As in a tasty mix of talk

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Getting Personal

ALERT: Anyone feeling the need for comfort as they watch upcoming election returns might take the advice of Café Observer and adopt a shelter dog to watch them with you… thereby enjoying the knowledge that, no matter what the election outcome, you have given a fellow creature a home and stirred some genuine happiness into the boiling pot of the universe.

Now, let’s get personal:

I am WAY past due for thanking all of you who have visited my blog and commented… not just in reply to my posts, but to each other.

I had no idea, when I started this blog, that readers would comment to each other more than to me! But I’m glad it’s worked out that way, because it’s clear that we’ve all learned a lot from the exchange of ideas. So, gentle and not-so-gentle readers:

StacyT: Thank you for comments that remind me of what I have always known… that you are kind-hearted and generous and could teach the rest of us a thing or two about tolerance, a virtue the world needs more than ever now. You don’t just talk tolerance… you live it every day.

NikkiS: Thank you for the brilliance and insight you have shown by agreeing with almost everything I say! Since I know how smart you are, this reassures me that I am on the right track.

Laurie: Thank you for courageously forging ahead with your views, proving that there are always two sides (or more!) to every opinion. You are a blogger extraordinaire in your own right ( and I am proud that we are friends.

Ballbuster/asskicker: Thank you for busting balls from the Marine Corps to the blogosphere, for proving that “French” people (OK, fringe) don’t just show up at Mcain/Palin rallies, and for being related to me. I am rich in nieces!

Voice of Raisin: Thanks for taking time from your efforts to champion equal rights by commenting on my blog with remarks like: “It amazes me that the right wing LOVES to talk about fighting for freedom but doesn't want people to be free to make basic decisions about their personal lives.” Vote NO on Pogrom 8, OK y’all?

Roy: Thank you for injecting some much-needed testosterone into our debate. (You know how shy and sweet we “girls” can be!) Anyone who knows your true identity realizes that John McCain stole his “Maverick” nickname from you!

Judy: Thank you, you fabulous mother, sister, daughter and artist! Judy is not only a brilliant photographer, but a fashion maven with an eye for all things elegant and inspiring. To check out her gallery of work, visit:

Dixie Bell: Thank you, my Southern friend! You just know that anyone with “Bell” in her name is somebody special… and Dixie is all that and then some. If you like smart, opinionated, torch-singing redheads who also paint and break a lot of hearts, Dixie is your Diva!

StacyJ: When this election is over we will have to meet in Louisville, and spend an entire day baking pies and swapping recipes and waxing intellectual about NOW and your many other alma maters. Have you hung your Obama poster yet?

Café Observer: Thanks for championing the best interests of no less than “man’s best friend.” It is rumored that you are not a dog but a… Look! A piece of steak wrapped in bacon has just been tossed into the blogosphere! Fetch!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"Internal" Polling? Smells Like an Election Fraud Setup

I will never forget Dubyah’s calm, relaxed demeanor on election day 2000, as he was interviewed after Florida had been prematurely called for the Democrats, saying his campaign had internal information that Florida’s votes eventually would tally Republican.

Now McCain has “internal polling” that he is ahead in the states where public polls show Obama in the lead?

Smells like a setup for another stolen election.

We can all speculate that somebody (Jeb?) told Dubyah not to worry about Florida, that it was in the bag. But we do know that the Supreme Court eventually stopped the recount, making Dubyah the President Select instead of the President Elect, and robbing Al Gore of a fair and square victory in the opinions of many (500,000 opinions, at least).

Are Republicans now laying the groundwork for the “credibility” of upcoming election thefts with their cockamamie internal polling claims, i.e., “See, we told you we had internal polls that contradicted the … real polls.”

In 2000 there was no impassioned, Republican denial that the election was stolen, leading many, including me, to the conclusion that as long as they could get away with it, Republicans didn’t care whether they had stolen the election or won it.

Go ahead, call me paranoid… just don’t tell me you think Republicans are too principled to lie, cheat and steal to keep their grip on power.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fright Night

Are you ready to watch election returns on the cold, dark night of November 4th? Have you installed deadbolts on your doors? Loaded up on ammo? Put your therapist’s emergency number on speed-dial?

Good. Because according to MSNBC political columnist John Dickerson, John McCain has a message for you:


Dickerson disagrees with those who complain that McCain doesn’t have a consistent message. It’s, “Be afraid, be very afraid!”

McCain is making a last-ditch effort to scare voters with his Obama Horror Show in three acts: “If Obama is elected, your taxes will go up… you'll be unsafe from foreign threats… and, especially if Congress goes Democratic, you will be forced to endure an era of unchecked liberalism.”

I have said before that an Obama victory would be a defeat of fear. In the wind-up days of this election, McCain is handily proving my point.

At his rally in a high-school gymnasium in Dayton, McCain went oogy-boogy over a 2001 interview in which (so the McCain campaign says) Obama claimed one of the tragedies of the civil rights era was that it failed to redistribute wealth. "That is what change means for Barack the Redistributor," McCain told a crowd of about 2,000, which didn't fill the gym. "It means taking your money and giving it to someone else."

One reason McCain’s claim rings sleepy-hollow is that, when read in context, Obama's remarks are neither scary nor subversive. When he talks about redistribution in this speech, he is not talking about taxing the rich to give handouts—as McCain would scare us into believing. Obama is primarily referencing the Supreme Court's reluctance to force school districts to spend money to provide equality in SCHOOLS. Later in the same interview, when Obama again discusses redistribution, his larger point is about the complexities of school funding after Brown v. Board of Education.

As for, "taking your money and giving it to someone else," it is McCain’s plan, not Obama’s, that provides for this this. To mention only one example, Obama’s tax plan reduces taxes for working individuals who already pay taxes, while McCain’s $5,000 health benefit is distributed to everyone, taxpayer or not. (It’s amazing what you can learn when you awake at 4:00 am to watch Joe Scarsborough’s Right-leaning morning talk shoe, “Morning Joe.”)

The real irony, though, is that the working middle class has already suffered from an eight-year greedfest of wealth redistribution, as it watched its hard-earned tax dollars disappear into the black hole of tax cuts for the uber wealthy. The ranks of the middle class have declined as a result, leading many to fear a genuine, not rally-speak threat: that we are moving toward a two-class nation of haves and have-nots, without the middle class cushion by which America has defined itself and achieved greatness.

If McCain really wants to scare us though, he’s missing the most obvious of all horror shows: the one on Wall Street. Or is it the one in the housing market? No, wait, it’s the swelling BLOB of unemployment… Watch out! It’s swallowing our kids’ educations, our retirements, even the artificial cheese we use to make our Walmart macaroni edible!

Conservatives also sneer that Obama’s lead is a result of the disproportionate amount of campaign funds at his disposal, and have repeatedly implied that the funding sources are suspect. Who do they think gave Obama his financial advantage? We did. That’s right… not unknown secret Commie pinko terrorist Muslim Planet 9 contributors… but Obama supporters who, though just as hard-hit by the economic meltdown as everyone else, are willing to donate $50 whenever they can to usher in change.

