Ah, this is a great time for celebrating. The colder weather--at least here in the northeast--requires a cozy atmosphere. The winter solstice just took place, so the "new sun" will rise higher and higher for the next 6 months, but every season is nice to experience... all because our earth wobbles like a drunkard! ha!
Enjoy life and don't waste your time with pettiness and unnecessary grief.
This is an 0ld time favorite.
Dec 23, 2008
Ah, this is a great time for celebrating. The colder weather--at least here in the northeast--requires a cozy atmosphere. The winter solstice just took place, so the "new sun" will rise higher and higher for the next 6 months, but every season is nice to experience... all because our earth wobbles like a drunkard! ha!
Dec 12, 2008
As we progressives look at the president-elect's choices for his cabinet, it's a mixed bag of goodies & baddies. This election was about change, and Obama has promised to usher a new era of healing and true progress--a progress in science & technology, civil rights & liberties, and caring for the world & our fellow humans. That is a very tall order, but, as I've maintained here, it is imperative that the new president steers the USS America in the correct direction. The speed on which we travel remains to be determined.
One of the most important powers the president has is the power to convince. He is the center of attention, so his choices set the national agenda. Impressions also matter as they set the tone. Take for example his choice for Energy Secretary, Dr. Chu. As a energy-hungry nation we need to make the right choices today and this a nice way to start by having someone who knows lots about this subject.
I understand that this country is religious, but it wasn't necessary for BO to pick anyone like this backward-looking "reverend." There are plenty of much better choices out there that have more progressive views. If the new president wants a godly approach, he should pick people whose gods are more humanistic. After all, if BO is intent upon carrying out his social, pro-"main street" policies, he shouldn't be so accepting of people (like Warren) who call such approach marxist!
"Like every candidate, Obama must appeal to millions of voters who believe that without religion, most of us would spend our days raping and killing our neighbors and stealing their pornography. Examples of well-behaved and comparatively atheistic societies like Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Denmark--which surpass us in terrestrial virtues like education, health, public generosity, per capita aid to the developing world, and low rates of violent crime and infant mortality--are of no interest to our electorate whatsoever. It is, of course, good to know that people like Reverend Wright occasionally do help the poor, feed the hungry, and care for the sick. But wouldn't it be better to do these things for reasons that are not manifestly delusional? Can we care for one another without believing that Jesus Christ rose from the dead and is now listening to our thoughts?
Yes we can"
Sam Harris, What Barack Obama Could Not Say.
Dec 7, 2008
With the new president-elect being more visible and active that the sitting president, much has been said about Obama's choice regarding his cabinet and other high posts in his administration. I've been part of endless discussions about Obama scorning the progressive community that played a huge part--especially early on when he mostly needed the money and the ground troops--in his campaign for the presidency. But let's see what this man does when he has power.
Reaching to the established powers and even across the aisle is less important than the actual policy implemented. If, like he recently re-affirmed, he is the author of new policy, then I don't care who implements it. Of course I have issues with, say, keeping Gates in the Defence Dpt. This reinforces the notion that Republicans are stronger on defense! And, the economic team does not include Nobel-laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz, the one who has progressive ideas on economic and warned us about "free market fundamentalism."
Perhaps this is Obama's way of saying, I'm mainstream, but will nevertheless push for progressive politics. The other reality is that Obama probably feels that there's no option for failure. The country is quite messed up, domestically and internationally. This is a chance for redefining the role of government and re-arranging our national priorities. This is a chance for a non-traditional leader to show that certain ceilings & barriers should be demolished for good.
If there's progress regarding health care, access to education, the environment, science, and smarter foreign policy, I'd be ecstatic! Let's see what takes place.
PS. You might find this opinion on The Washington Post interesting. David Corn criticizes BO for his early picks.
Nov 13, 2008
The Republican Party’s divorce from the intelligentsia has been a while in the making. The born-again Mr Bush preferred listening to his “heart” rather than his “head”. He also filled the government with incompetent toadies like Michael “heck-of-a-job” Brown, who bungled the response to Hurricane Katrina. Mr McCain, once the chattering classes’ favourite Republican, refused to grapple with the intricacies of the financial meltdown, preferring instead to look for cartoonish villains. And in a desperate attempt to serve boob bait to Bubba, he appointed Sarah Palin to his ticket, a woman who took five years to get a degree in journalism, and who was apparently unaware of some of the most rudimentary facts about international politics...
Republicanism’s anti-intellectual turn is devastating for its future...
Nov 5, 2008
- 57 Democratic Senate seats (not counting the 2 independents); As of 11/5/08, the senate races in Oregon and Minnesota are yet to be decided. So, I'll probably be off by 1.
- 41 Republican Senate seats. (See above)
- 251 Democratic House seats. The Dems have 250 as of now and 4 are tied.
- 184 Republican House seats. Spot on!
- 364 Obama Electoral Votes!!!!!!! Spot on!
- 174 McCain Electoral Votes. Ditto!
There have been several trends and indicators that let me to believe Obama could ride a wave of change, a political realignment. When I wrote about this back in June, it was a hard sell. Again, right after the GOP convention--when MacPalin were "ahead" in the polls--I thought this bounce (like most convention bounces) would dissipate. My previous posts here explain in detail my thinking. Finally, after almost 2 years since the candidates prepared themselves to run for the nomination, the contest comes to an end. A happy end of us progressives.
One more observation. I argued that the longer contest (that lasted until last June) was good for Obama. It tested him, it introduced him to the American people, and the latter became more comfortable with the him. He looked poised, cool & collected, knowledgeable and presidential. I also thought that the animosities between Sen. Clinton and BO back in the first half of 2008 would be "ancient history" by September. I'm glad that close to 90% of Dems came home to vote for BO. Without having seen the numbers, I'm willing to bet that not only the majority of Dem women but women at large voted for BO.
