North America before the makeover

A monetary-reform approach to the crisis

From monetary reformer Stephen Zarlenga, Mrs. Kucinich’s old boss.  [Wow, what a makeover!  I liked her better before….]

(Hey, I just realized something: We have debit cards, and debt cards!!!  Imagine if we called them that: I guess that’s why we don’t!!!)

Republicans bailin’ on failin’ Palin

McCain, as his first executive act, nominated for vice-president, someone who would succeed, in the event of vacancy or even temporary incapacity (like PTSD stemming from his vaunted 5 years in Hanoi), someone who not all doctors agree will be around four whole years (only “most doctors,” even according to a campaign spokesman) — nevermind the possibility of impeachment or resignation — a clueless Fundamentalist* chosen only to shore-up his party’s political base, seduce non-Republican women voters, and some men by her physical appearance.

While we’re questioning Sarah Palin’s qualifications for vice-president or president, let’s question McCain’s too.

(*–Not that all Fundamentalists are clueless, or as clueless as Palin.)

Crisis and Bailouts: A moral question

How did our and the world’s economy become so dependent on gambling on bad debt generated by deceptive, predatory lending?

Can we declare the Reagan Revolution over and restore some sanity to our economic and financial relations with one another??

OTS calls Wall Street’s fears “misplaced”

That’s the U.S. Office of Thrift Supervision – which I didn’t know was still around after the ’80s S&L crisis cleanup – near the bottom of this AP piece.

Indian Health Emergency Declared

…by the Portland, Oregon, area Indian Health Board, due to rising gasoline costs and the distances impoverished Indians have to go for care from the federal Indian Health Service (hinted at in the classic “Bureau of Caucasian Affairs” treaty bit).  The vote has no legal effect like a settler-government disaster declaration, but it’s hoped it’ll draw attention to the problem … and dollars.

New Bushie ‘Business Plot’: Take Bailout Money and Run

It looks like Democratic leaders in Congress, and the MSM, are prepared to let them, too.  Here’s the details, and here’s a little different perspective.

I believe that “no review” provision is unconstitutional.  It comes from arrogant “conservatives” who propose using Congress’ power to delineate Federal courts’ jurisdiction, to exclude altogether pet projects like anti-flag-burning, public school prayer, anti-abortion, anti-pornography, etc etc etc.  But that’s at best a misunderstanding, at worst a vile perversion, of the provision, otherwise Congress could just explicitly exclude ALL its laws from judicial review, and do whatever it wants, the Constitution be damned.  But this power has never been seriously interpreted this way by Congress or the Courts.  Every act of the legislative or executive branches has to be reviewable judicially, even if just to say “It’s a political matter” or “It’s a Constitutional Amendment” (which would be obvious of course), “they’re allowed.”  If Congress (and the White House) sought to exclude a new bill from review by existing courts, they would be required to establish a new court just for that bill (like FISA), or designate State courts or something.  We can’t have NO review!

And a dictatorship of the Treasury Secretary, who works for the President?  Please!  I don’t see these powers granted in the Constitution.  Congress spends money.

As for the artificiality of the current “crisis,” you just know these guys were sitting around one day saying to each other, “What’ll they do, let us go under, and take the economy with us?!!”  This may be the culmination of W.’s “planned train wreck,” to totally “discredit” government by ballooning the deficit (incl. erasing the Clinton / Democratic surplus!), instigating a reaction to “shrink government small enough to drown it in a bathtub.”  (Of course, it all started with the Revolution of the Colonial Ruling Elites against The Crown and legitimate traditional government….)  They scream about “handouts” to us who are needy, but demand this total governmental giveaway to predatory corporations and the rich?!!!  This is right up there with trying to abolish Habeas Corpus and spy on us without a warrant.  And for the Democrats to just roll over and play dead on this when they have the majority in Congress would be a mortal sin.  RED states may not be buying it, but will they take that outrage to the polls in November and thrash the GOP that brought it on them?

Again, I have to wonder how much of this “bailout” money will find its way into Repug campaign coffers, or perhaps the corporate paychecks of Bush officials if they leave office in January?

Just more Republican “borrow-and-spend” “voodoo economics”!!!

They should call you MADAME YUP.

I’m surprised nobody else has jumped on this, after her People interview.  Maybe The Man Called FLINTSTONE (as it happens, being released in time for Xmas!) made more of an impression on me than generally!

The Man Called FLINTSTONE was a feature-length Flintstones cartoon spoof of James Bond and similar movies.  “The Man” comes from The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (as it happens, supposedly being released in stores as we speak!).  (In fact a couple of us remembered the title as The Man from F.L.I.N.T.S.T.O.N.E.!)  One of the perplexing characters in the movie for Fred and Barney was a mysterious, hypnotic, Russian-sounding woman whose name was evocative of Doctor No from Bond, “Madame Yes” (and whose hat, of Secret Squirrel and Cosby Kid Dumb Donald*!).

In the same way, Sarah Palin seems to have hypnotized the Right and the MSM.  As if we won’t mind more stolen elections and fascist dictatorship if we have Her Hotness to gaze upon for the next 16 years or more!

(*–Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids gave the rest of the world the “They should call you” put-downs, hence my headline.  Today of course we have the “Your mama so” put-downs.)

Indigenous liberation through language-immersion?

That’s the premise of this essay from Andrea Bear Nicholas.  I can certainly say how “neat” it felt taking a weekend ‘semi-immersion’ course in Irish Gaelic in the ’90s, I who previously “studied” Spanish, Latin, Biblical Greek and Hebrew.  (Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams once commented how he “loved to talk Irish in front of the White House!”)

