Saturday, August 30, 2008

Lyndon Johnson Was Right: Kiss the South Good-bye

When President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, he noted that his party just lost the South for at least the next generation. He was right: they continue to vote solidly Republican. They liked their Jim Crow Laws that kept the black man in his place. Now a black man is running for president. He's doubly bad for the white bubbas: black and a Democrat.

Bill Moyer's Journal hosted twin brothers, Earl and Merle Black, college professors in the South, who talked about regional politics. After listening to the program I shook my head in disbelief that an entire group of Americans could be so ignorant and prejudiced. It also makes me happy that I live in the North and do no thave to associate with these men.

Here is a portion of the conversation which struck me:

BILL MOYERS: McCain also has a 34 point margin among white working class southerners. Some of the people you were just talking about. I mean, these are people who have been hurting economically under the Bush administration. Why are they so strongly for McCain?
MERLE BLACK: Well, one of those things that I learned, as part of my education, was working during my college. And you know, in east Texas. And we got paid every two weeks. And there's a lot of cussing going on every two weeks. This is the first group of white workers in the south who had money taken out, you know-
BILL MOYERS: Withholding.
MERLE BLACK: Withholding taxes, etcetera. Previous generation, you're working on the farm, you're just paid in cash. There's nothing like that. Now there's suddenly withholding. That is the issue of taxes. I don't remember what the-
BILL MOYERS: Goes back a long way, right?
MERLE BLACK: Goes back a long way. No, no, I think this is sometimes underestimated in terms of the - they were seeing the Democratic party as a party of taxation program but also a party of taxation. And these workers had a lot of other things they wanted to do with that money that was then now being taken by the federal government.
They disagree with some of the programs. But they also, you know, they also felt it in terms of the pocketbook. These are not fat cats. These are, you know, this is working class that you're talking about. And then when you add to that this cultural conservative out of the church--
BILL MOYERS: Cultural being of the religion.
MERLE BLACK: You know, on the religion, on abortion, on all these other kinds of questions, you know, that too, then the Democrats appear to some of these as too secular-
If blue collar white southerners think their culture's being disrespected, then it's - I think it's very hard to reverse that. And it's very hard for them to see that the Democratic Party would provide them with programs that would make up for the taxes that they are clearly paying these days that they didn't, you know, 50 years ago.
BILL MOYERS: So help me understand this, McCain, according to this latest poll, leads Obama by 54 percent among white evangelicals. Now, this is not a man conspicuously known for his religion. What's his appeal to them?
MERLE BLACK: Kind of the same appeal that Ronald Reagan had, didn't it? You know, Reagan, you know, Jimmy Carter versus Ronald Reagan, in terms of regular church going-
BILL MOYERS: Jimmy Carter was from Georgia, right?
MERLE BLACK: Yeah, that's not contest. But, in terms of getting those votes, you know, the-
MERLE BLACK: Because of values are important to them.
BILL MOYERS: What values?
MERLE BLACK: The values of life. Of respect for life. For this kind of thing that they don't see in the Democratic Party. And these are individuals, many of them, now, if they really thought economics was the most important reason, they'd do something else somewhere else.
These are all, you know, I had a guy, several years ago in Georgia, my car broke down. I was taken over to the place. He drives me over there. He didn't own the towing company. He's a worker there. He drives out of the way to go by his church that night. He invites me to come. They're having choir practice that night, or whatever. He's telling me, he's showing me what's important in his life.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Did McCain Just Hand Obama the White House?

Sarah Palin, 44-year-old first-term governor of the second smallest state and has no experience in Washington, in military affairs, or in foreign policy. A beauty queen in the Miss Wasilla contest who whistled in the talent portion. Against evolution, abortion and gay marriage, pro- death penalty, teaching of creationism in schools and the right to bear arms: she should be running for her local Christian fundamentalist PTA president. Part-time mayor of a village of Wasilla, population 7,000.

