Monday, December 1, 2008

Reagan, The Lies Conservatives Tell Us and a Generation of Greed

In his Presidental campaign against President Carter in 1980, Ronald Reagan was very critical of President Carter because the United States Government was running deficits of $60 Billion a year. He promised to cut taxes by $60 Billion/year and to raise defense spending by another $60 Billion/year.

Think about that. He knew he was going to inherit a $60B deficit. And then he was going to cut taxes by about $60B. And on top of that, he was going to increase spending by $60B dollars.

That adds up to a deficit of about $180Billion.

He also promised to balance the budget.

I guess 2 out of 3 isn't bad.

Reagan got elected by telling America a lie. George HW Bush refered to it as Voodo Economics. He was telling the truth then.

America chose to believe the lie. And Republicans have been repeating the lie ever since.

George HW Bush saw the light and told the same lie and got himself elected.

And the idiot in Chief who currently occupies the White House got himself elected by telling the lie over and over and over again.

Here's the truth.

Tax Cuts, that are NOT by matching Spending Cuts, stimulate the economy in the short term. they don't seem to stimulate the economy anywhere close to as much as Republican's claim, but they do stimulate the economy. Its a what liberal economists have been proposing since the New Deal. Create Budget Deficits and those deficits will spur economic growth.

As the economy grows, partially as a response to the added impact of the budget deficits, tax revenues eventually return to where they were before the tax cuts. Unfortunately government spending has continued to grow with the economy and we are left with continuing deficits that are a direct result of the tax cuts.

The accumulated Budget Deficits, called the National Debt, place a lot of pressure on credit markets, driving up interest rates and slowing economic growth.

In recent years, much of the new National Debt (which has literally doubled under the idiot in chief) has been sold to foriegn banks and governments, particularly China and Japan. Selling that much debt to competitors/advesaries creates a significant strategic risk.

In the long term, the tax cuts and their resulting deficits, have little or no stimulative effect because of the resulting increased interest rates. Some studies indicate that tax cuts and their resulting deficits actually retard economic growth in the long term.

Despite all this. Despite all the studies that show that they are not telling the truth, Republican's keep telling the same lie

And as a nation we believed them.

Despite the absolutely nonsensical aspect of the lie, we believed it. Despite the balloning deficits, we believed it.

Because we wanted to.

I blame my generation. We heard the lie. We saw all the evidence that it was a lie. We watched the deficits grow to almost 100% of the Gross Domestic Product. But we were getting the benefits of the deficits and knew that we woulnd't have to pay the debt. Unconsionably, Immorally we have chosen to believe something that we have to know is a lie so that we dont' have to take responsibility for our own debts.

Principally for this reason, I view the Reagan Presidency as a disaster. He taught his party the lie and our kids and their kids will be paying and paying and paying.

And my generation chose to believe the lie.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What is Marriage?

On an earlier post, I asked what justified denying committed homosexual couples the legal benefits and privileges of the civil marriage contract.

Basically the answer I got was because Homosexual relationships are fundamentally different and that the traditional concept of marriage was exclusively heterosexual.

At the time, I tried to focus the discussion on the simply legal issue. Those opposed to Gay Marriage kept coming back to their view of the traditional definition of marriage.

So what is marriage?

There is no argument that no society has defined marriage to include an exclusively single sex couple.

But that being said, the "Traditional" definition of marriage that the opponents of gay marriage is not that old.

Plural marriages, where a single husband had multiple wives, were common in the old testament, and polygamy was practiced in this country, mostly by Mormons, as recently as the 19 century. Polygamy is still practiced in many countries, particularly in some Muslim nations.

But even marriages between two and only two people have changed dramatically over time. We are not that far away, in our society, from arranged marriages, where the daughter was given in marriage by her father without ever having met her husband. We are not that far in time from legal structures where women were barely more than chattel in a marriage.

The "Traditional" definition of marriage that Gay Marriage opponents refer to was a reflection of the times. The status of women has changed dramatically changed over time. The availability of divorce has changed over time. The availability of marriages as civil contracts that were not consecrated before a cleric in an religious setting is relatively new as well.

Marriage is not an institution that has a fixed and immutable history or definition.

And Society has changed. Millions of committed gay couples live together with all the emotional commitments of hetero couples. They share lives, raise kids, and grow old together. Society accepts gays as fully capable and responsible members of society in ways that it never has before.

