Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum

I noticed yesterday that my intense interest in the outcome of the Democratic primary had not merely waned but vanished.

Perhaps due to our total technocratic world we are all suffering from attention deficit disorder. Make it march. If you cannot sum it up in the opening paragraph you have to at least made me want to search for your conclusions by reading the next paragraph or listening to the next pundit or catching the next speech.

Sorry but you lost me. This has taken entirely too long. And I don't like the direction it is taking because it seems to be veering back to the same old dirty politics I have come to hate. I was with a few friends last night who I generally like to discuss politics with. They are libertarians and while I don't always agree with them I like their ability to openly discuss the issues with some intelligence (unlike Republicans with their catch phrases). But last night we all did the token sentence or two and moved on to other subjects.

Mud was big. It is spring here in the high country and that means melting snow and lots of mud. Not the slinging kind which seems to still be going on out there in the political world. Oh, speaking of mud, we did discuss Spitzer but because everyone seems to have missed the point and seems to think it is a sex scandal. Everyone seems to have missed that he was committing fraud by setting up dummy accounts to funnel money into so he could pay for those $4,500 per hour sessions.

And we discussed water. That is a really big issue here out west and not a single political candidate for President has addressed it. Seems St. Georges, Utah wants water out of Lake Powell which is getting even lower than it was before because of the amount of water which has to be released to generate electricity for that energy hog Los Angeles. Seems everyone thinks snow levels this year will suddenly make up for four years of drought which brought the lake level to below 1967 when they were filling it. But snow is not that easy. It depends on which side of the mountain it falls. It didn't fall on that side.

On the good news the levels in the Rio Grande will be much higher but we had that declared a wild river and there are no dams on it for Los Angeles and Las Vegas to use to get electricity. And its water is so legislated with compacts and treaties that even if they want to build the pipeline Las Vegas cannot use its water for their fountains.

In short I think there is such a disconnect between the real world out here and politics as usual as to generate a chasm which I don't know that any party or any candidate is going to be able to bridge. Oh, and by the way, I love this definition of insanity: Continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results. There was a point at which I had hope that it was going to be different this year. Wrong. Sorry folks.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Open Letter to the Democratic Party

That's it I am out of here. I am going down to my county office and re-registering as an Independent. The opening forays of the primary process was very encouraging but things have degenerated to the same awful political slime campaigns I hate. And I know where to place the blame.

And if you think the Democratic party is going to come together behind this candidate you have another think coming. I frankly am very closely watching who John McCain picks for his Vice Presidential running mate. And if I like him I am going there. Frankly there seems to be only one really wrong choice he can make; Secretary of State Rice. And not because she is a woman or black but because of her worship of GW Bush.

I think Hillary and her husband have played every single dirty trick in politics that is possible to play. And like GW she seems to have absolutely no conscious. She wants what she wants and she does not care a damn who she hurts. Reminds me a lot of Richard Nixon which historians now agree was a sociopath. Maybe President Clinton was like that too but he hid it better. Maybe all people that claw their way to positions of power are willing to do anything to get there. But what does that say of our leadership?

The more dirty tricks Hillary plays the more I would never vote for her, the more I would vote for anyone but, and the better Obama looks. Maybe this smear campaign she is on will betray her. Women love to rescue underdogs, especially the beaten and abused ones. Hillary is not a nice person.

And where has 12 years of Bush dynasty gotten us? Why would we want 16 years of a Clinton dynasty? I frankly think if Obama does not get the Democratic nod here we should launch him as an Independent candidate. It is about time this sick two party system comes to an end. It does not serve this country well. I don't know if it serves the people of this country AT ALL.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

My Dream Ticket

The Governor of the state of New Mexico (my state, ergo my governor) endorsed Barack Obama for President. I was thrilled. Quite frankly from the moment he dropped out of the race for Democratic candidate for President I have been pairing him up as Vice President. Or putting him in the position of Secretary of State.

I have known Gov. Richardson since he was my United States Representative. He used to hold these town hall meetings throughout his congressional district and not talk to the people but listen to their concerns. At one of these I attended the mayor of my town passed out and fell out of his chair. Wherein all the attendees of the meeting proceeded to ignore what had just taken place. The man was an alcoholic and cocaine addict and clearly had not obtained the right balance for the day. It was nothing new.

