Archive for April, 2008

dissin’ and diggin’ deep

April 30, 2008

Time to once again play “DISSIN’ FOR DOLLARS”. McCain and Hillary make this game child’s play. Just geniuses!

Clinton has put out a new negative ad in Indiana. In it, she pats herself on the back for supporting the proposition that we take money from the windfall oil profit taxes and give Americans a vacation this summer from the tax on gasoline. Let me try again, as Obama explained yesterday, how empty this proposal is. Let’s say that we fill up our gas tank once a week at a cost of $50 a tank. The tax on that is about 5%, or $2.50 a crack. Let’s define the “summer” as June, July and August, which translates into 12 weeks. So a savings of $2.50 a week for 12 weeks is a whopping $25 per car, not even per person. Does that impress you? Is that $25 going to change your life for the better? Are you taken in by Clinton’s use of big girl words like “windfall profits tax” to disguise an insulting and degrading proposal? Are you going to accept our leaders’ blatant efforts to keep its citizens dumb and poor?

Or maybe you will fight back, like Obama is doing. He has called this proposal ridiculous and meaningless. I call it conniving. I call it deceitful. I call it like I see it and it is another delusion to placate the masses of American people and keep them in their lowly place. Clinton (and McCain) is betting on that we will fall for her empty promise and kiss her ass in Macy’s window for this blessed $25.

Not I. I am going to take this theoretical $25 and tell Clinton to stick it where the sun don’t shine. I am sending in an actual $25 to Obama today, to reward him for his outright honesty and realism, for respecting me enough to tell me what a sham this “tax break” really is. As a result, my own self-respect is enhanced. This is the mutually beneficial cycle that Obama always speaks to: I will fight for you but only if you fight for yourselves.

My check is in the mail because I believe in Obama and I believe in myself. Do you?

YES WE CAN.

where’s the outrage?

April 29, 2008

The American people deserve what they get. Small minds deserve small leaders.

In one of the candidates we have currently running for President, Barack Obama, we have a mountain of a man. The other two idiots hoping to be President are totally self-absorbed. Remember how we were taught in grade school English class, Journalism 101, that the reporter should never become the focus of the news story? That’s what this campaign has come down to: McCain and Clinton have made this run for office all about them, not the issues. Their persistent personal attacks on Obama, quite frankly, will have no effect on the living conditions and quality of life of our citizens. Those attacks will merely, in their way of thinking, get them into office. Its all about them. When Americans are asked how they feel about Obama, many reply that he must go through this battle by fire of personal attacks to prove his mettle to serve as President. Wrong. Read America! Do not be scared off by a man whose skin is blacker than yours. Be inspired that this man has a brain worthy of rising above the dirty political fray and who has remained true to his campaign philosophy not to sling mud. He has been the only candidate to do that. I guess that spells “frontrunner”.

With America’s mental capacity to handle a 30 second article in People magazine, they don’t “get Obama”. America wants to see a campaign between cowboys, to see dirt and mud. Where’s their interest in real issues? Where’s their outrage over 4000 young lives lost in a war entered into based on a lie? Where’s their outrage over the inaneness of a holiday from gasoline taxes this summer? Supported by McCain and Clinton, this proposal as spoken by Obama today, will save the average American about $25 overall. As Obama said, “Not even a half of tankful”. Where’s the outrage over this insulting, degrading proposal? Alas, small-minded Americans are getting small-minded leaders. Where’s the outrage over the Mormon compound in Texas that clearly practices pedophilia and incest? Instead, Americans are outraged over Black church teachings. Clearly a demonstration of ignorance, fear and prejudice. Wake up America and educate yourselves. Or perhaps, that process will take away too much time from your fast food habits and television watching. Your deserve what you get.