Here's are some more pictures from Times Square.
All these pictures are from Midtown Manhattan, where people gathered to celebrate BO's victory. Traffic came to a standstill, and for many blocks people filled the streets.
I took these pictures shortly after the networks called it for Obama.
We almost had a riot when all the big screens (as seen here) in Times Square went blank at the moment when Obama came out to speak in Chicago. Fortunately, it only lasted a minute or two.
Oct 29, 2008
This isn't a surprise, I admit, but this is an enthusiastic endorsement for a candidate who will be a great president and a decent world leader. Of course I understand that, as a the only nationally-elected leader, he has to govern a very diverse country that is more conservative than the progressives. He has to speak to the minds and hearts of people who believe in American exceptionalism and in a God that blesses the US and decides about the lives of everyone. But, in a democratic country, the people have the right to elect leaders who espouse the sentiment of the majority.
On the other hand, I think this country has a majority that is closer to liberal ideals than the regressive conservatism; we just have to do a better job in framing the issues. Another very encouraging trend is that the younger generations don't have the same gender and racial biases. And, they seeem to be more engaged (and voting) than previous generations of the same age group.
This election may answer the question about the role of the government--an issue that divides the two major political parties. If BO and the Dems trounce the GOP, then it'll be their chance to show that re-arranging our priorities (less war, for example), being pro-active & smarter, we can have a state that delivers for the middle class and the poor. It's no surprise that vast majorities in other democracies support a social safety net that makes people happier and live longer! Even the Swiss now highly approve of the universal health care they enjoy--and it took political courage and a few hundred extra votes to initially pass this reform.
We've engaged in debates of all sorts about the qualifications of a the major candidates, but the bottom line is a core of issues most likely dictates how people vote. We progressives have to remember to bring the conversation "back to the basics" and be proud for what we believe in. The worst thing to do is to be Republican-light. No, this election will hopefully deliver a repudiation to a party that has embraced extremists and ignorance.
We don't have to surrender the word liberal. All democracies today are liberal democracies, whereas human & civil rights, privacy, tolerance, the scientific method, access to opportunity, social safety net, education, and all those other goodies that makes you want to live in such a society instead of another.
Over the last 4 years since this blog was born, I've written extensively on the issues, how to frame them, and why an enlightened human being is a progressive person. Here are some of the important issues to ponder and which presidential candidate has a progressive stance:
- Health care. Right or a privilege?
- Education. I'm only going to say, more educated people are good for a country.
- The Economy. Self-regulating unbridled capitalism leads to its own demise. Somebody has to be at the wheel watching the road.
- Religion. The religious conservatives and any fanatic can continue to believe whatever they want. They just can't impose their superstition and suspension of reason on the rest of us.
- Race. No further explanation needed.
- SEX! Enough of the conservative stupidity & discrimination. And, yes, a modern society provides its young with appropriate sex education and reproductive choices.
- Patriotism. Who's a true patriot? It's the one that uplifts his/her country, makes it safer, speaks up when necessary, and improves the conditions of freedom & welfare of the commonwealth.
- Poverty. I suppose it's OK for millions of children to go to bed starving every night; or, that poor people are always responsible for their predicament.... Com'on now. Let's be real, and humane!
- Foreign Policy. Is the US safer today? What is our standing in the world, and does this have an implications on our national security? If I hear another, we're fighting them over there, so we don't have to fight them here, I'm going to become violent and hit hard whomever doesn't get my point! Unwise use of force works! No?
- Taxes. If you buy the GOP's allegation that BO is a socialist or that redistributing the wealth in un-American, you've got to open up a dictionary asap; then, if you still don't get it, go live in the vacuum of space, because all liberal & capitalist democracies engage in redistribution of wealth. The more you have the more you pay in taxes, and the less you have the less you pay. Adam Smith said so! Progressive taxation in our constitution... though, we all know what Bush & his cohorts have done to the constitution!
- Environment. Unless you (like too many Americans) believe that this is the end of times, protecting & improving the environment is a good thing for us and our children.
- SCIENCE. Since Newtonian science took roots (at least in the places in did), humanity advanced by leaps and bounds. The physical world could be explained without the need for the supernatural, and, get this, human life improved and life expectancy doubled within just one century. The scientific method is the best tool we have for understanding the world around us and for improving the quality of our life. Here's an endorsement of Obama by a scientific community:
"Science is a way of governing, not just something to be governed. Science offers a methodology and philosophy rooted in evidence, kept in check by persistent inquiry, and bounded by the constraints of a self-critical and rigorous method. Science is a lens through which we can and should visualize and solve complex problems, organize government and multilateral bodies, establish international alliances, inspire national pride, restore positive feelings about America around the globe, embolden democracy, and ultimately, lead the world. More than anything, what this lens offers the next administration is a limitless capacity to handle all that comes its way, no matter how complex or unanticipated." Seed Magazine
Finally, you know it, we have no margin for serious errors any more. We need a captain that will steer the US in the right direction, elevate our national dialogue, and inspire the nation to do its best in this new century. Thankfully, we do have a great choice this year, and it's Barack Obama.
UPDATE, Nov. 2nd
Instead of opening a new thread, I'll add some thoughts here. In our excitement--especially if BO wins--we may take our eyes off the ball, but we have to remain vigilant and demand more answers of what happened during the Bush years. It's not vengeance but those who broke the law must be brought to justice.
