Archive for the 'Independent' Category

04
May
09

Conservative and Liberal Southerners Face-Off With Mutual Awesomeness. UPDATED

A conservative blogger, Essence of America, asked me to join in a spirited discussion (see comment section of this blog about douchebag Rick Perry) during which we both present our views of various issues. Because Essence’s commentary style is one of irreverent, foul-language appreciating flavors, I thought we’d be a perfect match. That and his personal insults make me laugh really hard on the inside. I’m a sucker for people with a sense of humor who aren’t too sensitive and offended easily.

Essence launched the discussion with his take on a number of topics presented below. My responses are below his comments. After he reads my responses and responds, I’ll paste those in. Enjoy (it’s crazy long, by the way, so I hope you’re at work and bored):

And so it begins. I’ll start this magnificent dialogue between us by briefly addressing each of your points. Then we’ll go from there.

CHURCH AND CHRISTIANITY

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

Have you ever been kicked out of a church because your family, as foster parents, was taking care of black children for an adoption agency? Did people who call themselves Christians ever threaten you because they didn’t like the way your dad preached? Have you ever had a cross burned in your yard and been called nigger lover? Have church members ever stood in your front yard and record your conversations in some ill-advised attempt to set you up for a fall?

If anyone is pissed off about what church has become, it’s me. You have no idea. I’ve struggled for years with this, having to balance my love of God against my bitterness for His church.

But it’s the church’s fault. Denominational theology is more important to them than Christ’s teachings. If you attend a Baptist church, you are taught to believe this or that. If you attend a Methodist church, you are taught something else. If you go to a Presbyterian church, it’s one way, and if you attend a Pentecostal church or non-denominational one, it’s something else. And don’t even get me started on Catholicism or those other branch-off churches I consider to be cultic.

I will say I have been more comfortable in the non-denominational church, where people of all backgrounds and races are generally welcomed and the focus is on worship, not theology.

Still, I don’t like going anymore. It feels fake to me, like people are not there for the right reasons. So if anyone understands how you feel about church and her people, it’s me. We’ll talk more about that later.

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

First of all, I don’t use the N-word. Seriously, the word doesn’t belong to white people – especially white men. Even if you’re not using it against anyone. The word belongs to the black people and they can decide amongst themselves what to do with it. It’s like “cunt” with women. That word belongs to women unless you live in Australia, where it’s practically a term of affection men use with each other. Here, I don’t think men should use it – but I’ll be blue in the face before my husband decides to abide by this tenant. The cunt.

Okay, church and Christianity. Sure, they are separate things to a degree – but I do believe the church is by-product of the use of religion for power. Christianity was created by men for political reasons. Most tribes and cultures throughout history have had religions. Almost everything in the Bible is borrowed from previously-established religions (for example, Zoroastrianism). Many of these tribes were organized with the caste-system and the only ways to rise above your birth station was by entering the military or the priesthood. Priests were extremely powerful, so it was a naturally beckoning to many the ambitious soul. The creation of Christianity was a natural example of this tradition. Furthermore, the human race has always sought explanations for its existence and the world around it and religion has largely fulfilled that whole (though quite erroneously) until science was capable of offering a much better, evidence-based enlightenment.

Also, Jesus almost definitely did not exist as the tales in the Bible tell. First of all, the gospels don’t even agree on the facts of his life. Secondly, Jesus, as the Bible describes, almost certainly would have gained much more attention outside other cultures and we would see writings about him in other cultures. And this is not the case.

Furthermore, we live in world that rewards good decision-making. If you’re a junkie, you’ll most likely die. If you commit crimes, you’ll most likely end up in jail. If you treat people poorly, you’ll most likely end up alone or hated. Now, according to Christianity, we have two choices to make: believe in this man as lord and savior, without evidence, to receive eternal salvation OR evaluate the information and evidence, of which there is none other than this book written by men, refuse to accept the divinity of Jesus and find yourself blistering in eternal hellfire.

Why would God create a world in which evidence-based, informative and judicial decision-making is rewarded and them condemn those that would use such an exemplary decision-making process to Satan’s lair? It makes no sense. Any reasonable, objective, un-brainwashed person could recognize this. That and almost everything in the Bible can be debunked. Get with the program. As Christianity spread, it usurped the traditions of the locals to better convert them. Most religions of the time did the same. Christmas and Easter were not originally Christian holidays. They are now. And isn’t the Corporatocracy of America quite the benefactor?

Religion is and always has been a tool used to control people. Power is one of the primary ambitions of man and both religion and the church feed this. Churches are business institutions and the people that erect them are hungry for power, money, and adoration and the Bible (which describes a God of Abraham I would never follow) paves the way for these charlatan monkeys (ahem, Joel Osteen). They decry homosexuality and abortion (which the Bible barely mention) while living obese and rich (which the Bible soundly renounces) lifestyles. Ridonkulous. How funny that Miss California would discuss the sanctity of marriage while ignoring the sanctity of her body (which the Bible says to leave unaltered) by allowing the California Pageant people to pay for her boob job. Wow. Makes me want to sign right up.

Phew, let me take a breath as I get off my soapbox.

UPDATED –

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

You couldn’t be more wrong, Mpressions, about the Christ. And I’ve got news for you, my friend, you’re not going to be receptive to the opposing argument with such a hardened heart. I could debate theology with you all day long and get nowhere. I could tell you what He has done in my life and in the lives of other believers I know. I could tell you about the miracles I’ve witnessed in not only my life but in others as well. I could share the Gospel with you, unconditionally, for as long as you’d listen. But it’s not going to change your heart. Only God can do that.

I’ll just drop a link for you and let you know I’m here if you want to talk about it. I’ll pray for you and hope you won’t just dismiss this: http://www.ucgstp.org/lit/gn/gn053/bibletrue.htm

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

It’s true you won’t get anywhere debating religion with me. Just try and remember that the majority of us atheists and agnostics (at least those of us over 30) were once religious, and probably Christian. We use to have those same stories of what Jesus did in our lives and tales of miracles we witnessed firsthand. We were there. So, those stories would most likely reveal no new revelations. Trust me, we’ve heard it and said it all before. And I like to think of it not as a hardened heart, but an open mind.

CONSERVATIVES AND LIBERALS

ESSENCE OF AMERICA :

I know what you’re saying, and I know the difference in terminology. I am a Republican politically and a conservative socially. In just about every way possible, you’re going to get a right-winger with me. I can attribute much of that to my upbringing, and I’m not ashamed of it.

As a member of the GOP, I am not a blind supporter. I don’t go gently into that good night. When my party is wrong, it’s wrong. I did vote for and supported President Bush. But I did not like every single thing he did. I can think for myself and talk for myself. The fact remains, though, I am on the right side of the aisle and it always will be that way – unless, of course, my fellow right-wingers lose their damned minds and they do go gently into that good night. If that happns, I might just have to take over the party myself.

POLITICAL IMPRESSIONS:

Haha. I soooo encourage you to take over the party yourself at this moment. It’s a rotting ship. I was never too conservative, but I was a Republican in my younger days (which weren’t that long ago). I would have voted for W. if I wasn’t lazy about getting my absentee ballot in (I was in Australia at the time). But, I was a government major and then a geopolitical analyst and after really observing the results of Republican ideology, I had to jump off the bandwagon.

And I would never accuse  you of being a blind supporter, but you must remember that most of liberals – definitely the ones that comment on my site – are well-informed as well. Hell, I’m pro-death penalty, I eat meat, I drive an SUV. But, you see, Democrats tend to be a coalition with many diverging groups. The Republicans have morphed into an ideology-driven borg that refuses to allow members who do not tow the line. That will be their kiss of death if they do not somehow overcome their tendency to simply “fall in line.”

And you say you will always be on the right side of the line. I define that as being loyal to the label. You should strive to be on the right side of truth and policy rather than actually care about political labels or colors. I call myself Independent because money-hungry bastards who call themselves politicians inhabit both parties. I care more about policy than party.

UPDATED –

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

You’re half right. I care more about my country than a label. But I’m a Republican for many reasons, not the least of which is this ideology stuff you’re so happy to condemn. For the anti-Republicans scattered chaotically across America – with deep concentrations of them on each coast and a few in the Midwest – people like me who hold sacred certain principles and American traditions are mere fucktards who cannot and will not tolerate the opinions of others. The fact I’ve taken the time to engage you is representative of my tolerance. The first time I visited your blog, I wanted to spit up in my mouth. I could not disagree more with you on just about everything on here. In fact, I’d go even further by saying your politics are what I hate so much about the left-wing machine (http://essenceofamerica.wordpress.com/2009/04/18/former-mccain-advisor-wants-gop-to-turn-left/).

But I am grateful for this opportunity, for your willingness to listen to what makes me who I am. You seem like a well-rounded person, even if you are so imperfect politically. Indeed, I can tolerate a liberal, despite the fact so many liberals think we conservatives are a bunch of hateful bigots who carry our Bibles everywhere while we go after homosexuals.

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

Political personal interactions are so different than responding to a group as a whole. And each side resents how the other side lumps the other into one homogeneous borg. I get that.

I don’t think liberals are all the same. Some are vegetarian, some prioritize inner-city development, some are staunch pacifists, some are environmental terrorists, some think women who stay at home are parasites on their husbands. I really belong to none of these groups. We’re quite different and more a coalition.

Republicans, while some might be socially liberal, tend to have a base that is of the same opinion. Pro-life, pro-gun, for small government, lower taxes, etc., etc. There is much more commonality among right wingers than left wingers. However, I know many the reasonable and lovely Republican, and many the nutjob, freako racist Republican.

Either way, we’ll never be happy reading what the other side has to say about our side. That said, if you can’t have a sense of humor about it, it’s just not worth it. Life is short and there are way too many fun Republicans for me to hold up a Do Not Enter sign when they approach. While I think it’s retarded not to be able to talk to people about politics and religion, I can wax and wane on beer and college sports for hours. We have to see what we have in common and stop being so offended all the time when people disagree with us.

PATRIOTISM

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

I haven’t read your post about this yet, but just let me say I am patriotic, I do love my country, and I am a good person – though not perfect. I’m the kind who gets chills during the singing of the national anthem and seeing the American flag wave. I like a good war story. I enjoy talking to members of the U.S. armed forces. I think you can love your country but not like the direction it’s headed. I think you can disagree with or even hate what the president of the United States is doing and still be patriotic. And I think you can want a different kind of change without being hateful.

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

I agree that you can be patriotic and still disagree with the president. However, for chrissakes, we need to get off this crazy train where patriotism equals character. And we should not be judging how patriotic or NOT patriotic others are. It’s not a currency and I am soooo sick of the Right doing everything they can to seem patriotic in order to gain the upper hand of the debate.

I want to know how many of these people have lived outside of the U.S. so that they may compare it and know just how they actually feel about this country. I have lived outside of it twice – and hopefully will do so again – and can appreciate more than you could ever imagine. I have seen firsthand the differences in culture that allow me to appreciate my home. But the U.S. has a long way to go to claim the superiority all the Right award it. I would encourage all readers now to read a blog I have written in the past: How Great is the U.S.? It’s an eyeopener.

Patriotism also means having the courage to admit the faults of the U.S. and the areas in which our country can and should improve. Patriotism should not be used as a weapon and it is shameful that the Right does so repeatedly (and not John C. Holmes shameful, but Joseph McCarthy shameful).

UPDATED –

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

To me, patriotism means actually loving your country – I mean loving it. Democrat or Republican, love of country must come first. Obviously, a person can love his country and recognize its faults while working to correct them. We would disagree, obviously, on what those faults are. To me, patriotism means serving honorably and bravely in the U.S. armed forces without regard to politics. My dad is a war veteran. I have other relatives and friends who have served. I believe no greater honor exists than wearing the American uniform.

It’s another story, however, to go abroad and insult your own country and apologize for its existence (http://essenceofamerica.wordpress.com/2009/04/03/obama-mocks-america-presidency-while-overseas/). I just can’t abide by that kind of idiocy.

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

I think all Americans love their country. And my love of my country is no one else’s business and isn’t for anyone else to judge. My worth is not how many flag’s I’m waving on the 4th of July. People who judge others’ patriotism can suck it as far as I’m concerned. I bet Jesus wouln’t walk around saying who’s patriotic and who isn’t. And many people can love and honor their country and do not have to join the armed forces – and I have a bit of military in my family as well.

First of all, almost anyone can join the Armed Forces. During Bush, they eased recruitment standards that allowed people with criminal histories and gang members. Now, I don’t give a shit if someone has the uniform on. If they kill, rob, or peddle drugs while, they are not honorable.

Also, sexual assault is rampant in the Armed Forces. A huge percentage of women in the military report being sexually assaulted. Many times these incidents are pushed under the rug and many a seemingly honorable young man in uniform has felt it his right to rape females. That is abhorrent and quite the opposite of honorable.

We can romanticize the Armed Forces all we want, but many join it because they have no other options or want a paycheck – not for the love of their country. This is reality and I’m not afraid to say it – not for all the right wing attacks that may come my way for stating what actually happens. I will not whitewash the military or act as though there are no bad apples.

I do appreciate what soldiers have done for this country and the sacrifice they make for us. My acknowledging problems in the military does not diminish that. And the Right’s refusal to discuss the military in a way that appears to diminish its greatness is the umbrella under which many of these dishonorable acts take place.

THIRD PARTIES

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

I just don’t get them. I like to make fun of them precisely because of what I told you about my libertarian buddy. The guy is good people, but I never can grasp what he’s really about. I can’t even remember who he voted for in November. I do remember, though, how he kept talking about how he just might write himself in as president because no one he liked was on the ballot.

I just can’t respect that kind of thinking. Hell, I would have respected him more if he had voted for Obama. At least then I could understand the rationale.

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

I completely understand. On a theoretical level, I think a multi-party system would enhance the level of democracy in this country. In such a case, the two parties couldn’t hold the country by the balls and then cede all decision-making to the corporations. Under the multi-party system, you really would have a contest of quality candidates rather than a fundraising-a-thon. Many would argue that those who raise the most money were then supported by the most people, but when you look at Center for Responsive Politics numbers, you see just how entrenched companeis are in the fundraising process. Third and fourth and fifth parties would help alleviate this problem.

That said, if Nader hadn’t run, Gore would have won (despite all his douchiness) and we wouldn’t have had the atrocity of W. If we want the multiparty system and we want it to work, we’ll have to go through a painful process to earn it. And as for Libertarians – it’s a fad that has arisen in response to the inability of the Republicans to drop the religioners off at the nuthouse and regain competence. Once these old white guy Falwell-foll0wers die off, Republicans will return to prestige and Libertarianism will evaporate. Furthermore, the more I have discussions with Libertarians, the more I realize they really do not understand the results of the political ideology they espouse. I’m happy to see them on the playing field though. I will support the emergence of all viable third parties, even I don’t vote with them.

UPDATE –

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

I believe mostly in the two-party system and its survival for the betterment of democracy in this country. It is my opinion, though, that third parties only serve to dilute elections and thus, are not worthy of any votes whatsoever.
POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:
I don’t think the two-party system is good for democracy at all. It gives us the choice of lesser of two evils. If we had five or six viable candidates for positions, we’d have better choices, fresher talent, speedier progress, and less wheeling-and-dealing.
At this point, for the majority of politicians, if they have the funds to run a great campaign, it doesn’t matter the quality of politician they are. As long as they are of the party the majority of their constituents are, they can be as unethical as they like.
The multi-party system would also help staunch the entrenchment of corporate interests as companies would have to more widely distribute their contributions (which should be illegal anyhow).
At this point, our two-party system intensifies the polarization of the country and increases the likelihood that the political will behave unethically at some point in their political career and that the politician with the most money is the most likely to win.

INTELLECTUALS AND THE DESIRE TO BE INTELLECTUAL

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

I’ve been called “passionate” and “hardcore” and “crazy” about my politics and beliefs. So I do appreciate when someone of a varying opinion brings the same passion to an argument. I respect those types. I cannot, on the other hand, abide by people who believe in something but can’t explain why they believe that way.

About a year ago, I was hosting my own birthday party when the brother of my best friend started talking about his affection for Bill Clinton and other Dems. By this time, we both had plenty of drinks in us, and the argument became exceedingly spirited. People were laughing. We spent half an hour insulting each other, defending each other’s parties and beliefs, and threatening bodily harm to each other.

But when it was over, we shook hands, laughed it off, and got back to the business of celebrating life and freedom and America.

So, finally, here’s to an ongoing discussion about right-wingers and left-wingers and why we are so freaking different. Feel free to drop by essenceofamerica at any time to get your daily dose of conservative awesomeness. And if you ever decide to come to the other side, we’d be glad to have you!

“Cause God blessed Texas with His own hand
Brought down angels from the promised land
Gave ‘em a place where they could dance
If you wanna see heaven brother here’s your chance
I’ve been sent to spread the message
God blessed Texas”

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

Mkay. Good remarks. However, they had nothing to do with intellectualism. So, I’ll respond to your remarks and we can talk about intellectualism later.

I am completely with you about wanting to kick someone overboard when they can’t explain their political leanings. I was at my sister’s birthday party in the heart of a McCains-ville part of Houston when some of the peeps asked me about politics, knowing I was a lefty. They’re response was that they didn’t know enough to have a real discussion with me. Grossly pathetic – though I still like those people quite a bit on a character level. Plus they are great to party with.

Debate and discussion are the vessels of progress and we cannot shy away from them or simply have the goal of superiority. Through every interaction a lesson can be learned. I read right wing blogs and watch right wing televsion because not only can I learn something new, I can understand how others think. And that’s important in a Democracy.

Most of my family (extended, not immediate), and a great many of my friends are right wing and Republican and I would do anything for them. So, I’m not afraid to have a discussion. I’ll still like them afterward. You can’t be offended by disagreement or insist on political correctness because to do so impedes progress.

And that is some crazy “God Blessed Texas” shit.