Kerry Kennedy, a daughter of Robert Kennedy, was on television last week. One of the commentators brought up some of his well-spoken concepts and how they relate to Obama today. Two quotes stick in my mind: Robert Kennedy, in his personal dedication to human rights, was said to “speak to the angels in us”. Obama, in his focused fight to bring sanity, honesty and effectiveness to governance, surely is speaking to a higher purpose other than personal attacks. Robert Kennedy also said that “we can be a better country, we can do better than this”. That is the crux of this campaign battle: we have to overcome the emphasis in Washington on the individual lawmaker, and place the stress on actually getting things done. The gridlock over the last decades has been paralyzing for America. We do not need more politicians who morph into whatever they think the electorate wants. We need vision and honesty. Barack Obama provides clear thinking and a style that bypasses the bullshit to get the job done. But Americans are interpreting this effectiveness as a lack of mettle to be President. America —– get off your fat asses and smell the flowers. You want change? Or do you simply want $25 in your pockets this summer? Do you want an overhaul of American government in ethics and honesty, or do you just want more of the same? How honest a person can Clinton be when she still insists that the primary votes in Michigan and Florida should count, as they currently stand? Didn’t all the Democratic candidates sign a pledge before these primaries agreeing that their delegates will not be seated at the convention? How is she an honest person when she now insists that these votes should count even though Obama wasn’t even on the ballot because he adhered to the pledge? Obama would never bring this up, but I will: how honest is Clinton when she blackballs Obama over his association with Reverend Wright, but says absolutely nothing about the Clintons’ warm relationship with the Bin Laden family? Where’s the outrage? McCain said last week, typically having been in the past a very non-religious person, that he is thinking of getting baptized, that his religion means more to him now. Well, Glory Be, if he can use religion to garner more votes, why the hell not? Where’s the outrage over that tactic?

But NO, the only thing America can voice outrage over seems to be the color of one’s skin. Small minds. Relish your small leaders.

As for me, I will fight for Obama. In my whole life, I have never been as impassioned about a leader as I am about Obama. He is the best thing that has come our way since sliced bread. Perhaps he is TOO good and America is not ready for a person like Obama. I am ready. I am willing. And I am able. Are you?

YES WE CAN.

steady eddie

April 23, 2008

I am keeping everything crossed that Obama will remain Obama, that he will stay true to his sensibilities and not degrade himself and us by stooping to negative tactics. Claire McCasskill (Missouri senator) spoke perfectly yesterday is support of Obama. I paraphrase: He needs to continue his steady, consistent message of hope and change, his clean, above-the-fray delivery, and not say things just to suit the moment. McCasskill said it so much better than i did.

How do you answer to those who say that Obama can’t close the deal? May I say that he is still about 150 delegates ahead of Hillary? In the races he has lost, may I say that he has narrowed every tight race to at least half of his initial deficits? May I say that he still has more popular votes, more states and more delegates than Hillary? This man has had an incredible journey and is still the outright leader. The spin is just not true.

Bottom line: money talks. keep giving, keep giving, keep giving. Hillary’s pipeline is drying up fast. Obama’s lifeline are the funds we give to him. He has used them wisely, carefully and decently. He deserves more to finish this off. Go for it —– send what you can today.

Yes we can.

leave……just go!

April 22, 2008

Change of heart: Hillary is absolutely NOT better than her dysfunctional campaign. Obama’s right: Hillary’s campaign strategy has reached the “kitchen sink” mentality.

Yesterday in Pennsylvania Clinton played to the pro-war voters by saying that we will win the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. How do you think this message will play in Oregon? Ten-to-one she will never quote such platitudes in Oregon. Upon crude oil hitting all-time highs, she said yesterday that we need an investigation into the situation and into windfall oil profits. More committees, more gridlock. She is back on the Florida and Michigan dead issues. She also said that regarding this campaign, the math does not really matter. What matters is “feeling” and “history”. Hellooooooooooooo —– are there any more “issues” she could address to try and get that last vote? She is all over the place and thus, nowhere. She is a desparate woman who exemplifies exactly what we do not want to continue to propigate in Washington.

