Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Family Goldwater

Perhaps, Dear Gentle Reader(s), this is a tempest in a teapot, but of, at least, generational interest is the flap between members of the family of Barry Goldwater.

It seems a grand daughter has written for the election of Senator Obama, and a son has reacted negatively to his niece's piece.  The pieces stand for themselves, and I leave them to you, DGR(s).  

There is an element of the current Republican party which is both 1) a legacy of Senator Goldwater's to the GOP, and which is 2) reprehensible.

It is, of course, the nefarious Southern Strategy--the attempt to exploit the mid-20th century American racism to the benefit of the RNC (albeit to the detriment of the country).

Granddaughter CC could well recognize this stain on the good name of the Republican party; son Barry, Jr., probably can't see it, and most certainly would reject its association with his father if he could see it.

Young eyes and older eyes; 2nd generation and 3rd generation; what is the Republican party to do?

What are we to do?

Trust, but verify, one supposes.


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Sunday, October 26, 2008

It's ubiquitous, alas.

The Palm Springs Public Library, Dear Gentle Reader(s), recently sponsored a panel discussion about issues in the upcoming election.  A little review of the second hour of the proceedings indicates that the Democratic speakers are still polite enough to silence themselves when interrupted rudely and that Republican speakers (at least on the local level) are ill-informed on some issues and alarmingly naive on others. 

What to do?

The most glaring problem arose in the discussion about immigration reform.  The Republicans took the bait and ran with it.  Finally, though, this caused some consternation:  "They're not allowed to inspect more than 1 truck in 3 because of NAFTA!"  That's a fib.  Perhaps an outright lie, except that it was spoken in the self-generated heat of the moment, and perhaps the speaker didn't really know it wasn't true.  But, Dear(s), the Constitution and its subsequent laws are not suicide pacts.

Here's a quote from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, given to a House committee, dated March 13, 2007:

All commercial truck cross-border traffic must stop at a designated border crossing. As required by statute and regulation, each truck will be processed at the border, using automated systems to assist in determining whether the cargo, truck, and driver are admissible and whether any of the elements pose a security, immigration, agriculture, or smuggling risk.

That means all trucks must stop and be inspected, not 1, all.

Another moment which gave pause came when the Republican woman, responding to an inquiry as to why the name Hussein has been used at some McCain campaign venues, said that those people scared her to death. 

Let's see.  History tells us of JOHN Wilkes Booth, JOHN Hinckley, so, does JOHN McCain also scare her?  Perhaps he should.

There is one sign of hope from the Republicans, they both indicated that Congress should be fired.  One wonders if they are true to their word and are willing to "fire" our representative, Mrs. Mary Bono Mack.  If so, from their lips to...

Republican partisans this year are not doing well in selling their message. 

The rest of us should trust, but verify.

No on 8.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Message to Sarah?

For your amusement, Dear Gentle Reader(s), here's a picture of a British bus advertisement.


Trust, but verify!

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Senator McCain, Dear Gentle Reader(s), has recently taken to reminding voters that he was sitting in a fighter plane on an aircraft carrier when the Cuban Missile Crisis was unfolding, and that the fact that he was there, in that place, at that time, counts for "experience" as opposed to Senator Obama's lack of that experience.

One might question just how much experience applicable to Presidential considerations Mr. McCain gained.  When one remembers that he piloted at least three aircraft into crash situations, the fact of his flying days does not reassure vis a vis experience, does it?

The question facing voters in 13 days is whether Senator Obama's judgement trumps Senator McCain's experience.  Being there does not necessarily give one the experience which translates into wisdom or sound judgement.

Remember, too, that "W" had fighter pilot "experience" in the 1960s. 

And we know how that experience paid off.

Trust, but verify.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Right-Wing-Nut-Punditry in a dither?

Well, Dear Gentle Reader(s), if not in a dither, certainly at times dithering.

Over at The Atlantic's web site, Ross Douthat has a post in which he discusses the Palin-not-ready-for-Prime-Time brouhaha which is enveloping the rightwingnut pundits lately.

Frankly, it is hard to care what these folks say about Palin, but this snippet from Douthat's post is indicative of something--maybe:

I agree with the Palin-skeptics that she has not turned out to be an asset for McCain - for a variety of reasons, the media's unfair treatment of her included, but in large part because of her difficulties appearing prepared for high office during her interactions with the press, and because the campaign has decided to use her almost exclusively as an attack dog on the stump.