I’ll just say that I love this state because sitting in an inner tube on a lake with a floating cooler of Lonestar and Willie Nelson playing in the background is seriously the most awesome activity ever. Ever.

I’ll just add here – and I will repeatedly in my blog forevermore – that Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and El Paso ALL voted for Obama on Nov. 4, 2008. So, our little good ol’ boy Repubs better watch their asses.

UPDATED –

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:

Yes, maybe I got off track with this one. But I dare say the country probably does not give one little shit about who Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, and El Paso go for in presidential elections. The state is still red (as are most states), as evidenced by the county-by-county election map of November 2008. As for Austin, that place is a hotbed for liberal activity, so it’s no surprise it went for The Blessed One.

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

So, true. Most of the country doesn’t care about these cities. I merely point it out because of the recent craziness of our governor and in rebuttal to recent Republican leadership statements that they are shoring up support in the South. They are, in fact, losing numbers – not strengthening them – down here. The only state that went more Republican in ’08 was Oklahoma. And there’s a very reasonable explanation for that that would take a while to write out, but I can offer it easily upon request.

WRAP-UP

ESSENCE OF AMERICA:
Meredith, you presented all the classic liberal arguments in this one. Well done! It’s a shame you went to the other side a few years ago, but I’m sure you were deceived like so many before and after you.

You’re welcome to rejoin us at any time. I mean, you display the charactistics of many conservatives in our country: You drive a truck (so do I, an American one); you listen to good music (I have many different tastes); you like to have a good time (nothing’s better than a cookout and many, many beers, if you ask me); and you are a spirited debater.

Touche!

By the way, I’ve never liked the word cunt. I believe it corrupts, rather disgustingly, what is supposed to be a glorious and essentially perfect part of the female form. To call it a cunt, or to call someone a cunt, can have an almost demoralizing effect on the sexual being, if said sexual being is a pansy, of course.

Nonetheless, the word is just no good. No good at all. And I despise it. Even women shouldn’t use it, a term of affection among them or not. Cunt. Well, fuck, that just doesn’t do it for me. Cunt. Just can’t get my mouth around it.

Ok. Sorry about that last part. I could not resist. Shame on me.

POLITICAL MPRESSIONS:

Hey! I presented all the classical liberal arguments? Perhaps I’m a classy liberal… Well, maybe not (I have a really, really impressive belch).

I appreciate the offer to return to the Right, I will however decline in the name of Progress. If one thing doesn’t work, you take a reasonable step at studying the problems and solutions and then make decisions. That’s what I’m about. Republican ideology is tried and failed and it’s time to move on.

That said, I very much enjoyed your participation in this debate. So much of this is more about discussion than our conclusions and we rock in this most important facet of American politics.

So funny your comments on the word “cunt.” You see, when this word first came into existence it meant vulva or vagina and was not offensive. Male-dominated cultures tend to alter words referring to the femine and make them offensive. In latin langauges, many bad things have are femine (war), while good things (money) are masculine. Think about how many derogatory words you can think of for women: bitch, cunt, whore, jezebel, slut, etc. And how many you can think of that deride men for their sexually liberal ways?

In my opinion, we need to take back the word “cunt” and many others that had reasonable beginnings and restore them to the previous grandeur. Will it happen? No bloody likely.

15
Apr
09

Tea Baggers – Disingenuous, Ignoramus Boobs

The blogosphere is alight today with opinion pieces denouncing these rube-magnet “Tea Parties.” Here’s another one.

cause bush told the truth!

cause bush told the truth!

First of all, much like a circus, these Tea Parties put on display for the rest of us to see, the imbecilic nature of Right Wing nutjobs. The ones who vote for their big biz Republican politicians who enact policy that directly injures their very constituents. Who is dumb enough to believe the Dick Armeys, Newt Gingriches, Limbaughs, Coulters, Hannitys, Glenn Becks, Michael Steeles, Rick Perrys, Mark Sanfords, Sarah Palins, Michelle Bachmanns, David Vitters? Who is dumb enough to be whipped into a gun-buying, revolution-shouting frenzy of inanity by this honorless Republican leadership? Go to a Tea Party tonight and find out.

DEFICIT

Here’s why these people are disingenuous: they are protesting government spending that would drive up the deficit. Well, their precious Reagan drove up the deficit, George H. W. Bush and his highly successful son drove up the deficit and nary a Tea Party was had. Where was the outrage? I remember a bunch of Right Wingers getting their panties in a bunch over the fact that Bill Clinton was sucked off by an intern, but did they ever congratulate him over balancing the budget? No. They don’t care about the deficit. They’re group-think idiots of the highest order.

They keep saying they don’t want our kids to inherit a huge deficit. Yet, they don’t give a shit if our kids inherit an environment raped by big business because we were to ignorant to switch to renewable energy when we had the chance. They don’t care if our kids inherit a country with semi-automatic weapons carpeting the countryside. They don’t care if our kids have affordable health care and access to decent medical attention. Their claims of concern for our kids is false and hollow and nauseating.

TAXES

And they’re complaining about taxes. Well, let’s see. Obama is instituting the broadest tax cut in history. And he’s only raising taxes of the wealthy to less than they were under Reagan. In fact, the GOP’s proposed budget again lowers taxes for the wealthy, increasing them for the lower and middle classes, according to this PDF put together by Citizens for Tax Justice. They also discovered that the GOP plan would cost $225 billion more than the Democratic plan.

These Right Wingers are also people calling for the U.S. to attack Iran, North Korea and launch a military operation in Somalia and off its coast – yet they don’t want to PAY for it. Funny how their buttboy Bush didn’t want to pay for his war of choice either – refusing to fund the soldiers on the battlefield appropriately and refusing to fund their care when they return home. Yet, the Bush administration sent billions of dollars to defense contractors who struck it rich while unable to account for millions, if not billions of dollars they received.

HYPOCRITES

We’re seeing calls for Revolution – for people to arm themselves as if to somehow thwart the government. How ridiculously hypocritical these white, racist conservatives are being! What if members of the left made these anti-government slogans? How unamerican we would be labeled –  how unpatriotic.

This is a lunatic fringe minority of the American demographic and they want to control the fates of the rest of us. They would rather overthrow the legally-elected government representing the views of the majority of this country. The election was a blowout – the American people spoke and were absolutely demanding a change in leadership and these crazy teabag freakos would attempt to undermine the very democracy innumerable people have shed their lives to give us. They seek to weaken the country and cheapen the government system that makes them so proud only when it serves their selfish purposes.

LIBERTY

How deep does these people’s inability to process logic and thought go? Consider their calls for liberty. Bush used illegal warrantless wiretapping on the American people (and most relevant journalists). Right Wingers were silent. Bush banished Habeas Corpus from the Constitution. The Right Wingers were silent.  Bush turned the Justice Department into a partisan death squad. Right Wingers were silent. The illegality of gays to marry inhibits the liberties of a vast number of Americans. Marijuana as never caused the death of a person, yet the liberty to smoke pot legally is almost non-existent. Women’s liberty to choose to end a pregnancy would be taken away if these conservos had their way.

The only liberty they want is to take away the rights and decisions of those who disagree with them. They would oppress the rest of us for their own, ignorant, baseless, uninformed reasons.

DOUCHEBAGS

This shade of political activist allows the terrorism of the rest of the country by easing the release of assault weapons onto our streets and into the hands of criminal elements both

yeah, and Bush wasnt? Jeez....

yeah, and Bush wasn't? Jeez....

domestic and outside our boarders. Their answer is that we should all arm ourselves, encouraging the possibility of gun battles in our neighborhoods.

These Tea Baggers do not understand the realities of their theories and the results of their lunacy. While their opinions on deregulation and taxation and government spending, etc. sound quite wonderful, they have unintended consequences and materialize in ways that damage this country’s economy, civil liberties and safety – as was illustrated so clearly under Bush.

The Tea Baggers had their chance. They controlled the White House and Congress for six of the last eight years and their policies tore this country asunder, taking it to the brink of collapse. This subgroup of political outliers would dictate liberties not only to the rest of Americans – but hang the rest of the world out to dry, attacking many without justification and at the same time arousing indignation that we sacrifice our “sovereignty” by abiding by U.N. Resolutions.

These people are idiots – the lowest common denominator of the uninformed. They are being used by people and leadership whose policies affect these “protestors” negatively in a significant way. Yet, time and time again, Republican “tax and deficit” lies – and the use of god, guns and gays – gets these turkeys hot to trot in an attempt to inhibit progress and improvement of this great nation.

It’s real cute, the mock revolution and display of boobery by the ‘baggers. I’m glad the rest of us can sit back and chuckle at the baffoonery without real fear their opinions will gain any traction. In my opinion, the best way to overcome this circus of ‘tards is to stay informed. Read,read,read. And remember the last eight years.

In short, take a hike, tea baggers. You don’t know what you’re talking about and the rest of us (ahem, the majority) don’t need or want you.

And I don’t want to hear any shit about the Tea Parties being Libertarian before being hijacked by the Right Wing wackos. This blog is meant for those hijackers. The tea bags are being funded by the Right Wing death squads and that’s why I’m responding so vehemently.

UPDATE 4.16.09: After looking at all the pics of these rallies, it was clear there were no minorities amongst the Tea Bag douchers. A klan-esque political movement of old, white people that is tasteless to minorities, gay people, non-believers and progressive women will go nowhere and gain bupkis. And Rove thinks this “movement is significant.” Um…right. He also referred to Democrats’ “tax and spend tendencies.” Why don’t we talk about how great the “no tax, but sill spend a lot” policies of the Republicans are? I guess it’s true. Right Wingism does rot the brain.

08
Apr
09

Gay Marriage Update

What a freaking awesome time for progress! The Vermont Legislature overrode their dipshit governor’s veto of their bill to legalize gay marriage (and, Vermont, what’s the dealyo with electing such an ignoramus in the first place? I mean, I know I’m from Texas and haven’t a positive thing to say about our governor – but you’re VERMONT). And the Iowa State Supreme Court found that legislation defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman was unconstitutional:

A statute inconsistent with the Iowa Constitution must be declared void, even though it may be supported by strong and deep-seated traditional beliefs and popular opinion.

Civil libertarians around the country are as giddy as little girls  over these momentous occasions and what a bright spot they are after the resounding show of bigotry last November in California.

So, it was quite galling to watch a Mike Barnacle-hosted Hardball today on which Maggie Gallagher, of the National Organization for Marriage, issued the most ridiculous claims regarding the effects of gay marriage. First, allow me to post an ad NOM recently spent a cool 1.5 million bones to air in hopes that it would turn the tide of public sentiment against gay marriage:

Hello, McFly! Are you serious? Are you trying to dumb down the American people with this drivel?

One woman says she’s “afraid” of gay marriage. A man claims the gay marriagers want to bring the issue into their life. And another chick says her freedoms will be taken away.

And then Gallagher posited on Hardball that the bad thing about gay marriage is that our children will be taught they are wrong to hold on to their beliefs that gay marriage is wrong. And churches participating in legal adoptions will be unable to discriminate against same-sex couples. And churches in New Jersey that participate in the commercial real estate market by renting out space for marriages will have to rent them out for gay weddings.

If you are a regular reader, and even if you aren’t, you can imagine I have a few (more than, actually) choice words to answer these babblings of those…say it with me…on the WRONG side of history. It’s called progress. Look into it.

First of all, like most religioners, NOM is attacking gay marriage from the viewpoint that it will injure them somehow. They give little consideration to the feelings and rights of gay marriage. I have one question for them: WWJD, biotch? Their storied Jesus would have never allowed his opinions to dictate the lives of others. The Bible preaches FREE WILL. These people have a bastardized view of that which they hold up as their guide. Be kind. Think of others first. That’s what your Christ would do.

Secondly, NOM is trying to stir up fear and playing to the most base of human emotions to illicit a reactionary response rather than debate the issue on its merits. The Constitutions grants all Americans inalienable rights – including marriage. Negate that. Trying to scare people into a frenzy is no means to change society for the better or for the long term. It’s juvenile and, as we saw with the Bush administration, destined for failure.

Like the cute dude debating Gallagher said, if the churches want to participate in government-controlled activities, such as adoption and real estate, they should not complain when their religion-induced bigotry is called onto the mat and squashed like a fat mosquito. Gallagher kept complaining that those opposed to gay marriage are simply labeled as bigots and intimates their religious beliefs should not be labeled discriminatory.

Au contraire, ma soeur, religion has long served as the catalyst for bigoted, evil, discriminatory acts. It is the job – the duty – of those driving progress and propelling humanity forward to thwart those who would victimize others and then defend their actions with “religious ideology.” We no longer have room for such behavior in this society of free speech, widely available education and information.

I would encourage religioners to stop trying to keep everything the same. Change is inevitable. Progress will always tap you on the shoulder and show you the exit. Maybe not the nearest exit. But the eventual one.

And good riddance.

03
Nov
08

I’m Voting For Barack Obama

Surprise of the century, I know!

While I had been considering Nader in order to support the multi-party system, he is a unfortunately a write-in candidate here in Texas – forcing me to question the immediate efficacy of such a vote. All candidates on my sample ballot are Repub, Dem or Libertarian, so it seems the major parties here in Texas are succeeding in keeping our political choices as narrow as possible. A shame for democracy, really.

Nader’s write-in status, however, did not itself determine my vote.

The widespread efforts of Republican voter suppression did. Republicans across the nation try to have hundreds of thousands of names purged from voter lists, fight efforts to increase early voting availability (salute to Charlie Crist, middle finger to Georgia’s secretary of state) and fund disinformation campaigns to confuse and intimidate potential voters. Our saving grace this year is that the secretaries of state in Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada and (thank christ) Ohio are Democrat. Sorry, bitches, no Katherine Harris replay here.

Almost all voter suppression efforts originate in the nasty little minds of Republicans, who have shown election after election that they hold winning of higher import than democracy. How ridiculously wretched that Bush claims is presidential clarion call is to spread democracy when he has helped his party be an agent of democracy poisoning.

The Right likes to flail their hands in the air screaming Voter Fraud. Yet, even if quite a few false registrations were turned in, it would be an unlikely realization that those registrations would result in actual votes. Republicans – who know this – would prefer to dump thousands upon thousands of legitimate voters in order to prevent a few false votes from occurring. It is a charade. A pathetic, dishonorable, horrific charade given the historic fight to provide us with such a freedom.

I find it harder and harder to relate to the Republican Party as a whole and my respect for the organization has plummeted since my days as a freshman member of the College Republicans.

So, I’m voting for Obama – for all the regular reasons: I agree with many of his policies, I believe he would be infinitely better as president than McCain, I would rather cut off my little toe than see Sarah Palin so close to the presidency, I want to help protect civil liberties and have the utmost concern for the next three Supreme Court appointees, I believe Obama to be an extremely thoughtful man, my consideration as a voter is not just for myself, but my fellow Americans and fellow citizens of the world, Obama would be of much greater benefit to the environment, etc., etc., etc.

But, I’m also voting for Obama as a big FUCK YOU to the Republican Party. As long as they are party who practices widespread voter suppression, as long as they are a party who views fair democracy as an obstacle, as long as they are the party who would rather steal elections than win them outright and smile at the freedom those before us have earned, I will vote against them. I will raise my voice against them. I will fight them every election.

Unfortunately, Texas will send their electoral delegates to support McCain. I’m sure all of you heard that a fourth of Texans still believe Obama is a Muslim – so that gives you an idea of the political education of our fine citizenry. As of this late date, the GOP is running Jeremiah Write ads every few minutes calling Obama too radical and too risky. I’m glad they’ve decided to waste their money in this media market since they’re basically (sadly) preaching to the choir here.

So, I will vote Obama and hope he can fulfill much of what he has promised. And I’m not simply talking universal health care. I’m talking competence and consideration and even-handedness. It will be so difficult for him to achieve many of his lofty ambitions in the face of the massive destruction left by Bush and Cheney militarily, economically, in the area of checks and balances and widespread corruption at the Executive Branch.

I believe Obama will take it home tomorrow night and the majority of us can collectively breathe a sigh of relief and lift a finally-steady hand holding a glass of champagne in celebration. But I’m looking past tomorrow and at the next four years and I’m cautiously optimistic. While the Republican death squads will emerge from their mire within seconds of an Obama victory – this time the majority of the country and overwhelming numbers of global neighbors are supporting him, watching him and simply hoping.

Here we go. Just breathe. And vote. And then breathe. It’s time.

29
Oct
08

Screw You – Leave My Liberal MSNBC Alone!

With MSNBC taking second place in the nightly line-up ratings for October (which isn’t over yet, so it’s weird the ratings for the month are already out…), all I have to say is, Damn Straight! We liberal-leaning political junkies need our opinion/analysis fix – or at least spirited discussion. No one would accuse Joe Scarborough of leaning left, yet his numbers are up as well.

CNN

CNN President Jon Klein

CNN President Jon Klein

Now, CNN is getting defensive. The network president Jon Klein is quoted in The Huffington Post as saying MSNBC’s partisan programming is giving it a boost before the election, but CNN’s post-partisan line-up will serve well in the long-term.

Um, “post-partisan”? We already have bi-partisan and non-partisan. I mean, how many prefixes can you attach to one term? Anyway, on The Daily Show Oct. 27, Campbell Brown said “We are banking on the idea that people want us to play it a little more straight than that.”

Okay, we get it, CNN. You’re the mature, unbiased news analysis. We.Get.It! (although, I think CNN’s daily news coverage tends to be a bit sensationalist, even if it’s unbiased sensationalism)

FOX

Do I even have to devote space in this blog to FOX News? Well, if I must sully myself, I must. I’ll just have to wash with LAVA afterward.

FOX is partisan. Everyone knows it. I mean, Roger Ailes is an absolute trollop for the Republican Party – especially Neo-Cons. He basically has one of those “puff, puff, give” relationships with them.

And who gives a crap, really? If FOX wants to be partisan, let them be partisan! It’s not as if their shit doesn’t reek and we intelligent people can’t all smell it. Everyone knows their angle and I’d have no problem with it if they didn’t claim to be fair and balanced. There has to be a special place in Hell reserved for the people who repeatedly say this and those who actually believe it.

