Saturday, February 23, 2008

Tin Lapel Flag Important Sign of Patriotism

It seems that conservatives have their panties all in a knot that Barack Obama doesn't wear one of those tin lapel flags on his suit. Apparently, that shows patriotism while not wearing one indicates unpatriotic tendencies. I know, you're laughing because you really can't imagine such an idiotic thing. That's because you aren't a right-wing meathead.

According to YahooNews, the following comments were made:

"First he kicked his American flag pin to the curb. Now Barack Obama has a new round of patriotism problems. Wait until you hear what the White House hopeful didn't do during the singing of the national anthem," said Steve Doocy, co-host of "Fox and Friends" on the Fox News Channel.

"He felt it OK to come out of the closet as the domestic insurgent he is," former radio host Mark Williams said on Fox.

Funny stuff from funny people.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Obama Phenomenon: Kennedy-esque

So many people I talk with are enamored with the thought of an Obama presidency. Not just the usual crowd of Democrats. Just yesterday I spoke with a man in the financial business, not a hot spot for Democrats; he told me that Obama was the one this year. He voted for Bush and said that he had 'had it' with the Republican Party after what he watched these past 7 years.

One younger person with whom I spoke earlier said to me, "This is what it must have been during the Kennedy years, of course I wasn't around to know what it was like," he said. He's right, it is what it was all about. The excitement, the hope, the inspiration.

The Senator is coming to town on Sunday and already, there is a line-up to get tickets. The place is jammed, my son told me this morning. I read in the local paper this morning that McCain appeared yesterday in a 'jammed' restaurant. How sad. Hillary is coming to town tonight and will be at a high school auditorium.

People flock to Obama rallies; they want to be a part of history. They can feel that this is a phenomenon, a once-in-a-lifetime event. The youth of America surely are hungry for another Kennedy, another political leader who will inspire them and in whom they can put their trust and hope. The senator from Massachusetts did that for my generation much like the earlier senator from Illinois did in 1860.

There has been a large gap, a hole in the American psyche, ever since those magical days of Camelot in the early 60's. Seven years of war and terrorism along with lying and deceitful members of this administration have tarnished, corroded the ideals of governance spelled out so clearly in the American Constitution. Young voters today have not only witnessed these ugly events but have studied the vile days of Nixon as well as the hellish years of the Vietnam War, it too begun on specious maneuvering of politicos in the Johnson administration.

Are they looking for 'change' or for hope? I think hope. Hope that there really can be a president in whom they can trust. Perhaps the word is trust. Somebody to pin hope upon. Somebody who will not disappoint them. The real thing. An honest man.

Obama in Toledo Sunday Afternoon

Barack Obama will be in Toledo Sunday afternoon at 4:30 at UT's Savage Hall. Doors open at 2 PM. Preferred seating tickets are going like hotcakes this morning at The City Grill, Huron near Jackson. General admission is without a ticket.
My son just called and said that the place is packed with people getting their one pair of tickets [2] only.
Seating is first come, and a preferred ticket is not a reserved seat.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

UK Admits, Apologizes for "Renderings" of Terrorists

The BBC reports:

David Miliband has admitted two US 'extraordinary rendition' flights landed on UK territory in 2002. The foreign secretary said in both cases US planes refuelled on the UK dependent territory of Diego Garcia. He said he was "very sorry" to have to say that previous denials made in "good faith" were now having to be corrected.

Mr Miliband said the US had told him that neither of the two men involved in the rendition were British, neither left the plane and the US had "assured" him that no US detainees were ever held on Diego Garcia. One of the men involved has since been released and one is at Guantanamo Bay. We both agree that the mistakes made in these two cases are not acceptable.

Mr Miliband said the UK had been told neither of them had been involved in "secret detention centres" nor were subject to water boarding "or other similar forms of interrogation".
He said US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice shared his "deep regret" about mistakes in the two cases.


'Deep regret'? The only 'regret' that Rice has is that it has been made public and that her lies have been revealed.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Bush Flees to Africa to Find Warm Welcome

His poll ratings are about 30%. His war is stuck. The economy is tanking. Recession is around the corner. What's a disgraced president to do? Fly to Africa to have people smile and applaud him. Odd, isn't it and somewhat ironic? Black folks cheering the man. Not many black folks here would. Not many white folks either. In the photo at right it looks as if he's checking out black skin for the first time in his life.

What a sad scene- he and Laura tramping through primitive villages handing out money for AIDS, withholding condoms for Jesus' sake.

Too bad he and Laura can't travel to Baghdad. Wouldn't that have been a proud moment! He could have walked over to that pedestal where Saddam once stood before the Army pulled it down. He could have climbed atop it and proclaimed, "Mission Accomplished!" once more before his presidency peters out.