Bill coolly, and non-verbally signaled one of his own aides, and the Mayor of Questa was expedited out of the room. Bill did not even pause in his answering of questions. Impressed I requested of his staff to be given time with the man his next visit to address the alcohol problem in Northern New Mexico. And got it. A fifteen minute meeting turned out to be 45 for me and a few professionals in the alcohol and drug abuse area. Congressman Richardson listened and asked questions and listened some more. Since becoming governor he has attempted to address New Mexico's horrendous DWI problem with not just legislation but an understanding of the underlying issues of alcoholism and its effects on the family and community.

In short, it is my considered opinion that the man listens. That really sounds to me like something we could use in the White House or the administration of our next President. And Obama speaks well. Something else we could also use in our government at the highest levels. Bill not only listens but he has this ability to negotiate. Now there is a word we have not heard for seven years. Obama not only speaks well but he inspires with his words. Been a while since we have had an inspiring leader, heh? Bill has also run a state, and despite what his critics say, run it well. We don't have a huge deficit like the United States so he has the experience some say Obama lacks.

We need to inspire and negotiate in the future. No more cowboy diplomacy as has been practiced by the current embarrassment in the White House. No more going to war with everyone that disagrees with you.

Richardson has been wooed by both the Clintons and Obama. He worked with President Clinton in various capacities and of late watched the Super Bowl with him. The Clinton people, Richardson said, called him daily. Obama was calling him personally. Not even a go between secretary. Mano y mano. The United States needs to do some of that with a few leaders of troubled nations. Instead of just declaring a whole population of people part of the axis of evil and walking off.

This primary season is once again looking promising. Just when I was toying with voting McCain if Hillary got the nod.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Are we a nation of laws?

It is very popular these days to say we are a nation of laws but with Bush's 1100 plus signing exceptions one has to wonder. Is it a set of laws that is equally applied? Or is this structure of laws based originally on our constitution a fragile house of cards because of how it is biased to the rich and powerful. Or whatever is expedient at the moment.

I was rather pleased to see that watchers of the supreme court seem to believe that the right to bear arms will not be over-turned by the court. I am a gun owner. I am a woman living in the near wilderness who has experienced a stalker and how little the law can do about it. I have three weapons. I am anxious to see the final decision and what the court does with the words "cannot be infringed." We are battling that here in New Mexico which has yet to have a challenge to its new conceal/carry law. The New Mexico constitution also mentions that the right of the citizen to carry a weapon cannot be infringed upon.

But I digress. When I began this post I was thinking of the laws that used to keep the economy in balance and in part prevent a depression like which occurred in the 1930's. We went to war to get out of that. We are in a war now (usually a boost to the economy) and still heading down on the slippery slope. I like many Americans thought there was a structure of protectionist laws put in place to ensure that banks could not engage in dangerous and risky lending with the monies of its investors and customers. NOT it seems. All those laws were removed with a stroke of the pen by those who wanted no restrictions on their profits. And aided by the people put in office by those powerful lobbyists.

So once again it seems the laws only apply to the lower class of people. The rich can have the laws re-written. The rich can afford lobbyists and lawyers and money under the table to the correct powers. The powerful can decide to erase the laws to allow the illegal aliens to remain in this country ahead of those who took the legal route and may still be waiting in line. The powerful can make it so oil companies can get tax incentives and no taxes on their huge prices. The powerful can decide to tap our phones regardless of our constitutional "guarantees" to privacy. The powerful can pay spin doctors to call it enhanced question techniques instead of torture, and pay the lawyers to argue that before the supreme court.

I will not bore you with the entire list. On a personal level I am having a dispute with a contractor. He filed a lien that did not adhere to the letter of the law. That does not seem to matter. I must spend the money in court and on a lawyer to prove that. And legal aid seems to be something which has fallen to the budget ax. In an effort to continue to support a war that should be against all international laws the government is tightening its belt on "entitlements" and "pork barrel projects" (not all bridges are to nowhere). Still that does not prevent our government from bailing out a financial institution that morally did what it should not do. And if we had a fine reading of the laws that are still in place - illegally did.

Where, oh where is a nation of laws for the little people. And not the rich CEO's and companies.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Are we racist and sexist? Yes.

I listened to parts of Obama's speech or racism yesterday and thought what I heard was well put together. I have no doubt, however, that there are people that think he is wrong. I don't.

After years of living in the south I moved back to my beloved New Mexico because of the cultural mix here. I remembered that the native Americans, Hispanics, and Anglos got along great. I also immediately noted I hated the word Anglo. Research into my roots shows an ample amount of black Irish (Moors). And it bothered me that the Indians and the Hispanics get to make such a big deal about what they want to be called but I don't get a choice. I even hate those little boxes on census forms and applications. Went through a period of checking Other.