I might even extend the usefulness of the idea a little more, such as one time when I was involved in discussing labor union business in Spanish right in the lunchroom, in an Anglophone workplace that subsequently sought to ban this behavior.  I guess there’s more than one kind of community-identity that can be facilitated by “minority” language!

Bushies destabilizing Bolivian progressive government?

So it may seem.  Sign petition against it, and begin returning our country to the community of nations.

Karma, or, Indigenous oppression like a bad psych drug for oppressors?

So argues this talk (PDF).  Try and stick through what seems like gratuitous anti-psychiatry, Tom-Cruise-style, because it builds toward some fascinating, even moving, ideas.  I might even borrow the book he’s selling!

These last few Native-related things come via the Native Studies program at St. Thomas University in New Brunswick.

Corporatocracy and Native Americans

Interesting (briefly-)detailed history (PDF) of New Brunswick’s Loyalist American settlement, illegitimate growth of corporations’ power, politicians’ conflicts-of-interest, and how all of the above left the province’s Natives destitute, as they largely remain.  A newspaper commentary by Professor Bear Nicholas.

The Vonage chick is growing on me.

The brunette in orange who hip-checks the Ma Bell guy, that is.  The Web says she’s actress Elizabeth Beckham.  More power to ya, Liz!  Like I say, NORMAL IS HOT!!!  “Woo hoo, woo hoo hoo!”

The Pentagon Channel

Good Classical Conservatives respect and honor servicemen and women who serve with honor, in spite of the politics around different wars and other military activities.  It goes back to Monarchies and service under the command of the Sovereign.

However, should The Pentagon Channel be available on U.S. territory?  The same law that forbade the Bushies from paying domestic journalists (and pseudo-journalists) and pundits for favorable coverage (for which they have not been prosecuted to my knowledge), also forbids them from directly broadcasting domestically (which is why we can’t listen over the air to Voice of America Radio, FWIU a classy, relatively-independent and professional source of U.S. and international news and cultural broadcasting).  The United States government is not permitted to disseminate propaganda internally, ie, to propagandize its own citizens.  The government as such is not allowed to attempt to influence internal political views one way or another (though politicians and officeholders of course are).  That would put government and taxpayer dollars flagrantly at the service of the party or persons in power.  Of course, so does the Congressional franking privilege, ie, free postage to constituents, usually maximized during reelection campaigns!  But theoretically that’s not its purpose.

Indigenous genocide

Andrea Bear Nicholas teaches and works in Native Studies at/from St. Thomas University in the Province of New Brunswick, Canada.  Read through this brief talk transcript at least twice for an inside sense/feel of the genocide that’s still going on against Indigenous people and peoples around the world, including the U.S., as well as “kinder, gentler” Canada.  Against children as well as adults.  Even now, after the closure of the Residential Schools, even now, in “politically correct” government schools.

I think if there’s even ‘one drop’ of ‘Red blood’ left in you, it’ll “cry out to Heaven for” redress.

Professor Bear Nicholas’ talk also raises the question for me, as an Irish / Native American convert in the Greek Orthodox Church, of, What about more-recent immigrants and their languages and cultures?  (UPDATE: Also see FURTHER, below.)  Well, bilingualism, English-French, remains the federal ideal in Canada, although as we are told, there are probably more Chinese speakers than French in British Columbia!  (Tho BC is perfectly entitled to adopt Chinese as an official language … and Manitoba, Ukrainian … and Nova Scotia, Gaelic … etc.  How about Mohawk in Quebec?!  Send Gilles Duceppe back to school! 😉 )  As Bear Nicholas points out, when even school is a “cross-cultural experience” for an oppressed minority child, it’s alot harder: Look at how some majority adults need to receive special training in cross-cultural this and that!  So the alternative is not necessarily two – or more – “solitudes” in a country; she also points to so many Europeans who are multilingual.  (As British “executive transvestite” comedian and actor Eddie Izzard reminds us, “The Dutch speak four languages and smoke marijuana!”)  But it also reminds me how unnatural and perhaps unnecessarily difficult, such humongous and “diverse” conquest / immigrant countries are … maybe frees us to think of better, time-tested ways, tolerant rather than physical-force- or other-force-genocidal.  Can you imagine the Romans trying to impose Latin on the Greeks or the Jews?!  (Tho that scene has more to do with latter-day English schools than 2,000-years-ago Mideastern politics!)

Just thinking…!  Not advocating the violent overthrow of the government or anything.  (I need my driver’s license!)

She also shows how we *all* need Aboriginal education, not just Indians.

Finally, what kind of mental health can be expected from what imperialists have put the rest of the world through?  What blowback?  Suicide, schizophrenia, substance abuse, terrorism, rebellion, revolution, desperation, “unreasonableness,” dangerous romanticism, ideology, demagoguery, fragmentation, civil strife, sectarianism, overdependence, “fundamentalism,” “radicalism”…?

