Friday, August 29, 2008

Keep the Promise Alive

I give you the next president of the United States.

"With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.

Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest -- a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours -- Hillary Rodham Clinton. To President Clinton, who last night made the case for change as only he can make it; to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night."

As I watched last night's historic speech I could not help but be struck by the difference in what I have seen in the last eight years. One, he was standing up and not leaning on the podium. He was smiling when appropriate (not sneering at inside jokes), he was clearly sober, and he spoke eloquently. And with words correctly pronounced. Did I mention he was wearing a tie?

But as a viewer there were a lot of difference for me. First, I was watching it on the live feed from ABC news via Internet on my computer. I got rid of satellite TV because of their Hitler attitude on packaging, the endless "take this drug" advertising, and the cost.

I have spent the last few months as gasoline prices rose paring down expenses and cutting down any trips in the car. I have the telephone to the bare minimum, no television, and very few trips to the big box stores to save on necessities. I had my retirement planned but that plan does not work with the current economy brought to you by GW Bush and promised to continue with John McCain and his seven houses. Or is it eight.

Another difference that struck me is that Obama had not only spoken well but staged it all spectacularly. It was the sort of event we have come to expect from the Republicans with all the flag waving and implications that to be an American against terror you have to be one of them. GW Bush and his party made me feel like a traitor because I was against the war in Iraq and his lying to get us there. But Barack said:

"The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America - they have served the United States of America."

I think I want first and most as we face the next 62 days that we can sit aside the partisan playbook and actually be given a chance to pick our next leader on the basis of policy and not rhetoric or swift-boating campaigns.

As Barack said last night "the times are too serious" and the Republicans don't seem to realize just how serious they are. McCain thinks we are whiners and that our economy is basically sound and that we can drill ourselves out of this dependence on oil. (That last is like a compulsive gambler thinking he is only one big win from being healed.)

Like most Americans, especially older ones, I hate change. I fight it. But I look at the change the same old policies have caused in my life and I know that things have got to change for the better or the promise of America is dead. It is time for a major shift. We have to start thinking out of our nice and insulated envelopes. Winter is coming with the heating bills that no amount of economizing is going to be adequate. The middle class is slipping into poverty at an alarming rate.

And you cannot have a healthy democracy or representative republic without a viable and growing middle class. Wake up. Turn off the mind numbing sitcoms and pay attention. Our time to save the United States is now.

"America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices, and Democrats as well as Republicans will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past. For part of what has been lost these past eight years can't just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose - our sense of higher purpose. And that's what we have to restore."

For the transcript of his entire speech: Real Clear Politics.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Heart and Soul

The Democratic National Convention has begun in Denver and the Republicans are appearing on all the news shows giving their opinion about what the DNC is doing wrong. People that live in glass houses should not throw stones. Next week the places will be reversed.

But in fairness to all parties I watched videos this morning of the highlights and lowlights of the night. And one thing seems clear: if it is said by a Democrat it is for the Republicans a cliche but if it is said by the Republicans it is a rallying cry or effective sound byte (i.e. flip flopper).

We are sure to hear a lot of cliche's and sound bytes and rallying cries and lies in the next couple of weeks. It is our place as responsible voters to weigh the evidence and do our homework. We have stayed away from the voting booths in record numbers, we have allowed the Republicans to cheat their way into office twice, we seem to think it is acceptable to pick our president in the same way we choose laundry detergent (by the ad and the package) and that has gotten us to the place in this country were it is do or die. After almost eight years of G.W.Bush we are hated by the world, no longer a champion of the oppressed but the oppressor, our dropout rate for our young is as high as 40% in some states, and our middle class can no longer afford to drive to work.

There was a joke when I was in college about Republican's and Democrats; if you were a Republican when you were young you had no soul and if you were a Democrat when you were middle aged you had no money. Well, there are currently a lot more people with no money these days and so the Republicans had to say you were not against terrorism if you were a Democrat. I think you have no heart or soul if you are a Republican. And the Republican pundits on the news this morning with their snipping at Senator Kennedy, President Clinton, and Michelle Obama I think proves that.

