4th election can be an 'iffy' proposition but I'll go there anyhow. People are talking about Sarah Palin's place in the Republican Party after 2008 and a loss. I'll not only go along with the loss part, I'll postulate a severe beating at the top and down ticket and not be afraid of being out on a limb. The question seems to be about whether the #2 position on the Presidential ticket won't launch her into Republican national political power.

There is in her column the energizing of the base and her good looks and her ability to read a teleprompter convincingly (harder than you may think). This success has been achieved with the backing of a national campaign - including wardrobe.... It is foolhardy to deny these assets but the questions start at the level of their value.

Sarah Palin is Governor of Alaska, she is going back to Alaska for at least two more years, assuming she doesn't get impeached. Alaska has a population of 700,000 and limited media markets and limited media appeal. Alaskans are starting to have questions about Sarah and that isn't a good thing. Oil is down and with an extended economic down turn it will stay down, that is a problem for Alaska and problems for a state come home to the Governor. If she takes much of hit in her state she looses her platform, there. The national media needs a hook to hang attention on.

Fame can be a very fleeting thing in America and television attention is primary to a politician. Alaska just doesn't play much in national media. If Alaska played her name would already have been familiar before McCain tapped her for VP. She was, instead, a blank slate for the campaign to write on. That hasn't worked well. There are very large letters on that slate spelling incompetent, vacuous, right wing, and worst - loser. McCain and Palin didn't get to define her in their manner, she is labeled, probably indelibly.

If the election plays as it looks with serious Republican blood letting there is still a Party out there that wants to win elections. That Party is not solely composed of the religious right, although is sometimes looks that way. There are an awful lot of interests out there that frankly give a damn about the religious right other than the vote. In point of fact, they are embarrassed by that wing of the Party despite having to hold them. These people have access to large amounts of money and the levers of power. They are seriously unamused by the track of this election, their hands are being yanked out of the money pit. Palin's polling shows her as a drag on the McCain ticket and that will be seen as an unnecessary impediment to their agenda. A loser who helped the loss is not attractive and these people won't go at this on the basis of emotional attachment. Their ideology may stink, but they're cold eyed pragmatists.

There is going to be a struggle for the control of the Republican Party and it is going to be bloody. The gloves will be off. Sarah Palin will not have the advantage of a national campaign staff to deal with this fight and she doesn't have the personal tools to wage that warfare. This is not just a case of her having to struggle for a platform to stay in the lime light, this is a case of her having to fight with experienced and resource rich interests actively trying to marginalize her. All the reichwing blogs and James Dobsons of the Republican sphere don't amount to a hill of spit next to the power that will be brought to bear.

What happens in Congress for the next two years and the 2010 election will have great effect on the power centers of the Republican Party. They are going to be well into minority territory in the House and may lose their filibuster power in the Senate. If they keep that power in the Senate good Democratic propagandizing can make them publicly pay for obstruction. At least one tool is to make filibusters actual rather than faite accompli. Beohner isn't going away and his brand will be in the forefront along with the Senators. The public will watch if the Democrats help them watch. If the 2010 election goes south for the Republicans the elite is going bring out serious firepower aimed at anyone they deem responsible. Identified Republican voters are now seriously outnumbered by registered Democrats and the Non-affiliated voter ranks are growing. This means that in any large scale election Republicans cannot count on the base to make sufficient differences - they absolutely have to have a large chunk of Independents who are not in any scale reichwing.

If Sarah Palin's ambitions lead her to try for the role of Party leader; I think she will be one of the bloodiest of the corpses that will litter the Republican landscape. The only way this doesn't happen is if the Republican Party splits into two separate parties. There may be some like Reagan Democrats who come back to the Democratic Party, but the large unhappy group will not go there and I do not see the formation of a Third Party as realistic.

Bye Barracuda

Palin's Terrorists

Now you can do with this as you please.

I find it the height of irresponsibility to not state clearly that bombings, arsons, and shootings with the desired end being political change are terrorism. I also note the caveate of "innocent people." I could easily enough read some nasty things into this kind of equivocation.

Juxtaposing her extreme stance on abortion with her insistence of speaking to Ayers rather than the question and the hard core rhetoric of the campaign makes for some interesting speculation. I don't like her and guessing at motives beyond the transparent one of Ayers staying in the forefront is risky stuff, but...

Rats. Ship. Sink.

Somebody wins and election and the other guys are losers, there's no good natured sharing in this equation, you are either the winner or you are a loser. The bigger the election the larger the scale of those attached until finally you get to the Presidency. There you reach the stratosphere of political winner and losers. The overhead at campaign staff makes real money during the campaign, but the payoff comes afterwards. Now you are an important person with access, access for sale. If you win.

In most major elections there are coat tails and at the Presidential level the coat tails are long in most elections and an election like this one coat tails are huge. Many not competitive races this time out have turned not only competitive but bad for the presumed favorites. The down party isn't talking about gain or holding its own, it is talking about limiting the hemorrhaging.

NYT Magazine has a story coming out about the McCain campaign and what previews have shown are very sharp knives coming out, internally. A near loss leaves these folks with a pretty good future, access to the movers and shakers, book and article deals, television and radio appearances - not as good as a win, but respectable with only a whiff of the smell of loser. A serious beating leaves the stink of death, they become the untouchables short of deals for finger pointing which soon become very old news. The McCain team will become names known only to the insiders and then as
bad drivers. There is usually an effort to avoid being lumped in with the other losers after the election, this time the odor of failure is coming early and thus the sharp knives.

Down ticket players are horridly vulnerable to forces outside their control. Ordinarily Party identification is sufficient to back the top of the ticket and the ordinary voting patterns of the area will cover shortcomings at the top. Party moderates are somewhat more vulnerable due to the nature of the electorate that elects moderates, but generally previous voting patterns keep them safe. When the top is going down in flames nobody is very safe. This time out the Republican down ticket has real problems. The sitting President is at 28% approval holding only about 3/4 of the Republicans and Congress has abysmal numbers and it is beginning to look like an electoral blow out and possibly over 7% popular vote landslide. The top of the ticket is barely managing to hold the narrow base and is actually alienating the middle.

Sen Gordon Smith of Oregon is only partially illustrative, a mock moderate with an over 90% Bush voting record and no legislative accomplishments in a slightly blue state (if you're not from OR you may not know this) he has run away from his Party this year. None of his ads with political celebrities involve Republican wheels, they are Democrats. Unwilling Democrats. Liddy Dole may be more informative, her latest advertisement features a line that holds her out as a hope to keep the Democrats from running everything. Her state for the first time in a very long time is in play at the Presidential level and her seat is in serious jeopardy, a campaign that just tossed the McCain ticket.

Republican former officials are committing the political heresy of not staying silent with their disapproval for the ticket, they are backing the Democrats. Republican pundits are up in arms, dissenting from the ticket or leaving - quite publicly. They don't want to be associated with the looming disaster. Some are looking to the future, some are looking to their legacies and none look secure with McCain/Palin. John McCain represents himself as having run into a rough patch, observers from his own party see it as a buzz saw.

The McCain Line's Titanic has hit the iceberg named Obama and the folks who've made it into the life boats have no intention of getting sucked down with it. What this will mean post-January 20th is open to question, the Republicans left in Congress will be either the hard core survivors or the Senators out of this election loop. Even the faux moderate Smith is looking unlikely and the actual moderates face disaster. This will soon be a Party not only looking for a way back to power but more importantly for a way to survive as an important player.

This piece will make the distinction between winners and losers particularly vicious. The short term tactic is to obstruct and demonize Democrats but this won't move them forward, their trickle of losses this time out will quickly turn into a flood as the hard edge takes the fore. This could quickly turn into a downward spiral into the hard right and a twenty percent share. The 'c' conservatives will be left with nowhere to go, they are not Democrats, so they may fight and Republicans don't fight like Democrats do. It could get really bloody, rats swimming in open water will climb on anything including other rats and teeth will come out.