I’m ready for November 4th. And the only thing that scares me is that McCain might yet fear-monger his way into the White House.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Another Clark Bar in the Pool

Anyone who cracked up over the Clark Bar floating in the pool in the film “Caddy Shack” knows what the candy represented.

Now George Bush is dumping new Clark Bars into a critically important foreign policy pool in Pakistan… only there's nothing sweet about his dumps, which already have been eaten, digested and eliminated, threatening to foul world events yet again.

WTF, Dubyah???? Did we really need to provoke an already reeling world by sending a drone into Pakistan to launch a missile strike that killed 20 civilians, when Pakistan has nuclear weapons and isn’t sure if we’re friend or foe? Are you just wagging the pachyderm? Or are you defacing the Oval Office desk with your signature, leaving a lingering stench of your ineptitude before you leave?

According to today’s New York Times, the strike was “part of an escalating campaign by the Bush administration to hit the Taliban and their Qaeda backers at their bases in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

“The Bush administration has intensified the drone attacks after backing away from using American commandos for ground raids into the tribal belt. A ground assault on Sept. 3 produced an angry public riposte from the chief of the Pakistani Army, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who said he would defend Pakistan’s borders ‘at all costs’ against such intrusions, an unusually strong statement from one ally to another.”

OK, it’s almost Halloween, so there are a lot of scary movie reruns on cable TV right now. But, after a brief period of relative calm in his war games (somebody please teach the Prez how to use a Game Boy), Dubyah has reduced me to that badass Indian spirit in “Amityville Horror” growling, “Get Out.”

Please, Dubyah… just when Oliver Stone’s movie “W” was convincing some of us that you’re human, must you scare the Clark Bar out of us again? Take a nap! Visit a grade school and read the kiddies a story about a goat! Lock yourself in the bathroom and enjoy a moment of personal pleasure! Just please, please, pretty please… don’t make another one of your notoriously critical blunders in our dealings with Pakistan!

Bruce Riedel, formerly one of the CIA’s senior Middle East analysts and later an assistant to the President on the National Security Council, has just published an insightful book: “The Search For Al Qaeda: Its Leadership, Ideology, And Future” (Brookings Institution Press. $26.95). Among the many points Riedel makes is that al Qaeda does not, as Dubyah claims, hate the U.S. because of our freedoms and way of life… “As [Osama] bin Ladin has said, ‘if that were the case, Al Qaeda would have attacked Sweden.’ ”

So, what does Riedel recommend for dealing with terrorists in Pakistan and elsewhere? Primarily, that we need a more sophisticated approach. Noting that Bin Ladin is an “evil genius” who predicted that the world economic/financial crisis we are undergoing is “exactly what would happen when the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began,” and that Bin Ladin actually pointed specifically to the home-mortgage bubble in the United States, Reidel says we must tackle the “fundamental challenge of… Al Queda’s narrative.” That sounds like he thinks we need to talk. (To read the Newsweek interview with Riedel visit

After a Pakistani parliamentary resolution last week that encouraged dialogue with willing militants, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, echoed Riedel’s opinion by stating, “There is an increasing realization that the use of force alone cannot yield the desired results.”

Does this mean we should toss chocolate truffles into the pool instead of Clark Bars? I don’t think so. I think we need to stock up on Chateauneuf du Pape and enroll leaders from both political parties in adult education courses on diplomacy.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Short, Sad Hoax of Ashley Todd

The significance of the Ashley Todd non-story is not that she followed the example of Susan Smith and others in assuming no one would question her claim that a black man had violated her: It is in the way the incident was leaked and then reported almost exclusively by the Right Wing media.

The closing remark in these prematurely reported stories was consistent: “Police reports have not yet confirmed it.” So… how did the Right Wing media uncover it? The answer is, they didn’t. The story was spoon-fed to them by McCain operatives… In the state of Pennsylvania… where racism remains a viable factor, apparently, for Republicans willing to exploit a fragile and unstable young woman to stir up deal-breaking fears among voters.

It would be instructive, if not for the likelihood that Ms. Todd’s eggshell mind might crack under the pressure, to ask her whether she dreamed up her B-grade play on her own, or had help. She strikes me as someone who offered herself up for sacrifice to save the world from God knows what, had second thoughts about it, and wobbled off script.

Meanwhile, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez named the outlets that not only reported but actively pushed the Ashley Todd hoax. In addition to explaining why his station didn't report the story, Sanchez slammed Hugh Hewitt, the conservative radio talk show host who appeared on CNN Thursday and blamed "that side" (i.e. the Democrats) for engaging in "extraordinarily" disturbing acts.

"Part of the story is the fact that it was reported by the media," said Sanchez. "We would not be telling the story now had it not been carried by so many outlets…. it was mentioned on… Fox News, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Newsday. And also radio talk show hosts went on their radio stations and talked ad infinitum about the story."

While Fox et al are wiping the egg off their faces, many in the blogosphere are not deterred by leaning that Ashley’s story is a hoax. I’m not sure how to characterize some of these blogs, except by pointing out that they share a common hatred for Obama. Many now claim that, Ms. Todd’s lies notwithstanding, misogyny is rampant in Obama’s campaign (as if Obama’s campaign had anything to do with the attack, even if the story HAD been true).

Obama haters also like to point to the backroom deal they imagine was made between Dean and Obama to steal the nomination from Hillary. If any such deal was made (I can’t prove it wasn’t, haters can’t prove it was), it was in line with the usual struggle over political power, not an expression of hatred for Hillary as a woman. And Hillary, still a formidable politician, is supporting Obama, which I doubt she would do if she thought misogyny played any role in his beliefs or campaign.

Those who fear that some nefarious conspiracy has placed Obama within reach of the Presidency should ask themselves why it appears that publication of Ashley’s story was coordinated among McCain operatives and various news sources on the Right. The effort to manipulate racial fears is a lot scarier than the so-called misogyny of a man who has been endorsed by both NARAL and Planned Parenthood, two organizations not unknown for their support of women.

I would respectfully ask all who think Obama is a misogynist: Please examine your inner feelings to make absolutely certain that some shred of racism, painful to acknowledge, isn’t fueling your fears.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Who Was Sarah's Image Consultant?

Forget the $150,000 spent on Sarah Palin’s campaign wardrobe. What I want to know is… who was her flippin’ image consultant?

Hello… she’s still wearing her pageant hairdo. Couldn’t someone have suggested that she ixnay the beehive and go for a shaggy ends-flip? That outdated hairdo is even more the basis of Tina Fey’s impersonation than the invisible glasses.

And, not that she looks bad in her campaign clothes… it’s just that, for a paltry $150, she could have achieved the same look from Isaac Mizrahi for Target.

Maybe the reason that nearly $80K was spent at Neiman Marcus is that the store’s personal shopper took the opportunity to unload some of it’s $35,000 handbags and $3,000 shoes on Sarah… because if the stock market keeps tanking, NM is gonna be stuck with a lot of insanely-priced accessories that will end up in the sale bin at Ross.