FURTHER

The difference between Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous peoples is just that, indigeneity.  In nearly every land there have been Indigenous peoples compromised by non-Indigenous settlers, conquerors, invaders, exploiters, overwhelmers, displacers, etc.  Sometimes their ancestors may not have relocated voluntarily, as with Slaves in the Americas from Europe and Africa.  But non-Indigenous peoples in one land are indigenous to other lands, or their families, their family cultures, languages or dialects, surnames, physical appearance, etc., are.  In theory – I say in theory – if they decided they didn’t like it in the new land, they would in some sense have a home … land … to “return” to, one where they might not stick out as much as if the Indigenous of their new land moved there, one where, if many Irish-Americans are typical, they might even feel an instant ‘mystical’ connection to, even before the plane lands there.  For Indigenous, where they are IS their home … land.  As hospitable as folks in other lands might be, it wouldn’t be the same, especially if the Indigenous in question have managed to retain some Indigenous sense of connection to their home … land … soil … etc.  In the ’90s I thought a little about emigrating to Ireland, but since I’ve learned more about my American Indian background, I wouldn’t dream of leaving the Americas permanently!  I’ve realized as never before in my life a relationship to this soil that goes back literally eons; it’s part of me.

All this may be one good way to understand the special status Indigenous peoples have in international politics, often in domestic law, treaties, countries’ customary law, social ethics or morality or social justice, racial or ethnic justice, etc.  Or should, or aspire to.  Indigenous peoples have been victimized in ways that prove to be fundamental to the very existence of the modern countries in which they now find themselves encapsulated, ways that in doing so fundamentally compromise Indigenous peoples’ way of life, spirituality, economy, language and self-expression, freedom and rights, homes and habits and customs, etc etc etc.  In former times often Indigenous peoples would simply be “terminated with extreme prejudice,” forcibly assimilated, exiled – all things we now consider criminally genocidal, or aspire increasingly so to do.

Republicans desperate?

They’re now sending out letters to voters who switched their registration to Democratic* to please come back for no other reason than the need for a two-party system instead of one-party d/Democratic rule, not for anything the Grand Oil Party supposedly stands for.  I LOL’ed when I saw it!  It read like their heart wasn’t even really in it.  But we can’t get complacent, because they’ll probably steal it again anyway….

(*–Yes, I know voter reg is public information, but still, it feels Big Brotherish!)

McCain lies

Recently got the following in a mass-email from national Democratic chairman, Gov. Howard Dean, M.D.:

John McCain is running the sleaziest and most negative presidential campaign we’ve ever seen — his campaign is setting new lows with their lies and desperate personal attacks.

Even Karl Rove, the mastermind of George W. Bush’s slash and burn politics, admitted that McCain’s attacks have gone “too far.”

…The McCain campaign has defended and repeated their lies, even after news outlets and independent watchdogs called them “shamelessly misleading,” “thoroughly dishonest,” and “a toxic mix of lies and double-speak.”

The Republicans even lied about the crowd size at one of Sarah Palin’s rallies — they reported 23,000 attendees when there were only 8,000.

These tactics are just more of the same culture of the dishonesty and division that has hurt America so badly the last eight years.

And John McCain is fighting for another four years of the same. Last week, he hired a Washington super-lobbyist to handpick potential White House staff. Apparently he wants to run our government the same way he runs his campaign — surrounded by lobbyists.

Obama “liberal” charge racist, groundless.

I’M a liberal (in America), and he ain’t!  Do they just presume because he’s Black, he’s “liberal”?  As if social justice is “liberal”!  Guess we know where that places the “conservatives”!!!

As for “Obama’s liberal allies in Congress,” we could USE some!  Congressional Democrats at large haven’t been “liberal” since the ’70s!

Then again, this might just be that syndrome where “conservative” talk radio mouths call anyone more moderate than themselves liberal.

“He changed Washington”?

Then how come it’s still the way it’s been since 1980?!!!  McCain didn’t change Washington.  “That’s not a maverick, that’s a sidekick!”

“She fought the Bridge to Nowhere”?

Only after vigorously supporting it, and all kinds of other pork-barrel spending for Alaska, till it became a joke in the rest of the country!

Lipstick on a pig

Like Palin owns the word “lipstick” now, just like Fox News Channel owns “fair and balanced” (NOT!).  “Lipstick on a pig” is an old rural American expression, far older I’m sure than “lipstick on a pit bull” or whatever it is she said … especially considering how young the institution of “hockey mom” is in this country.  (And what, all women have to go back to wearing lipstick in Palin’s America now?)

A vote for McCain is a vote for Palin

Haven’t we had enough trouble with hot interns in the White House?!!!

McCain dying?!

McCain hiding death risk?

A very reasonable concern, as illustrated here.

Sorry I missed SNL!

Great open with help from “Tina Fey glasses“!!! “Sexy librarian thing”!!!!

(How come Palin has a Chicago-Milwaukee accent, anyway?!)

Haters?

Nice how the Repugs try to turn their original blindly-irrational “Clinton Haters” status on anyone who disagrees with them, as “Bush Haters,” “Palin Haters,” etc.  I said long ago that most of us don’t care enough about W. to hate him – Palin neither – we’re just concerned that they do or could have their finger on The Button and aren’t qualified.  We may yet have WW3 before 1/20/09, if not before Election Day, the way the Bushies are talking.  But anyone who disagrees with them can’t possibly be rational, right?!!!

Sweet Bailouts!

Funny how they don’t hesitate to give 800 billion of our and our grandchildren’s money to big business, the rich, and “investors,” while they nickel-and-dime us poor people to death!  Just four questions:

  1. How can the taxpayers be bilked without a Congressional Appropriation?
  2. Is there an election coming up?!! 😉
  3. How much of this money will come back into Republican campaign coffers?!!!  (I’m put in mind of the Canadian Liberals’ Sponsorship Scandal, and the U.S.-Canada softwood lumber deal that created a slush fund for W. and Harper!)
  4. For that matter, do campaign contributions determine which corporations we bail out and which we leave to “market forces”?!!!

