Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Stark Difference In Coverage

Yes, we all know that the media is biased. 

And by now all my readers know that I look at the New York Times daily as a source for what the liberal mind is thinking.

As these recent online newspapers arrived in my email inbox when Joe Biden was chosen to be Barack Obama's running mate, I thought it might be an interesting thing to juxtapose the coverage between this event and the event of John McCain's choosing a running mate. And I was right - it's very interesting, albeit predictable. Now, why I am fascinated by the predictable, I cannot say. 

I am comparing two articles from the same paper. One titled "Obama Picks Biden, Adding Foreign Expertise to Ticket." Another titled, "Choice of Palin Is Bold Move by McCain, With Risks." Let's begin by looking at their opening paragraphs:


Senator Barack Obama introduced Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. as his running mate on Saturday at a boisterous rally in Springfield, Ill., a choice that strengthens the Democratic ticket's credentials on foreign policy and provides Mr. Obama a combative partner as he heads into the fight with Senator John McCain.


Senator John McCain spent the summer arguing that a 40-something candidate with four years in major office and no significant foreign policy experience was not ready to be president. And then on Friday he picked as his running mate a 40-something candidate with two years in major office and no significant foreign policy experience.

Is there anybody but me who smells a bit of a difference in the coverage? Ah, but on with the rest:


The selection of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska proved quintessentially McCain - daring, hazardous and defiantly off-message. He demontrated that he would not get boxed in by convention as he sought to put a woman next in line to the presidency for the first time. Yet in making such an unabashed bid for supporters of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, he risked undercutting his central case against Senator Barack Obama.


In Mr. Biden, Mr. Obama selected a six-term senator from Delaware best known for his expertise on foreign affairs - Mr. Biden spent last weekend in Georgia as that nation engaged in a tense confrontation with Russia - but also for his skills at political combat. Mr. Obama passed over other candidates who might have brought him a state or reinforced the message of change that has been central to his candidacy.

This absolutely transparent vying for a particular candidate over another doesn't surprise me. What surprises me is the number of people who will still maintain that the mainstream press is either not biased or biased in a conservative direction. True, many of these claims come from places like The Huffington Post or Democratic Underground. But one would think the differences in coverage would be apparent even to these folks. Sheesh.

Also, I just can resist pointing out the obvious: Biden is NOT best known for his expertise on foreign affairs. He's best known for his stupid statements. Most of the public has been so taken up with his big mouth that they have never even heard of his resume details. 

I also have a difficult time with the claim that McCain's choice of Palin is an "unabashed bid for supporters of Hillary Rodham Clinton." The ONLY thing the two appear to have in common is the lacking of that particular appendage that biologically makes a man. Well, that and the ability to have babies... but the two go hand in hand. 


Democratic strategists compared her selection to those of Geraldine A. Ferraro in 1984 or Dan Quayle in 1988, suggesting that the decision reflected desperation by Mr. McCain. "He feels a little like Walter Mondale," said Jim Jordan, a Democratic political consultant. "He's a respected Washington lifer who's run into political forces that are bigger than himself. And he's responded by making a decision that feels panicky." 

I wish I could juxtapose the printed Republican talking points against this one, but - alas! There were none printed in Biden's two-page fawningly worded article. In his article, after two pages of flattery, they finally printed one paragraph that was less than complimentary:


Mr. Biden is hardly an entirely safe choice. He was forced to apologize to Mr. Obama almost the moment he entered the race for president after he was quoted as describing him as "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy," a remark that drew criticism for being racially insensitive. While campaigning in New Hampshire, Mr. Biden said that "you cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent."

Republicans made clear that they intended to keep a close eye on Mr. Biden, looking to exploit any more moments like those. 

Ah, yes... those darned Republican exploiters!! Looking to exploit uncomfortable moments for Democrats, looking to exploit the poor, the downtrodden... even mother earth herself. 

I am still feeling optimistic. The mainstream media can try to paint the situation however it wants, but the truth is this:

Obama made a stupid choice. Biden is a hot-headed big mouth racist buffoon.

McCain made a smart choice. Palin is a young, good looking (sorry, but that does appear to matter, with television and all), pro-life, pro-drilling, gun-totin' Christian woman who will make the conservative base take a second look at that ticket. The fact that she's a woman will also attract a few stragglers who were angry that Hillary was beat out because they wanted a woman in office (but they don't closely follow politics in any other respect). To top that all off, she's a working (as a governor, no less) mother of FIVE. And, I believe, she has one child with Down's Syndrome and another child in Iraq.

