Posts Tagged ‘mccain

06
Jan
09

On The Blogging Road Again

I’m back, kids! My fingers must have been itching, because they readily retained the memorization of my WordPress password  – a good omen I suppose for my return to the ubiquitous blogosphere, my favorite cranny being the neighborhood of dark, naughty angry liberals. Yes, yes, I’ve been gone a while and most of those who know me personally and scanned my writings from time to time have asked, “When are you going to blog again??” Now.

For reals, yo – I was suffering from major blog fatigue. Last year’s election placed us in a historical battle to reclaim the good that The States once were. The stakes could not have been higher and we were literally at the brink of a national, knife-edged decision between a hopeless, abysmal rejection of progress and simple possibility. Every blog, every comment, every opinion and assertion felt not just like sharing my voice – but helping to wage an effort bigger than all of us to help put our country and the world right. Shut up, you cynics – you felt it, too!!

And we triumphed. We whooped some old white man, religioner, anti-intellectual ass! To me, it wasn’t sooooo much that we elected Obama (indeed there will be blogs a-plenty de moi criticizing, constructively, many of Obama’s decisions) – my savored elation had more to do with the rejection of McCain and his joke of a running mate, Palin. To have elected them would have wrought irreparable damage at home and abroad to the pursuit of an improved, tolerant and beneficial community most of us glass-half-fullers choose to foresee.

In those months and moments leading up to Obama taking Pennsylvania and claiming victory, I wrote blog after blog – read innumerable others, gorged on news sites of every persuasion and sought every uncaptured sprinkle of information in a quest to comfort my nervous inner prognosticator. Certainly, I was quite confident from 2007 the Democrats would take the election. The multiple stellar Democratic candidates had the edge on the best the Republicans had to offer – none of whom could satisfactorily unite the anti-intellectual evangelicals with the small government, fiscal conservatives.

But fear of the unknown resonated in my bones and it seemed the only way to quell my anxiety was to participate – to blog.

The blog, however, consumed me. No doubt this government major loves to produce political analysis. But I found myself bound to the blog in ways I had not imagined. Visitors to the site became like crack to me and I counstantly found myself refreshing my page to scan visitor numbers, what searched terms pointed visitors my direction and if any other bloggers linked to my site. The computer had become my pipe.

Everyday, I felt the need to blog. The call was constant and the obligation heavy – akin to laundry, if you will. If we want to change the world, we have to participate and this was my clarion call for the 2008 election. I am a creature of freedom, however, and the obligation to the blogoslavedriver made my enjoyment level wear thin. My ass was sore and my eyes stung from sitting in front of the computer for ungodly amounts of time. I looked at myself on Nov. 5 with jail pale from lack of sunlight. Oh – and finding out I had a hormone deficiency.

So, when the knockout punch was delivered Nov. 4 – the call to blog slackened and I turned to the freedom of days not being psycho, not checking every single one of my bookmarks, not commenting, not needing to find solace in reading blogs espousing views similar to my own, not having anything else to talk about but the election and painfully pretending to be interested in other topics of conversation when interacting with fans of McCain.

I understand I am not alone. Television news ratings are down, talk radio has lost listeners, blog readership has slackened. We all needed to take a collective sigh and wallow in the release of tension built by a two-year presidential election season and the possibility of Sarah “You Betcha” Palin being a heartbeat away from the 3 am phone call. We needed to lick the wounds inflicted by the hypocritical masses of religioners oppressing homosexuals and tarnishing the good name of our country.

While away, I have enjoyed my respite – full of Festivus poles, delicious holiday meals, ungodly amounts of alcohol consumption and a crazy-ass college bowl game series (wtf, Texas Tech and Alabama?!! At least my Longhorns squeezed out a victory against Ohio State. I almost had a MFing heart attack!! We seriously need a college football playoff system).

It’s time to get back on the horse. Riiiide the pony. We only have two weeks left of mistake-of-the-century Bush II – which is amazing and unbelievable and fanfuckingtastic. It’s going to be hard for Obama – he has a monumental task ahead of him and choices to make for which there are no right answers. He will make mistakes, already has actually, and we must respond by voicing our opinion. This is our country, too (remember that, gay-haters).

Bush and Cheney thought the presidency belonged to them and they were wrong and now leave their posts in shame. The presidency belongs to us and we must remind Obama of this as the bubble engulfs him and his position on the pedestal skews his perspective.