Two Victory Speeches After Wisconsin

John McCain and Barack Obama both gave victory speeches after their win in Wisconsin. I listened to them both. What a contrast. They could not have been more different in both style and substance.

Mr. McCain had to read each word from the TelePrompter in front of him. He was terribly poor at that; he should have studied Ronald Reagan's technique. Very little emotion or passion was noted in the words. And the words: apparently he is going to save us from those terrorists who are just waiting to attack us. Maybe it would have struck some chord were this November 2001 or even 2002, but after watching the dopey war on Iraq as some sort of extension on that 'war on terror,' it is clear that neither he nor Bush understand what terrorism is all about.

On the other hand, Mr. Obama talked from his heart- no TelePrompter, no written speech. Off his head, from his soul. Hope along with practicality; that was his message. Dream but keep your feet on the ground. Wish, but plan. His was a message that resonated with the heart and soul of citizens hungry for uplifting, looking for real ideas, real leadership. There was little talk of war or terrorists. Folks are more afraid of their job, their mortgage payments, the bills coming due, their health care costs, their children's future.

Bush and Cheney have bamboozled the citizens for 7 long and tiring years. One can only play the Wolf! Wolf! card so many times before the people turn away and look to the wolves in their own lives. McCain needs a new message that will resonate with the people who feel they have been terrorized in their own nation.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Betrayed by Bush and Cheney

There must be quite a few so-called 'swing voters' who must feel betrayed after voting Bush/Cheney in 2004. I suppose they were duped into thinking that the war was worth 'winning' and that it was indeed a part of the 'war on terror.' Now, after watching the mess become even more entangled and the end-game not in sight, surely they regret casting that vote 4 years ago. And with the economy tanking and the housing market a mess along with stagnant wages and rising prices, they have to put the blame somewhere, and Bush and Cheney are easy targets for their anger.

I feel a bit sorry for John McCain in this whole mess, as the mood of the nation, and especially these 'swing voters' has shifted away from the Grand Old Party this election cycle. He ought to have been the candidate back in 2000, but he was the victim in South Carolina of race-bating and push-polling. "Did you know that John McCain fathered a black baby?" was the line used by the Bush people in their robocalls to the potential voters. The push-poll, not a poll at all but a message disguised as one, asked whether they would vote for a person who had mental problems like John McCain. Dirty stuff. It worked and South Carolina ended the presidential hopes of McCain.

We will never know if he would have defeated Al Gore or whether he would have led us into a preemptive war on Iraq, or how he would have responded to the PDB that lay on the presidential desk in late August 2001- the one titled, 'Bin Laden determined to attack inside the U.S." Surely, he could not have made all of the blunders of the Bush-Cheney Administration.

Now is his opportunity, albeit 8 years too late. Like Bob Dole's run in 1996, there is little chance for another 4 years with a Republican at the helm. John McCain is past his prime and running at the wrong time. If only...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Here Is The Real Divide

Let me clarify that this is a post on "elitism". Similar terms are "the establishment" or "the system". These terms, it seems to me, encapsulate the two major parties. The elites are the all encompassing elected and unelected decision makers. To control their success and power they set our division in the terms of men vs. women, black vs. white, rich vs. poor, old vs. young, or English speaking vs. non-English speaking.

Not to minimize these divides, but these are not the real divides. The real divide is over foreign policy and war. The people who have ruled us and want to rule us want to make the world over in the American image, with American values.

They are more concerned with affairs outside the US than they are about fixing our domestic needs like open borders, education, medical insurance, social security,energy, environment, economic globalization, and so forth.

The Young Turks of America

[a guest-posting by EngineerofKnowledge]

In the early 1900’s there was a political movement in the Ottoman Empire known as the “Young Turks.” The “Young Turks” movement emerged in reaction to a declining regional influence, declining economic situation domestically, with a desire for a political change that was very much a limited and tunnel vision based on a religious point of view. The backbone of the movement was formed by young military officers who were especially disturbed by the continuing decline of the Ottoman power and attributed the crisis to the absence of an environment for change to a world they saw through their own views. The new Turkish nationalism which was xenophobic and exclusionary in its thinking soon attributed the decline to those who did not agree with their viewpoint or belonged to their religious following. The new “Young Turks” policies threatened to undo the tattered fabric of a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society. Taking advantage of the political confusion reigning in the aftermath of the First Balkan War in which the Ottoman Empire lost. The “Young Turk” movement monopolized political powers domestically first by bring the Parliament completely under its influence. To consolidate more of the Turkish rule, the “Young Turks” devised in secret, a program for the extermination of the Armenian Population. The Young Turks” had made the Armenian people the target for all the hatred and blame for the Ottoman Empire’s decline. The main thrust of the Armenian Genocide, however, was implemented within the first year in 1915 of World War I. This was years ahead of any imminent collapse. The mass deportation of the civilian Armenian population was carried out in the spring and summer of 1915 and was completed by the fall. The systematic slaughter of the Armenians had started earlier with the murder of the able-bodied Armenian males already drafted into the Ottoman armed forces. To reiterate, those Armenians who were drafted into the Army, fighting for their country, were the first rounded up and shot; exterminated until there were no more Armenian men in the Army. It was soon followed up by rounding up all Armenians, the old men that were left, women and children, then starting a force death march taking them through Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, raping any female no matter the age and killing all along the way. This was the means for spreading out the dead bodies instead of dealing with the problem of trying to build mass graves in one place.