Just let any one of you try and get help from the government when you’re in real need, disabled, unemployed, tied-down at home with kids, even trying to get off drugs, etc etc.!  Sure, there are programs, but talk about humiliation!

BTW, can we really have a President at this time who admits he’s economically clueless?!!!  Thanks for the honesty, McCain, but C-ya!!!

Oil Prices

Any excuse to raise ’em!  A butterfly sneezes in the Indian Ocean, and oil goes up here.  GOUGING!!!!!  SPECULATING!!!!!

UPDATE: Ah, so they say gas at the pump has been falling for the last two months?  Must be an election coming up….

MSNBC caves

They leave the field to the Fox/ABC/NBC Normal/CBS/CNN Conglomerate.  So much for the So-Called Liberal Media (SCLM)!  LOL!

McCain foreign affairs “expertise”?

See item number 2 here, in case we forgot.  (Yes, I did.  Who can keep track?  Especially since it doesn’t make a difference to me….)  I dunno, Obama looked pretty “expert” there in Berlin!  Oh, but that’s just celebrity….  Although sometimes politicians become celebrated” for good reason!!!

Rock band Heart defends its honor against GOP

One of my all-time fave bands, I mustn’t have been listening when the Repugs played “Barracuda” for Palin at the convention.  (In fact, I wasn’t listening much at all!)  That’s the problem when musicians “sell out.”  I guess they gotta eat too.  Though their royalties are being donated to the Obama campaign, so it’s not a total waste-product….

Actually, Palin reminds me more of another Amazon fish!

So much for Fixed Election Dates!

So, Stephen “Fixed Election Date” Harper decides going on like he has with his heavily-indulged theocon minority government in Canada is no longer to his liking?  Hypocrite — typical theocon.  Trash constitutional law tradition until it suits them to fall back on it.  Not that Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition should’ve let him go on this long either….

Palin, ‘the rest of the story’?

One never knows what to make of something like this, but it paints a much darker picture of Sarah Palin than we’re being allowed through the MSM.  This purports to be from someone who knows her well in Wasilla.  It seems to echo some bits and pieces I’ve glimpsed elsewhere, as well as alot I have not.  So, for what it’s worth….

Something else I remember from college politics majors (like she was – well, a minor – along with her journalism major): Some of them were really nasty.  Coups d’etat in the Politics Club?!!  Some others were two-faced.  “Politicians,” IOW, in the bad sense.  But not all.

(And apologies to Paul Harvey.  Good day!)

IBS pacemaker update

Sort of.  In February I discovered what appears to have been initial published research from Egypt regarding bringing Irritable Bowel Syndrome under control with the help of a temporarily-implanted electrical stimulation device – in your abdomen, not up your butt! – similar to traditional heart pacemakers, more recently also being applied to the brain.  That article was published in January 2003.

Today I located what appears to be the follow-up research they indicated, published at the end of ’04, sharpening and confirming their technique, and now recommending it for treatment “when other measures have failed to cure the condition.”  (Why wait?!!!  I’ve had this going on 20 years!!!)

This is the latest which leading IBS patient-expert Heather Van Vorous has on it there, so again one wonders, did something derail this, or is it making its way through regulatory approvals in Europe or something?  I don’t have access to their full article, so if there’s info there, I don’t have it.

Biden hints at criminal prosecutions

Echoing an Obama promise from the Spring, Biden says if elected they’ll end the stonewalling against criminal prosecution of Bush administration officials where warranted, so no one is above the law.

(Too bad we had to go to British media to learn about it….)

Wednesday Night GOP roundup

With thanks to MSNBC:

McCain running mate speaks as someone unconcerned with public opinion

Is the public not going to be voting in November?  Or are our votes not going to count?  What do they know?

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, in her first real introduction to the American people as Sen. John McCain’s running mate, struck back Wednesday night at news organizations and a “Washington elite” that have raised questions about her qualifications to be vice president.

Ah, we should know not to ask such questions of a candidate for public office, especially the second-highest office in the Executive Branch, potentially second only to an elderly man not in perfect health.

As Palin accepted the vice presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., her experience — she has been mayor of tiny Wasilla, Alaska, and has served as Alaska’s governor for less than two years — was front and center in voters’ minds. Palin’s personal life has also become a topic of discussion after she revealed that her 17-year-old unmarried daughter was pregnant.

Alaska, a state I love, but with fewer people than many cities and counties.  Also, “she revealed”: I don’t recall anyone asking if she was pregnant now.

Palin acknowledged that she had not been in politics for long, calling herself “just your average hockey mom [who] signed up for the PTA because I wanted to make my kids’ public education better.”

Sounds to me like the right stuff to lead the strongest nation on earth!

But in a speech that connected strongly with delegates who interrupted her numerous times with standing ovations, she dismissed critics of her background as snobs who looked down on ordinary Americans and their concerns.

Guess what, dear, you’re not an ordinary American.  And I’ve already pointed out how the Obama “elitist” attack has racist undertones, overtones, or both.  Anyway, alot the Repugs have done for ordinary Americans and their concerns these last 28 years, with real wages falling, homelessness up, hunger up, malnutrition up, lack of health insurance up, insufficient health insurance up, sacrificing their children and spouses in senseless wars abroad from Grenada to Iraq and soon possibly Iran and Georgia, agriculture going to the corporations, small towns dying, etc etc etc.  Then again, “Republicans Against Snobs”: Maybe this *is* a ticket of change and reform and mavericks!!!