But Sarah’s un-hockey momish wardrobe isn’t her biggest fashion quandary. By now she should have started wondering what to wear when they lead her to that stake in the public square where all the kindling has been piled.

Unsuitable for her position or not, Ms. Palin answered the GOP’s call and stepped gamely forward to infuse life and interest into the McCain ticket. But now that he is headed south in the polls, the GOP already is pointing its fickle finger of blame at Sarah. Forget sexism… that’s just plain ingratitude.

If I were Ms. Palin I would bundle up that campaign wardrobe and ship it off to the women’s shelter as soon as possible… like, before the GOP uses it to fuel the flame of its defeat pyre.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Walk Like a Democrat

Earlier this week, MSNBC Senior Campaign Correspondent Tucker Carlson told talk show host Rachel Maddow: “If at this point in the election you think there is still a possibility that Barak Obama can lose, you are… a Democrat.”

OK, I’m a Democrat. I carefully avoid making statements like, “when Obama wins,” opting for the more superstitious, “If Obama wins.” Hey… I don’t wanna jinx our guy in the last minutes of the campaign.

Carlson’s statement was meant as a jibe that Democrats are inherently pessimistic. But, as Maddow pointed out in our defense, we have good reason to fear that Republicans can still hijack the election. They have done it twice before, once when they lost the popular vote and robbed Democrats outright with a Supreme Court decision touted as a way to “save” our democracy from a divisive controversy, and again when they stole just enough votes in Florida and Ohio to eke out a victory. (Yes, they did. Shut up.)

Our paranoia that Republicans might swiftboat us into silent, unjust defeat is one of the reasons, I believe, that in this election Democrats are matching Republicans with vitriol for vitriol, slur for slur, slam for slam. It’s as if we collectively cannot afford the luxury of fairly considering both sides of the issues, or remaining moderate in the expression of our views. HELL no! Not this time! And our willingness, even eagerness, to fight back has confused Republicans, who released their pit bull expecting it to devour a poodle, and were demoralized when it found a rottweiler, a skunk and a porcupine guarding the campaign gates. Grrrrrrrrr.

But Democrats will be Democrats. Writing in Wednesday’s Huffington Post, political analyst Lincoln Mitchell wrote of a potential Obama victory:

“This should suggest to the operatives of the right wing that their cynical understanding of America can be trumped by a more affirming and progressive sentiment in the electorate.

“It is, however, the American left which will have to do the most intriguing and challenging rethinking of basic assumptions when Obama wins. For years now a central piece of the progressive worldview is that progressives are enlightened Americans in a sea of their ignorant, bigoted and narrow-minded compatriots… Opposition to progressive causes is often explained away by saying that Americans are bigots, or somehow stupid. This demonstrates an ugly contempt for voters, and in fact for democracy, that should have no place in progressive politics.”

Damn… do we have to start being good again already? Can’t we act like Republicans just a little longer, and gloat when, no, I mean if, Obama wins?

That depends. Once America is safely beyond the grasp of those who would violate its constitution, base a pre-emptive war on a pack of lies, break the law with impunity and thumb their noses at all who attempt to reign in these excesses, we should be able to relax and let our newly-elected Democrats repair the damage of the past eight years, right?

Yeah… and we should all be able to eat our weight in cake and still fit into our high-school-size jeans, too, but that won’t happen. In or out of office, powerful interests from the Right will continue to seek control of whatever they can get their hands on, including what’s left of our money. So we may be able to take a short break to brush the confetti out of our hair, and replace all the houseplants that died while we were volunteering for Moveon, but sooner or later, if we want to make use of the opportunity to advance progressive views, we will have to get back to work. We will have to remain informed about the issues, and volunteer our time and money to support the causes in which we believe, and yes, if rightwing conspirators slime our leaders, we will have to slime them back. Spreading the wealth is nice work, but only if you actually do it.

Meanwhile, if you notice people in the checkout line or at the gas pump or on their way to work, and they are peppered with bruises, they will be Democrats… because most of us are pinching ourselves to see if we are only dreaming that we might, maybe, possibly, probably will win this election.

Hands Across the Political Divide

Response to my “Keys to the Universe” post was so passionate, and so diverse, that I am proposing we reach across the opinions that divide us in search of common ground.

I invite you, beloved members of this debate community, to accept this challenge:

With less than two weeks to go before we elect the next President of the United States, it seems clear that most of us have made up our minds about where we stand on the issues. So, instead of debating each other in hopes of changing minds, let’s get real about the hopes and fears that drive our opinions.

Please list in the comments you post your single greatest hope, and single greatest fear, about EACH of the two candidates. (It has to be just one hope and one fear… listing them all would defeat this purpose.)

I hereby restrain my Virgo impulse to search for the clever turn of phrase… I’m just going to share my honest hopes and fears to get things started, and hope this will encourage you to do the same…

Yak’s Greatest Hope for Obama: That he will help Americans call a truce on our culture war, so we can connect first on areas where we agree, and progress from there to a state of tolerance for areas in which we disagree.

Yak’s Greatest Fear about Obama: That he will fail to accomplish this, dimming the hopes of all who yearn for a spirit of cooperation and equality in America.

Yak’s Greatest Hope for McCain: That he will live up to his maverick claim and infuse his administration with transparency, ending his predecessor’s assumption that the President is entitled to make and execute his policies in secrecy.

Yak’s Greatest Fear about McCain: That he will set back women’s rights (and the entire progressive agenda) by packing the Supreme court with conservative judges.

OK… now it’s your turn.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Spreading the Wealth

by Guest Blogger Nikkis, CPA

What do Republicans really mean when they say that Democrats want to “Spread the Wealth?” They mean that Democrats want to take wealth away from the rich and give it to the poor. What have Republicans done over the last eight years while holding lead office in our country? They have been spreading the wealth…however, one problem though, they have spread the wealth from the middle class right on up to the wealthiest of us all.

What do Democrats really want to accomplish by so-called, “Spreading the Wealth?”

Democrats believe that members of the middle class deserve a break. They don’t propose to provide this by “taking away” from the rich; rather, they propose that big corporations and very wealthy individuals pay the taxes that already are set in the tax code, without benefit of the tax credits that have been lavished on them. This is how Democrats plan to pay for the tax cuts they propose for the middle class.

One thing my college tax professor told me that I have always remembered is that 5% of the people in this country provide 95% of the tax revenue. That is right, 5%. But here’s how that works…

I am Nancy Smith, an accountant, and I make $50,000 per year. I don’t enjoy any tax credits and pay a straight 15% tax, which is $7,500.
Let us now say I am Nancy Swope and just invented an automobile that runs on a battery, not gas. I sell the patents and make a profit, in a single year, of $45,000,000. With no tax credits my rate would be 39.6%, so I pay $17,820,000 in taxes. Wow, seems like a lot huh? But Nancy Swope still has $27,180,000 after taxes, along with the satisfaction of going a long way to help save “Mother Earth.”

It would take 2,376 Nancy Smiths to pay the taxes that one Nancy Swope pays.