To quote Voltaire who said, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” Our own founding fathers had such great respect for Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire; they incorporated many of his views into the formation of the U.S. Constitution. Voltaire, who dared to speak out for the rights of an oppressed people, had educated the masses to think and act for themselves. I am afraid that we have forgotten the lessons of this man who was a great humanitarian of the 18th century.

Here today in the U.S. we have a whole generation that has been bombarded by the propaganda of Conservative Talk Radio, the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’ Riley, and Michel Savage. In a recent radio show, conservative talk show host Glen Beck, even admitted that everyone in the radio listening audience has to remember that these Conservative Talk Show Celebrates are entertainers’ first, truth and facts are a far second priority. But yet these “Young Turks of America” generation quotes these entertainers as if everything was based on fact and truth. But when many ask these “Young Turks” to back up their statements with facts and evidence, they are stumped and cannot formulate any supporting statements as evidence to their comments. Many of the “Young Turks” will accept anything that is put forth to them so long as it has been wrapped in the “Conservative” marketing viewpoint. You will even hear Rush say, “If you are a true conservative, a God believing Republican, you will think this way.” Like the Republicans have a monopoly on God. The sin of pride comes to my mind when I hear these statements. Many will refer to themselves as “Ditto Heads,” I prefer the more accurate non-thinking or questioning “Bobble Heads.”

Even though you can see the evidence at both of the earth poles, of large Ice Sheets the size of small states, dropping off into the ocean. They point to the recent large snow storms in China a few weeks ago as if this was proof of no Global Warming. Negating the weather science fact that the warmer the planet, the more evaporation, thus the more moisture falling back to the earth. This week one of the largest Typhoons ever recorded has hit Bangladesh. Hurricanes and Typhoons obtain their strength from the warmth of the oceans as they travel across them. Those purchasing advertising on the Conservative Talk shows are making sure the listening audience is being mislead to think and would like you to believe that Climate Change means Palm Tree sprouting and growing in Boston. They point to Lake Erie effect weather dumping ice storms from Buffalo, NY on into New England as proof there is not Climate Change.

Many of these entertainers’ shows are funded by Oil / Coal corporations making sure that Global Warming / Climate Change is not believed because it could lead to an industry change which may harm their record profit margins. The Oil Industries have such a large influence with this administration that laws have been passed again in the latest Energy Package that for the next five years, they will not pay any taxes on the profits of the industry. Even though this industry is recording the largest profit margins of any industry ever, they will pay no taxes. The CEO’s of this industry are then awarding themselves hundred of million dollars in annual bonuses. The recent contracts between the Government and the Oil Industries which allows them to drill and pump oil from public lands is ignoring the payment to the American Public for the oil that has been removed. To restate, the oil on public lands that all American citizens own, is not being paid to the Government for this oil they have taken. When the government employee within the Department of the Interior pointed this fact out and tried to sue for payment, he was fired by the Department of Interior under this current administration. At the current cost of oil on the free market, this payment would go well into paying down the national debt that every citizen has to burden which is now at $27,000 each at the current debt. Of course this does not account for the continued borrowing of $2.5 million being borrowed on a daily basis or the compounded interests that is being accumulated. As a general rule of thumb over 30 years the $27,000 would be $81,000 owed by every man, woman, and child of the U.S. But because all of this has been wrapped in the cloak of Conservatism, these “Young Turks” think that this is acceptable. They have no clue that for every part of the tax burden that this group does not pay, the burden to operate the Government is thrown onto their backs. But again, this message has been marketed as the “Conservative” viewpoint and should be accepted cart blanch.

Within these ranks of “Young Turks of America” come some people who will stalk and assonate OBGYN doctors and even threaten the doctors’ families because they disagree with the current laws of our country. They believe they are immune from “Thy shall not kill” commandment because God is on their side of this minor Genocide. Again, all wrapped up in the “Conservative” viewpoint blanket.

