Category Archives: politics

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.

The Only Thing They Have Is Fear Itself

“When you feel you have had it up to here, cause you mad enough to scream, and you sad enough to tear.” -from the song Rock Bottom by Eminem

Who didn’t see it coming? John McCain, a cagey twenty-six year veteran of Washington D.C. , is not afraid to go low. Last night he proved that, like an old school brawler who senses the end if he cannot catch his breath, he is a win at all cost kind of guy.

Short gasps audible through the microphone punctuated what Senator McCain had to say throughout the night, including when he tersely dismissed  Senator Obama as “that one”. Mr. Obama’s expression was a combination of offense, forgiveness, and a complete lack of surprise, exactly the way I imagine Jesus would look in the same situation.

Down talking to someone is a tricky business, but when an old white man is codescending toward a  bright, young black man, while being nationally televised on all three networks and the cable news channels, the going can prove especially perilous. A million years ago when McCain started his Washington career,  it may have been the norm to  polarize people along racial divides, but these days it does not fly in most places.

A girl that I knew back in California posted an video of some dudes who call themselves The Obama Youth on her facebook page, and declared that it was one of the most frightening things she had ever seen online.  In it some young black fellows, dressed in camoflage pants and matching navy blue tee shirts stomp/march into the room chanting “Alpha/Omega” before arranging themselves into an orderly line. One after another they declare that because of Obama they are inspired to be the next “doctor, lawyer, automotive technician,  chef, architect, engineer,” etc., you get the jist. At the end they all do a little yes we can cheer, combined with some synchronized movement, then a little cheer about health care, then it’s over.

Out on the campaign trail right now the GOP candidate and his running mate are whipping their conservative supporters up into a frenzy accusing Senator Obama of being a socialist who, “doesn’t see America”, as you and I do.  Over on Wall Street the market is sinking like a zeppelin made of lead and  Republican  champions of small government cannot print the money, to prop the economy up, fast enough.

Fear is a sublime motivator, but fear can also be misplaced and exploited, so that reality becomes less important than the preconceived notions that create our frame of reference. When we deny our fears it creates a mindset where hope can begin to take root and grow. Though fear has the ability to make people jump suddenly, hope can provide the motivation to endure the unspeakable.

Never in my lifetime has the choice been so clearly defined as we head into the polls. On the one hand I can vote because I am afraid of what will happen. On the other hand I can vote because of what I hope will happen.

Obamer!!!!

Pat’s Pretzel Logic

You have got to love Pat Robertson, a man worth a cautiously estimable 200 million dollars,  because he thinks that Christians in America are subject to “abuse and discrimination and bigotry”, “more terrible than anything suffered by any minority in history”.  Now obviously this is not even close to being even remotely like what is actually true, but never the less, the guy has enough people that agree with him that he can say any kind of ridiculous thing that comes into his head and money pours in regardless. It is a pretty sweet racket that he has going actually,  and if people are stupid enough to throw dough at the guy, who am I to hate on his ill gotten and lavish lifestyle?

Sometimes the thoughts that form in Pat’s head escape through his mouth providing the reasonable people with some comic relief, like when he told us that  Planned Parenthood was nefariously teaching our children the ins and outs of beastiality, along with “everything that the Bible condemns”.  After the horrors of September 2001 Pat sagely informed the world that the tragedy had taken place because, among others things, American government at it’s highest levels had,  “insulted God”. Pat assured his reputation as a crackpot when he asserted that homosexuality and Satanism are synonymous with one another, that “the two things seem to go together”.  Suffragists took umbrage when he suggested that feminism was merely a guise for an agenda that encourages women to, “kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians”, but Pat doesn’t care what anyone thinks especially not women because according to him their place is where he, a man, says it is.

The sham news department for the Robertson founded Christian Broadcasting Network posted an article on their website asserting that voters feared voting for Barack Obama because it would mean that he would be “instantly assassinated” upon receiving the Democratic nod, (http://www.cbn.com/CBNnews/311019.aspx). One woman interviewed in the article claimed that she would not vote for the Senator from Illinois because she didn’t want to be “responsible for signing his death certificate”. It is common knowledge that Mr. Obama has a Secret Service detail that is comparable only to the one that accompanies the President.  Self righteously suggesting that reserving support for the man is the best decision, because the white powers that be in America will never let him survive, is akin to the reasoning that rationalized slavery as appropriate and segregation as necessary.   

Rudy Giuliani seemed pretty stoked when Pat Robertson, who openly called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, endorsed his doomed, one trick Presidental bid. Tonight pundits are speculating on the demise of the aforementioned candidate, and certainly the candidate himself is scratching his head, wondering how things could go so wrong with the support of such an influential and well regarded partner like Pat Robertson and his willing followers. The possibility exists that despite the continued stream of revenue that continues to flood CBN and fill Robertson’s pockets, the actual influence of the one time candidate has obviously waned and might even be the kiss of death for a potential occupier of The White House. No one knows for sure why Giuliani’s campaign ultimately failed, though his singularity of purpose could be blamed, I like to think that by hooking his cart to Robertson’s falling star he helped to hasten the demise of a campaign that was doomed from the start. 

Pat Robertson is neither demigod nor prophet and the things he says undermine the credibility of his sanity, giving the impression that he lives in a world where God has a voice that it uses to deliver bad news. With people like Robertson spewing nonsense, the world  will continue to be divisive place and humans will continue to focus on their differences and not on shared similarities. On the up side, with Robertson’s ilk roaming around , the ambitions of the ill fated will always have something other than their own shortcomings to blame for their failures. 

All Pat Robertson quotes came from here: http://en.wikiquote.rg/wiki/Pat_Robertson