Another blog on Palin soon. We should all know as much about her as we can, right?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Some Bad Behavior For Ya

Well, one cannot help but be entertained by the bad behavior of those in oppositions to one's own beliefs. After all, their bad behavior must make them look bad to the thinking folks in the country, right? Besides, it's either be entertained by it or severely irritated. I prefer to go through life happy -- thus, I choose ENTERTAINMENT. 

San Fran Nan (otherwise known as Nancy Pelosi) recently had a moment. And the moment was not a good one, but it was momentous. She exposed herself as the seventh grade thinker that she is. No, really!! Check it out, because it's hilarious. 

Apparently she was in the middle of a press conference of some sort outside an old train station. Some demonstrators were there, and they (rudely, I imagine) interrupted Nancy with chants of "Drill here! Drill now!" Now, I should take a moment to say that I can understand feeling a certain level of frustration on her part. I mean, she's taken a very strong stand against us taking any of our own oil out of the ground, and I'm sure she's been taking some serious heat for it pretty much everywhere she goes (except, maybe San Francisco). Certainly, she should be able to have one lousy press conference without people hounding her about her beliefs and political practices. 

However, Nancy cracked. Not immediately, mind you. Initially, she tried to douse the situation with a bit of humor. "Right here?" she replied. Now, THIS was funny. A great response to a situation that had to be very annoying for her. Of course, she followed this up with her middle school speech, "Can we drill your brains?" 

WHAT?! Did that just come out of the mouth of a grown up? Like from a tall person? A fully grown human being? How strange!! Almost makes you wonder if her next sentence was going to be, "My daddy is bigger than your daddy..." Quickly followed then by a one-word sentence, "MINE!" The regression was that fast!

Of course the "drill your brains" comment was, by far, the most entertaining thing she said. But she followed it up with a speech about how drilling for our own oil would result in a reduction of gas prices by only a couple pennies a decade from now. And then majority leader Hoyer condescendingly insinuated that people who are for drilling here are not "thinking Americans." 

So,  yes... they're losing it. 

The bigger question is: Does anybody notice?

Monday, August 25, 2008

An Opportunity To Complain

The ability to never never never be pleased has been honed to a fine art. 

In an article in the NYT, Roderick J. Harrison (a demographer who happens to have black skin) is quite excited about Barack Obama becoming the Democratic nominee -- his excitement, however, is tempered (in spite of the chills he may feel now and again) by uneasiness as he wonders: "Will Mr. Obama's success further the notion that the long struggle for racial equality has finally been won?"

As I read this, my first thought was, "You have GOT to be kidding me." But no -- they're not kidding. As the NYT reports, "But even as they cheer him on, some black scholars, bloggers and others who closely follow the race worry that Mr. Obama's historic achievements might make it harder to rally support for policies intended to combat racial discrimination, racial inequities and urban poverty." 

Mr. Harrison is, at the age of 59, a sociologist at Howard University and a consultant for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. Well, he certainly SOUNDS important... I'm bettin' that he had some opportunity in order to get to the positions he's in. But he says, "I worry that there is a segment of the population that might be harder to reach, average citizens who will say: 'Come on. We might have a black president, so we must be over it.' That is the danger, that we declare victory. Historic as this moment is, it does not signify a victory in the ongoing, daily battle." 

"Such concerns have been percolating in black intellectual circles for months, on talk radio and blogs, in dinner conversations, academic meetings and flurries of e-mail messages crisscrossing the country." says the article. 

Hmmm... wait a minute. We have black people in professorial positions in colleges and universities... black people in "intellectual circles," black people on talk radio and writing blogs - having dinner conversations, sitting and participating in academic meetings, etc... and their main concern is that it's not yet easy enough to be a successful black person? How easy does it need to be? And a bigger question: if it's easy... is it really success?

Lawrence Bobo, a black sociologist from Harvard, said, "If Obama becomes the president, every remaining, powerfully felt black grievance and every still deeply etched injustice will be cast out of the realm of polite discourse. White folks will just stop listening." 

Huh? No offense, Bobo, but that sounds like typical victim mentality talking there. "Oh no!! We can't have a black man become president of the United States!! If that happens, the white folks will just stop listening to our grievances... and we feel those powerfully! Plus, they'll just keep on racially discriminating and shutting up more black folks than white folks in the prisons! And there won't be anybody trying to dole out bigger hand-outs to lift the black folks out of poverty! You know, there are TWO Americas!!" Well, I'm pretty much in agreement there. There ARE two Americas. There are the workers and there are the takers. 

Bev Smith is a black talk radio host based in Pittsburgh and nationally syndicated. That sounds successful, doesn't it? But here's her concern about Obama: "There's an assumption now that we've made it. Our concern is that we'll get lost in the shuffle." But Bev... you're heard nationally on the radio. I hardly think that you need to worry that YOU'LL get lost. 