Embroiled in oil and the curious divorce of her sister: her brother-in-law is a state trooper who is in the midst of an ugly custody battle with her sister. And she's accused of getting the state police to fire him.

She refused to acknowledge the secretary of the Interior's request to list polar bears as an endangered species. She thinks that will interfere with drilling for oil on the polar bear lands. Wants to open ANWR to drilling. Then there was cow-gate: the Matanuska Maid Dairy closure.

How will she ever debate Joe Biden in the VP Debate?

Hoping to run the GOP into the ground, John McCain?


Former Pakistan Prime Minister, Sharif,
announced that he is withdrawing his Party
from the ruling coalition after the fall
of Musharrif. Violence is spreading in
Pakistan amid political turmoil. Pakistan
is in the throes of sharply rising food
and fuel prices, and at the same time the
militants are much more active with the
ending of the Musharrif government. The
Bush Administration is very concerned about
the growing power of the militants and that
the governmental leaders are paying little
attention to the militants. The U.S.
believes that the government is too distracted
by a struggle for power to tackle the
Islamic militancy and the serious economic
problems. Now with the collapse of the
coalition for the moment the country is bogged
down in party wrangling for position in the
coming elections on September 6.

Here is the only moslem country with nuclear
weapons in turmoil. How long will it be
before Democrat and Republican internationalists
clamor for U.S. intervention in Pakistan? In
speeches the last two nights at the Democratic
National Convention, Afghanistan and Pakistan
were mentioned numerous times. If we follow
bin Laden to his cave, and not to hell, and
that cave is in Pakistan, Obama is saying 'go
get him'. How would that play out in the
Moslem world?

Scoundrel Refuge Exposed: "So I've got news for you, John McCain: We all put our country first."

"But what I will not do is suggest that the senator takes his positions for political purposes, because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and each other's patriotism."

Apparently Barack Obama learned the lesson that Gore and Kerry did not: Republicans want American citizens to believe that they alone are the party of patriots. What a sham and what a shame that many Americans believe it. They alone love the military- is that why 4,100 are dead fighting a needless war? Sure, they love the military- to death!

Lots of waving flags at the stadium last evening- more than I've ever seen at a Democratic Convention. Too bad that the Dems had to resort to that GOP tactic, but apparently the citizens somehow equate flag-waving with patriotism. Recall the many flags flying at the outset of the Bush/Cheney preemptive invasion of Iraq in early 2003; many had them flying from their automobiles. Odd that those flags have come down, at least in this part of the country. Are those people less patriotic than they were in 2003 or have they realized that they were scammed?

"The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain.
The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and independents, but they have fought together, and bled together, and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a red America or a blue America; they have served the United States of America."

Of course John McCain knows that but scoundrels love to wave the flag to obscure what they are really doing. Flags cover the transfer of wealth. While the American citizens are busy waving their flags and singing God Bless America, their wealth is being transferred upwards and out of their pockets to the top echelon and to foreign markets. Reminds me of pick-pockets working the Labor Day Parade crowd. Same idea, same net result.

Our citizens were quick to jump on the patriotism bandwagon- as defined by Karl Rove and the neocon junta that seized power in 2001. Our psyche was damaged by the audacity of the 9-11 attacks on this nation. We were ripe for re-programming and we fell to it with eagerness. Revenge welled up, numbing our collective wisdom. They knew it, Rove and his band of cronies knew that we'd fall for the bait-and-switch- Saddam for bin Laden. We did and what a price we have paid for that unbridled patriotic fervor! Trillions in currency and gallons of blood.

"When a whole nation is roaring Patriotism at the top of its voice, I am fain to explore the cleanness of its hands and the purity of its heart." Emerson, 1824. Lesson unlearned.

He's 72 and Still Naive

"Now, I don't believe that Senator McCain doesn't care what's going on in the lives of Americans," Obama said last night. "I just think he doesn't know." I think he's nailed something. Living in a bubble of luxury and contentment lends itself to the belief that most Americans live their lives that way too. I'm reminded of that hit record of some years past: Don't Get Around Much Any More."