So why should the definition of marriage not change to reflect that change in society in the same way that the definition has changed over time as the status of women has changes?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


They tell us we are at war.

A war on terror.

What exactly does that mean?? So far that supposed war has been used to justify an invasion of a nation that was not an imminent threat, either direct or indirect to this country. And we knew enough before the invasion to know that.

Its been used to justify the internment of prisoners that we refuse to recognize as prisoners of war, and claim the right to try them in military tribunals after subjecting them to treatment that would easily meet the definition of torture.

Its been used to justify the kidnapping of foreign nationals from other countries and sending them to secret prisons where they were subjected to torture, where we would not even acknowledge that we held them or where, where we could do anything we wanted to them completely outside of any legal framework.

Its been used to justify a Patriot Act that the FBI itself has admitted abusing and authorizing the NSA to listen in on phone calls to and from American Citizens without benefit of a warrant, a program that recent reports has been abused by the NSA for the private perverse pleasure of NSA analysts.

It was used to justify the arrest and detention without trial of American Citizens, though the Supreme Court finally did put a stop to that.

It was used as a pretext for manipulating the color coded alert warning system in the months before the 2004 elections to keep the American people afraid and help the President's election.

So what/who are we fighting? And why??

It started with the September 11 attacks by Al Qeada that killed 3000 people, mostly Americans, in 3 states.

Once we were certain it was Al Qeada, we demanded that Afghanistan surrender Al Qeada's leaders to us for trial. They refused. We took out the Afghani government for their complicity in the 9/11 attacks and destroyed the Al Qeada infrastructure in Afghanistan. We didn't get Bin Laden or the other leaders of Al Qeada, but we had them on the run.

So far so good.

Then it all went soo badly wrong.

We took a problem that was largely religious and societal at its root and tried to pretend there was a military solution.

There were people in our government who knew better, but that's not who Cheney and Rumsfeld listened to.

Al Qeada doesn't hate us because of our freedoms. In 8 years of saying some incredibly stupid things, that might be the stupidest. It was probably the most costly. That kind of idiotic thinking was used to justify all the things we did later.

Why does Al Qeada hate us? Mostly because we are over there. They may not approve of our morals or the way our women dress, but that's not why they are blowing themselves up. They look at our history in the Arab/Muslim world of supporting dictatorships of different stripes (from the secularist Shah of Iran to the Wahhabist royal family of Saudi Arabia. They could see that we didn't really give a shit about Arabs or Muslims, we just wanted a secure and reliable flow of oil.

When did Osama Bin Laden develop his hatred of the United States? When we supported the Shah?? No. When were helping the Afghani Mujaheddin repel the Soviet?? No. That happened in 1991 when we deposited an army of 500,000 infidels, including women, in Saudi Arabia, the heart of Islam. He didn't hate us because American women could wear bikinis on beaches in Florida, he hated us because American could drive around Saudi Arabia uncovered and without a male relative as escort.

He could probably have gotten over it if we had won the first Gulf War and then left. But we didn't. We kicked Saddam out of Kuwait and then stayed. The presence of a white Christian army occupying bases in the living breathing heart of Islam was seen as an affront.

He hated us, not because of what we could do in our own country, but because of what we were doing in his. And the other Arab and Muslim countries in the region.

John McCain repeatedly referred to the war on Terror as The Transcendent Issue of our Times.

It may be

But it doesn't have a military solution.

We cannot defeat terrorism with bombs and bullets. We can certainly kill lots of terrorists. In doing so we will also kill lots more civilians because the terrorists hide, often in plain sight, amongst civilians, some of whom don't even know who these people are.

But by occupying an Arab/Muslim nation (Iraq), and by killing Arabs and Muslims in at least 3 other nations (Syria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan) we are only making Osama Bin Laden's job easier. He has a virtually endless supply of recruits and a largely limitless supply of money. He is most likely living in Pakistan, training his next generation of killers the the relative safety of the mountains of western Pakistan.

Are we going to defeat terrorism by threatening virtually every country in the neighborhood, by bombing terrorists and killing all the women and children around them, by occupying a Muslim/Arab nation and talking like we want to stay there for a century?

Probably not.

So what do we do?

