Saturday, March 1, 2008

White Men Key to 08 Election

Apparently white men in America hold the key to the White House in this 2008 election, so said CNN this morning. I guess it's back to the Founding Fathers once more: white men, the only citizens who could vote.

White men, on average, tend to be right-of-center or independent in their voting patterns. What would make them move to the left this voting cycle, away from McCain and towards Obama? I'm guessing three issues: war, economy, and security.

The war. It will have been nearly 6 full years of the War on Iraq by the time November 4, 2008 rolls around. Six years of a fitful engagement with 'the enemy.' That enemy has had a variety of faces and names over these years: Saddam Ba'athists, Sunni insurgents, Shia militia, Muqtada al-Sadr Army, unspecified 'foreign fighters' and al Qaeda. Some were 'against us' before they were 'with us.' The players are hard to define. So is the mission as well as the end game.

Men like to get the job done and dislike open-ended affairs. It is in our nature to finish one task and to move to another. I would imagine that disillusionment would be a good term to use to describe the white male view of the war right now. We were lied-to as well. Spun too. Hoodwinked. Men don't care to be fooled, especially where war is concerned.

The economy. White males are born with a certain privilege: gender and skin color. They expect doors to open for them, especially men born into upper middle class families. These days they are finding the doors shut. Not only that, but their wages are stagnant, oportunities for advancement limited. High medical premiums, record high energy prices, rising food prices have diluted their wages so that their total wealth has fallen, not risen, in the past 8 years: a real oddity for these men. They feel impotent to do much about it. White men do not like impotence.

Security. The attacks on 9-11 was a terrible psychological blow to the male psyche; the safety of the family is in his hands. The shock of that tragedy has warn thin. The knee-jerk response to seek revenge- quite the tribal instinct- has been vetted although not completely. Bin Laden is still on the loose. White men know now that Saddam had nothing to do with 9-11. Al-Qaeda is the issue and they, along with the Taleban, are increasing in numbers to pre-9-11 numbers. The War on Iraq has done nothing to stop this trend.

White men know that our homeland security has little to do with an invasion. Invasions of a foreign army are out of the picture. They understand that the next 'attack' will be some event inside the states- a terrorist event. The ricin scare in Nevada; the anthrax mailings in DC some years ago; that mysterious electrical black-out in Florida a few weeks ago. Men cannot protect their families from this and neither, it seems, can the government.

Economic security, in my opinion, has risen to the top of the white male agenda. The economic security of their own family is at risk; they are supposed to see to it that their children do better than themselves, just as their fathers did for them. It isn't working out so well. Many face home mortgage problems along with increasing credit debt. The dream of sending their children to college is fading. The hope of retirement security is dicey. Men don't like uncertainty; white men even less.

Thus, when white male voters watch the two candidates from now until November 4, they want to know how these candidates will address their concerns, their problems, their anxieties. Does John McCain have anything to offer besides 'wars and more wars?' Do white males want wars and more wars? Has that fear card turned out to be an empty bluff? Pure bull shit?

Which candidate will address the economic fiasco facing us? Will McCain's message of 'making the Bush tax cuts permanent' give the white male voter security? How will McCain's generous support of the military-industrial-complex be an advantage to the white male? When McCain said last month, "Things are tough now, but we're better off than in 2000," did that resonate with this voting bloc?

Right now, of course McCain is pandering to his conservative base, attempting to prove to them that he is one of them. Does this agenda appeal to the middle class white man? Many of these men thought that they voted for a 'compassionate conservative' in 2000. Is that what they got? How has the so-called conservative agenda made their lives richer, more secure?

Surely I am looking at this issue through the eyes of a left-of-center white male and my judgments here may be skewed, but I don't think I'm too far off of the mark. The middle class white male in America is not happy these days and another Bush-lite for 4 more years cannot be too appealing.