Needless to say, I’ve never been afraid to say what I think. Bottom line: I’m back, baby!

And now I’m going to log out so I don’t constantly check viewership numbers. What the hell was wrong with me??

10
Dec
08

Laughable Joe-The-Plumber Speaks

Reveling in his 15th second of fame, Joe-The-Plumber gave an interview to Glenn Beck to publicize the book he didn’t write in true American capitalism fashion. Can’t really blame the guy. Hell, if this guy wants to shout from the top of the rafters what a jackass he is, then who am I to wish him shushed? Especially when he provides such humorous fodder for my irony-appreciating mental appetite.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, everyone is talking about how Joe is throwing John McCain under the bus – though, none of us would know his name if it weren’t for ole McCain (hey, that rhymes!) – but that is to be expected. Of course the world of the Right would treat their former nominee as a leper – they once hailed him as the Republican antichrist before being forced by the voters to jump on his bandwagon. Joe, obviously a follower of Fox News and radio blowhards, justified his participation in McCain’s campaign by calling him the “lesser of two evils”. Ain’t it funny that he never said that during the campaign?

MESSAGE TO JOE

What really brought home the absurdity of Joe’s reality was his assertion that he likes to think he’s more educated than most when it comes to politics. Right… Joe thinks the U.S. invading Iraq is like someone coming to Jesus and being saved. Joe thinks that a vote for Obama is a vote for the death of Israel. And Joe thinks he’s more educated than most when it comes to politics. Whatevah! Douchebag.

The second thing he said illustrating his “education” is that Sarah Palin is the “real deal” and that “she’s not looking for power.” If Palin is the genuine article – an honest politician – why do she and her staff use personal emails for government business? Why did she appoint wretchedly unqualified friends and donors to her cabinet and government positions? And if she’s not looking for power, why did she lobby her ass off to get to VP nomination?

One tip for ya there, Joe: the quickest way to fix the toilet is to get your head out of it.

19
Nov
08

Leakers Feel Good About Leaking

Jonathan Alter of Newsweek is one of my faves and tonight, on Rachel Maddow, he told guest host Allison Stewart that leakers feel all fuzzy inside after reading their revealed secrets in publications (or hearing them on TV, I presume). I suppose always I thought of leakers as fearful they would be illuminated as the smelly Swiss cheese and tread lightly. It does make sense, however, that the “diva” and “rogue” Palin leakers felt some ejaculatory pleasure as their unassociated slams consumed the shallows of mainstream media.

Leakers are always all the rage – from Watergate’s Deepthroat in the 1970’s to today’s Obama transition team permeables. Leakers, however, are not homogeneous. Some are lying bastard lowlifes while others are courageous whistleblower demigods.

The public’s right to know and our cherished democratic transparency are protected by leaks – understandably, dictatorships have quite a different relationship with them. The Bush administration has run a notoriously vacuum-sealed presidency and look where that has gotten us: rendition, torture, massive tax breaks for banks, the Iraq War, warrent-less wiretapping, attacks on women’s reproductive rights, etc., etc. No leaks = no good. Silence is deadly. You get the picture.

The majority of leaks, however, are undoubtedly generated by ulterior motives, weakening their credibility at the start. Others are potentially mortally truthful. Unfortunately, the worst leak in recent history had our executive administration outing a CIA agent and endangering international intelligence networks carefully crafted by America’s best and brightest.

But other leaks are just palin – I mean plain fun:

With the tidal wave of anonymous comments from insiders knowledgeable about the goings-on inside the Palin half of the McCain campaign, I figured the truth was somewhere in between the VP candidate talking to Salter & Schmidt in naught but a towel/didn’t know Africa was a continent and the McCain camp (ahem, Nicole Wallace) mishandling her, dooming her performance from the word “you betcha.” Either way, I’m glad I won’t have to give her anymore serious thought and bulging forehead veins for a while.

The final verdict on leaks: you just never know. Grain of sand and all that. Even if they’re lies, I appreciate being on the receiving end of the majority of them – especially when they’re of the sort that makes Dick Cheney’s pacemaker work a little bit harder.

18
Nov
08

Lieberman Keeps His Chairmanship

Jerkass

Jerkass

What a fuckin’ fucker. I know, I know, the Dems need his vote and don’t want to cut their nose off to spite their face when they’re about to have an unprecedented power while our nation faces turbulent waters now and in the foreseeable future.