It couldn't happen to a better bunch...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Soft War On Terrorism

One of the first things to keep in mind when talking about violence and particularly organized violence is that it exists for reasons. Particularly regarding organized violence it is not a mindless irrational happening; whether we like the rationales or not. This piece can be addressed by shooting people and blowing things up; but that tends to increase the validity of the reasons. It is beyond argument that some people and things can be best dealt with through bombs and bullets. That does not make that the only or in all circumstances best methodologies. In this Bush era it may surprise you to find that the US military is utilizing another tactic with a long term strategy.

McClatchy's William Strobel reports from Camp Bautista, Phillipines about the Special Forces taking a soft approach. While these warriors are providing the Phillipine governmental forces with intelligence, materials, and advice they are staying out of direct combat. They are allowed to defend themselves and they also seem to be minimizing that chance.
Each child's price of admission to the animated film "Robots," plus a bottle of water and a small paper bag of popcorn, is to accept a squirt of hand sanitizer — a brief lesson in basic hygiene.

Welcome to America's other war on terror.

The Mindinao region has been the focus of the government's fight with separatist group Moro Islamic Liberation Front and at one point a central point for the Al Qaida linked Abu Sayyaf, a violent terrorist organization. Abu Sayyaf has been the focal point of military action. American intelligence has helped the Phillipine troops minimize civilian casualties and pin point a fairly successful drive against that organization.

The other focus of that action is Hearts and Minds.
Secret military hardware shares cargo space on helicopters with gifts of plastic sandals emblazoned "Honor in Peace." The Filipino military uses U.S. intelligence from unmanned drones and other devices to pinpoint the enemy in a land of mountainside jungles and vast flooded marshes. Sometimes it holds its fire to avoid civilian casualties that would undermine the effort.

One recent afternoon on the nearby island of Mindanao, uniformed U.S. and Filipino military officers listened, some curious and some perplexed, as a U.S. Agency for International Development contractor briefed them on the agency's $80-million-a-year aid program for the region. He talked about taking steps to boost the local seaweed-farming industry and to help create an off-season mango harvest.

Strobel also reports from Jakarta on the Indonesian efforts against terrorism using more soft techniques. Nasir Abbas was one of the plotters in the Bali bombings which killed more than 200. Today he is something different.
His remorse over the massacre of civilians and the Indonesian police's careful handling of him transformed Abbas. From a terrorist commander he became a terrorist counselor, working with the police to try to convince other captured militants that their interpretation of Islam is wrong.

Considering that Abbas was a 15 year veteran of and a senior commander of Jemaah Islamiyah, Southeast Asia's most feared Islamic terrorist group this is something extraordinary.
Using methodical police work and programs to counter radical ideologies, Indonesian authorities have reduced Jemaah Islamiyah to a remnant of its former self. The Indonesian government has benefited from public revulsion at a string of bombings against civilians.

The outlook is not all rosy, and the author does a careful job of covering the bases. Use the links to see what something other than bombs and bullets looks like today. Journalists deserve credit for their work and to have read rather than synopsized by bloggers like me.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Just Americans

As a populace we hang identifiers on ourselves. We call ourselves Democrats, Republicans, Independents in politics. We are a Christian, or a Jew, or a Muslim, or an atheist, or agnostic. Then we're class identified as blue collar, middle class, wealthy, or poor. There is the matter of geography, rural or urban, then east, west, north, south, middle. All these labels end in what? Americans?

Evidently not, as Colin Powell said the other day and Maureen Dowd reminded me today. There are some real as opposed to constructed difficulties to Chuck the construction guy becoming President, but Barak Obama has shown a path of sorts. But let's move from practical to constructed obstacles, does some one believe an atheist, agnostic, or Muslim is going to have a reasonable shot?

Which part of the First Amendment that all Americans utilize is it that is reflected in this status? If your religion doesn't involve something that is otherwise illegal you're free to practice it. In certain narrow circumstances even otherwise illegal behavior is permitted. What isn't permitted, in practical terms, is a religion other than Christianity - though Judaism isn't quite disqualified. Now I'm not a Religious Partisan, not now not ever. I'm as close to an agnostic as one can get without quite being there, that means that I hold no brief for your religion. If religion drives your vote I have no idea what it is you think America is.

The picture of the mother leaning on the headstone with a star and crescent and military rank tore my heart. It tore my heart that she lost her son and it tore it that somehow in America of 2008 that symbol disqualifies her family from anything. As Powell noted, the converse of the lie that Obama is Muslim is how can that possibly matter? If every other part of Obama was exactly the same why would Islam disqualify him in American's minds?

"We were attacked by Muslims," seems to be an excuse. Well, now the simple fact is that we were subjugated by Christian British in 1776, attacked by Christian British in 1812, went to war with Christian Spain, warred twice with Christian Germany, and the little Civil War issue certainly involved a lot of Christians killing each other. Five minutes in one Civil War battle killed more Americans than 9/11 and given about a half hour more than all our fights with Muslims. Christian Americans have killed the hell out of Americans over the years, the terrorist attacks in this country are by far the acts of Christians. If Americans need to be afraid of a religion I'm afraid it is Christianity.

All that is utter nonsense, of course. You could go the line of any religion other than yours is evil and therefore its practitioners are evil. If this is your line of thought, there is an awful lot of evil in the world and some of your respected friends, family, and even icons are evil. I certainly become evil under that metric since I don't practice anybody's religion. I'm pretty sure I'm not evil, but I guess you just have to take my word for it. You have my written record to peruse, but that's still taking my word for it.

I've made it pretty clear that I'm going to vote for Barack Obama. It may surprise you that I don't hold his religion against him, or for him. I don't care about it one way or the other beyond being tired of hearing about it. I'm tired of hearing about it as a qualifier or disqualification. I'm tired of hearing Americans labeled with prejudice as being of any religious persuasion.

I don't like living in cities so I'm happy being rural, I don't think I'm special because of that. I live in the mountainous West and I don't think I'm special for that - I like it better and for me it is a better lifestyle but that means nothing more than that. I'm a construction worker, I'm in better physical condition than most my age, but that's about the extent of the advantages I get. I certainly have a better insight into being a construction worker in the rural mountainous west than a NY, NY banker. That in itself doesn't make me a qualified observer of the entire US. I am not special, more patriotic, more anything because of those labels - I am simply an American.

I'm going to take that one step farther, when this country gets it wrong, I am a human being with his own judgement, I don't ask the American government to think for me. I will make my own judgements and suffer whatever consequences. That may make me quintessentially American. Next time somebody presents it as reasonable to make judgements about people based on their "labels" you might ask them if we're not just talking about Americans, after all.

Test, Test...Tested

Joe Biden speculates that a President Obama would be tested by some world crisis and John McPOW immediately reminds us that he had something to do with jet aircraft.
"I sat in the cockpit on the flight deck of the USS Enterprise off of Cuba. I had a target," he said. "My friends, you know how close we came to a nuclear war. America will not have a president who needs to be tested. I've been tested my friends."

I'm left scratching my head with that one. I'm not sure if he could see Cuba from the flight deck and thus, like Gov Sarah, become an instant Cuban affairs expert - or actually not be able to see it like Gov Sarah couldn't actually see Russia and become an expert on the basis of bullshit. But, all that snarkiness aside, the gold is in the quote. "I had a target," isn't quite the same as, "I took measure of the situation and stared the Russians down." It is in fact something quite different from being tested at all, it is having orders to sit in a goddam cockpit and do what you're told to do by people with a clue. Maybe we're actually back on the McPOW thing, how he was heroic in Hanoi...he says. He says a lot of things and some of them he repeats and they are established lies - so? If he was 'heroic' in Hanoi that means exactly what? That he decided not to give up to pain? If I wanted somebody who'd go back to work after hitting their finger with a hammer that might be important, but that's about carpenters and paper cuts don't count. I'm having a few problems figuring out how getting shot down and being a prisoner means having judgement.

John McCain has been tested a few times and come up real short, Keating was a bit of a test, a broken wife was a bit of a test, BushCo's torture was a definite test - he's taken all the outs on those, none of this heroic stand he's fond of touting. I remember something about how he was going to run a civil and principled campaign, then he couldn't because Obama wouldn't do townhalls with him. I'm a bit flumoxed on the connection there, but he seems to think there is one - or he'd like everybody to believe that it doesn't have anything to do with not being in an easy win position. You could probably find some inconvenience in his stance against earmarks, if he didn't manage to get the pork other ways.