Let's take the phrase "her difficulties appearing prepared for high office."  Now, let's substitute the adjective being for the adjective appearing.  See?  Douthat's problem, "in large part" is that Palin doesn't appear to be prepared; he isn't at all concerned that she isn't prepared.

What does that say about 1) McCain for offering; 2) Palin for accepting; 3) Douthat for not paying attention to the needs of the office?

These folks don't care what happens to the country, as long as their tax cuts remain in place. 

New mantra, DGR(s): Capitalism good; greed bad.

Perhaps Palin will turn out to be some sort of Bodica for the Repugs, but not this election cycle.  Douthat knows that.  One hopes.

Trust, but perhaps not these people, DGR(s); and certainly verify.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Amorphous Fight Club

Dear Gentle Reader(s), here's the conclusion to the latest stump speech delivered by Senator McCain, as partially heard on NPR and provided at Mother Jones' web site:

I know what hopelessness feels like. It's an enemy who defeats your will. I felt those things once before. I will never let them in again. I'm an American. And I choose to fight. Don't give up hope. Be strong. Have courage. And fight. Fight for a new direction for our country. Fight for what's right for America. Fight to clean up the mess of corruption, infighting and selfishness in Washington. Fight to get our economy out of the ditch and back in the lead. Fight for the ideals and character of a free people. Fight for our children's future. Fight for justice and opportunity for all. Stand up to defend our country from its enemies. Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight. America is worth fighting for. Nothing is inevitable here. We never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history.

Excellent words, eh wot?

The problem with them is that they are practically irrelevant.  They, in today's political and financial contexts, are amorphous. 

First of all, while having been a prisoner of war has certainly earned the Senator a debt from his country, it is not a debt that demands the presidency.

Second, the question of whom or what is unstated and certainly unanswered.  Whom is it we are fighting?  What, exactly, is the goal?  What is the strategy?  What are the tactics?

Presidential candidates are able only to make amorphous promises.  They have no power.  They are not prescient.  But they certainly can take present situations and make educated guesses about what might be the situation against what is to be fought.  The good Senator has not done that.

McCain comes from a long line of warriors.  He knows the warrior talk.  His war battle experiences do not contain evidence of his knowledge of the warrior walk which is needed for Commander-in-Chief.

Trust, but verify.


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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Vote No on Prop 8

That's it, Dear Gentle Reader(s).  If you live in California, please vote NO on Prop 8.  If you know someone who lives and votes in California, please ask them the vote NO on Prop 8.

Thank you.

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Yesterday, Dear Gentle Reader(s), Senator McCain made an attempt to temper the mob-like atmosphere which has been creeping into the tenor of his campaign rallies since Governor Palin has been raising the Ayers issue.

Now, we all know that campaigns have often relied on the phenomena of October Surprise to give a last minute boost to their candidates' efforts.  Since the McCain campaign's attempts to question the patriotism of Senator Obama have resoundingly failed with virtually everyone other than the most die-hard reptilian thinkers of the Republican evangelical base, one wonders if the Senator's sudden "defense" of the leading candidate is his attempt to "surprise" everyone with a bit of temperance.  He has, after all, been under some scrutiny with the "elite" wing of the Republican party.  They have written harshly of McCain's veep choice; and they have written harshly of some of the specific attacks on Obama's character.  McCain might have sensed a need for his own rehabilitation.

Is the campaign hoping for an "Aw, Gee.  See?  I told you he was a good guy" response?  If so, is there enough time in the 23 days left before the national election date for a turn around?  Some states have already begun voting.  Absentee ballots arrived in California this week. 

Or is the McCain campaign attempt at moderation based on November 5?  Regardless of the outcome of the election, you must remember, DGR(s), McCain has to return to work in Washington, D.C.  He will either be President-elect or a ranking member of the United States Senate.  He will have to engage with fellow Senators and Congresspersons and members of the bureaucracy.  Could this realization have played some part in "cooling it?"

Senator Obama's campaign has played nicer; it's good to see Senator McCain's finally get with the game.

If someone is going to vilify someone else, trust, but verify.  (And tread very lightly, K-5er.)

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National Coming Out Day

Come out.

Come out.

Wherever you are.

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Is the Hero shedding clothes?