As much as possible, we deny them justification for their actions. That means we get out of Iraq, sooner rather than later, that means we stay in the Middle East with as light a foot print as possible, That means that we transition our effort in Afghanistan from primarily military to primarily social, financial, and political. We can compete in the marketplace of ideas. Not by trying to convert them all to Christianity, but by helping them find the moderation and tolerance that is as easy to find in the Koran as the hatred and violence. By creating a market for their farmers to grow something other than poppies used to make Heroin. By building schools that teach useful subjects to compete with the Saudi funded Wahhabi Madrases teaching xenophobia and hatred. By working with the central government to reach out to the warlords who control much of Afghanistan and showing them the benefits of integration with the larger nation, benefits for the warlords themselves and for their people.

And we stop pretending that Radical Islam is a transcendent threat to the United States. They lack the power to destroy us, they lack the power to overthrow our government. We need to keep the threat in perspective and acknowledge that surrendering our freedoms and denying the rule of law to others in this fight we cannot win with guns in the end damages us far more than Al Qeada ever could.

We need to recover our place in the world. The shining nation on the hill. Truly a beacon of hope for people all over the world. A nation that doesn't torture and doesn't tolerate torture by others. A nation that doesn't hold prisoners in a limbo status for ever just because we say we can, but respects international law. Where international law is inadequate to the modern world, we don't ignore it, we work to update it.

There is no denying that the Osama Bin Ladens of the world would love to attack America directly again. And we have to take strong positive actions to ensure that doesn't happen again. But that effort is more law enforcement and intelligence than military. More collating and understanding the data we already have than torturing suspected terrorists for to get them to say anything whether its real or not.

There is a danger from Radical Islamists and we need to address the danger.

But its not a war

And the solution has very little to do with military power..

Something else I don't understand


They elected Sarah Palin as governor!! Now its true that she was running against the worst and most corrupt governor in Alaska's history, but still.

And they came very close to reelecting Ted Stevens to the Senate, after he was convicted of official corruption (accepting gifts from a contractor and failing to report those gifts as required by law).

What were they thinking???

You can't save the world, but you can save a small part


If you want to save just a little part of the world, this site might be what you are seeking.

KIVA is basically a microcredit bank soliciting for investors (us) on line.

You get to choose who you lend to and how much you lend.

Dorri (keeper of my heart) has already made a loan that has been repaid and is in the process of making another.

Its one way, a very simple and direct way, to save a small part of the planet.

Want to help?


Monday, November 10, 2008

What happens next

69 days till the end of an error.

Our President Elect is undoubtedly getting advice from any and every corner.

Here's mine.

The day he is sworn in he can issue executive orders and accomplish much. And I think he should.

He needs to address the global economic crisis.

But what he needs to take on, boldly and immediately is Climate Change.

Nothing that the President Elect does will be as important, long term, for this country and for the entire planet, as addressing Climate Change.

In 2000, President Bush ran, among other things, on a pledge to institute carbon caps as President to address the dangers of Global Warming. One of his many lies to the American People.

John McCain supported a Cap and Trade ssytem of controlling and then reducing CO2 emissions in this campaign.

We have waited too long, wasted too much time, and the consequences of inaction are too great. We can not, should not, wait until we have fixed the economy. There is no credible dispute about humankinds contribution to the pace and eventual size of the increase in global surface temperatures. The only dispute is about how hot it going to get and how fast its going to get there.

Its clear that the predictions of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change were, if anything, conservative. All the indicators seem to point to things moving faster than those predictions.

I just finished reading what may be the most important book I have read in a very long time, perhaps the most important book I have ever read. "Hot, Flat and Crowded" by Tom Friedman presents a clear and compelling prescription for radical action and for the huge economic opportunites that exist in creating the new industries that will emerge in alternative energies, conservation, more energy efficient transportation.

It requires bold and decisive leadership, the kind that a newly elected President with strong majorities in both houses can show.

I encourage anyone and everyone to read this book.

Starting with our new President.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

So much I don't understand

In all the euphoria over the election of Barack Obama to the Presidency of the United States, some other stories were briefly overshadowed.

Several states passed one version or another of attempts to deny certain rights to people based on their sexual orientation.

I understand that many people believe that Homosexuality is a sin.

What I don't understand is why that religious based belief should be the law of the land. What is the justification for discrimination against people because of who they love??