In the face of this, Obama stays on message. Cool , calm and focused. That’s because his message is real, directed at making actual changes in our policies and governing process.

Today I am really sick and tired of Hillary’s blinding ambition. Remember my thoughts of months ago —– Hillary will do anything, say anything, as long as the end result is her in the White House? Such narcissism vaguely disguised as patriotic altruism? The veil is completely see-through. She is a chameleon, a Zelig. Get out. Get a life. But above all, stay the hell out of mine.

Yo Mama For Obama

the $ will decide, natch

April 21, 2008

As of April, the Obama campaign has $42 million in the bank, with virtually no debt. The Clinton campaign has $8 million on hand (half of which is owed to Mark Penn) and $9 million in debt. Polls be damned, ambition be damned! Clinton is going to wake up one of these mornings in the very near future and find out her pockets just aren’t that deep. Its the money, honey, and she will have to end it. Period.

Don’t forget the message: just as we are holding Obama responsible for a reasonable, effective and innovative government, so is Obama empowering us to follow suit. It will work only if it is a two-way street.

Yes we can.

the audacity of dissin’

April 12, 2008

Time to get out your checkbooks. Let’s play DISSIN’ FOR DOLLARS!!!!!!

McCain and Clinton both have criticized Obama’s use of the term “bitter” when referring to the people of Pennsylvania this week. How pathetic that this is the only diss that McCain and Clinton could come up with. Obama replied that indeed, people in the depressed working towns of Pennsylvania are angry and want a change in Washington. Helloooo —– Obama is staying on message. Even in this Mama for Obama’s “la dolce vita”, I am pissed as hell. Imagine how people with less good fortune and more hardship feel.

In simple grade-school language, Obama is “strict”. Remember when you had that particular teacher in elementary school who was all business and stayed on point? The one you might have volunteered to stay after school to help, clapping erasers, because you thought you saw a glimmer of a chance that the teacher might become a Good Time Charlie? But in actuality, the teacher never crossed the line of professionalism and sense of place, remaining true to the defined role of his or her job.

Bingo! That’s my Obama. I reiterate: out of all the candidates, Obama is the only one who is “Presidential”. He has run his campaign efficiently. He has raised previously unheard of amounts of capital. He has used the Internet as no other person has done before him, yet not allowed the technology to override his message. Most important, Obama has not fallen victim to petty, time-consuming and devisive actions in his campaign organization. He has been “strict”. The Washington Post this week said that Obama’s presidential campaign has been the best run one in the last 20 years. So , and I am extrapolating here, once Obama becomes President, I can clearly see him pushing aside any gossip and deterring deeds that might block actually getting things done. He is disciplined and focused; he has been so in his incredible campaign and will be when in office.

So —– my check is in. Where’s yours?

Yes we can.

wink, wink: do as i say, not as i do

April 10, 2008

Today’s language is going to be salty; no apologies, just a warning. There will be an olio of issues touched upon.

I woke up at 5:30 A.M. and turned on the television news. Prez Bush has decided to cut the tours of duty for our servicemen from 15 months to 12 months. However, this will not apply to our current soldiers; it will apply only to new soldiers after August 2008. Hypocrisy? Bullshit? Appeasement to get McCain a vote or two? You bet. As stupid as Bush is, he knows that the American public is even more ignorant. Stupid is as stupid does. So this will fly.

In a similar vein, why is it that the U.S. can call up our soldiers for three, even four tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq? Yes, upon enlistment they sign a contract to serve our country. Is that contract actually open-ended? Is there no limit to the time they will spend in the armed forces? I thought service terms were two years. However, it seems once the recruit signs on the dotted line, the term is actually endless. At best, our government is being deceiteful and at worst, they are outright liars. Hypocrisy. Bullshit. Ah hell, they’re just kids.