I'll tell you... I live in the south. And I live near a large black population. I have met some black people who have been very nice and easy going... but there is another segment of the black population here who are carrying a great and heavy weight... it's holding them down, to be sure. Unfortunately, the only weight they're actually carrying is the large chip on their shoulder - and if they'd just lose that, they would be more capable of looking high enough to see the opportunities available to them. 

Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland, says, "A few of my white friends have asked me, 'With Barack achieving all of this, will we be in a position where we can put race aside?'" Mr. Cummings points them to statistics on lingering racial disparities in eduation, health and income. "I hope that progressive-minded people will not make a blanket conclusion that if Barack has made it everybody can make it."

Oy. Mr. Cummings -- you've "made it," haven't you? Or... are you not satisfied unless YOU'RE elected president as well? You do realize that most people in the United States - white OR black - don't end up becoming president? And I'm sorry -- but I already believe that everybody CAN make it, with or without Barack Obama. That's not to say that everybody will. I'm afraid that too many people get confused about equal opportunity. Not all white people have the same opportunity as one another, either. Many white people don't have the opportunity to go to a fine college... many don't have the opportunity to join NASA, be in professional basketball, football, hockey, etc... many don't have the ability which pretty much leaves them out of the opportunity equation. And many don't have the desire, which leaves the opportunity moot. 

But get the chip off your shoulder, seize the opportunities available to you, and make something of yourself. If you don't have the desire to do so, then stop complaining. 

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Chosen One Makes His Choice

And the jury is IN! Obama has officially announced his running mate and, frankly, I couldn't have asked for a more entertaining figure. There's so much I find funny about this I don't even know where to start.

Joe Biden, while running for the presidency himself this time around, made some of the most hilarious comments. To name a few...

In commenting on the growth of the Indian-American population in Delaware, "You cannot go into a 7-11 or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. Oh, I'm not joking."

When asked how a "northeast liberal" could compete against more conservative southern candidates, "Better than everybody else. You don't know my state. My state was a slave state. My state is a border state. My state is the eighth largest black population in the country. My state is anything from a northeast liberal state."

When visiting South Carolina, Biden referred to Delaware as a "slave state that fought beside the North. That's only because we couldn't figure out how to get to the South. There were a couple of states in the way."

When describing Barack Obama, "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's storybook, man."

When trying to get out of the above comment, "Barack Obama is probably the most exciting candidate that the Democratic or Republican Party has produced at least since I've been around. And he's fresh. He's new. He's smart. He's insightful. And I really regret that some have taken totally out of context my use of the world 'clean.'"

What a hoot. I had never seen lips quite so puckered up! And the fact that the only thing he could find offensive about his prior comment was his reference to "clean" is just hilarious.

The New York Times, in their article on the subject, cited among Biden's strengths his "familiarity with foreign policy and national security issues" and that "he is also something of a fixture in Washington, and would bring to the campaign - and the White House - a familiarity with the way the city and Congress works that Mr. Obama cannot match after his relatively short stint in Washington." Apparently, the candidate who seeks "change" cannot make this change without a Washington insider at his side? 

Not to mention the fact that when Biden was jockeying for the presidential position himself, his loudest argument was that Barack Obama was "not yet ready" to be president. Apparently, these last few months have made him ready. Ah, ambition is an interesting animal!

Joe Biden ran for the presidency in 1988 as well. He was forced to quit this presidential bid after being accused for plagiarizing one of his speeches in part. In truth, this same speech was given multiple times with credit voiced to the original author of the disputed words in all speeches but one. It seems to me quite possible that this was an oversight, and I really wouldn't hold it against him.

BUT... He also received an F in one of his classes in college for plagiarism and had to re-take the course. And he was questioned by a New Hampshire resident about his grades in law school (which seems a silly question to ask of a candidate, but whatever) and his response was a direct lie. I couldn't care less about his grades, but I do care about his integrity. He claimed to have graduated in the top half of his class (which is a claim to intellectual mediocrity - if you're going to lie you might as well try for something better than that). The truth was that he graduated 76th in a class of 85. He stated that he attended on a full scholarship and received three degrees. He actually graduated with two majors on a single B.A. - and went on a half scholarship based on financial need. 

To top it all off, Biden seems perhaps not too sure of Barack Obama's chances to win. His senate seat is up for re-election this year as well and it is said that he will be simultaneously running for both positions. There's some confidence for ya! 

I feel encouraged -- No matter how the election cycle turns out in the end, it's bound to be an entertaining ride on the way there. 

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Perfect Example

Ashante Mayfield is dead at the age of 14.

This sad story was reported in the Charlotte Observer on August 20th. I read the headline and thought, "That's sad," and then moved on to other news. 

