Friday, September 26, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Saturday, September 06, 2008

84,000 jobs lost in August

GOP Convention tidbits

Watching interviews with female delegates was interesting in that when asked how they felt about Governor Palin , they were enthusiastic about nominee's personality and her story---their response echoing the party line almost verbatim---which is to be expected. However, every one of the delegates interviewed expressed admiration that Sarah Palin demonstrated her strength of conviction by choosing to have a baby after being advised it would have down syndrome---which was true. However, the irony of that observation was completely lost on the interviewee as well as the media interviewer. If Vice President Palin had her way, no other women in America would have a choice.

The McCain-Palin ethics crusade and straight talk express got off to a shakey start. First, Governor Palin described how she disposed of previous governor's corporate jet, saying, "That luxury jet was over the top. I put it on e-Bay", clearly implying she sold the plane that way. Straight shooter McCain told a Cedarburg, Wis. audience his favorite convention story saying, "You know what I enjoyed the most, she took the luxury jet bought by her predecessor and sold it on e-Bay----for a profit!!" Great story, except it is not true. The jet was put on e-Bay, got no takers and was sold later to one of Palin's campaign contributors for a $600,000.00 loss.

In the story that reported Palin's fraudulent assertion, her spokeswoman, Maria Comella, insited that Palin had indeed sold the plane on e-Bay. Rudy Giuliani repeated the story in his prepared speech at the convention and the video tribute to Palin included the statement that she "auctioned the governor's jet on e-Bay." A campaign spokesman finally acknowledged the plane was not sold on e-Bay but "it was a symbol of corruption" and Palin's actions "sent a strong message...". That's true! You can't trust what either Palin or McCain say.

Governor Palin also repeats the mantra that she opposed the bridge to nowhere, saying "thanks but no thanks" to Congress. We now know that she campaigned supporting the bridge and only abandoned that position under the heat of publicity. She ultimately took the millions in pork barrel money for the project and spent it elsewhere---she who is going to reform Congress of its "big spending" habits. No wonder the McCain straight talk express is not going to allow his dynamic running mate to submit to being interviewed by any media types ---with the possible exception of Bill O'Riley or Rush Limbaugh.

What is with these righteous evangelicals anyway? Fellow traveler, Mike Huckabee said with a straight face that Governor Palin received more votes for the Mayor of Wasilla than Joe Biden did in the presidential primaries. Good line---got a lot of cheers. The problem is Joe Biden received 79,754 votes and Palin received 909. Shame on you Mike. Don't you know lying is considered a sin in some quarters?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The 2008 Republican Convention

The morning after Sarah Palin’s speech and her acceptance of the number two spot on the Republican ticket, the associated press reported that a chunk of ice the size of Manhattan had broken away from the northern arctic. Scientists described it as a "shocking event that underscores the rapidity"of the effects of global warming.

The story is a prefect metaphor for where the Republican Party is in relation to reality and the 21st century.

If this convention is a precursor to the future of the Grand Old Party, it is destined to be one made up of predominately white males and evangelical fervored women with a radical right wing social agenda. Delegates were 93% male, 5% Hispanic and 2% black. With higher numbers than the last two conventions, 2008 completes the morphing process that began with the Barry Goldwater candidacy.

The 2008 Vice Presidential nominee is absolutely perfect for her constituency and John McCain. She denies global warming. She opposes abortion under any circumstances----no exceptions. She would ban books that she deems unsuitable from libraries and would fire librarians who balk at her judgement. She opposes sex education in schools and believes that the Iraq war is "a task of God."

The convention speeches on John McCain’s treatment as a prisoner in North Vietnam were emotionally wrenching in their tragic details. Ironically, that treatment, as horrible and repulsive as it was---- would not rise to the level of torture under the legal advice solicited by George W. Bush concerning the treatment of "enemy combatants".

Advised that he was not bound by the Geneva Convention, Bush was also advised that interrogation techniques that did not result in death should not be considered torture. The Vietnamese might well have been using the same "play book" for interrogation as the U.S. has been using on detainees----a verbatim copy of one written by Communist China and used by North Korea during that war.

Interestingly, the only voice present at the Republican Convention that has spoken out against the interrogation techniques of Guantanamo and foreign "retention" prisons was that of John McCain.

We heard a lot of stirring patriotic speeches and viewed a waving sea of "country first" signs. Implicit in its tone was that Obama democrats do not put their country first, nor share the patriotic imperative of republicans. Sarah Palin smirked that "unlike some" (presumably Obama), John McCain "chose to fight" in Vietnam. One must wonder if she is aware that Barack Obama was about seven years old when McCain "chose to fight"?

Meanwhile, as cheering McCain-Palin patriots wrapped themselves in the American flag, millions of Americans were wondering if they could scrape up enough money to pay this month’s mortgage or buy a tank of gas----much less afford an American flag.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

McCain's judgement?

What does the disclosure by Gov. Sarah Palin that her 17 year old, unmarried daughter is five months pregnant, have to do with the price of political eggs? The answer is both nothing and everything--- depending on the context.

Barrack Obama responded that it is a private family matter and urged the media keep it off limits in the political discussion—which generally speaking is the correct position.

The problem is that in the George W. Bush era, social conservative morality is firmly entrenched as a political criterion---- thanks to its proponents, the evangelical right. Therefore, judgement of familial moral turpitude is, by their terms, a legitimate target in accessing a political aspirant.

The irony of the situation for Sarah Pain and evangelicals lies in the rigid values they embrace and wish to force by political means on the rest of us. For example, they would eliminate abortion as a medical choice, under any circumstances.

In Sarah Palin’s political agenda, sex education would be against the law in public schools.

The double irony, here, is the rational for opposing sex education----i.e. it’s specificity encourages lax sexual behavior----that somehow, specific enlightenment about sexual mechanics will give legitimacy to immoral behavior and will thus contribute to the problem of unwanted pregnancies. Hence, evangelicals (and Sarah Pain) believe only they have the proper solution to "the problem"—and that is abstinence, taught and inculcated by and within the family.

When a sixteen year old has sex and is five months pregnant into her 17th year, is that some sort of failure in parenting? Sarah Pain’s social conservatism is her political philosophy. Therefore, is asking that question sociological or political?

I believe, as does Barrack Obama , that such a questions are only relevant in the sociological context—in spite of evangelical’s success in framing them within their political agenda. Those questions have no place in politics.

However, the legitimate question in the wake of Sarah Palin being the chosen one for Vice President is what does it say about John McCain’s judgement? .

Thwarted by Republican leaders in his desire to choose Senator Joe Lieberman, or Gov. Tom Ridge, McCain chose Gov. Palin after a 15 minute phone conversation and no vetting process whatsoever. By way of contrast, Mitt Romney and Gov. Tom Pawlenty underwent two months of scrutiny. Choosing someone to stand a heartbeat away from the presidency, is the most important decision a candidate can make. John McCain made it with a gut, kneejerk reaction rather than careful consideration and thoughtful process.

. This is not a characteristic we need in a President.