We also have a group of “Young Turks” touting religious conservative slogans going around the country protesting the funerals of fallen service men because they have been mislead to believe the God is punishing our armed services. Their reason is because we are not persecuting homosexuals in this country. The disrespect to the families of the sons and daughters killed in action, dishonoring a family for the closure of their loss. Brave men and woman who serve with honor are not allowed the proper respect for the sacrifice they have paid. Again, non-questioning marketed Conservative viewpoint is at fault here.

We now have those who are saying that every Mexican in this country needs to be gathered up and those who can prove they are American citizens can stay but those who cannot are to be sent back to Mexico even if it means separating children that were born here but the parents are of Mexican birth. One could say that the U.S. Mexican immigrations are much like the Ottoman Empire’s old Armenian problems. I am sure the “Young Turks of the Ottoman Empire” would be proud of this new “Young Turks of America” because both were follow their Religious Right Conservative Doctrines.

Mona Charen- Wrong on Wisdom, Wrong on Judgment

Poor Mona Charen, she tries so hard to make a point, but does it so poorly. Take her latest entry, "Obama: Old Wine, New Bottle," for example. She is critical of Obama for, as she puts it, "He claims to be all about the future, but his policy ideas are about as modern as disco and the leisure suit."

Odd, isn't it for a conservative writer like Ms Charen to denigrate somebody for looking back. Lord, how often have I heard each GOP candidate light a votive light under the picture of Ronald Reagan. Imagine, the 'conservative party' not wanting to look back to the good old days.

I think that scares Charen. A Democrat looking back to the days when Democrats stood with the people. The party that gave them Social Security and Medicare, that promoted unions and the minimum wage, as well as safety standards in the workplace. The party of the ordinary man. That scares her, because she wants us to live in LaLa Land, the fear-mongering land of terrorists!

I found today's linked article on the Jewish World Review which archived her op eds way back to the 2000 election. I checked out her column on election morning 2000 and found this interesting comment:

In choosing the distinguished Dick Cheney as his running mate, and by surrounding himself with highly intelligent and eminent advisors, Bush has given hints both of good judgment and of solid self-confidence.

Oh, yes indeed, Ms. Charen, distinguished and eminent advisors and good judgment too!

Perhaps that statement alone causes a person to wonder about your own wisdom and judgment. Nice spin on Obama, by the way, but, as usual, way off the mark.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Right-wing Haters are a Confused Group

My right-wing brother-in-law is a confused and angry man. His father would roll over if he knew how far right he had drifted in his political thinking. His sister wonders when the 'love' left his soul. "Our father was a kind, loving, and tolerant man," she said to me yesterday after talking with her brother on the phone. "Apparently he didn't get his DNA," she sadly stated as she stared out of the window.

She had called him to invite him out to dinner as we were pulling away from the Obama Headquarters in Toledo; she mentioned that to him. It was as if she lit a fuse. He began a sarcastic tirade, dripping with hate, no doubt learned through hours of listening to Rush Limbaugh. We had just spent two hours tramping through the snow and ice to knock on doors, offering literature for Obama. There were no sidewalks in the area we were assigned, so getting to the door without slipping was a challenge. My wife did not need right-wing sarcasm after that.

Interestingly, I had read a piece by Jim Shea of the Hartford Courant yesterday morning titled, "Who Will the Haters Love?" Shea notes that 'hate radio' seemingly backed the wrong guy for president and they are angry. He says, "Of course, the maestros of hate radio — the Michael Savages, the Glenn Becks, the Big Kahuna of Hate his own self, Rush Limbaugh — have only themselves to blame for their predicament." He goes on, "So, for the mullahs of the microphones to start supporting McCain, they would have to ease up on their hatred of illegal immigrants, and that's just not going to happen. Life's too short."

Indeed, life's to short, especially if one embraces hate. Where does it come from? I read an article on a science website recently that postulated that prehistoric groups of people were keen observers of 'others.' They knew their own; they taught their children to identify the foreigner and to be weary. Apparently, fear of 'the other' is a survival trait deep in our DNA. Being tolerant of 'the other' must be taught, modeled by the parent.

Which brings up my wife's comment about her father as a model. She caught on, her brother didn't. I'm reminded of that cheap cliche' that was bandied around just after 9-11, the one that goes, "Why do they hate us so?" Naturally, that was a green light to those who already missed the tolerance lesson in their own childhood. Those folks had all of the answers, culminating in that newly-manufactured word, 'islamofascists.' There's the answer. That's what 'they' hate us.

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