Which brings me to – did anyone catch the video of Obama spokesman Bill Burton having a confrontation with anchor Megyn Kelly?

FOXs Megyn Kelly

FOX's Megyn Kelly

It’s priceless watching her get all hot and bothered by Burton’s repeated accusations that FOX has an agenda. She was so irritated, when referring to FOX News coverage, she actually repeated the phrase “fair and balanced” three times. “Oh! Maybe if I say it enough, it’ll be true! Where’s my fairy godmother, dammit!”

I don’t know what kind crack they’re smoking over there at FOX HQ, but I’m sure it’s illegal in the lower 48. Let’s think about this. Brit Hume called the Democratic National Convention “a spectacle.” Their show hosts are Laura Ingraham, Bill O’Reilly, Steve Doocy, and Sean Hannity – who’s “Hannity’s Obama & Friends: A History of Radicalism” made our likely next president look like Al Qaeda’s puppy dog mascot. Outwardly and inwardly repulsive William Kristol and Karl Rove are big-time FOX commentators and the network just hired Glenn Beck.

People, I am throwing up inside. Are you with me? OK. Let’s continue.

Jed L of Daily Kos conducted a search from Oct. 12-Oct 16 and found FOX News “mentioned ‘ACORN’ or ‘Ayers’ 1,231 times,” compared to MSNBC’s 407 and CNN’s 391. And, according to Rasmussen Reports – run by FOX darling Dick Morris (which is why his poll is the oft-quoted poll on FOX), a survey released August 6 of this year indicated 87% of FOX viewers said they planned to vote for McCain. EIGHTY-SEVEN PERCENT. Now, if they were fair and balanced, don’t you think their viewership would reflect that? (Oh, FYI – only 26% of CNN and 30% of MSNBC viewers planned on pulling the lever for the Republican.)

And, just for recreation, have a look at this picture of their website’s homepage (also posted on Daily Kos by Jed L):

For chrissakes, FOX – own your partisanship. Be one with your partisanship. Be proud that anti-intellectual, Right Wing Nut Jobs have a home among the cable news giants. No one thinks you’re FAIR AND BALANCED – not even FOX News watchers. I know pah-lenty of them and they will fully admit your slant and fully admit to liking you just for that reason.

You may be many things and receive high ratings through deals with some devil, but fair and balanced you are not.

SIDEBAR ISSUE: McCAIN NEWS COVERAGE

Now we’re hearing echoes of Hillary Clinton Campaigns lamentations from McCain’s clusterfuck of a campaign. They’ve been whining over their media coverage for quite some time – even Mark Salter said he thinks the media want Obama to be president.

What the Clinton campaign failed to understand, and what the McCain campaign is now unable to grasp is that when you run a negative campaign, the media reports it. And if your campaign is negative, the media will investigate that, they will investigate your claims and attacks. If your campaign is positive and about yourself, the media will report that and investigate your policy assertions.

McCain wanted to generate negative coverage of Obama with attacks and lies and accusations. What they didn’t understand was that they made their own attacking and accusing THE story. When a politician behaves in such a manner, the media turns its attentions on the aggressive politician because attacking and lying are much juicier story lines. The media is hungry for ratings, not truth.

Had McCain run his campaign of 2000 – which the country was wanting – media coverage of McCain would have been much more positive. But, a campaign run by former Bushies and lobbyists can’t see the forest for the trees or satiate their taste for blood. They themselves are negative entities and black holes with little character. And that, in an of itself, attracted negativity.

Perhaps they will learn this lesson before Sarah Palin gives her own executive ambitions a go in 2012, but something tells me they won’t.

BACK TO MSNBC

Now, everyone’s attacking MSNBC for being too liberal. A meeting of television peeps last Monday produced much criticism of MSNBC, with Linda Bloodworth-Thomason saying Keith Olbermann-type programming “diminishes us.”

Well, get over it. For far too long, this electorate has had a Right-Wing opinioned network and their viewership follows them over the cliff of falsehoods, guilt-by-association, ugly insinuations and outright lying. I’ve been an MSNBC watcher for a while and I’m a fairly informed person. The lying that goes on on FOX – the softballing of their favorite candidates, etc. does not happen at MSNBC. I will absolutely agree that the opinionated nighttime line-up at MSNBC leans left. And MSNBC exec producer Senior VP Phil Griffin said the passionate voices at MSNBC were part of the “rough-and-tumble world of politics.”

Rachel Maddow. Yay.

I agree. If you can’t handle the heat – get out of the frizzeaking kitchen. There are outlets of non-partisan news and analysis available anywhere you want to look. These days, we want opinion. In the era of a tidal-wave of Neo-Con, anti-intellectual, gutter politics, liberals are practically begging for someone to say, This situation is ridiculous and we’re going to tell you why we think so. The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are not enough; we’re looking for people who are seriously concerned and seriously angry and aren’t afraid to say it and aren’t afraid of Republican, White House tactics that did Dan Rather in.

Plus, I’m so happy this influx of political opinion is replacing endless reruns of Lockup and To Catch a Predator. I mean, I felt dirty after watching those programs. Hate them.

Now, I’m no slave to MSNBC. And, just to prove it, I’ll allow you the special privilege of insight into my evening television-viewing habits:

I do watch Hardball and sometimes Race for the White House (which is hardly partisan – the other day Tim Pawlenty and Nicole Wallace were the only one-on-one guests. Plus, David Gregory comes from the same non-partisan school of journalism as Tom Brokaw and Brain Williams). Countdown with Keith Olbermann has too much ranting and hardly ever gets my eye – I’m normally tuned into the reruns of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report which I undoubtedly missed the night before. I always check to see what’s happening on Larry King before I commit to Rachel Maddow, whom I love (and can catch her again, later). And then, at bedtime, I’ve got Anderson Cooper on while trying to read the multitude of books I should have finished weeks ago.

And, lest you think my eyeballs permanently glued to the television, I’m almost always doing something else in conjunction with watching these programs: cooking, reading, cleaning, writing, researching, polishing my toenails, playing with my dog or husband, polishing my collection of pundit bobbleheads (kidding. i have no such collection. i mean it.), or other insanely fascinating activities which I cannot recall at this particular moment in time.

So, those of you getting a little squeamish over MSNBC’s liberal commentary – screw off! Leave me my guilty pleasures of Matthews and Maddow. At least MSNBC has the balls to keep Joe Scarborough and Pat Buchanan on the payroll. Hell, even my old boss – a Republican Strategist – was on there the other day giving his two cents and looking like a goober.

But the nighttime at MSNBC belongs to those of us who want a bigger voice against the religious, Republican idiocy that has released a plague across our country’s legions of uninformed and uncurious, intolerant and close-minded. There are times I want to yell, Right On! No Shit! Finally, someone said it! And MSNBC gives me that opportunity. And I wouldn’t trade it or sacrifice it for all the vanilla, non-partisan, boring, dignified news in all the world. I get my facts all day. At night, I want something different. And MSNBC gives it to me.

21
Oct
08

Simpletons Have Taken Over The Republican Party

Politics have always been selling the most simple ideas about the most complicated issues. Capitalism vs. Socialism. Legalization of abortion vs. Criminalization of abortion. Gay marriage vs. Marriage between a man and a woman. War vs. Peace. Welfare vs. Politics of Personal Responsibility. It seems so easy to decide which side of the coin to set up shop until you dig deeper into the issue – especially social ones.

Many of Americans, however, have no interest in understanding the nuances and complexities of the issues facing this country and its citizens. They exist in the shallow end of the pool, searching for answers that bolster their viewpoints rather than seeking information that may broaden their comprehension. They exist in all voter demographics, but it is the more ugly and intolerant of these simpletons that currently serve as the foundation for the Republican Party. It is on these people that Republicans have been betting elections on for years.

In recent weeks there has been loud murmuring of the “narrowing” of the Republican Party. Colin Powell’s endorsement of Obama reflected this development in Right Wing politics – the sacrifice of the intellectualist in favor of the zealot. Many Republicans once supportive of debate, discussion, consideration now find themselves the minority in their party – a stranger in their own home.

In 2004, the Republicans successfully added bans against homosexual marriage to ballots across the country, bringing out evangelicals in droves and delivering a solid victory to the Right. This tactic, largely attributed to Karl Rove, gave Republicans a taste of the power they could attain if only they would debase the election with a simple and divisive issue. Once the simple-minded were good and scared into believing their very way of life was threatened if they didn’t show up to the polls, the Republicans reaped the reward of scare-tactics and dividing a nation. George W. Bush had promised to be “The Great Uniter” but preferred power at any cost and thus ceded his lofty moral ambitions to the salacious intentions of Rove, who believed in a “Permanent Republican Majority”, the very antithesis of democracy.

It seemed for a while the lunatics had taken over the asylum and run away with our grand country, suffocating our national opitimism with their arrogance, isolationism and thirst for power. Americans watched as their government lied them into an unnecessary war, left thousands to die after a hurricane on our own soil, murdered a defining tenant of liberty: habeas corpus, used semantics to skirt Geneva Conventions regarding prisoners of war, committed the ultimate sovereign American hypocrisy of torture, illegally spied on its own citizens, outed one of its own CIA agents, neglected military efforts in Afghanistan, made our country sink lower and lower in developed-world health care standards, sent jobs overseas, established free trade agreements with countries who have no regard for the environment or the laborer or quality of product, redistributed the vast majority of the wealth in this country to the upper economic echelons and, little by little, brought our economy to the verge of collapse.

And Americans, left hopeless and dejected and crushed by years of detestable executive government are now standing up and saying, “No longer.” They are turning their hopes to a fallible, yet thoughtful man whom they will elect as president in two weeks. This turn of events, you can imagine, is causing tremors in the Republican Party, as they witness the death of their “Permanent Majority” aspirations.

In this moment of political crisis, the frenzied Right Wing fringes of have seized command of the ship, ignoring rational voices futilely trying to warn them off the path which leads to a destination of utter annihilation. A line has been drawn in the sand and many, including Colin Powell, Chuck Hagel, Michael Smerconish, want no part of this incensed and ugly Republicanism. Others  – Christopher Buckley, Peggy Noonan, David Brooks, Kathleen Parker and more – have appointed themselves lighthouses amidst the storm, only to be rebuked by the anger and dejection of the Republican Simpleton.

The thoughtless Simpletons have their captains: Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coutler, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Tom Delay, Newt Gingrich, Laura Ingraham, Michael Savage, Karl Rove. And they’ve elected their hero, no not McCain – he’s almost a victim of  Stockholm Syndrome this maelstroom, giving way to the  tactics of fear: attack, lie, then attack some more. No, their new hero is Sarah Palin.

Palin is the new, perfect mascot of the Neo-Conservative, the epitome of this rash of intolerant, hateful and unthinking Simpleton Republicans. They see everything in black and white: Obama’s association with Bill Ayers, Palin’s “executive” experience, Powell’s endorsement of Obama, drilling = energy independence, taxes, foreign relations, the war on Iraq, the SURGE, anti-Americanism.

These are the simpletons that think our country perfect and in no need of improvement, these are the people who think our country is on a hill – above all others – who coined the term “freedom fries” and have no appreciation for our foreign brethren, their own pride and traditions and culture and opinion. These are the people who think any criticism of the US a blasphemy and equate the number of flags flown to the strength of character. These are the conservatives who believe a lie even more after the truth is told to them.

These are the conservatives who are one-issue voters and would criminalize abortion while supporting legislation that would increase poverty, leading to increased abortions. These are the Michelle Bachmanns who would dare judge another person’s anti-Americanism, whatever that means. These are the Republicans who would care if Obama were or Muslim or not and would yell “terrorist” and “kill  him”. These are the Fox News believers who would banish any other source of information that might challenge their way of thinking. These are the base that made it impossible for McCain to choose a more suitable running mate such as Tom Ridge or Joe Lieberman.

These are simpletons who do not appreciate intellectual curiosity and education and information. They do not understand intricacy and nuance and complexity. They do not know of the depth of arguments and issues – federal taxation and necessary marriage of American capitalism with socialism. They do not want the government teaching their children evolution and sexual education but would have the government legislate the private lives of those that may live differently. These are the Jacks of “Lord of the Flies” and Samuel Parrisses in “The Crucible” and Joe McCarthy’s and witch hunters who would turn fascist if given any length of legitimacy and dominance. They do not seek truth nor justice nor reason, but struggle to create an ugly, one-sided caricature of their view of the United States of America.

These simpletons have the minds of children, which is why they gravitate so steadily toward a woman who speaks with the tone of a fifth-grade teacher, or school principal at best. They suckle on the lies of the Republicans, calling Obama a Marxist, that he would raise everyone’s taxes, they he palls around with terrorists, that he is the equivalent of Paris Hilton or Britney Spears, that he must answer for the words of Jeremiah Wright, that he is unamerican and different than you and me, that he has different values and shady intentions. This is mother’s milk for the simpletons, leading Fox News to shovel it by the ton.

So many legitimate, centrist Republicans tell me not to associate them with these simpletons. And I don’t. I appreciate my more understanding, learned, reasonable Republican friends.

But in an election such as this, a vote for the Republican Party at the presidential level is a vote for the Simpleton. For the ugly scourge that threatens liberty and discourse and progress. For the person who thinks to be an American is to be a white Christian. For the person who has no capacity of self-analysis, empathy for others, consideration for differing views.

The Republican Party is not what it once was. The Grand Old Party. It has narrowed into a shriveled shadow of its former days, a haven for hate and intolerance. And I am thankful and glad not to consider myself one of its members.

UPDATE 10.22.08: The New Republic echoed my sentiments today (though more diplomatically) in Alvaro Vargas Llosa’s “Cracked Up” – here are a few excerpts:

A rebellion is beginning to take place among American conservatives, many of them influential commentators who are denouncing the takeover of the Republican Party by a mixture of anti-intellectual populists and political extremists.

These fundamental deviations from conservatism crystallized in the Bush administration. The result was the biggest growth in government since the presidency of Lyndon Johnson, a loss of international prestige and, in purely political terms, the alienation of millions of people who could have been attracted to the Republican Party had its libertarian roots been preserved in dealing with social issues. Thus, the party that styles itself the champion of individual liberty has come to be seen by many in the United States and around the world as a special-interest group driven by factions and devoid of principle.

That many conservatives have finally decided to speak out is encouraging. That they are being vilified is even more encouraging–it means that they may just have a point. After the elections, conservatives will have to do some serious soul-searching and ask themselves a few simple questions: How was it that they let their movement and their party be hijacked by people who were hellbent on disfiguring the face of American conservatism? How was it that the self-styled party of individual liberty became, in the eyes of many, the party of big government, intolerance and jingoism?

17
Oct
08

I’m An Undecided Voter

Wait. It’s not what you think.

This may cast a shadow of doubt – for my five daily readers – on the politically sensationalist notion that there is a golden pool of undecided voters who have yet to be decisively plucked by either John McCain or Barack Obama. Oh trust me, the golden pool of undecided voters is there. But the field of pluckers is wide open.

Let me explain,

I live in Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas. As of today, Pollster.com has McCain ahead of Obama 55.4 to 39.8 here in my home state. Now, it’s quite clear from my previous blogs that I do not want McCain to win. However, I am not in love with Obama, I do not have a crush on Obama, nor am I engaged to Obama. Furthermore, I steadfastly believe in the necessity to progress our nation beyond a two-party system, which is anathema to democracy.

So, it would seem under this political equation that my well-considered vote is leaning toward Ralph Nader. He’s a third-party candidate. Of course, you wouldn’t know there were third party candidates from the mainstream media. Perhaps they’re bitter about 2000 as well and have made a pact not to discuss any presidential hopefuls other than BO and JM.

Most of us secretly know what will surprise many in the voter booth come November fourth. Lo and behold – there are more than two names on the ballot (Can’t speak for Oklahoma – when god was punishing me by making me live there in 2004, Nader was not included in the election in that state. I was pissed). Ralph Nader – Independent, Bob Barr – Libertarian, Chuck Baldwin – Constitutional, and looney tunes Cynthia McKinney for the Green Party. There are actually SIX presidential candidates! Six!

Of these second and third tier candidates, I would choose Nader. As a tireless founder of and campaigner for consumers’ rights, Nader has spent a life voraciously doing the right thing. While there is no saint of seat belts, my vote would at least heartily congratulate Nader for his selfless endeavors while at the same time giving a shot in the arm to a third-party system and avoiding any benefit to McCain. Win, win, win, no?

No.

Texas will ultimately send its electoral college designates to the malfunctioned Republican Party. Though I had hoped Hispanic support for Obama could somehow miraculously turn Texas a whiter shade of pale blue, it’s not lookin’ good. It’s lookin’ bad. If it were a closer race, I would automatically vote Obama to help tip the scales. Well, it’s not a close race, so I should definitely vote Nader. But, I’m not sure I want to. I mean, I want to. But I also want to vote for Obama.

You’ve heard it a thousand plus a thousand times: this is a historic election. The first African-American president! He has good character. He has reasoned judgment; he is calm. He is not showing us any of the daddy issues that led Clinton and Bush to professional baffoonery. Sure, growing up a black man in a white family has left him in search of a few things, but a black wife and black children have largely served a salve for that wound. Basically, Barack deserves my vote as well.

BUT, I have a degree in government. I do not believe political science is an oxymoron. I highly prioritize decisions and opinions that will strengthen democracy and am firmly of the idea that a multi-party system would do so.

My heart wants to participate in the history, my head wants to add a brick to our democratic institution. I am undecided.

And I believe that all the rest of the undecideds swimming in this glorious pond of uncertainty are of the same persuasion as I in that they are not simply choosing between Obama and McCain. They are choosing between:

  • Obama and Nader
  • Obama and not voting
  • Nader and not voting
  • McCain and Barr
  • McCain and not voting
  • Nader and Barr
  • Barr and not voting

**I know I left out Baldwin and McKinney. I mean, they got to be joking. For reals.

And the only people really grappling over Obama or McCain are the Hillary PUMA freaks who are deciding between doing the right thing (Obama) and revenge voting (McCain) – either way, their numbers have dwindled and they are no longer a factor in this election.