“I’m not a member of the permanent political establishment,” Palin said. “And I’ve learned quickly these past few days that if you’re not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone.

But as a Republican, you ARE a member of the elite.  But that’s not why you’re unqualified, but because you make Dan Quayle look like a Rhodes Scholar of vast experience.  It’s not your fault; if you had his privileges all your life, you probably would’ve made more of them than he did.

“But here’s a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion,” she said. “I’m going to Washington to serve the people of this country.”

First of all, that “little” is immature and girlish; that’s OK, you’re a girl, a young woman by Washington standards, even if you are about to become a grandmom; come back in a few years when you get some game and stop saying things like “little news flash.”  More importantly, if the people of this country don’t want you, will you be forced upon us by election fraud?  Who would Jesus cheat?

The campaign said Palin co-wrote her address with Matthew Scully, who has written for McCain and previously for President Bush. The Obama campaign picked up on that fact in its brief response, which it released during the roll call of the states that was making McCain’s nomination official.

“The speech that Governor Palin gave was well delivered, but it was written by George Bush’s speechwriter and sounds exactly like the same divisive, partisan attacks we’ve heard from George Bush for the last eight years,” the campaign said in a statement.

“If Governor Palin and John McCain want to define ‘change’ as voting with George Bush 90 percent of the time, that’s their choice, but we don’t think the American people are ready to take a 10 percent chance on change.”

As Senator Bob Casey said, “That’s not a maverick, that’s a sidekick!”

“Since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves,” Palin said. “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities.”

IIUC, not many, not in Wasilla anyway!  But then, a White girl in Alaska wouldn’t know about the need for community organizing; she should ask her Yup’ik Eskimo grandmother-in-law about it.  Now there’s a small town!

“I might add that in small towns, we don’t quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they are listening and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren’t listening,” she said, alluding to an early gaffe by Obama during the primary campaign, when he suggested that working-class Americans tended to “cling to religion and guns” in tough times.

No gaffe.  I suspect he learned it from the recent scientific research of sociologists Andrew Greeley – an Obama friend – and Michael Hout, as in their recent book The Truth about Conservative Christians: What They Think and What They BelieveAnyway, I’m not sure Obama was putting down small-towners when he said it; I originally read it as profoundly sympathetic, considering the lip-service they’re used to from the GOP.  G&H believe that if Democrats restored their former alliance with rural and small-town America, offering them a positive reason to vote for them again, and not just a negative reason not to vote for the Repugs — It really is ‘the rural and small-town economy, stupid’ — they’d come back.

“Here’s how I look at the choice Americans face in this election. In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers. And then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change. …

“There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you, in places where winning means survival and defeat means death, and that man is John McCain.”

McCain, change?  Doesn’t McCain-Feingold seem to have been well-designed to keep letting soft campaign money through, rather than stopping it as claimed?  (Sorry, Russ, it’s the truth, and you know it.)  Has he changed anything else?  He talks change now, but where’s he been for the last three decades there in Washington?  Talk about “permanent Washington elite”!  And what the ill-advised Vietnam War has to do with change, I don’t know.  It’s tragic McCain had to spend those years as a POW, with all that torture and deprivation of basic rights and counsel – conditions he feels compelled to inflict on others today – for a big mistake and political opportunism, just like our men and women around the world these last 28 years, thrown into the meat grinder by politicians without a clue, cynical politicians out only for their own reflected glory, no matter the human cost.  Real change wouldn’t be continuing The Wars of the House of Bush and Saud for another 8-16 years, for literally trillions of dollars our great-grandchildren will be paying-off, but ending the madness now.  But then, you “haven’t thought much about the Iraq War.”

“From the inside, no family ever seems typical,” she said. “That’s how it is with us. Our family has the same ups and downs as any other, the same challenges and the same joys.”

But at the same time that the campaign was pressuring reporters to stop asking about her children, Palin invoked her family several times in explaining why she was proud to run on the same ticket with McCain.

That’s the thing: “Most other families” aren’t trying to tell others how to be, especially while not succeeding in living up to it themselves – a tough standard – but neither ratcheting back the rhetoric as ‘older and wiser’ or having learned a little humility in ‘the school of hard knocks.’  Hopefully you will in future decades.  Speaking for myself, I’m surprised at how smart I’ve gotten versus how smart I thought I was 20 years ago … or even three!!!

Palin praised the senator as “a man who wore the uniform of this country for 22 years and refused to break faith with those troops in Iraq who have now brought victory within sight.”

“Within sight” of LSD trippers, maybe….

“Sometimes, even the greatest joys bring challenge, and children with special needs inspire a special love,” Palin said.

“To the families of special-needs children all across this country, I have a message: For years, you sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters,” she said. “I pledge to you that if we are elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House.’’

I read somewhere that both she and McCain cut special ed funding.  I thought it was on Huffington Post, but their search function seems on the fritz just now.  But with friends like that….

Even before McCain’s plane landed at noon, his campaign struck back heatedly at persistent questions about Palin, declaring that “this nonsense is over.”

Temper, temper, Senator….  If you didn’t want questions, you shouldn’t have nominated such a “questionable” candidate.

Levi Johnston, the boyfriend of Palin’s pregnant 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, got a pat on the shoulder, as well as a handshake. McCain told Bristol Palin that he was sorry for what she was going through because of the “intrusion of the media,” Steve Schmidt, a senior campaign adviser, told NBC News.