Neither did George W. and Dick Cheney, and for that matter lots of senators. The ruling class seldom wants for much. Historians note many instances of oligarchical rule and how the people suffered while the oligarchs didn't seem to notice or care how the rest of the nation wallowed in misery and neglect.

Why would McCain know? He defines wealthy as 'around $5 million.' And he doesn't know the number of houses he and his wife own. He's a country club millionaire who hires servants.

Yet, he paints Obama as 'elite.' Funny stuff, indeed. Of course, John Kerry was painted as some unpatriotic numskull, undeserving of his purple hearts, compared to AWOL National Guard, avoid-the-war Bush. The Republicans use a broad and hypocritical brush to paint their opponents.

"I just think he doesn't know." Right on!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Putin Accuses GOP of Wagging the Georgian Dog

CNN: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of orchestrating the conflict in Georgia to benefit one of the presidential election candidates. In an exclusive interview with CNN's Matthew Chance, Putin said the U.S. had encouraged Georgia to attack the autonomous region of South Ossetia.

Putin told CNN his defense officials had told him it was done to benefit a presidential candidate -- Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama are competing to succeed George W. Bush -- although he presented no evidence to back it up.

Gosh, is this the same Vladimir whose soul was seen by the naive George Bush? And now this?

Even more interesting is whether to believe him or the denial from the Bush Administration. Seems to me that both have the same credibility ranking. Can we believe that the Republicans would 'arrange' a little war so that McCain could take advantage of his 'foreign policy experience' over Obama?

Who could believe such a thing?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Marine Commandant Makes Frank Speech

Four Star General Conway, Commandant of the
U.S. Marine Corps, spoke at the American
Legion Convention yesterday. We have heard
that military leaders are concerned about the
readiness of the U.S. military. General
Conway brought these concerns to the front in
his remarks.

Now, Conway was the speaker prior to John McCain.
The very first point Conway made was about the
turn around in Marine deaths in Iraq. As McCain
emphasizes that it was the "surge" of 2007 which
has been the real cause of the dramatic fall in
death rate, Conway, as a loyal General, would be
expected to fall in line with that neoconservative
Republican interpretation. However, Conway
emphasized that it was not the "surge" that led
to the decline of marine deaths. The marines were
and are mainly stationed in Anbar Province, one
of the most dangerous for U.S. military personnel.
Conway says that the deaths started to decline in
Fall, 2006, long before the "surge" began in
Spring, 2007, because 2006 was when the Shieks
decided to turn against Al Qaeda. It was the
Shieks who came to the U.S. marine commanders and
offered their support. Obviously, for certain
considerations, and we know that those considerations
were mainly money and arms. Here is the top Marine
General speaking to an ultra-patriotic organization
openly refuting McCain's propagandized slogan that
it was his "surge" that changed Iraq, his successful
"surge." And, he is saying it just before McCain
took the speaker's dias. As we recall, Obama recently
said the same thing, and McCain called him uninformed,
out of touch, immature, and even questioned his
patriotism. I hope Obama's advisers will make use of
this in the upcoming debate, and Obama can say, "Look
a four star general says that it was not the'surge', but
self-preservation Iraqis in Anbar that led to the
dramatic decline in military deaths.

Conway went on to say that the U.S. military cannot be
in Iraq and Afghanistan simultaneously. The Corps is
depleted of arms, armor, and soldiers. He criticized
sharpley the length of tours in a war zone, many are
in their fourth or fifth tour of service in either
Iraq or Afghanistan. He said the present seven months
on duty and seven months back at home is intolerable.
Jokingly he said, a marine now does not have the
chance to be with their spouse from conception to
birth, they are either there for conception or birth,
but not both. He said seven months doesn't do it.
He wants the normal rotation between the war zone and
home, seven months deployed and 14 months home.