Now, the details are much more complex than this example, and the top 5% in our nation would pay a lot more taxes than on a mere $45 million of income, but you get the point. However:

As a CPA I have worked on corporate tax returns for over ten years, and I am amazed at how little tax is paid on the business returns I prepare. Republicans complain that we have the highest tax rate on businesses at 35%, more than in any other country, and are appalled by that. But what they don’t acknowledge is that many of these companies don’t pay a single dime of taxes. Republicans would be hard pressed to find a corporation that pays anything near 35%. This is exactly why many states have changed their tax laws and are now taxing companies on gross receipts at a lesser tax rate, rather than trying to capture all the add-backs and credits the government has given these corporations. And states can’t rely on revenues from federally taxed income anymore, because nine times out of ten, there is no federally taxed income.

This is why I, just one humble American, believe that the Democratic tax plan is financially more responsible. I don’t understand how a lot of my Republican co-workers and friends, who make about the same amount of money as I do, are tricked by this “Spreading the Wealth” claim against Democratic candidates. I mean, I know they’re smart enough to realize that THEY are “middle class.” So, when they hear that the Democrats want to “spread the wealth,” do they somehow imagine there will be a knock at the door and a federal agent will come in and take their hard earned money, and then give it to someone else?

Don’t my Republican friends realize that they themselves will reap the benefits of a more equitable tax code? The economy will grow stronger as tax credits are given to the people who need them, and when big corporations don’t have incentives to move their customer service departments to India, and when paychecks actually increase along with inflation! How can they not see that businesses thrive only when the middle class actually has money to spend on the products and services they offer?

The increase of tax revenue, at the expense of people who must then “survive” on $27 million a year versus $45 million a year, will allow us to end the war in Iraq responsibly, have better schools for our children, help prevent the next American crisis (which is health care), help pay for our elderly to live out their dying days in dignity, and yes, I know Republicans hate this…but also help the poor and ensure that we do not allow people to starve right here in our own homeland. Can someone please explain to me why this is a bad thing?

I feel it is hypocritical to support the war in Iraq because the people there are suffering, but then turn our backs on the people suffering right here in the U.S.A. Anyone who doesn’t believe there is suffering here should take a look at the statistics: America has more drug abusers, alcoholics, suicides and murders than do most other nations. We are hurting. We need help. So even though the cliché saying makes me feel yucky inside, I say, “Country First” right back to Republicans. How anyone can say it is un-American to want to rebuild our country from the middle class up is beyond belief. When the people rise the leaders rise, America rises, and once again we can become the country which every other nation admires, respects and relies on for help in time of need.

That is why I, just one American, support the economic policies of the Democratic Party.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Keys to the Entire Friggin' Universe

Never in my lifetime have I seen a political party as willing to transmogrify itself into anything at all… from Joe Six-Pack to a blow-up rhetoric doll willing to say or swallow anything… as the GOP in this election.

There must be a lot of power at stake. I mean, like, a LOT.

I know that, in spite of my lifetime of cheerleading for the progressive agenda, I am a political neophyte. I know I view politics in simplistic terms, i.e., Conservatives are bad, Progressives are hot-fudge sundae good. But… just how big IS the political power prize (let’s call it PPP from now on) at stake in this election?

If Obama wins, will Republicans have to turn over an oil mill that, like the cursed salt mill that kept grinding until every ocean on the planet became too salty to drink, spews enough cash to render our world so cold, dark and polluted that only retired Haliburton CEOs can live on it?

I guess I was wrong about Big Oil interests. I thought they ALREADY had constructed an atmosphere processor on the dark side of the moon, where they used their oil-for-blood money to build a palatial community that makes Dubai look like a mobile-home park in New Orleans, to which they and their sex slaves plan to retreat when earth becomes uninhabitable. You know… in 25 years or so. But apparently, Big Oil hasn’t quite finished the job. They need more time. More money. More blood. More more more. So they have stocked up on Depends and hunkered down in Chaney’s White House basement digs, where they are conducting secret, “Keep Change from Happening” rituals. And, as Obama’s lead in the polls widens, they are soiling a LOT of Depends. I wouldn’t want to be the housekeeping service that cleans up after them on November 5th.

Or does the GOP’s hysterical grip on the PPP have nothing to do with greed, can it be a desperate need to finish shredding the evidence that might convict them in the world court of pissed-off opinion? Like frat boys who tossed beer cans and passed-out co-eds into an unused room until it overflowed and smelled worse than the back seat of Casey Anthony’s car, are they afraid to move out because even THEY don’t know how much damage they’ve done to America?

Could it be there really is a Star Chamber the GOP hides from upstarts like Bill Clinton, who won two elections but didn’t have the PPP credentials to merit entrance? You know… a center of power where everyone has his or her own diamond throne (They grudgingly gave one to Ann Coulter), and where the highlight of every meeting is when they bend the fabric of space and time to travel backwards, remaining forever young and ruthless and in power?

Tell me, someone, what IS the reason Republicans have such a death grip on the PPP?

Here are the Top Ten Reasons why I think the GOP would do anything to keep their keys to the Entire Friggin’ Universe:

10. McCain is terrified of how they’ll punish him if he loses to a black man.
9. They are pretending to be Sarah Palin’s friend.
8. They invoke the spirit of guys named Joe more than Ronald Reagan
7. They say they aren’t responsible for the French people who attend their rallies. No, wait… that’s Fringe people.
6. They can’t conceal their admiration for Obama’s political instincts.
5. Karl Rove has enrolled in a remedial course on Character Assassination.
4. George Bush says it’s OK, he doesn’t need a library in his name anyway.
3. Dick Cheney no longer cares if he’s caught wearing his fishnets and leather bra.
2. Ann Coulter has been curiously muzzled.

And the number one reason we know the GOP would do anything to keep their keys to the Entire Friggin’ Universe:

1. McCain is terrified of how they’ll punish him if he loses to a black man.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Quote Us: "No Wire Hangers!"

When John McCain raised his hands to make that derisive debate reference to women’s health with “quote” fingers, I couldn’t help thinking of the ugly symbol of pre-legal abortion rights, the coat hanger hook.

Like Cindy McCain, I felt a chill run up my spine. But it was a real chill, not fake rally rhetoric… because the threat to women’s health posed by criminalizing abortion is as horrific as it gets.

In John McCain’s youth, when his well-connected family was coercing University boards to accept him in spite of his abysmal grades, and hush-hushing campus misdeeds that would have resulted in expulsion for anyone else (Rolling Stone, October, 2008 issue), when he was drinking and carousing and womanizing (same issue), he probably didn’t give a thought to back-alley abortions. As a man, abortion wasn’t his problem. And anyone who got one was probably a tramp or a hooker, not good, decent girls like the debutantes he met at parties.

True, when safe, legal abortions were unavailable, the daughters of the rich still had access to medical abortions: Daddy would place a call to a friend with a respectable medical practice, an appointment would be made, and the following week Buffy or Muffy or Cindy would have a nice, flat tummy, so their futures were protected and their virtues remained intact.

How nice for them.