Each of us knows at least one real Republican, a conservative person who outrightly supports this war in a big way. I have spoken with one or two of these people, and have asked them flat out: if you support this war so vehemently, why aren’t you serving there? Why aren’t your children serving there? The typical answer is, from Mr. Joe Suburb, “I have a wife and family to support”. Oh yes, and by the way, I am still working on my second million. Oh yes, and by the way, I am a college graduate and have much more to offer by staying home. They believe that such a valiant and patriotic cause is well-enough served by a permanent underclass of people who are expendible. Hypocrisy. Bullshit. Ah hell, they’re just kids.

The key term here is “enlistee” —- an all-volunteer military. Believe it or not, we need to re-instate the draft in this country. Only then will we have patriotic, economic and political parity. Only then, when Americans do not willingly and stupidly sign their lives away upon military enlistment, will some of our citizenry rise up and revolt against an immoral, illegal and disastrous war such as the current one in Iraq.

While going through the Style section of The Washington Post today, my eyes were drawn to the “Kids Page”. There was this almost half page, full-body photo of the Pope. He is going to visit Washington, D.C. next week. Anyway, I actually gasped at his incredible outfit. Such fabrics: lace, lush brocade, layer upon layer. The headgear was fantastic, the jewelery gorgeous. But what took the cake was his magnificent red shoes. Now this Pope is known for his penchant for sartorial splendor. But the richness and pomp was so over-the-top, that i found myself “irritated” by it all. Please correct me if I am wrong. I am not Catholic and not well-versed in that religion. But isn’t Catholicism the embodiment of serving God through vows of poverty, austerity and charity? Remember the dress Scarlett O’Hara made from the green drapes at Tara? Magnify that opulence five times and you get the Pope’s attire in this photo. Mother Teresa never wore such clothes, and I have never seen a nun in that kind of garb either. Is there a different set of rules for upper-level prelates of the Catholic Church? Or perhaps just for the women who serve the Church? Help please—-I need some clarity on this. Or maybe it is just more hypocrisy. Maybe more bullshit. Ah hell, its just a photo op on the Kids Page.

Finally, let’s hear it for religious freedom! How about that Mormon compound in Texas that was raided? Over 450 residents, many of them 12 and 13 year old girls married off with babies of their own. At least one 16 year old with already four children. Not a word from any of our elected officials. Not a word from the Mormon Church. Yes, the Mormon Church outlawed polygamy in the 1800’s. However —- wink, wink, poke, poke —– is there any public outrage over this plain old pedophilia? Haven’t seen any. How about something like this from the head of the Mormon Church: “Any person or sect claiming to be Morman who practices evil, vile, illegal acts as these will not be a part of this Church”? Nothing, nada. Wink, wink, poke, poke. Tee-hee. Ah hell, they’re just kids.

So my conclusions today are ugly. We are a country of double, even triple standards. We place our children in the lowest level of those standards. It appears that “patriotic” causes and wars are just. But only for those Americans of need, be it for education, job training or earnings. Similarly, religious freedom is just, even if it entails giving birth at 12 years old. That is not pedophilia, that is showing love of God. Ah hell, they’re just kids!

Twisted? You bet. Hypocrisy. Bullshit.

it’s the economy, stupid!

April 6, 2008

Reckless.

The Bush Presidency has been nothing short of reckless in their handling of the economy. Not just stupid mind you, but outright ignorant, irreponsible and totally missing in action. John McCain has already admitted that he knows very little about the economy. Not a real strong resume to be President of the U.S. Thus, we have been informed, straight from the horse’s mouth (ass?), about his economic disinterest and experience. Magnify his stupidity ten times if you vote for him.

Let’s review: When Ronald Reagan was the President, he always said, “All the Democrats do is tax and spend”. In response to that, I have always said, “All the Republicans do is borrow and spend”. When Reagan left office, our country had the largest deficit ever. The first Bush lost his bid for a second term because, as Bill Clinton said, “It’s the economy, stupid”. Despite his many shortfallings, Clinton brought the federal deficit down to zero by the time he left office.