Yes, “the media” invited in by mom and her new friend from Washington.  Anyway, McCain repeatedly rubbed Levi’s upper arm.  What’s that about?  Wait, is he the one – McCain – who doesn’t know what to do with his hands?  You’d think after three decades in the limelight….

Referring to forum last month at which both candidates fielded questions from Rick Warren, a prominent evangelical leader, Romney said:

“And at Saddleback, after Barack Obama dodged and ducked every direct question, John McCain hit the nail on the head: Radical Islam is evil, and he will defeat it. Republicans prefer straight talk to politically correct talk.”

I would’ve thought not Establishing a religion would include not using taxpayer dollars or soldiers to “defeat” a religion either.  But as they say, the First Amendment is just an amendment….  As for Obama’s alleged performance there, I don’t make a habit of keeping up on Evangelicals, so I couldn’t say.  I’ve got my own fish to fry(!)….

Huckabee, meanwhile, cast doubt on Obama’s {alleged*} lack of experience and judgment in foreign policy, saying: “Maybe the most dangerous threat of an Obama presidency is that he would continue to give madmen the benefit of the doubt. If he’s wrong just once, we will pay a heavy price.”

I don’t see Obama saying that.  I see Obama saying that unless Huckabee wants a draft … or a nuclear holocaust … maybe a little in-person “reading the Riot Act” to Ahmadinejad et al. might bring the message home to them.  A little thing we used to call international relations, before Reagan and others decided speaking loudly and carrying a big stick was better than the other thing.  Though the rest of the planet thinks we’re the madmen….

Giuliani, meanwhile, took on the burden of answering the controversies over Palin’s background….

Oh, that’s rich.  I guess his job was to make her situation look normal! 

Saying Palin had more “executive experience than the entire Democratic ticket combined,” Giuliani said, “I’m sorry if Barack Obama thinks her hometown isn’t cosmopolitian enough.”

Earlier, Giuliani, in an interview with NBC’s TODAY show, called reporting on Palin’s daughter “indecent and disgusting.”

“Everything’s that come out is almost silly,” Giuliani said. “The whole thing with her daughter is just absurd.”

And Rudy has more “executive experience” than she, so why isn’t he on the ticket?!!  Because the “base” thinks he’s a flaming liberal!  (Ask Blacks in New York about that.)  And yes, exposing Bristol’s issues was absurd – but that seems the order of the day for these Republicans….  They think little of a young woman “in trouble,” and always have.  Levi has shown more manliness in his little finger by joining her in the maelstrom than McCain in all his years in Hanoi.  Because McCain can always run on his “prisonership,” as he does constantly, but what can Mr. Johnston do other than what he’s doing?

Romney said Americans would enjoy “expanded opportunity … when taxes are lowered and when every citizen has affordable, portable health insurance.”

And Giuliani promised that McCain would “lower taxes so our economy can grow.”

“He will reduce government spending to strengthen our dollar,” Giuliani said. “He will expand free trade so we can be even more competitive.”

Sounds like trickle-down, “voodoo economics” to me – as a man named Bush once called it!  And folks like us are tired of being trickled on!!!  In any case, why isn’t their man Bush II doing all this?  The fact is, he’s lowered the taxes of the rich and Big Business, and promoted free-not-fair trade, but not the affordable, portable health insurance, the economic growth, or the stronger dollar.  He has brought us six-dollar gas, unbridled corruption, denial of Global Warming, the housing crisis, offshoring, the “loud sucking sound south,” arsenic and mercury in our water (I hope not in Alaska, for those babies’ sake), regulatory malfeasance / misfeasance / nonfeasance, “lost” Indian billions, lies and coverups, war profiteering, election fraud and divisiveness and partisanship, etc etc etc.  And McCain’s been right there with him 90 percent of the time, his arms wrapped around him, his lips right on him.  “That’s not a maverick, that’s a sidekick!”

(*–So much for the “liberal media” myth!)

Orchestrated?

Is it possible they picked Palin precisely because of the questions she and her family and Alaska would provoke, as a means of (further) energizing their “base” (in both senses of the word) – see how they turned tonight into “Avoid the Issues / Bash the Media Night” – as well as producing a tail-between-the-legs repentance in the fearful, McCain-adoring MSM?  Enough that they’ll “pay no attention to the man behind that curtain” fiddling with the voting machine come November?

Some have noted how they threw poor Bristol to the wolves (not the ones shot from helicopters either).  If someone asks you, “Are you really the mother of Trig?” a logical answer isn’t, “My single teenage daughter’s pregnant,” it’s, “I’m not even going to dignify that bizarre question with a response.”  Is this the way Bristol’s real mom would respond?!!

I don’t say “Well played, Rove,” because for us not to raise these questions would be irresponsible.  If you can’t stand the heat, don’t keep dragging your kids and their lovers into the kitchen kicking and screaming – or onto the airport tarmac – while continuing to preach “family values” and privacy!  Maybe journalists play softball up in the 49th (-most-populous) State, although the top two newspapers there question her readiness too (and also her inflated – ie, lying – popularity rating).

If this is all a cynical ploy, it shows their disrespect for the White House they covet so.  Of course, the real decisions are made by the Ruling Class elsewhere, but the White House can slow their plans and ambitions if in the “wrong” hands.  Note I said slow; have they ever been stopped?

It also shows their disrespect for their “conservative” constituency, as well as that constituency’s willingness to be used so.  “What Would Jesus Do?”

Troopergate probe going Abramoff?