Today, there was another article about Ashante titled, "A Troubled Past, An Early Death." And, in reading the article, I found a perfect example of what's wrong with our society today. 

Ashante's family gave up custody of her when she was twelve, saying that she was out of control. She spent time in group homes and foster families, but had a record of consistently running away. But here's the kicker: "Now her family members wonder why authorities didn't do more to prevent their daughter from running away, or track her down before she was killed. 'She wasn't in New York, she wasn't in California, she was right here in Charlotte,' said her aunt. 'Her mother tried to get help for her. Social Services is supposed to help you out when you have children and need help.'"

Whoa... back up the truck a minute! These people are this girl's family. Yes, family! And they gave her up to the state saying, essentially, "I can't take care of this kid anymore. She's out of control, I don't know how to control her, and I've had enough. YOU do it." She consistently ran away from every environment in which the state placed her (calling home occasionally to let them know that she was alright). Now that she's no longer alright, the family wants to know why the state didn't do more? What should they have done? I can guarantee that the state cannot do more to love your children than you can. And while there is a system in place, that system is notoriously imperfect. 

I'm not judging this family for giving up custody of a child they couldn't handle. Not ever having been in the stressful position of trying to raise a truly out of control child, I wouldn't dare to suggest options for them. I honestly have no clue. But this assumption that the state could and should do better than we as individual citizens is a dangerous one. 

And it sounds a lot like what I hear coming from many liberal circles... The state should take care of health care - the state should make sure every child can go to college - the state should, the state should, the state should. It's irresponsible to just hand over our freedoms so that we can have the "protection" of the state. 

Once we hand over the custody of our freedom to the state, we give up control. It might sound nice to have somebody else responsible for our children, for our healthcare, for our education, for the price of our gasoline and groceries, etc... But with somebody else responsible, we lack the ability to make a change to our situation. State-controlled health care? What happens when somebody is ill and the state decides it's not worth the cost to care for them? What happens when the public education system is failing and there are few options available beyond that system? 

I'm sad for Ashante's family. They are grieving the loss of a loved one. But blaming the state seems to me a bit irrational. Not that they're not entitled to a bit of irrational thought in their grief. 

Monday, August 18, 2008

Obama and McCain Square Off

So... did you catch the "faith forum" at Saddleback Church? Pastor Rick Warren hosted both major candidates separately, asking them the same questions. It was an interesting way to juxtapose the two men. After seeing this affair, I think I may be able to go vote McCain after all -- and without holding my nose shut too tightly to do it. This is not to say that I'm a new McCain fan. Far from it. But the idea of Barack Obama in the White House is just so terrifying to me that a vote for McCain doesn't really seem all that bad.

A few questions and answers really stood out. Warren asked them what three people they would rely on the most for wisdom and expertise in their administration. Frighteningly enough, Barack's first two people were his wife, Michelle, and his grandmother. He then went on to say some more people, naming politicians and their political affiliations... but his focus was heavily on Michelle. I cannot think of a person I would want LESS influencing a presidential administration, to be honest. 

McCain, on the other hand, immediately named David Petraeus. Considering the fact that our country is at war, it's a good thing that an intelligent military official came to his mind first. He then went on to say John Lewis and Meg Whitman. 

When asked which Supreme Court Justices each man would NOT have nominated, Obama said Clarence Thomas (and received a round of applause upon saying so - ??!?). He went on to say he didn't think Clarence Thomas was a great legal thinker at the time he was nominated. He then named Alito and said that while he was an intelligent man, Obama disagrees with his interpretation of the constitution. Warren asked specifically about Roberts, and Obama said that was more difficult because he finds Roberts to be a "compelling person in conversation individually." It really should have been an easy answer -- Obama would never have nominated Roberts... he cast his vote against confirming him.

Obama then expounded on what he considers to be the courts "most important job." And get this: it is to "guard against the encroachment of the executive branch on the other branches." Huh. Isn't that interesting?? Somehow, in Obama's mind, the judicial branch's most important job is to make sure the executive branch of the government is controlled by the judiciary. Doesn't this make the judicial branch the most powerful branch of government? 

McCain's answer to the same question was "with all due respect" Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Souter, and Stevens. If this is indeed true, I will vote for McCain on the basis of the Supreme Court alone! 

You know what I find to be interesting? The primaries are over - the general election has begun. And, predictably, Obama has moved to the right. Of course, he started out so far left as to be almost off the page... so there wasn't too much room to wiggle except to the right. But what's really fascinating is that McCain has been moving to the right as well. 