The fact that I don't like his politics has nothing to do with this - he is a despicable little man. He shows all the traits of the spoiled son of privilege we've grown so accustomed to under George II. If you think the son and grandson of Four Star Admirals is just some John you live in a strange world. If you think the 3rd from the bottom of the class at the Naval Academy gets a front seat in a jet 'just because' I've got a Bridge in Alaska to sell you. He spouts the Republican line of personal responsibility and takes none. For god's sake, a former POW should have been immovable on torture, nope - he gave George II what he wanted for political convenience. John McCain, of all Congressmen, had the standing to make that stink like a dead fish and bring it to a halt - he goddam caved. At the risk of our servicemen and to the shame of this country it happened when he could have stopped it. This is not about his plutocracy enhancing ideology, this is about character and his lacks much of anything. To my Republican friends of a responsible and respectable nature: I'm really sorry you've got such a bunch but that's what you've got and you've voted them into their positions. I sure as hell didn't.

In Republicanland Lies and Stupidity Grow on Trees...

...and dollars flutter up into the plutocratic sky only to tinkle down later smashing socialist Muslim domestic terrorist anti-American liberal sympathizers under the magnificent rhetoric of the Alaskan Weatherlady. The Portland Fishwrapper touts the Republican Senator as a senior (56th) and bipartisan moderate who only votes 90% with Kinglette George II and hasn't seen a progressive domestic policy he couldn't pretend to support as he voted against it or environmental rapaciousness he couldn't back after decrying it. You might think there'd be an object lesson in the biggest fish kill in US history for Gordon, something along the line of, "hey, you can give farmers money in a drought but fishies ain't got no use for it - they just up an die." But Nooooooooo, that's an attack point he uses against his opponent.

After all this time you'd think one of two things would happen in the alternative reality called Republicanism; either they'd throw up from the cumulative effects of all the lying and stupidity or the citizens would get wise and it wouldn't work at all. So far the only ones getting ill are the ones who know the facts and give a damn that facts exist and considering that the two races prominent in this state nationally are Smith/Merkley and Obama/McCain and neither is a 20 point slam dunk for the Democrat - the lying and stupid is still working. By using the same metric on tax votes that the two Republicans do, Committee votes, Amendment votes, & etc. their records are probably more toxic. Oregon Republican Legislators are now having to run against the Oregon Republican US Senator's advertising on the sensible bipartisan Capital refurbishing bill they helped pass because the Oregon House Leader who treated their Caucus with respect is now running for the US Senate seat held by their fellow Republicanland resident.

The US Congress now needs to be investigated for anti-Americanism because a US Senator who isn't a brain dead Republicanland right winger from Minnesota is running for President. An Alaskan Governor who helped see to it that private enterprise from that State gives checks of $3200 to every Alaskan calls a Democrat a Socialist. The Repulicanland Governor of Federal Welfare Queen Alaska calls a Democrat a Socialist. The Party of Plutocratic Welfare, of Privatize Profit and Socialize Risk, of Corporatize Government...

The Socialized Investment Banks of derivatives and swaps greed head bust get big piles of investment money Insurance Companies...Socialized Medicine is a dirty word... This election is within single digits and that many won't look at the low hanging fruit on Republicanland trees and want to throw up? A women whose husband belongs to a secessionist Party and who has made herself valuable to that Party, whose founder died in an illegal plastic explosives deal gone bad, can seriously talk about someone's associations? Plastic explosives aren't used to deal with a gopher problem.

People with voluntary associations with anti-Semitics, witch doctors, end timers, and a host of intolerant hate mongering half wits get taken seriously on the national stage? These people think it might be a good idea to throw rocks at a black preacher who has stated that the US has acted badly at times? Now I don't want to beat a dead horse too hard trying to make him get up; but if you can't - at the drop of a hat - think of half a dozen really shitty things the US Government has gotten up to; you don't pay any attention at all. Now I may love my country and work really hard for its benefit - but that doesn't mean I close my eyes to its faults to make some jingoistic Pro-America noises.

Watch the crowds being whipped into a froth by McCain and Palin and take their economic measure. These are the people whose incomes and jobs have declined specifically due to the Republicanland agenda. They listen raptly to "class warfare" rhetoric being slung at the Democrats while they've spent the last 30 years on the losing end of class warfare waged on them by the very people they cheer. They espouse truly exotic and non-mainstream religious ideas and lose their minds over the word Muslim. Their lunatic fringe element of their fringe has committed more individual bombings, arsons, and murders than any other group in this country - and they're scared of foreigners...or Bill Ayers?

I'd really like to see a beating handed out on election day that would persuade most of the world and a bunch of people like me that sense actually does prevail with most Americans. Don't hold your breath and don't be satisfied with polls - work for it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Real Terrorists

If you can read this and not strain a blood vessel you're either an awfully calm sort or you have way too much money to be wasting your time on this blog. Investment banks going in the toilet on the backs of their money grubbing in swaps and derivatives would seem to be definite failure. You know, not a real brain strain to see this as not having done a good job.

$70 Billion worth of pay and bonus for this level of performance? Yup, this level of screwing up means you're so good at it that...that...that. Does it make you want to hurt somebody? Honest to god, is there an appropriate level of response that wouldn't put you in jail? In the face of this, the idiots in the McCain campaign call Obama a socialist? Did somebody honestly say something in a negative tone about socialized medicine? The level of intellectual corruption demostrated by these people is astonishing.

That this election is within 20 points is a testament to the craven stupidity of the electorate. That has nothing to do partisanship, it has everything to do with the economic and foreign realities we face as a result of the thinking of the people in power. Yes, absolutely they are or have been the Republicans, but if anyone had officiated oover such a disaster they'd deserve that 20 point beating. On the backs of the American taxpayer these pricks are going to get one more big payout, pigs at the trough once again and there's no SCREAMING going on?

I'm too pissed off to make sense...

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Blot On Minnesota

A year and a half ago I ran a post making fun of Rep. Michelle Bachman, and I have not since kept up with her stupidity. I offer you this interview from MSNBC's Hardball:

Dump Bachman is not happy to have Ms Bachman representing them, I suggest with a very real reason. This person is a part of the writing of US law - go ahead and consider that for a moment. The good news was reported by Rachel Maddow this evening, it seems that within hours of Rep Bachman's comments her opponent received $30,000 in contributions. If you're not all tapped out from supporting the opponents of that Party's noxious members, go see El Tinklenberg and shoot him some bucks to help him take her out.

Maybe you live in a rational world and like having rational people represent the citizenry of America. Maybe you expect it, well to be blunt, the Republicans have a strong propensity for running...loons. The lakes of Minnesota have strange echoing calls floating across them, loons. That's where they belong, not Congress.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Attack Politics

I've watched with interest over the past couple weeks as the media follows the campaigns and their statements. Their take on the issue seems to involve making some sort of balance out of the matter. The general theme seems to be that both campaigns are making attack statements; which is true as far as it goes.

The Obama campaign is hitting the line that McCain is Bush III and that he doesn't have a consistent stance. There is enough truth in this to pass the smell test, certainly exaggeration and cherry picking is involved, but within the range expected by voters. The McCain campaign has run with the same types of statement, although the truth content has been demonstrated to be low, and lower than voters generally accept. In this respect the media is quite correct in noting dual negativity, and correct in noting that Obama's volume exceeds McCain's.

Obama has stated quite baldly that the McCain camp has lied, and they have quite baldly done so. This is pretty personal and this is where the actual matter becomes messy and outside the media's balance. The statements about lies were laid onto specific statements which happen to have been exactly that - lies. If voters choose to carry that onto the candidate's character, they are free to do so. The contrast with the McCain campaign's rhetoric in regard to Obama's character is complete. The McCain object is to create doubt and fear with direct attacks on Obama's character, with an undercurrent of fear and race. This is the attack subset of character assassination, it asks voters to dislike a person, not policy or ideology.