I just don't understand.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

And now the really hard work begin

I just finished watching the most amazing political event of my life. An event that I have wished for, hoped for, almost prayed for all of the last year.

We have elected one of the most incredible and inspirational men of our time to the Presidency at a time of true need. More than any election in my memory, easily more than any election since 1932, and maybe more than any election since the civil war, our country is facing a range of challenges that will test not only our President but all of us.

We are fighting two wars, one is winding down, the other is not going well.
Our economy is in crisis. The banking system is bent if not broken. Our manufacturing base is severely eroded by our fading competitiveness. Our government is sooo deeply in debt as to be constrained in ways we will almost certainly regret. We as a people are also deeply in debt, to our detriment individually and as a nation. Our prestige around the world has not been this low since before WWII. We have sacrificed must of our moral authority, and with it much of our ability to lead the rest of the world. Our profligate waste of energy leads us to give Hundreds of Billions of Dollar every year to nations that don't like us, to nations that supress their own people, to nations that will do us ill if they can. Our profligate consumption of fossil fuels is helping to change the worlds climate in ways we cannot always predict but we are almost all to our detriment.

So it is fitting and proper that we have elected a man that ran a campaign of hope and optimism and inclusion. A man who made a point of always honoring his opponents. A man who never allowed his campaign to dip into personal attacks. Whose negative ads were criticisms of his opponents positions, not of his honor nor patriotism nor integrity. A man whose very candidacy exemplifies the truth of the greatness of America.

I have been voting for President since 1972. Never have I been as in thrall, almost in awe of my chosen candidate.

Now the test begins.

I trust and rely in President Elect Barack Obama to pull us together to meet the challenges ahead.

Its a great day to be an American.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The politics of Fear

4 years ago a woman I dearly love said she was "Afraid" of the possibility that John Kerry might get elected President.


She is a conservate Christian. There was never any chance she was going to vote for John Kerry for President. His approach to government and hers are vastly different. I don't know if she voted for President Bush because she believed that he was doing a great job or if she was voting against Senator Kerry because she disagreed with the large majority of his policies. Or some of both. But I am certain she voted for President Bush.

Thats why we hold elections.

But why should she fear a Kerry Presidency?

I disagree with President Bush on almost every major issue. I think he has been a complete and utter disaster as a President. No suprise, I didn't vote for him.

But I don't fear him or his Presidency.

I won't vote for John McCain. The Senator McCain who ran for office in 2000 was inspiring and attractive. McCain 2008 is a cranky old man who has changed his mind on virtually every major issue.

But I am not afraid of a McCain Presidency.

I am a partisan, no doubt. But it appears to me that Republicans seem far more interested in selling fear in their campaigns. The overwhelming thrust of Senator McCain's campaign for the last month has been to attack Senator Obama.

He lacks experience

He lacks judgement

He's a Socialist

He's a Liberal

He's a Communist.

Senator McCain keeps telling us that if we elect Senator Obama bad things will happen. We will not be safe. He will take away your money and ruin the economy.

Fear Him.

He hasn't gone as far as President Bush did in 2004 when his campaign claimed that electing John Kerry would some how make us more vulnerable to terrorist attack. But he still wants us fear Senator Obama at one level or another. But he did question Senator Obama's patriotism when he stated that Senator Obama would rather lose a war than lose a political campaign. Governor Palin has repeatedly talked about good patriotic parts of a state or the country with an obvious implication that people or areas of the country that don't support John McCain or some how anti-American or not patriotic.

I contend that I am a patriot. I know that I love America. I do not support McCain/Biden.

It appears to me that often Republican's understand they are on the other side of most issues from the voters so campaign isn't a positive one about why we should vote for a Republican, but a negative one about why we should vote against the Democrat.

Senator Obama was on the TV last night for 30 minutes. Never once did he attack John McCain. Barely mentioned him. Can you picture what a 30 McCain infomercial would look like? Based on the way his campaign is running now he would spend a large fraction of his time telling us reasons to vote against Senator Obama.

I understand the politics of fear, of personal destruction. Its a style of politics that Republican's seem far more comfortable with. And unfortunately it works. Thats a shame.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A woman's right to Chose and Abortions

As a liberal, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I support a woman's right to chose. I reject the argument that life begins at conception. I believe that life begins at birth. Bill Clinton expressed it as clearly as anyone. Abortion should be Safe, Rare, and Legal.