He was unequivocal in his response to the question on abortion. At what point is a life deserving of human rights? AT CONCEPTION - no hesitation, no waffling. And this, I think, I would expect from McCain. He's always been pretty staunchly pro-life. Obama? The question was "above my pay grade." And he gave the old song and dance about how nobody is pro-abortion, but he knows that women don't make these decisions lightly. (That's an entirely different blog, so I'm not even going to go there.)

McCain was outspoken in his willingness to drill for oil here. Now... I'm thinkin' this is new for him. He's usually quite the environmentalist. But he spoke about how we're paying money to the people and governments who "don't like us very much." Well stated.

Could it be that McCain was speaking to his audience - and he figured that he was talking to Evangelicals so he needed to be more conservative? Perhaps... but his statements were made in such a decisive manner that it would be pretty difficult for him to speak differently to a different crowd. 

I'm newly interested in the general election. Wouldn't it be great if the networks could host their debates as effectively as this forum?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Arabian Proverbs Gone Awry

Most of us have heard the old Arabian proverb, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." Militarily and diplomatically, this proverb has rung true throughout history -- there have been times when people with great differences have come together to fight a common enemy. 

Considering this, what would be the best course of action for the United States in the conflict between Russia and Georgia? 

First of all -- a brief explanation of current events. There is a place in Georgia (South Ossetia) which is very pro-Russia. Tensions have been heating up there for a few years, apparently. Russia sent in military "peacekeepers." Georgia elected a president who called for the reunification of Georgia. The Georgian military went into South Ossetia and tried to forcibly remove the Russian military. (According to some news reports, the Georgians were trying to "take back their capital," which I don't understand as Tbilisi is the capital.) It didn't work and Georgia withdrew. And here's where it gets interesting... Russia followed them. 

I must admit, I find myself wondering if the Russians deployed their troops into the region in order to spur a conflict. They didn't fire first, but clearly the Georgians felt a threat by their presence. Imagine if there was a large percentage of the population in Southern California who believed California would be better off as Mexico. There was disagreement in the region regarding this, and so Mexico deployed troops there and called them "peacekeepers." Do you think it possible that the United States might frown on this action and feel a threat there? But this way, Russia can say, "They started it," (which they are already saying) and follow through and take out the president of Georgia. 

Putin has been pretty vocal in his ambitions for Russia. He wants to expand the empire and re-create the powerful Russia of yesteryear. Nobody expected him to truly relinquish power when his presidency was over, and it's been made pretty clear that he is now working just as powerfully with a different title.

Clearly, a little country like Georgia is going to be no match for the Russian military. They're calling for help. "We need large supplies of humanitarian aid, because we have thousands of wounded. And weapons. We need weapons." 

So what is the best course of action? The United States is currently airlifting Georgian troops from Iraq as they've been understandably recalled. But please tell me this isn't the best we can do... giving them back 2,000 of their own troops? They've been with us in Iraq during our engagement there. I am hopeful that the current administration is working on something to help our friends in the middle east (since they're few and far between, we cannot afford to alienate the one's we've got). Something needs to be done sooner rather than later because our friends are outnumbered and already exhausted. One soldier is quoted as saying, "We killed as many of them as we could, but where are our friends?" They want to know, Where is the U.S.? When is NATO coming?

Then I thought to take a look at the rhetoric being spewed by the presidential contenders and their spokespeople. Apparently, the candidates "clashed" over the issue. You don't say!! The AFP reports that "a McCain adviser came under fire for his links to the government in Tbilisi." Governor Bill Richardson, boob extraordinaire, out stumping for the Obama campaign on various news organizations, said that McCain's campaign "is run by lobbyists that represent Georgia and other countries. He takes huge amounts of money from oil companies that are profiting in the (former) Soviet Union and many parts of the world." Of course, the AFP added the "former" to the Soviet Union. Nice of them to correct Richardson's faux pas.

McCain has immediately called on Russia to stop its incursion into Georgia. Obama called for restraint on both sides. Kind of funny after Georgia already tried to pull away and Russia followed them. 

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, a republican under consideration as running mate to McCain, said it was wrong for the Obama campaign to focus on any ties between members of the McCain campaign and the Georgian government. "I wish Senator Obama had actually confronted the issue, not trying to detract our attention by focusing on a McCain adviser." He also pointed out that the conflict underscores why a president with experience in international affairs is important. 