Obama and McCain are completely different on policy, completely different in demeanor, age, race, party, background, wealth and they have fairly different records. There is no one choosing between them. Not even Sam-The-Joe-Uninformed-Plumber/Fibber. The biggest challenge Obama and McCain have now – this late into the race – is convincing their supporters to actually suffer the inconvenience of voting.

What an unAmerican thing to say!! That someone would somehow ignore the sacrifice of lives necessary for our right to vote!?

Yes.

Say hello to the majority of the eligible electorate. I call it the “get-off-the-couch” vote. And I hear there are some wicked awesome video games literally tethering their “eligible voter” players to the console or keyboard or whatever the hell the jail-pale birds use these days. How insightful of the Obama campaign to purchase ad space on 18 online computer games.

The Obama team understands they’re no longer running against John McCain, they’re running against that un-cast vote belonging to the eligible-yet busy, distracted and unconcerned. McCain is shouting a lot of hoopla about fighting and being a fighter and having to fight, so I think he gets it just a little as well.

I do hope mainstream media decides to kill off this fictitious character Independent-Undecided Voter. We’re not sitting on the edge of our seats anymore. We’re either unusually angry or cautiously excited. And for campaigns and news organizations to pretend the race is about Obama and McCain and not the channel-surfers and workaholics and unmotivateds, is increasing my perturbation and decreasing my MSM intake. Though, as a political scientist, I love all the recent rise of awesome op-eds declaring what a long-shot McCain is. If only I could figure out who to vote for…

16
Oct
08

Reaction to Last Presidential Debate of 2008

Phew, I am tired this morning – had to stay up late and watch my Tivo’d Project Runway Finale. My girl Leanne won, so I went to bed pretty stoked. And I have a new rule for presidential debates: they must always be on Tuesday night, because there’s never any good television programs on Tuesday night and it gives SNL enough time to design an appropriately mocking sketch. Wednesday and Thursday nights should always be off limits. Always!

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

Not a game-changer. Sure it was McAngry’s best performance of the last three debates – except when Obama was speaking. When McCain wasn’t trivializing women’s health or blaming the negative tone of his campaign on Obama’s refusal of multiple town hall meetings, his face was giving us a show!

His stiffness and glaring made him look like he was sitting in a strip club with his mother next to him. Those split-screen shots were priceless – I watched Gramps McCrazy way more than Obama, thinking, “Somebody get that guy his blood pressure meds!” It had such a whore-in-church feel to it.

McCain In Hot Pursuit!

McCain In Hot Pursuit!

Obama pretty much coasted during the debate. I thought at one time he was going to turn to McCain and say, “Be cool, baby, be cool.” I would have (with a few four-letter words). But, Obama’s rebuttals were spot on – if not delivered in an extremely forceful way. When it came to partial-birth abortion, health care, free trade, Bill Ayers, taxation policy, Obama bitch-slapped McCain’s false accusations in a very nuanced, assertive and civil manner. Without, unlike me, getting distracted by McCain’s heavy breathing. Hello! McNutty, there’s a microphone, like, six inches from your mouth!

Obama and McCain’s direct interaction was fantastic, it was what we debate watchers were waiting for while making side bets that McCain was going to come across the table and try to strangle Obama and start poking him really hard in the chest. Bob Schieffer did a great job of asking new and important questions and then letting the dudes battle it out. McCain did a good job of not declaring he wouldn’t put Bob Schieffer in his cabinet.

And how annoying is this Joe-the-plumber thing? For Christ’s sake, if you’ve watched any interviews with the guy, there was no way he was going to vote for Obama. He’s an uninformed Right winger who compared our going into Iraq like someone coming to Jesus and being saved. Ick. Hopefully his 15 seconds of fame won’t last more than 8 because any assertion that he is or was actually undecided has my bullshit siren blaring. Stop saying the poser won!

Overall, the debate was a failure for McCain. He spoke directly to his base the entire time, most likely turning off any swing voters – especially former Hillary PUMAS by calling Obama pro-abortion (good for Obama for not returning the retort by calling McCain anti-choice). McCain’s demeanor was unpresidential even if he managed to drive the discussion. His arguments lacked coherence and were all over the place, going in three seconds from saying Obama’s “associated with all these people” to “I’m not going to raise your taxes.” He brought up Herbet Hoover again which is such a ridiculous line of attack because it was so long ago and Hoover was a Republican.

His slinging of mud and constant taking of notes (with a sharpie…are we in kindergarten?) were an audio and visual turn off. Minimally, McCain did not whoop Obama’s “you know what.” He claimed he repudiated any out-of-bounds comments about Obama – which is not true seeing has how McCain has said nothing regarding Palin’s claims that Obama “palls around with terrorists.” Furthermore, he spent an exorbitant amount of time complaining about a lack of apology for statements by John Lewis, bringing up Bill Ayers and ACORN and trying unsuccessfully to bring Obama down to his level. McCain did nothing to turn the tide looming over this 2004 Bush campaign of his. Sorry, the performance – while an improvement – was worth political bupkis.

And, just for the record – I want to address a couple misstatements by the candidates:

When Obama claimed 100 percent of McCain’s ads have been negative, he meant 100 percent of the ads McCain is currently running are negative. That was true yesterday and over the last few weeks. I think he put out a positive one today.

When McCain claimed Obama didn’t vote for Justice Breyer, he meant Justice Alito.

So don’t harp on them for these mistakes. Most of us know what they meant to say. They’re tired. The slips are understandable. blah, blah, blah, you get the picture.

15
Oct
08

Awaiting the Last Presidential Debate of 2008

After 21 Republican Primary debates, 26 Democratic Primary debates, 2 presidential debates and 1 VP debate, we are now at the end presidential debate cycle of 2008. My thoughts in sheer, edge-of-my-seat anticipation for the drama to unfold tonight?

Why, oh why did baby jesus make the last presidential debate be on the same night as the Project Runway Finale?! I mean, I know I can Tivo it, but still, that’s not the point.

Anyway (moving on, baby jesus), last night, I watched the Frontline presentation “The Choice 2008” – “A compelling look at Obama and McCain and their path to their party’s nominations.” It was. Compelling, I mean. The interviews – John Weaver, David Axelrod, Peter Rouse, Mark Salter and more – I already know quite a bit about these candidate’s bios, but I was kinda riveted. You can see the PBS excellent website about the program and view it here.

From Frontline

I found myself not just mourning the John McCain that lost the 2000 primary, I found myself mourning the John McCain that won the 2008 primary. The last few months, I have been too angry at McCain to properly grieve over the loss of the stand-up guy I once hoped would beat Giuliani and Romney. After a bit of education on McCain’s past, I realize that there were hints even 30 years ago that McCain’s sense of decency was a little shoddy. The last vestige of honor McCain is holding on to is named “The Jeremiah Wright Issue” and it seems that he has decided to sit on it – at least for now. This doesn’t make him a martyr, mind you – he’d still lose. The Dow is currently down over 700 points and you could put Rev. Wright sermons on a continual loop on every radio and television station in the land, but that won’t distract voters from their diminishing investments and retirement and purchase power. Sorry, charlie, this is a Democrat year and will come packaged in a pretty little bow late Nov. 4.

One of the more surprising revelations on Frontline was Tom Daschle talking about Obama’s choice in 2006 to run for president. Now, I know that ever since 2004, Obama has been the golden child of the Democratic Party. It was amusing to watch the video of his speech at the DNC in 2004 with Hillary and curly-haired Chelsea clapping heartily and rising to their feet during one of Obama’s more stirring lines. Many of the Dems saw Obama that night and felt a re-energizing that would later turn their

From Frontline

From Frontline

attentions away from a Hillary 2008 victory. Obama was caught up in the desire for the Democrats to rise above the ashes of Gore and Kerry and 6 years of Repubs controlling both the Presidency and the Congress.

Obama knew he wanted to run for president some day, but Daschle explained that Obama would not always have the opportunity before him. The longer he was a senator, the more of a record he would have to attack and the more votes he would have to explain. The end of 2006 shaped up to be the “now or never” for Obama.

It doesn’t make me particularly warm inside to think about Obama’s avoidance of a prolonged senate career – whether it would have had an effect on his presidential ambitions or not. His lack of experience in comparison to Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Bill Richardson and, yes, Hillary Clinton (whom I would never vote for) is substantial.

I vote largely on character, however, I am quite content that he is our most likely next president. I am especially looking forward to tonight’s debate with comfort in Obama’s most recent performances and the odds against McCain bringing a can of whoopass to the table. But the admission by Daschle that the lack of experience was a net positive in Obama’s White House quest reiterates how ridiculously jacked up our electoral system is and what a detriment this two-party establishment is serving our democracy. Sigh.

So, tonight the last of our presidential debates. The last of the real determining factors regarding the destination of the spoils. Since my guy’s ahead, I’m going to relish every minute of it and try to squeeze out a little pity for the old guy destined to lose after running one of the most reprehensible campaigns in history and picking one of the least qualified running mates. Pity will be hard for me. I’m not a tremendously sympathetic person by nature and have felt like burning McPalin in effigy a few times over these weeks.

What’s doubly awesome for me is not only is Obama pulling away in polls, my alma mater is #1 in college football (which is almost better than McCain losing the election). If only the Project Runway finale was tomorrow, we’d really be in business!

Knock ’em dead, Obama! Give ’em hell! And, remember, you’ve come a hell of a long way since those primary debates when you were practically sucking on a dry rock. So, in the words of Michelle that night long ago in 2004, “Don’t screw it up!”

Footnote: Sarah Palin must stop wearing that polar bear broach. Doesn’t she realize her policies would kill off every last one of them? And not in a fun way like shooting them.

14
Oct
08

Why “Drill, Baby, Drill” Chanters are Idiots

I’m sure most of you who watched the Republican National Convention saw the goobers in hardhats and safety vests which said, “Drill, baby, drill!” Their captain, Rush Limbaugh said June 18,

They’re (Democrats) going to oppose the economic growth of the country. They’re going to oppose your prosperity. They’re going to oppose all of that by standing in the way of this.

They’ve (Democrats) got their talking points and they’re lying through their teeth about it.

Bill Nelson of Florida, one of, ahem, my senators, is out there saying that, (paraphrasing) “Hey, the federal government’s already leased a whole bunch of land to the big oil companies; they’re not even using it.”  It’s such a smoke screen, the number of years left on these leases is very few, and the whole thing is a lie anyway.  I have the figures to prove it.

Entrepreneurs of all stripes, all sizes, create business of all sizes. They’re a wide range. And who is it that always sets out to punish them and destroy them?  Liberals, the American left! Absolutely right, Brian. I could read your lips in there.  Good going.  What does Obama want?  Barack Obama wants you to suffer.  Barack Obama wants higher prices on fuel. right now.  Barack Obama wants a windfall profits tax. right now.  Barack Obama wants to raise your income taxes, by the way, right now.  He wants to raise capital gains taxes, right now.  He wants to raise Social Security taxes, right now.  Obama wants you to suffer.  The Democrat Party wants you in pain.  They want you angry, and they are willing to block any remedy to this problem in order to keep you suffering and in pain and angry.  Obama wants prices up, he wants your income down, and he wants taxes up, ladies and gentlemen.

I know, he’s a crackpot. I recommend reading the whole transcript because it’s incredibly laughable. Let me continue. Here’s Sarah Palin during the VP Debate,

The chant is “drill, baby, drill.” And that’s what we hear all across this country in our rallies because people are so hungry for those domestic sources of energy to be tapped into.

Barack Obama and Senator Biden, you’ve said no to everything in trying to find a domestic solution to the energy crisis that we’re in.

If that’s not enough to make you want to sprinkle cyanide on your cheerios, country singer Aaron Tippin has a new hit, “Drill here, drill now,” you can listen to here. I’m posting the second verse:

Every time a foreign tanker pulls up to our shore
They got us over a barrel while they bleed us a little more
And think how much it costs just to bring it all that way
And how many American jobs that’d make if we were drillin’ in the USA
Oh and God forbid if our oily friends should decide to cut us off
We’d be standin’ around with our britches down now listen to me ya’ll

Perhaps Aaron’s legendary tight pants have seized up blood flow to his brain.

What I’m trying to say is that all these calls for offshore drilling and energy independence have made it clear there’s a drought of information on the Right. I’ve decided to rectify the situation by gathering what we informed people call FACTS to help explain the error in this argument – which many Democrats are perpetuating as well. It’s almost criminal.

So, I beg of you – educate yourself. Even if you don’t want to read my lengthy presentation of reality and possibility, conduct your own research of the effects of increased offshore drilling, the possibility it will lower gas prices, and the addition to jobs and U.S. prominence alternative energy technology will provide.

Here’s my crack at it. It’s long, but it’s worth it. Jesuschrist, it’s worth it.

The clamors for energy independence only surfaced following the rise in gasoline/petrol prices. Because gas prices are largely determined by the decision made by OPEC regarding production levels, Americans are under the incorrect impression that drilling for more hydrocarbon off our shores will provide energy independence and lower gas prices.

OFFSHORE DRILLING ≠ ENERGY INDEPENDENCE ≠ LOW GASOLINE/PETROL PRICES

The American people are uninformed, which is nothing new, and their politicians are doing nothing to correct this problem because they are whores for campaign contributions, which lead them to feed the corporatocracy that is pimping America by trading money for favorable legislation. The oil & gas lobby is one of the biggest john of them all. According to the Federal Election Commission Sept. 2, 2008, and reported by the Center for Responsive Politics, campaign contributions for the 2008 election cycle totalled $22,543,340. Republicans were the most successful streetwalkers, receiving 75 percent of these contributions, while Democrats only garnered 25. Apparently, it’s hard out here for a pimp Democrat.

Because Americans don’t understand the realities of domestic hydrocarbon production, 67 percent answered in the affirmative to the RasmussenReports poll question, “In order to reduce the price of gas, should drilling be allowed in offshore oil wells off the coasts of California, Florida, and other states?” According to the survey, the results of which were released June 17, 64 percent of voters “believe it is at least somewhat likely that gas prices will go down if offshore oil drilling is allowed.” Now, I’m sure you know embittered former pollster for the Clintons, Dick Morris runs RasmussenReports and is now a sweetheart of the Right – which is why they quoted this survey endlessly.

The false assumption is that offshore drilling will lead to energy independence which will lead to lower gasoline prices.

Wrong.

U.S. WOULDN’T OWN OFFSHORE OIL AND GAS ONCE IT IS DRILLED

As Cenk Uygur correctly pointed out of the Huffpo, the United States government does not own all the hydrocarbon that is produced within its borders. The company that is awarded the contract to drill owns the oil or gas and may decide to sell their unrefined product to whomever they like and will likely do so to whoever is the highest bidder, be they India, China, etc. Simply because the U.S. government decides to open leases off Florida, California and ANWR does not automatically assume the U.S. markets will be the recipient of those energy resources.

Secondly, the U.S. refineries are operating near capacity. According to the latest numbers provided by U.S. Department of Energy for July 2008, U.S. refining operable capacity was 17,610,000 barrels per day. Of that capacity, U.S. refineries produced 17,464,000 barrels per day. The last major refinery built in the U.S. began operations in 1976. This is partially due to strict standards set by the EPA and the high cost of such an endeavor, but also NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard), an acronym describing a residential opposition to nearby industrial building. People want to use the oil and gas, they just don’t want to be near the production of their precious energy. With my family from in and around Lake Charles, I can see why.

The point is that politicians – Dems and Repubs alike – encourage the drill, baby, drillers; they just forget to mention that even if we increase offshore drilling, we do not have the refining capacity to ensure those energy reserves serve the American market. Sure, we can loosen environmental standards and attempt to rush the establishment of some refining infrastructure before oil companies bring that offshore hydrocarbon online. But visit Lake Charles for a weekend and decide if you want those big daddies in your backyard or if you would rather just drive less, switch to fluorescent light bulbs and inflate your tires.

U.S. ENERGY COMPANIES WILL CONTINUE TO KEEP PRICES AS HIGH AS THEY CAN

Americans are also assuming that oil and gas companies, in all their benevolence, would flood the American market with hydrocarbon to allow gasoline prices to decrease. Not gonna happen. FOR EXAMPLE, PLS’ ProspectCentre reported Oct. 1, 2008 that Chesapeake Energy, the largest producer of natural gas in the U.S., will “reduce it drilling capex (17%) through year-end 2010 by ~$3.2 billion in response to recent price collapse that has driven gas prices down (~50% since July 1)…Of the capex reduction through 2010, $1.9 billion is associated with reduced drilling activity.” WHAT??? you ask. Gas prices are over $1 more than when Hurricane Katrina hit. My car cost $12.50 to fill up eight years ago and now requires $40. And Chesapeake Energy is reducing drilling because energy prices are falling. Yes, Chesapeake produces natural gas, which is different than gasoline – but prices of energy originating from hydrocarbon sources are closely related.

Translation: Chesapeake Energy is decreasing their drilling of natural gas in order to reduce supply, despite typical ravenous demand of Americans for energy, which will help keep prices high. Politicians have given Americans the idea that American oil and gas (natural gas) companies are operating at capacity and we need to open more leases to bring more energy online in American markets. False. Major companies in the United States are right now decreasing domestic energy production because prices have fallen, causing these companies what they see as budgetary constraints.

The interesting tidbit about Chesapeake’s maneuver is that they’ve done it before. BNET Sept. 27, 2006: “Effective October 1, 2006, the company plans to temporarily shut-in approximately 100 million cubic feet (mmcf) per day of net natural gas production (approximately 125-150 mmcf per day gross) in various areas of operations in the southwestern U.S. until natural gas prices recover from recently depressed levels.” What has happened since the end of 2006? Prices have risen! How surprising! Of course, I’m not suggesting Chesapeake’s activities alone have caused gasoline prices to increase, but I’m giving you an idea of how the oil and gas industry responds to any decrease in gasoline prices.