This one one of the few positions that I hold where I am an absolutist. The decision to carry the child to term or have an abortion is the mother's and hers alone.

I understand and respect the Alan Keyes of the world who have an equally uncompromising position on the other side. If, as many believe, life begins at conception, the abortion is the deliberate taking of a human life. That is the definition of murder. Alan Keyes was clear and unequivocal on this in his 2000 quest for the Republican Presidential nomination.

I have no respect for those who try to finesse this issue. This occurs more in Republican ranks than in Democratic ranks, but both sides are trying to keep their head down on this.

The current debate about Partial Birth abortion is an example of the insanity of this debate. Abortion opponents want to ban a specific procedure without regard to any concept of medical necessity, without regard for any threat to the life of the mother and without any regard for any threat to the health of the mother. All of this over a procedure that is used in less than .2% of abortions ( and is usually performed on a non-viable fetus. The majority of states already ban abortions after presumed viability (usually defined as 24 weeks) in most cases, the use of the Partial Birth Abortion procedure is already prohibited in cases where the fetus might be viable.

I am not going to argue whether or not women chose to have abortions for capricious reasons or for intensely difficult reasons. That isn't the point. We as a society don't get to tell a woman that her reasons are good enough or they are not. That's above our pay grade.

I don't see enough people trying to get Abortion opponents to explain how they can believe that life begins at conception, and not believe that the mother who solicits for the murder of her unborn child is not as guilty as the doctor. Even more so. But they don't want to be seen as extremists. So they take a position that is logically indefensible and pretend it makes sense.

I also find it fascinating the the same people who find abortion to be abhorrent are also opposed to many of the ways that might make unplanned pregnancies less common and reduce any perceived need for abortion.

Though there are few absolutists on this issue, I have no respect for any position in the middle ground.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Why I support Senator Obama

As much as I want this campaign to be about the issues, I have spent most of my time complaining about how Senator McCain is running his campaign. For me though, I am not voting against Senator McCain, what ever I think about how he is running his campaign. I am voting for Senator Obama. And here's why!

Senator Obama and I basically share the same belief that government can be a force for good in the world.

I believe that unfettered free markets are inherently unstable and they will almost always lead to an excessive concentration of wealth. Senator Obama and I believe that markets need an appropriate level of regulation to prevent the kinds of excesses that lead to the worst of the bust and boom cycle.

Senator Obama agree that the Iraq war was a Strategic Mistake. I believe that it is the most disastorous foriegn policy mistake in our history. I support his plan for a responsible withdrawl of our forces from Iraq and the addition of some forces to Afghanistan.

I agree with Senator Obama that we must talk to our enemies as well as our friends. However inartfully he expressed it in the debate with Hillary Clinton, attempts to isolate those we disagreement have almost always failed. Under President Bush the policy of not talking to our enemies has been part and parcel of the most incompetent and damaging foriegn policy in our history.

We share a belief in the value and even necessity of improving the quality of public education.

We both believe that much of the speed of global warming is caused by human activity, mostly the production of CO2 in industrial and power applications.

We both believe that the government must be fiscally responsible. That long term huge deficits are unsustainable. He might not phrase it this way, but I believe it is immoral for us to pass on to our children and their children the bill for what we are spending today.

We both believe that it is almost insane that there are 50 million uninsured people in the richest country in the world. Universal Health Care should be a right.

I also see in Senator Obama a man who can inspire and lead. A man who has tried to keep this campaign civil, even friendly, and a discussion of the issues, not a set of personal attacks.

I am excited about the prospect of an Obama Presidency. Combine that with strong majorities in both houses and we can accomplish great things.

I also believe that Senator Obama will appoint judges to the bench that will protect my civil liberties from the excesses any government will go to if not properly constrained by a strong judiciary.

Senator Obama largely agree on the right of a woman to control her body. I am probably more of an absolutist than he is. I would oppose laws that restrict that right in any way. It is to me a given that children lack the emotional or intellectual ability to make their own decisions. I do believe that parents should be involved when a pregnant minor is facing the incredible decision whether or not to carry an unplanned pregnancy to term. There needs to be some mechanism, some sort of judicial override, to mediate or even decide the issue if the pregnant minor and her parents cannot agree. Its not a simple issue and the solutions to issues like this tend to be complex and full of nuance.