But, in the real world, women who were poor, afraid, or otherwise unable to bear the burden on their lives posed by an unwanted pregnancy could, and did, seek illegal abortions. Maybe a few of them were “hookers.” (McCain has a nice gesture he can use to emphasize that.) But most were young, or sick, or abandoned by their boyfriends, or desperate for a myriad of personal reasons. And when they went to those back alley addresses for their midnight appointments, many of them never returned.

They died of infections from unsterilized instruments… like coat hangers.

They bled to death from botched procedures.

They were raped or otherwise abused by their illegal, unlicensed, unqualified abortionists.

But one thing the women of this era did NOT do was stop seeking abortions, legal or not, when circumstance drove them to the conclusion that it was a personal necessity.

That’s why, John Mcain, outside the grounds of the country club and the Ritz Carlton, safe, legal abortion is a woman’s health issue for millions of Americans. Women may or may not exercise this choice… but we are sisters, daughters, mothers and friends. We are people who love and are loved in return. We are individuals entitled to the rights of privacy and safety. And some of us are grandmothers, old enough to remember the reproductive straightjackets imposed on women who were not privileged, or lacked the resources, to fly to civilized European countries for a legal abortion when it was not available in our own country.

The truth is, the rich have always had access to medical abortions when they wanted them, abortions they could buy and then forget. And with the short memories of the privileged, they have also vilified those who sought the same remedies by whatever back-alley means were available.

So, listen up, John McCain: Compassion… common sense… fairness… choice for those who wish to exercise it… but "no wire hangers!"

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Move Over, Kato Kaelin

Joe Wurzelbacher, the plumber who John McCain mentioned 21 times in last night’s final Presidential debate, may not have wanted to wake up to 15 minutes of fame. But as early as 3:00 am this morning, his name was popping up on Internet search engine links like bunny rabbits after a heavy mating season.

Joe says he hopes he gets a little extra plumbing business from all the media attention. That might not be all he gets. Kato Kaelin, the poster boy for 15-minute celebrities, not only didn’t benefit from his spotlight, but was permanently branded by the ridicule that ensued. As one of the more colorful figures in the 1995 Simpson case cast of characters, Kaelin became the subject of jokes by TV comedians, who made fun of his spaced-out surf bum persona, lack of employment, and parasitic habits. One popular joke held that he was proof that Gilligan and Ginger Grant of Gilligan's Island had actually had children.

The steady, everyday Joe Wurzelbacher doesn’t seem promising as a source for late-night humor, although the candidates’ use… and misuse… of his name does. McCain portrayed Joe as a symbol of the hard-working American who would be blocked from achieving his dreams by Obama’s tax plan. His claim that the Democrat’s plan to raise taxes on those making more than $250,000 a year would hurt small-business owners like Wurzelbacher was countered by Obama’s explanation that it would make it easier for Wurzelbacher to provide health insurance for his employees. And Obama reiterated, for the umpteenth time, that 95% of Americans would receive tax cuts under his plan.

(No they won't! Yes they will! No they won't! Yes they will! Terrorist! I know you are, but what am I!)

Wurzelbacher told ABC that he's "not even close" to earning $250,000, but is worried that Obama would increase taxes for those making less. So. Whose plan will reduce taxes for everyday Americans, most of whom, like Joe, are not even close to earning an annual income of $250K?

To find out how the competing tax proposals would affect the amount YOU pay in income tax, here’s a fun link to an online calculator you can use to determine your own tax reduction or increase:

Meanwhile, that ding-ding-ding of the stock market opening and closing bell continues to haunt our dreams. Like 9-11 and other infamous events, this crash will forever nail our frames of reference to the floor of history.

Hope you get that extra work, Joe. Kato who?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Liar Liar, Thong on fire

Sarah Palin has relieved me of any feminist obligation I may have felt to empathize with her in the wake of her Katy Couric interview fiasco.

After selling her soul to the demon mind-set of Karl Rove by hate mongering on the campaign trail, Ms. Palin has now stated in public, on camera, for the record, that the Troopergate report found “no unlawful or unethical activity on my part,” and that the report “vindicates” her.


An editorial published Monday by the Anchorage Daily News stated, “Her response is either astoundingly ignorant or downright Orwellian.” It continued: Ms. Palin and her husband, Todd, “had no sense that the power of the governor’s office carries a special responsibility not to use it to settle family scores. They had no sense that legal restrictions might prevent the troopers from firing Wooten. They had no sense that persistent queries from the governor’s office might be perceived as pressure to bend state personnel laws.”

It added: “And her Orwellian claims of ‘vindication’ make this blemish on her record look even worse.”

Sarah Palin has now demonstrated that she can lie with the best of the Bush Administration’s henchmen. Her response to Troopergate is a reminder that, far from being a maverick in heels, she is just another Republican yes-woman who thinks it’s OK to lie because the end justifies the means. And adding insult to injury, she continues to claim that Barack Obama is lying to America about his “real identity.”

Palin’s hypocrisy is so foul it could induce vomiting in case of accidental poisoning. Too bad there’s nothing accidental about the rabble-rousing lies she uses to poison the minds of McCain supporters, who are desperate for any distraction from the vat of fecal matter into which their party has dumped them.

Palin’s facility with dismissing the truth should also disqualify her, in my opinion, from any further credit for advancing women’s interests. She is a big, fat, phony dead weight on women’s issues, and her rise in Republican ranks will only drag down women who aspire to the authentic power of earned respect.

Palin is among the most male-identified of all women in politics. She is so snuggled into the blinders of fundamentalist Pentecostal Christianity that she joins in prayers for witch routing. She is staunchly aligned with principal-based patriarchal ideology, as evidenced by her blood-tick attachment to the belief that abortion is never warranted, even in cases of rape or incest. And for those who need another example, she is among the Neanderthal chauvinists who think it’s sporting to slaughter wolves with high-powered rifles aimed from helicopters.

John McCain did not select Sarah Palin as his running mate on the basis of her accomplishment, intelligence or vision. He selected her because she is a telegenic woman who is willing to accommodate whatever tactics squirm out of Rove’s spin-mill.

By contrast, Hillary Clinton was chosen by 18 million voters, both men and women, on the basis of her proven leadership, commitment to middle- and lower-class needs, and, oh yeah, her record. She is both a feminist and a politician, in the best and highest sense of those descriptions.

Hillary has too much class to say this to Palin, but I don’t:

“Liar, liar, thong on fire.”

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Stopping a Beating Heart

Yesterday while waiting at a red light, I noticed this bumper sticker on the car ahead of me: “Abortion Stops a Beating Heart.”

This emotionally powerful slogan made me wonder… At exactly what point does the fetal heartbeat begin? (40 weeks from conception, my gynecologist told me.) I also couldn’t help wondering about the mother’s heartbeat… what about her future, her feelings, her life?

Equivocation aside, in most cases an abortion does stop a beating heart. So why, when I can’t go to an animal shelter without agonizing over the puppies I leave behind, when my heart swells with tenderness at the sight of a baby’s face, related to me or not, do I stand so firmly as a pro-choice advocate?