I'm making the assumption that Bill Richardson is authorized to speak on behalf of Barack Obama. I assume this because he's opening his big mouth everywhere and I haven't heard anything from Obama stating that he thinks differently or that Richardson doesn't speak for him and/or is not involved in his campaign. On that order, knowing what Richardson said on ABC's "This Week" becomes telling:

"Well, look, my view is that the United States - if we had a stronger relationship with Russia, we could exercise strong diplomacy to stop this effort against Georgia. We should immediately go to the UN Security Council, condemn Russian's [sic] action, and then get the security council to pass a strong resolution getting the Russians to show some restraint and possibly at the same time generate some UN peacekeeping troops. The problem, though, is that we don't have the kind of influence and strength in our relationship with Russia to persuade them. This has been one of the failures of the Bush administration. Failing to build a strong relationship - a mutually beneficial relationship with Russia so we have the kind of influence to persuade them to stop some of these very very dangerous efforts within their territory." 

Then the reporter breaks in with:

Well, so you see this incursion as an example of the lack of diplomatic skills by the Bush administration, but some might see them as evidence that McCain is correct when he says that Russia has no business being in the G8 because it does not share the same values as those western nations. Does this incursion not verify that Senator McCain's assessment of Russia is correct?

Richardson: Well, Senator Obama has said, "Let's use diplomacy." I believe what Senator McCain is proposing is totally, totally wrong. Keeping him out of the G8? Russia is a major super-power. We have to build the kind of relationship with Russia so that we can deal with them on restraining Iran from building nuclear weapons. So that we can deal with Russia in the middle east, help us in the situation in Iraq. You know, Senator Obama's policy of diplomacy, of building international support for our goals, makes sense. What Senator McCain wants to do is continue the Bush policies of trying to isolate Russia. You know, build this missile system there. Find ways to be aggressive against Russia. It's not working. And Russia doesn't respect our efforts to try to restrain them. So I believe what Senator Obama is proposing - international diplomacy, build a strong relationship with countries like Russia and China, find the United Nations as a vehicle to bring this crisis possibly to an end, that's what we need. Look what's happening. Senator McCain wants to isolate Russia further, that's not going to work. That will make Russia more detrimental in their relationship with the United States.

Does this scare anybody else? Somehow, Richardson (speaking for Obama) wants to go to the United Nations Security Council, of which Russia is a veto-holding member, and get them to pass a resolution condemning Russia. I'm not thinking Russia is going to let that fly. Then, he moves on into "let's use diplomacy." But listen carefully to what he's saying -- because he's actually making the case for us to join forces with the Russians and the Chinese. Russia is not going to respect anybody's effort to restrain them. Russia chooses friends who are as aggressive as they are (Syria, Iran, etc...) 

So the Obama campaign actually has a foreign relations policy of "The friend of my enemy needs to be my friend." Sorry, Democrats. But with people like Russia and Iran, you need to just decide whose side you're on. They are not going to be talked out of their agendas, either one. 

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Trouble With A Lie

Human beings are funny creatures. 

We pull a "stupid." Just doing something that is incredibly wrong and dumb. Then, when the heat is on, we pull another stupid to try and cover it up. The thing is, when we decide to behave this way, eventually we're not just pulling a stupid anymore -- we've become one. 

Unfortunately for John Edwards, pulling a stupid is where he ultimately shines. (Well, that and his hair.) 

But John did something naughty. He had an affair. This is not naughtier than other people's affairs... this does not make him unelectable (look at Bill Clinton). He just went through a period in 2006 where he chose not to keep it in his pants when he was out and about. This is, of course, not showing the best of character, but the American people have overlooked this before in many a president. 

But when news came out about his affair (and the supposedly resulting "love child"), he denied it. In my opinion, this was pulling another stupid. I think it's always best to 'fess up immediately and at least maintain your future believability. This was, however, not the choice he made. He decided to lie about the affair and say that the child wasn't his... and then one of Edwards' employees, Andrew Young (also married, by the way), confessed to fathering the baby. 

The object of John Edwards' former affections was then whisked away to a three million dollar house in Santa Barbara, California. And Andrew Young was living as a kept man in a 5.4 million dollar house, also in Santa Barbara. 

Here's where it starts to get funny. John Edwards denies making any payments to cover up the affair, but told the press that others might have made payments on his behalf without his knowledge. Woo-hoo. Apparently all that conditioner has sunk in and affected his brain power. We're now expected to believe (from an admitted liar, no less) that the woman with whom he had an affair was also having an affair with his employee who happened to knock her up. They both ended up going to Santa Barbara, California - and moved into houses neither of them could possibly afford. But John Edwards knew nothing about any of this.

Of course, the story heated up when Edwards was seen meeting with the object of his former affections last month in a hotel room in Beverly Hills. Before this meeting, it had kind of died down, what with Andrew being the "Daddy" and all. But now that he was caught meeting with the beautiful blonde, he felt he needed to address the issue and let people know that he was meeting with her because he had wanted to try to keep her from revealing the affair. (This actually deserves a hearty guffaw.) Of course, we're supposed to believe this because he didn't know this was already taken care of with the Santa Barbara house and financial support. 