I do dislike the McCain campaign, personally, and this is on the basis of their behavior in the personal regard. I strongly disagree with their politics and whatever their ideology is ( a label for it escapes me) but that is a different matter. It is personal enough that I would neither shake McCain's hand nor be cordial in the unlikely event we had close contact. He has become the sort of character I detest. Awhile ago that would not have been the case, I'd have been cordial and quite willing to talk politics - that doesn't mean he'd have liked it a lot. I consider these people to be colleagues in public service, whatever political disagreements exist, right up until they demonstrate a set of character flaws I cannot excuse or avoid.

I don't want Gordon Smith as my Senator and will work to get him out and replace him with Jeff Merkley. Gordon has pushed up against my limits with his ads, but my primary objection to him is his record and ideology. Some of my friends with similar views to mine may find that odd, but I am fairly forgiving of electoral necessity in others. I am willing to be careful in how I state things, but I won't mislead, but that is a personal decision - politically relevant to myself only. I would appreciate and state my appreciation for candidates who follow a similar line. In fact, Jeff Merkely gets my endorsement not only for is ideology and policy ideas, but also for the type of character he has demonstrated. Even if Jeff had followed Gordon's lead, I'd have backed him over Gordon, but with less pleasure. That is a simple matter of what is best for Oregon and the US.

You don't throw the laundry detergent through the window because it says, "New and Improved," on the bottle. It still works better than beating the clothes on a rock even as you understand that advertising isn't Truth. People give me grief for being Democratic, a partisan. I am admittedly that because the Democratic Party, for all its failings, has managed to be better than beating clothes on a rock.

The media balance on this is utter nonsense. You cannot lump apples and oranges together as fruits and maintain that they are the same thing in taste and texture or that disliking one means disliking the other. This is not balance, it is not fairness, it an illogical and politically driven theme. It is a statement on what ails the media and our public discourse. If it is raining it makes little sense to give credence to someone who says it isn't because they don't like it and anyone who takes that seriously is going to find themselves all wet.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What Is A President?

We are going to elect a President in a couple weeks and it might be a good idea to know what it is we're trying to get. This is actually a meaningful question, so let's figure out some of what we're not trying to get. We're not trying to get the smartest guy in the country, in the case of Barack Obama we'd get a real smart fellow, but there are a lot people smarter yet in that pool. We're not going for a military expert; we've had Generals as Presidents and some were better than average and some didn't make average. Being a hero has worked out but most were not that. Much has been made of the Commander In Chief role as though the President would be leading a charge or writing battlefield plans.

The title is Chief Executive, not engineer, not accountant, not General - Chief Executive. This is, after all, a nation of 300 some million people with a huge geographic area, not to mention sociological differences across it. This is not something the President micro-manages. The Chief Executive presides over a team of major executives who in turn manage other executives. There is no other model on earth for this organization, it dwarfs all others in size and complexity and multiplicities of missions. In recent history we've had the opportunity so see - courtesy of leaks in secrecy - how badly this can be done in practice. The distance of time involved in history and its partisan rendering makes it impossible to actually know if this current Administration is the worst or not, the fact of asking that question is frightening.

There is a test for this position of Presidency. It may be the toughest test short of holding the office and it is called running for it. A candidate almost assures himself of a loss if he stands up in front of a crowd and starts running out the minutiae of policies. The voters need to have a fairly good idea of where a candidate wants to go and most importantly in that respect - why. But this is not the test, that is speech writing and oratory. It is the system put together to win the show that is the test. Running the USA makes putting a campaign together look like child's play, but it is the most public and publicly tested operation available. That is your measure, in the end.

This Presidential election, as in most, we have two real campaigns and the contrast almost could not be more definite. If the McCain campaign has a strategy, they're not letting anyone in on the secret including themselves. The fact that John McCain can still sort of walk after all whipsawing is astonishing. They play to the news cycle but they are never ahead or even with it, they are always behind and that makes everything the do look contrived. They set out in directions with an obvious outcome and are surprised when it happens and promptly fling blame in every direction. One begins to wonder if anyone is at the wheel of the Straight Talk Bus.

In contrast there is the campaign that started out against the "Inevitable Candidate" and won, and not leads in the General. The campaign just does not seem to make mistakes and quickly and efficiently addresses the ones out of its control. The candidate maintains a cool that is almost detached and stays on point, regardless of outside pressures and is almost always right. There are too many superlatives available and it is in the end, just piling on to run through them.

The latest Washington Post poll shows Americans giving Barack Obama the edge on which candidate would they most trust with an undefined serious emergency. This was McCain's ground, jealously staked out, now yanked away. The campaigns have been on display for over a year now and people are taking their measure.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Public Trust

We've been hearing, to the point of near violence, for the past week and some about Sen Obama's connections and how he doesn't see America the way we do. He's not truthful and you can't trust him has been the thrust of McCains and Palin. The criticism of the campaign has been deafening from those other than the spit flecked base the attacks were aimed to please. There was, in this, a basic violation of the public trust in our Presidential candidates and that message seemed to get to McCain himself this late afternoon.

Whatever your beliefs regarding McCain's previous behaviors, his campaign just ran into something rather nasty. The Alaskan legislature just released its report regarding Gov Sarah Palin's troubles with the firing of Walt Monegan and it hits a rude note. Gov. Palin violated the public trust by using her office for personal gain. The report does not allege that the personal agenda was the sole reason for Monegan's firing but that it was a significant element. This is after Palin agreed to cooperate, then refused to cooperate and told Alaskans and Americans that there was nothing there at all. This would qualify as a bald faced lie - right up there with the infamous Bridge she's been trying to sell us.

We've had almost eight years of the lies, secrecy, and personal agendas of the Bush administration and now we're to swallow this without a whimper? This is the Change We Can Believe In? We get a narrow window to control our leaders, primarily what we get to do is elect them and elect the Congress that acts as a counter. Once these windows are closed the there is no legal recourse. To make this clearer, there were not the votes in Congress to deal with President George W Bush's illegal activities, nor was there the will. Two elections failed us, the 04 Presidential and the 06 Congressional. The situation we are in today, domestically and internationally, is the outcome of those votes. That was the window.

This nation was founded on some pretty outrageous ideas, at the time. Today we have grown to take them for granted. Separation of powers and a restricted government are not archaic elitist principles, they are the bedrocks of our way of life. One of the pieces of that is the idea that a governmental official will not use their political office against one of us. In the very recent past Sen McCain and Gov Palin have used their positions to spread fear, hate, and distrust of a fellow named Barack Obama and Gov. Palin used her position to attempt the professional destruction of one Trooper Wooten. Both of these individuals were placed into such positions of trust by the public for what it perceived as good reason. There is no law against what Palin and McCains have done in regard to Obama, at least there is nothing beyond simple ethics that would forbid such behavior.

There is a complete difference between questioning someones ability to do a job or judgement to do it correctly and stoking fear and hatred of that someone. Whatever else it may say about a campaign, this brings its ethical standing into stark relief. No campaign should be able to survive such behavior, that this one is still standing is an unfortunate statement on our public conscience. This late afternoon the Base perception of Obama apparently became a bit much for McCain when a woman stated that she had read about him and that he was an Arab. McCain took the microphone back and said that Obama is an American citizen and a decent family man. This is exactly where the campaign has been attempting to lead people, but an out and out blathering of their point was too much. I have no sympathy for John McCain.

Let me be clear John, you loosed these dogs deliberately. You sowed these winds of hate and you can reap the whirlwinds of that destruction. You placed this in the public view and played at it and you are now available for the judgement of that public and I sincerely hope it is harsh. We can either have a debate around ideology and policy or we can have the politics of personality destruction. Senator McCain, you are not free and clear of that. Chuck Keating hangs like a specter over you, your wives and affairs, your wife and drugs and your role in it, your association with right wing associations and Cuban terrorists, the POW/MIA issue, and the unverifiable questions regarding your POW behavior. These could be thrown at you and made to stick enough to muddy you and it is not correct to do so. The mud that is now stuck to you is the mud you've thrown, it is your personal ambition and the win at any cost element of your ambition. You are what you've done and your campaign has done and you should be made to pay for it.