As the incompetent and corrupt regime is nearing its final 2.5 months in office, there's a parade of industry executives and lobbyists in the White House asking for further deregulation on--get this--consumer protection and the environment! BushCo have nothing to lose and they can further inflict damage on our country.
First I laughed, then I got irritated, and then I realized that the Republicans are laying the ground for de-legitimizing the next (BO) Dem president by their personal attacks against Obama! They question Obama's loyalty to the United States! He's not a "true Christian," cohorts with terrorists, and his "socialism" is un-American, they say! They did it to Clinton in 1992 and kept attacking him personally. Unless we're aggressive in defeating such tactics, they'll do the same for the next four years. I'm tired of having the conservatives wasting the nation's time, money, and energy on frivolous topics that only distracts us from the real issues.
I hope BO really trounces Mac and that the GOP suffers one of its worst defeats ever, and that the new president can claim a true mandate from the American people, unlike Dubya who... (well, you know how he got in).
Elections do matter. Elections have consequences! Ballots can change history, sometimes in more profound ways than bullets can. We have a responsibility as citizens in a democratic country to take the time & effort to educate ourselves about the major issues and render a thoughtful decision through our votes.
Liberal democracy was a radical concept, and emerged in a world whereas the ruling classes did not want the common people to be educated and making decisions--including redistribution of wealth! Self-government relies on sensible, mature citizens. Let's show that we are indeed grown-ups!
Oct 21, 2008
Putting America First...
It seems that Liberal Citizen was right about Sarah Palin. According to a NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, the Alaska governor is McCain's biggest liability now.
It's desperation time for the Republicans as a whole. It's not only their top ticket but down the line as well that will take a beating.
Two years ago, up to Labor Day, most people expected that the Dems would retake the House. The Senate seemed out of reach; it was tight, but the Dems edged out the Repubs by winning 6 extra seats. Today, the question that remains unanswered is whether they'll make it to 60 Senate seats! In the House the Dems will add to their majority. This is an amazing turnaround in such a brief time.
Have you been ticked off by the "un-American" talk lately? Is this what the Repubs have left? Apparently they're running against straw men, but the country isn't bying it. On the ground, Mac has pulled out of Michigan, New Mexico, Colorado, and has conceded Iowa. The GOP is still fighting a losing battle in PA, but there's no way this state will go red. Mac simply doesn't have enough states in the Electoral College to win this. He never managed to bring in any blue state that Kerry won in 2004. With Iowa, lost early on, and several other marginal red states flipping also early, it became increasingly difficult for the Repubs to be competitive.
CO, NM, IA are worth 21 EV. Add them to the 252 Kerry won and you get 273, three more that's needed to win the presidency! So, Mac needs PA or any other big state to turn red, but it's not happening by any stretch right now. On the flip side, big states Bush won in 2004, like Florida and Ohio are treading blue.
On election night, by 7 or 7:30 pm, if Virginia goes blue, it's all over.... 3 hours before polls close on the West Coast! Now the media likes a horse race, but they'll be hard pressed not to admit the obvious.
If you're wondering about your identity of a American patriot and small-town values, here's Jon Stewart to put things in (better than the national media) perspective.
Aren't we better as a country not to have to deal with this crap? I understand that most of us ain't buying it this year, but empty rhetoric and stupidity have been effective in the past. Check this out:
Oct 16, 2008
OK, folks, there's nothing to see here, move on. The third debate has concluded, and as a columnist put it, we've reached the end of a long road of debates, soon to wrap up our even longer campaign season for the presidency. It's not up to the McCain-Palin team anymore. They can't change the dynamics of race to the White House. Maybe I should take this back. They can make it worse for them. Did you see Mac on Letterman? He said he knew the reputation of Sarah Palin. Sounds too highschoolish to me. Those signs their supporters wave, "America First," should serve a reminder to big Mac--that his VP choice shouldn't have been done like his first blind date.
Now the question is whether the US Senate will have a Democratic super-majority. It's almost 50-50 right now. If the Dems get very close to a comfortable majority--especially if conservative icons like McConnell and Dole are defeated--Sen. majority leader, Harry Reid, will be able to get a couple Repubs to stop the filibuster (60 votes needed), and perhaps to jump ship.
Another intriguing scenario is for President Obama (oh, that sounds great, doesn't it?) to appoint Olympia Snowe (R-ME) to a position in his government. Olympia is a fine human being and a very moderate politician who I happen to know and like. She's also a dying species in the GOP, as the latter has turned/surrendered to extremes. I couldn't understand why she has remained in a GOP controlled by the loonies. The Maine gov. is a Dem, and govs appoint people to fill vacant senatorial seats until the next election. BO and the Dems will have the opportunity to do good. On the other hand, they'll have no excuse if they fail. With power comes responsibility. Soon we'll see if they're up to the task.
Leadership is important. A wise leader can steer our ship, elevate the political discourse, focus the attention of the nation on the important issues, etc. Or, not! As we all know from the injurious leadership of the worst president ever!
I'm looking forward to this election with a good feeling that I haven't experienced in a very long time. Last time we thought we'd have excellent chance of winning was in the Clinton years.
But, let me clarify the "we" part. I'm a progressive liberal above all, and I would have liked to see more progressive politicians win. Yet, I understand the country and my fellow Americans... they are more conservative, or middle-of-the-road species. Gradualism (moving slowly, like molasses) isn't attractive either when you want to get to the promised land asap. [this is a metaphor, not a religious reference]
In kindergarten I was taught to compare and contrast. Didn't forget that. By doing so, and assuming some minimum standards are met, I choose to support individuals for leadership positions. Democrats come the closest to my ideology, my views, my aspirations, and the vision for the future. Clinton (and his Democratic Leadership Council) was too conservative, but I understood the big difference between Clinton and any Repub. So, I was elated he won.