But he’s such a dick. It doesn’t bother me that he supported John McCain. Not a bit. What pissed my shit off is when he played politics with our troops lives by trying to introduce legislation in the Senate, along with Sen. Graham, saying that the surge was a success. It’s well documented now that the reduction in violence in Iraq had many causes, the surge being a minor one. Forcing an Obama yay or nay on that issue would have swayed voters, which is what Lieberman was hoping.

He also questioned Obama’s patriotism, trying to fear-monger a success for McCain out of the electorate.

“In my opinion, the choice could not be more clear: between one candidate, John McCain, who’s had experience, been tested in war and tried in peace, another candidate who has not,’’ Mr. Lieberman said. “Between one candidate, John McCain, who has always put the country first, worked across party lines to get things done, and one candidate who has not. Between one candidate who’s a talker, and the other candidate who’s the leader America needs as our next president.”

If Lieberman disagreed with Obama on the issues, he is obligated to say so and I support him voicing his honest opinions. But saying McCain puts country first and Obama does not was petty and partisan. I might add that Lieberman made these comments when he probably still felt he had a shot at the VP slot. He discovered, with the rest of us, that McCain does not put country first when he chose a running mate wholly unqualified to be president.

Lieberman undoubtedly mollified many of his senatorial colleagues when he expressed today that, during the heat of the campaign, he issued statement he wishes he had not.

To little, too late for me and how disappointing to watch the Dems bend over for a schmuck like Lieberman.

Connecticut, for the love of christ, vote Lieberman out in 2012. I know that’s a long time from now – and I once again have to express my extreme support for term limits – but get rid of this putz. Sure, we Texans send our fair share of knuckle-draggers over to D.C. as well, but I’m doing what I can to improve our representation. I beg of you do so as well.

Leibermanmustgo!

05
Nov
08

OBAMA WINS, BITCHES!!!

One word: hungover. I drank way too much champagne last night – way, way too much. The light from the screen is hurting my eyes… oowww. I might have to crack a beer open – hair of the dog, you know. In fact, what the hell?! Obama is President-Elect. I AM going to pop open a beer. Hang on.

Aahhhh, that’s better! And, no, I DO NOT have a drinking problem!

Obama is going to be freaking president!!

I would say I’m relieved now that the election is over, but I never really doubted he would win. Ever. Not because I wanted him to win, but because it has been his logistically for quite a while. McCain never presented a real challenge – even with the Palin bump. Obama didn’t just win because the economy tanked. He won because the pendulum has swung away from the rotted, soiled, simpleton remains of the Republican Party. He won because his campaign was damn-near perfect. Obama won because he was the right man at the right time. It was an inevitability.

Last night was electric – after Pennsylvania and then Ohio were lit blue, I said, “It’s over!” But the nervous many tried to shout down my certainty – don’t say that, baby jesus might jinx us! But, I’d had too much wine and my boisterous assertions could not be contained. Not even by baby jesus! Though the wind might blow and the tension be palpable, I cannot be stopped from shouting atop my sofa – Obama will win, goddammit, hallelujah, Obama will win!!!

And then, at 10:30 Central, the networks called if for our Main Man and my house was literally ringing with cries of inebriated jubilation – the time had come to pop the bubbly! Hell yeah, motherfuckers!!! Repubs – you can take your old, white, wrinkly, close-minded ass home. Stamp “Return to Sender” on the forehead of your retarded Alaskan mascot. Next stop: progress. Couldn’t steal this one, right-wing douches! This one belongs to us – I mean That One. And he more than doubled McCain’s electoral count. That’s what I call a bonafide, grade A, first class ASS-WHOOPIN’!

As you can tell, I’m still on my post-election high. No telling when I’m coming down, though seeing Bush’s face live on television this morning came as close to a cold shower as it gets for a person of my persuasion. Oh, what’s my persuasion? Winner. Yep, that’s what I am. A winner. A big, awesome winner. There’s a lot of us this morning and, if you’ve read most of this blog, you’re probably a big, big winner, too.

Asides:

What was surprising, however, was how close Texas was. The Obama numbers were much higher than I expected and with the racists and close-mindeds getting old and dying off, I have a real, solid hope that Texas could turn blue in the near future. No, that’s not the beer talking.

