Tuesday, August 26, 2008

DNC Day One & Page 3

Having grown disgruntled with CNN, making a stop for a few days at MSNBC, I am happy to have found CSPAN for the Democratic convention coverage. Dry as bones without a shred of personality or additional commentary, CSPAN shows it as slow and tedious as it is.

I love that! Better still, it allowed me to just catch the portions I wanted to hear. Sadly, missed most of the tribute to Teddy Kennedy - it was dinner time - but caught the tail of it with him on stage and he looked and sounded great.

Then caught Michelle Obama's speech, missing some of the pre-amble video, and thought she hit it out of the park. I don't know that America is ready for a first lady of such vocal prowess, but I sure am. Imagine that's what Barack wakes up to each day and knows he's got a mind like that to deal with. Talk about being convicted!

Which brings up Don Miller, who gave the closing prayer, from whom I learned the essence of the word "convicted" in his book, "Blue Like Jazz." If you know what I'm talking about here, the use in the paragraph aboves makes beautiful sense. If not, maybe not so much. ;>)

Don's closing prayer was about as good as I've heard in a long time. Full of hope and humility, recognizing responsibility and asking for guidance. Well spoke.

...however... Page 3 of the L.A. Times today had all the real news: "Pakistan's Government Fractures," "Russia Ratchets Up Tension Over Georgia Republics," and "Sudan Soldier's Raid on Darfur Camp..."

It's an ugly time in the world, and getting worse. One major question to ask going forward as America, the nation, is do we want a president versed in war as a solution? Or might we prefer diplomacy? Opportunities will abound for America, the nation, to militarily intervene and save lives, yes, perhaps even bringing democracy where it wasn't. That's usually the case in genocidal zones. Solving more problems without military might will leave that power available and ready, when and where really needed.

We need diplomacy with Pakistan so our military can operate in their mountains. Afghanistan, too.

We need diplomacy with both Georgia and Russia as well as to consider if those breakaway republics, Abkhazia and South Ossettia, might actually be capable of being countries of their own. Along the way we might ask if its any business of ours anyway.

We need diplomacy and greater global intervention in much of Africa.

I'm thrilled to have Obama/Biden '08. They might be the best team out of the gate in decades. Knowing how Joe can talk, and Barack, too, then adding in what we saw of Michelle last night ... man, there will be some serious discussion in that White House. Barack is ready for this. He's gathering a team and picked Joe Biden as his #2. Good pick.

Let's Roll.

People. Talk to people. Spread the Hope. Believe in Change We Can Believe in. Be the change.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Media & Politics

Well, I guess we're stuck with what we've built - 24 hour "news" of the day's events including every dustup, mistep, verbal jab and counterpunch until we get really sick of it.

Was busy today, thankfully, but caught a bit of McCain "not questioning (Obama's) partiotism but questioning his judgment" which was the comeback to Obama originally questioning McCain's judgment.

Wouldn't it be great if we could shut them all up and simply watch the debates to decide whom we prefer?

But no, I guess we're stuck with what we've built.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Treason Needs to be Punished

It's old news but it's still valid, that's the pain of it. I just caught the repeat of Valerie Plame-Wilson's interview from last October on 60 Minutes and did a spin on YouTube to see what's out there and, as is often the case, Keith Olbermann gets it right.

If you want the Senate hearing click on that. If you want the Bill Maher appearance, go here, but the simple truth is that a CIA spy was outed and those that outed her got away with it. Worse, those that did the outing were high level government officials. In my book that stinks worse than my neighbor doing it. Government service is a higher calling. I believe these acts to be treason and those guilty should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

Imagine Karl Rove, Ari Fleisher and who knows, W. himself perhaps, up on charges after they get out of office. Yeah, I know, Karl is already gone to work on the current election and Ari has left, too. That's what crooks do after the heist: split up and disappear, gather later to celebrate the takings. And the takings from the war in Iraq are huge.

As vindictive as I am and trying to set that aside, wouldn't our country be best served by indicting these guys and seeing if a case can be made that puts them in jail? What if our future government officials actually believed, for good reason, that their actions were accountable in the here-and-now?

Or should the next president just let it go as Nancy Pelosi has thus far?