Noting the shortage of troops to carry out the orders
of the Commander-in-Chief, he reported that it was
good news that Congress just approved a bill to add
27,000 new marines to the Force. 96.2 of marines are
high school graduates. The reason he gives is that
they join to defend the country. He spoke on the
suicide and desertion rates, which he said were high,
also the divorce rate. The lack of home time was
given as the reason, the stress is too high.

He is concerned that the marines have ceased to be
"an expeditionary" force. The philosphy of the Corps
has been rapid deployment; they go in first, and
then the army comes in, and the marines leave. He
showed this was no longer the case. He said that
the marines 'have become a second land army.' His
description, "We are too heavy." Can't move quickly.
He says the mind set is wrong. He is critical of
the training, that it has fallen by the wayside.
There is little co-ordiantion with the Navy.

He concluded by giving his estimate of what the
military situation would be out to 2020-2025. He
talked about numerous 'incendary' areas. Places
that could erupt over the poor wanting more wealth
and power, over religion, and the growing power
of China and India, and he even mentioned Europe as
a possible adversary. He stressed that by 2025 wars
will be fought over water, having a fresh supply.
Control of water sources will be a cause for war.
To be in position to intervene in many world trouble
spots he wants foreward basing of the marines because
swift action is needed to counteract extremism.

These notes were taken yesterday, and I am even
more impressed today with Conway's frankness. Again
though the question comes to mind: What are we
doing? We had our revolution; we had our civil
war; let other countries have theirs. This is just
one branch of our imperialistic foreign policy and
carried out by all branches of the military. And,
Conway said there were many more reforms needed in
the Corps, but these were the ones he had time for.
Just think of the funds need for these concerns,
foward basing, 27,000 new recruits, etc. This is
a few items of one military branch, just think of
what the total cost for all branches will be!
With his open analysis, Conway may be retiring

Republicans for Obama

Former Iowa Congressman Jim Leach addressed the Democratic National Convention on Monday to explain why he cannot support the candidacy of John McCain. He and other Republicans are supporting Barack Obama this fall. Republicans for Obama is a website that explains why many Republicans feel left out of their once Grand Old Party. Congressman Leach addressed this point in his speech:

The party that once emphasized individual rights has gravitated in recent years toward regulating values. The party of military responsibility has taken us to war with a country that did not attack us. The party that formerly led the world in arms control has moved to undercut treaties crucial to the defense of the earth. The party that prides itself on conservation has abdicated its responsibilities in the face of global warming. And the party historically anchored in fiscal restraint has nearly doubled the national debt, squandering our precious resources in an undisciplined and unprecedented effort to finance a war with tax cuts.

Indeed it has as fellow blogger UptheFlag and I have often pointed out. The GOP of the 50's 60's and 70's made a sharp and unauthorized right-turn and headed out of bounds, taking millions of unsuspecting Republicans with them on a harrowing ride. Many Republicans didn't even know that their party was kidnapped by a small junta of neoconservatives with an agenda of their own. Some still don't know.

Surely many long-time Republicans are mad as hell at Mr. Leach and other for being 'turncoats' yet they really don't investigate the reasons for this move. Winning is all they are concerned about. At the 2004 RNC convention Democrat Zell Miller delivered an angry and abrasive indictment of the Democratic Party. He was at the far right end of the Democratic Party and clearly belonged in the right-wing of the Republican Party due to his aggressive and intolerant views. In his first congressional races, Miller was a segregationist and held segregationist viewpoints. This compares in no way with the speech of Jim Leach. Mr. Leach is attempting to rescue his party from the ideologues who have risen to majority.

Both the neocons and Fundamentalist Christians now dominate the GOP; each has their own agenda and plans for America. Leach and other in the GOP note how insular and divisive these policies are for the nation and can no longer remain silent. Christian fundamentalists are clearly identified in Leach's words, "The party that once emphasized individual rights has gravitated in recent years toward regulating values." In fact, the 'values voter' is identified as a regular Republican Party member. The question, of course, is: who's values? That is the deal-breaker for the Republicans for Obama.