Buck Season

Saturday, October 4th was opening day of buck deer rifle season and my wife and I were fortunate enough to draw tags. My wife was not interested in getting up early Saturday and the weather was ugly; so I went by myself. I worked over my usual places and found sign of does with yearlings and nothing more. I've hunted that area for over ten years and never found so little. Archers had been telling me this for a month. By late morning I moved to another area all together.

About 11:30 I spotted a doe with 2 yearlings and an outlier forked horn. Because it had been raining most of the morning with mixed fog I had left the M98 Fabrique Nationale 30-06 covered and locked in the truck and was carrying the Vaquero Colt .45 in a shoulder holster under rain gear. The forked horn was at 60 yards uphill in scattered second growth. The doe was getting nervous so rather than close the distance I took the shot. The buck went down immediately though it took a finishing shot. He had a decent sized body with a small rack, but racks aren't really edible. By 2:30 he was in the double sinks in sections and covered with ice and my wife and I left to see if we couldn't find her one.

Nothing was happening where I'd been earlier but there was an area I hadn't looked. Part way there, lo and behold, a tree was down across the road. The area had been thinned at some point and there were stumps every where which were serious obstacles to going around. Oddly enough, the '78 K20 had lifting rope aboard and its ability to be very mean to a gallon of gasoline also means it can deal with things like a tree down. In the lower picture you see my wife standing across from the tree looking to see if the branches are clear of the road.

That is what we bagged for the rest of
the day. You can't eat one, but a camera will make a trophy of it.

This is a great old truck even if it is over thirty years old. It is on its third transmission and third engine and lord only knows how many windshields. For the informed she's running a 400 small block with a stage II turbohydro 400 and to my endless irritation a full time 4x4 transfer case and automatic hubs. My irritation is due to the fact that the transfer case constantly turns the front axles sucking gasoline pointlessly. Folks this thing's ordinary running weight is in excess of 7000 pounds and that takes gasoline without any extra draws, like 8 miles per gallon. If you're thinking that a smaller engine or such would be helpful, you're neglecting that anywhere I go that is out of town I have to cross mountains and it is not unusual for the truck to then weigh in excess of 8000 pounds.

I stay away from mud bogs, this is the wrong truck for that and neither is it any good for side hill running, if it is slippery at all that heavy back end will end up down hill - an awkward situation. I like to leave as light a footprint as I can and tearing up the woods or the roads isn't responsible behavior.

The buck generated quite a bit of jerky and around twenty pound of sausage as well as steaks. Due to his young age I didn't hang him and so far the results are fine. The sausage and jerky are quite nice, the liver went to a concrete contractor pal and the heart was tonight's dinner. He was a fine animal who will provide many fine dinners for the expense of 5 gallons of gasoline and two hot 365 grain .45 Colt rounds. Another reason I live where I do.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

President Obama

While you're savoring the words, rolling them around on your tongue like your favorite chocolate, versus the anguished howl of President McCain, there are some realities that need to intrude. Despite the McCain theme, Barack Obama has a middle of the road political philosophy, unless McCain is correct and he's been hiding stuff. Even with that philosophy the Republicans will not go away. Boehner will be back and quite possibly McConnell and they are neither low key nor somewhat partisan opponents. The day after the election the Republicans will go on the attack and it will get serious the day after Inauguration.

The Republicans, to our distress, have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams in their quest to break government and now us with it. Government is broke, worse than broke, sunken in debt and committed to even more of it. Money for new programs isn't there and worse, existing programs are threatened. Not only has debt doubled under BushCo, but the interest has increased. Crony contracts will have a space to run yet. BushCo's economic wreckage will be with us for some time to come.

The real disaster in government is truly entrenched, the infusion of partisan hires into Agencies. Not the appointed heads, this is an ordinary issue for transition teams to deal with. These are the Civil Service hires who should not have been hired on a partisan basis but are now protected from "retaliation" by Civil Service rules. This damage will live on long after GeorgeII is no more than a swear word for stupidity. The incompetent and agenda ridden will continue to have a large hand in American affairs.

Whether there are tax breaks or not, government is going to see its revenue go down. Business is going to hurt, employment is going to be hurt, and even some of the plutocrats that have been late will get dinged. You should believe that there will be a plutocratic stock buy up in the very near future. The market is getting near what companies are worth in assets so where ever the market goes, buying is a good deal, these companies can later be broken up for a profit. It is important to remember that right now the only people who have lost any money in the market have either sold or are living off their investments.

The right ideologues on the Supreme Court are not going anywhere for a good long time, the older and less healthy members are the centrists and left of centers. While I may agree with the decision on Heller v DC, the majority opinions were about as bad as any you'd expect from students. This case should have been defining and clearly about the US Constitution and it was a mess. This means that you cannot expect anything like good legal opinion from that bunch and they have, generally, four votes. This particular situation may last for decades.

If Obama gets the entire package and has a 60 seat Senate and a really sizable House majority you might think things will really get done. Being able to pass bills doesn't mean being able to fund them. Passing bills doesn't mean business becomes confident, it doesn't mean expansion and job growth, the factors that control that are beyond government control once transparency is achieved. Senator Obama has some good ideas, good intentions, and I believe a real concern with ordinary America's well being. He will surround himself with able and intelligent people who will do a good job - with what they've got. And that is exactly the problem.

Election Desperation, McTitanic

When you go nothing you go with what you've got.

Now I'm in the Construction Industry and I'd rather shoot myself than take a job running the McCain campaign. My industry has hit a wall and burst into flame and I'd much rather take a chance on it. Sure I'm an Obama supporter, but I don't build things for myself very much either, I do it for money. (there's an ethical and emotional aspect - I'll admit it) The DOW tanked again today. I don't have any money out there, but it sure isn't helping my prospects any. McCain's polling seems to track the DOW, it there's any reality in that, he just took another big hit today.

It isn't so much that I wouldn't know what to do, it is that there is so little to work with. The Other campaign against Obama is not going to work. He's been on the national stage a bit too long now and other than the base people just aren't paying any attention to it. The media has to pay attention to it, but other than Fox they aren't taking it seriously. There are a whole bunch of things on the voters' minds and that is pretty far down. What they do care about leaves McCain in the lurch.

The candidate has a record that makes economic reform really difficult to sell. Then beyond his record are the candidate's statements leading into this mess. Finally there are the idjits that "run" this campaign. I'm not going to give free advice to McCain, other than this - fire your managers. Somebody rolled the dice on Sarah Palin, somebody has run a campaign of daily tactics with no strategy, and somebody has not one idea of image.

Now I could point out what losers that bunch represented before working for McCain. Their clients have killed the economy. If my crew built like that, I'd be in jail. What are you supposed to do with such ineptitude? Get the other guy to hire them? For god's sake, McCain's foreign policy guy represented Georgia - a nation stupid enough to shoot at Russian troops who weren't shooting. Damn, I hunt big game and I've got firearms capable of dealing with anything in the Americas and I know that the Russian bear isn't impressed by spitballs. Are we talking about idiots?

The worst part of it isn't the staff, it is the employer. The boss, John McCain, has the final word on whatever goes on. This means that the entire lack of strategy and momentary tactics is something he approves of. This is the mentality of a jet fighter-bomber pilot, everything is momentary, immediate. That pilot is given a target and a route, strategy is taken care of elsewhere, his entire job is getting that plane airborne, getting there, bombing, and getting the thing landed - and worrying at instants time about fighters and ground missiles. John came up a bit short on that last.

George W Bush was going to be a boat anchor as a high performance engine in this election. At 28% approval over the last several years the Bush performance has been a given. Why is this some amazing occurrence to these people? How could McCain come out as BushIII? He says he's not, and then repeats the Bush line, how is that supposed to work? I understand the constraints he's under with the Republican Party, but tax breaks for the rich was going to explode in his face, especially considering he'd opposed them at one point. No taxpayer wants to hand money over to irresponsible fat cats, so they're already really irritated, and where does he go from there? Stupid land. Buy bad mortgages from the banks at face value and down grade them?