I moved to Questa where my husband and I were at the time only one of three "white" families and I got to experience "reverse racism." When Marc and I came to a splitting of the ways, in part because of the difficulty of living in that community, I moved to a largely "Anglo" community. Not because of the racism but because of the sexism.

Men seem to forget that women still do not have equal rights. The Equal Rights Amendment for women was never passed. The constitution of the US declares blacks as equal but not women. Sorry, Hillary. We still earn less, have to fight harder for better jobs, and are the following spouse where relocations are concerned. But that is just with the white male majority of this country. Make that fundamental Christian and women are suppose to wear skirts, follow their husband's dictates in all things, and home school the children. But any women into the Hispanic culture of say Questa and you will find she is considered owned by her husband to do with as he sees fit. Fine if he is a benign dictator. Not so fine if he considers discipline corporal.

I was considered a witch in Questa because I carried a gun into the forest on walks, and had the nerve to actually irrigate our fields. A single white woman that was my friend was considered a whore (punta) because no other woman would live alone without a man. On the Navajo Reservation the men ride in the cab of the pickup and the women in the back regardless of weather. No camping cover either. Even the dogs get front seat. In short, to this day, a woman's status in the United States defers to the status of her husband and the sub-culture to which he belongs. Would Hillary have gotten as far if Bill were a garbage collector? I don't think so.

We (the educated middle class and above) are all making noises about how wonderful it is to have a black man (hey, at least half white) and a woman run for the office of President of the United States. But come election day it will be the white males that will walk into the booth, and their wives voting as they have been told, and McCain will be our President. The third term of the Bush Presidency. We will still be in Iraq, the economy will still be in the pits, New Orleans will still not be rebuilt and Sexism, and Racism will be even more rampant because our dream of a New America was not realized.

If we are lucky there will be no rioting in the streets, women will not move out on their husbands, and we will be bought out by a benign country. Or we could try getting our shit together before that happens. You can only fix what it is you admit is broken. It probably is time for some honesty among the citizens of this country. We are here because we tried to pretend we were all equal before the law and each other. We aren't. Or that racism only goes one way. It doesn't.

I have to applaud Barack Obama for finally speaking out on this issue. We have swept it under the rug for entirely too long. We need to cast aside our differences and unite not only to end the repression of this current administration but to battle those problems facing the United States and the world that have no race or sex or religious boundaries. We are humans and we live on this planet together.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

What are they thinking?

Obama made it clear last week that he was not open to taking the Vice-President slot. Why should the second place candidate offer the second place spot for the front runner as he put it. It is probably the only logical thing that happened in the political race this week. Geraldine Ferraro proved again that a woman in high office is maybe not a good idea. I'm a woman so do not shout sexism here. At this stage in our history women that fight to he top can be Barracudas, so maybe it not our time yet.

Course I think we have also seen evidence why self-proclaimed men of God should not run for higher office. And maybe with both him and Geraldine we have seen that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It is heady times for both women and blacks. They are being taken seriously and unfortunately they are opening mouths and speaking before they think, and giving fodder to the white males supremacy folks.

People are accusing Obama for not shooting back at Hillary attacks, but I find I like that. It invalidates her remarks in a way that repudiating them does not. I don't know about Barack but I find myself in shock at some of the things that come out of the Hillary camp. "What in hell is she thinking?" Or is she thinking. I don't think Geraldine thought before engaging mouth. Or did Obama's former spiritual leader.

Still the candidates are not their friends and associates. And should they be painted to the same broad brush. But is it worse to have a campaign employee speak without direction or with direction? Is it worse that Geraldine ignored Hillary's directive about public remarks or that she followed Hillary's desires - direct or otherwise.

If you saw the movie Becket with Peter O'Toole as King Henry and Richard Burton as the Archbishop you will remember the scene where the King launches his lords off on a mission to kill his old friend. History is divided as to his intent. Did he just say the wrong thing at the wrong time or did he know what his words would create.

We have had too many years of open month and insert foot. And I frankly am in favor of a thoughtful individual that considers his power and his words and takes neither for granted. The more I see Obama under fire the better he looks. And I am inclined to take a negative view of those firing negative and mean-spirited salvos in his direction.