Another way of phrasing this conflict: Can I preserve a choice I believe is fundamental to a woman’s freedom without sacrificing that part of conscience that instinctively protects the small and helpless?

Yes, I can.

Pro-life supporters often use abortion as an issue wedge for imposing their convictions on everyone else’s rights. While “Pro-life” implies support for the vibrancy of living, those with pro-life views typically oppose sex education, premarital sex, the distribution of condoms to protect teenagers from contracting AIDS, same-sex parent adoptions of children who might otherwise languish in institutions, and most importantly, social welfare programs to support the unwanted children and unqualified parents who would proliferate without the option of legal abortion. These views do not support life. They punish it.

Pro-lifers, especially those who base their views on religious doctrine, wave the flag of a moral code from centuries ago, one in which all sex outside of marriage is promiscuous, one that defines sexually active single women as immoral while excusing the same behavior in men as “normal.” In this punitive view, women who fail society by having sex outside of marriage deserve the burden of an unwanted pregnancy. But when pregnancy is enforced as a punishment, it is the unwanted child it creates that suffers most.

No one dictates how a pregnant woman should rest, or nourish herself, or make any one of the infinite decisions affecting the life of her unborn child. Why should anyone dictate when or if she becomes a mother? The Pro-Choice option empowers women to take full responsibility for their own lives, as well as the lives they create or choose not to create.
I know that many decent, caring people hold pro-life views. At the March for Women’s Lives in Washington, DC four years ago, as marchers passed the pro-life contingent near the end of the march route, I saw an elderly woman, probably a grandmother, holding a “ Choose Life” placard. She seemed bravely alone as nearly a million pro-choice marchers streamed by. I wondered: was she genuinely heartbroken over the loss of aborted lives? Did her concern for life motivate her to contribute to the homeless? Oppose the death penalty? Vote to end the war in Iraq? One thing I know for certain is that she was never forced by pro-choice opinion to have an abortion against her will.

By definition, “pro-choice” has no agenda to influence decisions to have, or not to have, babies. It merely provides an opportunity to act in accordance with individual conscience.

Yes, not counting the morning-after pill (which pro-lifers also oppose), abortion after 40 days of pregnancy stops a beating heart. For now, though, legal abortion enables us to create wanted lives or not, and to consider ourselves free, not immoral, when we take responsibility for these choices.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Forget Ann Coulter. A new right wing harridan has emerged from the sewer of McCain’s campaign: Senior Advisor Nikolle Wallace.

Responding to criticism of hate mongering on the McCain/Palin campaign trail, where Joe Sixpacks have shouted from the audience, “Terrorist,” “Traitor,” and “Kill him,” Ms. Wallace choked back the last few shreds of her credibility and lied: “Barack Obama’s assault on our supporters is insulting and unsurprising… attacking our supporters is a new low…”

I’m surprised Ms. Wallace had time to lie at all, considering that she has been WAY busy painting the GOP’s white roses red while stocking up on bullets. But genuine Republican leaders have not been so reluctant to tell the truth.

In a scathing Baltimore Sun OpEd column, McCain supporter and Republican author Frank Schaeffer wrote:

“John McCain, if your campaign does not stop equating Senator Barack Obama with terrorism, questioning his patriotism and portraying Mr. Obama as ‘not one of us,’ I accuse you of deliberately feeding the most unhinged elements of our society the red meat of hate and therefore of potentially instigating violence… you are doing this in wartime. You are doing this as our economy collapses. You are doing this in a country with a history of assassinations.”

Thank you, Mr. Schaeffer. What YOU said!

Why would John McCain, who has been, until now, a lesser evil on the political scene, risk his reputation and credibility by fanning the flames of racism in his speeches and media ads? And why, after empowering his pitbull running mate to pander to the basest fears of the double-wide contingency, has he now asked his audiences to “show respect” for Obama?

Could it be… listen up, magical-thinking Republican apologists… that McCain is not the best man to become the next president of the United States? Who wants a race-baiter’s finger on the trigger? A leader whose words fan hatred, and have the potential to incite violence, even if he later takes them back? Especially if he later takes them back!

After spending time with the McCain campaign, Radar Washington Editor and Time Magazine contributor Ana Marie Cox commented on Friday’s Rachel Maddow Show: “McCain has lost the pitchfork wavers now. I don’t know who he has left.” (Referring to the boos McCain received when he told a rally crowd that Obama is a decent man they don’t need to be afraid of.)

On the same show, Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin quoted 50s Presidential candidate Adelaide Stevenson: “The hardest thing about any campaign is not how to win, but how to win without proving you’re unworthy of winning.”

Put that red meat of hatred where it belongs, Senator McCain: in the smokehouse of history.


Friday, October 10, 2008

POGROM 8... The Mud-Slinging Measure

While heterosexuals who aren't affected by gay marriage decide how to vote on Pogrom 8, the anti-gay marriage measure, the homophobic mud slinging portrayed in pro-8 ads is punishing real, caring, tax-paying gay people.

What is up with the heterosexual frenzy to reserve the ritual of marriage for straight couples? Otherwise reasonable people who agree that gays should enjoy the civic benefits of marriage balk at letting them cut a cake and say, “I do” in the presence of their friends and pastors. The illogical basis of this position hints at an underlying fear that isn’t openly discussed, but which might be fueling the homophobia.

The big gun of the Pro-8 ads is that gay marriage will be taught in schools. “Boys will learn that they can marry other boys,” the ads warn. (Girls, presumably, will be too busy applying lip gloss to pay attention in class.) The inescapable conclusion is that anti-gay proponents are so insecure about their heterosexuality that the mere mention of a different orientation places it at risk.

The cliché objection to gay marriage is that it would create an unhealthy environment in which to raise children, i.e., it would predispose them to homosexuality. The absurdity of this notion is easily exposed. How many gay people do you know? How many of them grew up in heterosexual households? That’s right… all of them. Should we conclude from this that heterosexual parents place their children at risk of becoming gay or lesbian? No… and neither should we conclude the reverse.

In another blog, at another time, maybe I will discuss the psychological premise that we all have the capacity to be attracted to the same sex. Maybe I will discuss the plight of individuals who have desperately suppressed their natural same-sex curiosity for their entire lives, and have lived in fear of expressing it, not realizing that doing so would probably free their heterosexual libidos for fuller enjoyment. But not today…

Today I would like to point out that fear-based decision making leads to bad public policy. Fear of another terrorist attack led us to trust President Bush as he launched a pre-emptive war against Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9-11… and the cost of this bad decision has contributed to today’s freak show on Wall Street. Passage of Pogrom 8 would not stop gays from falling in love, or creating masterpieces, or paying taxes, or otherwise being good citizens: It would, however, perpetuate their undeserved status as second-class citizens. That’s bad public policy, and as responsible voters, we shouldn’t tolerate it.

It hurts me that I enjoy rights and privileges my gay friends do not... it isn't fair, and if I do nothing to support equal rights for all, I don't deserve my own privileges.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Carrying Pictures of Chairman Mao

If I had met William Ayers in the sixties, I would have liked him. And listened to him. And agreed with him.