I often pose this question on the blog: "But do they know?" Do the old-time Republicans know that their has been hijacked by these two groups? Do they know their agenda? I don't know the answer. Republicans for Obama claim to have 2000 members which is a drop in the bucket. How do they expect to influence their party and purge it? Lots of unanswered questions.

Lingering Questions About McCain's Mental and Physical Health

John McCain will turn 72 on Friday. If [God forbid] he is elected, he will be the oldest man ever to be sworn in as president. Chills run down my spine not only because of his policies but because of his mental and physical health. Does the Constitution provide for his removal due to mental incompetence? And who would decide that?

For five years McCain was tortured in a prison camp in North Vietnam as we all know from listening to every answer to a tough question. Humor aside, the American people ought to know the state of his mental health. Has he ever been treated for PTSD? Tens of thousands of current Iraqi Veterans suffer from PTSD, many not receiving any counseling for the malady. What subconscious issues remain unsolved in the psyche of John McCain due to his imprisonment and torture? Is that part of his much-noted 'bad temper' that erupts viciously from time to time?

Do we need to worry about this? I think so, especially as he could be Commander and Chief of the most powerful Armed Forces ever assembled on the face of the earth. Look, for example, at his hot-headed response to the Russian incursion into Georgia a few weeks ago. Were he CIC, would he have sent our military assets on a mission there against the Russians? It cannot be ruled out. McCain, sadly, sees military force as a means of 'solving' geopolitical dust-ups. Yet who can blame him? As a prisoner of war for all of those years, he surely has unresolved anger and aggressive issues that display themselves in macho bellicosity. Is that the kind of man we want controlling our nuclear arsenal?

As we read recently, the so-called 'iron lady' of England, Margaret Thatcher, is suffering from dementia; naturally that recalls how President Reagan struggled with words and facts at the end of his term, his Alzheimer's fully effecting his ability to govern. As my friends and I approach 70 we too notice that our minds are not as sharp as they once were. One must wonder if his years in solitary confinement as a POW has sped up the normal aging of the brain in a 72-year-old.

His physical health is an added worry due to family history and his various skin melanomas. Although they are reportedly now under control, there is no guarantee that these will not return with vengeance. Another worry is his heart. Because doctors pay close attention to family history when advising their patients, it is important to note that both his father and grandfather died of a sudden heart attack before the age of 70.

Clearly the mental and physical health of John McCain send up double red flags as he attempts to sit in the Oval Office- one of the most stressful and important jobs in the world. That risk combined with his pro-war, aggressive foreign policy agenda, ought to send a chill down the spine of every person thinking of voting for him in November.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

McCain American Legion Speech

The American Legion is holding their National
Convention in Phoenix. McCain was one of the
main speakers. Since this is veterans rights
and very patriotic organization, like the VFW,
a large amount of McCain's topic was on the
rights and assistance to veterans. As one
would expect McCain touted his Navy experience
and how he would be the best president on
Veteran Affairs.

However, the opening of his speech was concerned
with U.S. foreign policy, especially on Georgia.
According to McCain, Georgia is a peace loving,
democracy and was brutally attacked by Russia.
(As we know, McCain has now sent his wife to see
first hand the atrocities the Russians committed.)
He said that the "country's cause in the world, is
to lead; that America is to being good to the world,
bring freedom in the face of tyranny; that we defend
other nations by aggressive leadership; the world
wants American democracy; we have to stop slaughter
of others by a tyrannt; be a defender of the
oppressed; and have to bring freedom and justice
to the world."

This speech is further proof that the traditional
Republican Party has been transformed into the neo-
conservative Republican Party. Tradition Republican
Party philosophy was non-involvement, but the new
neoconservative Party begs for reasons to attack
other countries. The neoconservative Republican
Party is as internationalist as the Democratic Party,
one begins with pre-emptive attacks devoid of
diplomacy and the other with diplomacy as a starting
point respectively.