Barack Obama holds more promise; I hope he delivers, even though I expect him to disappoint many people when he doesn't deliver all the things they expect and demand. That's politics, especially in a big and diversified country like the US. Our own politician system is designed for gridlock and slow change, though change is not only desirable but also possible under a president who understands the times and manages to steer the country into the right direction. That's very important, more important today since our country has been seriously injured under the tutelage of George Bush and his Republican party! There's simply no margin for errors any more.
Back in June, I thought [wrote about it on this blog] that there was a good chance this election would produce a new political realignment, and that, unless the Dem nominee committed political suicide, the election wouldn't be close. BO has scratched the surface of the heavy coats of paints piled by the conventional media. There were certain trends going on for a long while in our country, and, finally, BO managed to ride the wave into an seemingly improbable victory in Iowa--a very white state that GW Bush had won in 2004. That demonstrated BO could energize lots of people, many of whom were newcomers to politics. Hundreds of thousands of new voters came out in the middle of winter to participate in the caucuses! This tremendous wave has continued. I don't see why it won't show in the general election too. BO also proved many people wrong (including some of his advisers) that the country wasn't ready to elect a black man president.
The other trend was the Hispanic vote. This block is the new majority of the minorities. It is socially conservative, but issues like immigration and, yes, the economy, has driven it to the Democrats by 2 to 1 margin. This appears to be solidifying. If they stick with the Dem party of a couple more elections, we'll be talking about a huge advantage--bigger than the one the GOP enjoyed via its "Southern strategy."
The country has been undergoing some important trends. Older people with stale views (including racism) have been dying off and the new gens don't have the same racial biases as their parents. Population growth and movements within the country. The GOP has lost ground in some of the "reddest" states that are becoming "purple" if not blue!
There's been a cultural change too. Americans under 40 see the world differently than those over 50. Technology, information explosion, rise of education, peace and relative prosperity, all have been attitude changers. What generational change? Let me give you a great example: Same-sex marriage. While the country overall rejects it, Americans under 30 overwhelmingly approve it, or are not bothered by it.
Studies have shown that if a young person (under 30) votes 2-3 times for the same party then he/she will remain loyal in their later years as well. The young vote (at least the ones that bother to vote) is heavily Democratic today.
Furthermore, in the last 25 years there has been a change regarding:
- The role of government! This has been one fundamental difference between the conservatives and liberals the last 2 centuries. Majorities now want the government to be more active not an impotent observer. The latest excesses of Wall Street and the financial debacle further reinforced this view.
- Moral absolutism is no more! People today more readily accept that as long as others don't trample on their rights, it's OK for others to have their own morality. The government should not be used to impose and intrude.
- The US foreign policy should not be of unilateralism and only via brute force. Bush's disastrous war has divided our friends and united our enemies. Our country's standing in the world has declined. Americans seem to understand this.
What I think will happen after the election is that the GOP will go through an identity crisis, because political realignments signal a repudiation of a party's ideology, policy, and leadership. I hope that the Republican party will emerge as a modern party that embraces tolerance, has a modern view of the role of government, and finally rejects ignorance! However, I don't see this happening any time soon. I expect most of the conservatives (like many people do in times of crisis) to fall back on their "tried & true" dogma. It might take another election or two of bad defeats for them to change course and revise their ideology.
Oct 12, 2008
GOP: Look Over Here! The Gays and the Terrorists Are Taking Over! Fortunately Big Mac Can Save You! [Scare Tactics for Halloween?]
The Party That Elevated Ignorance & Incompetence to an Art Form
Well, it's no secret I am a liberal--the name of this blog probably already gave you a hint. I'm also an elitist--but not elitism based on a life of privilege, lineage, wealth, and religious conformity. We should welcome elitism if it's based on effort and personal achievement. That's the kind of elite leadership I prefer. The kind of elitism that has an open admission; the opportunity to fulfill one's own potential.
[added to post on 10/13/08] Jefferson put it nicely: Fake aristocracy is based on birth rights, vanity, and royalty. Natural aristocracy is based on talent and virtue!
What does the McCain-Palin ticket and the Republican Party represent today? Seriously, folks, what is their policy proposals, their ideology, and their track record? Look behind the bumper-sticker slogans and the emotion-button-pressing campaign.
I reject willful ignorance and policies that impede progress. It's no surprise, therefore, that I reject Republicans, the GOP, and their embrace of ignorance. This kind of conservatism is bad for your health, and it's bad for our country. We've given too much respect to the superstitious, the bigoted, the ignorant in the name of presenting "the other side's argument." Of course, we have to debate and discuss, but when, for example, we examine the theory of evolution, test & retest, evaluate the evidence, etc., we can't turn around and say, let's now entertain notions that oppose this theory while providing no evidence or even rudimentary reasoning. In short, any theory/view without such can be dismissed without a reason!
Another example: why do we have to respect the view that birth control and family planning are bad things? The Bush administration, and, yes, McCain-Palin, don't want to provide birth control on moral grounds. This results in unwanted pregnancies [The US has the highest rates of teenage pregnancies in the advanced world], more abortions, and mothers dying during childbirth. It's insane.
The good news for the Dems is that the GOPers have screwed up big time. What's left for them is fear. You can see this in their latest media campaign and during their rallies. Even though it demeans our political discourse, I like their self-destruction... while they're trying to describe Obama as having links to terrorists, etc. Not that this tactic hasn't worked before [gosh, John Kerry knows this very well], but this time it's the economy, stupid. Should it be? Not according to Palin, who says abortion should be a bigger issue, behind BO's love for those who hate America!
