Category Archives: 2008 election

Two One’s To Know By

On the night of January 20th, there is a very real possibility that there will be hip hop at the Inaugural Ball and that those attending could be getting their swerve on to some thick beats. If it happens, it would be the first time that the party in the White House is bumping the same soundtrack that is heard all over the rest of D. C.. Just think of it, the music that has served as voice for those who don’t have one, will finally be heard on Pennsylvania Avenue.

For the last eight years it has been difficult to conceive of the President as a man who has the future in mind, but one look at Barack’s two beautiful daughters assures us that the new guy is going to be different. Although perilous circumstances provided the context for his ascension to power, it will be comforting to know that those kids are there to affect the decisions he makes.

I am absolutely certain that we can trust President Obama to act on the behalf of his children and not his parent. The responsibility of raising kids is both humbling and empowering at the same time, much like the presidency, and small actions can be magnified exponentially. It can safely be assumed that Mr. Obama, an obviously bright individual, has considered this as a parent, and now as he prepares to move into the Oval Office.

When we don’t use vision to look forward with hope, toward the outcome of our choices, the results often turn out poorly. It’s a new dawn folks and for the first time in years people are encouraged to take on their bad circumstances with a genuine belief that things stand a chance of being different later. We hoped for change and now it is here, and because of it we are all obliged to look beyond the obvious, toward conquering the impossible. Good luck Mr. President.

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Do As I Say

Today the Pentagon announced that it was dropping war crimes charges against five detainees at Guantanamo Bay after the prosecutor who was to try them resigned, and accused the military of withholding evidence that could clear the men. Of course, because our government is making up the rules for the war on terror as it goes along, with little regard for the human rights we supposedly esteem, new trial teams have been appointed for the men while, according to published reports, the military reassert their case. It is likely that the men will be charged later and forced to face the kangaroo court that the current administration refers to as a military tribunal.

Jose Padilla is an American citizen who was declared an enemy combatant after being arrested on U. S. soil. He was held without any charges being brought against him for over three years. After being convicted by a Florida jury he was given a seventeen year prison sentence. When he was eventually charged in a civilian court, none of the accusations leveled against him were related to the alleged, domestic dirty bomb plot he had initially been detained for.

When I visited Gitmo many years ago before the first Gulf War I looked beyond the wire fence that surrounds the U.S. Naval Air Station, and I saw a barren panorama spread out before me. Today there is prison where I stood and looked out through the wire, and the men held captive there are predetermined as enemies of the state.  Like the naked land that stretches out beyond that fence, the future for those being held there is as bleak as the landscape.

In the directive issued March 28th, 2003, that details the Standard Operating Procedures for Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay, it specifies that captors should “not relate terrorism to Islam”, and that “it is inappropriate to equate any religion to such heinous activity”. After the Abu Ghraib abuses in Iraq that came after it, the directive has the appearance of being mere lip service despite the fact that Cuba is a long way from the Middle East.

At Republican rallies, back here in the United States; the Democratic rival is announced derisively as Barack Hussein Obama, his middle name making the implicit connection to TERROR. In television ads that are running infrequently due to the McCain campaign’s depleted war chest, republicans continue to infer a link between Senator Obama and domestic insecurity, sticking with dogged determinism to the strategy that got them into such a mess. I guess you dance with the one that brought you.

Believe it or not, all human’s are created equal and are entitled to a speedy and fair trial, and we are all still welcome to exist regardless of what we believe is God. These things aren’t solely an American birthright though, everyone who lives should share these entitlements, and more, simply because we are human. America cannot hold the World up to a standard that values human rights if we think that our citizens have more of a right than people in other countries. Either all men are created equal or not, and if we cannot match our actions with our words then maybe we should be saying something different.

Dark days are ahead if we do not get a handle on the systemic hypocrisy that plagues us after the last eight years of Bush. We could wind up with even more troubles than we already have. No one wants to live in a world where government employees eavesdrop on private phone conversations, and then joke about the strangers personal lives while on a coffee break.