And a big, major, huge SHAME ON YOU to the voters in Florida and California who voted to pass the gay marriage ban. You prejudice, discriminatory, close-minded dickwads are all going to hell. And good riddance. I hope your genitals fall off and you are plagued with herpes of the esophogus. And I mean that with all the Christian love a non-Christian can give.

And dammit if Michelle Bachmann didn’t win. Now we have to put up with that crazy whore putting her ugly mug in front of all the cameras she can find for a couple more years. I’m warning all television outlets now that if I see her being interviewed, I will turn the channel. However far I have to reach for the remote – even if I have to get out of my chair – I will tune into alternative programming. And you can take that to the bank, yo.

I’m sad, relieved, happy, disappointed it’s over. What will I blog about next?

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.

30
Oct
08

Republicans Quick to Predict Victory

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed the polarized predictions of elections results coming from the Republicans and Democrats?

In case you haven’t had a chance to watch and read endless amounts of commentary and analysis the way my ass (which really needs to work out) has, I’ll give you the condensed version:

Republicans: The polls are narrowing, we’re catching up and we’re gonna win it Tuesday, by golly, goshdarnit, suckJoecock.

Democrats: Don’t you turkeys take anything for granted. You get your ass to the poll or we’ll all be calling the crazy-ass old white man massah up in this bitch for four more years.

Yes, yes, yes, democrats are loathe to embrace hope after claiming the popular vote – but losing the White House – in 2000 and losing by a hair-thin margin in 2004.

But isn’t it telling that Republicans across the information waves are quick to paint a rosy picture of their chances on Nov. 4? Just look at the Bill O’Reilly’s interpretation of the electoral college map (posted on DailyKos):

Are you fucking kiddime me?! He has Michigan and Wisconsin and Iowa and Oregon and New Mexico as tossups!! Do you remember what I said in my last blog about the crack-smoking at FOX News HQ? I forgot to mention the opiate chaser.

Democrats will say we have a good shot, our chances are good, it’ll be really hard for John McCain to win or the second coming of Jesus Christ himself is more likely than the Republicans keeping the White House. But no one says “we’re going to win it” – “win” being the jinxable word. Psst, helloooooo, as long as we don’t say “win”, maybe we’ll win.

And the Repubs, whose candidate has more superstitions than the gray-haireds at the BINGO parlor, are saying “they’ll win” more than than they say “Obama is a socialist” and way more than they pay for sex.

What will be telling – and I wish we had a poll for this – is how many bottles of champagne are bought by Republicans or Democrats before their election-night party. That will truly illustrate just who the confident party is. I’m thinking at least 4 for mine. At least. Maybe 5. Or, like, 15. And cigars.

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???

14
Oct
08

Surge Truth on Morning Joe

This morning, Joe Scarborough hosted Peter Galbraith, author of “Unintended Consequences: How War in Iraq Strengthened America’s Enemies.” After Joe asserted he believed the troop surge was the cause of reduced violence in Iraq, Galbraith answered the reduction in violence was more the result of the Sunni change in attitude. He did not mention the payoffs to the Sunni militias and their leaders by the American Government, but asserted that after Sunnis had become displeased with Al Qaeda activities, they turned their loyalties away from the terrorist organization.

I would like Sunni payoffs to receive greater acknowledgment by the mainstream media and politicians as a significant factor in the reduction of violence in Iraq. Such an admission would reduce the politicization of the troops and the surge by politicians, namely McCain, Lieberman and Graham.

You can click here, to watch the interview.

Previous blogs regarding the truth about the surge:

Decreased Violence in Iraq – More to do with Money than the Surge

Lieberman Using Surge Resolution for Shady Politics

Finally, Honesty About the Surge

Lieberman Continues Playing Politics with Our Troops

Update On Decrease In Violence In Iraq

11
Oct
08

In Defense of Non-Fruitcake McCain Supporters

(I was going to blog about this last night, but I’m vehemently opposed to my own drunk blogging and am so thankful I was able to resist the urge. You should be, too.)

Alright, alright, alright.

I enjoy watching the freakjobs at the McCain rallies as much as anyone. It is a rare thing for the underlying elements of hate in America to find such a bright spotlight revealing their uneducated, intolerant, embarrassingly unAmerican ugliness. It’s like watching Taxicab Confessions. I feel so much better about myself and life choices after watching. A serene, elitist, almost voyeuristic satisfaction, you could call it.