Those running for our top office in the United States are suppose to be our best and brightest. And they should show that they can surround themselves with a staff that reflects that same criteria. So let us get with it folks. Think.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Little State, Big State

I have done Red State/Blue State but now I would like to do Big State/Little State. Hillary is making the case repeatedly that while she has gotten fewer states than Obama she has gotten the big states which makes her more electable in the Presidential race. So what about us little states? What about our issues?

They never seem to be covered by any candidate on a national level because they do not have enough electoral punch. So our issues like flooding and the state of the levees on the Mississippi which runs through a bunch of little states is ignored. Or the drought which has plagued the west where I live and its effect on the level of the lakes like Powell and Mead which is used to generate power for power leeches like Los Angeles and Las Vegas. All the states that contribute to that future hydroelectric source are small states. We want a national referendum on water and power but we get out voted by the big states that waste both.

Everyone is talking about Pennsylvania being the bell-weather state at the moment. I don't live in Pennsylvania. It has its issues and I have mine. I want someone to address a few of my issues for a moment. I want gas prices lower so people will travel this summer. As a beautiful small state we depend a lot on tourism. And how about addressing the state of our infrastructure while at it. The winter has done a number on the aging Interstate system. We have three that transverse our state with trucks going from one big state to another big state and incredible speeds (and no doubt on speed).

I also want to keep our water. And what we just must send to Arizona I don't want to see wasted on another single golf course. They only get 6 inches of rain a year so live with that. (Incidentally since McCain is an Arizona senator and never addressed this issue of Phoenix taking water from the Colorado which is a half state away I doubt he is getting my vote.) And I want all the other states to keep their low-level nuclear waste. Us little states will no longer be a dumping ground. You want nuclear energy so you can keep the power on then you handle your own waste.

Which goes for dams. No more building them on our rivers with promises you are helping save water for our use and generate power for us and then go back on all those promises. Dam your own damn rivers. And I do not care if jet noise is the sound of freedom. If the base for the supersonic bomber is in Texas than you do your low level flybys in Texas. Leave our mountains for us and our wild life. Don't wake us up at 2 a.m. to practice for the mountains of Pakistan.

If you big states don't start playing nice us little states just may ban together and pick up our marbles and start our own game. We may be inconsequential when it comes to counting electoral college votes but I promise you will miss our natural resources and our natural beauty when you have to have a passport to visit.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Those are the house rules

When I was a kid we played a lot of board games: Scrabble, Clue, Sorry, and Monopoly. Monopoly was probably are all time favorite at that time. And you quickly learned that everyone had a slightly different take on the game. So you played by the house rules - the rules of the house you were at.

The board would be brought out and the money divided up and the owner of the game would declare the house rules: All Chance and Community Chest money goes in the middle and anyone landing on free parking gets it, if a player lands on a property and does not want it the bank can hold an auction, etc.

The listing of the house rules (these changes to the official rules on the Parker Bros. box) could be lengthy and quite complex and you listened carefully because you had to play by those rules. No changing in mid stream. It was a long game and you stuck by the rules. It was not like poker where the rules and what was wild could change with every hand dealt. Or like George W. Bush where he thinks he can make a signing statement (over 1100 currently) that exempt him and the government from the law he just signed.

Or Hillary Clinton who did not play by the Democrat Party house rules on primaries set out this year. Michigan and Florida did not play by them either. Hillary took advantage of that by not (as all other candidates did) removing her name from the primary ballots for those two states. Now those states that broke the rules want a do-over (only acceptable in kids sandlot baseball or marbles in my opinion). Hillary just wants the results of the illegal primaries admitted to the record. She also wants extra time to produce her banking records (sanitation process?). In other words folks: She does not want to play by the house rules.

I don't know why this should surprise us. Her husband, President Bill Clinton, wanted to re-define the word sex in his impeachment trial. Don't get me wrong, I personally hated that whole process. Sure he lied but so has GW and when Bill lied nobody died. But we are trying to change the horrid political process here in the United States. The Democrats are trying to restore the public faith in the process. We are trying to restore the image of the United States in the world. So do we really want to elect another individual who fails to play by the rules? That thinks they are above the law, human decency, compassion, and inclusion in the world and its problems?

I don't.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

It just isn't funny anymore

GW has announced it plans to veto the congressional bill making water boarding illegal. He is fond of saying we are a nation of laws but he does not appear to like any of them or feel that he is bound to follow them. That he cheated himself into the highest office of the United States twice should have been our first clue.