The irresponsible stupidity keeps getting piled on itself, higher and higher goes the mound until McCain is using it as a stage to cry foreign terrist at his opponent. It won't work that way.

Nobody is going to ask me to be a part of an administration so my refusal to have anything to do with putting my fortunes in McCain's hands is silly, but I still won't.

Electoral Vote On Sidebar

The new widget on the sidebar links to Electoral Vote which may be a little Democratic optimistic, but it has some interesting features. You can look at the Presidential electoral map, at the Senatorial map, and the House map. States will break out if hovered. Whenever you hit my site the little map updates from their site. If you're an Obama supporter the thing is pretty reassuring.

McCain Finally Says What He Means

Ah, a misleading title, actually nobody seems to know who is responsible for this southern Missouri sign. I suppose the real question is why the sign maker thought it was a good idea. I really doubt this thing will actually persuade anybody to change a vote.

In this blog I try to give people ammunition for persuasion. Sometimes I use it for simply howling at the Universe. I do know that for the most part I'm preaching to the choir, here. When I get published on BlogBurst I reach a bit wider audience, but even there, after a sentence or two people are pretty aware of where I'm going.

Will I get in a snit over a sign like this? Not really, mostly I'm amused. It has the virtue of being up front about its message, unlike McCain and Palin. It flatly won't do anything positive for McCain, he's already got Palin doing the chin drooling base reinforcement and she's probably much more effective than this silliness.

On the issues involved in the sign? Despite the Religious Right's rhetoric, abortions go down under Democrats and up under Republicans. Gayness has what to do with anything? These people will have a real big problem with taxing the rich? Obama seems to be staying away from guns, and most of what he's said, nationally, hasn't been poison or reassuring.

Maybe this person should think about a career in comedy...or not.

McCain's Temper

Brave New PAC requests you pass this on. It is too bad somebody can't get up next to McPOW on camera and push his buttons...

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Country First...Is That An Investment Bank?

My pal The Political Cat has a run down of the banking interest lobbyists and assorted high rankers in that industry that pretty much run the McCain campaign. I'll cut a couple out of the herd for you but go see the Kitty.

Phil Anderson: American Council of Life Insurers, Aetna, AIG, New York Life, MassMutual, VISA
Rebecca Anderson: Aegon, American Council of Life Insurers, Cigna, Barclays, Credit Suisse First Boston, HSBC
Stanton Anderson: The Debt Exchange
Charlie Black: JP Morgan, Washington Mutual Bank, Freddie Mac, Mortgage Bankers Association of America, National Association of Mortgage Brokers
Alfonse D'Amato: AIG, Freddie Mac
Phil Gramm: UBS Americas
Nancy Pfotenhauer: American Land Title Association, Mortgage Bankers Association
Vin Weber: Agstar Financial Services, AKT Investment Corp., American Institute of CPAs, Ernst & Young, Freddie Mac, Louis Dreyfus Corp, PriceWaterhouseCoopers

I'd like you to note, I said I'd pick out a, I left the vast majority out and ran out the ones you might recognize at a glance. Well, the Andersens was about, well, that name - repeatedly.

Country First, this list sure looks like it, Country First Greed and Corruption Bank of Investment Illiquidity. What the **** does this list have to do with any person in the United States of America that isn't rich? Other than picking their pockets, that is. I'll be go to hell if I can understand how the voting public doesn't put a 20 point margin between Obama and McCain. It is entirely too simplistic to blame it on race, or inexperience, or, or, or what? Does this really boil down to some issue of tribalism? I actually have some respect for some Republicans, or did until I looked at this election. No Chamber of Commerce Republican can justify McCain under any scenario that matches their ideology. I understand the kneejerk Religious Right being in the McCain camp with Gov Barbiedoll on the ticket, I understand that the Bush deadenders have no place to go, and I even understand the jingoistic war mongers are McCain enthusiasts, but this is not 42% of the population. I don't care how dismissive you are of the American electorate those people aren't 42%.

I cannot wrap my head around the numbers at this point. John McCain is a Republican, I don't give a rat's patoot about the McMaverick part of it and that is the Party who has run this economy into a wall. It has run it into a wall so hard that a leftist like myself is actually standing with the Banker's Bailout. The goddam Plutocratic Socialization Program gets my infuriated backing. I've had everybody and most of what I care about held hostage by a bunch of fat walleted greed headed idiot goddam plutocrats and I'm really furious to have to pay the ransom. But here's the deal, as furious as I am I cannot watch this descend into chaos and take the innocents with it. If this doesn't hold back the flood waters and it goes to hell anyhow I'm going to be a very difficult person to deal with.

Our history is replete with examples of economic distress and social upheavals, we've weathered them by keeping our heads and moving on. Today the general American public is better treated by its government than at any time in the past, with caveats to be sure. We've done pretty well since 1776 and my hope is that this at the edge of chaos moment is the point where clear thinking and change of mind occurs; because it sure doesn't occur in chaos. Chaos is when desperate people make desperate choices that are ill considered and bad people tend to rise and, frighteningly enough, this is a world wide issue.

Barack Obama is neither a savior nor a knight on a white horse; he is an able and apparently cool headed politician with pretty good ideas. John McCain lives in a fantasy world of Reagan sainthood and economic magical thinking composed of bromides as policies and ideology in place of thought. This is not 1929; this is 2008 and the economy of this era will move at lightning speed into disaster if this mess is allowed to fester. Today everything moves faster and bigger and is more interconnected than at any previous time. An erratic pissed off old man is not who we need and we need even less a magical thinker like Sarah Palin anywhere near the reins of power.

All I hope for with this $700 Billion ($1 Trillion and counting) Plutocrat Bailout is to buy some time. I honestly think that counting on it lasting until Inauguration Day is exaggerated confidence. The value of the junk paper written on top of the mortgage industry is so many multiples of the actual properties that it is mind numbing - it is so bad that no one actually knows how bad it is. If you aren't scared you aren't paying any attention. Or, you belong to the list of McCain people the "Kitty" ran.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Is Cindy On Drugs, Again?

Today at Monroe Carrel Jr Memorial Children's Hospital Cindy McCain said that Sen. Barack Obama has, "waged the dirtiest campaign in American history..."

Either she has a complete lack of historical knowledge and her husband's campaign or she's very, very high.

It's The Economy, Stupid

John McCain wants to change the subject, he does not want to talk about the economy nor does he want Gov Sarah to talk about it. 59% of Americans according to the NBC/WSJ poll think the economy is the main issue at this time. I just watched Paul Krugman talk to Rachel Maddow and he managed to scare me - I don't scare easily. If you are not one of the 12% (same poll) who think the country is on the right track, then you may be scared also. How scared may depend on how much news you watch.

First of all, Wall Street and the DOW and assorted have two meanings, one is horrid if you count on stocks for income right now or in the near future, otherwise it's just imaginary money - only real if you sell. The other message the stock market is carrying is a mix of emotional and reasoned, world markets are crashing and credit is still frozen. These two factors radically affect the future, whatever sentiment you may have about it, we live in a global economy, we did in 1929 and much more so today. All the exchanges world wide are in trouble, shedding value like a dog does its winter coat. All that is imaginary money, just as ours is, but it is also the valuation laid on companies, their creditworthiness.

Credit is the big crunch, credit is driving the stock exchanges, credit is scaring the politicians, and credit is frightening business. Business lives and breathes credit. Business sells to consumers on credit, very few have the cash to buy a car or even a refrigerator, most people just don't have it in their wallet at that level. The other side of that equation is inside business, forward reaches seldom have a cash in the pocket basis, companies use short term credit for a multitude of purposes. Virtually every step of producing a product can lead to short term credit needs, it isn't just a matter of some infrastructure expansion that needs credit, raw materials for more of products that are still in the distribution chain or payrolls or... I will have materials for a roof delivered sometime this week and those materials will be on a billing schedule of 30/10, thirty day cycle due on the 10th of the month. That is credit, I don't have that in my pocket, I need to get paid to have it. I won't get cut off if I keep paying those bills by the tenth, but I am small change and my materials are generally in stock at the supplier, that's not the case with larger employers.