You see – and this is very important – even if oil and gas were produced as much as possible within American borders and even if refineries were built to handle the capacity of oil and gas sucked out of the ground, oil companies would keep production low. Why? Why? you ask. I will tell you.

The oil companies have discovered that Americans have a high pain tolerance when it comes to energy prices. Americans will let gasoline reach $4.00 a gallon before really pulling back. They will never allow gasoline prices – profits – to fall back to the yesteryear of cheap gas and easy energy. No matter how available or plentiful that energy is domestically, the companies will manipulate the market to keep prices high. Oh, they’ll give us a load of “reduced supply” mishegoss, but make no mistake – they only have eyes for profits. Right now, according to PLS, XTO, EOG and Petrohawk “may watch Chesapeake’s stock to determine if they should follow the same plan.”

The main point is that even if all our hydrocarbon energy supply originates within U.S. borders, prices will remain in the nose-bleeds. Them’s the brakes. Yes, we are currently experiencing a reduction in prices, but it won’t last.

DON’T FORGET ABOUT REFINING

Now let’s assume that we do open all our oil and natural gas reserves to quell demands for more resources. We throw open every lease available off various coasts and in protected wildlife preserves and give them to the exploration and production companies like letting a fat kid loose in a candy store. We would have to assume that demand would remain the same or decrease in order to bring gasoline prices down.

Just one thing. Remember that last refinery that was built in 1976? Yeah, American consumption of energy has increased 25 percent since it was built. If prices are cheap, our consumption will not decrease unless there is a national mandate Americans understand is necessary to preserve our environment and the health of our children. With demand high, prices will remain so as well.

Because American oil and gas demand will always rise above domestic supply – especially with cheap prices – we will never be energy independent as long as our main source of energy is hydrocarbon. Our demand will always outpace domestic supply. Can’t say it enough.

If we do throw open all the leases possible and build refineries to service the American market as much as possible, we will end up polluting the shit out this country. Perhaps this wouldn’t be such a big deal if the only pollution we had to deal with was only that which we create ourselves. It’s not. Pollution from China has already started having worldwide effects – especially in California, where emissions regulations for local industries will have to be sharply curbed to deal with the fallout from China’s production boom.

“GREEN REFINERIES”? SURELY, YOU JEST.

No, I don’t, Willis. There have been recent movements toward establishing “green refineries” – if there is such a thing. Arizona Clean Fuels Yuma fought for seven years and finally received a permit to build a 150,000 barrels-per-day refinery that it says will operate within strict environmental regulations. Hyperion Resources, based in Dallas, is planning an environmentally sound refinery that will turn Canadian crude into low-sulfur gasoline and diesel at a rate of 400,000 barrels per day. According to a Reuters article describing the project, it often takes five years before companies receive the required permits for construction, which can often lead to investors jumping ship.

And if that wasn’t enough to whet your appetite for green gas, Hunton Energy of Houston has proposed the first green refinery on the Texas coast, shooting for a 340,000 barrels-per-day facility to convert Canadian bitumen crude into clean-burning jet fuel and diesel. According to the Houston Chronicle, “Its defining feature is the integration of a gasification facility, which would capture most of the plant’s carbon emissions before they reach the atmosphere.” It will be interesting to see whether this refinery – in ten years, if the project succeeds – will live up to its “green” claims.

There is, however, no definition for “green” and its subjectiveness has allowed it to be used as a major selling tool by energy companies who tend to be colorblind when it comes to the environment. In this case, “green” refers to reduced emissions by the refineries. It does not mean “zero emissions” as such as thing is currently impossible.

Obviously, the greenest refinery will likely do more detriment than wind and solar combined. Although one has to take into account the energy needed to produce a wind turbine, transport it and set up the massive thing (I see them in parts on 18-wheelers all over the highways here in north Texas). How long would a windmill have to generate energy before justifying its very existence? Just a question.

CLEAN COAL, JUMBO SHRIMP, PRETTY UGLY

Still, the term “green refinery” calls to mind another potential oxymoron: “clean coal.” Politicians say it all the time and the term even enjoyed a bit of attention during the recent Vice Presidential Debates. Jeff Biggers of The Washington Post has taken notice as well. He writes in a scathing opinion piece of the coal industry and its treatment by the Bush administration, “Clean coal: Never was there an oxymoron more insidious, or more dangerous to our public health. Invoked as often by the Democratic presidential candidates as by the Republicans and by liberals and conservatives alike, this slogan has blindsided any meaningful progress toward a sustainable energy policy.”

“Clean coal” is referring to reduced emissions from coal-firing plants and efforts are underway around the world to find the means to reduce the environmentally detrimental affects of this energy source. The release of carbon dioxide into the air is one of the biggest offenses of coal use and scientists are trying to discover new means to deal with this greenhouse gas, included rerouting it under ground. Capturing the CO2 is a top priority in “clean coal” technology. According to National Geographic News, however, technologist Gordon Couch, with the International Energy Agency’s Clean Coal Centre in London, says zero-emissions coal power is a realistic goal – though years away.

“NUKULAR” ENERGY

John McCain likes to repeat that nuclear energy is just fine because he served on a Navy ship powered by nuclear energy and all Senator Obama needs to do is talk to one of our sailors serving a nuclear-powered vessel (yeah, because they’re experts) to learn the benefits of this energy. But nuclear plants are some of the most dangerous sources of energy – the fact that Chernobyl and Three Mile Island are household terms is a large indicator of public concern regarding this energy option.

Nuclear waste is an even larger concern. And since no real long-term solution has been found regarding the storage of nuclear waste, it is irresponsible for politicians to tout this as an option for energy independence. Nuclear waste is also tremendously costly to store – the Department of Energy has said the controversial proposed storage facility at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain would cost $96.2 billion to build and operate. France is repeatedly used as a positive example of the use of nuclear energy. However, France reprocesses its nuclear waste – which is banned in the United States due to proliferation risks – and still has leftovers, which it stocks in hopes that, perhaps in 100 years scientists will have found away to eliminate the toxicity of the waste. Bonne chance.

SUSTAINABLE ENERGY…HEAD OUT OF THE ASS

Geothermal Plant in California

Even with the environmental benefits of nuclear energy, the question still looming is the cost-benefit ratio of investing such an enormous amount of funds into a technology that is detrimental in the long-term, rather than positive alternatives: biomass, geothermal, wind, solar, tidal, hydrogen.

Powerful lobbyists, greedy politicians and corporate executives have convinced the more uninformed Americans, including Palin – who chanted, “Drill, baby drill. Mine, baby, mine,” on the stump – that we must turn to domestic oil, gas and coal to increase energy independence, which will bring down gas prices.

I don’t just disagree with them, I have shown that they are wrong. They are incorrect. And almost every source I have provided in this blog is available on the internet.

So, why does the truth not out? Why do Democrats participate in this charade as well? Bucks, dollars, contributions. The building of the United Corporatocracy of America. The oil and gas industry has been the 12th largest campaign contributor to John McCain’s quest for the presidency, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Had we focused our surplus budget and American acumen for technological development on alternative energy sources back in the 1990’s instead of cheap housing developments, we might already be energy independent. Perhaps Detroit wouldn’t be in the economic doldrums. Perhaps we might not be transferring all of our wealth to “countries who do not have our best interests at heart.” But, then ExxonMobil and ConocoPhilips and many other oil & gas companies wouldn’t be receiving record profits this year. Without their political involvement, Halliburton probably wouldn’t have received a number of sweet, no-bid contracts in Iraq from the Bush administration.

Instead, we’re left with “shoulda, woulda, couldas” dangling in front of our rose-colored glasses to the past.

To make matters almost unpalatable, the Right continues to dupe many of its followers – legendary anti-intellectuals, consistent swallowers of Fox News Propaganda who disdain facts, truth, research, reality and education – into believing offshore drilling will produce energy independence and lower gas prices. It won’t. It will only make the same white men richer year after year and worsen our environmental contributions.

RENEWABLE ENERGY IS BEST CHANCE FOR U.S. TO RETAIN GLOBAL PROMINENCE

Renewable alternative energy is our chance to regain and retain our primary position on the world stage. Global citizens are hungry and demanding alternative power and the U.S. has every opportunity to develop it, deliver it, and benefit from it. Like Obama said, renewable resources can give the U.S. the same economic positioning as the computer. Renewable energy technologies could be a major cultivator of domestic jobs and prop the U.S. up again as a major supplier to global market demands.

U.S. domination is subsiding, our economy is not growing as fast as other countries and we are losing our hegemonic status. Instead of tackling this development head on through education and technology, the idiotic dipshits of the Right are attacking our science classes, trying to shrink budgets for math education and calling for the same failed energy policies that will cripple our best chance to retain American greatness.

Republicans are selling our future to win elections now and their mindless followers are not only heading toward that cliff, they want to drag us over the edge with them. It is shameful and embarrassing and hopefully only a footnote in our country’s history. “Drill, baby, drill” is not the answer. It is “Dead Man Walking” for the U.S. economy and perhaps if these people knew exactly what they were proposing, they wouldn’t be trying to doom our country’s attempts to lead the world into the next technological era.

Let me be clear. I am not opposed to increased offshore drilling or increasing refining capacity. I am opposed to presenting it as a method for attaining energy independence and lowering gasoline prices. Such an assertion is untrue and only increase the falsehoods with which many voters make their decisions at the polls. It is harmful to democracy and it is harmful to the economic future and sustainability of this country. We must refocus our priorities to renewable and sustainable energy sources.

UPDATE 10.15.08. FYI, beeyotches, Time (as I spotted on Think Progress) is reporting that despite Sarah Palin’s calls for energy independence, she herself has supported efforts to send domestic hydrocarbon to more-profitable foreign markets.

According to Time, “Palin personally intervened in April, 2007, but her concerns were strictly local. She asked DOE to condition its approval on guarantees that gas needed in Alaska not be diverted to the better-paying foreign venues — a position she held until this past January, when the producers reached separate agreement with the state to meet its needs.

At no time did Palin or her government cite the desire to preserve Alaskan gas for the lower 48 states. The Sempra terminal began operations just four months after Palin announced unconditional support for the Marathon and ConocoPhillips request and a month before DOE approved their plans to export gas to Asia.”

Will the hypocrisy never end???

07
Oct
08

Go Negative, McCain! And Then Go Home!

With only 28 days left in the election, I’m hearing a lot of people saying they can’t wait until this is all over. Granted, these people are all anti-Obama. But, all politics all the time can be hard on people who are not political junkies. Unlike me.

I’m reveling in this constant political news stream. Even all the mud-slinging can’t rain on my parade. I suppose this is because the person I do not want to win will have to pull a rainbow with a pot of gold out of his ass to take home first place. After constant analysis of the men before us, I have to admit that I’m more ANTI-MCCAIN than PRO-OBAMA and really wish the left wouldn’t romanticize Obama because he’s going to have such a cesspool of crap leftover from Bush to be an extremely transcendent president – at least in his first term. Obama does have less experience than other viable Democratic candidates, his FISA vote pissed me off, he’s against gay marriage, he supports faith-based initiatives and has other “issues” which have garnered my disappointment. But as we say every four years about our respective candidates, “He’s a helluva lot better than the other guy.”

Also, this is the first time it looks like I’ll be on the winning side of a presidential election. I’ll admit it – I voted Dole in ’96, would have voted Bush in 2000 (was out of the country and didn’t get my shit together for an absentee ballot), and voted Kerry in ’04. After growing up in Texas, I was originally a Republican, but naturally moved to the left as I grew more informed – first as a social liberal/fiscal conservative, then even more to the left as I realized the lack of financial regulation results in the United Corporatocracy of America.

I’m not a straight-ticket voter by any means and support the multi-party system more than the Democratic Party, which is why I still may vote Nader in the general election as Texas is almost guaranteed to fall into McCain’s pocket despite the switch of Hispanic voters to the Democratic side. If Texas were a toss-up, I would by all means vote for Obama. Either way, I support a McCain loss above all.

Which is why I love his negative attacks. And Palin’s for that matter.

If they want to load their stump speeches with tales of domestic unrest during the turbulent 60’s – ahem, FORDEE years ago – while the U.S. is embroiled in two wars and the major financial crisis of our times, that is peachy with me. It only ensures a greater loss for them come November. There are legitimate economic policy disputes between McCain and Obama. McCain has every opportunity to present to voters a forward-looking, encouraging picture of where he wants to take the country.

Instead, he calls Obama a liar and dishonestly claims Obama wants to avoid answering questions about his record.

It’s not working. And it won’t work.

The ridiculous charade of McCain’s campaign has found their credibility on a downward slope that has paid little attention to the poll numbers. Instead of a plausible campaign on policies, McCain has given us infamous cannon fodder of stunts: the ads linking Obama to Paris and Britney, naming Palin his running mate, one dishonest ad after another – including an ad that claimed Obama wanted to teach comprehensive sex education to kindergartners, repeating the lie that the surge was responsible for the decrease in violence in Iraq, once again trying to win an election on his POW experience, the fake suspension of his campaign and attempt to take credit for a bailout legislation that failed to materialize according to McCain’s timetable, and – most recently – linking Obama to William Ayers’ activities decades ago. His campaign isn’t legitimate, it’s a joke.

The problem for McCain? The internet has provided voters quick and easy access to fact-based information, allowing people to call bullshit much earlier on lies for the sake of political expediency. Stunts are far more transparent than they were just four years ago. Would the Swiftboaters have succeeded under the current umbrella of the proliferation of information? I don’t want to give American voters too much credit, but I don’t think so.

McCain never gave his policies a chance to shine. He never gave his stance on the issues an opportunity to appeal to voters. He went Hillary on Obama way too early and the stubborn refusal of his campaign to see the error in this tactic is their death knell. Regardless of my disagreement with their policy proposals, they don’t deserve to win it. They tried generalities about his experience and his “maverick” record, but they forgot the specifics about what they are promising the American people. Basic chants about “cleaning up Washington” and “rooting out ineffeciencies” (though Palin forgot the “in” in “inefficiency” a bit too many times in interviews) and “Obama’s the most liberal Senator” don’t work. People want to know what you are GOING TO DO. Future tense, McFly.

From a politically scientific level, it’s been suicide again and again. From a leftie level, it’s been glorious.

Every time another speech by Palin or McCain is carried live on television and they are talking Ayers and calling Obama a liar, I giggle – then press the mute button. Each day they waste with these failed distractions is just another nail in the coffin of their campaign.

So, go negative, McCain! Go negative all the way! Because that road leads to second place. And when you’re looking for bozos to blame, don’t just hurl your spittle towards all the former Bushies you hired, remember that you sold your soul and with it any chance you had to win. I’m looking forward to see you do well, but not good enough, in tonight’s debate. We’ll finally get to see that Town Hall you’ve been clamoring for. Enjoy it. Maybe Bush will meet you afterward by your jet with a cake.

27
Sep
08

The Morning After: Debate I of the 2008 Pres. Election

Well, it certainly wasn’t a lovefest. I stayed strong and refused to play the debate drinking game, though temptations were strong, to put it mildly. I even took notes, though for some reason, my handwriting is almost illegible when I’ve written while not actually looking at the piece of paper.

Here’s my reaction.

The real loser of the debate was democracy. Debate and discussion are inherent to a healthy democracy and the Commission on Presidential Debates perpetrated a grave error by disallowing the presence of Ralph Nader and Bob Barr. The inclusion of those two, yes – serious, but fringe – candidates would have helped separate McCain and Obama from their talking points. More viewers probably would have tuned in knowing it wouldn’t just a grudge match between the two main candidates. It certainly, certainly would have been more interesting. My husband said there’s no way McCain could have taken Perot – but remember how condescending he was to Ron Paul. We would have seen McCain’s golden smugness on display like peacock ready to hit it.

Beyond the democracy thing, I thought both Obama and McCain both did well. I know, that’s such a vanilla thing to say. Obviously, if you prefer one over the other, you most likely think your guy took home the trophy. It is a little telling that HuffPo’s headlines all shout about an Obama victory and Townhall’s headlines claim nothing of the sort for their man. I’m just saying… McCain will probably have to buy a cheap plastic trophy from the trophy store while Obama is taking a three-tiered monstrosity back to campaign headquarters.

Why, you ask, you silly?

Not because Obama blew McCain out of the water, that’s for sure. After McCain’s non-suspending campaign suspension and the withering of a bailout deal after his arrival in D.C., McCain needed to hit a homerun last night. Anything less was a victory for Obama because, as Lawrence O’Donnell said last night, if there is a leader in the polls and no clear victory in the debate – the poll leader wins the debate. And there was no knocker-outer, clear victor.

Obama presented a clear comprehension of the topics discussed – despite McCain’s pitiful, “He doesn’t understand” mantra. If the viewer demographic is the informed voter – and based on a personal poll of people I know, it is – it was quite easy to see through McCain’s little tactic.

While everyone thought Obama was slow in the beginning and picked it up toward the end, I disagree. Based not on presentation of facts, but simply speaking manner, Obama was much more dominant in the beginning while McCain came in in the second half to own the discussion. While some said McCain appeared testy at the end, he was more aggressive and stronger. Obama was able to get in some good interruptions in the beginning and, at the end, when he tried to cut in, it was painful. There were so many ums, and johns, and that’s not trues. If he has spoken louder and shut McCain down, that would have looked brilliant. But he’s a measured and calm person and that’s just not party of his schtick.

In fact, there were so many easy openings that Obama just let float by while those of us at home were shouting at the screen. When McCain said, “That’s just a fact,” how easy would it have been for Obama to comment on the rampant “untruthiness” of McCain’s campaign. Would have been fish in a barrel, but I know…It’s not Obama’s style.

McCain’s refusal to look at Obama was pitiful. He really should grow up. If he was trying to appear better than Obama, it didn’t work. How fierce would McCain’s stares at Obama have been? How effective? Instead he seemed as if he wanted to avoid the whole thing, stick to his speech talking points, repeat lines that have worked in the past but now ring hollow. He looked more like Obama was breaking up with him than debating him.