The economy should be a very important factor in determing our votes, but I think this issue has to be part of an ideological approach: the role of government!
Since FDR, Democratic governments have improved the economic condition of the lower and middle classes. The rich do just as well. We need for of an activist government that makes sure this country doesn't turn into a feudal society... because our governmnet acts to protect the commonwealth.
The Dems have to be brave and dispell the notion of the "tax and spend liberal." It's the Repubs who spend uncontrollably and for things that do not improve the life of ordinary people! Trickle-down economics leave too much to the top, while a rising tide lifts all boats, provided you have a boat and, if you do, it is not closely tied to the dock!
The same with the label liberal. FDR was a liberal who saved capitalism, and implemented programs Americans like and expect from their government. When Palin quoted R. Reagan, "one day we'll tell our grandchildren this country used to be free," he was talking about medicare... a social safety net he (and most Republicans) wanted to kill. Sure, it's about freedom. The progressives have to define what freedom means. It's about access to opportunity, legal equality, and a progressive culture of life. It's not the freedom to work for McDs or Burger King because you can't afford to go to college; or the freedom to marry only the gender approved by the government! Or, to speak freely against our enemies, and to be free to worship Big Brother!
I could understand a party that argues about the best road to an objective, but to embrace ideas fit for the Dark Ages is another thing. Why should we respect someone who says the earth is flat? Especially when he offers no evidence and no rationale. Likewise, why should we even possibly entertain the possibility of a VP (and perhaps a Prez) who does not believe in evolution or that the Earth is older than 6,000 years? Or, that the soul exists in a petri dish (so stem cell research is equal to murder!), and that humans walked along dinosaurs. Such a "leader" could only serve as a spokesperson for ignorance.
Speaking of sex.. It's a split-personality condition for the cons: sex is disgusting, must be regulated... but, many of their GOP leaders fall victims to ..Satan and engage in immoral activities (cheating, homo sex, etc). Back in 2004, they used the same-sex marriage issue in several battleground states [i.e., in Ohio were I worked for the Kerry campaign and saw it first hand] to drive the social conservative Americans to the polls. This year, they're trying it in California, but, again, this issue isn't getting much traction nationally.
Connecticut's Supreme Court, rightly so, decided that equal but separate is not a legal principle, and ordered the state to recognize same-sex marriages. CT is the third state, behind MA and CA, to do so. More states will follow and eventually the Supreme Court will have to decide. The Supreme Court is on the ballot as well.. do not forget this! The next president will appoint several justices to the high court whose decisions will affect all of us for several generations! We cannot afford a McCain-Palin presidency!
Did I say I reject ignorance and the party that has embraced it?
PS. You know when people don't want to accept something they find all sorts of excuses but face reality. The Conservatives are in denial and are still clinging to an ideology of the past. But, they believe their ideas and their conservative attitude [conservatism is a disposition] by blaiming individuals that failed conservatism. We've seen this before with communists....
Oh, it's not the idea of self-regulation that's the problem, it's the people who fail. Hmmmm, they asked and got a self-regulating Wall Street, because they said they were special. Obviously we know that markets cannot be self-regulating because they lead to extremes. Same with all sorts of private business.
Funny thing, those who don't want the government to interfere in and regulate the marketplace wouldn't get into a self-regulating taxi to go to a self-regulating restaurant, or take drugs from a self-regulating pharma co.
PS2. The Democratic challenger to Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) does NOT deserve our support. Bob Conley has embraced ignorance! He's rejecting the scientific consensus that humans are responsible for adding to global warming. What a dolt.
I understand the argument that it's better to have a Dem instead of a Repub but given that the Senate will remain Dem, Conley should not be supported. Graham isn't my favorite, but, without endorsing him, I have to say that he's been a war critic and one of the less-crazed cons in the Senate. The Dems need to recruit better candidates. The people deserve informed public officials.
Oct 7, 2008
As long as McCain says the system is broken and the economy is bad, and keeps insisting he's for change, he is losing more and more ground. He's finished. By the way, this format of "town hall meeting" favors Obama. BO looks presidential, and confident. He knows his facts, and I think that's what the nation is looking for nowadays. Enough of the empty slogans, vague & undefined ideals. It's time we have someone who understands what's going on and understands the lives of ordinary people.
Mac hasn't done anything to reverse the trend, the movement towards Obama. I thought he needed to take more chances to undermine BO's momentum. Obviously his campaign thinks that going negative with silly associations, like BO is a "friend of terrorists"! I mean, really, com'on now.
Outside of the electoral politics Americans, perhaps, will realize that there's no free lunch--unless you get someone else to pay for it--and that those who run up the debt by charging our national credit card get most of the benefits and share none of the pain. Americans have to realize that elections have consequences! It's not about having a beer with a cool dude who has a ranch! We should elect leaders who can tell us the truth, because we want the truth and we can handle it.
And, let's try to be more sophisticated. Slapping a magnetic sticker on our cars does not translate into actually supporting the troops. "Let's not raise taxes on anyone," McCain just said. I say, why not? I support a progressive taxation: contributions to the commonwealth according to the ability to pay! Speaking of the troops, those who actually enlist, fight, and sacrifice life & limp are those of the middle & lower economic classes. And, who gets the no-bid (often unsupervised) federal contracts?
Bush asked us to help by going shopping! Don't look over there folks while there's a transfer of wealth during a war that was described as must-do. ...
I have to rescind my promise to have a drink every time "my friends" is uttered. If I continue, I'll fall off the table.... I should have picked, "maverick."... After all, it's only Tuesday night!