Did somebody “get to” the Palin aide who was to be a key voluntary witness and who proved Palin lied when she said none of her staff were involved?  Looks suspicious.  Just like how Abramoff fallout was going to bring down dozens of GOP Congresscritters … and what’s happened there?  “Challenging jurisdiction”?  Yeah, that’s real open, real change, real “maverick / reformer”!  If she has nothing to hide, she should go back to the Legislature freely, yes with lawyer if necessary … can’t do anything without lawyers anymore.  (And don’t let me hear them go on their “trial lawyer” tear now too!)  But by gosh, get them under oath, under pain of perjury, no Cheney / Gonzales special deals where they can lie again through their perfect teeth.  Sounds like she had a deal: no subpoena embarrassment.  For someone “not part of the Washington establishment,” she’s learning pretty quick!  “That’s not a maverick, that’s a sidekick!!”

In case you forgot about Global Warming…

Over 240 square miles of Canadian Arctic ice shelf.  Gone.  This.  Year.

That’s GOPal Warming – and the Repugs’ Canadian agent, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, wants to expand it … not like Canada is short on oil these days, with the Oil Sands and all.

Obama campaign reax to GOP Convention

…in this excerpted email to supporters, since I wonder if it’ll get through in the McCain-loving MSM (And so much for Giuliani and Palin as working-class people!):

I wasn’t planning on sending you something tonight. But if you saw what I saw from the Republican convention, you know that it demands a response.

I saw John McCain’s attack squad of negative, cynical politicians. They lied about Barack Obama and Joe Biden, and they attacked you for being a part of this campaign.

But worst of all — and this deserves to be noted — they insulted the very idea that ordinary people have a role to play in our political process.

You know that despite what John McCain and his attack squad say, everyday people have the power to build something extraordinary when we come together….

Both Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin specifically mocked Barack’s experience as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago more than two decades ago, where he worked with people who had lost jobs and been left behind when the local steel plants closed.

Let’s clarify something for them right now.

Community organizing is how ordinary people respond to out-of-touch politicians and their failed policies.

And it’s no surprise that, after eight years of George Bush, millions of people have found that by coming together in their local communities they can change the course of history. That promise is what our campaign has been about from the beginning.

Throughout our history, ordinary people have made good on America’s promise by organizing for change from the bottom up. Community organizing is the foundation of the civil rights movement, the women’s suffrage movement, labor rights, and the 40-hour workweek. And it’s happening today in church basements and community centers and living rooms across America.

Meanwhile, we still haven’t gotten a single idea during the entire Republican convention about the economy and how to lift a middle class so harmed by the Bush-McCain policies.

It’s now clear that John McCain’s campaign has decided that desperate lies and personal attacks — on Barack Obama and on you — are the only way they can earn a third term for the Bush policies that McCain has supported more than 90 percent of the time….

Thank you for joining more than 2 million ordinary Americans who refuse to be silenced….

David Plouffe
Campaign Manager
Obama for America

Palin, The Church Lady

Oh my gosh, I can hardly bear to listen to Palin give her sermon, er, speech, at the Convention!  That squeaky, contemptuous, self-righteous, bitchy, smart-assy, pretentious, pursed-lipped delivery – wow, is that what her family, Wasilla, and Alaska have been putting up with? – reminds me of nothing less than Dana Carvey’s “Church Lady” from those old Saturday Night Live “Church Chat” bits“We like ourselves, don’t we.  We think we’re just a liiiiittle bit superior.  Who could’ve put that idea into our heads, hm?: SATAN?!”  They’ve got to have him/her back for their season premiere on Sept. 13.

Palin turns out to be one of those “hot” girls you just want nothing to do with.  Y’know, sometimes you got the idea that you wouldn’t mind “having a beer” with The Church Lady after all was said and done … but not this one!  If she shakes that finger at us one more time, it’s gonna fly off!

Look, my only concern is that they’re gonna steal this election like the last few, then McCain croaks or goes PTSD something, and she’ll have her finger on the button, that itchy NRA / Millenialist trigger finger.  Her own Alaska fellow-Republicans don’t consider her ready to govern the 49th most populous state in the Union, with fewer people (and services, is my impression) than many Lower 48 cities and counties, let alone the whole Nation!  Could Obama turn chilly Alaska Blue?!!

And her much-anticipated speech wasn’t even personal, just boilerplate “masculine,” mostly pre-written for her by the campaign?  Not knowing her, I want to hope so, but “conservative” women can get pretty nasty just the same – though not all.

And what’s this about coddling Alaskan secessionists, even having been one?  I would like to be wrong, but I think they’re anti-Native too – ironically, since she’s married to one!

And the McCain campaign is hiding her from news interviews … leaving journalists no choice but to mine her past.  Who’s being “combative” now?  Look, a political convention is offered to the media as a “feeding frenzy”: if you don’t throw them something, they’ll find something!

I don’t mind Obama/Biden having to run against McCain/Palin, because it’s a slam dunk.  Like I say, I’m just concerned about what’s probably gonna happen: either the polls will “mysteriously” “surge” Red in the last week of the campaign, or there’ll be a “mysterious” post-survey Red swing in the election “results” … with massive vote suppression / Jim Crow tactics, “mysterious” e-voting techs messing around the machines, “voter-fraud fraud,” media Red spin, “mysterious” media and survey changes, all the stuff we’ve gotten used to since 2000.  Maybe even another unConstitutional federal court intervention … except this time the bench ruling will be 6-3 instead of 5-4, thanks to Bush’s GOP partisan appointees.  (And remember, it was Bush who went to court, not President Gore, hence “Bush v. Gore,” not “Gore v. Bush.”)