In fact, I agree with his educational views today. He is profoundly on the side of children, and devotes himself to the methods by which they can learn, grow and remain free to be themselves. (Like me, Ayers was influenced by “Summerhill,” A.S. Neill’s groundbreaking book on child-directed education.)

But one thing I would not have done was become Ayer’s acolyte, as was dramatized by Evan Rachel Wood in “Across the Universe,” the recent film which used Beatles lyrics to dramatize the sixties. I would not, as did three others, have died while making a bomb for Ayers.

I can recognize the difference between an evil condition and an equally evil reaction to it. Yes, I understand the compulsion to test oneself by stepping further and further out on the limb of opposition, but I also know that taking one’s own dare can become more important than righting the original wrong. I believe in retaining my humanity even though living with unacceptable conditions, as I have done during the past eight years of Bush’s Indiana Jones Adventure in Presidency.

Ayers, however nobly motivated to end the Vietnam War and achieve social justice for all, slipped into fanaticism. He followed his passions directly into an arena he shares with fanatic, right-wing zealots who bomb family planning clinics.

Extreme actions do play a role in furthering cultural evolution: Angry women burning their bras helped all women enjoy more equitable pay, even if they were excoriated for their unladylike behavior. Blacks who rioted in Detroit in the sixties, chanting, “Burn, Baby Burn,” helped define the tolerable limit of suppression and ended the racist assumption that they were powerless to oppose it.

The leader of a nation, especially one as culturally polarized as the United States, should understand the full range of hopes, views and expectations that he must oversee. He should know pain as well as joy, hope as well as despair, courage as well as fear, and vision as well as prudence. In my opinion, Barack Obama, who could have slipped into the arena where Ayers chose to go but didn’t, because he chooses to create instead of destroy, is an ideal candidate for the position.

He should also appreciate the lyrics to this Beatles song:

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world.
You tell me that it's evolution,
Well, you know
We all want to change the world.
But when you talk about destruction,
Don't you know that you can count me out. In.
Don't you know it's going to be all right,
all right, all right.
You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We'd all love to see the plan.
You ask me for a contribution,
Well, you know
We all do what we can.
If you want money for people with minds that hate,
All I can tell you is brother you have to wait.
Don't you know it's going to be all right,
all right, all right.
You say you'll change a constitution
Well, you know
We'd all love to change your head.
You tell me it's the institution,
Well, you know
You better free your mind instead.
But if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao,
You ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow.
Don't you know it's going to be all right,
all right, all right.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Charles Manson was crazy, so he believed that the Beatles song "Helter Skelter" was about an upcoming race war. Crazy ideas are one thing… occasionally even normal people have them… but when a crazy person acts on a crazy idea, tragedy can ensue.

How should we rate the sanity of the man who yelled, “Kill him” during the fanatic-fanning speech Palin gave yesterday?

Because he was crazy and riddled with racist fears, Charles Manson thought Helter Skelter was an invitation to black people to start an insurrection. So he sent off his drugged teenage acolytes on a preemptive slaughter of the enemy. (Guess you’ll have to ask Charlie why most of the victims were white.) If we assume a nutcase frame of mind, we can understand why Manson thought the White Album advocated violence: It sang of "piggies" in the tune of the same name, saying they needed a "damn good whacking;" and the sounds of gunfire reverberated in "Revolution 9." But only a disturbed and fearful mind like Manson’s could have assumed these lyrics were speaking directly to him, entitling him to express his reactionary, murderous impulses.

Is there a Charles Manson mind in the partisan crowds at Sarah Palin’s fear-mongering rallies? Maybe the guy who shouted, “terrorist?”

Recent history illustrates the willingness of the fanatic right to make their points with violence: bombing family planning clinics, murdering the doctors who provide abortions as a legal choice, or publishing their names and home addresses in an implied call to violence among fellow fanatics.

So, how ill advised is the GOP strategy to stop the hemorrhaging in its campaign by claiming “Hussein” Obama pals around with terrorists? Never mind that when terrorist Ayers (the white son of American wealth and privilege) committed his anti-war crimes Obama was only eight years old. Never mind that when a rehabilitated Ayers later devoted his life to building better schools he served on a committee with Obama, whose intentions were as ideologically remote from terrorism as George Bush’s are from utopianism.

The GOP’s Ayers diversion is racist at its core. It may pretend not to know that a majority of its rally-goers think a terrorist is, by definition a Muslim… and that anyone whose middle name is Hussein must be a Muslim… and that ergo, Barack Hussein Obama is a terrorist. But the GOP knowingly manufactured this leap in logic to the conclusion that Obama is a terrorist who wants to harm America. They have armed the fearful Right with justification for its prejudice, in the hope of winning a few more votes

Let us all hope, and pray if so inclined, that there is no mind squirming like a toad in Palin’s crowds, fired up by the realization that Sarah is speaking to him (or her) directly, exhorting him to defend his honor and country and claim to racial superiority by means of violence.

It only takes one lunatic to commit a crazy crime. Helter-skelter, John and Sarah.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Ayers, the GOP's New "N" Word

If you liked swiftboating, the Republican sport of repeating the same lie until its victim becomes playground bully bait, John McCain's 2008 version will disappoint you.

Unable to swiftboat Obama directly on the basis of his race, McCain has launched an oblique attack on his association with "terrorist" Bill Ayers.

The cheers that greeted Sarah Palin's rally portrayal of an Obama-Ayers association today were louder, more lip-smacking and more prolonged than any other crowd reaction during her speech. Now the rabidly anti-Obama constituents can link him to a terrorist bogeyman, since the "N" bogyman is off-limits to them... in public, anyway.

But Obama is not easily intimidated, no matter how vicious the playground bully, no matter how much lipstick she smears over her slurs. He has perfected the art of the gentlemanly, Cary Grant response, and cannot be tarred as easily as Kerry. Instead of taking the bait and biting back the pitbull while the handler cowers on the sidelines, Obama will retaliate with a link of his own... not to McCain's role in the S&L crisis of the eighties, but to the economic collapse of today. And the bully is a sniveling wimp on this issue.

How many racist voters will latch onto McCain's transmogrified Ayers N-word and use it to foment hatred and fear? Quite a few of them, to judge by all that foaming at the mouth as Palin's followers trampled Obama's middle name like a dirty, racist flag. But not enough to prejudice the supporters who are handing him a double-digit lead in the polls.

According to blogster Howard Wolfson at, "Senator McCain will try to make issues of Bill Ayers and Tony Rezko and Rev. Wright, and that might hurt Senator Obama around the margins -- but it will not prevent him from winning. The economy is simply bigger than the rogues gallery that John McCain is conjuring up."

Thanks for saying so, Howard. It's uplifting to think that sticks and stones might break a few votes, but not even McCain's new N-Word can make Obama less of a human being.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Is that a Facial Tic, or Are You Just Glad to See Me?

Heck! Shucks! Darn!

If I weren't so smart I might have been flattered by Sarah Palin's appeal to the Joe Six-Pack in me, and the implicit reassurance that it's OK to be narrow-minded, uneducated, and sound asleep at the smarts wheel.