The credit crunch is pushing from another direction, your credit rating. As banks are tightened up on their credit, they tighten up on credit. Lines of credit are lowered, credit card limits are lowered and that impacts the consumer's credit rating. The home loan or car loan just got more difficult for the consumer. More crunch for business. It is entirely unlikely that this is going to sort itself out in the next weeks before the election.

The McPOW campaign has decided that this issue is not nearly of the import of Ayers/Wright/Hussein. I am 55 and I remember the Weathermen, Barack Obama was about 8 years old. I had some stake in the issues that the Weathermen were operating in, an eight year old didn't. Whatever I may think about the causes of the Weathermen, their tactics sucked. What Bill Ayers has been up to for the past30 years is something entirely different and most Americans have already seen that played out. Is it fresh with Gov Barbiedoll's delivery? I wondered why to take her seriously. Keith Olberman took the time to point out the Gov's association with an Alaskan secessionist party, recent association. When a person who believes dinosaurs and people coexisted and Alaska is the place for her to be with the oncoming Rapture takes exception to the Rev Wright one could begin to have sympathy with Wright. Toss in her rapt enthusiasm for a witchdoctor and... What could a person say about Hussein?

Why have this discussion at this point in time? Joe Schmoe is bothered about the economy, worried in broad way, and he's not exactly well informed - yet. He will be more informed, despite himself, as time goes on over the next four weeks. He's not very happy to have the wealthy bailed out on taxpayer money. He'd be less happy if he actually knew how well the wealthy actually avoid being taxpayers. I'm better informed and I want some answers about how badly I'm going to get hurt. It isn't a question of if I'll get hurt, I already am. A bunch of you out there already are hurt and probably have the same question I have. The next question is exactly what is it that is proposed to be done about it?

George II is adrift; he has less than 4 months left in office. He's been pretty disinterested in the functioning of the Federal government for close to eight years now and thinking he has some rabbits up his sleeve is wishful thinking taken to criminal extremes - one might as well figure on the Titanic docking in New York later this week. These two candidates are both Senators and it might really pay to start the day after November 4th working on solutions in Congress as a winner. That would mean having a very concrete plan now or very soon.

I'll put this plainly, the economic bus is off the road in a ditch on fire and headed for a cliff with the throttle jammed to the floor and I don't give a good goddam about churches or gayness or white flags or middle names or any other damn social warfare bullshit. I want somebody at the wheel. I want the gusher of blood and treasure in Iraq plugged and I want to know that we're not going to get steamrolled. It doesn't really seem like an outrageous wish list to not want another world wide Great Depression.

We've engaged in an orgy of stupid expenditures, Iraq, private contractors, swaps and derivatives, McMansions, and health care. Every damn one of them was stupid. This isn't hindsight talking, every one of these issues was pointed out as the trends started. The American people went along with it. Of the bunch, two should have been obvious to the public, Iraq and health care. Lies have made these two OK. Not mistakes, not misdirection, goddam lies have been utilized to sell these. You cannot have costs to the economic system of their scale for long without disaster. Swaps and derivatives were wealth lying to itself - and the government - and private contractors were a St Ronnie sales job, but those two were obvious. While the most psychotic system of socialized medicine was perpetrated the people were scared blind by the phrase "socialized medicine." As for Iraq... The fact that we have been stupid doesn't mean we should be victimized by wealth's lies to itself, and that is the one that will take the bus off the cliff.

Monday, October 06, 2008

John McKeating? Chuck McBush? Remember the Keating!

I had thought a while ago that the Obama campaign had made itself pretty clears about the fallout of personal attacks and guilt by association. Seems those warnings fell on deaf ears so now John can try to explain how for 5 1/2 years he had no rich financiers to shill for in the Senate because he was POWing.

At 12PM Eastern you can view the whole 13 minutes at Keating Economics

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Pantomime of Leadership

Jeff Alworth nails Sarah Palin to a board and filets her:
The pantomime of leadership is, in Palin's mind, the same as leadership. When I was a small child, I used to think that making loopy squiggles on the page was writing. I assumed that since I couldn't understand the adult squiggles on the page, no one could. Mine were therefore just as good. Palin spent the night making loopy squiggles and thinking it was prose.

I like that bit, it is accurate and as sharp as a newly stropped razor and will also leave a blunt force trama. Jeff's a friend of mine who writes for BlueOregon mostly, but this is his little private corner I visit regularly.

He's also written a book I reviewed awhile back. He seems to still have some for sale. I liked it.

Friday, October 03, 2008

What Is The Literacy Level At Camp McPOW?

A hat-tip to Balloon Juice through to Daily Kos for finding this jem. Now if you're wondering who the "Famous Person" is, it seems to be Peggy Noonan at WSJ. Now I'm no real admirer of Peggy, she was and remains a shill for the Republican Party, but what astonishes me is the linkage the McCain campaign makes to this article. Now there are the first two paragraphs:

She killed. She had him at "Nice to meet you. Hey, can I call you Joe?" She was the star. He was the second male lead, the good-natured best friend of the leading man. She was not petrified but peppy.

The whole debate was about Sarah Palin. She is not a person of thought but of action. Interviews are about thinking, about reflecting, marshaling data and integrating it into an answer. Debates are more active, more propelled—they are thrust and parry. They are for campaigners. She is a campaigner. Her syntax did not hold, but her magnetism did. At one point she literally winked at the nation.

You'd have to go some to write something that was a more disgustingly drooling example of sycophantism. I'm not proposing that she imploded, she survived and managed to not look incurious, incompetent, and anti-intellect. But for god's sake.

The thing about the article is that the first two paragraphs have one thing to say, something that sounds good for John McCain, then as you read on and get about three paragraphs from the end the wheels come off the POW Express:

We witness here a great political lesson. When you are president, it matters—it really matters—that a majority of the people support and respect you. When you squander that affection, you lose more than mere popularity. You lose the ability to lead when your country is in crisis. This is a terrible loss, and a dangerous one, for the whole world is watching.
...presidential popularity is a jewel to be protected, and to be burnished when possible, because without it you can do nothing. Without the support and trust of the people you cannot move, cannot command. You are left, like Mr. Bush, talking to an empty room.

We saw this week, too, a turn in the McCain campaign's response to criticisms of Mrs. Palin. I find obnoxious the political game in which if you expressed doubts about the vice presidential nominee, or criticized her, you were treated as if you were knocking the real America—small towns, sound values. "It's time that normal Joe Six-Pack American is finally represented in the position of vice presidency," Mrs. Palin told talk-show host Hugh Hewitt. This left me trying to imagine Abe Lincoln saying he represents "backwoods types," or FDR announcing that the fading New York aristocracy deserves another moment in the sun. I'm not sure the McCain campaign is aware of it—it's possible they are—but this is subtly divisive. As for the dismissal of conservative critics of Mrs. Palin as "Georgetown cocktail party types" (that was Mr. McCain), well, my goodness. That is the authentic sound of the aggression, and phony populism, of the Bush White House. Good move. That ended well.

You've been able to tell over time that I do not work for or shill for McCain or Republicans, but that is not an article that I'd link into were I associated with McCain. If you can find something in the last paragraphs I've quoted here that sounds remotely Pro-McCain you're welcome to point it out to me. As a blue collar sort I'd say that was a 2x4 up the side of the head.

I do recognize that this is the outfit that releases ads claiming a win in a debate yet to take place and even put into doubt by the claimant. I understand that these folks didn't see huge drawbacks in Sarah Palin's record and performances. I know their candidate claimed "the fundamentals of the economy are sound" on the day the "Street" tanks on the news of the failure of investment banks and claims a few hours later that in the face of all use of language that the fundamentals of the economy means workers - a lot of words to say 'workers' with. All of that may add up to a failure of massive scale, but either illiteracy or an inability to read more than a few lines resulting in advertising your own failures is stupidity on an unprecedented scale.

This is the disorganization that claims they know how to run a Presidency, to keep us safe and "reform" the system. These are John McCain's hires, the kind of people that he surrounds himself with in the most important endeavor of his career. Phil Gramm is his economic guru, a coterie of lobbyists over a hundred strong runs his campaign and their level of competence is demonstrated by our economy of the last 7+ years, our international standing, and this campaign. It is the campaign of Washington DC inside insiders and this is what they can manage?