Therefore, we have the two major parties calling for
internationalism in foreign affairs. Obama and
McCain are virtually on the same page. Yep, as so
often said, "not a dimes worth of difference." More
Koreas, Vietnams, Lebanons, Granadas, Kosovos, and
Iraqs. This elitist philosophy of U.S. foreign
policy must be overcome by a sane foreign policy as
envisionaged by the Constitution, providing for the
common defense only...

Why Republicans Want 4 More Years

I've been tossing around in my mind why Republicans want another 4 years of governance after the past 8 years and I think I have found three possible reasons. One is that perhaps they want to spend those 4 years apologizing to the citizens of America and the world for what they have done these last 8 years; a mea culpa, ashes and sackcloth. Probably not.

Two, they may have figured out from the mistakes of the past 8 years how to do it right and want to prove to America and the world that they aren't really the dumbasses that they demonstrated so well to us. Probably not.

Or, my last supposition, they want to fully disassemble the Federal government altogether and they need for more years to accomplish this task. Probably.

Obama's Wrong World View

Last night I listened to a well written speech
for Michelle Obama. While it was a good
speech for the traditional Democratic Party,
it doesn not live up "To The Change We Can
Believe In."

My main concern is with the statements on
foreign policy. Michelle Obama in her
speech calls on the United States "to strive
for the world as it should be", and
concludes, "Isn't that the great American

To be sure, it is, and thats why we are an
imperial nation. This is elitism pure and
simple. The United States knows best what the
world order should be. This philosophy only
continues an errant foreign policy of
interference in the internal affairs of other
nations. It forces us to maintain a professional
imperialist military. The world does not want
the United States meddling in its internal national
affairs. Just today, Maliki of Iraq again told
the Bush Adm. that all U.S. troops are to be out
now, and certainly by 2011. Why does Obama want
to go down this same disastrous path?

As an aside: Michelle refers to the United States
as "America". The Northern and Southern Hemispheres
are America, just not the United States; we are the
United States of America. This word is akin to
waving a red flag in front of a bull to the other
American nations. Obama like to say: "We are the
United States of America." He ought to speak the
way his slogans suggest. This change would be very
symbolic, and the other nations of the Americas
would welcome it and help to restore the "Good
Neighbor" spirit for all the Americas.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Biden's Foreign Policy

American foreign policy ought to be a key issue
in this election and in the next four years.
Our foreign policy and economy are the two most
important issues and the two are intertwined.
The problem, as I see it, is that Obama/Biden
will have to be convinced to go against their
tradational foreign policy beliefs. On the face
of it, there may be more opportunity for Obama
as he doesn't come from a 30 year background of
an international foreign policy as Biden does.

In the NYT today the following quote appeared:
"Mr. Biden is widely seen as a liberal-minded
internationalist." Oh my, this sends red flags
up everywhere. What is a "liberal-minded
internationalist'? It is a person who believes
formost in diplomacy and the use of force only
as a last means. At least, that is a roll back
from the new foreign policy of the neoconservative
Republican Part based on pre-emptive military

Biden voted for the Iraq War; Obama opposed it as
a Illinois State Legislator. Yet, Obama, as is
Biden, is calling for an expanded war in Afghanistan.
That we don't need. Biden is a staunch supporter
of Israel. It was Biden who advised both Bush I and
Clinton on our involvement in the Balkans. Biden
developed a program known as "lift and strike."
This meant "lift" the arms blockade and arm the
Bosnian Muslims and "strike" by using U.S. air
power. A Democrat version of "shock and awe."
One has to think how many innocents did the Democrats
kill in the Balkans?

This is a prescription for continued elitist imperial
warfare. Biden believes in total U.S. engagement in
the world. Just recently, Biden went to Georgia and
said he supports Georgian admission to NATO. We
definitely don't need that. A foreign policy
of disengagement and a return to the philosophy of the
Founding Fathers is needed.

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