Yes, Senator Kennedy made some mistakes in his youth. So did Richard Nixon as President my friends. And when Bill lied nobody died like when GW lied to the free world about Iraq. I think it is not so much about the mistakes we make as how we live our lives after that. The amends we make. And you don't throw stones when you live in a glass house. The twenty-four hour coverage of every aspect of our lives and especially our public lives makes it imperitive that we not merely behave intelligently but with heart and soul and compassion.

It would be a far better world if those that have the bumper stickers: What would Jesus Do? actually do it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

This is the ticket

This is just the ticket for me. I really liked Senator Biden in the debates and would have endorsed him as the Democratic nominee but he was one of those very talented men that fell to the wayside in the primary process. So having Joe Biden on the same ticket with Barack Obama just seems perfect for me.

And he has all that experience that McCain keeps saying that Obama is lacking.

I was so afraid Obama would be pressured into picking Hillary as a running mate. We have had too many years of Clintons and Bushes in the White House. We do need a change. The political dynasties have gotten us into this mess. We need a new approach to get us out of it. And both of them have such great smiles.

After eight years of watching the current sour puss in office I need smiles. And people that speak proper English. I want nice manners and leaders willing to talk and not bomb us out of our problems with the rest of the world. So after my bottom of the barrel mood of last blog I am now feeling more optimistic. I look forward to the news coming out of the convention in Denver. And let's hope for a good jump in the poll numbers.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

That's It I'm Out of Here

"In a sharp turnaround, Republican John McCain has opened a 5-point lead on Democrat Barack Obama in the U.S. presidential race and is seen as a stronger manager of the economy, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Wednesday."

I currently see absolutely no reason to identify myself as a citizen of the United States. There is nothing about the current political situation that I can in anyway embrace or identify with. And because of "swift boat" politics it seems that we are in for eight more years of the same thing. My goal is to now do all the necessary upgrades on my house so if and when the housing market turns around I can put it on the market and make plans to out-migrate to another country. Canada is making it very difficult because there are too many of us that want to go there. My pick would be Italy but the dollar is not doing very good against the Euro.

I will do all in my power to get Obama elected but failing that I am out of here. I think I find it hardest to see myself as a citizen of this country when they express the desire to vote for someone that is going to give us just more of the same thing. Who are these people? How can they think four more years of Bush politics will do us any good?

Every woman that votes for McCain ought to get her head examined. She is clearly a Stepford wife to some man telling her how to vote. He wants to turn us into baby machines. Or Barbie Dolls to stand beside our men. If you doubt that you merely have to look at his pick for a wife. And he believes life begins at conception. Does anyone get that that statement is not just pro life but anti contraception. The birth control pill and the IUD do not prevent conception but attachment of the fertilized egg to the wall of the uterus so it can develop. i.e. they are on a par with the day after pill or in Republican parlance an abortion.

I think there was a plot. First you get no child left behind in and make everyone stupid. Then you reduce politics down to name calling and everyone that is illiterate because they dropped out of school will not check the facts. The Republicans have built the perfect "Brave New World" population. We don't even question that Bush cheated his way into office twice. Or that McCain is on his way to cheating himself into office.

Any decent country would have a revolution.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Panic Attack

I got this image in an e-mail recently of other impossibly cute photographs. This one makes me a bit uneasy. I keep seeing in my mind the cat waking up and discovering he eats birds.

Or the bird suddenly going, "OMG I am sitting on a cat."

I saved it in my folder of possible blog images because it was reminding me a great deal of the United States Presidential election. The voting public (the majority of which don't vote) is the slumbering cat. I can really identify with the kitten. The entire primary process just exhausted me. I am seriously tired of it all and I don't even have to watch all the campaign ads on the television.

I think the bird looks like Bush sort of. Could be McCain with those chubby cheeks. To green for Obama. When the cat wakes up - if ever- the bird is done for. Don't you think the parakeet looks like it is on the verge of panic? Like McCain when he cannot read the teleprompter, or Bush when he forgets which country he is condemning. That was the look I had when the latest polling numbers showed an essential dead heat between McCain and Obama. How did we get here? I thought the Democrats were getting a free walk to the White House based on GW's approval ratings? Just last week wasn't he 9 points ahead. I don't remember a scandal. Just a vacation to Hawaii. What happened?