As a nation, we face huge challenges. The current financial crisis is only the most recent. I see in his ability to inspire and lead the hope that he can truly bring sides together on the issues we must confront.

For these reasons, I support Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Guilt by Association

I have watched with some dismay the current effort to dimish Senator Obama because of the words or actions of people he knows and even some that he doesn't.

The Senator is being criticized because the magazine published by the church he used to attend gave an award to Minister Louis Farrakhan. Senator Obama has condemned Minister Farrakhan's anti-Semetic words and actions and as near as I can tell the two have never met. Yet somehow Senator McCain's campaign wants to try to link Senator Obama to Farrakhan.

Then there is Senator Obama's relationship with Rashid Khalidi. They have a relationship going back 12 years. Professor Khalidi is a supporter of Palestine and a harsh critic of Isreal. Senator Obama has made it clear that he does not agree with Rashid Khalidi on the issues in the Isreali-Palestinian conflict. But again, McCain and his supporters want to try to paint them together.

And then there is the Reverend Wright. Senator Obama's pastor for 20 years. The Reverend has said things in some of his sermons that most people find offensive. At the same time his church has been a real force for good in its neighborhood. But in a campaign that seems to make no allowance for nuance, some choose to believe that if Senator Obama attends that church, that he therefore endorses everything that his pastor has said. The Reverend Wright said some things that were strongly critical of the United States. So in a view that has no nuance, that means somehow that Obama agrees with those views.


I am a liberal. I have expressed my beliefs in my sister's house and she didn't throw me out. That doesn't make her a liberal. She is still my sister and I love her. That doesn't make me a religious conservative. I have family that have been known to use the N word. I don't approve of it, sometimes I tell them so. But that doesn't make me a racist. I have friends who believe that the Bush Administration was behind the 9/11 attacks. I disagree with them. But my relationship with them doesn't make me a nut.

If you can look into Senator Obama's past and find racist actions, or find where he said or acted like he hates America, or where he did anything other support Isreal, then talk about that.

If you want to know who his advisors will be, look at who they are. They are not Rashid Khalidi, or Reverend Farrakhan or even the Reverend Wright or Bill Ayers. He is getting economic advice from former Secretaries of the Treasury and private citizens like Warren Buffet. He is getting foriegn policy advice form former Secretaries of State.

Senator McCain actively pursued the support of nut job pastors like Haggi who have said their own idiotic, racist, sexist, hateful things. But I don't think that Senator McCain is a Racist or a Sexist or an Idiot. If one of those people was an advisor to teh McCain campaign, then I would care. But they are not. And the people that McCain's supporters are trying to link Senator Obama to are not his advisors either.

I disagree with Senator McCain on most major issues, not because of who he has as friends or acquaintances, but because of what he would do as President.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A draw is a win

I liked the Debate last night. They stuck almost exclusively to the issues. There was a little attacking, but not much and neither candidate made it the reason for their campaign. John McCain answered some questions that Obama ducked, Obama answered some questions that McCain ducked.

McCain used the debate to announce a major new policy that I think was undercovered in the post debate blather that I caught. His proposal for the Federal Government to buy distressed mortgages and write down the mortgage principal to match the current value of the house is HUGE and could end up costing us all massive amounts of money. It should have received more play than it did.

But in the end, Obama won by simply looking calm and knowledgeable. The first two debates have done much to undercut McCain's attack that Obama is not ready to lead. He is trying to spin their policy disagreements into a ready to lead narrative and the debates destroy that. They have very real and distinct policy differences. But Obama looks more Presidential than McCain in these things.

On points, probably a draw

On Style, a win for Obama

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Where this campaign can go (Clicking on the title of this post will launch the video)

I got this video off of I suspect its also on the MSNBC website.

No one accuses Keith Olberman of balance. He is unabasedly a liberal. When I watch his show I keep his filter in mind.

This video is his latest Special Comment and it addresses the direction the campaign can go.

He is clearly outraged at McCain-Palin for their decision to go negative in this campaign and lays out the tit for tat that could come from all this.

Campaigns use negative ads because they work. One of the biggest reasons John Kerry lost in 2004 is the lies told about him in the Swiftboat campaign. No truth to them, but they worked.