I am so embarrassed. The positive feelings about the United States around the world have fallen to below 25%. And in a recent survey it seems that only Obama has any chance of restoring our favorable standing in the world. McCain and Hillary are seen by everyone including those in the United States as just more of the same.

So I had very split feelings when an Obama staffer called Hillary a monster. Yes, she should not have said it. It is not the politic thing to do even though I believe she s right and that Hillary has said worse about Obama. Only Obama and McCain seem to want to raise the bottom feeder level of politicians and politics in general. McCain will be four more years of Bush policies and yes, that means more torture, more suspension of our privacy and civil liberties. And we can count on Hillary to continue in the Senate being a monster. You can't fire me from any staff. And right at th moment I am considering resigning from the citizens of the United States. We used to be something to look up to. Now we are war mongering, torturing monsters.

I will again vote this election year. And if it is Hillary against McCain it will likely be Nader or some other third party candidate I vote for. Sorry Dean, but I do not like both Democratic candidates equally. I don't like one at all any more after she as lowered herself to play in the muck with the boys. If not voting for her puts McCain in office I will not feel guilty but I will start looking seriously for another country to move to.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Don't look at me. I'm lost.

I did not have a lot of time to devote to this yesterday but I did try and watch some of the political pundits make sense out of the March 4th primaries. You remember, those were the ones that Hillary had to win by large margins to stay in the race?

That seems to have changed. She got Ohio which once again had a voting irregularity. I am thrilled about that because Ohio and it's constant voting irregularities has taken a lot of attention off my state of New Mexico and the graveyard vote. She barely squeaked by in Texas primaries and if they ever finish the count (here again I am thrilled with this glitch because no one is looking at New Mexico and how long it took us to count after our super Tuesday caucus) Obama may well have won that one. They split Rhode Island and Vermont. But Hillary seems to be declaring that this all showed buyers remorse and she is the horse to back.

I think it merely shows that when she and the Clinton political machine (Remember Chicago and Mayor Daley? He was good because while he ran things New Mexico was only number two on dirty politics) get rolling on fear mongering they can do it better than the Republicans. I had such hope but clearly that counts for nothing. The Clinton's will snatch the election from Obama and I will be forced to back Hillary if I do not want a third term of George Bush with his stand in, John McCain.

All of which leaves only one question: Where did we go wrong? I wish it was as simple as a wrong turn in Albuquerque. But I greatly fear it was in having hope and once again trying to trust in the process of Democracy. I know it is not a democracy. I know the political system is broken. I know that relief organizations founded to help the poor and uninsured in the Amazon are now doing relief work outside Cleveland. But for just a tiny little minute there I had hope. Damn, I was doing so well without it. I wonder if the Iraqis feel the same?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I thought this looked familiar

At one point yesterday, deep in the throes of cabin fever, I found myself staring at CNN's coverage of the political campaign and asking myself what was so familiar about all this.

Yes, it is another presidential campaign and despite all the promises to the contrary by various horses in the race they have not changed it. There is I thought, thankfully, more debate and more airing of views then there has been in the last two of these fiascoes. But when a candidate feels behind they still start slinging the mud. And enough of it seemed to be flying through the air yesterday that I just wanted to duck under the table and hide.

That is when it hit me about what was so familiar about the whole presidential primary theater. I whipped out my copy of Alice in Wonderland and felt immediately comforted. After all that isn't real is it? Poor Alice. All she is trying to do is get back to solid ground where they rules of her childhood . . . well, ruled. There are no Cheshire cats with silly grins remaking themselves every state, or paths to the convention that are erased by some new pundit with a clean sweep of the situation. And there is definitely not a Mad Hatter's tea party right?

As I watched the Mad Hatter pour tea I was reminded for some reason of former President Bill Clinton. And Hillary came to mind when the dormouse pops up out of the teapot. The March Hare just has to be John McCain. And I am of course Alice. We are all Alice. Trying to make sense of this strange musical chairs type party with riddles that have no answers and no opportunity to actually sip our tea and make our own decisions.

And from here on in the movie and the book it gets worse. There is the Queen of Hearts with off with their heads. Hmmm. Maybe Hillary is her. Sometimes. And Bill is the apologetic little king. Then in the scene in the rose garden Obama has to be Alice. Off with his head because he has defied the queen. I am probably the flamingo in this part.

Well, to make a long and silly blog shorter I recommend you re-watch Disney's classic film of Alice in Wonderland. It does make the whole political landscape a great deal clearer. I am just not sure that is a good thing.