And yes, I'd love to post a nice vid from YouTube at the header here, but for some reason it doesn't go through on either of two browsers.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Obama & McCain at Saddleback Church

To give an idea of where this pair of conversations took place, it’s a church of over 20,000, which amazes me. Further, Pastor Rick Warren, the interviewer, during the question asking the candidates to “define rich” mentioned that in that area if you made $150,000.00 or less per year you would be considered “poor.” That from a pastor that sold some 25 million of his quite good books.

I did a bit of a transcript as it went, noting the question and answer, thinking the comparison might prove interesting. Not so much. With a couple of exceptions it was all about the style used to carry the conversation. Both candidates showed well, with McCain perhaps coming across better than expected.

Barack Obama spoke well as usual. Comfortable, considered and candid, his thoughtful responses delivered with some smiles and a few chuckles. McCain, with many stories, several I’ve heard before, getting to answers quickly and concisely, decisively. One man thinks before answering, the other doesn’t need to consider much. Both styles work in some circumstances, not in others.

I transcribed thoughts more than exact language, forgive me if I miss a bit but my quotes should be close. I’ll look at two specific questions and responses here, the first being about faith. “What does your trust in Christ mean to you on a daily basis?” asked Rick Warren to both candidates.

Obama gave a greater statement of faith. He mentioned Jesus, which to Christians might be important, and he also expressed humility before God and a recognition that he needed to get out of the way so that he could perhaps serve the higher purpose.

McCain never mentioned Jesus. Very simply he said “It means I’m saved and forgiven.” That is all. Then he went into the story of being a prisoner of war in Viet Nam at Christmas and told it well, with an additional touch at the end I hadn’t heard before.

Both candidates expressed Christian faith, both humbly with Obama speaking it in a sense that I relate to better than McCain. I think we should be humble in calling out our faith, being willing to say “I don’t know, I just believe” in more cases than we do. Humility is key and in that, McCain’s lack of proclaiming I find OK. I would think, however, that being a Baptist he might proclaim a bit more.

The other question I thought important was: “Does evil exist and if so, should we ignore it, contain it, or defeat it?”

Obama said (and I am paraphrasing here but use quotes to show the gist of what he says and separate it from my comments) “yes, it does exist. We see it in Darfur, on the streets of our cities, in parents that abuse their children. It has to be confronted. I strongly believe we are not going to, as individuals, erase evil from the world, that is God’s task, but we can do our part. Humility is important, much evil has been done in the name of good.”

Great Christian theology by my book. Well spoken. Recognition of God as greater than man and also the ability of man to try to perceive God’s will and act as God’s hands when perhaps getting it wrong.

McCain jumped on the answer before the question was done, “Defeat it.” And immediately jumped into “I will get Osama Bin Laden.” He then gave a big play on the war in Iraq as the battleground against terrorism, all of Islamic fundamentalist jihad.

I’ll admit up front I’ve got a favorite, but I am trying to see the good in both of these guys. Truly, either could be our president at this point and I want to have a sense of the person.

Barack Obama, called an elitist, comes across as humble before God, accepting that there is a greater purpose than anything self-driven, but also accepting that self has to get it done.

John McCain, a war hero and man who has served well since, comes across as a man that sees himself as the leader, driven by a man’s desire to win a war.

Neither man mentioned prayer even once. That may be a bow to the secularists in our society that they still want to appeal to. Non-faithful get weirded out by the concept of prayer. They think us crazy. This is politics after all.

There were other interesting points – what Supreme Court justices either candidate wouldn’t have voted to the bench probably being the most important of them. It reflects heavily upon what the legacy of the next president really will be. In office for at most 8 years, the probable 3 justices they will nominate will alter American politics for decades to come.

McCain, bowing to the Evangelicals, called out against Ginsberg, Bryer, Souter and Stevens, saying they legislate from the bench. He noted Alito and Roberts as two of his most recent favorites. Obama pretty quickly went out against Clarence Thomas, saying he wasn’t a strong jurist or much of a legal thinker. Scalia was his second pick not to pick. He actually came out somewhat appreciative of John Roberts as a well considered well spoken mind he didn’t agree with much but could at least converse with.

There is much at stake for the future of America in the coming election. Supreme Court justice nominations have great carry. So does the economy. One of the last questions speaks volumes, and was only given to Obama, tho John McCain answered it as part of another:

“What would you tell the American public if you knew there wouldn’t be any repercussions?”

Obama said, “Solving big problems, like energy, isn’t going to be easy. If we pretend that everything is free then we are betraying the traditions of America. When I look at the struggles of some of our previous generations I see that if we don’t make similar steps then we are betraying the next generation.