But is that really the way we want to elect a President.

The Obama campaign has already posted a 13 minute video about McCain's involvement in the Keating 5 scandal. If McCain wants to continue to question Senator Obama's patriotism, if it wants to continue to distort his record and call him dishonorable, then Senator Obama will respond and talk about Keating and Hagee, and McCain talking about G*(ks, and calling Cindy McCain a C#$t and the way he treated his first wife.

Senator McCain has a choice. Engage on the issue or throw mud, hoping something will stick.

This is not the campaign Senator McCain promised us and its not the campaign we deserve.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Arizonan's Sold on McCain??

I don't really know what this means but in the latest polls that I have seen, Senator McCain is barely poling over 50% in his home state (50.3%). His 11.3% lead over Senator Obama is only marginally larger than the 10.5% win that President Bush got in 2004.

Maybe it mean nothing, but the fact that 11% of Arizonans are not sure if they want to vote for Senator McCain says to me that the people who know him best are not sold on him. The undecides in Illinois are only 7% of that electorate.

As a comparison, Senator Obama is polling 55% in Illinois, which gives him a 17% advantage over Senator McCain in that state, much larger then the 10.4% margin that John Kerry had over George Bush in 2004.

Maybe this really doesn't mean anything. But I do find it interesting

Sunday, October 5, 2008

McCain's New (old) Stragegy

One of the weakest parts of the McCain campaign has been its lack of a consistent message or strategy.

From reports in the press and the tenor of Governor Palin's remarks yesterday, the new strategy seems to be ignore the issues, don't talk about why we should vote for Senator McCain, just try to convince America that there is something wrong with Senator Obama. Perhaps he is even not really patriotic.

Governor Palin attacked Senator Obama because he recieved support from William Aires back in 2000 and 2001. Apparetnly working with a man who did some really wrong things when Barack was 8 years old proves that Obama is anti-American or something. Its almost inevitiable that they will start talking about the Reverend Wright pretty soon as well.

I actually kinda like this new approach. I think it appeals to the base but will alienate exactly those undecided moderates and independents that Senator McCain needs to win. They are thinking about the economy and what they see from Senator McCain is taking another shot at attacks on McCain that were old news 6 months ago.

This is a return to McCain's original strategy that worked so well he dropped it months ago, but its all they have to its back

What ever happened to McCain's promise to run an honorable positive campaign?

As an aside, its funny to watch Governor Palin drag up William Aires from Senator Obama's past after repeatedly criticizing Senator Biden for looking back when the Senator would talk about the failures of the Bush Administration and McCain's simliarities to Bush.

Welcome to Padraig

For the 8th time I am a Great Uncle. My Neice Joy, with Bobby's assistance no doubt, delivered Padraig Gibson yesterday.

A completely awesome young man I can't wait to meet next month.

Congratulations to Joy and Bobby welcome Padraig!!!!!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Vice President Palin

Based on the debate and her previous interviews can the thought of a Vice President Palin be anything other than frightening?

She is cheery and likeable, but her answers seldom make sense.

McCain the Maverick

The latest iteration of the McCain campaign is Sarah Palin's Maverick theme from last night.

And the funny thing is, she used to be right.

In 2000 John McCain was a Maverick when he campaigned against the influence of some religious conservative as agents of intolerance. In 2007 and 2008 he actively sought the support of those he once criticized.

In 2001 he opposed President Bush's tax cuts because they would favor the wealthy over the middle class and he was right. In 2008 he wants to make those same tax cuts permanent and even add more tax cuts despite the enormous deficits resulting from the first set of cuts.

He joined with President Bush and supported comprehensive Immigration reform. One of the few policies pursued by the President that I agreed with. Senator went against the mainstream of his party and supported the reforms and co sponsored the bill. Now he has stated he would vote against the very bill he co-sponsored.

He used to be a Maverick.

Interestingly, Governor Palin may actually be more of a maverick than the Senator.

On the issues that are really important this election, Senator McCain is no maverick, he is more of Bush and that we don't need.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

She Didn't Screw Up

Which probably qualifies as a victory for the McCain campaign.

Governor Palin frequently didn't answer the questions and constantly repeated the same talking points, but she didn't fail to zero the way she had in her earlier interviews

Senator Biden won on debating points, but then so did Richard Nixon in 1960. American's aren't debate judges.