Joe Biden said something I agree with, that growing up in his neighborhood; if you had a problem with someone you said it to their face. I would go the Vice Presidential nominee one further and say, don’t feed me a line of crap and glad hand me to my face, if you know that you are going to turn around and do the exact opposite. Because of America’s diminished standing and influence around the world after the last few years, I hope that everyone feels exactly like me on November 4th when they go out and vote.

Peace.

That’s Crazy Talking

During last night’s debate, John McCain continued to define his status as a maverick who stands apart, by sounding the alarm and warning us not a moment to soon, that the very fabric of democracy was in danger of being torn apart. Because of voter apathy, our democracy is not what it could be,surely though it is strong enough to resist the stress that tests. It is not in danger of being destroyed, least of all by a small band of rogues.

En route to becoming an overnight sensation and some sort of symbol, a guy called “Joe the Plumber” was mentioned by Mr. McCain more than twenty times. Today we found out that his name is actually Samuel Wurzelbacher and that, though he isn’t recognized as a plumber by the union or licensed as a plumber by the state, he does happen to work for a plumbing company. In the wake of Governor Palin’s nomination, no one accuses the McCain camapign overly vetting the people it chooses to represent them.

Things truly took a desperate turn when Senator McCain turned reports of  outbursts at his own rallies around on the Democratic Presidential nominee, and damanded that Obama “repudiate“, recent “hurtful” comments, by Senator John Lewis. McCain went on to claim that both candidates need to “absolutely not stand the kinds of things that have been going on”, forgetting how things had gone on at his own events, while he just stood there and winced.

The Arizona Senator came across like curmudgeonly Grandpa Simpson in response to a question about Joe Biden.  He praised Biden and condemned him, before the  solidifying his own image as an angry old man by using the word “cockamamie“. Intrigued my McCain’s use of a term that sounds nothing but ironic when uttered by anyone under seventy, I discovered it’s origin is in the word word decalomania, which was an art form that was popular in the United States during the late 1800’s. Cockamamie, the slang term that derived, last saw wide usage in this country about forty years ago during the 1960’s.

The pariotism of John McCain remains unchallenged because he endured more than five years in a cell during the Vietnam War at the hands of merciless captors. For his service to this country we all owe Mr. McCain a debt of gratitude. The time he spent in that cell, though it could be used as an explanation for Mr. McCain’s unwillingness to adopt any viewpoint other the his own, even for perspective, is a testament to Mr. McCains immovable courage and sense of duty to his country. John McCain’s time as a POW is also one of the reasons that he does not have either the temperament or the decision making skills to be the President of the United States during a time when this country needs someone who comes across as steady, even handed and rational.

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“I want to read good news. I want to be innocent again”

from the song Good News by Something Corporate. It can be found on their excellent 2002 record that I love; Leaving Through The Window.

When I pick up a newspaper, the shenanigans and shady dealings that fill the pages, motivates me to pause  and consider that perhaps things are finally spiraling completely out of control. For the most part this is entirely true, and the catch is that there is very little that any of us can do to make things right. For the last seven years our ship of state has served only as a pirate vessel coercing other countries to join our battle against elusive, invisible specter that is supposedly hell bent on our complete demise. With the rallying cry of “Never Forget” Americans have been lured into lazy, simplistic reasoning that allows us to view others as different than, and possibly a threat to; us. I refuse to accept this spirit of fear that has been loosed, instead choosing to see people of different races and nationalities as fellow humans like myself who, through no choice of their own, are utilized as mere pawns in a global game that makes the rich more wealthy, and bestows power upon entities who already have far more influence than is necessary.

I have heard it said that if Hillary Clinton gets elected that there will be one third of Americans who have never had a President who was not a member of the Bush or Clinton families. I do not know whether this statement is true or not but it certainly seems reasonable to believe that it could easily be. The fact that we choose our candidates from such a limited pool of contenders and the fact that they have to pony up ginormous amounts of money just to be considered as a part of the process seems to undermine the democratic myth and reinforce the idea that class ranking is the key to success in American politics.