The lines and phrases that stood out to me were:

Obama calling John McCain “Tom” by accident. haha. ouch!

Obama: “Orgy of spending” (eeewww)

Obama: “No soldier dies in vain.” (good rebuttal to McCain’s telling for the millionth time the story of some mother asking McCain not to let her son have died in vain and with the Iraq war.)

It was unsufferably annoying in the beginning when Jim Lehrer kept trying to get them to talk to each other. They’re grown men, they’ll talk to each other if they want to. Boo on Jim for that. These are not action figures or puppets on a little stage for you to manipulate. And maybe if you had included Nader and Barr, you would have gotten the direct action you were looking for.

Well, it wasn’t all the fireworks I was hoping to see. McCain uttered quite a few lies that he knows are lies, which was clear to those of us who follow politics. Obama wasn’t swinging hard enough to land a knockout, but that’s not his way and it seems to be working so far. Obama’s willingness to acknowledge when he agrees with McCain shows strength that people relate to and like and – more than that – it worked against Hillary.

Bob Shrum said we now know who the next president will be. Of course, he was John Kerry’s campaign manager. But I agree with him – hell, I even wrote “McCain’s Campaign Obituary” a couple months ago. This was McCain’s last, best hope to rewrite the narrative. It is signficant that the last two debates – and the ones that will stay on voters’ minds – are not in his area of strength as last night was.

Perhaps McCain has more stunts up his sleeve to try and change the game again. But after a few stunts, people start wising up. You hear me, Steve Schmidt? Sure, the polls vacillate, but this is Obama’s game. The majority of people agree with him on all the issues, the Republican brand is in tatters, Obama has lead one of the best, coherent and cohesive campaigns in recent history. I say this not to be naively overconfident, but looking at everyone’s positions on the field.

In the spirit of college football (go UT agaisnt ARK today!), McCain did nothing to move the ball last night and gave Obama the opening for the field goal. Debate I: Obama 3, McCain 0 (with lots of yardage).

17
Sep
08

Are You Scared, Democrats? You Should Be.

Not because I think we’re going to lose, but because fear is such a good motivator. Which is why the Repubs use it so frequently to win elections.

This crazy Palin bubble is pretty much mid-burst and the wall street avalanche is sending the polls back towards Obama. It’s still close, however, and it will be up to the elections. I haven’t stopped thinking Obama will win – especially because all the polls are so jacked up whether it’s due to the fact that their samples do not actually represent registered, likely voters or that the media focuses on national polls instead of swing states and swing counties.

The ability of the Repubs to steal the election through voter caging, like they’re doing up in Michigan right now, push polling, lying, etc., however, does scare me.

Democrats and lefty-leaning Independents need to be scared. This will motivate them to ensure their registration is valid, wait in those long lines at the nursing home to vote, and throw out the erroneous notion that politics is not part of polite conversation. We’re so motivated in this house, we’re going to throw a tail-gating party outside our local elementary school where the booths are set up and enjoy libations into the early morning hours of November 5 as the results finish rolling in. A few people in our little rag-tag FreeThinkers group are taking November 6 off so we can ring the future just right.

Confidence is fine – and a bit necessary keeping the blood pressure down while watching videos of McCAin telling the ladies at The View that Palin did not accept earmarks and there are no lies in their ads. But, we have to keep in mind that the McShithead IS a good debater. Americans are not informed and vote largely based on little more than aesthetics. Racism is alive and well in the good ol’ U.S. of A. And nothing less than the Supreme Court and our civil liberties, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and death of McLying-Shithead, leaving Palin free to appoint her pastor as foreign secretary are at stake.

This recent jump in the polls by team McDementia should serve as a warning to us all. This is not your typical election. This is the apocolypse of political elections. This is Platoon and we are Charlie Sheen. Yes, Charlie Sheen.

Be scared, be very scared. And then vote your asses off.

16
Sep
08

Anti-McCain Funnies

Alright, kids – since my Top Ten Anti-McCain Slogans are such a popular read (but written last May), I decided

Pants On Fire, Beeyotch!

Pants On Fire, Beeyotch!

to provide an updated version to give us a laugh as the race gets tighter and many despondent Democrats ponder the edge of cliffs should McCain emerge the victor November 5.

It’s just too easy to make fun of McStupid and his sidekick, Moosegirl. So, I’m jumping in. Here goes and, Obama Camp, I hope you can draw some inspiration from these efforts:

Top-ten Anti-McCain Funnies:

10. Sarah Palin? Well, that’s what you get when you raffle off the vice presidency at a county fair.

9. Say hello to John McCain and goodbye to $Ben Franklin$.

8. McCain’s Fantasy Supreme Court: James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Tony Perkins, Rick Warren, Joe Lieberman, Rudy Giuliani, Karl Rove, Pinocchio, Pandora, A Genie, baby jesus, and Jack Bauer.

7. McCain: Because truth is only an obstacle.

6. Sarah Palin: The Jessica Simpson of politics.

5. McCain: The Middle Class can suck it.

4. Palin for VP? Apparently, there’s a hidden crack epidemic in America.

3. If you vote for John McCain, your genitals will shrivel up and fall off.

2. Electing McCain during a recession? Hmmm. You know when you spit into the wind and it hits you in the eye and grosses you out so much you puke, and the sound of it makes your friend puke too and before long everybody’s puking like in Stand By Me? Yeah. It’s like that.

1. McCain: It’s like opposite day every day.

BONUS: Palin – Because Paul Bunyan wasn’t available. And fictional. Just like McCain’s campaign…

Bonus II: McCain – You can be anything you want to be as long as you’re a prisoner of war and divorce your wife to marry an heiress first.

UPDATE: Anti-McCain Slogans II, Anti-McCain Slogans III (McCAin’s Fantasy Cabinet Included)

12
Sep
08

Lieberman Continues Playing Politics with Our Troops

Alright, Liberals, time for that famous anger. And anyone who else who thinks that decisions regarding the military should be measured and reasoned.

bitt-buddies

butt-buddies

As I’ve written before, the “success” of the Surge actually has more to do with the U.S. government paying of the Sunnis and new secret ops strategies than manpower. The added troops helped undoubtedly. When discussing a war, however, it is of grave importance to acknowledge and understand the entire picture – which we have yet to see from McCain, Lieberman, or their third butt-buddy, Lindsey Graham.

I’ve almost beaten it into the ground, but I’ll provide the links here:

Decreased Violence in Iraq and Finally, Honesty About the Surge

I love it when you talk dirty

Furthermore, I have previously written that Joe Lieberman is playing politics with our troops with his proposed legislation ” which expresses the sense of the Senate recognizing the strategic success of the troop surge in Iraq.” Earlier, Lieberman had defended this amendment by quoting General Petraeus, “‘Iraq is still viewed as the central front for al-Qaida.’ Let me repeat that: ‘Iraq is still viewed as the central front for al-Qaida,’ which is to say by al-Qaida. Not Afghanistan, Iraq; not Pakistan, Iraq.”

According to Think Progress, Lieberman introduced the amendment Sept. 10, S. Amdt. 5368 to S. 3001, which states, among other things:

(18) In 2007, General Petraeus described Iraq as “the central front of al Qaeda’s global campaign”.

(19) In 2008, as a consequence of the success of the surge, al Qaeda has been dealt what Director of Central Intelligence Michael Hayden assesses as a “near strategic defeat” in Iraq.

(21) As a consequence of the success of the surge, sectarian violence in Iraq has fallen dramatically and has been almost entirely eliminated.

(22) As a consequence of the success of the surge, overall insurgent attacks have fallen by approximately 80 percent since June 2007 and are at their lowest level since March 2004.

(24) As a consequence of the success of the surge, the Government of Iraq has made significant strides in advancing sectarian reconciliation and achieving political progress, including the passage of key benchmark legislation.

Now, if the amendment said, “As a consequence of the success of government payoffs to Sunnis, new special operations strategies and the surge…yada, yada, yada,” this amendment would would be truthful.

The problem with the amendment stems from a basic principle of logic. Correlation does not prove cause between two variables. The surge is a variable and decreased violence in Iraq is a variable. That the surge happened at the beginning stages of the decrease in violence means the surge correlates to the surge, but it does not mean the surge caused it. More in-depth study of the decrease in violence in Iraq will outline Sunni payoffs (Sunni Awakening) and special operations programs more as causal factors. I learned this basic principle of logic as part of my education at an evil liberal university. Apparently, Lieberman didn’t.

Somebody's gotta chip on their shoulder....

I will repeat my opinion of this amendment. By introducing this piece of legislation at this time, Lieberman is politicizing the war and politicizing our military and politicizing our troops. He merely wants the Senate to agree to this 25 percent-true amendment so that McCain has ammunition to fire at Obama should Obama avoid the vote, vote no or vote yes. They want to pigeon-hole Obama into agreeing to a typical Republican slant on reality. It is shameful and reprehensible.

You can email Joe Lieberman at correspondence-email@lieberman.senate.gov to tell him your thoughts. I know I will. I haven’t decided if I’ll be incendiary or not… (NEVERMIND, I can’t get any of these email addresses to work… Still on the search for the right address!)

Furthermore, Lieberman is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. I know, it’s freaking crazy. If you’d like to sign the petition to have him removed, visit liebermanmustgo.com. I’m proud to say I’m one of 53,050 signers, but hope many more will join the effort. I can’t imagine they’d let him stay after this ridiculous behavior.

And, Connecticut, I know…I know… We’re saddled with him until 2012. Can I just suggest that you please, please remove him from office when you get the chance? I mean, for the love of pete! I know this comes from a Texas resident – but I swear, I SWEAR, I have not voted for Kay Bailey Hutchison or John Cornyn (at least after the age of 20 – kay bailey’s been around a looooooooonnnggggg time).

Update: I decided to go ahead and go with slightly incendiary language. Here’s the email I sent Lieberman’s office (at least, I tried to send him and will continue to do so until I find the correct email!)

Lieberman –

Your amendment to acknowledge the success of the surge without acknowledging Sunni payoffs or the new military strategic operations strategy is misleading and partially false.

You are only introducing this amendment with Senator Graham as a tool to attack Senator Obama should he vote “no,” “yes,” or avoid the vote altogether.

It is shameful and reprehensible that you would use our military for your own petty political games. It is easy to see through this charade and you know it.

I gladly anticipate your removal from your Senate chairmanship for you have lost your honor and integrity. I have signed the Lieberman Must Go petition with pleasure.

I’m sure the minions in your Senate office won’t let you read this, but at least they will know that there are plenty of us out there who see through your lies and bullshit. We’ll be watching.

Shame on you,

Meredith

09
Sep
08

Post-Convention Election Reassessment

As we go into the fourth and final phase (after the Pre-Primary, Primary, and Post-Primary/Pre-Convention phases) of this election, the Debate/Pre-Election phase — WAIT, I have to turn off the television. McCain is speaking and I don’t want his lies to eat the good still left in my soul….OK, phew, that was close. Normally, I can watch him without a cold shudder that evil is lurking in the room. Just not while I’m blogging. — it’s time to reassess the playing field because, yes – to use the oft(ahem, over)used phrase: Palin was a frickin’ game-changer. Like a steriod shot before the final leg of the Tour de France to Floyd Landis, Sarah Palin provides a new face and new voice for the Republican lies. And, if McCain wins, she’ll be the golden girl next in line as leader of the free world. If they lose, well, look out science classes of Alaska – yer about to be churchified!

I’m going to lay it all out. Here’s where we stand:

Sarah Palin

I seriously underestimated the results the Sarah Palin Veep pick would give the McCain Campaign. Actually, I underestimated the Holy Grail of presidential elections — the Independent voter. Palin is so far right, I figured she wouldn’t appeal to Independent voters (I’m a liberal Independent – so she was definitely off my radar) because her policy opinions are beyond the pale of rational thought. However, her newness and shininess lured those other Independents – the open-mouthed, uninformed Independents who really don’t care about policy – right out of the undecided pool. See, these voters just want someone who makes ’em feel good. They have a hard time equating presidential decisions – like Supreme Court appointments – to real life scenarios.

So, in one fell swoop, the RNC had caught themselves a whole bunch of the biggest prize catch of all – voters who don’t vote on the issues.

To them it doesn’t matter that Palin attempted to fire a librarian for refusing to censor books or that she thinks Creationism should be taught in public school science class despite all the Earth’s evidence supporting Evolution. Those voters couldn’t care less that she would criminalize abortion, even in the cases of rape and incest, though pro-lifers are simply Christians wanting to wield their regimental religious umbrella over all of us free Americans. Does it matter that Palin has requested more earmarks in the last year per capita than any other governor? No. What about Palin telling her congregation that the Iraq War “is God’s plan” and asking them to pray for a $30 million dollar natural gas pipeline (video included).

These voters aren’t Independent. You see, “independence” brings to mind a voter educated on the issues who doesn’t buy the rhetoric spun into verbal gold by both blue and red candidates. They think for themselves and will not have a glass of that sugary Kool-Aid, thank you very much! No, these voters aren’t Independents in the true sense of the word.

These are undecided voters. McCain is old and boring. Obama is black and too inexperienced. They hate Bush – who doesn’t, really? – but found no galvanizing reason to back either party. The young people were excited about Obama, but he’s not shiny and new anymore. McCain was just an old man in the cheese aisle with ads comparing Obama to Britney and Paris. Who to vote for? Ho hum…

Then comes along Sarah Palin and all of the sudden the Evangelicals have someone to drool over. Who cares that her own daughter is a prime example of what abstinence-only education will getcha – teen pregnancy to boot! But Jesus is gonna love that baby and those kids are gettin’ married! The herd mentality kicked right in. Kingmaker-wannabe James Dobson helped pick her and now all the churchies can breathe a sigh of relief because crazy Palin makes the “maverick” in McCain okay. Well, the undecideds don’t want to be left out. That girl is funny! I wanna touch her! Can I have one, mom, please?! Alright, the Religioners now have their border collie and, Houston, we’re a go.

Welcome to the best democracy in the land!

If nothing else, her newness alone changes the conversation. Americans might not have the time to work through all the lies inherent in the facade the McCain campaign is presenting in her, but it doesn’t matter as long as that liberal Muslim Obama isn’t elected. They’ll hate the next four years as much as they hated the last eight – but that don’t mean shit as long as they’re guy believes we’re not descended from monkeys and potentially-aborted babies have the right to grow up and be criminals and semi-automatic weapons are still legal.

As you can imagine, I’m just dripping with pride.

John McCain

Good for John McCain, his base is fired up. Do you think he cares that it’s not him they’re voting for? NAH!! As long as the balloons fall after his speech on November 5th, it wouldn’t matter if it was the George freaking-W. Bush himself who was McCain’s running mate. And all it took was being an ankle-grabber to those “agents of intolerance” he so railed against eight years ago. What a difference losing makes. If I may, I’d like to address his electorate directly:

Note to Republicans:

You do realize you’re voting for the guy you like less than Bush, right? The majority of you are significantly unhappy with the state of the nation and its direction and, yet, against all legitimate rationality, you are supporting the candidate who came in SECOND TO BUSH and has brought all of his policies in line with the current administration. This is really one of those McFly moments.

Do you hear McCain shouting “Change is Coming” whilst having a campaign run by lobbyists and Bush cronies? Did you notice during the Convention, the Republicans never discussed policy – yet each and every speech regaled us with more stories from McCain’s POW days? That’s called DISTRACTION.

Can you ask yourselves how McCain will change Washington with a coherent answer or actually list the policies you agree with? If these are Bush policies, well, you know how the next four years will turn out.

Do you honestly believe that McCain will run the Iraq War better? Bush refused to acknowledge when we were actually losing in Iraq and wouldn’t listen to the generals when they disagreed with him on the surge. Neither did McCain. Now, McCain refused to acknowledge that Sunni payoffs and this new special operations strategy have earned us far more success in Iraq than just the surge. So, McCain will lie about the war just like who? Who? Oh, that’s right, George W. Bush.

Republican presidencies widen the wealth gap, shrink the middle class (which is what the success of our economy is based on), increase poverty, place quality medical care out of reach of a large percentage of Americans, place power in the hands of the undemocratic and unethical corporations. Job losses are at a five-year high. And you’re going to vote for them.

The Republicans win when Americans are afraid. And they’re doing their darnedest to make sure that is the case with this election. That’s why they’re telling lies about Obama’s policies – just like they do every year about Democrats. The Republican Manifesto about keeping taxes low and government small is false. It’s a lie. It wins them elections because people do not realize that the men they elect do not adhere to the manifesto. Ever.

Security matters, however, largely steer the politics of fear. Let’s examine the views of many of the delegates at last weeks’ convention, as reported by MSNBC:

“My major concern is national security: I’ve got six granddaughters and a grandson. I want them to be absolutely safe in this country and to have the same freedom I’ve experienced,” said Rex Early, an Indianapolis insurance agency owner.

Delegate Ed Failor, a low-tax state government lobbyist from Muscatine, Iowa, said his worry if Obama is elected was not what he would do, but rather that “Obama would not do those things that will keep our country safe. His willingness to negotiate with terrorists to sit down at the table with them with no expectations — that scares me. I have four kids, 13 to 18, and it scares me more than anything else.”

If Obama wins, “there will be a whole series of actions, redistributing wealth in this country, as well as changing our foreign policy to accommodate interests that are inimical to the United States, in the Middle East,” (William) Diamond fretted.

“On foreign policy I just don’t think he gets it: I’m afraid not what I’m going to think of 2:30 in the morning, but what he would think of at 2:30 in the morning when he gets the phone call about a crisis. I think his instincts are all wrong and I think America would be tested very badly under his administration.”

“As an employer I understand how hard it is to create jobs…. I am concerned that Barack Obama, a man who has never worked in the private sector, does not understand where jobs come from, how difficult it is for small businesses to create jobs and the impact of even small changes in taxes and regulations.” (– Exactly when did McCain work in the private sector?)