I'm a Democrat and I don't like McCain's policy ideas nor his claimed ideology but I find this level of incompetence stunning and frightening. While conservative pundits have been busy kicking the snot out of the Alaskan Barbie Doll for incompetence their lead man, the big Kahuna, has been about as capable a Presidential candidate as a high school freshman would be with a grade school team. This guy makes them look almost competent and here's what it takes at NRO Online:
Palin too projects through the screen like crazy. I'm sure I'm not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, "Hey, I think she just winked at me." And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America.
I think I'll puke. But here you go, this is what the Conservatives have become, natural selection in operation. The continual purging of intellectuals and actual achievers from the ranks has natural consequences. Whatever you thought of Bill Buckley here's where they're at today and it makes you want to wipe off your computer screen. What is scary is that this election is within 20 points.

DPO/GOC Shoot Succeeds, Democrats and Guns

The Central Oregon Shooting Sports Association provided the Gun Owners Caucus of the Democratic Party of Oregon range rental Sunday Sept 28 and provided Range Officers for a very reasonable price. Association President Bill Flocker worked with GOC Vice-chair Chuck Butcher (me) to make this work, and it did and the Assn deserves great credit. This is a fine organization with great facilities, and it appears they may have gained a few members. Sandra Lowry of Deschutes Co Democrats provided invaluable help in coordination.

Range photos by TA Barnhart***

Before shooting started I conducted one of those basics of any shooting event that might include anyone unfamiliar with firearms, the safety orientation. It never hurts for those with experience to hear it once again. Firearms are potentially dangerous tools and it is entirely too late to try to correct something afterwards. GOC Chair Zak Johnson is to my right in the photo. The bed of the SSR is filled about half way with firearms and ammunition. The object being to provide opportunities for those who don't own firearms and something different for those who do. Zak also brought along extras.

Around 25 shooters from disparate parts of the state attended, Portland and Multnomah County were well represented as was the Bend area, and Baker City. I do not have at hand the names and homes of all attendees, but this was a gathering of urban and rural Democrats with a common interest. Maren Lundgren, a candidate for the State Senate District 2 7, is pictured learning the function of a .45 Colt SAA which is an uncommon handgun requiring special treatment. Other candidates present were:
Judy Stiegler, HD 54 candidate, Conrad Ruel, House District 53 candidate, Noah Lemas - running for Congress, 2nd CD (apparently he antelope hunts close to COSSA), Al Unger. current Mayor of Redmond, running for Deschutes Co. Commissioner.

Pictured is Bill Flocker, Assn Pres and one of the Range Officers giving a helping hand with accuracy. Range Officers provide an invaluable service on a shooting range, monitoring for safe conduct and opening and closing the firing line for target changes. I would like to make clear to those unfamiliar with shooting clubs that you will seldom find anyone more friendly or more helpful than their members. Politics stop at the gates, we flew our Democratic 'flags' but in no way advocated for candidates or issues. Shooting clubs, for obvious reasons, are predominately Republican and the mere presence of so many Democrats being just like them at the range is political capital that is hard to beat.

Here is Wayne Kinney who wears many hats as a Democrat, he is the DPO's DNC Committeeman and general activist as well as Sen Ron Wyden (D-OR)'s eastern Oregon chief liaison. He is shooting a Ruger Vaquero .45 Colt and grouping his shots nicely but hitting low and left of his aim point. Chuck is making the point that with that consistency the fundamentals of firing are good but the sight picture he is using has a consistent fault. I know this is not about the revolver since I can hit a 10 inch circle of metal at 200 yards with it, although with much heavier loads than used on this 7 yard pistol range or by anyone not familiar with very high power rounds - Hotrod Reloads for Vaquero 45 Colt.

Media has paid some attention to these Democratic Party activities, specifically James Sinks of the Bend Bulletin.

SALEM — On any given Sunday in campaign season, you’d expect to find Democrat Judy Stiegler, a candidate for the Oregon House, knocking on doors in Bend, or maybe in a coffee shop, sipping a latte.

What about shooting pistols?

That’s exactly what Stiegler, a Bend attorney, and several other Democratic candidates from Central Oregon did Sunday near Millican, as part of an event staged by the Democratic Gun Caucus.

Now wait just a minute, you might be thinking.

Democrats? Guns?

Yes, it’s true.

It’s events like those that Democrats — especially those who are seeking office east of the Cascades, which has been reliably Republican turf for decades — say are helping to illustrate that not every Democrat fits a stereotype that they’re identical to Portland liberals.

James and I disagree about Portland liberals, since Zak Johnson certainly qualifies as a Portland progressive and the largest percentage of GOC membership lives in the Portland urban area. Ah stereotypes.
“That’s the whole idea,” said Conrad Ruel, a La Pine retiree who is seeking an Oregon House seat and who attended the shooting event with his son, who is a member of the National Guard.

“There are a lot of Democrats who have guns and support the Second Amendment,” he said.

State Sen. Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, said it’s good political strategy for Democrats to say they’re just like most folks in rural Oregon.

But he doesn’t think it will sway many voters.

“A great deal of the registration in rural Oregon is Democrat, but they are conservative, gun-owning, God-fearing, red-blooded American citizens, and they vote conservative,” he said.

“They are not going to be fooled, no matter how much rhetoric you pile on.”

Um, Ted, that ain't rhetoric - it's gun powder and lead - and it's concrete not the air you're pushing around. In point of actual fact, his Party's stance on the issue of the 2nd Amendment is inferior in every respect to the DPO's Resolution 08-05. Really Ted, considering your public statement that Democratic voting Democrats are somehow less "God-fearing, red-blooded American citizens" than those who vote for your Party sounds a lot like really stupid really ugly partisanship typical of many in your Party. I don't vote for you or your ilk and I'll match my contributions to this society and my values against yours any day. As far as red-blooded, I've run in a real tough Federal campaign while you hang onto your safe State campaign and most of my pastimes and manner of making a living would put your ass in the dirt.
Chuck Butcher, a former Democratic congressional candidate from Baker City, helped to form the Gun Owners Caucus because he was frustrated at the perception that all Democrats were anti-gun, he said.

“Yes, there are Democrats that want to ban all ammunition, but there are Republicans that want to do that, too, such as (former New York Mayor) Rudy Guiliani.”

But at the same time, plenty of Democrats are hunters and gun owners, he said.

James Sinks is a pretty good reporter, so I'm not going to undercut his livelihood by poaching too much of his article. Buy a copy of the Bend Bulletin, 10/3/08 and help support them. Sure, the paper is more conservatively oriented than I am, but they perform an important function and do it well.

If the DPO/GOC strikes your fancy as an organization you could get behind there are a lot of ways to contact us, DPO Contacts is probably the best or see your County Party. The GOC is not just a propaganda arm of the DPO, though it is certainly one of our functions to educate the voting public, it is also an interest group within Party politics. If you're thinking, "oh sure, like you've got leverage," it pays to know that GOC is one of the two largest caucuses in DPO with one of the very largest geographic representations. Are we visible?

That cap worn in a parade reads:
Democratic Party of Oregon
That parade just happen to be in Lane County, not Eastern Oregon, Sen Ted. We aren't
playing at anything and we're not pretending to be something we're not. This is about "why in the hell are the Republicans getting to run the show in the ditch over this issue?" Cutting firearms crimes is not about guns, it is all about people and exactly one Party has the ideas to address the things that drive crime, how people live.

GOC is tired of stupidity, blaming guns for crimes is just like blaming Chevrolet for drunk driving. People are the issue, drug and alcohol treatment, job creation, equal treatment, sufficient income, some sort of civil and economic fairness and that is not the agenda of the Party that gets the "gun vote." While gun ownership spreads across the economic spectrum it is concentrated amongst those who are most ignored and harmed by the Party they vote for, and vote for as an individual right guaranteed by the Constitution and this divide is stupid. This is the Party of the expansion of civil liberties, not the Republicans - let's help that happen.