But these are not the McCain supporters I know. And blogging from deep in Republican Country, with a family full of Repubs, I have a fairly qualified opinion. Most of the McCain supporters I know could either give you an informed run-down of the politically conservative policies with which they agree or wouldn’t vote for a Democrat whether he/she was white, black, purple, polka-dotted or born of a virgin mother.

They do not, however, believe Obama is a terrorist, friend-of-terrorists, an Arab, a Muslim, guilty of treason, think he should be killed or are deathly afraid of an Obama presidency. Granted some of the older Republicans ’round these parts have a problem with the color of Obama’s skin – but none, NONE of the younger Republicans could care less. They’re much more concerned with limited government and free market ideals and strict Constitutional interpretation. And I get that.

From time to time I hear a few say they think Sarah Palin is more qualified to be president than Obama. They are lying; she proved them wrong anyhow with her recent media interviews. Conservative commentator after conservative commentator is feeling the need to cleanse their soul with confessional editorials decrying Palin’s qualifications. And rightly so. McCain did not put Country First with that pick. Which is so ironic, since the VP hopeless continually accuses Obama of using Change for career purposes after McCain sold out the country for the sake of his presidential ambitions with his utterly horrific choice of Palin over Repub candidates infinitely more qualified.

And stirring wackos of any kind into a frenzy isn’t healthy for anyone, anytime, anywhere – so I am sincerely hoping the campaign sees fit amidst their desperation to spay Palin. After reading recent comments from Rick Davis not wanting their campaign to be a rerun of CNBC and Nicole Wallace accusing Obama of insulting McCain supporters, it’s not looking good. But a girl can hope.

And after enjoying the videos of McCain nutjobs with a naughty little glee in the detriment they are serving the very man they want to lead the country, I felt the need to cleanse my soul as well.

Like that cool strawberry-blonde who writes for Time magazine said on Rachel Maddow last night, it’s the fringe crazies who go to rallies. Thus, the camera is only capturing the worst element of McCain supporters – which are a much smaller fraction than the media is illustrating. My friends, family and associates are not idiotic retards without a properly functioning brain cell. They are not fans of Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. They are reasonable, considerate, intelligent registered voters who simply happen to be supporting the worst presidential frontrunner this election cycle. Hopefully, baby jeezus will forgive them. I’m crossing my fingers.

09
Oct
08

Questions for McCain, Palin and Cindy McCain

I’m working on a major energy blog I hope to post tomorrow, but have been pulled from those efforts by the continuing call by McCain and Palin for Obama to answer questions about his relationship with Ayers – which has been looked into ad nauseam.

McCain, Palin, and recently-enlisted attack dog Cindy McCain should put on their own honesty caps and enlighten us in a few gray areas regarding their past.

I took the privilege of posting a few questions I would like 100% honest, in-depth answers to by our beloved Republican hopefuls. If they’re calling for questions to be answered, perhaps they should pony up a few themselves and take the plank out of their eyes. I mean, if we’re really being honest…

Questions for McCain:

  1. Why did you inappropriately accept funds from Charles Keating?
  2. Why did you sign legislation impeding attempts to release records about POWs left behind in Vietnam?
  3. Why do you think you’d be a cool hand at the tiller when you are an infamous rage-a-holic who regularly pokes people in their chest when you are angry?
  4. Why have you courted the Religious Right after terming them “agents of intolerance” after the 2000 presidential primaries?
  5. What is your relationship with Gordon Liddy?
  6. Why did you serve on the board for the U.S. Council for World Freedom, which is tied to right-wing death squads who tried to overthrow the government in Nicaragua?
  7. Why did you not vote against a bill that would ban the CIA from using waterboarding?
  8. Do you believe Sarah Palin is more qualified to be president than Joe Lieberman, Tom Ridge, Mitt Romney, Lindsey Graham, Kay Bailey-Hutchison, Meg Whitman, Tim Pawlenty?
  9. Why did you obtain a marriage license to your second wife before the marriage with your first wife was over?
  10. Do you believe the surge of troops in Iraq was more affective at quelling the violence than Sunni payoffs and new strategic operations by the military?
  11. Knowing what you know now, would you approve the invasion of Iraq and the resulting deaths of over 4,000 American troops and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis?
  12. Why have you filled your campaign with former Bush cronies?