“For most of the problems he talks about, most of the solutions he has are just unconstitutional.” (hellooooo? It would take me all day to count the Constitutional violations committed by Bush and has minions)

That’s what we’re dealing with. That’s what Obama’s dealing with.

Barack Obama

The problem Democrats have is they’re weak. They don’t want to fight because they want to be “uniters.” Well, they want to seem like they’re “uniters.” It’s a bunch of crap and voters know it. Democrat voters want fighters who aren’t afraid of hurting feelings and punching back and saying what’s right instead of what sounds good to everybody. We’re sick of these mealy-mouthed candidates with no spine who capitulate like the Republicans were holding their grandchildren captive.

You know what, Republicans, I wish Barack Obama had had more time to marinate as well. He is very new and green compared to other politicians. But after that 2004 speech, the Democrats decided he was our boy and he has shown to have and practice much better judgment than McCain in almost every aspect of leadership and presidential job qualifications. He’s going to lower taxes for the vast majority of Americans, listen to and consider the opinions of our military leaders in security issues, place health benefits back in the hands of Americans, restore America’s standing in the world, restore law and order to the Executive Branch, place Supreme Court judges on the bench that will protect our civil liberties.

Barack Obama made the well-thought out, well-considered, intelligent and informed VP choice. He could have chosen Hillary for reasons of political expediency, but he didn’t. He chose the running mate who could help him best lead the country. John McCain opted for the political, unqualified pick and John McCain is being rewarded for it. The grotesque of political theater emerges in this election once again. In a year, when the nation is doing so terribly, it would seem that only idiots would vote for the incumbent party. It seemed even the majority of uninformed voters knew actual change was the best policy for the country. Yet, McCain supporters are lining up in droves, drawn in by the bright lights of a campaign of sarcasm and lies.

Obama now needs to regain control of the conversation. He might do so in the debates, but he needs to try now. At this point, Obama looks like a skinny, weak guy who’s on the ropes and doesn’t have the chops to put the other candidate on his back. This is the current situation. It’s do or die and lot of lives and liberties are depending on the campaign’s strategy.

The ads have to get stronger. So far, the Obama campaign has feared calling the McCain campaign (even after it copied the “change” slogan) a joke. It’s easy because it’s true, but Obama hasn’t wanted to offend the Independents. This is the curse of the Democrats. Republicans sling their poo like their whole party has dysentery and draw in undecideds by the handfuls. I still don’t understand why lefties can’t find their testicular fortitude and fucking get in this thing. Hillary needs to hold some seminars on whippin’ out the biotch. David Axelrod, Robert Gibbs – you gettin’ this??

End Game

The McCain campaign has an incredibly shitty candidate; he gave one of the worst speeches in recent convention history. But he is getting traction with lies, sarcasm, indignation and actually copying his opponent. The Democrats needs to stop assuming Americans are smarter than they actually are. Pretend these ads are for kindergartners and start launching some grenades cause we’re in the fourth quarter and there’s no trophy for second place – only a worse economy, out-of-reach health care, waning global hegemony, three more Conservative Supreme Court justices, and a potential president who – at this very moment – is being taught where she stands on the issues should McCain bite the Big One.

Democrats, it’s time for Rocky, for Charles Barkley’s elbows, it’s time for words like “LIE” and “PANDER” and “JOKE” when describing the McCain/Palin ticket. Lose, the whole “Heh, heh, you can’t just make stuff up…heh…heh” and the incessant “Uhs” and “Ahs” and calm, assertive speeches. Get fired up and remind people what they’re fighting for. Remind people why this election matters. Galvanize, motivate, and treat each speech like none of the people watching you will get off the couch and vote for you unless you seriously deliver the goods.

We don’t want Kerry again. We don’t want Gore again. We don’t want spineless weaklings. It’s time to bring it and bring it hard. We’re sick and tired of what the Republican lies and Dumb America bring us. McCain’s idiotic game-changer worked. Now it’s time to hit back. And, so far, I ain’t seen nothing. Granted, I’m in Texas and you may have some pretty good ads in the swing states, but your message needs to be national. You won’t let them continue to ravage this country the way George W. Bush has.

It’s GO TIME.

05
Sep
08

Reaction to Night 4 of the Repub Convention (blow by blow)

Three Words: SARAH PALIN HANGOVER

That was bad. That was worse than the first three nights of the Democratic Convention. In fact, last night makes the Democrats look like they were partying like it was 1999. Undoubtedly, it was Sarah Palin’s Convention. She owned that sucker and only way last night was going to top Wednesday was if we started seeing pigs twirl through the stratosphere. In the words of Dana Carvery impersonating Bush I, “Not gonna happen.” I even started to feel bad for the speakers, like – really, really bad for them.

Let’s start with Lindsey Graham.

He’s like the Dick Clark of the Senate with the never-aging thing; he still looks just like a frat boy playing politician. God bless him, trying to get that sleepy crowd going – he was more fired up than the majority of the Democratic speakers last week, but the Sarah Palin hangover hit that nursing home crowd like a ton of morphine. He gave it the good ‘ol college try and attacked Obama for failing to acknowledge the surge’s success, which Obama had done earlier on – egads – Bill O’Reilly and said, “(Refering to the surge) I’ve already said it succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.” More Republican lies. Now, for my Repub friends out there – just cause I point this out doesn’t mean Democrats don’t lie, it’s just that this specifically was a lie. Falsehood. Tall Tale. You get the picture.

Another lie is the propagation that the reduced violence in Iraq is because of the surge. It’s not. It’s because we’re paying off Sunni militias. The mainstream media has largely cooperated in spreading this misinformation because it’s politically incorrect to say the truth. The only time I’ve ever heard mention of the Sunni payments was by Peter Gergen on CNN. The MSM just let the Repubs have this one. It’s called a “media blackout” or “bending over.” The Dems don’t deem it politically expedient to present an honest assesment of the reduced violence either – so they just give it to the Repubs even though it is one of their strongest arguments in the quest for reelection.

Lindsey Graham did have a bright moment of cleverness when he used Barack’s line for his own purposes, “It’s not that Barack Obama doesn’t get it (military, Iraq War), it’s that he doesn’t care.” That was really a “take that!” line and pretty successful. I give him props all the way.

Sarah Palin Video

Then came the Sarah Palin video, narrated by John Voight, and we were treated to what? 5? minutes of that horrifying synthizer in the background. It was almost as bad as that shrieking violin score in “There Will Be Blood.” Jesus – it was bad. Other than that the video was OK. Bland.

Tom Ridge

The crowd was dead for poor ol’ Tom. And I like him with that teeny little mouth of his. He had a good line, “You run to win. You win to govern.” Then he spoke about negotiating from a position of strength. Which is funny because our economy growth has slowed down and the Repubs not only want to continue with the Bush policies that weaken our economy, the Religioners are in the throws of attacking science, calling for Creationism to be taught in schools. Just ask Sarah Palin. Dumbing down our children (ahem, the future) and refusing to give tax breaks to alternative energy development – the industry that might just kick start this economy and keep us globally competetive – will insure that our dominance will wane, our strength will diminish and all of the “Might Makes Right” ideology will go down the pooper. Good job there, Repubs. Way to cut off your nose to spite your face. Makes me proud.

Then I laughed because the song “Right Now” by Van Halen came over the speakers and I remembered Van Halen was already pissed that the McCain campaign had used their tunes on the campaign trail. Tee-hee! And now Heart is mad that the McCain campaign is using their song “Barracuda” in reference to Palin.

Cindy McCain’s Video

Oh the horror! Forget more cowbell, they gave us more synthesizer! Please, anybody – is there not some seasoned filmmaker willing to help the Repubs out with these biographical presentations. Anybody? Anybody? Bueller? Gary Sinise – have you no enthusiasm? No inflection? That was the worst narrating job since Chelsea Clinton narrarated her mom’s video at the Dem shindig!

Kathleen Portalski, Cindy McCains sister

Kathleen Portalski, Cindy McCain's sister

Of course, the video left out Cindy’s dad’s first wife, his mob ties and stint in prison. And when Gary Sinise said, “She got all the attention of her father,” I’m sure Hensley’s other daughter, Kathleen Portalski, cringed wherever she was. I just laughed at the moment where John and Cindy met and the script read, “a handsome captain introduced himself.” See, that was funny because they meant to say, “a handsome captain, who was married and a father of three, introduced himself.” Those Repubs and their memory!

Cindy McCain

I wanted to like the speech, I did! And maybe I would have if it wasn’t the most painful speech to watch since that of Kathleen Sebelius. Even my sister called me to say, “Are you gagging??” Yes, yes I was. She gave the whole speech like she was telling me my grandpa just died. I was going into a coma, my insides pleading, “Just get on to John, for the love of everything that is good and holy!!” Mark Salter, you are fired! Stick to writing books, buddy, and save us all the pain of our brains bleeding out our ears.

John McCain Video

What do you know? More synthesizer. My finger sat there, itching over the mute button. But I persevered. The theme was “Change.” How original.

John McCain

Wooohooooo! Green screen!! I bet somebody got yelled out for that. hehe. See what had happened was…a few months ago, when Obama won the primary fight, McCain gave a speech in front of a green backdrop and was pilloried across the lands for the assault it gave the viewers’ eyeballs. Well, last night – the big screen displaying slides for the crowd inside the Xcel Center displayed this picture behind him:

Thanks to TPM for finding that one. No, it’s not one of his homes. It is some middle school. Anyhoo, during the close-ups of him, it gave him a plain green backdrop and was hysterical to those of us who have no lives and subsist on political coverage and slim jims and remember the episode from a few months ago.

He gave Obama his respect at the beginning of the speech, which was dumb because it’s hollow and EVERYONE knows it. Pander. Then the protestors came in, which too bad, because he worked hard for that moment and deserved it. He did do much better with the teleprompter this time, even though he still sucked donkey balls, but, hey, fish out of water. He just wants to get to the debates and we all know it.

He brought up the whole “I’d rather lose an election than lose a war” line again, which is so bogus because EVERYONE would rather lose an election than lose a war. Who wants to lose a war? Really? No one. The whole idea just plays to the mindless who think your character is determined by how many flags you wave and how many “support the troops” magnets you can put on your car. We ALL support the troops. We ALL want to win the war! Especially the NECESSARY war!

Then the litany of Republican economic policies began, which differed his speech from all the rest during

Available at Cafepress

Available at Cafepress

the Repub Convention. The first substance of the whole week and what does he give us? The same ol’ Republican economic verbage: open markets, school vouchers, lamenting bureaucrats standing in the way of the American Dream. Newsflash: it’s not bureaucrats standing in the way, it’s unethical corporate behavior. Still, nothing here to attract Independent voters. And wasn’t that the whole point? I forgot what the point was while watching the Sarah Palin Lifetime Movie.

Of course, he marched out the POW story. He’s been winning elections with that gem since 1982. But, I have to tell you, I am POWed out! I had Vietnam Vet teachers shape parts of my youth and heard the horrific stories, but the fact that I – me – could give you a riveting, detailed and specific account of John McCain’s POW experience has cheapened the history of it and blunted it as a political tool. Sure it can still bring tears to those who can personally relate, but riding it over and over again into public office has made the rest of us cynical. At least those of us who are honest about it. “I wasn’t my own man anymore, I was my country’s.” Paging Mark Salter. Get a new line.

ABC’s Karen Travers and I had the same reaction to McCain’s call for people to make the country a better one. McCain said, “Comfort the afflicted. Defend the rights of the oppressed. Our country will be the better, and you will be the happier. Because nothing brings greater happiness in life than to serve a cause greater than yourself.” Karen said, “If a community organizer isn’t someone “defend(ing) the rights of the oppressed,” or getting involved to correct the mistakes of government, what is it?” I said, No Shit, Sherlock – what the hell do you think a community organizer does?? Community organizers have fully responded to the attacks on them by Repubs, which you can read here. But, if you’re really a masochist, you can read conservative commentator Michelle Malkin’s piece on why it’s just Obama’s community organizing that was “a joke.”

Then the whole thing ended to the tune of a country song with the lyrics “We’re all just raisin’ McCain!” And I thought claims about Sarah Palin having more experience than Obama made me gag. No. That song made me G.A.G. And roll my eyes with the elitest thought, That song sucked ass!

Basically the speech was a Sam’s Club speech for a Sam’s Club audience. Don’t get me wrong, I love Sam’s Club and all the big bottles of Ranch salad dressing, but that speech was not going to turn on anyone who isn’t already in McCain’s shirt pocket. I don’t know that it was meant to – he knows teleprompter speeches are not his forté and is probably chomping at the bit to get Obama into that debate hall.

I’m just glad the conventions are over and I can watch The Daily Show at its regular time instead of TIVOing it.

Basically, you can sum up the Republican Convention with just a few general terms: Iraq Victory, Straight Talk, POW, OBAMA BAD, BUSH BAD, Same Ol’, Same Ol’, Change facade (pronouced “fah-kaid”), SARAH PALIN. Good job, Repubs! Pat on the back! But you can still suck it.

04
Sep
08

Reaction to Night 3 of the Repub Convention

So much to say! This is a long blog, so I bolded the main topics of each paragraph in case you just want to scan quickly.

It all kicked off well-enough with NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell having to give an update during the CONVOCATION. She was smack in the middle of the Alaska delegation and the people right behind her kept shooting her dirty looks over her shoulder. It was a hoot!

The main theme of the night was that the Republican ticket is offering Washington Outsiders to “shake things up!” Now, if I remember correctly – and I do – George Walker Bush ran as an outsider in 2000. The Republican “outsider” claim is nothing new, nothing original and their record of “outsiders” wrecked this country, but the people in those seats lapped it up like it was mother’s milk.

Meg Whitman

The first speaker I watched was Meg Whitman, former CEO of Ebay, and she was pretty good. We’ll have to expect more from her as a major contender for the California governorship. One of her lines that didn’t pass the smell test was that the Republicans are going to lower taxes on businesses. I have no doubt that they will – my objection lies in the fact that the Government Accountability Office released a report August 12 that said that two-thirds of U.S. Corporations paid NO federal taxes from 1998 to 2005.

See, Meg is talking about this Republican myth of trickle-down wealth. If you give all the rich people and big corporations tax breaks and cuts and benefits and loopholes and subsidies, they’ll create jobs and spread the wealth. They won’t horde it and use their power to keep minimum wage low or prey on those habitating the lower economic echelons. Well, we’ve had one of these trickle-down Republicans in office for eight years now and what has happened? The wealth gap has grown. The Developed-nation benefits like wages that rise with inflation, housing prices, health care and necessary prescription drugs are beyond a large percentage of Americans’ means. In my humble opinion, they can take their trickle-down bullshit and shove it.

Carly Fiorina then spoke and kept chanting, “I know John McCain,” in a way that made me think, “Eeeewww.”

Mitt Romney

Romney lit into a stream of hypocrisy (no surprise considering the 180 he did from when he was running as governor in Mass. to when he ran as pres.) about the east coast elites.” That probably made everyone in the audience do a double-take. He’s banking on Americans having short memories (and McCain losing so he can run in 2012). Then he spoke about how offering Guantanamo detainees Constitutional rights and siding with teachers’ unions was “liberal.” Isn’t it funny when doing the right, moral, ethical thing is LIBERAL? The Right have really sold their souls to Beelzebub. Maybe Romney can be his VP.

Mitt Romney almost made me vomit when he said, “Let’s keep Al Gore’s private jet on the ground.” And, what? Romney flies commercial? Yeah, and I don’t have dirty mouth. Whatever.

Rudy Giuliani

Now, Giuliani tried to appeal to those voters who still feel torn. Who are these people?? We have two extremely different candidates and I just want to meet one of these swing voters and ask what it takes to put them over the edge.. I also want to meet these people the media keeps saying “are just tuning in.” WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? I really want to know. Anyway…

Attacking the media was a large chunk of Giuliani’s speech, which is a typical tactic of the Right when they can’t win on actual campaign and election issues. The media attacks play well on talk radio and in the netherworlds in which the likes of Ann Coulter dwells. Doesn’t win elections.

But the screen behind Giuliani that was playing slide shows for the audience in the center kept changing colors and during the close-ups, it started to make me feel like I was on a bad acid trip. He laughed at Obama’s credential as a “community organizer” which stunned me a little bit (but prepped me for Palin’s speech) but urban voters aren’t Repubs anyway. All the rich Repubs just guffawed, as you’d expect.

He did have a pretty good zinger about Obama voting 100 (out of over 4,000 votes) “present” while an Illinois state senator. The line went something like: I didn’t know about this vote “present.” You don’t get that vote when you’re mayor. He delivered it flawlessly.

Then came one of the best moments of the night when I saw some guy sporting a shirt that said: More Cowbell, Less Obama. If you’re any kind of “Saturday Night Live” or Will Farrell fan, that’s some funny shite. However, Cindy McCain was sporting some god-awful green shower curtain as a dress. Whoever is her stylist needs to be waterboarded!

Sarah Palin

Now, Sarah Palin was somethin’ else. I give it to her, I really do. If this race was to be decided on speech delivery, she’d take the whole cake, hands down. She made Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina and Joe Lieberman look like wilting flowers. Biden himself couldn’t hold a candle to her. If they don’t win the election and the Repubs make her a scapegoat (which I don’t think they will and, if they do, the Religious Right will protect her) she could easily make a living as comedian. It took her a second to get her timing in relation to crowd cheers down, but once that was set she was off and running. She couldn’t have done a better job. If I wasn’t an informed voter and thinker, I’d say, Sign me Up! I’m buying what you’re selling!

Now let’s talk about what she actually SAID. While there was no policy in her speech, she did open with the fact that a special-needs child provokes special love and special-needs parents will have an advocate in the White House. I just wonder how she will advocate for them. She’s against stem-cell research. Her policy stances will make it harder for special-needs parents to find insurance and funding for their child. She wouldn’t advocate raising the minimum wage and the vast majority of special-needs parents are not well-off. LOTS of questions there for those special-needs parents she’s courting.