In the 2000 election the combined total earnings for the candidates was 500 million, in 2004 we are talking 800 million, and in this years election the candidates are on track to raise a combined 1 billion bucks. (http://opensecrets.org/pres08/index.asp) Now for a guy who made about twenty grand last year, you can see how I have come to feel disassociated from the political process and how I can easily feel like I have no representation from my national political leaders. America has become an aristocracy that is no longer concerned with the peoples will, instead our political system represents only the wealthy and the powerful, two groups that are more foreign to me than any person born and raised in another country.

“And did we tell you the name of the game boy? We call it riding the gravy train.” from Have A Cigar by Pink Floyd

Aliens Are Coming So Try And Act Cool

Through everything that happened this year, I survived it, and so did almost everyone else that I know.  Apparently we have that going for us.

Benazir Bhutto essentially committed suicide by returning to her home country back in October, so when the news that they had reached her, to quash the paradoxical dream of a democratic Pakistan, I wasn’t really surprised. Let me remind you that the killers ran up on her at the rally that had originally been postponed by her being placed under house arrest soon after her arrival.

Over the last couple of months she told everyone who would listen that if she were assassinated, that Musharraf was the one behind it. When the guy came out of the hospital to announce that she had died from her injuries he proclaimed, “she has been martyred”.

There is not much sympathy over here from me for her so called sacrifice. Her father and both of her brothers were all murdered by political rivals and she had been driven from office under dubious circumstances not once but twice before.

The writing was on the wall honey, those dudes were not down for you so why push it, which is funny because supremely educated women are usually such big sellers in the Muslim world. Go figure, just don’t try and go home again.

Despite the fact that I am limited to the network and local offerings plucked freely off of the airwaves, I still spend way too much time gaping vacantly at the machine an earlier generation called the idiot box. Old people are usually wrong about most things related to progress and in this case they could not be more so.

Advertising works and the fact that so many of us will sit for so many hours everyday, and allow images to be seared into our subconscious mind is nothing short of sheer genius. When the television writers walked out on November 1st, there were over 60 shows in production and the television season was doing what it is supposed to do, exciting and enthralling viewers coast to coast while brainwashing us to buy fast food and shop at Wal-Mart.

At this point pretty much all of the shows have stopped production and the only new fare offered by the networks are mostly inane reality programs and always insipid game shows. Without question the writers are deserving of a greater share of the pie and I support their quest to achieve equitable compensation for their efforts, it is after all quite challenging to sit down and conjure something from nothing.

Keep The Car Running, the song by a real band from Montreal called, The Arcade Fire, reminds me of the song On The Darkside from the movie  Eddie and The Cruisers. In the 1983 movie, On the Darkside is performed by the fictional Eddie, but in real life the song cracked the top ten on the singles charts by reaching number seven.

Though merely a Springsteen sound alike, flash in the pan, John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, were the actual band that got paid because of the songs success. They parlayed their noteriety by appearing on the sondtracks of two Stallone movies as well.

In Rocky IV, their song Hearts on Fire encourages Rocky to feel “no pain” during the memorable training sequence in the snow. Crime is the disease and Marion Cobretti is the cure, in  Cobra, another godawful Stallone effort from the eighties that also features the band from Rhode Island.

And finally, you have got to see this, from the American evangelist and televised maniac, Jack Van Impe. He warns us all how aliens, are “the rage of the age”, and how “soon a star wars battle will rage among the planets”. Remember that when the aliens take over, you were warned here first.

Wacky Jack might be right though, as we learned from a BBC News report, that details how we might be facing a real life threat from above and actually be in danger of immenant invasion. A former UFO expert with the British Government declares that British air defenses are regularly penetrated my unexplained aircraft. Who knew?

Happy New Year everyone.

Please try to not act stupid 2008.

Racism is lame.

H8 everyone with equal fury.