Friday, February 29, 2008

McCain Embraces Anti-Catholic, Anti-Muslim Bigot Hagee has a press release which condemns John McCain's embrace of pastor John Hagee. The article says:

Yesterday, Senator John McCain said he was “very honored by Pastor John Hagee’s endorsement.” The Republican presidential hopeful also called Hagee “the staunchest leader of our Christian evangelical movement,” citing the minister’s pro-Israel stance.
Catholic League president Bill Donohue addressed this today:

“There are plenty of staunch evangelical leaders who are pro-Israel, but are not anti-Catholic. John Hagee is not one of them. Indeed, for the past few decades, he has waged an unrelenting war against the Catholic Church. For example, he likes calling it ‘The Great Whore,’ an ‘apostate church,’ the ‘anti-Christ,’ and a ‘false cult system.’ To hear the bigot in his own words, click here. Note: he isn’t talking about the Buddhists.

As I recall, Hagee has put his foot in his bigoted mouth several times before. He leads the controversial group, Christians United for Israel. He is blinded by the Bible's Armageddon prophesy, believing that Israel belongs exclusively to the Jews and that it must be cleansed of the infidel Muslims before Jesus returns. There are 2 posts on this blog about Hagee [here] [here].

Surely McCain can't play dumb about Hagee. Hell, if I knew about him last October, McCain can't pretend he doesn't know Hagee's background and agenda. McCain is good about apologies AFTER the damage has been done as will the racist Bill Cunningham's pre-rally remarks.

Too bad McCain is selling his soul to the Fundamentalists. He must be desperate.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Caroline Kennedy Comes to Toledo

A soft spoken, rather shy Caroline Kennedy spoke to a crowd of about 300 Obama supporters this afternoon, sharing her ideas as to why she believes that Barack Obama will be an inspiration for America. She linked the enthusiasm for Obama to that displayed some 50 years ago for her father, John F. Kennedy.

The audience listened to each word, many, like me, dreaming of the days of Camelot when she was just a child running through the White House. That same hope, the same charisma that we felt in the early 60's with John Kennedy is felt this time around in Barack Obama.

Caroline read her speech, as she is not a seasoned speaker, but nonetheless, the audience absorbed each word, interrupting her speech several times with applause. The audience, predominantly women cheered when she suggested that it is the women who elect presidents because, "We do all of the work."

After her talk, she signed autographs or just shook hands with the assembled crowd. My wife asked her for an autograph and told her that she had gotten her father's autograph at the Court House back in 1960. "How nice," she softly said.

Interesting Obama Drawing

92% of Republicans Vote to Continue Tax Breaks for Oil

H.R. 5351: Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008 (On Passage)
Passed 236-182, 11 not voting. 96% of Democrats supporting, 92% of Republicans opposing.

Only 17 House Republicans voted with the majority to cut the tax breaks for the petroleum industry. The bill stops $13 billion in tax breaks for 5 of the largest petroleum companies operating in America, including Exxon Mobile which made profits of $14 billion last quarter.

This saved revenue will be used to boost incentives for wind and solar energy and energy efficiency.

Seven of the 8 Democrats who voted to continue the tax breaks come from oil states.

Not surprisingly, the Bush administration, Republican lawmakers and big oil companies condemned the bill, which they said would raise fuel prices for consumers, discourage oil and gas exploration in the United States and unfairly discriminate against a single industry while other manufacturers continue to enjoy tax breaks.

Funny stuff. Always a good laugh when the GOPers try to scare the citizens with their spin on corporate welefare. The only question is this: will the dumbed-down citizens fall for it once more?

Are We Ready for `American Religious History Week'?

Right-wing Republicans are busy once again spending time in Congress trying to 'Christianize' our American government. About 70 HR members are pushing H.R. 888 which would 'affirm the rich spiritual and religious history of our Nation's founding and subsequent history and expressing support for designation of the first week in May as `American Religious History Week' for the appreciation of and education on America's history of religious faith.'

Seems like these congressmen ought to be working on health care, better energy sources, wasteful spending, getting out of Iraq and the recession rather than pandering to the religious right agenda. Interestingly, included in H.R. 888 are passages from the Bible. No doubt, if given free reign, they would work to change our representative democracy into a theocracy, like Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Odd, isn't it, how religious zealots want to control governments for their own purposes.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

'Worst President Ever' Now That's an Understatement!