I will admit every single presidential election year I swear I am moving to Canada if ________ (insert name of most any Republican) wins. But this year I thought I won't have to do that. And even if McCain wins I might not have to talk of emigrating. I think if McCain wins the United States as we know it will cease to exist. We are on the brink of our version of the French Revolution. Only it was easier to put France back together again. I think the United States will fragment into four or five federated nation states. I sort of am looking forward to the change. I mean if we can't vote change in why not revolt it in. Hey, all the military is in Iraq so who can stop us if a few contingent states want to go off on their own.

OMG, could McCain actually win? Would we vote in a third term of GW Bush policies? Would the Republicans not even have to cheat their way into the White House this time? Time to wake up cat or your are going to get bird poop all over that pretty fur coat.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Get Out of My Backyard

Illegal immigrants connected to Mexico's drug cartels are growing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of marijuana in the heart of one of America's national treasures, authorities say. It's a booming business that, federal officials say, feeds Mexico's most violent drug traffickers, reports CNN.

I live in an area surrounded by National Forest. And I understand that the illegal immigrants growing pot is not limited to just this one forest in the story but is rampant in all of the United States National Forests.

Where is our National Guard when we need them to fight this invasion upon our soil? In Iraq fighting a war we should not have been involved in. And meanwhile the Mexican Army is making incursions across our southern border. They claim they didn't know they had crossed it. It is admittedly just a wire fence at the point they crossed but it is clearly marked.

And this is one of the areas where they were suppose to build the wall that was fully funded. It was suppose to be done by May 2008. But this latest pot plantation grown and tended by illegal immigrants was in northern California. Surely there was some indication before there that they had crossed the border?

This is not a racist rant. I just want my country safe. I want to not stumble upon a pot farm with AK47's protecting it when I am out walking my dogs. I want people that do not belong there to get out of my backyard.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Not In My Backyard

Gas finally got down below $4.00 a gallon in my neighborhood yesterday and everyone rushed to fill up their tanks. All three stations in Angel Fire were out last night.

That got us all talking about Exxon and their extraordinary $1500 per second profit this last quarter. Every time we get on dissing the oil companies for making too much money one of the conservative Republicans brings up that there has not been a new refinery built in the US in 30 years. And then blames the tree huggers for their "not-in-my-backyard" attitude. Like maybe they (the stanch Republicans in favor of big oil) would allow one to be built in their backyard.

I had one in my backyard. I was in the third and fourth grade in El Paso, Texas. The sky was frequently yellow because of the "exhaust" from the stacks of the refineries. I can remember Mom and Dad taking my brother and I over the border to Juarez, Mexico for a bit of clean air because the winds were in its favor. We finally had to move from El Paso. Both my brother and I were in danger of long term physical effects from the pollution. I am allergic to sulfur which was one of the major outputs of the refinery process. Gary just didn't breathe well with the particulate levels.

Dad researched where to move quite thoroughly and we ended up in Albuquerque, New Mexico which in the 1950's had some of the cleanest air in the United States. Sadly that is no longer the case. But the inter-mountain west states were settled by a great many people looking to get fresh air and unpolluted water. Lots of our state laws seek to preserve that.

But then the Environmental Protection Agency is suppose to do that too. Or at least the EPA did before GW and has oil buddies raped it. They would like us to be forced into suspending all environmental protections in the building of refineries, coal generation plants and no doubt nuclear energy facilities. It would of course make the building of these energy providers cheaper as if any company making $1500 a second needs things to be cheaper. But what price will we be paying in quality of life, fresh air and clean water?

It is not just a matter of not-in-my-backyard but the whole concept of pissing in the water we are swimming in on this blue planet. It would be better for all of us if we learned to live without these contributers to global warming. Better if we learned to moderate our growth rates so we could live comfortably on the land we now inhabit (or less of it so some can go back to rain forest, jungles and wetlands). There is quite frankly a lot less open backyards available for building refineries, coal generation plants and nuclear power plants. And before we give these profit generating blackmailers carte blanche to build and explore away we need to look at the damage we are letting us and our plant in on down the line.

I personally am not going to breathe sulfur emissions again just for the sake of getting my gas at $3.00 a gallon again. I am learning not to drive as much and that makes breathing easier. Besides chances are that once they build a new refinery they will leave the gas at $4.00 until they retire that debt. There are no guarantees that letting them have it their way will make it any cheaper for us.