But don't ya know, I am confident of my identity and don't need parental figures in the White House. I don't need charming gambits like evading a tough question by answering a different one, nor do I interpret this as standing up to meanies in the media. I don't need the smoking spectre of a "second holocaust" blown up my ass. And I definately, positively, absolutely do not need a wink.

Gosh, I guess that's why Sarah Palin's performance in last night's Vice-Presidential debate failed to impress me. So what if she didn't trip and fall as she walked onstage? So what if she remembered to include all the buzzwords her debate handlers force-fed her? So what if she didn't crack under pressure and blurt out that Jesus wants America to elect John McCain?

Sarah Palin continues to skirt issues that are critical to the future of America. True, it isn't easy to explain McCain's claim that our economy is strong, made on the same day it tanked. But invoking the dead spirit of Ronald Reagan with her "There you go again" assertion that we should just forget the past and move on is contradictory. It's also an evasion, not an answer.

A question, Ms. Palin: In all those magazines you read, and in that vast array of reference material you rely on, did the phrase, "He who fails to understand history is doomed to repeat it" ever pop up?

Anyone who thinks it's a good idea to ignore the Republican failures that have taken root in American soil shouldn't expect to become my gardener, much less my Vice President.

And don't claim, Ms. Palin, that the constitution provides for "more Vice-Presidential powers" after we have suffered through eight years of Dick Cheney's malevolent influence. We won't be needin' any more brazen assaults on our constitution, Ma'am.

It doesn't matter that Sarah Palin can act the part of my mommy, my teacher and my friend. If she shucks and darns McCain into office, America will have to climb out of our quicksand economy under the guidance of the same deregulation spokeman who helped sink it. America will have to extricate itself from Iraq by repeating the same mistakes and expecting a different outcome. And most disappointing of all, America will lose the opportunity to insert the crowbar of reason into the Republican weld between church and state and pry it apart... separate it, in fact... as our constitution demands.

So, don't wink at me, Sarah Palin. We're electing a Vice President, not a flirt.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Don't Let Them Tell You You're Just Paranoid, Man!

by Guest Blogger H. Anderson, aka ballbuster/asskicker

No, it's not that grass you've started smoking again, Boomers. They really are out to get you.

Who's "they", and what do "they" want?

Well, one thing hasn't changed from your youth: "they" is still "the man". That includes oil companies, banks, greedy corporations, the government, and all the usual suspects.

But, "they" can also be the people you need to trust, particularly on the eve of your retirement: your health care provider, your church, your television, and even your kids.

What do they want?

Duh! Your money.

Here's an important statistic every marketing executive knows: you Baby Boomers are the wealthiest generation in the history of America. Those of you who didn't earn enough to retire young are currently at your earning peak. During the next 10 years, many of you are going to retire, and you're taking a large chunk of America's wealth with you.

This is the land of capitalism, where caveat emptor rules. In America, anybody can compete for a share of the pie. That's how y'all got so much money in the first place, because you love capitalism, and you're damn good at it.

But unfortunately, capitalism isn't about to retire along with you. Remember, your generation has socked away a sizeable percentage of our country's wealth. It doesn't add up — 75 million Americans control a majority of the wealth, leaving the other 225 million to scrap over what's left. Remember, this is a country where everybody has the right to try to steal your piece of the pie. And they're doing it right now.

This whole mortgage crisis? News flash: it was a con! You were duped into falling for the "everybody's doing it" mentality — you guys are real suckers for that one — and gave up perfect good, nearly paid-off homes for overvalued mini-mansions you didn't need. Fell for it hook, line and sinker. Lines like "you must act now to take advantage of these historically low interest rates!" Or "you owe it to yourself to buy that dream home." Who told you this BS? The ones who sold you that now upside down mortgage, that's who. The ones you're indebted to for life.

How many of you went from black to red on your personal balance sheets, trading equity for debt? You were robbed! Did you know WaMu was found guilty by the state of New York for conspiring with appraisers to artificially inflate home values to force borrowers into jumbo and subprime loans? WaMu committed outright fraud. It's true, Google it! WaMu, sued by the state of New York and found guilty of defrauding citizens for millions, probably billions … BUT, settled out of court.

See, instead of putting those bastards in jail, your government instead just set tougher regulations for appraisers. Sure, the FBI is investigating, but so far, nobody's gone to jail. Meanwhile, millions of you are on your way to the poor house. Gee, could there be a financial reason the government's priorities are so far out of whack here?

How are those 401Ks doing? I can't imagine being in your shoes, spending all those years dutifully contributing the maximum allowable amount of your paychecks into that rip-off of a casino called Wall Street. So, where did it go? Stolen by the very bankers who convinced you to put your life savings into an uninsured investment. Bankers don't care where you spend your golden years. In your home, your kid's home, or a ditch. Whatevs, that's your problem. Caveat emptor, let the buyer beware.

How about your health? I'm mortified to see so many of you sick and broken down, victims of your own self-indulgence. Nobody cares enough about you to tell you to stop eating at MacDonald's. Stop drinking a gallon of diet soda or a pot of coffee every day. Exercise. Chop some onions, for Chris'sake.

No, instead, you're ripped off again. Convinced that you need pills and surgery, not self-discipline and real food. You spend hundreds of dollars a month on health regimens that have left you one of the sickest generations in history. You're the first generation in US history whose life expectancy has actually decreased, did you know that? Few of you are as healthy as your parents were at your age, and some of your elderly parents are probably healthier now. How many of you could even take to the streets in protest these days?

Here's a morbid thought: robbing you blind with damaging health care accomplishes two goals. First, health care companies get your money, which remember, is everyone's goal. Second, if you die young, it solves the Social Security problem. An honest government would do everything it could to maintain the health of the largest retiring generation in history, don't you think?

Please, pull your heads out of the sand! Somewhere down there is the enlightened rebel of your youth. We can still turn this country around, but we need your help. Turn off the television, NOW! Stop allowing "them" to hypnotize you with junk TV and news shows that tell you over and over and over and over and over and over again what to think. That bad mother who might have killed her 3-year-old is NOT important. Monday Night Football is NOT important. And I know this will fall on deaf ears for many of you, but McCain vs. Obama isn't that important, either. Both are controlled by special interests, and no matter how much change and maverick talk they dish up, at the end of the day, both will side with "them", not you.

Your generation is being targeted, because you played by the rules and achieved the American dream fair and square. And now, "they" want it back. You're being rendered powerless — broke, sick and scared — because long ago, when you were young, you had power. Remember when you stopped that corrupt war? Remember when you demanded equal pay for equal work? Remember how you raised a generation that isn't limited by race, gender or sexual orientation? You'd better believe "they" know what you are capable of, and it's not in "their" agenda.

I know you've still got it in you, Boomers. Keep smoking that grass until it re-opens the eyes of your youth. Cast aside your sofas and Blackberrys, and re-emerge as the generation of real change. The generation that doesn't take any bullshit. The generation that rejected the status quo and saved America.