Warren G. Harding: move over one seat. Make room for George Walker Bush. He's got the last chair now. No doubt about it. Veteran journalist Helen Thomas said it at the Society of Professional Journalists banquet. She ought to be a good judge of presidents because she has sat in on the Q and A since John Kennedy stood before her in 1961. The adolescent Bush Team punished her for telling the truth by not calling on her in press conferences. Their stupidity blatant.

It is interesting to note why various presidents have been ranked so low. Harding's is due to the scandals in his White House. Of himself he admitted, "I am not fit for this office and never should have been here." Tell that to George W. Bush. Ulysses Grant is often ranked last due to corruption in his administration. His alcoholism surely contributed to his incompetence. Luckily Bush kicked the booze or he's be in the negative column by now.

Let's see why future rankings of presidents will show GW Bush under James Buchanan. The preemptive war on Iraq. The squandering of billions of dollars on that war. The failure to protect this nation from the greatest attack on U.S. soil in history. The massive growth in the National Debt. A recession. The failing dollar. The abysmal image of the nation as seen through the eyes of the world. Lies to the citizens about supposed threats from Iraq. Lies in the State of the Union Speech. A failed war in Afghanistan. The failed war in Iraq.

Pitiful, to put it mildly!

Turkey Welcome to Invade Iraq; Iran Not

Confusing isn't it. A few months ago Bush, Cheney and Rice got their panties all in a knot that Iran was sending operatives into Iraq. For the past few days, Turkey has sent its army into Iraq. That seems to be OK with the Bush Administration.

Odd stuff. Odd people.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Obama's Health Care Plan: Socialism?

The folks in the insurance business were very successful back in the 90's in putting down any hope of a national health care program with their slick TV ads featuring Harry and Louise, written by and produced by The Health Insurance Association of America. They spent $17 million to convince America that passage of the Clinton health plan would be devastating. They said people would lose their choice of doctors, that insurance would become so expensive employers would drop it. And on it went... View it again or old time sake [here]

Today on the GlassCityBlog, a comment was posted against both Obama and Clinton, which said: "You can’t pay for the socialist programs that Clinton and Obama want to initiate without taking money from those who have it. Bend over America, your under performing (underserved) neighbors are about to become entitled to the fruits of your labor."

Funny stuff. Typical reactionary, right-wing talking points. Reminds me of that blowhard bloviator, Rush Hisself. Even more interesting, this comment came from a man in the insurance business. Surprise, surprise!

He said to me on the same thread:

Mud Rake: have to understand that the candidates you support will have a serious negative impact on people like me who run businesses and hire professional people for good-paying non-union jobs. I’d be happy to inform you about how a Clinton or Obama administration would hurt businesses across our region and in many parts of the country.
Tell me why you think I should vote for your candidate - I’ll listen and maybe learn something new. Then I’ll ask you to read my point of view and try to understand a different perspetive than yours. Maybe we both can learn something - and that’s not negative sad-sackery

More funny stuff. I especially like the phrase [right out of the right-wing playbook] "will have a serious negative impact on people like me who run businesses and hire professional people for good-paying non-union jobs."

Serious impact. Oh yes they will, Mr. Insurance Broker. Run you out of business of scamming the people with your high insurance premiums. You ought to get into the preditory lending business-- same talent needed, same sucking sound. They run snake oil salesmen out too--Green River Ordinance.

Here's the part of the Obama plan that really irks the insurance folks:

The Obama plan will create a National Health Insurance Exchange to help individuals who wish to purchase a private insurance plan. The Exchange will act as a watchdog group and help reform the private insurance market by creating rules and standards for participating insurance plans to ensure fairness and to make individual coverage more affordable and accessible. Insurers would have to issue every applicant a policy, and charge fair and stable premiums that will not depend upon health status. The Exchange will require that all the plans offered are at least as generous as the new public plan and have the same standards for quality and efficiency. The Exchange would evaluate plans and make the differences among the plans, including cost of services, public.

That's what scares the hell out of the insurance peddlers. That's why they have their panties all in a knot over these plans. They won't be able to gouge the public like they have. By the way, he's voting for McCain. Another surprise.

Fundrace 2008: Who is Giving to the Campaigns?