The press asked him how he could have cheated on his wife and good ol' John noted that his wife's cancer was in remission during the affair. I see. Well, that makes it all better.  The meeting last month? We can rest assured that nothing frisky happened in that hotel room because his wife's cancer is back? I don't know about you, but if I wanted to meet with someone attractive in an effort to encourage them NOT to let out that I find them attractive... I would probably not do it in a hotel room. But maybe that's just me. 

Edwards said in a statement to the press that he had denied the tabloid reports because "most of the details were not true." Then he said, "But being 99 percent honest is no longer enough." Methinks that if you deny having an affair with somebody with whom you had an affair, you cannot claim 99 percent honesty. But never fear -- the politician within John Edwards is not dead, even if his political career appears to be. In his interview with "Nightline," Edwards claimed to be ashamed of his conduct and then stated that "over the course of several campaigns, I started to believe that I was special and became increasingly egocentric and narcissistic." It takes a true politician to stand up and eat a bit of humble pie with one true statement like this and then follow it with another pack of lies. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Wisdom of Barack

It's not fair to call Barack "empty headed" or "an empty suit" and then not back that up with anything. Therefore, I will attempt to illustrate his lack of wisdom with quotes from the man himself. (Of course, with some commentary by me.)

We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and have gay friends in the Red States. -Barack Obama

I can only assume here that Mr. Obama is a wee bit confused. See, the BLUE states are the liberal leaning states. The RED states are the conservative states, most notably the south. Aside from Asheville, NC, I don't know of too many hotbeds of homosexual activity in the red states. People go to the blue states to be accepted for that kind of stuff. I would assume that there are Little League coaches in both red and blue states. I really thought that was a nationwide activity. I'm not about to judge the God of the blue states, but the red states were accused (in another Barack quote) of clinging to their guns and their religion. And I'm thinking it's a blue state thing to not want federal agents monitoring the internet usage in libraries... Obama has officially been on the trail too long.

When we think of the major threats to our national security, the first to come to mind are nuclear proliferation, rogue states and global terrorism. But another kind of threat lurks beyond our shores, one from nature, not humans - an avian flu pandemic. - Barack Obama

Politics of fear, anyone? 

We need somebody who's got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom, the empathy to understand what it's like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old - and that's the criterion by which I'll be selecting my judges. - Barack Obama

What a hoot. Obama is going to be looking for an 85 year old black lesbian in a wheelchair who was a single parent. That way, she'll be sure to empathize with all the "special" people in the United States.

We have real enemies in the world. These enemies must be found. They must be pursued and they must be defeated. - Barack Obama

Sounds good, until you realize that he's probably not talking about terrorists. I'm thinking he might mean the Republicans instead.

Today we are engaged in a deadly global struggle for those who would intimidate, torture, and murder people for exercising the most basic freedoms. If we are to win this struggle and spread those freedoms, we must keep our own moral compass pointed in a true direction. - Barack Obama

Again, sounds good. Until you think about the fact that Barack Obama wants our moral compass to direct us away from the war on terror and focus on social spending here in the good old USA. Consider this:

We have an obligation and a responsibility to be investing in our students and our schools. We must make sure that people who have the grades, the desire and the will, but not the money, can still get the best education possible.... - Barack Obama
We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times...and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK. - Barack Obama
This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands. - Barack Obama
This is the moment when we must build on the wealth that open markets have created, and share its benefits more equitably. Trade has been a cornerstone of our growth and global development. But we will not be able to sustain this growth if it favors the few, and not the many. -Barack Obama

So this is the moral compass we need to follow in order to rid the world of terrorism? Hmmm... Not sure how that's all going to work, but I guess since it's CHANGE...

My parents shared not only an improbable love, they shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation. They would give me an African name, Barack, or blessed, believing that in a tolerant America your name is no barrier to success. - Barack Obama

Oh, where to start? Obama's parents shared an "improbable love?" My understanding would be that the love didn't last all that long. And that "abiding faith" that they shared in our nation must have withered and died, too -- considering that Obama's father moved to Africa. And since his folks didn't stick around to raise him, but left that pleasure to Obama's grandparents on his mother's side, I'm thinking that his folks didn't put a lot of patriotic thought into his name, either. Gimme a break.

It's not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations. - Barack Obama's take on the south

Issues are never simple. One thing I'm proud of is that very rarely will you hear me simplify the issues. - Barack Obama

No, you'll just generalize them to death until nobody can tell what you're all about. 

In the end, that's what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope? - Barack Obama

Ah, yes... vote for change. It shows HOPE. Never mind that no matter who you vote for this time around, you're going to get some change. Good grief!!