PS: Isn’t it funny how the Republicans are now the Reds, what with them calling us Communist all those years?  I think somebody did that on purpose….

Political Puritanism

Why do some denominations in America try to legislate their version of personal morality on the rest of us?

I’m something of a theological social ethicist, and I think it’s because either their churches don’t do a good enough job of regulating their own members (as Stanley Hauerwas opined), or because most Americans don’t belong to their denomination (whatever it may be) to begin with.  Or both.

Putting it another way, religious pluralism (the second reason above) inspires some religious Americans to try to force persons who don’t believe as they do to act as though they do.  You don’t see this so much anywhere else in the world except maybe the post-Communist Orthodox countries, also coping with a pluralistic situation, recovering from generations of state-sponsored militant atheism.  This is because these are the most religiously pluralistic countries in the world, where no one sect is all-powerful or very influential.  As if to prove the point, we’re starting to see this Europe-wide, as Catholics, conservative Protestants, and some Orthodox Christians get together against perceived secularization, even though each European Union country itself has a state or dominant-cultural religion / sect, witness recent controversies over “God” in their proposed constitution, homosexuality, abortion, etc.

If they can’t get us to join their sect through “evangelism” / proselytism, they’ll try to impose their views politically and/or socially.  (Or they’ll seek the state’s help in enforcing even with their own members, though at least this latter option has a long history in religion worldwide!)  Alcohol Prohibition or limitations, adultery or (consensual) sodomy as crimes, Gay adoption prohibition, Blue Laws, government support for religion, “God/Christianity” in the Constitution, censorship, etc. – nothing ever presented seriously with true public policy implications, mostly religious or “for your own good.”  (*I* have some good public-policy, not-explicitly-religious reasons for Blue Laws, but that’s for another post!)

Cynics say there’s a third reason: that the effort isn’t sincere at all, just a “wedge issue” to energize particular religious-political constituencies.  And one has to wonder, when formerly-reasonable-seeming Republican politicians from the ’80s and before, turn into Bible-thumping censors in more recent years: Are they for real, or just playing politics?  And when some of them get caught with their pants down etc.

Obama “celebrity” attack is racist.

As if a Black man can only get diverse votes in America if he’s a football or basketball player, a TV or movie star, a network TV newsman, a singer or an author.  This from the man – McCain – who’s been on Leno no fewer than 13 times, as many as Jennifer Love Hewitt!  They say Obama’s the media’s darling, but really it’s McCain, Leno’s “good friend.”

Huffington Post roundup: Crackdown, Presidential decisions, ambition, Palin, flipflopping, pregnancy, etc.

Here’s what I’ve been reading at or from Huffington Post:

Secret Service / police* crackdown on non-corporate media and other peaceable citizens at Repug Convention

This one has two points IMHO:

  • Vice-Presidential nominees are Presidential candidates’ first “presidential” decisions: Contrast Biden and Palin, remembering that ‘A vote for McCain is a vote for Palin: Is she ready for the whole enchilada?’
  • McCain boasts he’s only running for personal ambition?  So much for “Country First”!  Ah, for Hillary it was bad, but for him it’s good?

Far from Democrats having a “religion problem,” Republicans seem to have more of a “secular problem”!

Does Palin signal ‘Culture Wars: Episode II’?

Palin’s preacher problem!

“Palin Laughs As Opponent Is Called ‘Bitch,’ ‘Cancer,’ Mocked For Her Weight” 

The amazing transcontinental birth of poor little Trig – not to be believed!  Judgment?  (So, does his birth certificate say Texas, Washington State, British Columbia, AND Alaska?!!  Obama has nothing on this kid!!)

“8 Reasons Sarah Palin is More Qualified than Barack Obama” (satire, but filled with facts and flipflopping!)

  • While we’re at it, why not nominate that Snorgtees model?  She looks young and promising, in the chest area!  (And why would Palin’s family provide us with this picture, without actually seeing her bust in it either?!!  Anyway, I preferred the joke when Elvira shared it with us years ago….  And such punctuation – Guess she was a broadcast journalism major, not print….)

And on a related story, a couple thoughtful pieces about single teen pregnancy, approaching it, and preventing it: familial male non-sexual affection, hypersexualizing culture, caring parents and teachers, comprehensive education about sexuality, supportiveness and open communication, and meaning and goals in life, among many other things.

And a few other thoughts from yours truly on the same side-topic:

  • If the shoe was on the other foot, you know we’d be hearing howls about godless “Democrat” Party moral relativism, The ’60s, women’s liberation, headship, the war against the traditional family and marriage, gummint programs, Socialism, yada yada yada.
  • One of their big objections to comprehensive sex ed is “mixed signals.”  What about the “mixed signals” they put out that say it’s OK for “conservatives” to have same-sex or opposite-sex affairs, prostitutes, or out-of-wedlock children?  Is it possible that personal-moralizing** politics just isn’t a good idea?  (Nevermind it having a habit of turning around and biting you in the ass.)  They complain about religion being kept out of the public square (which in America is and always has been poppycock), but then they keep divorcing it from church / synogogue / mosque, and insisting that government do it: Apparently their churches aren’t doing a good enough job?!  They’re against some government programs – those that help other people – but not others – those that control other people.  “Let the church be the church!”
  • Does Levi want to marry Bristol?  Does Bristol want to marry Levi?  If not, should one mistaken judgment be compounded by another mistake?

(*–Including out-of-town cops?!!!)

(**–As opposed to social ethics.)