Questions for Palin:

  1. Why have you not been fully honest about your involvement in Troopergate?
  2. Does your husband love American as much as you do and, if so, why did he belong to an Alaskan secessionist movement?
  3. Why did you use personal emails for most of your online communication regarding your government operations?
  4. Why did you spend half your nights as governor of Alaska in your home in Wasilla, 600 miles away from the capital of Juneau and then charge the taxpayers for most of those home stays?
  5. Why did the government pay for the travel of your husband and children?
  6. Why have you appointed clearly unqualified people to your cabinet in Alaska?
  7. Do you believe abstinence-only education is effective?
  8. What is the capital of Venezuela?

Questions for Cindy McCain:

  1. Do you know that John McCain voted against funding the troops?
  2. Do you think that if Michelle Obama had a prescription drug addiction in the past, Obama would still be the Democratic nominee for president?
  3. Why have you not acknowledged your half-sisters in public?
  4. Why have you not given any of the millions of dollars in inheritance your father left you to you father’s other daughter, who only received around $10,000 after your father’s death?
  5. Why did your father have mob ties and serve time in prison?
  6. Do you actually believe Barack Obama’s campaign is dirtier than that of your husband?

I’m going to gag on the hypocrisy.

08
Oct
08

Reaction to the Second Presidential Debate

I have a strong bias and won’t even try to be objective. Barack obviously won. But, if I was Republican, I’d think McCain won. Which means Obama won because McCain didn’t bring it home for anyone outside his base.

Here’s my lefty opinion:

All of this jibber-jabber that town halls are McCain’s forum was a bunch of hot air. Obama was a freaking professor. Um, he has experience speaking in an instructive manner to a group of people less than 20,000 – though he doesn’t do it much these days. Even with the sound off, Obama took last night like he was on a runaway train to McCain Smackdown 2008.

McCain looked decrepit, was chirpy and uncontrolled. His attempts at humor had him simply coming off as bitchy to Tom Brokaw (who was incessantly annoying when pointing out the time limits – let the men talk for chrissakes!). He repeated the same ol’ Republican line that Washington is broken and continued the “Obama you don’t know” crap that doesn’t pass the smell test. Calling Obama “my friend” and then “that one” made it clear that McCain had his holier-than-thou suit on, a failed strategy in the context of a Republican campaign trying to fight the “elitist” left.

What was really amusing was his repetition that he would be “steady hand on the tiller” as if we all have political amnesia and haven’t been paying attention to this manic, disorganized and reactionary campaign he’s running. “Steady” he’s anything but. And the viewers know it. Which is why the line shouldn’t have even been included. It just highlighted his jacked up attempt to run for president.

Obama managed to get some zingers in – something he’s not known for, included the “bomb, bomb Iran” everyone keeps talking about this morning. Relating alternative energy development to the advent of the computer was excellent – I’ve been relating the energy crisis to Sputnik, but might start using the computer comparison as well. It’s quite clear that Hillary was good practice for Obama because he’s sucking way less than expected at these face-to-faces with McCain.

There were a few times – as opposed to a lot of times in the last debate – where I wished Obama had answered McCain differently. When McCain brought up health care mandates, I wish Obama had corrected McCain by saying the old man was confusing him with Hillary Clinton. It wouldn’t have been a good line for Democrats and might have pissed off the bitter Puma crowd, but it was the first thing I thought since Obama railed against Hillary during the primary for her call for mandates. When McCain described himself as “a cool hand at the tiller,” I wanted Obama to say, reminiscent of Bentsen to Quayle, “Senator, you are no cool hand.” Again, that probably wouldn’t have garnered Obama any points – but plenty of us out here in leftyworld would have high-fived each other and clinked our beers.

Much of the pundit exchange following the debate focused on the presidential debate negotiations which allow the candidates to carefully explain their policies without really challenging their ability to articulate them. It is such a shame that easily could have been rectified by the inclusion of Nader and Barr, as I’ve said in my reaction to the first presidential debate. Obama and McCain repeated themselves and their stump speeches and prepared lines the entire duration of the debate, which was disappointing to say the least. The questions were slow-balls, pithy and triggered my gag reflex. We saw much more candor and operating from the gut during the primary debates. Alas, our world is imperfect.

It was fun, if a little boring and forgettable. On goes the march.

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.