No one is pro-abortion. - Barack Obama
I've got two daughters. 9 years old and 6 years old. I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby. - Barack Obama

This one's pretty loaded. If a person is teaching their child first of all about values and morals - wouldn't that normally include teaching them that killing their offspring isn't such a good idea? And, of course, if they decide to embark on some pre-marital intercourse and they end up pregnant... this is punishment? No... that's the natural order. It's the HAVING the baby that's the punishment according to Barack. 

Talk to some women who've had the experience. Abortion is actually a pretty hefty punishment to be receiving to escape the shame of being a single parent. It's a life-long knowing that there was a child you didn't allow to live. What greater punishment is there than that?

If you're walking down the right path and you're willing to keep walking, eventually you'll make progress. - Barack Obama

This illustrates Obama's highly developed understanding of the obvious. And, illustrating Obama's higher education as relates to American geography:

Over the last 15 months, we've traveled to every corner of the United States. I've now been in 57 states. I think one left to go. - Barack Obama

I can't see how too many thinking people can look at this man and think he's the wonder they say he is. 

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Seeing Racism Around Every Corner

A bit of hoopla recently regarding Barack Obama, John McCain, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. Heard about it?

Apparently, McCain did something totally RACIST and compared Obama to Spears and Hilton. I'm still trying to find out how it's racist to compare a black man to two publicity-seeking, generally empty headed women, but HEY! What do I know?

Actually, I would be upset if somebody compared me to Britney Spears or Paris Hilton. Truly, I would. But I have to think about this from all angles, right? We're not talking about me here, after all... so I have to think... What if I weren't me? What if I were, say... Britney Spears? And this ad came out?? Man, I'd be OFFENDED!! Comparing me to another sleazy politician??

No, seriously, though... I fail to see the racism here. Just as I failed to see the racism in the ads against Harold Ford in 2006 when he was running for a Senate seat in Tennessee. Both ads are casting a definitively negative light on a black man, I guess... but is that racist? Methinks not. Not unless the negative light is cast on the color of the man's skin. 

Back in 2006, the Republican party ran a completely tasteless ad against Harold Ford, portraying him as a man who frequents the Playboy mansion (which, I understand has been substantiated), is opposed to gun rights, and stands for higher taxes among other things. The ad was poorly done and if I were in Republican leadership circles, I would have had nothing to do with it. That doesn't make it racist, though. Just stupid. 

Now again, we have an ad -- and it's not even as poorly done as the ad against Harold Ford. Still perhaps not in the best of taste, but since we're grading on the curve here, it's not AS BAD. In this ad, the McCain campaign is claiming that Barack Obama is "the biggest celebrity in the world" while displaying brief images of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. This is the only place in the ad where they are even shown, and never mentioned by name. The ad then asks, "But... is he ready to lead?" Then it goes on to say that Barack says no to offshore drilling and then says he'll raise taxes on electricity. "Higher taxes, more foreign oil. That's the real Obama."

Now, in my little opinion, this ad is worthless. Really, in the United States you have two groups of people. One group who sees Obama as a self-generated superstar... someone who is all glitz and no substance. Another group who thinks he's the next best thing to a new Messiah, one to heal our wounds, help the different races come together and perhaps even save the planet from a meltdown in less than nine years. An ad as described above is going to appeal to nobody, making it a complete waste of time, energy, and money. Sure, it's going to generate some publicity, but the people who already thought Barack to be the Messiah aren't going to think twice about it - and the people who didn't aren't going to think more highly of McCain or more negatively about Obama. 

But please tell me - where is the racism? I keep hearing all these calls of racism... beginning with the Messiah himself saying that the Republicans are trying to scare voters by pointing out that he "doesn't look like all those other Presidents on those dollar bills." Garsh... I never got that from that ad (not to mention that all the faces on money aren't Presidents). McCain's campaign manager responded by saying that Obama is trying to play the race card from the bottom of the deck and that "it's divisive, negative, shameful and wrong."

Critics of the ad (excluding myself, of course, even though I just criticized it) are trying to shame McCain for this comment because "It puts the sin for the racial attack not on those who made it, but on the victim of the attack." Huh? Say wha-? Which racial attack was that, exactly? Can we be more grown up than to assume that anytime someone says something negative about a black person it's racially motivated? Because that's the only reason I can come up with for assuming this is a racial attack. 

What I would love to see is... well, a pipe dream really. I would love to see Barack Obama going toe to toe on policy issues with someone I liked. But since we can't always get what we want... I would love to see Barack Obama and John McCain in a live debate, not moderated by the press, where they actually have to espouse their own ideas to their own credit or detriment. Then let the American people decide. 

And, frankly, heaven help us either way.