Fundrace2008 is an interesting site that maps the donations to political parties. Not only can you find out who your neighbors are supporting, but also which occupations give money to which party. For example, inserting 'insurance' in the 'occupation' section yields these data:

Democrats- $230,000
Republicans - $330,000

The occupation 'teaching' yields this data:

Democrats- $1,595,000
Republicans- $641,000

The occupation 'self-employed' yields:

Democrats- $192,000
Republicans- $428,000

The occupation 'banking' yields:

Democrat- $272,000
Republicans- $201,000

Interesting stuff to ponder and play with if you have the time.

John McCain: Mr. Cellophane Man

"We have to make tax cuts permanent," he said. "We have to lower your taxes, not raise your taxes. Especially in challenging economic times, [we need] to save more of your money for you to spend and not send it to Washington to spend for you."

That was yesterday in Rocky River, Ohio, a western suburb of Cleveland. "We will fix these problems. America has never faced a challenge we haven't been able to overcome."

The 'problems' to which he refers are home foreclosures and loss of manufacturing jobs. Odd, isn't it, that to solve these problems, we will have to make the Bush Tax Cuts permanent. I wonder if anybody in the audience actually believed that their job, their home would be more secure by making the Bush Tax Cuts permanent.

"to save more of your money for you to spend and not send it to Washington to spend for you." he said. Which military-industrial-complex spending bill did he NOT vote for? How many billions of 'your money' did John McCain authorize to be spent? Did the folks in Rocky Ridge believe that John McCain was NOT in Washington spending their tax dollars? He's been there 25 years spending the people's money. In Washington. Your tax dollars.

Duping the people, pretending that he is not a Washington insider. Sorry, John, most of us can see right through you- Mr. Cellophane Man.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Obama Uplifts Toledo

Along with 10,000 others, I attended the Obama rally Sunday afternoon on the University of Toledo campus. A half hour before the senator was scheduled to speak, the doors were closed, disappointing 5,000 supporters who were too late to get in. Yet, Mr. Obama took time before his inside appearance to talk with those who stood out in the cold.

Inside the place was jumping: choirs, dancers, and speeches preceded the arrival of the man the people wanted to see and hear. He did not disappoint them. I was sitting among middle aged black folks who viewed the senator as their hope, their dream. They have waited way too long for a black man to lead this nation and they hung on every word he uttered. "Yes sir!" "That's right!" "We're listening to you!" The man spoke to their souls.

Obama said of himself, "People say to me, 'you're a young man, you can wait some more years until you become more seasoned.'" Then he said, "They want to stew me, to cook all of the hope out of me, but " won't let that happen. The time is now." The audience roared in approval.

I was thinking of the elderly black couple right behind me throughout his speech. They were well into their 70's, people whose hard work showed on their faces and in their voices. They were tired of waiting. No doubt they had 'waited' quite a lot during their lifetime, the color of their skin denying entrance to many places and opportunities that white folks take for granted. They had spent a lifetime waiting to be recognized as full and equal citizens of this nation and the time for celebration, the time for complete emancipation was this time, this place, this speech, this afternoon.

They themselves had not allowed all of their own hope to be cooked out of them. Their man spoke to them and it warmed their hearts.

McCain Touts Code Word: States' Rights

John McCain 'assured the 22 Republican governors who gathered for their conference that he was very much in favor of 'states' rights.' Back in the 50's and 60's that phrase was a code word for Jim Crow laws and segregation in the South. Apparently McCain is following in the footsteps of that earlier radical from Arizona, Barry Goldwater.

The AP reports: "John McCain assured GOP governors Saturday that he's a staunch backer of states rights, furthering his efforts to reach out to all parts of the party.
"I'm a federalist," the Arizona senator said, emphasizing a division of power between the federal and state governments. "Only the things that the states can't do should the federal government do.

I'm quite sure that southern governors like Halie Barbour and Sonny Perdue understood the coded language as these men grew up in the segregated south. History recorded the big exit of the Dixiecrats, segregationist Democrats, to the Republican Party shortly after the Civil Rights Act was signed into law.

States' rights indeed!

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