30
Sep
08

Blogging About the Bailout From the Netherworlds of Anti-Obama Territory

I was on the road all day yesterday driving from Houston to Pensacola to visit my parental types with my sister. Besides all the damn convoys of electricity and tree-trimming trucks heading back home after helping get Houston power back up following Hurricane Ike (my sister says thank you) driving in the left lane trying to give me an aneurysm, the ride went pretty well. All I’m saying is that I don’t know what South Texas and South Louisiana did to make baby jesus mad. Who knew hurricanes were such a useful tool of divine justice?

As I’m playing Highway Commando and trying to make good time, we get a call that the House voted against the bailout. Against the bailout! We immediately turned my new XM radio (which rocks hard) to the news stations – which was fun because the first thing we heard was Boehner and his fellow boners blaming Pelosi for the failure of Republicans to vote for the bailout package. Apparently, Pelosi gave some partisan speech, which pissed off quite a few of the Repubs so much, they forgot their vote would affect the entire U.S. economy and that of the rest of the world and decided to use their vote for political gamesmanship and spit in Pelosi’s glossy eye with a “Nay.” What word am I thinking of? It’s another word for donkeys… Oh, yeah – Jackasses!!

Who gives a shit about people’s retirement packages? Who gives a shit about companies being able to meet payroll? Mortgages, car loans, grocery bills…who cares, who cares, who cares? The American people have been fed a lot of baloney about the free market and American capitalism and decided to call their representatives, instructing them NOT to vote for the bailout. And the House reps actually claim they listened to these people – these people who have not one iota of understanding about how the markets work and what a catastrophe it will be if the bailout fails and allows the markets to wallow, freezing credit and large portion of the exchange of monies. Even my Republican family – who is watching the retirement upon which they currently live head toward the drain – was astounded at the stratospheric stupidity of these politicians.

Just real quick – the House Repubs are LYING when they said they’re voting no because of their constituents. They’re voting no because of lobbyists. As we speak, K Street is in a tizzy over golden parachutes and regulation and anything that might redistribute wealth in this country and is threatening all those little Congresspeople up for reelection. Three words: constituents my ass. Don’t insult me. I’m mean, I’m a blogger, for chrissakes.

I don’t think this current situation is altogether a bad thing.

Pick your jaw up off the ground and take a breath.

First of all, the level of education of the American public in the areas of economics, finance, credit, etc. has increased immensely. If we have to feel pain now so that our entire country operates with a few more smarts and a tad more responsibility, it is worth it. The people of this country have been told that their monthly income should not determine their standard of living. Credit was the answer to everything, and was easy to access, encouraging every Tom, Dick, Harriet, Rumor, Tallulah and Scout to spend those george washingtons without any attention to budgets and saving. Economic retards, as it were. I used to be one. These are my people.

Well, I’ve moved on – slapped in the face by a low FICO score, and it’s time for the American people to do so as well. Hopefully, this economic crisis will move us in that direction.

So, have a margarita, a mojito, a martini, a miller lite or whatever it takes to get your blood pressure down; then save money, diversify your investments, purchase cars and homes  beneath the amount you are approved for, stop trying to keep up with the Joneses, learn the language of finance and grow old, fat and happy (well, not fat).

That’s silver lining numero uno. The next, OBVIOUSLY, is the political fallout.

How fun! How tickling! How fucking hysterical!

The Democrats are about to take over the majority of the House and the Senate and get the Executive branch. And what happens? The House Repubs group together to collectively shoot themselves in the foot and take McCain down with them. Well, yeee-fucking–haw! I didn’t think this election season could get better AFTER McCain’s fake suspension, but I was gloriously mistaken. If I wasn’t in my parents’ Republican household, I’d be cranking up all the angry liberal commentary on the boob tube I could and just enjoy watching the conservative avalanche. God, it’s like Festivus came early this year. I don’t have anything else on my wishlist.

And it only gets better. The icing this week will be the Biden-Palin debate. Even if Palin does well – and I hope she does – Biden will be drowning our little sassy Republican VP candidate in facts, names, dates, details of overseas trips. And I love Gwen Ifill. Seriously, I think we would be friends in real life.

Ultimate conclusion 09.30.08: Keep yer panties on, because the economy will do much better under Obama than McCain – so get out there and make sure your vote is on the right side of future prosperity.

And wish me well as I try to keep my angry, foul liberal mouth in check just a little bit. Because my mom (who is not crazy conversative) still hits. Backhands, to be more specific. (As my sister will testify.)

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).




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