Andrew Sullivan, Dear Gentle Reader(s), has for several weeks been virtually rabid about his opposition to Senator McCain's presidential hopes.  That rabitidy has even surpassed his disdain (not nearly a strong enough word) for Senator Clinton. Quite often, though, he pulls his punches, and one begins to wonder why.

Today, in a discussion about McCain's famous temper, Sullivan writes, "I'm not judging the man, whose passions are real and whose service to his country should be honored;" and that raises the question, how long does a man get to wear the mantle of "hero" while at the same time taking some questionable steps in the service of his country?

Take, DGR(s), a quick jaunt over to Vietnam Veterans Against John McCain.  It will be instructive, if not just a little reminiscent of 2004's swift-boating of Senator Kerry.

At VVAJMcC you will read of the 4 planes McCain lost while piloting and one lost during an accident prior to take-off.  You will also read of McCain's capture and subsequent captivity. 

The final paragraphs of the site, though, are the most telling for the purposes of our little post today:

For 23 combat missions (an estimated 20 hours over enemy territory), the U.S. Navy awarded McCain a Silver Star, a Legion of Merit for Valor, a Distinguished Flying Cross, three Bronze Stars, two Commendation medals plus two Purple Hearts and a dozen service medals.

"McCain had roughly 20 hours in combat," explains Bill Bell, a veteran of Vietnam and former chief of the U.S. Office for POW/MIA Affairs -- the first official U.S. representative in Vietnam since the 1973 fall of Saigon. "Since McCain got 28 medals," Bell continues, "that equals out to about a medal-and-a-half for each hour he spent in combat. There were infantry guys -- grunts on the ground -- who had more than 7,000 hours in combat and I can tell you that there were times and situations where I'm sure a prison cell would have looked pretty good to them by comparison. The question really is how many guys got that number of medals for not being shot down."

For years, McCain has been an unchecked master at manipulating an overly friendly and biased news media. The former POW turned Congressman, turned U.S. Senator, has managed to gloss over his failures as a pilot and collaborations with the enemy by exaggerating his military service and lying about his feats of heroism.

McCain has sprouted a halo and wings to become America's POW-hero presidential candidate.

These vets, DGR(s), do not regard the senator as much of a hero.

Nonetheless, the good senator did serve; he was shot down; he did undergo years of imprisonment and torture; he does have physical impairments because of treatment during his incarceration.  We must remember that.

He also, Dear, Dear Gentle Reader(s), asked the Republican party to nominate Sarah Palin for the office of Vice President of the United States.  We must remember that.

Perhaps the Senator's hero couture should be replaced by something not quite so transparent.  Or, perhaps, honored as a relic.

Andrew, you have our permission to stop the redundant references to the good senator's service.

Trust, but verify.


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Saturday, October 4, 2008

Muckroom Follies 10.04.08 --K-Pa Lashes Herself w/Wet Noodle

Kathleen Parker, Dear Gentle Reader(s), is one of several right wing pundits who, just last week, called for Gov Palin to exit the Republican ticket.  It was an example of courage and insight and patriotism; and it got her excoriated by the Repug base.

This week K-Pa used Palin's Fargo monologue (aka Vice Presidential Debate) to prostrate herself before the base and to beg forgiveness--a little.

Parker uses terms like "excellent night," and "the affable, tough, determined pit-bull-hockey mom presented to the GOP convention was back with a jaw-jutting, happy-warrior vengeance."

Before jumping to the conclusion, however, DGR(s), that she has re-converted to Palin submission, K-Pa also snuck in a "too cute by half," and the suggestion that if you ask some non-Repug-base person about the pit-bull-hockey-mom, "you're gonna hear some fear in that person's voice, also. Betcha!"

Parker ended her column with this:

  "The debate format clearly worked better for her because she could control her message and keep pounding well-rehearsed talking points. Does that mean she's ready to lead the free world should circumstances warrant?"

DGR(s), I'd say no.

So, to Parker's credit she managed to do two things:  1) she made an attempt to dampen the fury of the blinkered base (it may not have worked; if you go to the site and read some comments, you'll find many are still seething); and 2) she managed to keep her integrity intact with the strong implication that Palin is not ready to be trusted with the nuclear button--and by extension, neither is Senator McCain.

Parker did penance, but it was a mild penance.  She gets points.  Some.  At least her patriotism is intact.

Trust, but verify.

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