It is now almost 8 years into the (son of the gun) Bush administration. We are over 9 trillion dollars in debt. In his infinite wisdom, Bush is oblivious to the domino effect his policies have had. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that if you keep printing and spending money you don’t really have, the value of what you do have will go down the toilet. Period. Its no wonder that the average American has $20,000 of credit card debt; look at the example set by our government in that regard. Maybe the wealthiest 5% of Americans, who are exactly and the only group of people Bush and the Republicans serve, need not think twice about all this funny money. However, the majority of Americans know that Bush’s policies are kicking them right in their pocketbooks, on their dinner tables, on their wages, in their gas tanks and on their prospects and resources for their futures. Even though the deficit is made up of “imaginary” dollars, the effect on average Americans is very real: while the rich can weather this economic storm, the American citizenry is paying the price.

With 9 trillion dollars of debt, did Bush really think that there would be no fiscal effect, both nationally and internationally? I guess he did. But the financial markets are telling us something different. Once again, another demonstration by Bush of an absence of historical knowledge and perspective and as a result, no ability to use foresight.

Didn’t his mother ever tell him to spend only what he actually had? Isn’t that a first and foremost lesson of childhood? Since when does immediate gratification trump saving, thrift and careful planning?

I am fully non-plussed and not surprised by our current mortgage crisis. The Republicans, without regard to reality, have for years removed layer upon layer of regulations in the financial sector. That’s what Republicans do: after all, we are capitalists and so let things fall where they may. Couple that with their vote-seeking pledge that all Americans should own their own home, and ….. Bingo!!!!…..we have a credit crunch and looming financial meltdown.

In this specific mortgage mess, we have, on one side, greedy, misleading lenders, and on the other side, stupid, delusional and naive borrowers. The mortgage brokers were free to sell their lucrative (for them) liens to unsuspecting borrowers because all protective regulations had been removed over the years. However, plain old common sense dictates that no one should be allowed to buy a house without a down payment. That is a testament to financial irresponsibility. It is no wonder people are just walking away from their debt-ridden homes: they never put anything into them so they have no real investment, both financially and emotionally, in them. No pain, no gain.

The ABC’s of economics are not real complicated. Money in, money out. Don’t spend what you don’t have. I think there are public servants who actually know and act upon sound fiscal policies, like Mayor Mike Bloomberg of New York and former Governor Mark Warner of Virginia.

Unlike our dumb-ass president Bush and also the man to whom he wants to cede his office to, self-admittedly dumb-ass McCain, Barack Obama gets it. Its ironic that a day after Obama came out and said that we needed to reinstate financial regulations, the Fedmen (can’t remember if it was Paulson or Bernanke) echoed those same thoughts. I guess the Bear-Stearns debacle hit some of those wealthiest Americans pretty hard, so the Republicans had no choice but to do something.

So yes, personal responsibility is a large factor in fiscal effectiveness. We have had terrible leadership in this arena by the Republicans, borrowing money up the kazoo but telling ordinary Americans to stop borrowing. And then, handing out payments to all Americans and telling them to go spend it! Don’t save it or pay down your debt, but spend it! Monkey see, monkey do.

Is this a great country, or what?

layers of stagnation

April 5, 2008

Have you ever noticed that our government is excellent at forming committees that get nothing done?

Not only do we constantly form commissions, studies and investigations, but those committees have committees …… that still get nothing done. Katrina was 2 1/2 years ago: committee upon committee. The toxic FEMA trailers assigned to those homeless people …… more committees upon committees. The current hearings on the FAA not carrying out their safety inspections on commercial planes…. more hearings. The disgusting conditions at Walter Reed Hospital and the overall lack of adequate care for our returning veterans …… more talk at the Capitol. The dearth of proper war gear, like protective vests, armor and vehicles ….. constant talk and blame-seeking but no results for our self-sacrificing troops (strongly upheld by both Democrats and Republicans alike —- do you think their talk- and- no -action could be deemed “hypocritical?)) in Afghanistan and Iraq.