Oct 3, 2008
I tuned in for a crash & burn show, but it didn't happen. On the other hand, Sarah Palin did nothing to show that she's qualified to be anything more than a governor of a unique state.* She also proved that the pre-recorded messages came out clear, simple, and one-size-fits-all regardless of the relevance to the topic.
I'm happy to see Sen. Joe Biden win this debate with his breath of knowledge, poise, and specifics. This debate showed that Biden is ready to be president just in case...
"Put the government on the side of the American people," was uttered several times by Palin and it has been something the Repubs keep saying. But, what do they mean by this?
A government that's on the side of the people is, by definition, an activist government! One that regulates, supervises, referees, adjusts, and acts in the interest of the commonwealth. In short, a government on the side of the American people protects & empowers!
It's, at least, laughable that the Repubs--who do not have a positive proposal for the role of the government--are saying this. Unless, they mean, make the government so small as to be drowned in a bathtub! But, an impotent government falls prey to predators, and that's exactly what the Repubs and McCain-Palin have in mind.
*Some 80% of Alaska's revenues come from oil, and the state gets more in federal aid per person than any other state. Its population is 1/4 of New York City's borough of Brooklyn.
Oct 2, 2008
In anticipation of the debate where Sarah Palin will try to convince Americans that she is qualified to be vice president and ready-to-be-president of these United States.
I don't care how much cramming she's doing since her selection as GOP VP choice, it won't help. Someone needs to have an understanding first, a concept, a clue before trying to memorize all that information. Otherwise all the data fogs the mind.
Now, Joe Biden is supposed to respect ignorance and go easy on her. I understand why, but it's crazy! Of course, the hubris is on those who are not qualified to hold such a high public office, but they think they can fool the American public to elect them. For me, these persons deserve ridicule. Surely, it's not just about their idiotic policy and vision, but anyone who believes the Earth is 6,000 years old, that humans strolled along the vegetarian dinosaurs, and that the soul can exist in a petri dish, is absolutely not qualified to be anything more than a spokesperson for ignorance!
Just in case you think SNL distorted reality, here is the transcript of the Curic-Palin exchange:
COURIC: Why isn't it better, Governor Palin, to spend $700 billion helping middle-class families who are struggling with health care, housing, gas and groceries; allow them to spend more and put more money into the economy instead of helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess?
PALIN: That's why I say I, like every American I'm speaking with, were ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health-care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, helping the—it's got to be all about job creation, too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health-care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans. And trade, we've got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, scary thing. But one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today, we've got to look at that as more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that.
Sep 27, 2008
The first much-anticipated debate between Obama and McCain is over and there's a winner for the following reasons:
- Obama looked presidential and knowledgeable.
McCain failed to win, especially when this topic--foreign policy and national security--was his strong point. Next up, the economy...
- Obama connected more with independents and the undecideds.
- McCain, through this debate and his performance in the last week, did not gain any points or close the gap. I believe the polls that will come out in the next few days will show that either BO maintains his 4-5% advantage or even increase it.
- McCain missed this chance; he will have to wait a couple weeks to try to knock Obama down a few notches--a task that will become even harder after next Thursday's VP debate. Biden was all over the networks whereas Palin was nowhere post-debate. As I've said before, she is going to be a net negative to the GOP ticket. Even cons don't really believe that Palin is qualified to be VP or a 73-year old heartbeat away from the presidency!
Back to the debate. I didn't think either man did such a great job as to dislodge people who were in one camp to jump to the other. But, again, that's OK, because it solidified BO's presidential stature--the more acceptable of a choice he appears, the better his chances. I suspect that there are (and will be more) Republicans who could "live" under a BO administration. This will translate into less excitement (and votes) for Mac. If Mac couldn't beat BO on this topic of the first debate, there isn't much hope he can do it on the economy or anything else. The GOP now has to hope for an external factor to reverse the national trend against their ticket.We need change and the country seems to want that. Obama leads by big numbers in this category. The economy's horrible mess also favors BO. I suspect that Mac lost points by talking about winning in Iraq,and bringing home the troops only in victory. Most Americans know we've lost the occupation and the peace there. I thought BO could have done a better job to destroy Mac's argument that he has "the right judgment" to be commander in chief. When it came down to make a judgment call about Iraq, McCain said yes to the war while BO said no! And, initially McCain kept repeating all that nonsense about a short war, liberators, and spare change.
I'm glad to see the national economy being part of national security. War has been a distraction & occupation for most of human history; militarism has been the main activity of government besides taxing the people who can least afford it. This robs society of resources that can be better used to promote the general welfare. When the US spends more on armaments than the whole world combined, it surely means that we're not spending enough on health care, education, etc. [Check this Bill Moyers essay on the cost of war]
BO should remind the voters that Mac and the whole Bush administration were telling us (just a few months ago) that the US economy was good, no recession/depression in sight, and that the fundamentals were strong! Hmmm. This is either lying or really bad judgment!Besides, keeping Americans as safe as possible should mean that improving and prolonging human lives is a good thing. Isn't it? But, some 20,000 Americans die every year because they don't have health insurance. McCain would be dead already had he not been treated 4 times for cancer; he, like all members of Congress, have the best health care coverage. Same for president Bush who had precancerous polyps removed during a regular checkup--a benefit tens of millions of Americans do not have!
Finally, Obama must hit harder McCain and Republicans for being hypocrites when it comes to caring for the veterans. First, they trick Americans [including many non-citizens] into service. Then they send them to battle on false pretences and without appropriate armor or in sufficient numbers. Once injured, they put them in filthy facilities to recover. They make them serve longer tours of duty, including those in the National Guard. When Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) introduced a 21st century GI bill [free college tuition for the veterans], guess what, McCain and the GOP voted against it! That's how much the Cons "love" the vets. Love to me means to take care of those you love, not expose them to unnecessary danger and give them all the support you can.