McCain, as part of his response to “define rich” said words along these lines: “Keep taxes low. $7000 tax credit per child. $5000 per family to reimburse for healthcare costs. OK, for dollars, rich is $5 million. The point I’m trying to make is that we want to keep peoples’ taxes low and increase revenues. We cannot raise taxes in tough economic times. We’ve got to give those losing jobs and homes, hope and inspiration for the future.

Man, talk about promises that can’t be kept. Oh, this is politics after all.

May the Lord’s peace be with us all. Which, by the way, I found easier to sense by turning on this show at it's start and turning it off immediately afterward. I need to watch less of the pundits.

Friday, August 15, 2008

McCain Attacks - Obama "The One"

I'm sick of negative campaigning, especially when done as artfully as this. I smell Karl Rove and his mentor, Lee Atwater from the grave, all over this.

I say artfully done because it looks and sounds so stupid but reaches on so many levels. To the secular it imparts the idea that Barack Obama thinks himself the Messiah. To the fundamentalists, it shows him as the anti-Christ. All the while those of us on this side get so nauseous and angry we waste time thinking and writing about it.

So here I go, breaking down the quotes of Obama from the ad:

"A nation healed, a world repaired" are things we need, possible, attainable if we get on the right track. We need healing from loss of jobs and underpaying jobs, healing from our healthcare system, healing from businesses in collusion that set prices a free and proper marketplace wouldn't. The world, too, needs repair on so many levels: politically, ideologically and ecologically. The GOP and big business gather strength in politically unstable times, pitting ideologies against each other and making use of their land as if they are the only owners of it. They call down economies "buying opportunities."

"We are the ones we've been waiting for." Darned right. If we don't do it ain't nobody gonna do it for us. Time to gather together and get it done.

"I have become a symbol of America returning to our best traditions." Yes. He has. An unconnected minority achieving high position through intelligence and hard work rather than familial connection. A person working for the public good and achieving respect. It can still happen, we just haven't seen much of it lately.

His response of "Never" having doubts, and the comment about people having an "epiphany" are stupid. I'll grant you that. The first was too quick of a response and had to be a giddy moment, but give him credit for going unscripted. The epiphany thing I need to see in full context but darnit, for some, it may well be. Still, both were poorly spoken.

"This was the moment when the rise of the ocean began to slow and our planet began to heal" is valid. Not the "was" at the outset - he is speaking of if he is elected our children may well look back and say words along those lines. And they may well be correct. Hope for this, pray for this, our planet IS in peril and if we don't act soon any action may not be enough.

And yes, even though Barack Obama isn't "The One" he is the one best candidate we have, he has a personal history that is outside the norm of Washington, DC, which is good, and he has a personal history of putting community before his person.

That's what great presidents, good leaders, are made of.


McCain Attacks - Obama "The One"

I'm sick of negative campaigning, especially when done as artfully as this. I smell Karl Rove and his mentor, Lee Atwater from the grave, all over this.

I say artfully done because it looks and sounds so stupid but reaches on so many levels. To the secular it imparts the idea that Barack Obama thinks himself the Messiah. To the fundamentalists, it shows him as the anti-Christ. All the while those of us on this side get so nauseous and angry we waste time thinking and writing about it.

So here I go, breaking down the quotes of Obama from the ad:

"A nation healed, a world repaired" are things we need, possible, attainable if we get on the right track. We need healing from loss of jobs and underpaying jobs, healing from our healthcare system, healing from businesses in collusion that set prices a free and proper marketplace wouldn't. The world, too, needs repair on so many levels: politically, ideologically and ecologically. The GOP and big business gather strength in politically unstable times, pitting ideologies against each other and making use of their land as if they are the only owners of it. They call down economies "buying opportunities."

"We are the ones we've been waiting for." Darned right. If we don't do it ain't nobody gonna do it for us. Time to gather together and get it done.

"I have become a symbol of America returning to our best traditions." Yes. He has. An unconnected minority achieving high position through intelligence and hard work rather than familial connection. A person working for the public good and achieving respect. It can still happen, we just haven't seen much of it lately.

His response of "Never" having doubts, and the comment about people having an "epiphany" are stupid. I'll grant you that. The first was too quick of a response and had to be a giddy moment, but give him credit for going unscripted. The epiphany thing I need to see in full context but darnit, for some, it may well be. Still, both were poorly spoken.