With a lack of inertia in our government, it is therefore no surprise at all that there is no time for new legislation like health care and immigration policy. We are so busy cleaning up the already existing mess that by the time our legislators must deal with new laws, its time for one of their many hiatuses. No time left to better this country and make real progress, only time left to go back home to pander and promise more of the same nothingness.

I am calling for a sweeping new mind-set: competition for excellence in action. Competition underlies much of what goes on in our country, from business to education to charitable giving. Americans have a deep need to be better than the next guy. We need to elect a person who firmly believes in and lives by excellence and action. That person must firstly have the intelligence, then the vision and stamina to formulate and carry out policy. He must recognize the difference between action for change and the status quo.

John McCain has been in the Senate for decades. He is so out-of-touch with the reality of America’s needs in 2008. I try hard to find good in everything, but I am at a loss here. He was a POW in the Hanoi Hilton for 5 years. Are we done yet using that as a reason for thinking that he can change or run this country today? Give the man credit for undergoing that horrendous treatment in patriotic service to our country. However, how can McCain, as soon as he became the apparent GOP nominee for President, explain his change of heart that torture in Iraq and Afghanistan is now acceptable? Where did his moral decency go? Anything for a vote. This is not democratic politics; this is a lack of inner strength and vacuum of excellence.

McCain’s intellectual ability, or absence of it, has me worried also. Both he and our current President are very jocular in public appearances. Bush, during the Katrina mess, joked with Brown, the head of FEMA. He said that “Brownie” was doing a fantastic job. Only thing was that Brownie was not doing a fantastic job. Brown had come to FEMA from a position of heading up a horse show venue. Bush thought the next logical step (who knew?) was to put this man in charge of helping our citizens during and after the worst natural tragedies. And then to joke about it.

John McCain thought it funny and appropriate, even after losing over 4000 of out troops in Iraq, to start singing “Bomb, bomb, bomb…..bomb Iran” in a pathetic rendition of the Beach Boys “Barbara Ann”. Stupid, ignorant and out-of-touch with reality behavior. Just how seriously can we take him at his word on the value of our troops (each and every one!!) when he jokes about more war, more bombing? Bush’s and McCain’s joking about issues that have vital impact on our lives and on our international reputation is degrading, dumb and embarrassing. These supposed leaders have dumbed-down the parameters for leadership here in the U.S. For God’s sake, the United States is not some fraternity house and this is not an election for “head brother”. We need a pledge (!) to excellence, not to idiocy. The person running this country must have the intellect to see the gravity of these issues and make appropriate changes.

Enter Barack Obama. Yes, the man has lived the American Dream. His mother, without huge resources, raised a sensitive and intelligent person. He worked hard, got himself an excellent education, and then went into public service. Yet I sense an underlying layer of sadness, of gravitas. It wasn’t a cake walk for him. This is good. He seems to understand and acknowledge the shortcomings of the U.S. But more importantly, he has the intellect, foresight and vision to come up with solutions for those problems. Also, his demeanor is very business-like: he doesn’t waste time and energy on answering stupid, misleading personal attacks. He’s too busy for that nonsense. He’s committed to actually getting things done. Obama is the New Order: he is excellence in action personified. Furthermore, this is his time, a time when there is a demand for change in real policy and its methods of implementation. He is not entrenched in our current static, useless, red-tape-all-over-the-place government. And don’t tell me that McCain has so much more experience than Obama. McCain’s experience is simply “time served”. The status quo, do-nothing, take-all-the-spoils terms McCain has served is exactly what we do not want. We need a new, updated model for the people who serve in our government. Simply, not only is Obama the right choice for America, but the times and circumstances of 2008 are absolutely right for Obama. He will set a new level for excellence. Then hopefully, if just out of sheer American competitiveness, other elected officials will follow suit. That is leadership.

Yes we can.