On a sad note, we lost a liberal in Connecticut today. Paul Newman died battling cancer at 83.PS. The Washington Post has a good coverage of the debate, plus the whole video.
Sep 18, 2008
In just over a month the country will elect a new president, but still there's plenty of time for the voters to move or make a decision. I know the chart (on the blog's right column) shows McCain having the advantage in the Electoral College today, but even though I think it's an snapshot, it does not give the complete picture. There have been some nail-biting moments of doubt and conversations among the progressives who are almost convinced that Obama will lose. I think Obama will win this, probably by a more comfortable margin that most people expect today. Let me tell you why.
Sarah Palin. She will be a net negative to the ticket. This will become very clear in the next few weeks as her record and her statements during the campaign (and before) come to light. The debate with Biden hopefully will also show that she's very inexperienced to be presidential material. McCain needed to pick a VP who could take over on day two, if not day one! Obama must exploit this, and connect it to Mac's poor judgment. Whatever motivation the conservatives got from the Obama-Biden ticket cannot match the motivation the progressive had against McBush already. With Sarah added on, then more money and volunteers will go Obama's way. Most voters (60%) think that BO chose Biden because of his qualifications, but Palin was chosen to help Mac win (75%), not for her qualifications (17%). On balance, Palin's negatives will grow at the expense of her positives. I know most people vote for president and not his VP, but the bounce the GOP ticket got post-convention was because of Palin, therefore, this phenomenon will change to Mac trailing BO as before the conventions. Further, I believe that Sarah is a liability and will further damage the ticket.
The Economy. Yes, how can you not think that the Democrats don't have the advantage on this issue? Our government--properly accountable to the people--has a vital role to play in the marketplace. Regulate big business from indulging in excesses that hurt the "average American" the most. This way, and there will be less need to nationalize private businesses, and/or the taxpayer has to bail them out. [The Republican economic plan: socialism for the rich--private profit, social risk--and capitalism for the poor. But, the Dems and especially Obama must draw this connection soon.] "It's the economy, stupid!" Traditionally, the Dems have an advantage when the excesses of the marketplace threatens everyone--and nowadays almost any working person with savings or a pension has a stake in the performance of the marketplace.
New Voters. What's been missing from the polls is the enormous advantage the Obama/Dems have this season. Millions of new Dems have been registered, many are under 35 years old. Quite a few only have a cell phone and can't be polled by traditional landline methods. In addition, there's lots more excitement on the Dem/progressive side. The Repubs/cons got excited with Palin, but they're sensing it now: their ticket isn't going to win. As the gap (national polls) grows between Obama & Mac, many GOPers are more likely to stay home on election day.
Electoral College Map. If Obama is to win, he must carry all the Kerry (2004) states plus some. McCain has not added one Blue state to his column yet. There are a few states that are very competitive for both. However, Mac has not added any; he has lost Iowa already, and he'll probably lose New Mexico and Colorado, possibly Nevada too. In this scenario, if PA returns to the Blue column, Obama wins. Again, in the following weeks, I expect the national polls to show an increasing spread between BO - JM; this will add a few percentage points for BO in the battleground states. It may even turn into a landslide in the Electoral College.
Change. Most Americans by huge margins accept that Obama is the agent of change. This poll confirms that McCain may talk about change but he does not represent true change. Mac has the advantage on "experience" and being the commander-in-chief (especially the latter), but, the way I read it, most of the country wants change in the direction, priorities, and role of government--not merely a change of faces in the White House. Advantage BO. Even though the war is still a big issue, Mac's advantage on military leadership will be trampled by Americans' wish for the war to end. It's been too costly and people know it. I hope the Dems keep making a connection between a bad economy and the war.
"Results from the New York Times/CBS News Poll released Thursday indicate voters view McCain as a "typical Republican" who would continue or expand President Bush's policies. The latest poll found 46 percent of voters thought McCain would continue Bush's policies, while 22 percent indicated they thought he'd be more conservative." UPI/NY Times
Nobody knows the future, especially when there are many fluid factors as they are in an election cycle, but some movements and trends can be identified. We examine the numbers as we have them (subject to mistakes), see the prevailing voters' views, and then make educated guesses. When we want something, really long for it, our judgment may be clouded--I'm aware of this. However, I'm following a reasonable path to forming a conclusion, which is: this election is for Obama to win or lose, and I think he will. Call me on November 5th.
When I wrote this a couple days earlier, the electoral map (on the right column) showed a McCain advantage, as most others (like CNN's) have the Republican ahead. There's a seesaw race up to this point, but I think this will change to Obama's favor in the next few weeks.
Sep 12, 2008
I know, I know, I'm appealing to the rational. By any reasonable standard, this election shouldn't even be close, but it is--according to most polls. Those who are going to flip the contest--the ones who float from side to side and form their views on superficial impressions--are more likely to decide on a gut reaction. The conservatives know very well how to play this game. It's a bi-polar exercise: fear, and reward (by obeying Big Brother).
I think the rational arguments and the parade of facts obviously appeal only to those who are interested in them. The rest have impressionable minds swayed by simplified emotional appeals. [I'm glad I'm not running for public office] Yes, it's important to keep presenting the truth and supporting evidence, because many Americans require them. But, we have to find a way to reach the gut of a few million Americans.
The presidential game has now turned as it has in the past: winning the swing states. As the Current Election Polls (on the right sidebar) show, McCain has a slight lead in the Electoral College. But, Mac cannot afford to lose any state. Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Virginia, have been going back & forth. Nevada and Colorado may go from Red (2004) to Blue, and NM remain in the Blue column.