"This was the moment when the rise of the ocean began to slow and our planet began to heal" is valid. Not the "was" at the outset - he is speaking of if he is elected our children may well look back and say words along those lines. And they may well be correct. Hope for this, pray for this, our planet IS in peril and if we don't act soon any action may not be enough.

And yes, even though Barack Obama isn't "The One" he is the one best candidate we have, he has a personal history that is outside the norm of Washington, DC, which is good, and he has a personal history of putting community before his person.

That's what great presidents, good leaders, are made of.


McCain Attacks w/ "The One" Ad

I sense Karl Rove is at work. Wunderkind student of Lee Atwater, destroyers, both, of all that is good and fair in politics. OK, good and reasonable in politics. These guys typify the "Win at Any Cost" mentality that the big business policy makers and neo-cons in our government are set in as they fight for everything that is against the people.

And they use Bible-speak to do it. Shame on them. To dissect this ad piecemeal:

"A nation repaired, a world healed." says Barack. Yeah, we need to heal this nations infrastructure, it's economy, it's energy policies, it's schools, it's legal system and more. We need to heal our position in the world, too. I don't know how many of you have traveled abroad lately, but we aren't liked out there. We're seen as bullies, and dumb ones at that.

"We are the ones we've been waiting for" says Barack. If it ain't us, it ain't gonna happen. We are up against a very slick, incredibly well financed consortium of money grabbers that want that top 1% of earners to earn even more, this despite the floundering economy and falling housing prices. For them, this is an opportunity to buy. They are of the "kick 'em when they're down" mentality. All is fair in love and war, and this is a war on the middle class, the poverty stricken already having lost anything the richest care for.

"I have become a symbol of America returning to her best traditions" Barack is quoted. That is correct, especially in view of the tearing down of our legal system, the cutting out of our social programs, the waste of a selfish war funded on the backs of our children. Yes, Barack might bring a sense of decency to America again.

OK, that whole "light will shine down" thing is horrid. I'd need to see it in context before passing full judgment on it, but yeah, it's a stupid line.

"This is the moment, when the rise of the oceans began to slow, and our planet began to heal," says Barack, and we sure need that. This isn't even so much about our kids' planet anymore, it's about ours in the here and now, and it's getting ugly. We need action starting yesterday.

So I'm on board with most of the quotes from Barack Obama, but let's look at the verbiage they use to castigate him, it's really a Revelation-based attack and for those of us in the know, it isn't saying he's the messiah, it's saying he's the anti-Christ. This spot has legs with fundamentalists, and that is the brilliance of it in all it's sickness.

Barack Obama is not the one. He's a guy trying to do something good. A guy that grew up humble, was very smart and, from the stories I've heard, had a fantastic and wise grandmother that encouraged him to make use of the gifts given him. He went to Harvard and could have gone to Wall Street or any big business and made bundles of money, but he chose instead to do public service.

He's the best bet we've got.

I really wish negative campaigning were illegal. Free speech is one thing, false accusations another. Crap like this shouldn't go unpunished.

As glad as I am to see the Democrats try to take the high road, I wonder how well it will work. How smart is America?



Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Jerome Corsi's Obama Book

I can't even remember the title. To give a bit of perspective I'm in a hotel far from home as my daughter and I get oriented at college, I turn on the TV as I pour a Gentlemen Jack, and on come Jerome and some guy from mediamatters.org and out comes a pile of crap that embarrasses me as an American in support of free speech.

For all the lives that have been lost in support of our rights as citizens of this nation, for all that the founding fathers hoped to achieve we get, what, ... Larry King hosting two pundits that spew their respective factory lines in perfection (altho I thought the media matters guy did a better job of speaking over that ... craphead Corsi and I am happy/sad that I even appreciate that) and we are left with nothing of substance other than two yacks vomiting the rhetoric of the party's for which they speak.

Then up comes Ed Schultz and some GOP spokeswoman that is instantly hate-able. Yeah, I know, we aren't supposed to hate but when confronted with the very real and very scary intelligence of evil, the incredibly well presented voice that we were warned about in Revelation, what, should I give the agape love of Christ to a person that I feel totally entrapped by evil?

Ummm .... at the moment .... I don't think so.