She also said that when they get into office, they want to “leave this world (or country or something) better than when they found it.” Which is really funny because the Repubs do not allot any subsidies for alternative energy developers the way they do for oil & gas and coal companies. Their policies are not green. They fight relentlessly to keep many animals off the endangered-species list. Their polices lead innumerable middle-class families to fall below the poverty line. So, how, in what way would they leave this country better? Especially because their predecessor Bush is leaving not only this country, but the world much, much worse than how he found it. So, that line really made my bullshit detector go off, as it did when she spoke about integrity and good convictions. Apparently, she hasn’t been paying attention the last eight years.

Sarcasm, Condescension

Sure, the speech was sarcastic and condescending and smug and petty and divisive with no mention of policy promises or real issues. But it was a damn good speech. She came out swinging and landed plenty of well-placed blows; she eclipsed Biden – who is the king of sarcasm. And I love sarcasm – I think it’s a wonderful tool to make a point – it’s the language I speak. Sure, my reaction to her community organizer put downs was “Back the fuck up, bitch!” But otherwise, I thought the speech and her delivery were stellar.

The problem is that she could run into the Ann Richards Factor. Remember the whole “Poor George. It’s not his fault. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth” line. As a Texan, I have it tatooed on my hippocampus. But Ann Richards lost. Sarcasm without substance is short-lived and the debates are coming up. So, good job Sarah – when you’re coming down off this high remember to learn how your ticket actually stands on the issues. Because, as any reasonable person knows (aside from Rick Davis), this election is about the issues.

Old Man McCain

Did you see when McCain came out after Palin’s speech and her whole family was on stage and he said, “Don’t you think we made the right choice?!” meaning Palin and he had to actually turn 360 degrees because he forgot on which of his sides she was standing? That was friggin’ hysterical. We rewound it and watched it a few times.

Also, when McCain was standing with the Palin family, he hugged Sarah once or twice but he only really talked to her husband. You can tell he’s not that comfortable with Sarah – perhaps women in general – and relates to her husband more. Very telling. And now he has a VP that outshines him and makes him look like a doddering old fool. Good luck reading that teleprompter tonight!

Overall

They milked McCain’s POW experience for all it was worth again last night, but the main theme was borrowed from every Republican convention in recent memory. The Repubs are the party of outsiders and they’re going to go in and shake up Washington. Now the ridonkulousness of this is obvious. The Repubs control the White House and have controlled the White House 20 of the last 28 years. The Republicans controlled congress from 1994 to 2006 and rubber-stamped Bush’s destruction of this country. This “do-nothing” Democratic congress has only done “nothing” because the Republicans have launched an all-out assault on the legislative process, led by Tom Coburn, by obstructing any effort by the Democrats to accomplish anything. Because if the Republicans aren’t in charge, ruining everything – they’re going to at least make sure the Democrats can’t fix things.

So, the “Republicans are outsiders” argument is crap and everyone knows it. Why are most congresspeople under investigation or in prison Republicans?! And, let me say that after all this time, if you can’t figure that out – you deserve a world where McCain and Palin lead the executive branch. I just kept looking at that small sea of Republicans and thought, you gave us George W. Bush, you delivered the most freedom-limiting, corrupt administration in history and you think you deserve to win this election? You have brought this country to its knees and you still think you have the best candidate when he agrees with everything Bush has done, yet acknowledges we are worse off than we were four years ago? It’s like the Republicans are just one big club of crack smokers!

While the Republicans kept using the same old, false lie “Democrats just want to tax you and control you” over and over again, they forgot to mention that Obama’s economic policy lowers taxes for over 85 percent of Americans. The Repubs want to wage wars, lower taxes for the rich, and cede power to the corporations. That’s the one word they kept forgetting to mention: Corporatocracy. They wail about Democrats wanting to tell people what to do (while saying You Can’t Have an Abortion, You Can’t Get Married, I’m Going to Tap Your Conversations Without a Warrant, You Can’t Do Embryonic Stem Cell Research), they forgot to say how they’ll trade our right to privacy for corporate donations, they’ll help corporations collude and create monopolies and continue to rape the American people through their nontransparent predatory practices.

The Religious Right wants to run our lives and cage us and bring the Constitution in line with the Bible – yet claim it’s the Democrats that want to tell Americans what to do. Empty rhetoric that clearly has no bearing on reality. It makes me ill.

And, lastly (promise), the Religious Right Wing Republican Cult was in tip-top form for Sarah, with many state delegations even wearing the same outfit. It was cute. It reminded me of North Korea – you know, those big music programs with 100,000 dancers and gymnasts perfectly in step. Republicans fall in line. They do what they’re told. Their church leaders say: look the other way while I molest your children and spend your hard-earned money extravagantly. Go vote Republican, so I can continue to illegally receive tax breaks while endorsing candidates and supporting political parties. Go change government so I can control the rest of the country like I do you. Go out and spread the abomination that is this religion.

I tell you what, Sarah Palin heralded the re-introduction of the Culture Wars and made it clear that the Republican Party is no longer just about Lower Taxes and the Entrepreneurial spirit (false). They’re about theocracy and control and unConstitutional endeavors. Democrats, Independents, freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and everybody else better start paying attention. We could lose the Supreme Court. You think Eminent Domain is bad? Just wait. The new Gestapo will make George Bush look like a freedom-fighter.

If you appreciate your civil liberties and the Bill of Rights – you had better start actively protecting them because we have a strong ticket that wants to take them all away. And they will if we give them an inch. And I’m not being sarcastic.

click here to read a good blog by jane smiley on huffpo

gloria steinem reacts to palin’s speech

Huffpo: …an Obama aide told the Huffington Post that the campaign has raised $8 million since her (Sarah Palin’s) speech last night “from over 130,000 donors – on pace to hit $10 million by the time John McCain hits the stage tonight…McCain campaign says it has raised $1 million.

03
Sep
08

Reaction to Night 2 of the Repub Convention

It really wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be. Obviously, it was a bit of a limpy sleeper – but you couldn’t expect much after Gustav threw all the RNC’s plans into chaos. I wouldn’t have expected much anyway – the audience of the Repub conventions look more like that of a nursing home than a fired-up electorate. The venue was smaller than the Dem’s and there where still empty seats, but that’s just minor details, right? The cameras did manage to find five black people to display for the cameras, reminding me of those “Where’s Waldo” books. But as far as galvanizing and rallying voters, I’d say they’d have a better shot if they held BINGO games before, after and inbetween the speakers.

Kerry Waghorn

Fred Thompson was a bit hard to get through. He plodded through McCain’s POW story – never get tired of that one (not) – and threw some shots at Obama. Can’t remember any specifically, but what I do remember his incessant clearing of the throat. Talk about torture! Even evil liberal Keith Olbermann noticed and said later he cleared his throat no less than 70 times. Hellooo, get that guy a lozenge!

Art Link Mutlimedia

Lieberman looked like he was going to fall asleep onstage; he was monotone, there was hardly any facial expression in his delivery and he leaned on the podium quite a bit. Of course, he’s lost all credibility with Democrats. Talk about bitter! He’s really getting those Dems back for abandoning him during his senate race by flipping on all the policies he’s ever valued to back McCain. Yeah, his entreaties to Independents and Democrats were really taken seriously. As if anyone with his record could actually support Sarah Palin for VP. His tone was so pervy, he’s like the creepy guy in the white van saying, “Come here, little girl…I’ve got some candy for you…” Ick.

One of them spoke of how Obama wanted to cut off funding for the troops! Can you imagine?! They didn’t mention the Repubs handing billions upon billions of dollars to military contractors instead of taking care of troops in the field and when they return. Must have slipped their mind. All that Alzheimers among all those old white men…

At least we were treated to another of Bush’s crappy speeches from the White House again. Won’t be too many more of those, thank baby jesus. He stuck to his usual MO using the politics of fear, claiming there will be another attack if McCain isn’t elected. What a Rovian douchebag. Like the country’s so much safer after he lied us into war with a country that wasn’t even a threat to us, compromising our military and strengthening Iran, when there were much larger security concerns on the horizon. I’m sure it made rational viewers collectively feel like hurling.

Than he claimed that those Vietnamese captors could not break John McCain’s resolve, so the “angry left” never will. Are you kidding me? First of all, after Bush – our right to privacy has been compromised by unConstitutional wiretaps, the economy is in the shitter with tax cuts going to big business and the rich, illegal activity and intimidation is rampant among departments headed by the Executive branch (EPA, CDC, Justice Dept., State Dept., Pentagon, CIA, etc.), illegal government sponsorship of christianity has increased, the US has used semantics to avoid Geneva Convention rules and torture prisoners of war, which they call “detainees,” and refuse them proper trials – I could go on forever.

cafepress.com

The point is, that after eight years of Bush, if you’re not angry, you’re either uninformed or not paying attention. The left is angry – and thank you for noticing, Mr. Worst President in Modern History. I am proud of my anger, wear it as a badge and will continue to funnel this emotion into productive activities aimed at increasing democracy in our land and fighting the Right who want to diminish it. It’s laughable that the Republicans are the party of limited government.

One thing is clear – and that’s the emergence of the Republican strategy to label their opponents “the angry left” so that Independents won’t want to be associated with them. This is a strategy easily turned around on the Right in a Reaganesque manner the way Obama did with the whole tire-guage thing, saying the Repubs were proud of being ignorant. Chuckle.

The second new strategy to emerge is to claim sexism everytime a question of Sarah Palin’s experience comes up. Tucker Whatshisface claimed Campbell Brown was “belittling” Palin when Brown was quizzing him on the VP pick’s executive decision-making. The McCain camp threw a major hissy over that one. Now any questioning of Palin by the media is a sexist attack! What an unclever, dirty little trick. If you guys are going to give us a pitiful VP pick, then grow a pair and have the courage to have the debate on her resume instead of running around like sissies with their heads cut off yelling “sexism!” Aren’t you guys supposed to hate political correctness? Stop playing the GENDER card.

The dirty old white men think parading a pro-life uterus onstage is historic. She would never have been picked had she been a man. They won’t even let her stand on her own two feet in an interview until she’s had a crash-course in dodging questions. It is so sexist and misogynistic of these men to think women are so dumb, they would fall for such a lame charade. We vote the most. We graduate college the most. We’re educated and knowledgeable and proud. And Palin agrees with every anti-women and anti-family stance McCain holds. Their ridiculousness knows no bounds.

Well, Giuliani and Palin will put on a good show tonight and I look forward to it. It’ll be fun to see the biggest cheers erupt during the pro-life chants (not by pro-choice Giuliani, of course). The Economy Sucks! We’re Fighting an Unnecessary War and Your Children are Dying In it! The Credit Industry is in Crisis and the American Dream is Now IMPOSSIBLE For You and Most Americans! But None of IT Matters as Long as No One Can Have an ABORTION and GAY PEOPLE Don’t Have Rights!! Yaaaayyyyy!!

Good job, Republicans. Way to do what’s best for the country. Jackasses.

02
Sep
08

Conservatives Blast Liberal Bloggers

Think Progress reported Sept. 1 that during a panel discussion hosted by The Huffpo, Conservatives railed against “liberal bloggers” claiming, according to TP:

Joe Scarborough: “it’s so ugly now in some parts of the internet’ that good people are being dissuaded from running for office.”

Peggy Noonan: The commenters “are much like what you would have gotten in 1880 if you walked into a bedlam with a megaphone and said, ‘I’d like to say a few words.’ It’s wild, it’s crazy, and it’s awful, and it’s often quite vicious.”

Tucker Carlson: People are “really underestimating the vitriolic dumbness” that’s out there. “I don’t think there’s any way to understate it. … It’s mostly on the left,” he said, and it’s “totally intolerant.” It’s “the least liberal thing I have ever seen — the default position is ‘I don’t agree with you; you are either stupid or corrupt,’” he said. “I think it’s actually hurting the country.”

Frank Lunz: “You’re right,” he said to Tucker. “Mean would not describe it. It is as humanly vicious as it possibly can be,” he said, adding that it is “deliberately insulting.”

Apparently, it’s just fine for the Right to promulgate “vicious,” “vitriolic dumbness,” “deliberatly insulting” commentary that “hurts the country.”

Rush Limbaugh:

  • The NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies.
  • I mean, let’s face it, we didn’t have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back; I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark.
  • It’s one thing to have a sizable minority like the Democrats stand in your way, but it is just unacceptable when a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of Republicans in Congress also rear up in opposition and join the liberal Democrats to derail an agenda. At some point that has to be faced. It has to be faced because these RINOs, these moderates, are undermining our agenda on taxes; they are undermining our agenda on spending; they are undermining our agenda on oil drilling, and they are undermining the war on terror — and I’ll give you some names. You want some names? Here they are: Olympia Snowe, John McCain, George Voinovich, Mike Castle, Christopher Shays, and about 30 to 35 others.
  • (on Nancy Pelosi) She’s got about as much respect as an iguana swimming around in your bathtub. (okay…i’ll give him this one. it’s funny.)
  • Screw the world. Do you really think we ought to govern ourselves based on what the world thinks of us?

Ann Coulter

  • I think the government should be spying on all Arabs, engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport, dropping daisy cutters wantonly throughout the Middle East and sending liberals to Guantanamo.
  • If Gore had been elected president, right now he would just be finding that last lesbian quadriplegic for the Special Forces team.
  • Being nice to people is, in fact, one of the incidental tenets of Christianity (as opposed to other religions whose tenets are more along the lines of ‘kill everyone who doesn’t smell bad and doesn’t answer to the name Mohammed‘).
  • There are a lot of bad Republicans; there are no good Democrats.
  • The Democrats are giving aid and comfort to the enemy for no purpose other than giving aid and comfort to the enemy. There is no plausible explanation for the Democrats’ behavior other than that they long to see U.S. troops shot, humiliated, and driven from the field of battle. They fill the airwaves with treason, but when called to vote on withdrawing troops, disavow their own public statements. These people are not only traitors, they are gutless traitors.
  • God gave us the earth. We have dominion over the plants, the animals, the trees. God said, ‘Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It’s yours.’
  • (On Islam) We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.

Michael Savage

  • The radical Democratic left is an army of soulless ghouls. Being of the living dead, they live in a world of death and try to impose it on we the living. Witness who led the charge: a radical homosexual, Barney Frank. A radical abortion Mafiosa, Barbara Boxer.
  • You know, when I see a woman walking around with a burqa, I see a Nazi. That’s what I see, how-do-you-like-that? A hateful Nazi who would like to cut your throat and kill your children.
  • My ancestors fled here because they wanted to become American. They wanted to imitate and ape the white man, while retaining some of their background. They didn’t want to impose their background upon the society, like so many immigrants do today, thinking that they have a right to impose their fetid societies upon us, the very stinkpots that they ran from.
  • They make homosexual wedding the law of the land, when 90 percent of the American people find it repugnant! And sickening! And disgusting! And don’t wanna accept it! And don’t wanna live in a degenerate nation!

Bill O’Reilly

  • I couldn’t get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia’s Restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it’s run by blacks. Especially the black patrons: there wasn’t one person shouting, “Hey, m’fer, I want more iced tea.”
  • I just wish Katrina had only hit the United Nations building, nothing else, just had flooded them out, and I wouldn’t have rescued them.”
  • Listen, citizens of San Francisco, if you vote against military recruiting, you’re not going to get another nickel in federal funds. Fine. You want to be your own country? Go right ahead. And if Al-Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we’re not going to do anything about it. We’re going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead.
  • Many parents are worried in America about the gay agenda and indoctrination of their children to see homosexuality in a certain way.

Glenn Beck

  • I find this guy [father of Michael Berg] despicable. Everything in me says that sluts are to be a better people today than I was yesterday says he’s a dad, he’s grieving, but I don’t buy that. I’m sorry, I don’t buy it. I think he is grieving, but I think he’s a scumbag as well. I don’t like this guy at all.
  • Cindy Sheehan is a tragedy slut.
  • Good for you, you have a heart, you can be a liberal. Now, couple your heart with your brain, and you can be a conservative.
  • Al Gore‘s not going to be rounding up Jews and exterminating them. It is the same tactic, however. The goal is different. The goal is globalization. The goal is global carbon tax.…You need to have fear. You needed to have the fear of starvation. You needed to have the fear of the whole place going to hell in a handbasket. Which–do we have that fear now with global warming?…Then you have to discredit the scientists that say ‘That’s not right.’ And you must silence all dissenting voices. That’s what Hitler did. That’s what Al Gore, the U.N., and everybody on the global warming bandwagon [are doing].

Who spews vitriol and anti-intellectual, inane, mindless drivel? And who gets more airtime? Talk Radio and now Fox News (and CNN) has given these hate machines a stage for years. Furthermore, the blogsphere is populated with more Conservatives hell-bent on caging those who are either different or disagree with them. Yet it’s the “angry liberal bloggers” who are criticized. Well, I take any criticism from Karl Rove as a compliment and vindication I’m doing something right. The Conservatives are simply trying to take the focus off the fact that their policies hurt Americans in the economic lower 95 percentile. The hyprocisy is palpable.

The Internet has given every person an ability to raise their voice and express their opinions. It is an invaluable tool preserving our democracy in a day and age when the mainstream media is either in cahoots with those they cover or are merely subject to the almighty dollar. We protect freedom and ensure transparency. We speak our minds without fear of intimidation. We are informed and pay attention and will always do so.

Are we angry? You’re damn right we’re angry! Our government has been hi-jacked by an authoritirian regime killing our civil liberties and guaranteeing our developed-nation achievements are only accessible to the wealthy. Only someone with their head in the sand could not be angry.

These righties would like us to surrender, to give up our message and treat them with kid gloves. Screw that. We are taking back our country, we are countering the hate-spewing by the Right that has gone unchecked for so long. Take the plank out of your own eye, Righties, and remember that we actually help this country and we’re here to stay.




Scarlet Letter of Atheism

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