I have many progressive friends who are fretting that Obama may lose. Of course, everything is possible in this more-conservative-than-we-like country. But, here's some good news. Obama has been registering millions of new voters in a way not seen before. Will they vote? Who knows. However, those who are not register cannot vote.
The other plus is that the new registrants are Americans under 35 years old--a group that favors progressives by a large margin. Also, many of them don't have landlines to be polled like the rest of the country.
Sep 9, 2008
Sep 4, 2008
GOP: God's The Head Coach for the Republicans; How They Will Never Allow Another 9-11 (again); Democrats Hate America, and McCain is a Hero!
McCain is a hero because he dropped napalm bombs on the Vietnamese, got shot down and spent years as a POW. From this he gained the experience to be commander-in-chief, and the judgment to be president of all America & the world.
For a moment I thought Mac would want to reinforce the "maverick" label... but, he just said he is very grateful to president Bush for leading our country so wisely after 9-11. Doesn't this show how "common-sense conservative" he is? Sure!
Wait a second, Mac: "get this country back to prosperity and peace" ???!!! Really, Mac! Who got us into this mess?!!
Is the crowd on Mac's page? He talks about struggling Americans and those who lost their jobs, and the crowd interrupts with shouts of U-S-A, U-S-A! What the f..
Oh, here it is... Mac: "Change is coming"... Change Washington? Hmmm. Ah, he'll change it because he's a maverick! Geesh. Enough already!
[btw, some friends, (no names needed), are playing the drinking game... one drink every time maverick is heard; but some people are already drunk because they chose, god]
Thank you John for reminding us that the Supreme Court also rides on this election!
Mac will cut taxes whereas BO will raise them (no mention for whom--I think it matters, don't you think?)...
Mac: Gov-run bureaucratic system will stand between us and our doctors! I see. It's a ridiculous argument. It's time to give the GOVERNMENT-PROVIDED health care coverage McCain (and all of Congress) gets to ALL AMERICANS! End of story!
Did he say, "Education is the civil-rights issue of this century"??!!! I think idiocracy is beneficial to the Republican party!
I'm getting tired of this tirade of conservative garbage. This may be appealing to the simplistic mind... I'd rather engage some other spirits right now... Ah, go drill off-shore and everywhere you want... Like the Iraq, war were told, would make oil cheap for our humongous SUVs! Sound energy policy, no?
Good night and good luck!
A video showing Islamist fanatics who "want to kill us" is on. Lots of imagery and references to 9-11. The Repubs will never allow this to happen again. I guess the first time they allowed this to happen they didn't realize that the Soviet Union had collapsed and thus wanted to continue the Star Wars program. Those "two-bit" terrorists wouldn't amount to much of a threat.
Family values is another big theme. Of course, the Repubs are the great moralists with solid family values. Well, don't look at their presidential candidates and their conservative religious wingnuts. I'm wondering what the conservatives would have said if Chelsea Clinton had dropped out of school and been pregnant at 16! Obviously Hillary & Bill would have been chastised for failing to protect their teenage daughter and to teach her abstinence-only sex education!
Now, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) is speaking. The surge, he says, has worked in Iraq, and that country is not a failed state. We have AlQaeda on the run there and elsewhere. Nice. On the other hand, Obama wants us to fail in Iraq! Graham knows better because he took a trip to Iraq with McCain and Lieberman. No mention of why the Repubs sent insufficient number of troops without proper equipment to get killed in Iraq... Fight 'em over there...
Oh, yes, thank God Joe Lieberman stood with the Repubs and is a great friend of McCain!
John McCain: Maverick! Sarah Palin: Maverick! Oh, both are environmentalists. They didn't mention if humans have anything to do with global warming. What do you think? Palin loves Alaska, loves America. Government should be for the people--even if it means 3 people who live on that island that deserves a $300-million bridge! Oh, and she's got foreign policy experience, because Alaska borders Russia! [She's good for Obama so far... BO raised $8 million following her speech!]
Palin's resume here. Oh, and she's a mother of 5 children who'll have time to be VP. Does she need any training to step in as Prez if something happens to Big Mac? Hope she finds the time, or maybe she's figured it out already: nothing to do.
Tom Ridge (former PA gov and Hommie Tsar) is up. He would have been a good VP choice for McCain. Not that I like him; the guy who established the color coded (and totally useless) alert system. Did you forget the plastic & duct tape we were told to supply ourselves with? Ha! At least Ridge admitted that the Bush gov. used the "high alert" terror warnings for political purposes--not for any other good reason! Why, no surprise there. They were incompetent, screwed up on 9-11, and began to lie to the American people the second after the first plane hit the World Trade Center. Remember what EPA said to real American heroes who rushed to the disaster area to help & recover? That air was safe! And, then, all the lies about the "need" to invade & occupy Iraq... Tsk.
Cindy was a great catch for Mac. She cares about the sick, and the poor--even though, we know, they're responsible for their fate and that government's role is not to provide services like universal health care and education! Mac scored a 24-year old at 37. Not bad, not bad at all. Oh, the money, who cares about the money...
Yeah, but Mac left his wife (who waited while he was a POW) for Cindy because of love; but John Kerry, well, we know he did it for the money by marrying Teresa Heinz! Kerry was a ..Democrat.
Cindy: Our party stands for freedom! Lincoln was a Republican, remember? Does she mean like the freedom to work for Burger King or McDonald's if you can go to college?
Oh, no, Cindy makes a reference to Mother Teresa! [her great work] How moving! Part of God's plan too?...
[I'll update, on the top of the page, when Mac speaks, meanwhile enjoy BO's video below]