I used to like Ed Schultz when he was a voice on the radio. Actually got on the air with him once and fell short of the mark needed. I fell short, not Ed. Since he's a talking head on CNN he's pretty good, but not as great as he was when only on the radio. That all said, congrats' Ed, I'm hopin' they pay. Sorry you got the short end of the revise of time slots on Air America, you spoke too much sense, perhaps.

I watched Bill O'Reilly for a few minutes tonight, too. OK, maybe two minutes. That guy personifies the sicknesses of fear, nationalism beyond any sense of a God-inspired populace in a God-created world, and stuff I have no idea about. He is so sick I can only recognize that he's really bad but also must recognize that I have no idea how really bad he is. In the simplest sense, I realize I need to avoid Bill O'Reilly at all costs. On the one hand I need to watch him to be up-to-date, but on the other, he is evil and evil is to be avoided at all costs. If not for this blog I wouldn't watch him at all.

Oh, yeah, CNN's Republican voice Amy Holmes. She's a puppet that makes Uncle Tom look like Huey Newton. I'm amazed, again, by a non-nativeborn-American speaking out so as-if-I'm-American kind of like Arianna Huffington. Hey. If you weren't born here, raised in our communities by American parents in schools living the life of a kid in America where we really learn what it feels like to be AMERICAN, shut up. Yeah, that's me saying that to Ariana who perturbs me on a regular basis even tho I'm a voter that votes Democratic. And Amy - be thankful for your paycheck, and go back to Zambia once your distaste for America spills over.

We have won the right to free speech but lost the battle of intelligent media. There are only voices screaming at us one side or the other and little time (or none) given to any reasonable assessment of the situation. I was discouraged to hear and see CNN take a step to the right after the elections of 2000 and 2004, but I am more frustrated by the new format of placing competing voices head to head and giving them the space to spew. The talking heads aren't the newsmakers, they shouldn't be on TV. Sadly, the news has become the news, with reality and real people trying to make a difference left behind. Such is a consumer society.

I encourage everyone to listen and watch only what the candidates themselves say and turn off the spinmeisters. Listen with your heart and mind to those that you may vote for, turn off all the voices that are paid to speak the various party lines. Vote accordingly.

May the peace of the Lord be with us all.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Increased Taxes

A recent article on The Atlantic.com points to both Senator Obama and Senator McCain having plans that will increase the cost of our government. Surprisingly to me was that McCain’s plans exceed Obama’s by some $1.6 trillion. Yes, trillion. So much for the GOP idea of getting big government smaller. Once again, they speak conservatism but practice wholly self-centered economics.

The greater worry is in where the dollars come from. Obama wants to pay as you go, McCain, in what has become a GOP tradition, prefers to borrow the money from our kids. Obama says we need to increase some of our government programs to get us out of the energy debacle among other things, and he’s willing to increase taxes on the truly rich to pay for it. McCain wants to keep a war going and sell treasury bonds to the Chinese to pay for it. They’ll collect form our kids later and he’ll be gone by then.

A recent article on MSNBC.com tells of our deteriorating bridges and highways. A couple hundred billion is needed to fix these integral parts of our economy but not enough funding is in place. Our highways and bridges are needed for business to operate and yes, even as a democrat I recognize the need for business to operate smoothly and at a profit. Delivery of raw materials, of finished goods, of workers to jobs, and of kids to schools are all basic needs being shortchanged by a shortsighted government that simply wants to cut costs now and not worry about the needs of the electorate in the future.

Taxes, when properly spent and I’ll admit that is the hardest part, enrich the abilities of our country. They allow businesses to grow, people to work, and the cost per capita to be minimized. We all benefit, business and worker alike. Privatizing roads as I have seen in California’s toll roads, is a rip-off that hits everyone. The other day the charge for a 12 mile run in the privately owned toll road in Orange County was $9.55. One way. Again, government funding and ownership of those parts of the infrastructure used by all is not only fairer, but cheaper, too.

Deficits will drown us in the long run, choking off any economic advantage we may have, making our country’s real estate and companies a bargain for foreign investors, and causing our ability to grow on our own much more difficult. Will the house of Saud bail us out? I doubt it.

I’m with Obama on this one – increase taxes on those that can afford it, increase programs that build a stronger and more prepared country, and pay for it as we go. The Bush regime has left us with the highest deficit in history and McCain looks prepared to continue that mess. We need some sanity in Washington to get our economic house in order.