She continues to be bright and cheery and likeable. Time will tell if she answered the question in peoples minds about her readiness to be the President.

It was striking how completely she was willing to throw President Bush under the bus. There was virtually no statement of support for his policies while she pushed her theme that she and Senator McCain are reformers.

Senator Biden directly attacked that claim and did so effectively, but only did it once. Senator Biden also clearly and effectively talked about the lack of significant policy differences between President Bush and Senator McCain, continuing the theme of McCain being simply a 3rd Bush term. He did it well, but he only did it once. Governor Palin repeated her mantra that she and Senator McCain were reformers over and over and over again apparently believing that if you say something over and over again, even if its not true, people will believe you.

Senator McCain and his campaign staff have to be breathing a massive sigh of relief tonight


This may be the best site on the web

They challenge both candidates to tell the truth.

You can sign up for emails that analyze the misrepresentations and outright lies that campaigns make.

If you are at all interested in this campaign, I encourage you to sign up.

The email that I just got points out the inaccuracies in Senator Obama's ad about McCain's position on Social Security. This is the least partisan site that I know of.

Sign up


Tonight's Debate

I am really looking forward to tonight's Vice Presidential debate.

In an election that Senator McCain has tried to make all about experience and readiness, I suspect that Governor Palin is going to expose herself yet again as completely unprepared to even be Vice President.

Her performance in the few interviews she has been allowed to do has been somewhere between dreadful and funny. Its interesting to me that the McCain campaign is trying to spin the questions she has been asked so far as gotcha questions. The question she was asked about the Bush Doctrine was something of a gotcha question, but the question about what she reads and supreme court decisions she disagrees with, and the whether her Campaign Manager's relationship with Fanny Mae is a conflict of interest, those weren't gotcha questions and she literally had no answer.

When asked about Global Warming/Climate Change, she acknowledged that temperatures are increasing and that governments needed to respond. She talked proudly about the things that Alaska is going to address the results of Climate Change. But she also said it wasn't important to understand the cause of this crisis. She has stated in the past that she doesn't believe that human activity is making Global Warming worse. But she lacked the courage to say that in this setting. Why? In addition to being a coward's response, its also stupid. Climate Change is real. She even seems to acknowledge that. Understanding the cause can be critical to dealing with the issue, saying the cause doesn't matter just doesn't make sense.

I am sure her lesbian friend will be glad to know that she somehow chose to be a Lesbian.

The answer that she gave that I found most interesting was in response to Katie Couric's question about abortion. Governor Palin is very clearly on record as believing that life begins at conception and that abortion is murder. She has publicly stated that she opposes allowing abortion even in the case of rape or incest. But when asked if she would ban abortion in the case of rape or incest, she dodged the question. She told Katie she would counsel the woman to keep the child. On the issue that seems to be most important to her religious conservative base, she basically said its a choice. A choice she would counsel against, but a choice.

This coming from this woman who claims she will take on the establishment in Washington and lead towards change lacks the courage to clearly affirm her previously stated position on this issue.

Sarah Palin isn't what she claims to be. She isn't a reformer in any broad sense. She ran a throw the bums out campaign against the most corrupt governor in Alaska history. And she did institute some ethics reforms as a result. But she loves her some earmarks. Under her leadership, the State of Alaska took some of the money that was originally intended for the fabled Bridge to Nowhere and built a $25Million road that literally goes no where. As mayor she actively pursued earmarks for her town in ways no previous mayor had. As governor she was more than willing to take Hundreds of Millions of dollars of earmarks. Far more earmarked dollars per capita than any state in the Union.

Joe Biden, for all is mis-speaks on things, knows who he is and isn't trying to be someone else.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Let's see if I can find coherence

Every family has to have one so I guess it am it.

The token liberal.

And Heathen.

Its a burden I have chosen to bear.

I believe that government has a good and legitimate role to play in the world.

That government CAN be an agent for positive change

That government MUST be watched closely. The power of the law and the power of the purse are so immense that no people are safe from their government if they fail to keep a close eye on it.

That there are few topics that justify being an absolutist.

There is a balance to be struck between an intrusive government that burdens, even strangles, what it touches, and a laisse faire government which allows anything and everything without thought to the public good.

No suprise, I am a supporter of Senator Barack Obama for President